Even after the masterly studies of Leo Sternbach following on the paper by Hilberg1 there are still some small points to be noted on the historical poems of George of Pisidia. In what follows I have, of course, presupposed a knowledge of Sternbach's work which has happily rendered superfluous the new text which he was to have edited for Methuen's Series of Byzantine Texts.
My suggestion that the H.A. was written during the reign of the Emperor Julian and in his interest has had, on the whole, ‘a bad press.’ Reviewers who have not thought it necessary to support with argument their doubts or their rejection of the theory are in a strong position: they remain practically unassailable. ‘The theory seems on a priori grounds improbable:’ a historical student can only reply that so is human nature—distressingly improbable, as he knows to his cost. ‘After (...) reading this book one puts it down “met een zekere onvoldaanheid:”’ what can an author do save express his regret for having caused Dr. Van de Weerd this discomfort? But two stalwart defenders of the conservative position—De Sanctis and Lécrivain’—have sustained with detailed argument their unqualified rejection of my theory; in their cases it is possible to attempt a rejoinder. (shrink)
Who was the author of the Fourth Edict in the great persecution of Diocletian's reign we do not know. Its precise terms are not recorded; of the date of its issue we are not informed. It is true that Mr. Kidd has recently written: ‘On April 30, 304, Maximian put out the Fourth Edict in the name of himself and bis co-Augustus,’ but he discreetly forbears to give the reader any hint of the source on which he bases that statement. (...) It may be doubted whether he has any better authority in mind than the ambiguous Passio S. Sabini, which, as even Mr. Mason admitted many years ago, ‘is not in the highest class of the historical relics of its age.’ If, indeed, this supposition does not do Mr. Kidd an injustice, it would have been well to have given some reasoned defence of the document. Dufourcq regards the Passio S. Sabini as a product of the Ostrogothic period, and contends that its picturesque exordium does not depend upon any earlier source. Until his detailed criticism of the Passion is answered, we can hardly use it for the reconstruction of the history of the fourth century. (shrink)