the historian. We possess a work entitled Justini Historiarum Philippicarum Libri XLIV.,
in the preface to which the author in forms us that his book was entirely derived from the Universal History (totius Orbis Historias
), composed in Latin by Trogus Pompeius
Before proceeding, therefore, to consider the former, it is necessary to inquire into the contents and character of the more important and voluminous archetype.
From the statement of Trogus Pompeius himself, as preserved by Justin (43.5
), we learn that his ancestors traced their origin to the Gaulish tribe of the Vocontii, that his grandfather received the citizenship of Rome from Cn. Pompeius during the war against Sertorius, that his paternal uncle commanded a squadron of cavalry in the army of the same general in the last struggle with Mithridates, and that his father served under C. Caesar (i. e. the dictator), to whom he afterwards became private secretary.
It is hence evident that the son must have flourished under Augustus; and since the recovery of the standards of Crassus from the Parthians was recorded towards the close of his history, it is probable that it may have been published not long after that event, which took place B. C. 20.
Our knowledge of this production is derived from three sources which, taken in combination, afford a considerable amount of inform ation with regard to the nature and extent of the undertaking. 1.
A few brief fragments quoted by (Pliny ?), Vopiscus, Jerome, Augustin, Orosius, Priscian, Isidorus, and others down to John of Salisbury and Matthew of Westminster. 2. The Excerpts of Just. 3
A sort of epitome found in several MSS., indicating, under the name of prologues (prologi
), the contents of each chapter in regular order, bearing a close resemblance, in form and substance, to the summaries prefixed to the books of Livy, and, like these, proceeding from some unknown pen.
We thus ascertain that the original was comprised in 44 books, that the title was Liber Historiarum Philippicarum,
the additional words et totius mundi origines et terrae situs,
given by the author of the prologues, being in all probability an inaccurate explanation appended by himself.
The term Historiae Philippicae
was employed because the chief object proposed was to give a complete account of the origin, rise, progress, decline, and extinction of the Macedonian monarchy, with all its branches; but in the execution of this design, Trogus permitted himself, in imitation of Herodotus and Theopompus, to indulge in so many excursions, that a very wide field of investigation was embraced, although the designation Universal History
is altogether inapplicable.
In the first six books, which served as a sort of introduction to the rest, while ostensibly examining into the records of the period anterior to Philip I., he took a survey of the various states which eventually became subject to, or in any way connected with, the Macedonians.
In this manner the empires of the Assyrians, Medes, and Persians, were passed under review: the expedition of Cambyses against Egypt led to a delineation of that country and its people: the contest of Darius with the Scythians was accompanied by a geographical sketch of the nations which bordered on the northern and eastern shores of the Euxine: the invasion of Xerxes brought the Athenians and Thessalians on the stage, who in turn called up the Spartans and other Dorian clans.
A narrative of the Peloponnesian war naturally succeeded: with the fatal expedition to Sicily was interwoven a description of that famous island, of its races, and of the colonies spread over its surface.
The downfall of Athens was next recorded, followed by the enterprise of the younger Cyrus, the campaigns of Agesilaus in Asia, and various minor events, until the decay of the Lacedemonian and the rise of the Boeotian influence gradually introduced the history of Macedon, which, commencing with the seventh book, was continued down to the ruin of Perseus and the abortive attempt of the impostor Andriscus, which were detailed in the thirty-third.
But even after the main subject had been fairly commenced, it could only be regarded in the same light as the argument of an Epic poem, which admits of continual episodes and digressions--the guiding-thread of the discourse, which, although often apparently lost, forms the connecting links by which the various portions of the complicated fabric are united and held together in one piece. Thus the interference of Philip in the affairs of Greece suggested an exposition of the causes which led to the Sacred War: his attacks upon Perinthus and Byzantium involved a disquisition on the early fortunes of the cities in question: his dispute with the Scythians and his relations with the Persians afforded an apology for resuming the chronicles of these nations: the transactions of Artaxerxes Mnemon produced an account of the Cyprians and Paphlagonians, while the exploits of Alexander the Epirotan furnished a pretext for an essay on the Apulians, Sabines, and Samnites.
The strife which arose among the successors of Alexander the Great formed in itself an almost inexhaustible theme, while the ambitious schemes of Pyrrhus were illustrated by a dissertation on the Sicilians and Carthaginians, which occupied no less than six books.
After the reduction of Macedonia to a Roman province, with which, as we have seen above, the thirty-third book closed, the following nine were devoted to the affairs of Asia, Pontus, Syria, Egypt, and Boeotia, including the Parthian monarchy; the forty-second and forty-third contained a sketch of the steps by which the Romans had attained to supremacy; and in the last were collected some scattered notices in reference to the Ligurians, Massilians, and Spaniards, the Greeks having been previously (lib. xxiv.) discussed.
To what period Justin (who is designated in one MS. as Justinus Frontinus,
and in another as M. Junianus Justinus,
while the great majority exhibit the simple appellation Justinus
) belongs it is impossible to determine with certainty.
The expression which he employs (8.4.7), " Graeciam etiam nunc et viribus et dignitate orbis terrarum principem" would in itself be scarcely sufficient to prove that he flourished under the Eastern emperors, even if it related to the age in which he composed, and not, as it does in reality, to the particular epoch of which he happened to be treating in his narrative; while the words " Imperator Antonine," which appear in the preface, are to be found in no MS. now extant, but are probably an interpolation foisted in by some of the earlier editors who followed Isidorus, Jornandes, and John of Salisbury, in confounding Justin the historian with Justin the Christian father and martyr.
