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Scenes from the Roman-Gothic wars [3rd c. CE]: the less-famous warfares at Thermopylae, the Philippopolis’ siege, and so forth. As these had been deciphered from the palimpsest leaves of 73 [Scythica Vindobonensia-Dexippus]… no less than until my readings

Perhaps a recognized work & findings, nevertheless I’ve tracked them recently, and had been a fairly fascinating learn…

In an eleventh c. byzantine manuscript [Cod. Vind. hist. gr. 73], they had been found 4 palimpsest leaves [8 pages], which they had been hiding some greek writing. Until my readings, the 6 out of 8 pages have been deciphered in some enough approach, they usually have been divided in 3 elements [Empire in Crisis [2020], pp. 8-9]. All students agree that the texts must be from Dexippus’ Scythica of the third c. CE, describing the Gothic invasions in Greek mainland of the identical century.

-[the deciphered greek text can be seen in Anhang I, Empire in Crisis [2020], pp. 545ff].

I am giving right here a one way or the other abstract of every half with some notes and references, based mostly on the deciphered textual content & on the obtainable analyses-translations by the students.


**a. Fragment Ia–Ib, fol. 195rv [two pages]**

The excerpt truly describes some preliminary battle ways by Cniva [the Gothic general & king of the 3rd c. CE] making an attempt to take some Thracian metropolis; which it has been recognized by the students as Philippopolis, besieged and brought in 250 CE.

_*an english translation of the first web page 195r in Martin & Grusková [2014b], p. 737 // and a german translation of 2nd web page 195v in Grusková & Martin [2015], p. 39

>The Scythians [=Goths] withdrew pretending that they deserted the siege, so to confuse the Thracians, and camped a long way away. And it appears that evidently the besieged believed it and relaxed one way or the other. Nevertheless, a traitor approached Cniva and promised to point out to him the spot of the town’s fortifications, which might be handed extra simply. Cniva picked 5 volunteers and despatched them at night time so to verify the data; he truly had additionally set prizes. The Thracian guards had been drunk or asleep and the 5 Scythians managed to take away them and go. Then they gave a sign with a torch and 500 males of Cniva tried to enter the town with ladders, however the Thracians seen them…

“*the identification of the city as Philippopolis is feasible and believable, although on no account sure.*” Grusková & Martin [2014b], p. 748


**b. Fragment IIa–IIb, fol. 194rv [two pages]**

If I understood properly, the primary web page of this textual content [194r] had some extra difficulties relating to deciphering. In any case it appears describing some battle preparations by Roman emperor Decius in opposition to Goths, however after the autumn of Philippopolis in 250 CE.

_*a german translation of 1st web page 194r in Grusková & Martin [2014c], p. 33 // and an english translation of 2nd web page 194v in Grusková & Martin [2014b], p. 736

>Ptolemeus the Athenian was set by the emperor to protect the world between Macedonia and Thessaly. And Athenians, Boeotians and a few chosen Lacedaimonians gathered on the slender and safer passage of Thermopylae, most likely ready for the enemy. Right here the textual content does not appear crystal clear. However, most probably the chief of the Scythians [=Goths], named Ostroggouthos, was knowledgeable that the Scythians took Philippopolis and that Cniva was praised for it. So underneath some strain to perform an analogous achievement, he began marching in opposition to Decius with 50000 males.
>Decius gathered 80000 troopers and waited at Amissos close to Beroina [?]. When he was knowledgeable that Ostroggouthos’ military was close to, he determined to talk to his males. He tried to reanimate their spirit, saying that they should not be discouraged by some current misadventure within the close by subject and the defeat at Thrace [Philippopolis], however they need to settle for actuality like prudent males. As a result of the primary failure [in the nearby field at Beroina] got here reason for the scouts, whereas the Thracian metropolis was misplaced by ambushes…

As Philippopolis is taken and Decius continues to be alive, the narrated occasions must be positioned someplace between, 250-251 CE.

The historic components of this excerpt have been principally in contrast with the Jordanes’ Getica of the sixth c. CE, then with Syncellus’ Ekloge chronographias of the Eighth-Ninth c. CE. The latter is utilizing as supply Dexippus, because it’s acknowledged within the work.

