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Ch. 10
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
History of the Later Roman Empire

by J. B. Bury

published by Macmillan & Co., Ltd.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Ch. 12

Vol. I
Chapter XI

Church and State

The existence of the State Church made a profound difference in the political and social development of the Empire. The old State religion of Rome was often used as an instrument of policy, but perhaps its main political value was symbolic. It involved no theory of the universe, no body of dogma to divide the minds of men and engender disputes. The gods were not jealous, and it was compatible with the utmost variety of other cults and faiths. For the Christian Church, on the contrary, a right belief in theological dogmas was the breath of its life, and, as such questions are abstruse and metaphysical, it was impossible to define a uniform doctrine which all minds would accept. As the necessity of ecclesiastical unity was an axiom, the government had to deal with a new problem, and a very arduous and embarrassing one, such as had not confronted it in the days before Constantine. Doctrine had to be defined, and heretics suppressed. Again, the Church, which once had claimed freedom for itself, denied freedom to others when it was victorious, and would not suffer rival cults. Hence a systematic policy of religious intolerance, such as the Greek and Roman world had never known, was introduced. Another consequence of the Christianising of the State was the rise to power and importance of the institution of monasticism, which was not only influential economically and socially, but was also, as we shall see, a political force. The theological controversies, the religious persecution, and the growth of monasticism, in the fifth century, will be reviewed briefly in this chapter.

 p349  § 1. The Controversies on the Incarnation

The great theological controversy which rent Christendom in twain in the fourth century had been finally closed through the energy and determination of Theodosius the Great, and unity was for a short time restored to the Church. Theodosius had been baptized in Thessalonica in A.D. 380, and immediately afterwards he issued an edict, commanding his subjects to accept the orthodox faith of the Council of Nicaea.​1 He described it as the doctrine professed by the bishop of Rome and the bishop of Alexandria. Then he proceeded to hand over to the orthodox all the Arian churches in Constantinople, and to prohibit heretics from holding public worship in the city. In the meantime he had come to see that the best prospect of terminating discussion in the East would be by a Council which was not controlled either from Alexandria or from Rome. The Council which met at his summons in A.D. 381 at Constantinople was entirely eastern, and Meletius, the bishop of Antioch, presided. Seventy years later it came to be called an Ecumenical Council; in the West it was not recognised as such till the end of the fifth century. This assembly of eastern bishops ratified the doctrine of the Council of Nicaea, and declared that the Son is of the same substance with the Father. Theodosius, after a vain attempt to win over the Arians by a Council which he summoned two years later, proceeded to measures of suppression,​2 and Arianism gradually declined.

But, while the Arian heresy in itself led to no permanent schism in the Church,​3 new and closely related controversies soon agitated  p350  the eastern world and were destined to issue in lasting divisions. Once the divinity of Christ in the fullest sense was universally admitted, the question ensued how the union of his divine substance with his human nature is to be conceived. Was the Godhead mixed with humanity, or only conjoined? Did Mary bear the flesh only or the Logos along with the flesh? Did Christ's human nature survive the Resurrection? In the fourth century, there was no definite doctrine, but the problem was disturbing the minds of some metaphysical theologians.

Apollinaris of Laodicea argued that the union of a perfect God into a perfect man was out of the question. For the result of such a union would be a monster, not a uniform being. He concluded that Christ was not a perfect man, and that he adopted human nature, determining it in such a way that it did not involve free will, which would be inconsistent with his Godhead. His flesh was taken up into the nature of the Logos and was thus divine, and the Logos shared in the sufferings of the flesh. Further, Christ's mind was not human; for, if he had had a human mind, he would have had a duplicate personality.

It has been said that this theory of Apollinaris expressed the belief entertained at heart by all pious Greeks.​4 But it was clear that it did not do justice to the humanity of Christ as depicted in the Gospels, and other theologians, who like Apollinaris himself belonged to the school of Antioch, sought to render intelligible the union of a perfect God with a perfect man. According to Theodore of Mopsuestia, the union of the two natures was a contact which became more intimate at each stage of human growth, and the indwelling of the Logos in the man was not substantial, but of the same order as the indwelling of God, by grace, in any human being. Each nature was itself a person, and the Logos did not become man. It was the man only who suffered. And Mary was not, in the strict sense, the mother of God.

In the reign of Theodosius II this insoluble problem raised a bitter controversy, which agitated the eastern world. When Sisinnius, Patriarch of Constantinople, died at the end of A.D. 427, the bishops, the clergy, and the monks could not agree on the appointment of a successor, and the nomination was committed  p351  to the Emperor; who, seeing that no possible candidate among the ecclesiastics of Constantinople would be generally acceptable, chose Nestorius,​5 a monk of a convent at Antioch, who had a high reputation as a preacher. The eloquence of Nestorius was matched by his intolerance, and no sooner was he seated on the Patriarchal throne​6 than he began an energetic campaign against heresies. But his forcible language in condemning Apollinarian views, which he discovered to be rife among the local clergy, soon gave the Patriarch of Alexandria, who was the natural enemy of any Patriarch of Constantinople, a welcome opportunity of accusing him of heresy himself. The rivalry between these great sees, bitter since the Council of A.D. 381, when precedence over all sees except Rome had been granted to New Rome,​7 had been aggravated by the struggle between Theophilus and Chrysostom.

The Patriarch Cyril and the Alexandrines held that the two natures of Christ were joined in an indissoluble, "hypostatic" or personal union, yet remained distinct, but that the human nature had no substance independently of the divine; that the Logos suffered without suffering, and that Mary is the mother of God inasmuch as she bare flesh which was united indissolubly with the Logos. Cyril's doctrine approached that of Apollinaris in so far as it denied the existence of an individual man in Christ, but was sharply opposed to it by its maintenance of the distinction of the two natures.

Nestorius leaned to the doctrine of Theodore of Mopsuestia, which was popular in Syria. He characterised as fables the statements that a God was wrapped in swaddling clothes and was nailed upon the cross, and he protested against the use of the designation "Mother of God" (Theotokos).

It is to be observed that in this controversy both parties agreed in condemning the theory of Apollinaris and in holding that there were two natures in Christ. The main difference between them concerned the formula by which the union of the two natures was to be expressed — Cyril maintaining a "natural  p352  union"​8 and Nestorius a less intimate "contact."​9 The truth may be that the view of Nestorius was not so very different from that of Cyril as Cyril thought. It seems probable that the doctrine of two Persons, somehow joined together, which is commonly imputed to Nestorius, would have been repudiated by him.​10 Cyril wrote to Theodosius, to Eudocia, to Pulcheria and her sisters, censuring the heretical opinion of Nestorius,​11 and stirred up the Egyptian monks, who were ever ready for a theological fray. A heated correspondence ensued between the two Patriarchs, and both invoked the support of Celestine, the bishop of Rome. Pope Celestine was no theologian. He was guided by the political expediency of supporting Alexandria against Constantinople, and he evaded the real issue by bringing into the forefront of the controversy a minor point, namely the question whether Mary might properly be called the Mother of God. On this particular point Nestorius was ready to yield, but he would not recant his doctrine at the bidding of a Roman synod.​12 Anathemas and counter-anathemas flew between Alexandria and Constantinople, and then the Emperor, by the advice of Nestorius,  p353  summoned a Council on the neutral ground of Ephesus for Whitsuntide A.D. 431. The two antagonists arrived in good time, but John the Patriarch of Antioch was three weeks late. Cyril, who was accompanied by fifty bishops, would not wait for him; and the supporters of the Alexandrian party met and decreed the deposition of Nestorius, who refused to attend the assembly. When John and the Syrian contingent arrived, a rival but far less numerous Council was opened; the commissioner Candidian, Count of the Domestics, who represented the Emperor, presided; and Cyril was condemned and deposed. Then the Roman legates appeared upon the scene, attended the assembly of Cyril, and signed the decree against Nestorius.