The earliest writer by whom he is mentioned is Saint Jerome (Prooem. in Daniel
), and therefore he cannot, at all events, be later than the beginning of the fifth century.
Justin has been frequently censured by scholars in no measured terms for the slovenly manner in which he executed what they are pleased to consider as an abridgment of Trogus.
It is unquestionable that many leading events are entirely omitted, that certain topics are dismissed with excessive brevity, that others not more weighty in themselves are developed with great fulness, and that in consequence of this apparent caprice an air of incoherence and inequality is diffused over the whole performance.
But before subscribing to the justice of these animadversions, it would be well to ascertain if possible the real object of the compiler. Now we are distinctly told by himself (Praef.
) that he had occupied his leisure during a residence in the city by selecting those passages of Trogus which seemed most worthy of being generally known, passing over such as in his estimation were not particularly interesting or instructive. Thus it is clear that the pages of Justin are not to be viewed in the light of a systematic compendium of Trogus, but rather, in his own words, as an Anthology (breve florum corpusculum
), and that the criticisms alluded to above are altogether inapplicable to what is professedly merely a collection of Elegant Extracts. We may indeed lament that he should have thought fit to adopt a plan by which we have entirely lost, or at least very imperfectly retained, a mass of valuable information on a great variety of topics, of which we are ignorant ; but on the other hand, we must feel grateful to the labours, which have preserved from oblivion many facts not recorded elsewhere.
To discover the sources from which a lost writer derived his materials would seem to be a hopeless quest, when it is certain that most of these sources have themselves disappeared. For not only did Trogus enter upon large departments of historical research, where we can compare him with no authority now extant; but even when he trod the ground previously travelled over by Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Polybius, we clearly perceive that far from confining himself to their statements, he frequently adopted accounts completely at variance with those which they followed.
It is certain, however, that his guides were exclusively Greek, and we have every reason to believe that to no one did he owe more than to Theopompus, from whom he borrowed not only the title, but much of the general plan and execution of his work.
He was also, we may conjecture, largely indebted to Ephorus, Timaeus, and Posidonius; but our limits forbid us to enter upon an inquiry which has been prosecuted with great learning by Heeren in the essay quoted below.
We must not omit to remark that the quotations from Trogus found in Pliny appear to be all taken from a treatise De Animalibus
mentioned by Charisius (p. 79. ed. Putsch.), and not from his histories.
The Editio Princeps of Justin was printed at Venice by Jenson, 4to. 1470
, and another very early impression which appeared at Rome without date or name of printer is ascribed by bibliographers to the same or the following year. The first critical edition was that of Marcus Antonius Sabellicus, published along with Florus at Venice, fol. 1490, and again in 1497 and 1507
: it was superseded by that of Aldus, 8vo. Venet. 1522
; the volume containing also Cornelius Nepos; and this in turn gave way to that of Bongarsius, 8vo. Paris, 1581
, in which the text was revised with great care, and illustrated by useful commentaries; but conjectural emendations were too freely admitted. Superior in accuracy to any of the preceding is the larger edition of Graevius, 8vo. Lug. Bat. 1683
; that of Hearne, 8vo. Oxon. 1705
; and above all, those of Gronovius, Lug. Bat. 1719 and 1760, belonging to the series of Variorum Classics, in 8vo.
The last of these is in a great measure followed by Frotscher, 3 vols. 8vo. Lips. 1827
, whose labours exhibit this author under his best form.
Numerous translations have from time to time appeared in all the principal languages of Europe. The earliest English version is that executed by Arthur Goldinge, printed at London in 4to, by Tho. Marshe, 1564, and again in 1570, with the following title, " Thabridge MENTE of the Histories of Trogus Pompeius, gathered and written in the Laten tung, by the famous historiographer Justine, and translated into English by Arthur Goldinge: a worke containing brefly great plentye of moste delectable Historyes and notable examples, worthy not only to be read, but also to bee embraced and followed of al men. Newlie conferred with the Latin copye, and corrected by the Translator. Anno Domini 1570. Imprinted at London by Th. Marshe."
We have also translations by Codrington, 12mo. Lond. 1654
; by Thomas Brown, 12mo. Lond. 1712
; by Nicolas Bayley, 8vo. Lond. 1732
; by John Clarke, 8vo. Lond. 1732
; and by Turnbull, 12mo. Lond. 1746
; most of which have passed through several editions.
Fragments mentioned in this article
The fragments spoken of at the beginning of this article will be found in Plin. Nat. 7.3
, xxxi. sub fin.; Vopisc. Aurelian.
2; Hieron. Prooem. in Daniel, Comment. in Daniel.
100.5; Augustin, de Civ. Dei,
4.6; Oros. 1.8
; Isidor. de N. R.
6; Priscian, 5.3.12, 7.11.63; Vet. Interp. ad Virg. Aen.
3.108, 4.37; Jornandes, de R. G.
Every thing that is known or can be conjectured with regard to Trogus, Justin, and their works, is contained in the "Commentationes de Trogi Pompeii eiusque epitomatoris Justini fontibus et auctorirate," by Heeren, printed originally in the 15th volume of the Gottingen Transactions, and prefixed to the edition of Frotscher.