Flavius Arrianus

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Arrianus, Flavius


Born circa 95; died circa 175. Ancient Greek historian and writer.

Arrianus was born in Nicomedia (Asia Minor). He studied in Greece under the Stoic philosopher Epictetus. He occupied a number of state positions in Rome (from 121 to 124 he was a consul), and around 131–137 he was viceregent of Cappadocia. Arrianus wrote works on philosophy, history, wars, geography, and other subjects. The most valuable of these which has come down to us is his Anabasis of Alexander in seven books (Russian translation 1962); it is the most important source for the history of the campaigns of Alexander of Macedonia. In it Arrianus utilized works by Alexander’s companions in arms, Ptolemy (the son of Lagos) and Aristobolus, as well as primary sources—Alexander’s letters and his court journal. Arrianus’ principal attention is focused on military events and on a description of geographic conditions. Of other works on historical and geographical subjects the following have come down to us: India (Russian translation in Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1940, no. 2) and Voyage Around the Euxine Sea (Russian translation in Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1948, no. 1). Of the philosophical works the following have been preserved: The Dissertations and The Manual, in which the author sets forth the doctrine of Epictetus, as well as two treatises on military matters and another on hunting. Of the remaining works by Arrianus only the titles or fragments have been preserved, mostly in passages by Photius, the ninth-century patriarch of Constantinople. Among these are Alexander’s Successors, A History of Parthia, A History of the Alani, and A History of Bithynia.


Flavii Arriani quae exstant omnia, vols. 1–2. Edited by A. G. Roos. Leipzig, 1907–28.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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