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The Portrayal and Role of Anger in the Res Gestae of Ammianus Marcellinus


Ammianus’ treatment of the emotion of anger reveals as much, if not more, about his education, values, beliefs, personality, than it does about the people he writes about. This research contributes to a greater depth of understanding of the role of the key emotion of anger within the individual and collective lives of the characters as portrayed by Ammianus Marcellinus and how he uses them to influence the reader and colour his narrative.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-128-7
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jun 14,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 376
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-128-7
$176.00

Ammianus’ treatment of the emotion of anger reveals as much, if not more, about his education, values, beliefs, personality, than it does about the people he writes about. This research contributes to a greater depth of understanding of the role of the key emotion of anger within the individual and collective lives of the characters as portrayed by Ammianus Marcellinus and how he uses them to influence the reader and colour his narrative. Scholars now tend to examine Ammianus to discern or evaluate the historical reliability of his authorship. But there is also scope for examining how Ammianus shapes his narrative and tries to influence the reader by his portraits of individuals and collective characters. Although this approach seems an obvious one, no one has hitherto done this in an extended and thorough way before. Ammianus' treatment and representations of emotions have idiosyncratic features that crucially affect any assessment of him as an observer and reporter of Rome and its past. This careful study of Ammianus’ Res Gestae and the characterisations he incorporated within reveals the discourse of Ammianus, by unearthing the bias, the propagandist elements and the general trends of his portrayals, through keywords that refer directly to anger. In this we can better understand the purpose behind many of these representations.


Barbara Sidwell is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Adelaide. Her area of specialty is Late Antiquity, especially fourth century literature.

Ammianus’ treatment of the emotion of anger reveals as much, if not more, about his education, values, beliefs, personality, than it does about the people he writes about. This research contributes to a greater depth of understanding of the role of the key emotion of anger within the individual and collective lives of the characters as portrayed by Ammianus Marcellinus and how he uses them to influence the reader and colour his narrative. Scholars now tend to examine Ammianus to discern or evaluate the historical reliability of his authorship. But there is also scope for examining how Ammianus shapes his narrative and tries to influence the reader by his portraits of individuals and collective characters. Although this approach seems an obvious one, no one has hitherto done this in an extended and thorough way before. Ammianus' treatment and representations of emotions have idiosyncratic features that crucially affect any assessment of him as an observer and reporter of Rome and its past. This careful study of Ammianus’ Res Gestae and the characterisations he incorporated within reveals the discourse of Ammianus, by unearthing the bias, the propagandist elements and the general trends of his portrayals, through keywords that refer directly to anger. In this we can better understand the purpose behind many of these representations.


Barbara Sidwell is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Adelaide. Her area of specialty is Late Antiquity, especially fourth century literature.

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Contributor Biography

Barbara Sidwell

Barbara Sidwell is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Sydney. She holds a PhD in Classical studies and ancient history from Adelaide University, South Australia.