In Jordanes [Get. 101], when the king Ostrogotha died it appears that evidently Cniva took afterwards the management of the Goths. If each accounts are correct, this is able to imply that Cniva perhaps served for someday as basic underneath Ostrogotha’s command; although there might be some anachronisms. [Regarding leader Ostroggouthos: “*It occurs otherwise only in Latin sources: see in particular Jord. Get. 98–100, where the form Ostrogotha is used.*”, Grusková & Martin [2014b], p. 740].

Relating to the toponyms Amissos & Beroina, the place Decius waited and gave his speech [Grusková & Martin [2014b], p. 740]:

“*The textual content could comprise (an) unknown geographical identify(s) or corrupted recognized identify(s).*” However including: “*an affiliation could instantly counsel itself with Beroea in Thracia (Βέροια or Βερόη, Beroea, Beroa, or Berone of the Tabula Peutingeriana VIII 2), the city the place Cniva ambushed Decius a number of months earlier than the second when our passage is about*”.

It is most likely associated with the misadventure within the close by subject at Beroina, that Decius mentions in his speech; i.e. a earlier failure at Beroa. Jordanes [Get. 102] had written that Decius confronted unsuccessfully Cniva there, however in a course of occasions that will place it after Ostrogotha’s dying; doable anachronism.

* Thermopylae are given as ‘gates’ [πύλαι] within the greek textual content.


**c. Fragment IIIb–IIIc, fol. 192v+193r [two pages]**

Perhaps probably the most complicated excerpt relating to relationship and identification of the talked about individuals.

_*an english translation of each pages 192v+193r in Mallan & Davenport [2015], p. 205ff

>After an unsuccessful attempt to besiege the town of Thessalonica, the Scythians [=Goths] determined to march in opposition to Athens and Achaea aiming for the loot. When the information had been heard, the Greeks began to be gathered on the slender coastal passage of Thermopylae, carrying spears, axes, or no matter every may & then fortifying an already current wall. Afterwards the generals had been elected: Marianus, who had been beforehand chosen by the Roman emperor to manipulate Greece south of Thermopylae, Philostratus the Athenian, and Dexippus the Boeotian [possibly not our historian]. And with the intention to to encourage the boys, Marianus gave a speech. In accordance with its begin [which is the only that has been read], he tried to remind to the Greeks the significance of the place of Thermopylae throughout earlier battles, like within the Persian wars [480 BCE], the Lamian battle [323 BCE] & in opposition to Antiochus underneath Roman management [191 BCE]…

The textual content sadly stops earlier than some battle. Syncellus [Ecl.Chron. 466] can be talking of a army drive gathering at Thermopylae, after a profitable protection at Thessalonica, within the years of Gallienus. Neither there a battle adopted. And it is noticeable that evaluating this textual content with the earlier one of many Decius’ years, Thermopylae must be thought-about a great place for protection. Nevertheless, right here an encouraging speech to the troopers was given and generals had been elected. Whereas it has been famous eg. a profitable protection in Achaea through the years of Gallienus [HA Gall. 6.1].

*Thermopylae are given right here, too, as ‘gates’ [πύλαι] within the greek deciphered textual content. Whereas with its full identify in Syncellus.

Usually he textual content has been in contrast primarily with Syncellus’ Ekloge chronographias of the Eighth-Ninth c. CE. & Historia Augusta, Gallieni duo. However different sources too, like Zosimus & Zonaras.

One different level that I’ve seen is how basic Marianus was figuring out the Greco-Romans, to whom he spoke; i.e. with the Greeks defending in opposition to Persians within the fifth c. BCE, with the anti-Macedonian league who defeated Antipater in 323 BCE & with some united-said Greco-Roman forces who fought in opposition to Antiochus in 191 BCE. Noticeable that it’s not talked about the case of 279 BCE, when primarily the Aetolians confronted the Celts. Nevertheless, right here solely the beginning of the speech is surviving.

