Politics, Philosophy and Empire in the Fourth Century

BookPolitics, Philosophy and Empire in the Fourth Century

Politics, Philosophy and Empire in the Fourth Century

Themistius’ Select Orations

Translated Texts for Historians, 36


March 1st, 2001



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Around the year 350, a young orator and philosopher called Themistius delivered a speech to the Emperor Constantius II in Ancyra (modern Ankara). Themistius found great favour with the Emperor, who catapulted him into the Constantinople Senate in 355. He was similarly favoured by subsequent emperors – Jovian (363–64), Valens (364–78) and Theodosius (379–95). This volume presents translations of a selection of the speeches of Themistius, grouped into chapters that deal either with a key period in the evolution of his career or with a sequence of events of particular historical significance.


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Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Chapter 1: Orator, Emperor, and Senate
Philosophy and Oratory
Philosophy and Politics
The Usefulness of Philosophy
Orator and Audience
Chapter 2: Themistius and Constantius
General Introduction
Oration 1 - On the Love of Mankind or Constantius
The Letter of Constantius to the Senate
Oration 3 - Embassy Speech for Constantinople Delivered in Rome
Chapter 3 - After Julian
General Introduction
Oration 5 - On the Consulship, to the Emperor Jovian
Oration 6 - On Brotherly Love, or On Philanthropia
Chapter 4: Theodosius, Gratian, and the Goths
General Introduction
Oration 14 - Embassy to the Emperor Theodosius
Oration 15 - To Theodosius or The Most Royal of the Virtues
Oration 16 - Speech of Thanksgiving to the Emperor for the Peace and the Consulship of the General Saturninus
Chapter 5: Philosopher Prefect
General Introduction
Oration 17 - On the Election to the Urban Prefecture
Oration 34 - In Reply to Those who Found Fault with Him for Accepting Public Office