John the Lydian

John Lydos (* 490 in Philadelphia; † after 560 ) was a late antique East Roman official and writer.

Flavius ​​Lawrence (?) John, called " the Lydians ," came from the polis Philadelphia in Lydia and came to 510, the time of Emperor Anastasius, after Constantine Opel to do there in the central administration career. The language of the Eastern Roman administration was at this time still Latin, and John emphasizes in his extant - written in ancient Greek - works always proud of his bilingualism. His career was initially funded by the Praetorian Prefect Zoticus, a fellow countryman. Under Justinian and his Praetorian Prefect John of Cappadocia John's got career after initially rapid rise then apparently stalled. The Cappadocians is therefore in a very negative at Lydos. After the fall of the Prefect broke 542 for Lydos then back to better times. 543 Justinian boasted of him in a letter to the new Praetorian Prefect for his education, his literary works and his legal expertise and put a raise in view. A little later, the prefect gave him a rhetoric Chair of Latin at the University of Constantine Opel ( De Mag 3.29 ). 552 Lydos then entered retirement.

John Lydos wrote a number of literary works, including a now completely lost description of the Persian wars of the Emperor Justinian, which reproduced the official view of things, as well as some Latin speeches, which are also not come down to us ( De Mag 3.28 ). Receive only three wrote in Greek art: " Over the months " ( De mensibus ), " About celestial phenomena " ( De ostentis ) and especially " About the offices of the Roman state " (in short: De magistratibus ). Especially the latter, which was built by John ' retirement from the civil service, has lots of valuable information about the imperial administration in the outgoing Late Antiquity. Lydos describes the changes that were introduced during his service and the part already pre- paid into the middle Byzantine period - as well as Greek became under Justinian next Latin as official language - with skepticism and rejection. Among other things, it refers to a prophecy, according to which the Romans would leave the happiness, if they should unlearn the language of their fathers ( De Mag 3.42 ). He died probably around 560

Editions and translations

  • Michel Dubuisson and Jacques Schamp (eds): Jean le Lydia Des magistratures de l' état ​​romain, Les Belles Lettres, Paris 2006 ( critical edition of the Greek text with detailed introduction, French translation and commentary ) Volume 1, Part 1: Introduction générale. ISBN 2-251-00533-1
  • Volume 1 Part 2: Introduction générale. Livre I. ISBN 2-251-00533-1
  • Volume 2: Livres II et III. ISBN 2-251-00535-8