The shameless proceedings of the satellites of Cyril and the rabble whom they are collected are graphically described by Nestorius, whose house was guarded by soldiers to protect him from violence. "They acted in everything as if it was a war they were conducting, and the followers of the Egyptian and of Memnon (the bishop of Ephesus), who were abetting them, went about in the city girt and armed with clubs, men with high necks, performing strange antics with the yells of barbarians, snorting fiercely with horrible and unwonted noises, raging with extravagant doings, carrying bells about the city, and lighting fires in many places and casting into them all kinds of writings. Everything they did was a cause of amazement and fear; they blocked up the streets so that every one was obliged to flee and hide while they acted as masters of the situation, lying about drunk and besotted and shouting obscenities."​13 Such were the circumstances of the Third Ecumenical Council, which had gathered to pronounce on the true doctrine of the natures of Christ.

The Emperor had at first resolved to reject the decree against Nestorius, but afterwards he decided to carry out the rulings of both assemblies. The two Patriarchs were deposed; Nestorius retreated to his old convent at Antioch. But at Constantinople there was a strong ecclesiastical opposition to Nestorius; the clergy addressed a petition to the Emperor demanding justice  p354  for Cyril, and the monks, under the leader­ship of Dalmatius, excited the people.​14 The popular demonstrations were aided by Cyril's intrigues and a lavish distribution of bribes;​15 Pulcheria doubtless threw her influence into the scale; and the Emperor was compelled to yield and to permit Cyril to resume his Patriarchal seat. Cyril then sought to come to terms with Antioch, and a new formula was invented — "the unconfused union of two natures" — which could be accepted both by the Alexandrines and by moderate men of the Antiochian school. Cyril subscribed to this creed in A.D. 433. Good Nestorians retreated to Edessa, and here their theology was in the ascendant until the Emperor Zeno (A.D. 489) took measures to extirpate Nestorianism and succeeded in driving it beyond the frontier. The subsequent fortunes of the sect are connected with Persian and Saracen history.

It is clear that throughout the whole controversy personal dislike of Nestorius, who was not an amiable or courteous man, played a considerable part. He was permitted to remain peacefully in his monastery for a few years, notwithstanding the urgent request of Pope Celestine that such a firebrand should be removed from all contact with men. But at length the Emperor adopted harsh measures against him (A.D. 435).​16 He was denounced in an edict as sacrilegious, his books were condemned to the flames,​17 and he was banished at first to Petra and then to Oasis in Upper Egypt (A.D. 435). He seems to have died in A.D. 451.18

 p355  The compromise of A.D. 433 was not final. The question was opened again by Dioscorus, who had succeeded Cyril (A.D. 444) in the see of Alexandria, and was jealous of the prestige of the theologians of Antioch. He set himself the task of destroying the Antiochian formula of "two natures or hypostaseis and one Christ." His views found a warm supporter at Constantinople in a certain Eutyches, the archimandrite of a monastery, who had been prominent in the agitation against Nestorius, and enjoyed the favour of the eunuch Chrysaphius.​19 Eutyches was charged with heresy; the Patriarch Flavian​20 took up the matter and procured his condemnation at a local synod (A.D. 448). Eutyches appealed to Leo, the bishop of Rome; and Dioscorus urged the Emperor to summon a general Council. Theodosius, guided by the counsels of Chrysaphius who hated Flavian, yielded to the wishes of Alexandria, and the Council met at Ephesus in August A.D. 449.

In the meantime Leo had come to the conclusion that the views of Eutyches were heretical, and he wrote in this sense to the Emperor and the Patriarch. He claimed that he was himself the person who should decide and define the dogma by virtue of the authority residing in the see of St. Peter; there was no necessity for a General Council.​21 But the Council was called, and Leo sent three delegates, committing to them a Dogmatic Epistle or Tome addressed to Flavian in which he formulated the true doctrine: the unity of two hypostatic natures in one person, wherein the properties of both natures were preserved.​22 It was not explained how this union was possible, and a distinguished historian of dogma observes​23 that Leo left off at the point where the speculation of Cyril began.

Dioscorus presided at the Council. The letter of Leo was not read, and the Roman representative did not vote. Eutyches was declared orthodox, and Flavian was deposed as having gone  p356  beyond the doctrine of the creed of Nicaea.​24 Other more distinguished adherents of the Antiochian doctrine, including Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus, a notable theologian, were also deposed. The result of the proceedings was to annul the compromise of A.D. 433 and to reinstate the Cyrillian doctrine of the one incarnate nature of the God-Logos. The voting of many of the 115 bishops who signed the Acts was not free; they were overawed by the Imperial authorities and by the violence of a noisy crowd of monks from Syria. Yet it has been said, perhaps with truth, that this Council more than any other expressed the general religious feeling of the time, and would have permanently settled the controversy in the East if extraneous interests had not been involved.

The bishop of Rome denounced the "Robber Council," as he called it, and prompted Valentinian III to propose to his cousin Theodosius the convention of a new Council in Italy. Theodosius replied that the recent Council had simply defended the rulings of Nicaea and Ephesus against the innovations of Flavian; no further action was called for; the Church was at peace. If the question had been simply doctrinal and no political considerations had intervened, the decision of the "Robber Council" might have been the last word in Eastern Christendom. But that Council had been a triumph for Alexandria, and the prestige which Dioscorus acquired was a menace not only to Old Rome — he promptly excommunicated Leo — but also to New Rome. This danger could not long be ignored, and the death of Theodosius was followed by a change of policy at Constantinople.

Marcian resolved to terminate the ecclesiastical despotism which the Alexandrian bishops sought to impose upon the East, and Anatolius, who through the influence of Dioscorus had succeeded Flavian as Patriarch, did not scruple to lend himself to a new policy and to subscribe the Dogmatic Epistle of Leo. Marcian wrote to Leo agreeing to his request for a new Council, but insisting that it should meet in the East. Then the Pope changed his tactic. He claimed, as before, that his own Epistle was sufficient to settle the whole matter, and did all he could to prevent the meeting of a Council.​25 But Marcian knew that,  p357  however wonder­ful Leo's Epistle might be, a Council would be indispensable to satisfy public opinion in the Eastern Churches, and he summoned a Council for the autumn (A.D. 451). Leo rather sulkily yielded.​26 In October an unusually large assembly of ecclesiastics​27 met at Chalcedon, and the presidency, which meant the right of first recording his vote, was given to the legate of the Pope.

It was the common object of Leo and of Marcian to procure the deposition of Dioscorus, and in this they succeeded, but not without exercising moral violence. Most of the bishops, including Anatolius who really agreed with Dioscorus, voted against their consciences and relinquished the formula in which they believed. But, while Leo desired that his epistle should be accepted as it stood, Marcian saw that a new formula, which should indeed take account of the Pope's statement, would be less unacceptable in the East. Accordingly the Council decreed that the true doctrine was contained in certain writings of Cyril​28 as well as in Leo's epistle; and described Jesus Christ as complete in his humanity as well as in his divinity; one and the same Christ in two natures, without confusion or change, division or separation;​29 each nature concurring​30 into one person and one hypostasis.

The doctrine of the Fourth Ecumenical Council is still accepted as authoritative in the Churches of Christendom. It is interesting to learn the judgment of one of the most learned living theologians. The Council of Chalcedon, "which we might call the Robber and the Traitor Council, betrayed the secret of the Greek faith." "The disgrace attaching to this Council consists in the fact that the great majority of the bishops who held the same views as Cyril and Dioscorus finally allowed a formula to be forced upon them, which was that of strangers, of the Emperor and the Pope, and which did not correspond to their belief."​31 But the truth is that the definition of Chalcedon might be interpreted in different ways. To Leo and the Western Church it meant one thing; to the followers of Cyril another; to  p358  Antiochians and Theodoret, something different which Nestorius himself could have accepted.32

Politically, the Council was a decisive triumph for Constantinople and a final blow to the pretensions of the see of Alexandria. Marcian completed what Theodosius the Great had begun. Three successive Patriarchs, Theophilus, Cyril, and Dioscorus, had aimed at attaining to the supreme position in Eastern Christendom and at ruling Egypt like kings. Alexandria could never again claim to lead the Church in theology. But the defeat of Alexandria was accompanied by an exaltation of Byzantium which was far from acceptable to Rome. By the twenty-eighth Canon equal privileges with Rome were granted to the see of Constantinople, all the episcopal sees of the Dioceses of Thrace, Asia, and Pontus were assigned to the jurisdiction of the Patriarch. The Roman legates protested against this Canon, and Leo refused to confirm it.33

Dioscorus was deposed by the Council, and was banished to Gangra. Feeling ran so high at Alexandria that the aid of soldiers was required to establish his successor Proterius.

