Tradition and Innovation in Speech and Narrative
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.
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