Pages in category "Byzantine-era pagans"
The following 39 pages are in this category, out of 39 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 39 pages are in this category, out of 39 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Julian (emperor) – Julian, also known as Julian the Apostate, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363, as well as a notable philosopher and author in Greek. A member of the Constantinian dynasty, Julian became Caesar over the provinces by order of Constantius II in 355 and in this role campaigned successfully against the Alamanni. Most notable was his victory over the Alamanni in 357 at the Battle of Argentoratum. In 360 in Lutetia he was proclaimed Augustus by his soldiers, before the two could face each other in battle, however, Constantius died, after naming Julian as his rightful successor. In 363, Julian embarked on an campaign against the Sassanid Empire. Though initially successful, Julian was mortally wounded in battle and died shortly thereafter, Julian was a man of unusually complex character, he was the military commander, the theosophist, the social reformer, and the man of letters. He was the last non-Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, and it was his desire to bring the Empire back to its ancient Roman values in order to, as he saw it, save it from dissolution. He purged the state bureaucracy and attempted to revive traditional Roman religious practices at the expense of Christianity. His anti-Christian sentiment and promotion of Neoplatonic paganism caused him to be remembered as Julian the Apostate by the church and he was the last emperor of the Constantinian dynasty, the empires first Christian dynasty. Both of his parents were Christians and his paternal grandparents were Western Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus and his second wife, Flavia Maximiana Theodora. His maternal grandfather was Julius Julianus, praetorian prefect of the East under emperor Licinius from 315 to 324, the name of Julians maternal grandmother is unknown. Constantius II, Constans I, and Constantine II were proclaimed joint emperors, Julian and Gallus were excluded from public life, were strictly guarded in their youth, and given a Christian education. They were likely saved by their youth and at the urging of the Empress Eusebia, if Julians later writings are to be believed, Constantius would later be tormented with guilt at the massacre of 337. After Eusebius died in 342, both Julian and Gallus were exiled to the estate of Macellum in Cappadocia. Here Julian met the Christian bishop George of Cappadocia, who lent him books from the classical tradition, at the age of 18, the exile was lifted and he dwelt briefly in Constantinople and Nicomedia. He became a lector, an office in the Christian church. Julian studied Neoplatonism in Asia Minor in 351, at first under Aedesius, the philosopher and he was summoned to Constantius court in Mediolanum in 354 and kept there for a year, in the summer and fall of 355, he was permitted to study in Athens. While there, Julian became acquainted with two men who became both bishops and saints, Gregory of Nazianzus and Basil the Great
2. Macrobius – Only in later manuscripts were his names reversed as Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, which James Willis then adopted for his edition of the Commentary. Little is known for certain about Macrobius, but there are many theories and he states at the beginning of his Saturnalia that he was born under a foreign sky, and both of his major works are dedicated to his son, Eustachius. His major works have led experts to assume that he was a pagan, which foreign sky Macrobius was born under has been the subject of much speculation. Terrot Glover considers Macrobius either an ethnic Greek, or born in one of the Greek-speaking parts of the Roman Empire, such as Egypt, J. E. Sandys went further and argued that Macrobius was born in one of the Greek provinces. Scholars have attempted to identify him with a Macrobius who is mentioned in the Codex Theodosianus as a prefect of Spain. The Codex Theodosianus also records a praepositus named Macrobius in 422, a number of older authorities go so far as to identify Macrobius the author with the first, and date his floruit to 399–410. Further, Cameron points out that during his lifetime Macrobius was referred to as Theodosius and it is significant that the only surviving law addressed to this Theodosius sanctions a privilege for Africa Proconsularis on the basis of information received concerning Byzacena, Cameron notes. Macrobiuss most influential one of the most widely cited books of the Middle Ages—was a commentary in two books on the Dream of Scipio narrated by Cicero at the end of his Republic. In astronomy, this work is noted for giving the diameter of the Sun as