Standard edition, taken as a reference text for the digitisation:
Incerti auctoris Epitoma rerum gestarum Alexandri Magni, cum libro De morte testamentoque Alexandri, iterum rec. Ph. H. Thomas, Leipzig 1966 (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana).
This short work narrates the main events in Alexander’s life, from the death of Darius to Alexander’s arrival to the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is also known as the Metz Epitome, from the city that hosted the only manuscript transmitting this text; the manuscript was destroyed in the Second World War. The title Epitoma was in the Metz manuscript, but we do not know what the epitomized original was, also because the beginning and the end of the manuscript, which may have contained a praefatio including information on the author and time of composition, had been lost before the manuscript was studied by modern scholars. On the basis of the sources that we are able to identify, it is probable that the Epitoma was based on a number of earlier works; some of them are historically authoritative and date from the first generation of Greek historians writing on Alexander. The Epitoma is related to the Vulgata derived from Cleitarchus, but also to Arrian and, in some episodes, to the Alexander Romance. Language and rhythmical clausulae place the Latin version in the IVth or Vth century AD (Ruggini). Romano advanced the plausible suggestion that the Epitoma was written in view of Julian’s campaign against the Parthians in 363. The author frequently mentions pagan gods of the traditional pantheon, and his (probable) paganism would be in keeping with a composition in 363. The narrative does not indulge in the legendary aspects of Alexander’s story, much in vogue in late antiquity, nor does it include much in the way of ethical reflection, as Curtius Rufus likes to do. Special attention is given to military operations and to dramatic, audience-enthralling episodes. The portrait of Alexander emerging from this text is completely positive: he is a great, victorious commander. The Epitoma does not mention Alexander’s clashes with people from his entourage, which most ancient texts use to stress his tyrannical side.
In the Metz manuscript, the Epitoma was followed by the Liber de morte testamentoque Alexandri (see notice on this text), which is also transmitted in two Spanish manuscripts. Scholars are divided on whether the two works are in fact a single one (as Landgraf and Wölfflin argue, especially on the basis of the continuous numbering of chapters in the Metz manuscript: Epitoma 1-86, De morte 87-123) or, which is more likely, two distinct works, perhaps by the same author. Linguistic similarities and recurring phrases make it certain that the two texts are from the same pagan milieu. [R. Tabacco; tr. di L. Battezzato]