La version païenne du Frigidus : Eunape, ses éֹpigones et Alan Cameron (The Last Pagans of Rome, pp. 110–111)

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Jean-Fabrice Nardelli


That Zosimus and John of Antioch bequeathed us, curtailed from the lost History of Eunapius, an exculpatory, pagan-centric account of the battle of the Frigidus in contradistinction to the retellings of it by Christian writers, has been demonstrated as a canard by Alan Cameron. Once put the test, it turns out, Cameron’s cramped arguments fail to take account of the rhetorical formalization lurking behind Eunapius’ epigons, thereby missing the pagan kernel the sophist from Sardis bequeathed them when broaching the topic of the Frigidus, and ignore how much his replacement of the violent winds of the nearly unanimous Christian tradition by an imaginary eclipse harks back in putative pagan fashion to classicizing models. No less classicizing and imbued with a strong pagan flavor is the motif of the darkening of the air. This leads to the suggestion that the actual weather that held sway on 9.5.394, far from being a stormy wind, shall better be identified with a Mediterranean gale; it was portrayed through propagandistic lens, by means of thematic focalization, as a miraculous wind by the Christians and as a solar eclipse by Eunapius.

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