twice the diameter of the Earth. Of a third work On the Differences and Similarities of the Greek and Latin Verb, we possess an abstract by a certain Johannes. See editions by Ludwig von Jan, Franz Eyssenhardt, James Willis, the grammatical treatise will be found in Jans edition and Heinrich Keils Grammatici latini, see also Georg Friedrich Schömann, Commentatio macrobiana. Macrobiuss Saturnalia consists of an account of the held at the house of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus during the holiday of the Saturnalia. It contains a variety of curious historical, mythological, critical, antiquarian. The work takes the form of a series of dialogues among learned men at a fictional banquet. The latter part of the book is taken up with a dissertation upon luxury and the sumptuary laws intended to check it. The seventh book consists largely of the discussion of various physiological questions, the primary value of the work lies in the facts and opinions quoted from earlier writers. Cambridge, MA/ London, Harvard University Press,2011, percival Vaughan Davies, Macrobius, The Saturnalia. New York, Columbia University Press,1969, william Harris Stahl, Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio
3. Hypatia – Hypatia, often called Hypatia of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in Egypt, then a part of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was the head of the Neoplatonic school at Alexandria, where she taught philosophy, the mathematician and philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was the only daughter of the mathematician Theon of Alexandria. Around 400, she became head of the Neoplatonist School in Alexandria, where she imparted the knowledge of Plato and Aristotle to students, including pagans, Christians, however, not all Christians were as hostile towards her, some Christians even used Hypatia as symbolic of Virtue. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her dignity and virtue admired her the more. Hypatia corresponded with former pupil Synesius, who was tutored by her in the school of Platonism and later became bishop of Ptolemais in 410. Together with the references by the pagan philosopher Damascius, these are the extant records left by Hypatias pupils at the Platonist school of Alexandria. Hypatia was murdered during an episode of city-wide anger stemming from a feud between Orestes, the prefect of Alexandria, and Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria and her death is symbolic for some historians. On the other hand, Christian Wildberg notes that Hellenistic philosophy continued to flourish in the 5th and 6th centuries, of the many accounts of Hypatias death, the most complete is the one written around 415 by Socrates Scholasticus and included in the Historia Ecclesiastica. According to this account, in 415 a feud began over Jewish dancing exhibitions in Alexandria, Orestes, the Roman governor of Alexandria, and Cyril, the Bishop of Alexandria, engaged in a bitter feud in which Hypatia eventually became a main point of contention. Orestes published an edict that outlined new regulations for such gatherings, the edict angered Christians as well as Jews. At one such gathering, Hierax, a devout Christian follower of Cyril, read the edict, many people felt that Hierax was attempting to incite the crowd into sedition. Orestes reacted swiftly and violently out of what Scholasticus suspected was jealousy the growing power of the bishops… encroached on the jurisdiction of the authorities and he ordered Hierax to be seized and tortured publicly in the theater. Hearing of Hieraxs severe and public punishment, Cyril threatened to retaliate against the Jews of Alexandria with the utmost severities if the harassment of Christians did not cease immediately. In response to Cyrils threat, the Jews of Alexandria grew even more furious, Socrates of Constantinoples account says that the Jews had plotted to flush out the Christians at night by running through the streets claiming that the Church of Alexander was on fire. The feud between Cyril and Orestes intensified because of things, and both men wrote to the emperor regarding the situation. Eventually, Cyril attempted to out to Orestes through several peace overtures
