The Lexicon of Abuse:
Drunkenness and political illegitimacy in the late Roman world.
Cambridge University Press, pp. 75-88.
In the anonymous, mid-fourth century narrative known as the Origo Constantini Imperatoris (The Origin of the Emperor Constantine), several apparently remarkable statements are made about the moral fibre â or more precisely the lack of it â of the enemies of the emperor Constantine.1 Prominent among these villains are Galerius, Augustus of the eastern empire (305-311), and his short-lived associate as western emperor, Severus (Caesar 305-6; Augustus, 306-7). The relationship between the two men, so our anonymous author has it, was based on their shared propensity to heavy drinking: âSeverus Caesar was ignoble both by character and by birth; he was a heavy drinker (ebriosus) and for this reason he was a friend of Galerius.â2 Galeriusâ own fondness for drink and its deleterious effects are soon described: âGalerius was such a heavy drinker (ebriosus) that, when he was intoxicated, he gave orders such as should not be implemented.
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