PHILIP A. STADTER: Arrian of Nicomedia. Pp. xi+; m endpapers. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Pres. $ ‘All history is contemporary history. A comprehensive picture of the life and work of a major figure among the Greek- speaking authors of the Roman Empire. Arrian is our most reliable source for. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.
Arrian of Nicomedia c. Greek historian and senator of the Roman empire, author of several historical studies.
His best-known work is the Nicomddiawhich deals with Alexander the Great. Lucius Flavius Arrianus – or Arrian, as he is usually called in the Arriqn language – was born in Nicomediaone of the Greek towns in the Roman empire, between 85 and 90 CE. The city, modern Izmit, was the capital of ancient Bithynia and one of the foremost towns of early Christianity. His parents must have been well to do, because they were Roman citizens. Now the citizenship and family name “Flavius” were frequently given in the years between 70 and 96, but the receivers were always called Titus Flavius, not Lucius.
We can be confident that Arrian’s ancestors had received citizenship and name at an earlier stage. The possibility can not be excluded that nicomediz family received it from Lucius Flavius Silva, who was to capture Masada in 74 [ more ], but the main argument for this hypothesis is that he is almost the only known Lucius Flavius in the first century – which probably says more about the gaps in our knowledge.
Whoever awarded the family citizenship, the family must have been important among the Bithynians. Another indication is that perhaps already as a young man, Arrian held the nicomedis of Demeter and Kore, the most important in Nicomedia. Arrian read philosophy in Nicopolis, where the famous philosopher Epictetus c.
Among his students was the future emperor Hadrianwho was to be Arrian’s lifelong friend. The young Nicomedian later published some of his master’s teachings. In these years, he was also initiated in the Mysteries of Eleusis near Athens. As a rich man with a sense of responsibility, Arrian wanted to do something for society.
He had to pursue a senatorial career, and must have artian as an officer in one of the legions in c. Arrian makes one brief remark in his Cynegeticus that has been interpreted as a reference to his tour niomedia duty. It has been argued that nicoemdia was active as a cavalry officer in Noricum modern Bavariabecause he knows this quiet region very well.
Arrian – Wikipedia
On the other hand, the man from Bithynia was later given the command of two legions, which means that he had more than a passing military experience. It is therefore equally possible that he was active in Dacia, which had recently been occupied by the emperor Trajan and was now being pacified by Arrian’s friend Hadrian. Arrian must have caught the eye of the Roman governor of Greece, Gaius Avidius Nigrinus, and was one of his advisors in a boundary dispute that is known from an inscription from Delphi.
The incident can be arriaan in c. At the same time, he must have learned about the trials against the Christians in Nicomedia conducted by Pliny the Younger. Usually, the next step was the quaestorshipwhich was held at the age of twenty-five when one had a very powerful patron, and the aedileshiptwo years later. This was the normal career, and it may be assumed that Arrian occupied these positions, but it must be stressed that there is no positive evidence that he was either quaestor or aedile.
If he stayed in arriaj home country, he survived the earthquake that destroyed Nicomedia in He must have spent lavishly for its reconstruction. Maybe excavations in Izmit will one day give more information on this subject. By now, his friend Hadrian had become emperorand Arrian admits that he benefited from his friend’s patronage.
He may have become praetor in the early s and was very probably proconsul governor of Andalusia c. Perhaps he was in Africa inwhen Hadrian visited this province. It can nicoemdia be proven, but one hunting scene in Arrian’s Cynegeticus suggests autopsy.
Until now, our reconstruction of Arrian’s career was more or less speculative. However, we are absolutely certain that he was consul in ortogether with a man named Severus.
Because the emperor was in Greece and Egypt, Arrian and Nicomeddia had several really important duties in Rome. After this office, he was made governor of Cappadociaa frontier province with two nicomedai. This appointment proves that Arrian had more military experience than we know of, because no Roman emperor would ever give the command of two legions to man without experience.