4. Quintus Aurelius Symmachus – Quintus Aurelius Symmachus was a Roman statesman, orator, and man of letters. He held the offices of governor of proconsular Africa in 373, urban prefect of Rome in 384 and 385, two years later he made a famous appeal to Gratians successor, Valentinian II, in a dispatch that was rebutted by Ambrose, the bishop of Milan. Symmachuss career was derailed when he supported the short-lived usurper Magnus Maximus. Much of his writing has survived, nine books of letters, a collection of Relationes or official dispatches, Symmachus was educated in Gaul, apparently at Bordeaux or Toulouse. In early life he devoted to literature. As a representative of the cursus honorum, Symmachus sought to preserve the ancient religion of Rome at a time when the senatorial aristocracy was converting to Christianity. Symmachus was chosen by the Senate on account of his eloquence to lead a delegation of protest, subtly he pleads for tolerance for traditional cult practices and beliefs that Christianity was poised to suppress in the Theodosian edicts of 391. It was natural for Symmachus to sympathise with Magnus Maximus who had defeated Gratian, the date of his death is unknown, but one of his letters was written as late as 402. His leisure hours were devoted exclusively to literary pursuits, as is evident from the allusions in his letters to the studies in which he was engaged. His friendship with Ausonius and other distinguished authors of the era proves that he delighted in associating and corresponding with the learned, of his many writings, the following have survived, Nine or ten books of letters, published by his son. Many of the letters are notes extending to a few lines only, addressed to a circle of relations, friends. They relate for the most part to matters of little importance, a collection of Relationes or official dispatches, which is chiefly composed of the letters written by him when prefect of Rome to the emperors under whom he served. Panegyrics, written in his youth, two on Valentinian I and one on the youthful Gratian, fragments of various orations, discovered by Angelo Mai in palimpsests in the Ambrosian library and the Vatican. According one of his letters, Symmachus also engaged in the preparation of an edition of Livys Ab Urbe Condita. Seven manuscripts of the first decade of Livys extensive work bear subscriptions including Symmachus name along with Tascius Victorianus, Appius Nicomachus Dexter, zetzel has identified some of their effects to this tradition of the transmission of this portion of Livys work. In other letters, Symmachus describes preparations for his shows in the arena and he managed to procure antelopes, gazelles, leopards, lions, bears, bear-cubs, and even some crocodiles. Symmachus also purchased Saxon slaves to fight and die in the games and he was annoyed when twenty-nine of the Saxons strangled each other in their cells on the night before their final scheduled appearance. One quote of Symmachus from The Memorial of Symmachus, Prefect of the City reads, We gaze up at the stars, the sky covers us all
5. Ammianus Marcellinus – Ammianus Marcellinus was a Roman soldier and historian who wrote the penultimate major historical account surviving from Antiquity. Ammianus was born between 325 and 330 in the Greek-speaking East, possibly in Syria or Phoenicia and his native language was most likely Greek, he learned Latin as a second language, and was probably familiar with Syriac as well. The surviving books of his cover the years 353 to 378. Ammianus served as a soldier in the army of Constantius II and Julian in Gaul and he professes to have been a former soldier and a Greek, and his enrollment among the elite protectores domestici shows that he was of middle class or higher birth. Consensus is that Ammianus probably came from a family. He entered the army at an age, when Constantius II was emperor of the East, and was sent to serve under Ursicinus, governor of Nisibis in Mesopotamia. He returned with Ursicinus to Italy when Ursicinus was recalled by Constantius to begin an expedition against Claudius Silvanus, Silvanus had been forced by the allegedly false accusations of his enemies into proclaiming himself emperor in Gaul. Ammianus campaigned in the East twice under Ursicinus, on one occasion he was separated from the officers entourage and took refuge in Amida during the siege of the city by the Sassanids of shah Shapur II, he reportedly barely escaped with his life. He accompanied Julian, for whom he expresses enthusiastic admiration, in his campaigns against the Alamanni, after Julians death, Ammianus accompanied retreat of the new emperor Jovian as far as Antioch. He was residing in Antioch in 372 when a certain Theodorus was thought to have identified the successor to the emperor Valens by divination. Speaking as an eyewitness, Marcellinus recounts how Theodorus and several others were made to confess their deceit through the use of torture. He eventually settled in Rome and began the Res Gestae, the precise year of his death is unknown, but scholarly consensus places it somewhere between 392 and 400 at the latest. Modern scholarship generally describes Ammianus as a pagan who was tolerant of Christianity and he was not blind to the faults of Christians or of pagans, he observed in his Res Gestae that no wild beasts are so deadly to humans as most Christians are to each other. And he condemns his hero Julian for excessive attachment to sacrifice and he presumably completed the work before 391, as at 22.16. The Res Gestae was originally composed of books, but the first thirteen have been lost. The surviving eighteen books cover the period from 353 to 378, as a whole it is extremely valuable, constituting the foundation of modern understanding of the history of the fourth century Roman Empire. Although criticised as lacking literary merit by his biographers, he was in fact quite skilled in rhetoric. His work has suffered terribly from manuscript transmission, aside from the loss of the first thirteen books, the remaining eighteen are in many places corrupt and lacunose