In Egypt and Syria there was a solid mass of opinion loyal to the doctrine of one nature, and firmly opposed to the formula of Chalcedon. These Monophysites, as they were called, were far too numerous and earnest to be stamped out; they ultimately created the national Coptic Church of Egypt. Throughout the reign of Leo I the dispute over the meaning of the Incarnation led to scenes of the utmost violence in Alexandria and to occurrences hardly less scandalous in Antioch.

At Jerusalem the Monophysites obtained the upper hand after the Council of Chalcedon, and a reign of terror prevailed for some time. The episode derives interest from the association of the Empress Eudocia, who was living there in retirement, with the Monophysitic cause.​34 A monk named Theodosius,  p359  who was a zealous supporter of Dioscorus, gained the ear of the people, and the bishop of Jerusalem, Juvenal, when he returned from the Council, was forced to flee for his life, because he refused to renounce the doctrine which he had subscribed. Theodosius was ordained bishop, and methods of the utmost violence were adopted to coerce those who refused to communicate with him. He was supported by Eudocia, who had been a devoted admirer of Cyril and was led to believe that Cyril's doctrine was identical with that of Dioscorus and had been condemned at Chalcedon. The Emperor Marcian at length took strong measures; Theodosius fled to Mount Sinai, and Juvenal was restored to his see.​35 Eudocia after some years began to feel doubts about her theology and she consulted the pillar saint, Simeon, who recommended her to seek the advice of Euthymius, abbot of the convent of Sahel, a few miles east of Jerusalem. An interview with the monk showed the Empress the error of her ways, and she died in the faith of Chalcedon.

The Christian religion, with its theology which opened such a wide field for differences of opinion, had introduced into the Empire dangerous discords which were a sore perplexity to the government. In some ways it augmented, in others it weakened, the power of the State to resist its external enemies. It cannot be maintained — as we have already seen — that it was one of the causes which contributed to the dismemberment of the Empire in the West by the Teutonic peoples; and subsequently, the religious communion, which was preserved throughout political separation, helped the Empire to recover some of the territory it had lost. In the East, bitter theological divisions, consequent on the Council of Chalcedon,​36 facilitated the Saracen conquest of the provinces of Syria and Egypt, but afterwards, in the diminished Empire, the State religion formed a strong bond and fostered the growth of a national spirit which enabled the Imperial power to hold out for centuries against surrounding foes.

 p360  § 2. The Controversy on Predestination, and the Growth of the Papal Power

The subtle questions on the nature of the Incarnation, which were so hotly disputed by the Greeks and Orientals, created little or no disturbance in western Europe. But in the early years of the fifth century the western provinces were agitated by a heresy of their own, on a subject which had more obviously practical bearings, but involved no less difficult theological metaphysics. The Pelagian controversy concerned free will and original sin. Pelagius, probably a Briton of Irish extraction,​37 propagated the views that man possesses the power of choosing between good and evil, and that there is no sin where there is not a voluntary choice of evil; that sin is not inherited; that man can live, and some men actually have lived, sinless; and that unbaptized infants attain to eternal life.​38 The controversy is memorable because these doctrines found their chief antagonist in Augustine and led him gradually to develop the predestinarian theories which had such a power­ful influence on subsequent theology. He maintained that sin was transmitted to all men from Adam; that man, by the mere gift of free will, cannot choose aright without the constant operation of grace; that no man has ever lived a sinless life; that infants dying unbaptized are condemned, as a just punishment for the sin which they inherited. As time went on, Augustine developed his theory, which raised the whole question of the origin of evil into a system which, while it professed to admit the freedom of the will, really annulled it. God, he said, decided from eternity to save some members of the human race from the consequence of sin; he fixed the number of the saved, which can be neither increased nor diminished, and on these favoured few he bestows the gifts of grace which are necessary for their salvation. The rest perish eternally, if not  p361  through their own transgressions, through the effects of original sin. This is not unjust, because there is no reason why God should give grace to any man; by refusing to bestow it, he affirms the truth that none deserve it. Augustine allowed that in the eternal punishment which awaits all but the few there may be different degrees of pain.

Pelagius, along with his friend Caelestius whom he had converted to his views, went from Rome to Africa (A.D. 409). Leaving Caelestius there, he proceeded himself to Palestine. Caelestius stated his views before a council of African bishops at Carthage and was excommunicated (A.D. 412). Three years later a synod was held at Jerusalem, at which Pelagius was present, the question was discussed, and it was decided that it should be referred to Pope Innocent I (A.D. 415), but some months later another synod at Diospolis acquitted Pelagius of heterodoxy. In the meantime Augustine was writing on the subject,​39 and the African bishops condemned the Pelagian doctrine and asked Innocent to express his approval.​40 A decision on the matter devolved upon Innocent's successor Zosimus, who was elected on March 17, A.D. 417, and the ear of this Pope was gained by Caelestius, who had come to Rome. Zosimus censured the African bishops for condemning Caelestius, and intimated that he would decide, if the accusers came and appeared before him. Then he received a letter from Pelagius, which convinced him that Pelagius was a perfectly orthodox Catholic.​41 But the African bishops were not convinced, and in defiance of the Pope's opinion, they condemned Pelagius and his teaching in a synod at Carthage (May 1, A.D. 418). Zosimus at last became aware that the doctrines of Pelagius were really heretical; he was obliged to execute a retreat,​42 and he confirmed the findings of the African synod. Honorius issued a decree banishing Pelagius and Caelestius from Rome and inflicting the penalty of confiscation on their followers.​43 Although the views of the British heretic were crushed by the  p362  arguments and authority of Augustine, they led to the formation of an influential school of opinion in Gaul​44 which, though condemning Pelagianism, did not accept the extreme predestinarian doctrines of the great African divine.

In the list of Roman pontiffs the name of Zosimus is not one which the Catholic Church holds in high esteem. His brief pontificate fell at a critical period, when the Roman see was laying the foundations of the supremacy which it was destined to gain by astute policy, and propitious circumstances, over the churches of western Europe. Zosimus, through his rashness and indiscretion, did as much as could be done in two years to thwart the purposes which he was himself anxious to promote. In the matter of Pelagius he committed himself to a judgment which shows that he was either unpardonably ignorant of the doctrine which had been challenged, or that he considered orthodox in A.D. 417 what he condemned as heterodox in A.D. 418; and he exposed himself to a smart rebuff from the bishops of Africa.​45 But his indiscretion in this affair was of less importance than the ill-considered policy on which he embarked on a question of administration in the Gallic Church, and which proved highly embarrassing to his successors.