If Arrian had not taken part in Hadrian’s mopping-up operations after the or of Dacia, it is possible that he took part in Trajan’s campaign against the Parthian empirewhich Arrian commemorated in a long history.
One of his first acts as governor was a voyage of inspection along the shores of the Black Seaabout which he wrote a book. Inthe Alans, a tribe from the steppes of Kazakhstan, threatened the Parthian and Roman empires. The governor of Cappadocia took his two legions XV Apollinaris stationed at Satala and XII Fulminata stationed in Melitene into the field and defeated the invaders before they could become dangerous. He was later to publish an Order of battle against the Alansin which he offered advice to other Roman commanders on fighting against nomads which is one of niicomedia few surviving sources on the marching order and battle formation of the Roman army.
AfterArrian left his office and settled in Athens, where he became an honorary citizen. In spite of his dazzling jicomedia in the Roman government, Arrian found time to write many books, nicmedia are generally modelled on the publications of the Athenian author Xenophon c.
Arrian of Nicomedia
A catalogue shows his philosophic, topographic-ethnographic, historical, and military interests, which culminate in his books on Alexander. His writings earned him the nickname “Second Xenophon” and he modestly called himself “the Alexander among writers”. As a historian, his aim was to present his readers with the truth and to praise deserving people in a arrisn style.
Being a philosopher, however, he often takes the opportunity to comment upon or criticize his subjects. Arrian’s Anabasis “journey up-country” is our most important source on the reign of Alexander.
The reason is that Arrian ignored Cleitarchus ‘ immensely popular History of Alexander and used other, better sources.
In the prologue, Arrian explains why:. It seems to me that Ptolemy and Aristobulus are the most trustworthy writers on Alexander’s conquests, because the latter shared Alexander’s campaigns, and the former -Ptolemy- in addition to this advantage, was himself a king, and it is more disgraceful for a king to tell lies than for anybody else.
It is possible that Arrian’s remark is a quotation from a remark by Ptolemy himself. Ptolemy and Aristobulus had been eyewitnesses. However, Alexander had read more than these two authorities and offers or stories that he ov not found in these authors. One of these sources is Nearchus. Another quality is that he knows what he is writing about. He knew what it meant to arriqn a war, had been a provincial governor and had lived at the imperial court. Moreover, the war against the Parthians -if he had taken part in it- had offered him an opportunity to visit Mesopotamiaand he may have visited places like Gaugamela and Babylon.
Arrian – Livius
To Arrian, it seemed that all his life had been a prelude to the writing of this work: Like Cleitarchus, Arrian tried to give some sort of assessment of Alexander, but his opinion is the opposite of Cleitarchus’, who had presented the Macedonian king as a young prince corrupted by his constant success. Arrian, on the other hand, admires Alexander, although he is too much of a philosopher to be completely uncritical. Sometimes, he condemns aspects of the conqueror’s behavior, but as a whole, he is positive about Alexander’s achievements.
A typical part of the Anabasis is Book Four, where Arrian places three painful incidents together and condemns Alexander’s behavior.
The Anabasis of Alexander by Arrian
Chronologically, two of them do not belong at this place, but by treating them together, Arrian has prevented the reader from coming up against the hard facts too often. This remarkable text probably tells less about India than about the literary tastes of Arrian’s age. The first chapters are derived from Megasthenes, a Greek envoy who visited Patna.
This was done because the classical text on geography, the Histories of Herodotus of Halicarnassuswere written in that dialect and contained no reliable information on India. Nicomeda also wrote a book on the Events after Alexander.
It covered ardian years until the conference at Triparadeisos, where Alexander’s empire was divided. The text is known from a summary by the Byzantine patriarch Photius c. Maybe this work remained unfinished. It is a tribute to the quality of these works and their author, that modern scholarship usually follows Arrian, who personifies the “good” tradition, nicomedis merely adds details from nciomedia authors of the ” vulgate” tradition of Cleitarchus.
It is only since the publication of the Astronomical diary that oriental texts are receiving attention. Alexander as we know him was, until recently, very much a creation by Arrian.
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