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Emperor Constantine from Zosimos' perspective (5th-6th centuries C.E.)

Grant number: 22/12572-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2023
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Margarida Maria de Carvalho
Grantee:Jéssica da Costa Minati Moraes
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL-ASSIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Assis. Assis , SP, Brazil


This research belongs to the temporal arc of the 5th and 6th centuries, commonly inserted in what we call Late Antiquity. This period encompasses several political changes that occurred in the Roman Empire which, at that time, was divided between the West and the East since the year of 395. Our object of study, Zosimus, lived in this context. He was a polytheistic, tax administration official and served in the Eastern Roman Empire from the city of Constantinople, when exercising the position of tax attorney (advocatus fisci). In your only work, entitled New History, Zosimus makes several criticisms of Emperor Constantine I (272 -337) with regard to their political-religious, administrative, financial and military. On the other hand, we believe that the ancient author identified certain similarities between the political problems of his own time and those of the fourth century. We believe that, having been an important official of the imperial government, our character could not criticize the current emperors directly. Therefore, we hypothesize that Zosimus would have projected his criticisms of the performances of Zeno (425 - 491) and Anastasius (430 - 518) in the figure of Emperor Constantine I. Regarding our documentation, we will use fifteen chapters of the New History, cataloged according to the relevant theme. They are located in the Book II of the aforementioned work, started with the resignation of Diocletian (243/245 - 311/312) in 305 and composed by the narrative of the events that occurred until the year 354, after the death of Constantine I. We aim to seek the similarities between the policies of Emperors Zeno and Anastasius and those of Constantine to interpret the criticisms made by Zosimus.

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