6. Gemistus Pletho – Georgius Gemistus, later called Plethon or Pletho, was a Greek scholar of Neoplatonic philosophy. He was one of the pioneers of the revival of Greek learning in Western Europe. In the dying years of the Byzantine Empire, he advocated a return to the Olympian gods of the ancient world and he re-introduced Platos thoughts to Western Europe during the 1438–1439 Council of Florence, a failed attempt to reconcile the East-West schism. George Gemistos was born some time after 1355, probably in Constantinople, as a young man he went to study at Adrianopolis, by now the Ottoman capital following its capture by the Ottoman Sultan Murad I in 1365. Adrianopolis was now a centre of learning modelled by Murat on the caliphates of Cairo and he admired Plato so much that late in life he took the similar-meaning name Plethon. In c1407 Gemistos left Adrianopolis and travelled through Cyprus, Palestine and other places, finally settling in Mistra, in Mistra he taught and wrote philosophy, astronomy, history and geography, and compiled digests of many classical writers. His pupils included Basilios Bessarion and George Scholarius and he was made chief magistrate by Theodore II. Plethon was the author of De Differentiis, a comparison between Plato and Aristotles conceptions of God. Scholarios later defended Aristotle and convinced the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos that Plethons support for Plato amounted to heresy, Manuel had Plethon confined in Mistra, though he remained something of a celebrity. He also wrote a Summary of the Doctrines of Zoroaster and Plato and these works did not help to clear him of the charge of heresy. He also wrote about the condition of the Peloponnesus, compiled several volumes of excerpts from ancient authors, and wrote a number of works on geography, music, and other subjects. In 1428 Gemistos was consulted by Emperor John VIII on the issue of unifying the Greek and Latin churches, despite being a secular philosopher, Plethon was chosen to accompany John VIII on the basis of his renowned wisdom and morality. Other delegates included Plethons former students Bessarion, Mark Eugenikos and Scholarios, as a secular scholar, Plethon was often not needed at the council. Instead, at the invitation of some Florentine humanists he set up a school to lecture on the difference between Plato and Aristotle. Cosimo de Medici attended these lectures and was inspired to found the Accademia Platonica in Florence, because of this, Plethon is considered one of the most important influences on the Italian Renaissance. Plethon may also have been the source for Ficinos Orphic system of natural magic, while still in Florence, Plethon summarised his lectures in a volume titled On the Differences of Aristotle from Plato, commonly called De Differentiis. George Scholarius responded with a Defence of Aristotle, which elicited Plethons subsequent Reply, expatriate Byzantine scholars and later Italian humanists continued the argument. After his return to the Peloponnese, Gemistos founded a school and he taught polytheism as opposed to monotheism, and some of his students prayed to statues of the pagan deities
7. Maurus Servius Honoratus – These works, In tria Virgilii Opera Expositio, constituted the first incunable to be printed at Florence, by Bernardo Cennini,1471. In the Saturnalia of Macrobius, Servius appears as one of the interlocutors, allusions in that work, the commentary on Virgil has survived in two distinct manuscript traditions. The first is a short commentary, which is attributed to Servius in the superscription in the manuscripts. A second class of manuscripts, all deriving from the 10th and 11th centuries, the added matter is undoubtedly ancient, dating from a time but little removed from that of Servius, and is founded to a large extent on historical and antiquarian literature which is now lost. The writer is anonymous and probably a Christian, although not if, as is often suggested, a third class of manuscripts, written for the most part in Italy, gives the core text with interpolated scholia, which demonstrate the continued usefulness of the Virgilii Opera Expositio. The authentic