Page:Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire vol 1 (1897).djvu/55

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xlix
INTRODUCTION

In this respect we have now to be thankful for many blessings denied to Gibbon and — so recent is our progress — denied to Improved Latin texts Milman and Finlay. We have Mommsen's editions of Jordanes and the Variae of Cassiodorius, his Chronica Minora (still incomplete), including, for instance, Idatius, the Prospers, Count Marcellinus; we have Peter's Historia Augusta, Gardthausen's Ammianus, Luetjohann's Sidonius Apollinaris; Du Chesne's Liber Pontificalis; and a large number of critical texts of ecclesiastical writers might be mentioned.[1] Defective The Greek historians have been less fortunate. The Bonn edition of the "Byzantine Writers," issued under the auspices of Niebuhr and Bekker in the early part of this century, was the most lamentably feeble production ever given to the world by German scholars of great reputation. It marked no advance on the older folio edition, except that it was cheaper, and that one or two new documents were included. But there is now a reasonable prospect that we shall by degrees have a complete series and improved Greek texts of trustworthy texts. De Boor showed the way by his splendid edition of Theophanes and his smaller texts of Theophylactus Simocatta and the Patriarch Nicephorus. Mendelssohn's Zosimus, and Reifferscheid's Anna Comnena stand beside them. Haury promises a Procopius, and we are expecting from Seger a long desired John Scylitzes, the greater part of whose text, though existing in a MS. at Paris, has never been printed and can only be inferred by a comparison of the Latin translation of Gabius with the chronicle of Cedrenus who copied him with faithful servility.

The legendary Lives of the Saints The legends of the Saints, though properly outside the domain of the historian proper, often supply him with valuable help. For "Culturgeschichte" they are a direct source. Finlay observed that the Acta Sanctorum contain an un-

  1. Especially the Corpus Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum.