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Euhemerus and the Chronicle of John Malalas

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Euhemerus of Messene, John Malalas, Excerpta Latina Barbari, Byzantine chronicles, interpretation of myth

Abstract (summary)

In spite of Warren Treadgold's recent contention to the contrary, no new insights on the Sacred History of Euhemerus of Messene are to be gleaned from John Malalas and the account of the gods found in his chronicle. They cannot be directly connected to Euhemerus, or even to a complete version of Diodorus Siculus’ lost sixth book, which related a version of the Sacred History. We would, nevertheless, like to know the source for what Malalas says about the gods. Previous efforts to identify the author of the euhemeristic narrative in the chronicle of Malalas prove unavailing and misleading. Taking into account the parallel version of this narrative found in the Excerpta Latina Barbari, it would seem that the most likely author is Bouttios, one of the authorities cited for a few other items by Malalas. Treadgold has included this Bouttios in the list of authors he considers to be nothing more than inventions of Malalas. But, unlike the others on Treadgold's list, the existence of Bouttios can be independently corroborated. We are, moreover, in a position to offer some speculations about Bouttios and his work.

Publication Information

Garstad, Benjamin. “Euhemerus and the Chronicle of John Malalas.” International History Review 38 (2016) 900-929.


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