Tag Archive for 'John the Lydian'

The manuscript tradition of the works of John the Lydian

John the Lydian was an antiquarian writer of the 6th century AD, whose career flourished under Justinian.  His three works, De magistratibus Romanis, De Ostentis, and De Mensibus, all are full of information about Roman origins.  John wrote in Greek but knew Latin, and sought to transmit to the future information that was already fading […]

An imperial civil servant of the time of Justinian, in John the Lydian

While looking at John the Lydian, De magistratibus romanis, for quotations from Suetonius, I happened upon a story.  The manner of its telling is rather like Suetonius also!  It also refers to a lost work by Suetonius on famous courtesans.  But let’s have a look at the excerpt. The earthquake in Syria in the time […]

The lost opening of Suetonius’ “The Twelve Caesars”, in John the Lydian

The biography and actions of the first twelve Caesars, from Julius to Domitian, were immortalised by a civil servant of the age of Hadrian.  Suetonius Tranquillus in his De vita Caesarum, On the lives of the Caesars, perhaps best known in English by the title of the Penguin edition, The Twelve Caesars, created a gossipy, colourful portrait […]

John the Lydian – corrigenda

Regular readers will remember that a translation of John the Lydian, On the Roman Months – a month by month explanation of the festivals of the Roman year – appeared in chunks in this blog (click here for the posts).  The translator, Mischa Hooker, has now sent in a couple of pages of corrections.  They are […]

John the Lydian, “On the Roman months”, books 1-3: now online in English

Mischa Hooker has very kindly translated books 1, 2 and 3 of John the Lydian, De Mensibus (On the Roman Months) for us all.  The results are now in the public domain: do as you like with them, and use them for personal, educational or commercial purposes. Book 1 did not make it to us […]

John the Lydian, On the Roman Months IV: January now online

Mischa Hooker has come up trumps and sent me a translation of the section of John the Lydian, On the Roman Months, book 4, which covers January!  As with previous sections of John, this details the various Roman festivals in the month, together with other calendrical information, often from lost sources.  Dr Hooker has also […]

John the Lydian on August

Another chunk of John the Lydian, De mensibus, book 4, has arrived from Mischa Hooker.  Indeed it arrived at the weekend, but was delayed by my own illness.  As might be expected, this covers the month of August. JohnLydus-4-08-August (PDF) JohnLydus-4-08-August (Word .doc file) There is material on Augustus, as might be expected, and calendrical material.  No […]

John the Lydian on “July” – now online in English

For the last few months, each month we’ve had a chapter from a 6th century antiquarian on the festivals and days of the month.  Our translation of John the Lydian, De Mensibus book 4, has now reached July. As ever Mischa Hooker has done a super job on it, with copious footnotes.  This month contains […]

John the Lydian’s thoughts on the Roman months: June is now online in English

Another chunk of John the Lydian, De Mensibus – on the Roman Months – book 4 is now available!  Find it here: JohnLydus-4-06-June (PDF) JohnLydus-4-06-June (docx) As ever, full of abtruse Roman customs, and copiously and learnedly annotated. Have fun!

John the Lydian on the month of May – now online in English!

The 6th century Greek writer, John the Lydian, composed a work in 4 books on the Roman months (De mensibus).  The work is full of antiquarian information, which makes it a fascinating source for Roman time.  Book 4 consists of 12 chapters, one for each month. In a very timely way,  Mischa Hooker has now […]



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