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Ammianus' JulianNarrative and Genre in the Res Gestae$
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Alan J. Ross

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198784951

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198784951.001.0001

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Julian’s Elevation

Julian’s Elevation

Tradition and Innovation in Speech and Narrative

(p.96) 3 Julian’s Elevation
Ammianus' Julian

Alan J. Ross

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an analysis of Julian’s elevation to the Caesarship in 355 as presented by Ammianus in Book 15. It argues that Ammianus draws on a well-established historiographical model of a speech scene in order to provide a subtle critique of Julian’s relationship with his cousin and promoter, Constantius II, and also of Julian’s future legitimacy as Augustus. By constructing an episode that is similar to other scenes of ‘failed adoptions’ found in Sallust and Tacitus, Ammianus can present Julian as initially unprepared for his new position, but nonetheless as divinely endorsed. Constantius, on the other hand, acts on negative motivations and a limited interpretation of the situation.

Keywords:   Constantius II, Julian, imperial elevations, Tacitus, Galba, Piso, Sallust, Jugurtha, speeches in historiography, narratology

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