commentary of Maurus Servius Honoratus is in effect the only complete extant edition of a classic author written before the collapse of the Empire in the West, Servius set his face against the prevalent allegorical methods of exposition of text. For the antiquarian and the historian, the value of his work lies in his preservation of facts in Roman history, religion, antiquities and language. Not a little of the erudition of Varro and other ancient scholars has survived in his pages. The edition of Georg Thilo and Hermann Hagen, remains the only edition of the whole of Servius work. Currently in development is the Harvard Servius, of the five volumes. E. K. Rand, Is Donatuss Commentary on Virgil Lost, Donatuss authorship of the supplementary material. Servio, stratificazioni esegetiche e modelli culturali / Servius, exegetical stratifications, Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article, Maurus Servius Honoratus Commentary on the Aeneid of Virgil is at the Perseus Project in Latin. De Centum Metris at Intratext. com De Centum Metris at Forum Romanorum Servii grammatici qui feruntur in Vergilii carmina commentarii, Georius Thilo, lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1881-1902, vol. 2, vol.3 part 1, vol.3 part 2
8. Rufius Antonius Agrypnius Volusianus – Rufius Antonius Agrypnius Volusianus was a fifth-century Roman aristocrat who held at least two important posts during the reign of the emperor Honorius. He is best known for his exchange of letters with St. Augustine, Volusianus was the son of Ceionius Rufius Albinus and Albina. His family owned property at Tubursicubure near Hippo Regius, both Albina and Volusianus niece, Melania, were devout Christians while Volusianus was a dutiful believer in the paganism of his ancestors. Peter Brown states that was part of a circle, characterized—to use Augustines words—for his cultivated, polished style. Yet he was in a position, notes Brown. He already lived in a post-pagan world, ronald J. Augustine exchanged letters with Volusianus around 410, when the latter, by Browns estimate, was about 30 years of age. Augustine later wrote of his own encounter with Volusianus in De Civitate Dei, in which he, politely, not long after their exchange of letters, Volusianus became proconsul of Africa, then praefectus urbi and later praefectus praetorio italiae. Volusianus left Rome in 436, and reached Constantinople where he delivered his message, the infamous pagan noble, leader of the Caeionii, was one of the last to accept the faith of Christ, observed Weber on this event. André Chastagnol, La famille de Caecinia Lolliana grande dame païenne du IVe siècle après J. -C
9. Priscus Attalus – Priscus Attalus was twice Roman usurper, against Emperor Honorius, with Visigothic support. He was the last non-Christian Roman emperor, Priscus Attalus was a Greek from Asia whose father had moved to Italy under Valentinian I. Attalus was an important senator in Rome, who served as praefectus urbi in 409 and he was twice proclaimed emperor by the Visigoths, in an effort to impose their terms on the ineffectual Emperor Honorius, in Ravenna. He held the title of Emperor in Rome, during 409, Attalus was obliged to participate in the triumph Honorius celebrated in the streets of Rome in 416, before finishing his days exiled in the Aeolian Islands. Ancient Rome, The Rise and Fall of an Empire Media related to Priscus Attalus at Wikimedia Commons Elton, Hugh, Attalus, De Imperatoribus Romanis
10. Eunapius – Eunapius was a Greek sophist and historian of the 4th century AD. His principal surviving work is the Lives of Philosophers and Sophists and he was born at Sardis, AD346. In his native city he studied under his relative, the sophist Chrysanthius, and while still a youth went to Athens and he possessed considerable knowledge of medicine. Eunapius was the author of two works, one entitled Lives of Philosophers and Sophists, and Universal History consisting of a continuation of the history of Dexippus. The former work is extant, of the latter only excerpts remain. It embraced the history of events from AD 270–404, the style of both works is marked by a spirit of bitter hostility to Christianity. Photius had before him a new edition of the history in which the passages most offensive to Christians were omitted, in his later years he seems to have lived at Athens, teaching rhetoric. Initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, he was admitted into the college of the Eumolpidae, there is evidence that he was still living in the reign of the younger Theodosius. Edition of the Lives by JF Boissonade, with notes by D Wyttenbach History fragments in C. W. Müller, Fragmenta Hist. Graecorum, iv. V. Cousin, Fragments philosophiques, translation and this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Chisholm, Hugh, ed. article name needed. Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists, dübner, Parisiis, editore Ambrosio Firmin Didot,1849, pp. 453-505
11. Libanius – Libanius was a Greek teacher of rhetoric of the Sophist school. During the rise of Christian hegemony in the later Roman Empire, he remained unconverted, Libanius was born into a once-influential, deeply cultured family of Antioch that had recently come into diminished circumstances. At fourteen years old he began his study of rhetoric, for which he withdrew from public life, unfamiliar with Latin literature, he deplored its influence. Libanius used his arts of rhetoric to advance various private and political causes and he attacked the increasing imperial pressures on the traditional city-oriented culture that had been supported and dominated by the local upper classes. He studied in Athens and began his career in Constantinople as a private tutor, but was soon exiled to Nicomedia. Before his exile, Libanius was a friend of the emperor Julian, with whom some correspondence survives, in 354 he accepted the chair of rhetoric in Antioch, where he stayed until his death. The works of Libanius are valuable as a source for the changing world of the later 4th century. His oration A Reply To Aristides On Behalf Of The Dancers is one of the most important records of Roman concert dance, particularly that immensely popular form known as pantomime. His first Oration I is a narrative, first written in 374 and revised throughout his life. Although Libanius was not a Christian his students included such notable Christians as John Chrysostom, malosse, part of CRISES research centre
12. Marcellinus (magister militum) – Marcellinus was a Roman general and patrician who ruled over the region of Dalmatia in the Western Roman Empire and held sway with the army there from 454 until his death. Marcellinus was said to have been of good birth and character and who had an education, he was also a devout pagan. He was also a patron of culture and a friend of the philosopher Sallustius and he was in Dalmatia at the time and it is believed to have held the title of Comes rei militaris according to the fasti. He was powerful enough to control of Dalmatia for himself and was presumably able to do this because he was commander of the troops there. He appears to have remained ruler of Dalmatia down to 468 and to have preserved his independence except for briefly accepting the authority of the Emperors Majorian, sources claim he ruled justly and well and kept Dalmatia independent of the emperor and of barbarian rulers. This forced Marcellinus to leave Sicily and return to Dalmatia where he would work closely with the Eastern Emperor Leo I, Leo recognized Marcellinus as magister militum but not by Ricimer and his new puppet emperor Libius Severus in the West. His title seems to have changed around this time to that of magister militum Dalmatiae though it is not for certain, only that his nephew who took over for him after held this title. During this time his power seems to have grown and it was possible he could attack Italy, but at the request of the Italians, the eastern court sent an envoy to him and he agreed not to attack. In the spring of 467 he was one of the comites who accompanied the new emperor of the West, Anthemius, in 468 we see him with the title of patrician which was given to him by Anthemius. In 468, Leo organized a campaign against the Vandals in Africa in which the East and West would commit substantial forces. Marcellinus was given command of the forces from the western empire, Marcellinus by this time had expelled the Vandals from Sicily and had also retaken Sardinia and was to be taken by fleet to Africa. Marcellinus was supposed to have a command of some 10,000 to 20,000 troops, Marcellinus was murdered in Sicily that same year, possibly by Ricimers order. After his death, his nephew, Julius Nepos inherited his uncles control over Dalmatia and was recorded as having the title magister militum Dalmatiae, a topic of much debate concerns Marcellinus source of power, mainly the forces under his command. This aspect becomes important in understanding his role as a player in the political, a noteworthy comment on his army is that his troops were said to have always been well-equipped, to say that in an age when the armies in the west were declining this becomes especially important. As the comes rei militaris Dalmatiae Marcellinus had a fleet at his disposal which was based at Salona. As for his forces, we know for certain he had Hunnic troops. But it is not clear if these were federate forces or mercenaries, regardless of which one they are, it not surprising he had Huns in his army since break up of the Hunnic Empire came in 454. He also had manpower to draw on from north of the Sava River, nothing, however, suggests that he himself favored the idea