  • Dedication (page 5)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Preface (page 13)
  • Acknowledgements (page 15)
  • List of Abbreviations (page 17)
  • Introduction (page 19)
    • Summary (page 19)
    • Ammianus and his History (page 20)
    • Anger Words used by Ammianus (page 27)
    • Theoretical Framework and Methods (page 31)
    • Ancient and Modern Views on Anger (page 33)
    • Anger in Antiquity (page 34)
    • Anger in Psychology Today (page 42)
    • Anger, Ammianus and Previous Scholarship (page 48)
    • Chapter Summaries (page 51)
  • 1. Anger and the Military in the Res Gestae (page 55)
    • Introduction (page 55)
    • The Causes of Anger in the Roman Military (page 63)
    • Lack of Supplies as a Cause of Anger (page 64)
    • Enemy Encounters (page 65)
    • Roman Military and Barbarians (page 69)
    • Primary Responses to Anger in the Military (page 71)
    • Secondary Responses to Anger in the Roman Military (page 76)
    • Julians Proclamation in Paris (page 76)
    • Response to the Tripoli Affair (page 78)
    • Religion in the Army (page 80)
    • Consequences of Anger in the Roman Military (page 81)
    • The Destructive Behaviour of Soldiers (page 82)
    • Unfulfilled Desire to Attack an Enemy (page 82)
    • Near-Mutinies (page 83)
    • Comments by Ammianus (page 87)
    • Deliberate Incitement of the Anger of the Soldiers (page 87)
    • Ammianus Criticism of the Soldiers (page 89)
    • Ammianus Support of the Soldiers Anger (page 90)
    • Conclusion (page 91)
  • 2. Anger and Persians and Barbarians (page 97)
    • Introduction (page 97)
    • The Causes of Anger in Barbarians (page 104)
    • Outrage of the Barbarians (page 105)
    • Anger and the Behaviour of Barbarian Leaders (page 107)
    • Barbarian Anger and the Enemy (page 109)
    • Barbarians and Romans (page 112)
    • Primary Responses to Anger in Barbarians (page 114)
    • The Battle of Adrianople (page 119)
    • Secondary Responses to Anger in Barbarians (page 122)
    • Barbarian Responses to the Presence of the Enemy (page 122)
    • Anger and Barbarian Violence (page 124)
    • Consequences of Anger and Barbarians (page 126)
    • The Destructive Consequences of Barbarian Anger (page 126)
    • The Consequences of Barbarian Anger against an Enemy (page 129)
    • Comments by Ammianus (page 130)
    • Barbarian Ferocity (page 131)
    • Barbarian Behaviour (page 131)
    • Barbarians and the Death of Roman Soldiers (page 132)
    • Persians (page 132)
    • Sapor II (page 139)
    • Conclusion (page 145)
  • 3. Anger and Emperors and Caesars in the Res Gestae (page 149)
    • Introduction (page 149)
    • The Causes of Anger for the Emperors and Caesars (page 157)
    • Constantius II and the Causes of Anger (page 159)
    • Julian and the Causes of Anger (page 163)
    • Valens and the Causes of Anger (page 172)
    • Primary Responses to Anger for the Emperors and Caesars (page 173)
    • Gallus and the Primary Responses to Anger (page 174)
    • Julian and the Primary Responses to Anger (page 175)
    • Valentinian and the Primary Responses to Anger (page 178)
    • Secondary Responses to Anger for the Emperors and Caesars (page 180)
    • Constantius and Secondary Responses to Anger (page 181)
    • Julian and Secondary Responses to Anger (page 182)
    • Consequences of Anger for the Emperors and Caesars (page 186)
    • Gallus and the Consequences of Anger (page 187)
    • Valentinian and the Consequences of Anger (page 192)
    • Comments by Ammianus (page 194)
    • Ammianus Comments on the Anger of Julian (page 195)
    • Ammianus Comments on the Anger of Constantius (page 198)
    • Conclusion (page 198)
  • 4. Anger and the Urban Populace in the Res Gestae (page 203)
    • Introduction (page 203)
    • The Causes of Anger and the Urban Populace (page 210)
    • Unjust Conditions as a Cause of Anger (page 210)
    • Faction Induced Anger (page 212)
    • Insult as a Cause of Anger (page 213)
    • Primary Responses to Anger in the Roman Populace (page 214)
    • Verbal Threats as a Primary Response (page 215)
    • Gnashing and Grinding of the Teeth as a Response to Anger (page 217)
    • Secondary Responses to Anger in the Roman Populace (page 218)
    • Riots in Rome (page 219)
    • Response to Corrupt Officials (page 220)
    • Consequences of Anger and the Roman Populace (page 221)
    • The Mob Takes the Upper Hand (page 222)
    • The Destruction of Property (page 223)
    • Comments by Ammianus (page 224)
    • Continual Losses (page 225)
    • Fearful Outrages (page 225)
    • Conclusion (page 226)
  • 5. Magnates and Anger in the Res Gestae (page 229)
    • Introduction (page 229)
    • The Causes of Anger and Magnates (page 234)
    • Romanus and the Causes of Anger (page 234)
    • Apronianus and the Causes of Anger (page 237)
    • Lampadius and the Causes of Anger (page 238)
    • Jovinus and the Causes of Anger (page 239)
    • Primary Responses to Anger in Magnates (page 239)
    • Paulus and the Primary Manifestations of Anger (page 240)
    • Secondary Responses to Anger in Magnates (page 242)
    • Maximinus and Secondary Responses to Anger (page 242)
    • Procopius and Secondary Responses to Anger (page 244)
    • Fortunatianus and Secondary Responses to Anger (page 246)
    • Consequences of Anger and Magnates (page 247)
    • Paulus and the Consequences of Anger (page 248)
    • Comments by Ammianus (page 250)
    • Ammianus Comments on the Anger of Maximinus (page 250)
    • Conclusion (page 251)
  • 6. Tacitus and Ammianus on Anger (page 253)
    • Introduction (page 253)
    • Tacitus and the Anger of the Roman Military (page 259)
    • Tacitus and the Anger of Barbarians and Other Ethnic Groups (page 269)
    • Tacitus and the Anger of Emperors (page 278)
    • Tiberius (page 280)
    • Tacitus and the Anger of Magnates, including Equestrians (page 290)
    • Tacitus and the Anger of the Populace (page 295)
    • Conclusion (page 301)
  • Conclusions (page 305)
    • Ammianus and Ancient Authors (page 307)
    • Chapter 1 (page 311)
    • Chapter 2 (page 313)
    • Chapter 3 (page 315)
    • Chapter 4 (page 317)
    • Chapter 5 (page 318)
    • Chapter 6 (page 319)
  • Findings (page 323)
    • Purpose of this Study (page 323)
    • Method (page 324)
    • Results (page 325)
  • Bibliography (page 335)
    • Primary Texts (page 335)
    • Dictionaries, Concordances and Commentaries (page 343)
    • Secondary Sources (page 344)
  • Index (page 373)
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