Meier, Mischa [Editor]; Radtki, Christine [Editor]; Schulz, Fabian [Editor]; Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften [Editor]
Malalas-Studien: Schriften zur Chronik des Johannes Malalas (Band 1): Die Weltchronik des Johannes Malalas: Autor - Werk - Überlieferung — Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2016

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Malalas’ Antioch1

Catherine Saliou

Abstract This paper investigates the modalities and functions of appearance of the components
of Antiochean urban space in Malalas’ Universal History. In the different parts of this History
the modes of occurrence and the functions of the references to Antiochean urban space are
different. However, elements of continuity testify to the unity of Malalas’ project and the unity
of Malalas’ Antioch. Despite the difficulties occasioned by the complex history of elaboration
and transmission of the text, Books XV-XVIII offer a rich and valuable amount of objective data
regarding Antiochean urban space between ca 475 and ca 530. Books II-XIV are characterised
by the presence of narrative cycles, sometimes interconnected. As a whole, Malalas’ History is a
fundamental source of knowledge of the urban landscape of Antioch between ca 475 and ca 530
and also, more generally, for the study of story-telling relating to urban space in Late Antiquity.
It is well known that Antioch plays an important role in Malalas’ Universal History.
Moreover, the fact that at some point in Book XVIII Antioch vanishes almost totally
from the text has been used as a strong argument to demonstrate that before ca 530
Malalas was living in Antioch, but after this date he left his city to go to Constantino-
ple.2 On the other hand, Malalas’ Chronography is often taken as a main source for the
study of Antiochean urban space.3 The aim of this paper is thus to investigate more ac-
curately the modalities and functions of appearance of the components of Antiochean
urban space in Malalas’ text. This task is made difficult by the fact that we don’t have
the original version of the text, which, by the way, seems to have been somewhat fluc-
tuating, but something resembling a summary. However, due to the importance given
to Malalas as a source for the study of ancient Antioch and vice versa, it seems that it
is worth undertaking this task. First of all it is necessary to present in brief the “real”
Antioch.4 From its foundation to the present time, the city has always been inhabited.
1 In what follows, I quote Malalas’ text according to Thurn’s edition (Malalas, loannis Malalae chronogra-
phia, ed. H. Thurn), referring to it by book and chapter and if necessary by page and line. I use the
English translation provided by Jeffreys/Jeffreys/Scott, The Chronicle of John Malalas, which I quote with
a few minor modifications regarding some toponyms and proper names. As the numbering of chapters
is not identical in Thurn’s edition and in the English translation, I give for each quotation the pages of
the translation. Many thanks to my friend Wendy Mayer and to Rose Artault for having helped me to
improve my English. This paper is dedicated to Joelle Beaucamp.
2 Cf. Croke, “Malalas, the man and his work”, p. 22; Treadgold, The early Byzantine historians, pp. 236-238.
3 Agusta-Boularot, “Les livres I ä XII de la Chronique de Jean Malalas et leur apport ä la connaissance
du paysage urbain d’Antioche”, p. 134, and fn 1 for further references.
4 The standard reference work, although obsolete, remains Downey,^ History of Ancient Antioch. See also
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