The authority which the Roman see exercised in western Europe at this time, beyond its prestige and acknowledged primacy in Christendom, was twofold. Decrees of Valentinian I and Gratian had recognised it as a court to which clergy condemned by provincial synods might appeal.​46 In the second place it was looked up to as a model, and when doubtful questions arose about discipline it was consulted by provincial bishops. The answers of the Popes to such questions were known as Decretals. They did not bind the bishops; they were responses, not ordinances. Appellate jurisdiction and the moral weight of the Decretals were the principal bases on which the power of the Roman see was gradually to be built up.47

 p363  Zosimus entertained an idea of his authority which transcended these rights and anticipated the claims of his successors. Immediately after his election his ear was gained by Patroclus, the bishop of Arles, who desired to make his see an ecclesiastical metropolis of the first rank. In the three provinces of Viennensis, Narbonensis Prima, and Narbonensis Secunda, the bishops of Vienne, Narbonne, and Marseilles​48 were the metropolitans; Arles was merely a bishopric in Narbonensis Prima. The idea of Patroclus was naturally enough suggested by the translation of the residence of the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul from Trier to Arles.​49 Zosimus determined to deprive the bishops of Vienne, Narbonne, and Marseilles of their metropolitan rights, and to invest the bishop of Arles with jurisdiction over the three provinces. He also proposed to establish a new Metropolitan of Arles as a sort of Roman vicar, apparently over the whole of Gaul.50

The bishop of Narbonne yielded with a protest to this revolutionary assumption of sovranty. But the bishops of Marseilles and Vienne defied Zosimus and brought the question before a council of the Milanese diocese which met at Turin (Sept. 22, A.D. 417).​51 The council at first decided against the pretensions of Arles, but finally compromised by dividing the Viennese province into two parts, of which the southern was to depend on Arles. Zosimus was not pleased, but deemed it prudent to concur. The bishop of Marseilles, who declined to yield, was excommunicated by a Roman synod, but remained quietly in his see. Thus a part of the Pope's plan was actually carried out, but the facts remained that the council of Turin had refused to recognise the supreme authority of Rome, and that Marseilles had resisted with impunity.

The indiscretions of Zosimus were a lesson for his successors.52  p364  Moreover, they recognised that the establishment of such a large and power­ful see as that which Zosimus called into being was likely to be a rival rather than a vassal of Rome. Their aim was to undo what Zosimus had done, and in accomplishing this they acted with greater circumspection and increased the authority of their see. Both Boniface and Celestine​53 did what they could to restrict the powers of the bishop of Arles. The first Narbonensis was withdrawn from his jurisdiction and restored to Narbonne.​54 But the situation was more difficult for Rome, because the monks of Lérins, whose influence was strong in southern Gaul, threw the weight of their interest into the scale of Arles. Their founder, Honoratus, had been elected to succeed Patroclus, and he was followed by his disciple Hilary, whose authority threatened to usurp that of Rome in the Gallic Church.​55 The conflict between Hilary and Leo I, who was elected in A.D. 440, is not edifying. An appeal to Rome (A.D. 444) gave the Pope a welcome opportunity of striking his opponent. He did not venture to excommunicate him, but he deprived him of the remnant of the province which Zosimus had created. This sentence could not be executed without the aid of the secular power. He had much influence with the Emperor and Galla Placidia, and he procured an edict, which was issued (July 8, A.D. 445) at the same time as his own decree.​56 Arles was deprived of its metropolitan dignity.57

But that edict of Valentinian III did much more than settle in Rome's favour this particular question. It assigned to the Roman see that supremacy over the provincial churches which the Popes had been endeavouring to establish, but which the African synods and the council of Turin had refused to acknowledge.​58 It ordained that "the bishops of Gaul or any other province should take no decision contrary to the ancient rules of discipline without the consent and authority of the venerable Pope of the eternal city. They must conform to all the decrees  p365  of the Apostolic see. Bishops summoned before the tribunal of Rome must be compelled to appear by the civil authorities."

It is the political bearing of this law that interests us here. When many of the western provinces had wholly or partly passed out of the Emperor's control, it was a matter of importance to strive to keep alive the idea of the Empire and the old attachment to Rome in the minds of the provincials who were now subject to German masters. The day might come when it would be possible to recover some of these lost lands, which the Imperial government never acknowledged to be really lost, and in the meantime a close ecclesiastical unity presented itself as a power­ful means for preserving the bonds of sentiment, which would then prove an indispensable help. To accustom the churches in Gaul and Britain, Spain and Africa to look up to Rome and refer their disputes and difficulties to the Roman bishop was a wise policy from the secular point of view, and it was doubtless principally by urging considerations of this nature that Leo was able to induce the government to establish the supremacy of his see.

It is important to bear in mind that the administrative authority of the Pope, at this time, extended into the dominions of the eastern Emperors. The lands included in the Prefecture of Illyricum belonged to the Patriarchate of Rome, and constituted the Vicariate of Thessalonica, where the Pope's vicar, who was entrusted with the administration, resided. Theodosius II wished to place this ecclesiastical province under Constantinople and published an edict with this intent, but the remonstrances of Honorius induced him to retract it;​59 and Greece, Macedonia, and Dacia remained under the see of St. Peter till the eighth century.

§ 3. Persecution of Paganism

Persecution was an unavoidable consequence of Constantine's act in adopting Christianity. Two of the chief points in which this faith differed from the Roman State religion were its exclusiveness and the vital importance which it assigned to dogma. The first logically led to intolerance of pagan religions, the second to intolerance of heresies, and these consequences could not be  p366 averted when Christianity became the religion of the State. It might be suggested that Constantine would have done better if, when he decided to embrace it and favour its propagation, he had been content to deprive pagan cults of their official status and to allow Christianity to compete in a free field with its rivals, aided by the prestige which it would derive from the Emperor's personal adhesion and favour. But such a policy would have been an anachronism. A state, at that time, was unthinkable without a State cult, and if an Emperor became a Christian a logical result was that Christianity should be adopted as the official religion of the Empire, and a second that the old Roman policy of toleration should be thrown overboard. In an age of superstition this was demanded not only in the interest of the Church but in the interest of the State itself. The purpose of the official cults in the pagan State was to secure the protection of the deities; these were liberal and tolerant lords who raised no objection to other forms of worship; and toleration was therefore a principle of the State. But the god of the new official religion was a jealous master; he had said, "thou shalt have none other gods before me," and idolatry was an offence to him; how could his protection and favour be expected in a state in which idolatry was permitted? Intolerance was a duty, and the first business of a patriotic ruler was to take measures to extirpate the errors of paganism.

But these consequences were not drawn immediately. It must never be forgotten that Constantine's revolution was perhaps the most audacious act ever committed by an autocrat in disregard and defiance of the vast majority of his subjects. For at least four-fifths of the population of the Empire were still outside the Christian Church.​60 The army and all the leading men in the administration were devoted to paganism. It is not, therefore, surprising that Constantine, who was a statesman as well as a convert, made no attempt to force the pace. His policy did little more than indicate and prepare the way for the gradual conversion of the Empire, and was so mild and cautious that it has been maintained by some that his aim was to establish a parity between the two religions.

 p367  He retained the title of Pontifex Maximus, and thereby the constitutional right of the Emperor to supervise the religious institutions. He withdrew the support of state funds from pagan rites, but made an exception in favour of the official cults at Rome. His most important repressive measure was the prohibition of the sacrifice of victims in the temples.​61 One reason for this measure was the dangerous practice of divination by entrails, often employed by persons who contemplated a rebellion and desired to learn from the higher powers their chances of success.

In some particular places cults were suppressed, but a pagan could still worship freely in the temples, could offer incense and make libations of wine, and might even perform sacrificial rites in a private house. The sons of Constantine​62 were indeed inclined to adopt a stringent policy, and their laws might lead us to suppose that there was something like a severe persecution. Constantius, in reaffirming the prohibition of sacrifices, menaced transgressors with the avenging sword.​63 But the death penalty was never inflicted, and there was a vast difference between the letter of the law and the practice. In the same edict was ordained the closing of temples "in all places and cities," but this order can only have been carried out here and there. Its execution depended on local circumstances, and on the sentiments of the provincial governors. In some places Christian fanatics took advantage of the Imperial decree to demolish heathen shrines, and the pagans were naturally very apprehensive. When Julian visited Ilion, he inspected the antiquities under the guidance of Pegasius, who was "nominally a bishop of the Galilaeans," but really worshipped the Sun god.​64 He had taken orders and succeeded in becoming a bishop in order that he might have the means of protecting the heathen sanctuaries from Christian destruction.

When paganism was restored by Julian, it is probable that any temples which had been closed under the edict of Constantius were again reopened, and after his fall it would seem that they were allowed to remain open for worship, though sacrifices were regarded as unlawful.

 p368  The Emperors Valentinian I​65 and Valens were consistently tolerant. The mysteries of Eleusis were expressly permitted, for the proconsul of Achaia told Valentinian that if they were suppressed the Greeks would find life not worth living.​66 But a new religious policy was inaugurated by Gratian and Theodosius the Great. Gratian abandoned the title of Pontifex Maximus; he withdrew the public money which was devoted to the cults of Rome, and he ordered the altar of Victory to be removed from the Senate-house, to the deep chagrin of the senators. The fathers appealed to Valentinian II to revoke this order, and to restore the public maintenance of the religious institutions of the capital; but the moving petition of Symmachus, who was their spokesman, was overruled by the influence of Ambrose, the archbishop of Milan, who possessed the ear of Valentinian and of Theodosius.67

It remained for Theodosius to inflict a far heavier blow on the ancient cults of Greece and Rome. In the earlier years of his reign the extirpation of pagan worship does not seem to have been an aim of his policy. He was only concerned to enforce obedience to the laws prohibiting sacrifices, which had evidently been widely evaded. He decided on the closing of all sanctuaries in which the law had been broken. He entrusted to Cynegius, Praetorian Prefect of the East, a pious Christian, the congenial task of executing this order in Asia and Egypt. But otherwise temples were still legally open to worshippers.​68 It is to be particularly noted that the Emperor did not desire to destroy but only to secularise such buildings as were condemned, and the cases of barbarous demolition of splendid buildings which occurred in these years were due to the fanatical zeal of monks and ecclesiastics. Monks wrought the destruction of the great temple of Edessa, and the Serapeum at Alexandria, which gave that city "the semblance of a sacred world,"​69 was demolished  p369  under the direction of the archbishop Theophilus (A.D. 389),​70 who thereby dealt an effective blow to the paganism of Alexandria.

But Theodosius and his ecclesiastical advisers thought that the time was now ripe to make a clean sweep of idolatry, and in A.D. 391 and 392 laws were issued which carried to its logical conclusion the act of Constantine. We may conjecture that this drastic legislation was principally due to the influence of the archbishop of Milan. To sacrifice, whether in public or in private, was henceforward to be punished as an act of treason. Fines were imposed on any who should frequent temples or shrines; and for worshipping images with incense, for hanging sacred fillets on trees, for building altars of turf, the penalty was confiscation of the house or property where such acts were performed.71

In the insurrection of A.D. 392 the restoration of paganism was a capital feature in the programme of the general Arbogastes and Eugenius the creature whom he crowned, and the lure attracted some distinguished adherents. For a short time the altar of Victory was set up in the Roman Senate-house. After the suppression of the revolt Theodosius visited Rome, attended a meeting of the Senate, and though his tone was conciliatory, his firmness compelled that body to decree the abolition of the ancient religious institutions of Rome.​72 Some of the pagan senators had Christian families,​73 and domestic influence may have reinforced the imperial will.

The last years of the fourth century mark an epoch in the decay of paganism. While the gods were irrevocably driven from Rome itself, time-honoured institutions of Greece also came to an end. The old oracles seem to have been silenced at  p370  a much earlier date. The "last oracle" of the Delphic god, said to have been delivered to Julian, is a sad and moving expression of the passing away of the old order of things.

Tell the king on earth has fallen the glorious dwelling,

And the water springs that spake are quenched and dead,

Not a cell is left the god, no roof, no cover;

In his hand the prophet laurel flowers no more.​74

The Olympian games were celebrated for the last time in A.D. 393, and the chryselephantine statue of Zeus, the greatest monument of the genius of Pheidias, was removed soon afterwards from Olympia to Constantinople.​75 The Eleusinian mysteries ceased three years later in consequence of the injuries wrought to the sanctuaries by the invasion of Alaric.​76 The legend that Athens was saved from the rapacity of the Goths by the appearance of Athene Promachos and the hero Achilles illustrates the vitality of pagan superstition. Athens had fared better than many other towns at the hands of the Emperors.​77 Constantine, who ransacked Hellenic shrines for works of art in order to adorn his new capital, spared Athens; and in the reign of Theodosius, when the Samian Hera of Lysippus, the Cnidian Aphrodite of Praxiteles, the Athene of Lindos were carried off, the Parthenon was not compelled to surrender the ivory and gold Athene of Pheidias. Soon after A.D. 429 this precious work was ravished from the Acropolis,​78 but we do not know its fate. Nor do we know at what date the Parthenon was converted into a church of the Virgin.79

The ordinances of Theodosius did not, of course, avail immediately to stamp out everywhere the forbidden cults. Pagan practices still went on secretly, and in some places openly,  p371  and the government, generally perhaps yielding to ecclesiastical pressure, issued from time to time new laws to enforce the execution of the old or to supplement them.​80 Arcadius, under the influence of Chrysostom, issued an edict to destroy, not merely to close, temples in the country and to use the material for public buildings.​81 Chrysostom sent monks to Phoenicia to carry out the work of destruction there, but the money required was provided not by the state but by pious Christians, especially women.​82 We have seen how bishop Porphyrius of Gaza secured with the help of the Empress Eudoxia the demolition of the temple of Marnas. As a rule the Emperors desired that the ancient sanctuaries should be preserved and turned to other uses, and we find them interfering to prevent destruction.​83 In many country districts Christianity was only beginning to penetrate, and for the eradication of heathenism there was much missionary teaching to be done, such as was carried on by Martin in western Gaul, by Victricius, archbishop of Rouen, in the Belgic provinces, and by Nicetas of Remesiana in the Balkan highlands.84

Theodosius II at one time professed to believe that no pagans survived in his dominions,​85 but this sanguine view, if it was seriously held, was premature, for in a later year he repeated the prohibition of sacrifices and ordered anew the conversion of temples into churches;​86 and Leo I legislated severely against heathen practices.​87 It is to be observed that this persecution differed in one important respect from the ecclesiastical persecutions of later ages in western Europe. Only pagan acts were forbidden; opinion as such was tolerated, and no restrictions were placed on the diffusion of pagan literature. Perhaps the only exception was the edict of Theodosius II shortly before his death,​88 ordering the books of Porphyry, whose dangerous  p372  treatise Against the Christians had apparently shocked the Emperor or some of his advisers, to be burned. The same monarch had enacted that no Christian shall disturb or provoke Jews or pagans "living peaceably."​89 Indeed pagans could not be dispensed with in the civil service, and in the sixth century we still find them in prominent positions.​90 Hellenism largely prevailed in the law schools, and was no bar to promotion, though it might be made a pretext for removing an official who had fallen out of favour. An able pagan, Tatian, enjoyed the confidence of the fanatical Theodosius the Great, and was appointed Praetorian Prefect of the East; and the same Emperor showed friendly regard towards spokesmen of the old religion like Libanius and Symmachus. The headquarters of unchristian doctrine, the university of Athens, was held in high esteem by Constantine and Constans,​91 and it continued throughout the fifth century unmolested as the home of a philosophy which was the most dangerous rival of Christian theology. Pagans also received appointments in the university of Constantinople.

In a hundred years the Empire had been transformed from a state in which the immense majority of the inhabitants were devoted to pagan religions, into one in which an Emperor could say, with gross exaggeration, but without manifest absurdity, that not a pagan survived. Such a change was not brought to pass by mere prohibition and suppression. It is not too much to say that the success of the Church in converting the gentile world in the fourth and fifth centuries was due to a process which may be described as a pagan transmutation of Christianity itself. If Christian beliefs and worship had been retained unaltered in the early simplicity of their spirit and form, it may well be doubted whether a much longer period would have sufficed to christianize the Roman Empire. But the Church permitted a compromise. All the religions of the age had common ground in crude superstition, and the Church found no difficulty in proffering to converts beliefs and cults similar to those to which they had been accustomed. It was a comparatively small  p373  matter that incense, lights, and flowers, the accessories of various pagan ceremonials, had been introduced into Christian worship. It was a momentous and happy stroke to encourage the introduction of a disguised polytheism. A legion of saints and martyrs replaced the old legion of gods and heroes, and the hesitating pagan could gradually reconcile himself to a religion, which, if it robbed him of his tutelary deity, whom it stigmatized as a demon, allowed him in compensation the cult of a tutelary saint. A new and banal mythology was created, of saints and martyrs, many of them fictitious; their bodies and relics, capable of working miracles like those which used to be wrought at the tombs of heroes, were constantly being discovered. The devotee of Athene or Isis could transfer his homage to the Virgin Mother. The Greek sailor or fisherman, who used to pray to Poseidon, could call upon St. Nicolas. Those who worshipped at stone altars of Apollo on hill-tops could pay the same allegiance to St. Elias. The calendar of Christian anniversaries corresponded at many points to the calendars of Greek and Roman festivals. Men could more easily acquiesce in the loss of the heathen celebrations connected with the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, when they found the joyous celebrations of the Nativity and the resurrection associated with those seasons, and they could transfer some of their old customs to the new feasts. The date of the Nativity was fixed to coincide with the birthday of Mithras (natalis Invicti, December 25), whose religion had many affinities with the Christian. This process was not the result, in the first instance, of a deliberate policy. It was a natural development, for Christianity could not escape the influence of the ideas which were current in its environment. But it was promoted by the men of light and leadingº in the Church.92

A particular form of miraculous healing illustrates the way in which Christianity appropriated pagan superstitions. The same dream-cures which used to be performed by Aesculapius or the Dioscuri for those who slept a night in the temple courts were still available; only the patient must resort to a sanctuary of Saints Cosmas and Damian,​93 the new Castor and Pollux, or of the archangel  p374  Michael​94 or some other Christian substitute. We have an interesting example of the method employed by ecclesiastical magnates in an incident which occurred in Egypt. Near Canopus there was a temple of Isis where such nocturnal cures were dispensed, and professing Christians continued to have recourse to this unhallowed aid. The Patriarch Cyril found a remedy. He discovered the bodies of two martyrs, Cyrus and John, in the church of St. Mark at Alexandria, and dislodging Isis he interred them, and dedicated a church to them, in the same place, where they freely exhibited the same mysterious medical powers which had been displayed by the great goddess.95

The more highly educated pagans offered a longer and more obdurate resistance to the appeals of Christianity than the vulgar crowd. Throughout the fourth and fifth centuries they retained higher education in their hands. The schools of rhetoric, philosophy, law, and science maintained the ancient traditions and the pagan atmosphere. In their writings, some pagans frankly showed their hostility to Christianity, others affected to ignore it. We saw how they threw upon this religion the responsibility for the invasion of the barbarians. But in general their attitude was one of resignation, and they found no difficulty in serving Christian Emperors and working with Christian colleagues.​96 This spirit of resignation is expressed in the most interesting piece we have of the poet Palladas of Alexandria, occasioned by the sight of a Hermes lying in the roadway.

At a meeting of ways I was ware of a bronze god prone at my feet,

And I knew him the offspring of Zeus, whom we prayed to of old, as was meet.

"Lord of the triple moon," I cried, "averter of woe,

Ever a lord hast thou been, and behold, in the dust thou art low."

 p375  But at night with a smile on his lips the god stood by me sublime,

And said, "A god though I be, I serve, and my master is Time."​97

Throughout the fifth century Athens was the headquarters of what may be called higher paganism. The Stoic and Epicurean schools had died out in the third century, and in the fourth the most distinguished savants of the university like Proaeresius and Himerius were sophists, not philosophers. But the Platonic Academy continued to exist, independent of State grants, for it had its own private property producing a revenue of more than £600 a year.​98 Its scholarchs, however, were not men of much talent or distinction, until the office was filled by Priscus,​99 a Neoplatonist and a friend of Julian, after that Emperor's death. Priscus inaugurated the reign of Neoplatonism at Athens; with him the revival of the university, as a centre of philosophic study, began, and vastly increased under his successor Plutarch. Towards the end of the fourth century, Synesius had spoken in disparaging words of Athens and her teachers: her fame, he said, rests with her bee-keepers.​a He was jealous for the reputation of Alexandria, and with good reason, for under Plutarch and his successors Syrianus and Proclus Athens was to eclipse the Egyptian city. These Platonists attracted students from all parts of the East, and some who had begun their studies, like Proclus himself, at Alexandria, completed them at Athens.100

The Athenian professors had always regarded themselves as the champions of Hellenism, but when the Neoplatonic philosophy became ascendant, the Hellenism of Athens was a more serious danger. At this time Neoplatonism was the most formidable rival of Christian theology among educated men of a speculative turn of mind. Augustine recognised this; we know how it attracted him.​101 The Neoplatonists taught a system fundamentally differing from the current Christian theology as to the position which was assigned to the creator of the world. According  p376  to Plotinus, Nous or Reason, the creator, emanated from and was subordinate to the absolute One, and Soul again emanated from Nous. His successors developed his principles by multiplying and dividing the emanations, and the growth of the philosophy culminated in the system which Proclus constructed by means of a dialectic which Hegel himself has described as "extremely tiring."​102 In all these phases, the Demiurge or Creator is subordinated to the One of which no divine attributes could be predicted, and thus an apparently impassable gulf was fixed between the later Platonic philosophers and Christian theologians. There was, indeed, at Alexander another school of Platonism, which held closer here and there to the teaching of Plato himself, and men who were trained in this school found the transition to Christian doctrine comparatively easy. We know something of the system of Hierocles, a leading Platonist at Alexandria in the fifth century.​103 In his system there was no One or any other higher principle above God the creator and legislator, who was above, and in no sense co-ordinate with, the company of sidereal gods; and he, like the Christian Deity, created the world out of nothing. Some of the pupils of Hierocles became Christians. It is a curious circumstance that Hierocles should have been condemned to exile at Constantinople on grounds which are unknown to us.​104 It can hardly have been for his teaching, seeing that far more anti-Christian Platonists, who had their stronghold at Athens, were tolerated.

 p377  But the danger and offence of the later Neoplatonists did not lie in their mystical metaphysics, but in the theurgy and pagan practices to which they were almost always addicted. Proclus in his public lectures as scholarch confined himself, doubtless, to the interpretation of Plato in the Neoplatonic sense, and to problems of dialectic, but he reserved for his chosen disciples esoteric teaching in theurgy, and venerated the gods as beneficent beings worthy of worship, though occupying a subordinate place in the hierarchy of existences. He believed that by fasting and purifications on certain days it was possible to get into communication with supernatural beings, and he recognised the gods of other nations as well as those of Greece. He said that the philosopher should not confine himself to the religious rites of one city or people, but should be "a hierophant of the whole world." He was more scrupulous in observing the fasts of the Egyptians than the Egyptians themselves.​105 He had been initiated in the Eleusinian secrets by his friend Asclepigenia, the daughter of Plutarch,​106 who had learned them from the last priest of Eleusis, and in one of his writings he told how he had seen Hecate herself. Athens believed in his magical powers; he was said to have constructed an instrument by which he could bring down rain.

The Hellenists, even in the days of Proclus, had not abandoned all hope of winning toleration for pagan worship. At any time some one might ascend the throne with Hellenic sympathies. The elevation of Anthemius in the West was a proof that this was not impossible, though Anthemius was able to do little to help the pagan interest. Proclus died in A.D. 485, and at that very time a former pupil of his was prominently associated with a rebellion​107 which, if it had been success­ful, might have been followed by some temporary relaxation of the severe laws against polytheism and pagan worship. This was to be the last flutter of a dying cause.

 p378  § 4. Persecution of Heresy

The persecution of heretics was more resolute and severe than the persecution of pagans. Those who stood outside of the Church altogether were less dangerous than those members of it who threatened to corrupt it by false doctrine, and the unity of the Catholic faith in matters of dogma was considered of supreme importance. "Truth, which is simple and one," wrote Pope Leo I, "does not admit of variety."​108 A modern inquirer is accustomed to regard the growth of heresies as a note of vitality, but in old times it was a sign of the active operation of the enemy of mankind.

