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Ammianus Marcellinus' Future Signs

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Predicting the future is contentious. In the fourth century competing claimants tried to define who could consult the signs and interpret them. Ammianus' use of future signs in his history, especially in the Julianic books, responds to this contemporary debate. His Julian interprets them correctly in his struggles with Constantius II but then fails to do so during his disastrous Persian campaign. Future signs continue to feature in the narrative after Julian's death. This article argues that Ammianus' abundant use of future signs is a distinct feature of his work that should be read in a late fourth century context.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2019

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  • Historia, first published in 1952 by Karl Friedrich Stroheker and Gerold Walser is an international, peer-reviewed journal on Greek and Roman antiquity. Articles are in English, German, French and Italian. It features original articles on Greek history, the Roman Republic and Empire as well as late antiquity. It covers all aspects of political, economic, religious and social life and deals with legal, archaeological, numismatic and epigraphical questions.
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