Epitome, by Ioannes Xiphilinus


: The Byzantine monk Joannes Xiphilinus, second half of the eleventh century, epitomized the ‘Roman History’ of the Greek historian Dio Cassius, 150-235 A.D. Of Dio Cassius’ work, comprising 80 books, only the books 36 to 60 survive completely, covering the period from 68 B.C. to 47 A.D. Of the epitome of Xiphilinus we have only the books 36 to 80, i.e. from Caesar to Cassius’ own consulate in 229, so Xiphilinus’ summaries provide valuable material from the lost books of Dio Cassius, books 61 to 80, preserving the chief incidents of the period for which the authority of Dio Cassius wants. Dio Cassius and the epitome of Xiphilinus have been translated into Latin by the cardinal d’Armagnac and was published by Robert Estienne I in Paris in 1551, and by Henry Estienne II in Paris in 1592. Three French translations of Xiphilinus appeared during the 17th century, one in 1610, the second in 1674. The third one was published in 1678, repeated in 1686, and made by the historian Louis Cousin. Ever since the early editions the epitome of Xiphilinus forms part of all Dio Cassius editions, as it still does in the Loeb edition. There are however lacunae in Xiphilinus’ epitome concerning e.g. the reign of Antoninus Pius and the first ten years of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, from 138 to 170. These gaps are filled with the work of the 12th century Byzantine chronicler Johannes Zonaras, whose ‘Epitome Historiarum’, a much praised world history in 18 books, covers the period 223-521 A.D. Zonaras follows for his history among others the lost books of Cassius Dio. Louis Cousin added also his translation of the six books ‘Historia Nova’ of the Byzantine historian and politician Zosimus, ca. 500. This history covers the period from 238 to 409 A.D. Zosimus’ account of the rise and fall of the Roman empire is praised for its style, reliability, and historic judgement.”