The heresy which was looked upon as the most dangerous and abominable of all was that of the Manichees, which it would be truer to regard as a rival religion than as a form of Christianity.​109 It was based on a mixture of Zoroastrian and Christian ideas, along with elements derived from Buddhism, but the Zoroastrian principles were preponderant. This religion was founded by Manes in Persia in the third century, and in the course of the fourth it spread throughout the Empire, in the West as well as in the East. Augustine in his youth came under its influence. The fundamental doctrine was that of Zoroaster, the existence of a good and an evil principle, God and Matter, independent of each other. The Old Testament was the work of the Evil Being. Matter being thoroughly evil, Jesus Christ could not have invested himself with it, and therefore his human body was a mere appearance. The story of his life in the Gospels was interpreted mystically. The Manichees had no churches, no altars, no incense; their worship consisted in prayers and hymns; they did not celebrate Christmas, and their chief festival was the Bêma, in March, kept in memory of the death of their founder, who was said to have been flayed alive or crucified by Varahran I. They condemned marriage, and practised rigorous austerities.110

The laws against the Manichees, which were frequent and  p379  drastic, began in the reign of Theodosius I. The heresy was insidious, because the heretics were difficult to discover; they often took part in Christian ceremonies and passed for orthodox, and they disguised their views under other names. Theodosius deprived them of civil rights and banished them from towns. Those who sheltered themselves under harmless names were liable to the penalty of death; and he ordered the Praetorian Prefect of the East to institute "inquisitors" for the purpose of discovering them.​111 This is a very early instance of the application of this word, which in later ages was to become so offensive, to the uses of religious persecution. When the government of Theodosius II, under the influence of Nestorius, made a vigorous effort to sweep heresy from the world, the Manichaeans were stigmatised as men who had "descended to the lowest depths of wickedness," and were condemned anew to be expelled from towns, and perhaps to be put to death​112 (A.D. 428). Later legislation inflicted death unreservedly; they were the only heretics whose opinions exposed them to the supreme penalty.

Arcadius, at the beginning of his reign, reaffirmed all the pains and prohibitions which his predecessors had enacted against heretics.​113 In most cases, this meant the suppression of their services and assemblies and ordinations. The Eunomians, an extreme branch of the Arians, who held that the Son was unlike the Father, were singled out for more severe treatment and deprived of the right of executing testaments. This disability, however, was afterwards withdrawn, and it was finally enacted that a Eunomian could not bequeath property to a fellow-heretic.​114 Thus there was a certain vacillation in the policy of the government, caused by circumstances and influences which we cannot trace.

The combined efforts of Church and State were success­ful in virtually stamping out Arianism, which after the end of the fourth century ceased to be a danger to ecclesiastical unity. They were also success­ful ultimately in driving Nestorianism out of the Empire. The same policy, applied to the Monophysitic heresy,  p380  failed. Marcian's law of A.D. 455 against the Eutychians was severe enough.​115 They were excluded from the service of the State; they were forbidden to publish books criticising the Council of Chalcedon; and their literature, like that of the Nestorians, was condemned to be burned. But in Syria, where anti-Greek feelings were strong, and in Egypt, where national sentiment was beginning to associate itself with a religious symbol, all attempts to impose uniformity were to break down.

The severe measures taken by the State against the Donatists in Africa were chiefly due to their own fanaticism. Donatism was not properly a heresy, it was a schism, which had grown out of a double election to the see of Carthage in A.D. 311, and the question at issue between the Catholics and the Donatists was one of church discipline. We need not follow the attempts of Constantine and Constans to restore unity to the African church by military force. The cause of the Donatists was not recommended by their association with the violent madmen known as Circumcellions, who disdained death themselves, and inflicted the most cruel deaths on their opponents. The schismatics survived the persecution. At the death of Theodosius I the greater number of the African churches seem to have been in their hands, and during the usurpation of Gildo they persecuted the Catholics. When Augustine became bishop of Hippo, where the Donatists were in a great majority, he set himself the task of restoring ecclesiastical unity in Africa by conciliation.​116 He and the Catholic clergy had some success in making converts, but the fanatics were so infuriated by these desertions that with their old allies the Circumcellions they committed barbarous outrages upon the Catholic clergy and churches; Augustine himself barely escaped from being waylaid. Such disorders demanded the intervention of the secular power. Some injured bishops presented themselves at Ravenna, and in A.D. 405 Honorius condemned the Donatists to severe penalties by several laws intended "to extirpate the adversaries of the Catholic faith."117

The Donatists rejoiced at the death of Stilicho whom they regarded as the author of these laws, and disorders broke out afresh.​118 When Alaric was in south Italy threatening Rome,  p381  the Emperor revoked his decrees and soon afterwards, at the request of the Catholics, he convoked a conference of the bishops of the two parties which met at Carthage (A.D. 411) under the presidency of Marcellinus, one of the "tribunes and notaries" whom the Emperors employed for special services. Marcellinus was empowered not only to act as chairman but to judge between the rival claims. The appointment of a secular official to adjudicate did not mean that the civil power claimed to settle questions of doctrine. The controversy, which originally turned on a dispute about facts, had throughout concerned the government not in its ecclesiastical aspect but as a cause of grave disorders and disturbances. But the commission entrusted to Marcellinus shows that the bishop of Rome was not yet recognised as possessing the jurisdiction which in later times resided in his see. At the end of the discussions, Marcellinus decided against the Donatists; they were allowed a certain time to come into the Church.​119 Some were convinced, but others appealed to the Emperor, who confirmed the decision of his deputy and enacted a new law against the schismatics, imposing heavy fines on the recalcitrants, and banishing the clergy.​120 Two years later they were deprived of civil rights.​121 These strong measures, which Augustine defended, alleging the text "Compel them to come in,"​122 broke the strength of the schismatics, and though the Donatist sect continued to exist and was tolerated under the Vandals, it ceased to be of importance.

It must be allowed that if the government had been perfectly indifferent and impartial in matters of religion, it would have had ample excuse for adopting severe measures of repression against the fanatical sect who disturbed the peace of the African provinces and persecuted their opponents. The penalties were severe but they stopped short of death. It should be remembered to the credit of the Emperors that, in contrast with the Christian princes of later ages, they never proposed, in pursuing their policy of the suppression of heresy, to inflict the capital penalty, except in the case of the Manichaeans, who were regarded as almost outside the pale of humanity.​123 The same may be said  p382  for the leading and representative ecclesiastics, all of whom would have recoiled with horror if they could have foreseen the system of judicial murder which was one day to be established under the auspices of the Roman see.​124 Martin of Tours did all he could to stay the persecution of the Spanish bishop Priscillian, who, rightly or wrongly, was accused of heresies akin to Manichaeanism. Priscillian was put to death by the Emperor Maximus (A.D. 385), but he was tried before a civil tribunal for a secular offence.​125 It may well have been a miscarriage of justice, but, formally at least, he was not executed as a heretic.

