Between City and School

Selected Orations of Libanius

Translated by Raffaella Cribiore

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ISBN: 9781781382530

Publication: January 4, 2016

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 65

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This book is a collection of twelve important but little-read orations of the fourth-century sophist Libanius, providing an English translation for each with a thorough introduction and copious notes. In spite of Libanius’ influence during his lifetime, he has until recently been neglected by scholars since his Greek is often intricate and difficult to approach.

Libanius lived in Antioch (Syria) where he was a teacher of rhetoric: His school was the most important in the East and students flocked there from many countries. Some of the orations in this collection, like his correspondence, illuminate his relations with his students as well as his methods of teaching rhetoric, a discipline for which he had the highest regard. These orations also show that Libanius was a major figure in his city, in frequent contact with influential officials and governors, and that he even had a close relationship with the Emperor Julian. Oration 37 reveals that there were rumours that Julian had contributed to the death of his wife by asking a court doctor to poison her, while Oration 63 indicates that Libanius, usually considered to be a thorough-going pagan, was bequeathed the patrimony of a Christian friend, even though the latter's brother was bishop of Antioch.

Fascinating and thought-provoking, this essential collection of translations of Libanius’ orations will be invaluable to scholars of the fourth century.

Raffaella Cribiore is Professor of Classics at New York University.


A Note on Abbreviations and English Translations


Orations in Chronological Order:
1. Oration 61 (358 CE)
2. Oration 37 (after 365)
3. Oration 40 (366)
4. Oration 55 (early)
5. Oration 53 (380-384)
6. Oration 41 (382-387)
7. Oration 39 (before 384)
8. Oration 35 (388)
9. Oration 51 (388)
10. Oration 52 (388)
11. Oration 63 (388-389)
12. Oration 38 (after 388)


Select Bibliography


This is a successful addition to previous translations, and makes a valuable contribution.
Raphael Brendel, Alte Geschichte


In addition to the excellent translation, the virtues of this contribution include a thorough attention to secondary literature, a current bibliography, and a graceful style. Libanius, I think, would be pleased.
David Neal Greenwood, Religious Studies Review

Format: Paperback

Size: 210 × 147 mm

320 Pages

ISBN: 9781781382530

Publication: January 4, 2016

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 65

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