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The account of Thoulis, king of Egypt, in the Chronographia of John Malalas

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Thoulis, The chronicle of John Malalas, Egyptian king-lists, Sesostris, Osiris, Alexander the Great, oracle, the Trinity, pagan-Christian polemics, Bouttios

Abstract (summary)

Thoulis first appears in the sixth-century chronicle of John Malalas. It has been suggested that his name is a corruption of the material found in the traditional Egyptian king-lists, but it seems more likely that he and the narrative associated with him are a fiction of more recent invention.Thoulis is modeled on Sesostris, Osiris, and Alexander the Great and the narrative of his exploits alludes to the stories of these figures. The focus of this narrative is an oracle which deflates the king’s arrogance and obliquely prophesies the doctrine of the Trinity. This oracle is consistent with the exploitation of ostensibly genuine oracles in the pagan-Christian polemics of the fourth century. Indeed, the account of Thoulis as a whole seems to have been drafted to advance the Christian position in this debate, apparently by one Bouttios in the late fourth century.

Publication Information

Garstad, Benjamin. “The Account of Thoulis, king of Egypt, in the Chronographia of John Malalas.” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 107 (2014) 51-76.


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