Monday, May 27, 2013

The Elusive Dom(n)inos

Oh the frustration! Should one search for the scantily recorded historian of Antioch called variously Domninos or Dominos (and try to narrow down the search by adding Antioch), one is veritably deluged with returns on virtually every branch of the similarly named pizza chain within a significant radius of Antioch, California. Is this the final indignity of this poor man?!

I must confess that I had never heard of him before now either. However, while reading the journal Greek, Roman and Byzantium Studies, Vol 50, No 3 (2010) The Introduction of the Antiochene Olympics: A Proposal for a New Date by Sofie Remijsen when I stumbled across the passage:

"... focus reflects Malalas’ own attachment to the place and his main source, the otherwise unknown Domninos, fourth- or fifth-century author of a work on Antiochene history". 

The reference to this source comes from:

 E. Jeffreys, “Malalas’ Sources,” in E. Jeffreys (ed.), Studies in John Malalas (Sydney 1990) 167–216, esp. 178–179, 203–205.

which I tracked down... here is what Jeffreys had to say:

"Domninos: unidentified historian. [See: Bourier, 1899, passim.]

Preface: included in the list of authorities consulted; IV §24, Bo 88: Phaidra's affair took place 52 years after Pasiphae's death; V §67, Bo 142: on the statue of Orestes, The Runaway'; §25, Bo 208: Antioch's walls rebuilt 122 years after the city's foundation; X §10, Bo 235: Dornninos recorded Tiberius' building activity in Antioch; X §51, Bo 266: on the length of Apollonios of Tyana's life (and all his other activities?); X[ §4, Bo 273: on the rituals on Trojan's arrival at Antioch; XII §9, I3o 287: on the amphithales at Antioch; XII §26, Bo 297: on Valerian's Persian Wars (contrasted with Philostratos' account); XII §44, Bo 310: Domninos on Diocletian and the Olympic festival.

Domninos is an otherwise unknown historian, considered by Bourier to be one of Malalas' main sources. His work clearly dealt with Antiochene history, with especial emphasis on its legendary past (as exemplified by the narratives on Orestes). He is interested in the buildings and statues of Antioch (e.g. his account of 'The Runaway' and Apollonios' talismans). It is tempting to attribute the narrative earlier in the chronicle on Amphion and Zethos to Domninos on the grounds that the statues of these two are mentioned under Trojan. He is also concerned with _civic rituals, e.g. the Olympic games, the welcome to Trajan, the role of the amphithales. His work would seem to have given some information on military history (e.g. on Valerian's campaigns), perhaps on that which particularly affected Antioch. Some of his sources, e.g. Pausanias, can be shown to be embedded in material which must be derived from Domninos (13ourier, 1899). Bourier assumes that Domninos' history was available to the end of XIV (cf. the table on p. 198 below), but we must remember that Malalas' last citation of Domninos Occurs in XII. Though perhaps if Domninos is to be associated with references to Antiochene buildings then as the last significant notice is to the Basilica of Anatolius, at XIV §13, Bo 360, this may be an indication that the work extended at least to the reign of Theodosius IL Since nothing else is known of Domninos, assimilation to the bishop named DOMTIOS in the mid-fifth century is pure guesswork. Domnos would represent the conflict between pagan/Hellenic views and Christianity that is a leit-motif of Malalas' chronicle, but this does not in fact advance our understanding of the situation very much. It might also be suggested, following an inspection of PLRE 2 (cf. PW 5, cols. 1521-5), that the Domninos who came from Larissa not far from Antioch and was a philosopher in Athens in the mid-fifth century might be an attractive candidate; this writer's extant works, however, and the references to him elsewhere show that his interests lay entirely with mathematics and he would seem to have nothing in common with the homonymous Antiochene historian. Note that Patzig (1901) wanted to coalesce Domninos and Nestorianos into one; this, however, simply means removing the question of the structure of the chronicle away from Malalas and back one generation, still leaving the same of rationale to be answered. On the question of the substantial amount of material on the Trojan war, which Bourier attributes to Domninos - might it not be more logical to attribute to Domninos only the Orestian narrative, based largely on Euripides (from V §65 onwards) and with a strong Syrian connection, leaving the DiktysiSisyphos sections to have been added by Malalas? However shadowy Domninos remains, it must nevertheless be accepted that an Antiochene history attributed to him lies behind much of the early books of Malalas".

In the book, Untersuchungen zur römischen Kaisergeschichte, Volumes 1-3 edited by Max Büdinger, there is some more elaboration with references to "Die Chronographie des Domninos, seine Universalegeschichte mit Antiochenischem horizont und einseitiger Berucksichtigung der antiochenishen Stadtchronik".

In the book, La littérature grecque by Pierre Batiffol, Lecoffre, 1901, the author makes the following comments: 

"Domninos est cité par Jean Malalas (PG, t. xcvu, p. 172, 324, 361, 404, 433), lui encore comme un « très sage chronographe ». L'antiquité grecque et romaine et l'histoire de l'empire marquent seules dans les citations faites par Malalas. Il était probablement d'Antioche (p. 241 et 413), mais il ne semble pas qu'il ait été chrétien".

Coming right out of left-field there is some potential that Domninos was a fiction of Malalas. Sulochana R. Asirvatham her Jacoby entry on Pausanias of Antioch comments: "Of the seventy-five sources whom Malalas cites, those whom we possess are misrepresented frequently enough to suggest that Malalas was paraphrasing at best. Even worse is the apparent presence of a number of fictional authors in his text: for example, five universal histories that Malalas quotes repeatedly but which are not attested elsewhere, in addition to Eustathius whom he mentions infrequently. One of the unattested universal historians deemed fictional by Treadgold is ‘Domninus’, whom H. Bourier saw as one of Malalas’s main authors (believing in fact much of fragments 10 and 11 belonged to Domninus and not Pausanias (H. Bourier, Uber die Quellen der ersten vierzehn Bücher des Johannes Malalas (Augsburg 1899-1900), 9-12)".

The source for Treadgold is  W. Treadgold, The Early Byzantine Historians (New York, NY 2007), 235-56.

It seems that this lost work (if it ever existed) would be a major addition to our Antioch knowledge should it ever resurface in all or part. 

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