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AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS
The last Roman historian of any importance, born at Antioch, in Syria, about 330 A.D., of noble Grecian descent. After receiving a careful education, he early entered military service, and fought under Julian against the Alemanni and Persians. In the evening of his days he retired to Rome, and about 390 began his Latin history of the emperors (Rerum Gestarum Libri), from Nerva, A.D. 96, to the death of Valens, in thirty-one books. Of these there only remain books xiv.-xxxi., including the period from 353 to 378 A.D., which he relates for the most part as an eye-witness. As his work may be regarded as a continuation of Tacitus, he seems, on the whole, to have taken that writer for his model. He resembles Tacitus in judgment, political acuteness, and love of truth. A heathen himself, he is nevertheless fair to the Christians. But he is far inferior in literary culture, though he loves to display his knowledge, especially in describing nations and countries. Latin was a foreign language to him; hence a crudeness and clumsiness of expression, which is made even more repellent by affectation, bombast, and bewildering ornamental imagery.
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