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The History of Zonaras: From Alexander Severus to the Death of Theodosius the Great

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (27 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415299101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415299107
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,541,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Canisius College, Buffalo, USA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is the single most important book for understanding the narrative of the 3rd and 4th Centuries. It is an epitome (summary) by a Byzantine monk from the 12th Century using a number of older sources. If you've ever read Cassius Dio then you've read at least part of Zonarus. Most of Dio is missing so they just fill in the gaps with fragments from Zonarus and a couple other epitomizers. The first thing that you'll notice about this book is that it doesn't include all of Zonarus. Since there are 18 books of his history it can't be that surprising that they aren't all stuffed into one volume. What this book does contain is (most of) books 12 and 13 which picks up after Alexander Severus (235 AD) and ends after Theodosius (395 AD). The sources that Zonarus abbreviated for his other volumes are mostly still intact. This is the only section where his sources are unknown and cannot be attributed to another author.

The translation is pretty good. Considering that this is the first time Zonarus has been translated into English it makes sense that the author would go for accuracy over style which makes the book rather hard to read. Another annoying thing is that all the footnotes are placed at the end of each chapter. While opinion is divided on whether footnotes should go at the bottom of the page or all together at the end I consider it essential for original sources at least to have the footnotes at the bottom. These footnotes inform the reader of the other information available on events and the accuracy of the author. It is very important that you read the footnotes thoroughly. This makes it extremely irritating to keep having to flip between the front and back of the book. This is an unfortunate error given the otherwise excellent quality of the book. Considering the rarity of the subject matter it is absolutely worth getting your hands on if you have any interest in the period.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an indispensable teaching and research tool for anyone interested in the military and political history of the third and fourth centuries AD. The strength of this work lies in its provision of accurate scholarly translations of a key source for late antique history - with translations of key parallel passages from a range of other relatively neglected sources also (George Cedrenus, George the Monk, John of Antioch, Peter the Patrician). The commentary is basic, but useful, although some readers may need to be warned that it omits a great deal of secondary literature directly relevant to many important issues.
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Format: Hardcover
Is the initial reviewer a friend of the publisher? This book is one-eleventh of the whole history of Zonaras. It's padded out with notes. Even for an academic book, it's dear for what it is. It's most disappointing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96983444) out of 5 stars 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9698139c) out of 5 stars Why Is This the First English Translation? 20 Sept. 2011
By Arch Stanton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the single most important book for understanding the narrative of the 3rd and 4th Centuries. It is an epitome (summary) by a Byzantine monk from the 12th Century using a number of older sources. If you've ever read Cassius Dio then you've read at least part of Zonarus. Most of Dio is missing so they just fill in the gaps with fragments from Zonarus and a couple other epitomizers. The first thing that you'll notice about this book is that it doesn't include all of Zonarus. Since there are 18 books of his history it can't be that surprising that it can't all be stuffed in one volume. What this book does contain is (most of) books 12 and 13 which picks up after Alexander Severus (235 AD) and ends after Theodosius (395 AD). The sources that Zonarus abbreviated for his other volumes are mostly still intact. This is the only section where his sources are unknown and cannot be attributed to another author.

The translation is pretty good. Considering that this is the first time Zonarus has been translated into English it makes sense that the author would go for accuracy over style which makes the book rather hard to read. Another annoying thing is that all the footnotes are placed at the end of each chapter. While opinion is divided on whether footnotes should go at the bottom of the page or all together at the end I consider it essential for original sources at least to have the footnotes at the bottom. These footnotes inform the reader of the other information available on events and the accuracy of the author. It is very important that you read the footnotes thoroughly. This makes it extremely irritating to keep having to flip between the front and back of the book. This is an unfortunate error given the otherwise excellent quality of the book. Considering the rarity of the subject matter it is absolutely worth getting your hands on if you have any interest in the period.
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