Key to Umbria

Chronicle of St Jerome (ca. 380AD) 

In this work St Jerome produced a translation into Latin of the “Chronicle” of Eusebius of Caesarea (above), which he also brought up to date.  Eusebius’ original Greek material, which he compiled in ca. 311 AD, no longer survives.

  1. English translation: this page on covers the period from the start of the Roman Republic to the “38th of the Romans”, the Emperors Valentinian and Valens.

Aurelius Victor (died ca. 390 AD)

Aurelius Victor was Governor of Pannonia Secunda under the Emperor Julian (361-363 AD) and served as Urban Prefect in Rome in 389 AD.  He is best known for his ‘De Caesaribus’, which covered the period of the Emperors Augustus to Constantius II.

  1. Original Latin: Liber de Caesaribus

  2. English translation: H. W. Bird, “Aurelius Victor: De Caesaribus”, (1994)  Liverpool

Epitome de Caesaribus (ca. 400 AD)

The ‘Epitome de Caesaribus’ summarises the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Theodosius in 48 chapters.  It was written by an anonymous author who was very likely a pagan.  It is sometimes attributed to Aurelius Victor (above), but this is incorrect.

  1. Latin text:

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Eutropius (4th century AD)

Flavius Eutropius was a historian with excellent imperial credentials: he accompanied the Emperor Julian on his expedition against the Persians in 363 AD.  His ‘Breviarium historiae Romanae’, a history in ten books from the the foundation of Rome, ends with the reign of the Emperor Valens (364-78 AD), to whom it was dedicated.

  1. Latin and English text: Forumromanum

Festus (4th century AD)

Rufus (or Sextus) Festus is known to have been a proconsul of Africa.  The Emperor Valens commissioned his ‘Breviarium rerum gestarum populi Romani’ (summary of the history of the Rome people), which was completed in ca.379 AD and covers the history of Rome from its foundation until 369 AD. 

  1. Latin text:

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Orosius (died ca. 418 AD)

Paulus Orosius was a Spanish Christian.  St Augustine, who was concerned that the sack of Rome (410 AD) was being blamed on the city’s adherence to Christianity, asked Orosius to write a historical account that would demonstrate that similar disasters had afflicted mankind since the earliest times.  (St Augustine himself wrote his “City of God” for the same purpose).  The result of the request to Orosius was his “Historiae adversum Paganos” (ca. 417), which he dedicated to St Augustine.

  1. English translation: “Historiae adversum Paganos

Historia Augusta (4th century)

The Historia Augusta is the name given to a collection of  biographies of Roman emperors of the 2nd and 3rd centuries.  It claims to have been written by a collection of historians in the 3rd century, but this is a hoax.  In fact, it had a single unknown author, and was written at an unknown date before  before 425 AD, when the Roman author Symmachus made use of it.  The biographies have to be used with caution because much of the content is demonstrably fabricated (as explained in the preface to the Latin text and English translation in LacusCurtius).  However, they do throw light of the Roman world in the late Empire.

Zosimus (died early 6th century)

Zosimus was a Byzantine historian who lived and worked in Byzantium.  His “Historia Nova”is in 6 books and covers the period from the Emperor Augustus to the sack of Rome in 410 AD.  The work, which is apparently unfinished, was  probably written in 498-518.  The fifth and sixth books provide the most important surviving non-ecclesiastical source for the period 395-410 AD. 

  1. English translation: Early Church Fathers (search on Zosimus for link)


Joannes Zonaras (12th century)

The Byzantine chronicler Zonaras worked at the court of the Emperor Alexius I Comnenus before retiring to a monastery.  His most important work was the ‘Epitome Ton Istorion’ (Extracts of History), which covers the period from the the start of history until to the death of Alexius I (1118). 

  1. Scott Kennedy has published an English translation of the material from the Emperors Alexander Severus to Diocletian (222-84 AD). 


Military Crisis (235-85 AD)

Sources: 3rd Century Crisis (235 - 285 AD)

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Military Crisis (235-85 AD): Valerian (253-60 AD) and Gallienus (253-68 AD)

Gallic Empire (260-74 AD)    Claudius II (268-70 AD)

Carus, Carinus and Numerian (282-5 AD) 

Literary Sources