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The Excerpts of Valesius

p506 Introductiona

The Excerpta Valesiana are so‑called because they were first published in Paris by Henricus Valesius1 in 1636 from one manuscript, which is now in the Royal Library of Berlin (cod. Berolinensis, formerly cod. Philipp. 1885, Meermanianus). It belongs to the ninth century, and is cited by Gardthausen as M, by Mommsen as B. The Excerpts were reprinted by Hadrian Valesius in his edition of Ammianus of 1681, and they have been published in several subsequent editions of the historian (in Wagner-Erfurdt with a commentary) and in the Chronica Minora I (Mon. Germ. Hist., Auctorum Antiquissimorum, IX) of Mommsen, pp7‑11 (Pars Prior) and 306 ff. (Pars Posterior). They are translated by C. Büchele (see Vol. I, p949).º I know of no commentary in English, and no English translation.

The first part, composed about A.D. 390, is a biography of Constantine the Great from 305 to 337, under the title Origo Constantini Imperatoris. It is based upon good sources, and the anonymous author is regarded by Mommsen as "Ammiano neque aetate neque auctoritate inferior." Although it corresponds to some extent with the account of Orosius, it is clear that it was not compiled from his History, although that work is often useful in determining the text.

p507 The second part, written about 550 in barbarous Latin by another unknown writer, under the title Item ex libris Chronicorum inter cetera, covers the period from 474 to 526, and deals mainly with the history of Theodoric. The writer was an opponent of Arianism, and he seems to have based his compilation on the Chronicle of Maximianus, bishop of Ravenna in 546, who died in 556. For this part we have, besides B, cod. Vaticanus Palatinus, Lat. n. 927 (P) of the twelfth century, in which the title appears as De adventu Oduachar regis Cyrorum2 et Erulorum in Italia, et quomodo Rex Theodericus eum fuerit persecutus. The Excerpts as a whole furnish an introduction and a sequel to the narrative of Ammianus.


B = Codex Berolinensis, 1885, of the ninth century.
B1 = Corrections by the original scribe.
B2 = Corrections by a second hand.
B3 = Corrections about which it is doubtful whether they were made by the scribe or by a later hand.3
P = Cod. Vat. Pal. Lat. n. 927, of the twelfth century.4
P1, P2 = Corrections of P.

The Editor's Notes:

1 Henri de Valois.

2 Apparently for Scyrorum (Scirorum), Exc. § 37.

3 For subdivisions of B1, B2, and B3 see Mommsen, l.c., p2, and for a description of B and P, ibid., pp3 and 259 ff.

4 For Pars Posterior only. It has not seemed necessary or desirable to record all the variants, orthographic and otherwise, in these codices, but only the important deviations from our text and the more acceptable conjectures.

Thayer's Note:

a See also Thomas Hodgkin's discussion on the authorship of the Pars Posterior, in Italy and her Invaders, Vol. III (1892 edition), pp475‑476.

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Page updated: 4 Mar 12