This book is not so much concerned with consuls as figures in the society of late antiquity as it is devoted to their utility for identifying years: consulates as a means of reckoning time. The compilation of lists of consuls was actively pursued in antiquity, and modern listmakers have not been lacking. But only two scholars have sought, since the development of Latin epigraphy in the later nineteenth century, to compile the evidence for each consulate-Vaglieri and Liebenam, seven decades ago-and their work is simply no longer current with the evidence. Recent works on late antiquity have sometimes suffered from the lack of a comprehensive listing of the evidence. Compiling this evidence was authors' first concern.
The full assemblage of evidence has provided quite a number of opportunities to alter views in the modern literature about the recognition of consuls and the dissemination of their names (two phenomena which must be distinguished), and the comments appended to the evidence in the central part of this work set out briefly the authors' conclusions for individual years. Beyond this, the assembled evidence also made possible a number of inquiries into various aspects of the functioning of the consulate as a chronological system. These, along with discussions of the character and limitations of the various types of documentation, form the introduction.
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