Hydatius : a late Roman chronicler in post-Roman Spain : an historiographical study and new critical edition of the chronicle
Late Roman chronicles are little studied and greatly misunderstood. The purpose of this dissertation is to treat a Late Roman chronicler, Hydatius, as a living, breathing person and to use the chronicle as a means of revealing this individual: his beliefs, his interests, his fears, his attitudes, his view of the Empire, and his abilities as an historian. Hydatius was a bishop in Gallaecia, writing in 468-9 amidst the Suevic depredations of Spain. As a result he is a unique source in that he is the earliest extant historian who wrote in a post- Roman (i.e. Mediaeval) world. His chronicle is the only detailed source for Spanish history in the fifth century and the only detailed source written about the fifth-century barbarian invasions and settlements. Though extremely isolated he had remarkable contacts with the outside world and his chronicle is a unique source for much non- Spanish information. It is also one of the most personal of all the Late Antique chronicles and therefore an excellent gateway for an examination of the Late Roman world as seen through the eyes of a contemporary. For these reasons, Hydatius' vivid and often emotive account of the sufferings of Gallaecia at the hands of the Sueves and Goths, framed by the parallel military, religious and imperial history of the Eastern and Western empires and set within the eschatological context of the imminent Apocalypse, deserves detailed study. The production of a new critical edition, based on only the third, complete, first-hand examination of the sole major manuscript (B) since 1615 and the first produced from all known manuscript evidence, complete with apparatuses on the manuscripts, chronology and orthography, was necessitated by the perverse Sources chrétiennes edition of 1974 and the discovery of new evidence from a careful study of manuscript B.