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Justin (historian)

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Title: Justin (historian)  
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Subject: Alexander of Lyncestis, Hellenistic period, Rise of Macedon, Mithrenes, Partition of Babylon
Collection: Latin Historians, Year of Birth Unknown, Year of Death Unknown
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Justin (historian)

Justin (Latin: Marcus Junianius (or Junianus) Justinus) was a Latin historian who lived under the Roman Empire. His name is mentioned only in the title of his own history, and there it is in the genitive, which would be M. Juniani Justini no matter which nomen he bore.

Of his personal history nothing is known. He is the author of Historiarum Philippicarum libri XLIV, a work described by himself in his preface as a collection of the most important and interesting passages from the voluminous Historiae philippicae et totius mundi origines et terrae situs, written in the time of Augustus by Pompeius Trogus.

His date is uncertain, except that he must have lived after Trogus. He writes that the Romans and the Parthians have divided the world between them; while this is presumably from Trogus, it would be an anachronism after the rise of the Sassanian Empire in the 3rd century AD. Although Latin changed slowly, Justin's language would also be consistent with a date in the 2nd century AD. Ronald Syme argues for a date around 390, immediately before the compilation of the Augustan History, and dismisses the anachronism as unimportant; readers would understand that these passages represented Trogus' time, not their own.[1]

The work of Trogus is lost; but the prologi or arguments of the text are preserved by Pliny and other writers. Although the main theme of Trogus was the rise and history of the Macedonian monarchy, Justin yet permitted himself considerable freedom of digression, and thus produced an idiosyncratic anthology instead of a mundane summary (or 'epitome') of the work.

The Eleventh Edition of Encyclopædia Britannica concluded that his history contained much valuable information and that the style, though far from perfect, is clear and occasionally elegant. The book was much used in the Middle Ages, when the author was sometimes confused with Justin Martyr.


  1. ^ R. Syme, "The Date of Justin and the Discovery of Trogus," Historia 37 pp.358–371 (1988).



External links

  • Justin in Latin at The Latin Library
  • Forum Romanum: Justin (Latin text, English translation by John Selby Watson [1853], French translation, partial Spanish translation.)
  • Latin text, from the Université catholique de Louvain
  • The Preceding in Plain Text
  • Tertullian: Early Church Fathers – Additional Texts (John Selby Watson's translation of 1853; also a translation of the Prologi of Trogus, by the webmaster Roger Pearse. Search on "Justinus".)
  • Attalus; Justin: trans. Rev. John Selby Watson, 1853 (Books 14–18, 22–39 from this site with links for the other books to the Forum Romanum site above.)
  • Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus
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