Herodian

For the grammarian, see Aelius Herodianus. For the dynasty, see Herodian Dynasty. For the saint numbered among the Seventy Disciples, see Herodion of Patras.

Herodian or Herodianus (Greek: Ἡρωδιανός) of Syria, sometimes referred to as "Herodian of Antioch" (c. 170 – c. 240), was a minor Roman civil servant who wrote a colourful history in Greek titled History of the Empire from the Death of Marcus (τῆς μετὰ Μάρκον βασιλείας ἱστορία) in eight books covering the years 180 to 238. His work is not entirely reliable although his relatively unbiased account of Elagabalus is more useful than that of Cassius Dio. He was a Greek (perhaps from Antioch) who appears to have lived for a considerable period of time in Rome, but possibly without holding any public office. From his extant work, we gather that he was still living at an advanced age during the reign of Gordianus III, who ascended the throne in 238. Beyond this, nothing is known of his life.

Herodian writes (i.1.§ 3, ii.15.§ 7) that the events described in his history occurred during his lifetime. Photius (Codex 99) gives an outline of the contents of this work and passes a flattering encomium on the style of Herodian, which he describes as clear, vigorous, agreeable, and preserving a happy medium between an utter disregard of art and elegance and a profuse employment of the artifices and prettinesses which were known under the name of Atticism, as well as between boldness and bombast. He appears to have used Thucydides as a model to some extent, both for style and for the general composition of his work, often introducing speeches wholly or in part imaginary. In spite of occasional inaccuracies in chronology and geography, his narrative is in the main truthful and impartial. However, some charge him with showing too great a partiality for Pertinax.

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