Le critiche ai Cartaginesi nel discorso di Massimino il Trace (Hdn. 7, 8, 5)


  • Salvatore Costanza

Parole chiave:

Herodianus, basilinda, roleplay game, military anarchy, Roman Africa


In Herodian’s Roman History 7, 8, 5, Maximinus Thrax addresses his soldiers during the clash with the Gordians who have rebelled against his rule. In his speech, Maximinus accuses the Carthaginians of cowardice and weakness. According to him, they are able to dance, but not to fight. In this respect, their leader Gordianus I is compared to someone who ‘plays the king’. This reference alludes to an ancient roleplaying game known as basilinda. Examples of this play are highlighted in Herodotus’ Histories, Tacitus’ Annals and Suetonius, Life of Nero. Herodian’s depiction provides a paradoxical framework of basilinda, where Gordian is fully inadequate to reign as emperor. On the other hand, Maximinus is depicted by Herodian as a tyrant. His words reveal his pride, not his political wisdom.