Ralph W. Mathisen, Danuta Shanzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Sasanian kings long had promoted themselves as 'just rulers' in epigraphy, numismatics, and literature. In an effort to put Agathias into his proper historical and literary contexts vis-vis the Sasanians, this chapter explores how authors in Constantinople in the midto late sixth century portrayed the Sasanian Empire. Roman authors implicitly disparaged the administrative innovations of Justinian and his successors and highlighted the corruption of the present age. Correspondingly, Agathias' negative assessment of the society, customs, and rulers of Persians have been taken as representative of the attitudes of Roman authors in sixth-century Constantinople toward barbarous Persia and its barbarian Sasanian kings. Focusing on Agathias' challenges to the works of other writers, the chapter examines the occupational and ideological distinctions between Agathias and his contemporaries, emphasizing the important role of bureaucrats, diplomats, and military men in the intellectual circles of sixth-century Byzantium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRomans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World
Subtitle of host publicationCultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781317061694
ISBN (Print)9780754668145
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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