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Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.8.11-14.8.12


Ammianus Marcellinus grew up in the Greek East, probably Syria or Phoenicia, during the second quarter of the 4th century, and as an adult served in the military under Constantius II and Julian. He wrote a record of events or “achievements” (res gestae) of the Roman state, though only the chapters covering the years 353-378 C.E. survive. In his survey of the eastern provinces (14.8), Ammianus here describes the topography and environment of Roman Palestine, including its chief city Caesarea Maritima.


(11) Ultima Syriarum est Palaestina, per intervalla magna protenta, cultis abundans terris et nitidis, et civitates habens quasdam egregias, nullam nulli cedentem, sed sibi vicissim velut ad perpendiculum aemulas: Caesaream, quam ad honorem Octaviani principis exaedificavit Herodes, et Eleutheropolim et Neapolim, itidemque Ascalonem Gazam, aevo superiore exstructas. (12) In his tractibus navigerum nusquam visitur flumen, et in locis plurimis aquae suapte natura calentes emergunt, ad usus aptae multiplicem medellarum. Verum has quoque regiones pari sorte Pompeius Iudeis domitis et Hierosolymis captis, in provinciae speciem delata iuris dictione formavit.1

Textual Note

Ed. Seyfarth 1978


(11) The last region of the Syrias is Palestine, extending over a great extent of territory and abounding in cultivated and well-kept lands; it also has some splendid cities, none of which yields to any of the others, but they rival one another, as it were, by the plumb-line. These are Caesarea, which Herod built in honor of the emperor Octavian, Eleutheropolis, and Neapolis, along with Ascalon and Gaza, built in a former age. (12) In these districts no navigable river is anywhere to be seen, but in numerous places natural warm springs gush forth, adapted to many medicinal uses. But these regions also met with a similar fate, being formed into a province by Pompey after he had defeated the Jews and taken Jerusalem [in 63 B.C.E.], but left to the jurisdiction of a goverrnor.2

Translation Note

Trans. Rolfe 1930

Works Cited

  • 1 Ammianus Marcellinus, Ammiani Marcellini rerum gestarum libri qui supersunt, ed. Wolfgang Seyfarth, Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1978), bk: 14, ch: 8.11-12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
  • 2 Ammianus Marcellinus, Ammianus Marcellinus I, trans. John Carew Rolfe, vol. 1, 3 vols., Loeb Classical Library (London: W. Heinemann, 1935), vol: 1, p: 70-71.Link to Zotero Bibliographic RecordLink to Bibliographic record


How to Cite This Entry

Bianca Gardner et al., “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.8.11-14.8.12,” in Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, entry published June 30, 2023,


Bianca Gardner et al., “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.8.11-14.8.12.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife., edited by Joseph L. Rife. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project, 2023. Entry published June 30, 2023.

About this Entry

Entry Title: Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.8.11-14.8.12

Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

  • Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
  • Joseph L. Rife, editor, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
  • David A. Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editors, “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.8.11-14.8.12
  • Bianca Gardner and Joseph L. Rife, entry contributors, “Ammianus Marcellinus, History 14.8.11-14.8.12

Additional Credit:

  • TEI encoding by William L. Potter
  • Electronic text added by Bianca Gardner
  • Testimonia identified by Joseph L. Rife
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