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Priscus
Priscus
of Panium (/ˈprɪskəs/; Greek: Πρίσκος) was a 5th-century Roman diplomat and Greek historian and rhetorician (or sophist).[1][2][3][4]

Contents

1 Biography

1.1 History of Byzantium

2 Remaining works 3 References

3.1 Citations 3.2 Sources

4 Further reading 5 External links

Biography[edit] Priscus
Priscus
was born in Panion (located in Thrace) between 410-420 AD.[1][2] In 448/449 AD, he accompanied Maximinus, the head of the Byzantine embassy representing Emperor Theodosius the Younger
Theodosius the Younger
(r. 408–450), on a diplomatic mission to the court of Attila the Hun.[1][2][4] While there, he met and conversed with a Greek merchant, dressed in "Scythian" (or Hunnic) fashion, who was captured eight years earlier (circa 441–442) when the city of Viminacium
Viminacium
(located on the Danube
Danube
east of modern-day Belgrade) was sacked by the Huns.[5][6] The trader explained to Priscus
Priscus
that after the sack of Viminacium, he was a slave of Onegesius, a Hunnic nobleman, but obtained his freedom and chose to settle among the Huns.[6][7] Priscus ultimately engaged in a debate with the Greek defector regarding the qualities of life and justice in both the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and in barbarian kingdoms.[1] After an interlude in Rome, Priscus
Priscus
traveled to Alexandria
Alexandria
and the Thebaid
Thebaid
in Egypt.[1][2] He last appeared in the East, circa 456, attached to the staff of Euphemios as Emperor Marcian's (r. 450–457) magister officiorum.[1] He died after 472 AD.[1] History of Byzantium[edit] Priscus
Priscus
was the author of an eight-volume historical work, written in Greek, entitled the History of Byzantium (Greek: Ἱστορία Βυζαντιακή), which was probably not the original title name.[1][2] The History probably covered the period from the accession of Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
to the accession of Emperor Zeno (r. 474–475), or from 433 up until 474 AD.[2] Priscus's work currently survives in fragments and was very influential in the Byzantine Empire.[1] The History was used in the Excerpta de Legationibus of Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus
(r. 913–959), as well as by authors such as Evagrius Scholasticus, Cassiodorus, Jordanes, and the author of the Souda.[1] Priscus's writing style is straightforward and his work is regarded as a reliable contemporary account of Attila the Hun, his court, and the reception of the Roman ambassadors.[2] He is considered a "classicizing" historian to the extent that his work, though written during the Christian era, is almost completely secular and relies on a style and word-choice that are part of an historiographical tradition dating back to the fifth century BC.[8] Priscus
Priscus
recount of a dinner with Attila the Hun Priscus
Priscus
recount of a dinner with Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
was at, one of the many houses of Attila. But this one was said to be supposedly greater than the rest. Made for celebration due to it being constructed of decorative polished wood, with little thought on making any aspects of the place for defense. Priscus
Priscus
entered the house the following day bearing gifts to Attila's wife. Her name was Kreka who had three sons. The dinner was at three O’clock; Priscus
Priscus
and the embassy of Western Romans. Were placed at the end of the table farthest from Attila but still in his presence, this was to show a means of Attila being greater than the Roman guest. That to Priscus, Attila considered his people were more important than Prius and the Roman embassy. As Priscus
Priscus
and the Western Roman embassy stood, they followed the cultural tradition of being given tea from the cupbearers. They were to pray and have a drink before having a seat at the table. Attila sat in the middle of the couch, with the seats being arranged linear to the walls. As the seating arrangement went on the right side of Attila was held for the Chiefs in honor. With the everyone else including Priscus
Priscus
and the Roman embassies on the left. Following the seating, everyone was to raise a glass to pledge one another with wine. Once the Cupbearers left another attendant came in with a plate of meat, followed by other items of food such as bread and things of the time. All of the food was served on plates of silver and gold. Prius also notes that Attila didn’t use any silver or gold plates but instead used a cup made of wood, and his attire was very bland. Once the first round was finished, they stood and then drank again to the health of Attila. Once evening arrived torches were lit and songs that were composed of Attila's victories were sung.[7][9][10] Remaining works[edit] The remaining works of Priscus
Priscus
are currently published in four collections:

Given, John (2014). The Fragmentary History of Priscus. Merchantville, New Jersey: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-935228-14-5.  Blockley, Roger C. (2009). The Fragmentary Classicising Historians of the Later Roman Empire. II. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Francis Cairns. ISBN 0-905205-51-0.  Gordon, Colin Douglas (1966). The Age of Attila: Fifth-century Byzantium and the Barbarians. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.  Dindorfius, Ludovicus (1870). Historici Graeci Minores (Volume 1). Leipzig, Germany: B. G. Teubneri. 

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j Kazhdan 1991, "Priskos", p. 1721. ^ a b c d e f g Chisholm 1911, p. 361. ^ Toynbee & Myers 1948, p. 14: "The renegade Greek business man from Viminacium
Viminacium
whom the Greek historian and Roman diplomatist Priscus
Priscus
encountered in Attila's ordu on the Alföld in A.D. 449 has already come to our notice." ^ a b Christophilopoulou 1986, p. 209: "For information about Attila, his court and the organization of life generally in his realm we have the authentic and reliable evidence of contemporary Greek historian Priscus, who accompanied Maximinus, the head of the Byzantine embassy, in 448." ^ Halsall 1996; Kelly 2004, p. 176; Toynbee & Myers 1948, p. 14. ^ a b Jones 1964, p. 866: " Priscus
Priscus
of Panium met one of these in Attila's camp. He was, he said, a Greek who had settled at Viminacium on the Danube
Danube
and prospered in trade and married a rich wife. He was wealthy enough to be allotted as a special prize to Onegesius, one of the Hunnic nobles, when the town was captured." ^ a b Halsall 1996. ^ Given 2014, p. xvii. ^ Boston, Ginn; Halsall, Paul (1905). "Medieval Sourcebook: Pricus on Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
(Readings in European History)". p. 46-49. Retrieved December 2, 2016.  ^ Ase Berit, Rolf Strandskogen (December 2, 2016). "Lifelines in World History". Routledge. 

Sources[edit]

 Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Priscus". Encyclopædia Britannica. 22 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 361.  Christophilopoulou, Aikaterinē (1986). Byzantine History (Volume 1). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Adolf M. Hakkert. ISBN 90-256-0836-1.  Given, John (2014). The Fragmentary History of Priscus. Merchantville, New Jersey: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-935228-14-5.  Halsall, Paul (March 1996). "Medieval Sourcebook: Priscus
Priscus
at the Court of Attila". New York City, New York: Fordham University. Retrieved 4 December 2011.  Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin (1964). The Later Roman Empire, 284-602 (Volume Two). Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8018-3354-X.  Kazhdan, Alexander Petrovich, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. New York, New York and Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-504652-6.  Kelly, Christopher (2004). Ruling the Later Roman Empire. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01564-9.  Toynbee, Arnold Joseph; Myers, Edward DeLos (1948). A Study of History (Volume 8). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 

Further reading[edit]

Gordon, Colin Douglas (1964). "Fifth Century Chronology of in the Fragments of Priscus". New Review. IV (2–3).  Thompson, E. A. (July–October 1945). " Priscus
Priscus
of Panium, Fragment I b". The Classical Quarterly. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 39 (3/4): 92–94. doi:10.1017/s0009838800022643. JSTOR 637017. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Priscus
Priscus
at Wikimedia Commons Georgetown University: " Priscus
Priscus
at the Court of Attila" (Translation by J. B. Bury)

v t e

Byzantine historians

5th century

Malchus Panodorus of Alexandria Priscus

6th century

Agathias Evagrius Scholasticus Hesychius of Miletus John of Ephesus John of Epiphania Jordanes John Malalas Liberatus of Carthage Marcellinus Comes Menander Protector Peter the Patrician Procopius Theodorus Lector Theophanes of Byzantium Zacharias Rhetor Zosimus

7th century

Trajan the Patrician Theophylact Simocatta John of Antioch

8th century

Hippolytus of Thebes

9th century

Theophanes the Confessor George Syncellus Nikephoros I of Constantinople George Hamartolos

10th century

Constantine VII Joseph Genesius John Kaminiates Leo the Deacon Symeon the Metaphrast Theophanes Continuatus

11th century

Michael Attaleiates George Kedrenos Michael Psellos John Skylitzes John Xiphilinus Yahya of Antioch

12th century

Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger Niketas Choniates Eustathius of Thessalonica Michael Glycas Anna Komnene John Kinnamos Constantine Manasses Joannes Zonaras

13th century

George Akropolites

14th century

Nicephorus Gregoras Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos George Pachymeres Michael Panaretos

15th century

John Anagnostes John Cananus Laonikos Chalkokondyles Michael Critobulus Doukas George Sphrantzes

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 214797458 LCCN: n84080832 ISNI: 0000 0001 2330 9586 GND: 100537723 SELIBR: 315893 SUDOC: 027916138 BNF: cb11985590w (data) BIBSYS: 10016039

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