Paulus Orosius and Paulus Diaconus: the use of the Historiarum libri septem adversum paganos in the Historia Romana
Doren, J. van
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In his eighth century histoy of the Roman Empire, the Historia Romana, Paul the Deacon makes ample use of the Historiarum libri septem adversum paganos, written by Paulus Orosius in the fifth century. The contrast between the orginal work of universal, christianized history and the way in which it is cited in the Historia Romana provides insights into Paul the Deacon's views on (Christian) history, on the Roman Empire and on his own times. Especially regarding the use of portents and miracles, the role of Rome, the role of Christianity and the role of barbarians in this Roman history, much becomes apparent throughout the comparison. The respective historical contexts of both authors dictate difference in their approaches to these subjects and in their intended goals for their respective works. Orosius, an apologist, seeks to defend Christianity and depreciate the ancient Roman pagan religions. Paul the Deacon on the other hand, seeks to educate his Lombard patroness, Adalperga of Benevento, and her courtly elite, in the what made the Roman Empire great and in what ways these barbarian 'usurpers' of Italy, for that is in a sense what the Lombards were, could emulate their greatness.