On the doable relationship I’ve learn varied elements inserting the occasions primarily through the reign of Gallienus [253-268 CE], in a size of about 16 years; i.e. 253/4, 259, 262, 267/8 [the latter however being more doubtful]; and this I presume has roots within the identification of the individuals [like general Marianus] and the parallel studying of the remaining sources [check Martin & Grusková [2014a], Mallan & Davenport [2015], p. 215, Potter [2016], p. 336, Boteva [2020], p. 207].

* “… *the defeat of the Goths in (most certainly) 262/263, by the inhabitants of Achaea underneath the management of Marianus, Philostratus, and the Boeotian Dexippus*”. Mallan [2020], p. 252 // for 262 CE test additionally Mallan & Davenport [2015]
* “*Up to now, the fashionable authors engaged on the brand new fragments are discussing two doable years within the try to date this siege of Thessalonica, AD 253/254 and AD 262,58 and every of the 2 has devoted advocates, who date this siege utilizing literary texts: Historia Augusta, Gallieni duo (late 4th c.), Zosimus (fifth c.), Georgius Syncellus (Eighth c.) and Zonaras (twelfth c.). It appears now that the obtainable late-antique and Byzantine texts can’t be of additional assist when making an attempt to motive which one of many two years was actually marked by the Scythians’ (to make use of the language of the palimpsest) unsuccessful siege of Thessalonica and by the pressing group of the defence of Thermopylae*”. Boteva [2020], p. 207
* “*… I now assume that it’s wisest to be considerably agnostic and acknowledge the chance that the occasions at Thermopylae could also be sooner than the siege and seize of Philippopolis in 250, however that too is problematic because the Gothic operations nonetheless appear fairly distant from Thermopylae*”. Potter [2020], p. 358



* Grusková, Jana & Martin, Gunther [2014a], Dexippus Vindobonensis (?) Ein neues Handschriftenfragment zum sog. Herulereinfall der Jahre 267/268, in Wiener Studien Vol. 127 (2014), pp. 101-120 // in [](
* Grusková, Jana & Martin, Gunther [2014b], “Scythica Vindobonensia” by Dexippus(?): New Fragments on Decius’ Gothic Wars, in GRBS Vol 54, No 4 (2014), pp. 728-754 // in [](
* Grusková, Jana & Martin, Gunther [2014c], Ein neues Textstück aus den “Scythica Vindobonensia” zu den Ereignissen nach der Eroberung von Philippopolis, in Tyche Band 29, 2014, pp. 29-43 // in []( & [here](
* Grusková, Jana & Martin, Gunther [2015], Zum Angriff der Goten unter Kniva auf eine thrakische Stadt (Scythica Vindobonensia, f. 195v), in Tyche Band 30, 2015, pp. 35–53 // in []( & [here](
* Mallan, Christopher & Davenport, Caillan [2015], Dexippus and the Gothic Invasions, in Journal of Roman Research 105 (2015) 203–226 // in [academia]( & [](
* Potter, David [2016], Warfare as Theater, from Tacitus to Dexippus, in The Topography of Violence within the Greco-Roman World, 2019 [2016], pp. 325-347 // in [](
* Empire in Disaster [2020], Fritz Mitthof, Gunther Martin, Jana Grusková (eds.) [English; German; Italian], 2020 [2017] // in []( with/20.500.12657/37435)
* Boteva, Dilyana [2020], Some Issues Associated to the Scythica Vindobonensia, Empire in Disaster, 2020 [2017], pp. 195-212
* Mallan, Christopher [2020], In Reward of Gallienus? Reconsidering a Gallienic Date for the Εἰς βασιλέα of Pseudo-Aristides, in mpire in Disaster, 2020 [2017], pp. 245-262
* Potter, David [2020], Dexippus’ Gothic Anthropology, Empire in Disaster, 2020 [2017], pp. 357-368

Comments ( 2 )

  1. I’ve been doing research on the Gothic Wars all night. I fall into bed, check Reddit, try to relax, and I find this.
    You bastard.

  2. Wasn’t the tribe named the Ostrogoths, so a person named Ostrogothus is just the leader of that tribe? A title, not a name?

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