From my diary

About a week ago summer arrived.  The temperatures rose by 10 degrees, and it is now in the upper 20’s centigrade outside, and the upper teens at night.  The happiest thing to do is to drive around in air-conditioned comfort, and observe the world from there.  Now is the time to make outdoor visits to Roman sites in Britain!

On Monday I drove to Norwich.  The playing-card shape of Venta Icenorum is visible from the Ipswich road, which runs along a rise at that point.  A medieval church stands in one corner of the deserted Roman city, as so often in Britain.  But the tower was largely shrouded by the leaves of the oaks and other trees that have grown up around it.

It’s not the weather to sit indoors over a computer, unless you are being paid for it.  My own time at home is now drawing to a close; in just over a week, I shall be back to work.

In the meantime, I wonder whether I should make a day-trip to Roman Leicester?  I’ve never been there, and I gather that there are considerable remains to be seen.

I’m taking something of an interest in studies on the way in which Eusebius quotes other writers.  I have Inowlocki’s study of the citations from Jewish writers[1].  I have today ordered a copy of Carotenuta’s Tradizione e innovazione nella Historia ecclesiastica di Eusebio di Cesarea, which apparently is also important.  I was sad to discover that no copies of the work are held by any British library, according to the COPAC union catalogue.  Fortunately it was cheap.  Even more fortunately, my insurance company recently paid me some token compensation for unwanted spam emails, and that nicely covers the cost.  It should arrive next week, thanks to the miracle of Amazon.

I’m discovering that a fair bit of Eusebius scholarship is going on at the moment.  Of course as an outsider, I don’t get to hear about a lot of it.  I do get the impression that there might be something of a clique involved.  But so long as good work gets done, that’s the main thing.

I’ve been meaning to scan a volume of a translation of the first five books of Livy.  It stands on my shelf, disbound.  I merely haven’t got around to it.

Nor can I find any energy to proceed with translating Eutychius right now.  It’s summer, chaps.  Get your straw hats on, and get out on the river on a punt.  Or something.

A correspondent tells me that the new two-volume German edition of Cyril of Alexandria’s Contra Julianum, against Julian the Apostate, is now out, in the GCS series (NF 20 and 21).  Better yet, the Sources Chrétiennes series are at work.  Long ago Pierre Evieux edited and translated books 1 and 2 of the work for the SC.  Now SC 583 has appeared, volume 2 of the SC Contre Julien, and it contains books 3-5, from the new German text, with French translation.  I’m glad that they have decided not to replace the Evieux volume.  Evieux’s translation was simply splendid!

Cyril’s work was in at least 20 volumes, and is important because of long verbatim citations from Julian the Apostate’s work against the Christians.  Cyril in fact rearranged the order of Julian’s rambling text, and made his own work consist (from book 2 onwards) of quote followed by refutation.

Unfortunately only the first 10 books survive, plus fragments from the next 10.  It has been estimated that 30 books would be needed to cover all of Julian; but whether books 21-30 ever existed is unknown.

Long ago I felt that the world needed an English translation of this work.  I reluctantly approached the National Lottery for money, only to be contemptuously rejected.  Oh well.  I never liked the idea of taking lottery money anyway.  I think today that I wouldn’t do that.

It’s a fascinating work, anyway.  It’s good to see it made more readily available.

It’s still a sunny day.  Enough.  I’m going to take my own advice and get out there!

  1. [1]Eusebius and the Jewish Authors.

Leave a Reply