Under the Christian Empire the Jews remained for the most part in possession of the privileges which they had before enjoyed.​126 The Church was unable to persuade the State to introduce measures to suppress their worship or banish them from the Empire. They were forbidden to possess Christian slaves,​127 and a law of Theodosius II excluded them from civil offices and dignities.​128 But the legislator was perhaps more often concerned to protect them than to impinge upon their freedom.129

§ 5. Monasticism​130

The same period, in which the Christian religion gradually won the upper hand in the Empire, witnessed a movement which was at first independent of the Church but was destined soon to become an important part of the ecclesiastical system.  p383  The germs of asceticism had been implanted in the Christianity from the very beginning, and the tendencies to a rigorous life of self-abnegation may have been stimulated by the example of the austerities of the Essenes, the Therapeutae, the monks of Serapis, and later by the influence of the semi-Christian Zoroastrian religion of the Manichees. Ascetic practices seem to have been a strong temptation to all men of an ardently religious temperament in these ages, whatever doctrines they might hold concerning the universe; Julian the Apostate is an eminent example. For the Christian Church and State the consequences were far-reaching and could not have been anticipated. In the course of the fourth and fifth centuries a large and ever-growing number of men and women withdrew themselves from society, severed themselves from family ties, and embraced, whether in cells in the desert or in recluse communities in town or country, a life of celibacy, prayer, and fasting. Gradually regularised and organised by disciplines of varying degrees of rigour, monasticism established itself firmly as one of the most influential institutions of the Christian world, thoroughly consonant with the spirit of the time and richly endowed by the liberality of the pious.

We have not to follow the history of its growth, but the reader may be reminded that Christian monasticism originated circa A.D. 300 under the auspices of St. Anthony in Lower Egypt. At first it took the form of a solitary life in the desert, where ascetics lived independently of one another in neighbouring cells and devoted themselves to an otherwise idle existence of religious contemplation.​131 Another variety of monasticism was soon afterwards founded in Upper Egypt by Pachomius. In his monasteries near Tentyra (Denderah) and Panopolis (Akhmim) the brethren lived in common and performed all kinds of work. The Antonian ideal was approved by Athanasius, and his influence went far to spread it in the West. It was introduced into Palestine by Hilarion, and into Syria, where the rigours of the hermit assumed their most extreme and repulsive shape. There was originated the grotesque idea of living for years on the top of a high pillar. Simeon, the first of these  p384  pillar-saints (stylitae),​132 had many followers, and such was the temper of the times that these abnormal self-tormentors, who could not have been more healthy in mind than in body, were universally revered and consulted as oracles.

The monastic movement engaged the attention of St. Basil, and awoke his enthusiasm. He came to the conclusion that monastic institutions, framed on right lines, would be useful to the Church, and he established a coenobitic community at Neocaesarea (about A.D. 360), and drew up minute regulations. The brethren were not required to take vows; the asceticism of their life was not immoderate; and they were expected to perform work in the fields. St. Basil's idea had an immediate success and he became the founder of Greek monasticism. Cloisters adopting his Rule​133 sprang up throughout Asia Minor, and in the following century in Palestine. But here there flourished also the lauras, or enclosures in which the monks lived an almost eremitical life in separate cells, and these institutions were numerous in the plain of the Jordan.​134 The most famous of the ascetics of Palestine were Euthymius, Sabas, and Theodosius.​135 Euthymius founded the laura of Sahel, to the east of Jerusalem, in A.D. 428;​136 Sabas founded in A.D. 483 the Great Laura on the Cedron, with a grotto which nature had moulded  p385  into the form of a church, and many others; and Theodosius his coenobitic monastery at the grotto of the Magi near Bethlehem in A.D. 476. Sabas was appointed archimandrite of all the lauras, and Theodosius of all the coenobia, in the diocese of Jerusalem by the Patriarch Sallust (A.D. 494). It would seem that the monks of the lauras were considered to have attained to a higher grade of spiritual life than those who lived in convents, which were regarded as a preparation in ascetic discipline.​137 As Sabas and one of his disciples walked one day from Jericho to the Jordan, they met a young and comely girl. "Did you remark that girl?" said the saint, "she is one-eyed." "No, Father," said the disciple, "she had both her eyes." "How do you know?" "I looked at her intently." "What about the commandment, 'Fix not your eyes on her, neither let her take thee with her eyelids'?"​138 And the saint sent the youth to a convent till he had learned better to control his eyes and his thoughts.

The history of monasticism at Constantinople begins with the abbot​139 Isaac, a Syrian, who in the reign of Theodosius I founded a convent in the quarter of Psamathia outside the Constantinian Wall. He was a typical fanatical ascetic and was buried with great pomp when he died.​140 He was succeeded by Dalmatius, an active organiser, who founded new houses under his own authority. The community of the Akoimetoi or Sleepless was established at Gomon, near the northern entrance to the Bosphorus, by one Alexander in the reign of Theodosius II, but his successor John transported the monks to a new cloister at Chibukli, on the Asiatic side of the straits opposite to Sosthenion,​141 where it became famous under the next abbot Marcellus, who presided for about forty years. Two other foundations deserve notice. The monastery of Drys, a suburb of Chalcedon, was established  p386  by Hypatius, who enforced a very strict discipline, about A.D. 400. Hypatius enjoyed considerable influence. Theodosius II used to visit him, and he was constantly consulted by the nobles and ladies of the capital.​142 The most famous of the monastic communities of Constantinople was founded by Studius, an ex-consul who had come from Rome,​143 in the reign of Leo I. He dedicated a small basilica to St. John the Baptist, which is still preserved as a mosque,​144 not far from the Golden Gate, and subsequently attached to it a monastery, in which he established some of the Sleepless brethren, who had belonged to the convent of Marcellus.​145 The Studite community was to become the largest and most influential in Constantinople.

Of the countries of western Europe, early monasticism spread most widely in Gaul. Martin of Tours was the pioneer; he founded a monastery at Poictiers about A.D. 362. Some forty years later Cassian inaugurated monastic life at Marseilles, and Honoratus in the islands of Lérins off the coast of Provence. Both Cassian and Honoratus were under the direct influence of the theories of ascetic life which were practised by the Antonian monks of northern Egypt.​146 In the same period, monasteries both for men and for women — women already took their full share in the ascetic movement — were established at Rome and in Italian towns, and Augustine introduced monastic life in Africa. Spain, so far as our evidence goes, seems to have been little affected by the fashion before the sixth century.

We have no information that would enable us to conjecture the total number of the voluntary exiles from social life, who in the fifth century, whether in communities or lonely cells, mortified their bodies and their natural affections in order to assure themselves of eternal happiness. Ascetic enthusiasm was infectious, and the leading authorities of the church, such as Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, all held up the monastic life as the highest spiritual ideal, and outdid each other in their  p387  praises of celibacy and virginity. But the Church and the State soon found it necessary, in the interests of public order, to exercise control over the ascetics, who in the early period of the movement were each his own master and acknowledged no superior. The towns were often troubled by the invasion of vagrant monks, genuine or spurious, who formed a highly undesirable addition to the idle and mendicant portion of the populace.​147 We have seen again and again the turbulence of the monks, who, in their religious zeal, were ready to commit any excess of violence and transgression of decency. Their fanaticism was responsible for the useless destruction of pagan temples. They played a leading part in the disturbances at Alexandria which ended in the murder of Hypatia. They were the chief offenders in the scandalous disorders which disgraced the Council of Ephesus. During the first half of the fifth century, the bishops seem to have been gradually acquiring some control over the cloisters, but the prevailing anarchy was definitely ended by the Council of Chalcedon.​148 This assembly deplored the turbulence of the monks, and forbade them to abandon their holy life. It ordained that no one could found a monastery without a licence from the bishop of the diocese, and that no monk could leave his convent without the bishop's permission. Monastic communities were thus brought under ecclesiastical control.

The estates of the monasteries gradually increased through the donations of the rich and pious, and at the beginning of the sixth century a pagan historian writes thus of the "so‑called monks":​149 "They renounce legal marriages and fill their populous institutions in cities and villages with celibate people, useless either for war or for any service to the State; but gradually growing from the time of Arcadius to the present day they have appropriated the greater part of the earth, and on the pretext of sharing all with the poor they have, so to speak, reduced all to poverty." This is the exaggerated statement of a hostile observer, who had been an official of the treasury; but it testifies to the growing popularity, wealth, and power of monastic institutions.

 p388  The ascetic spirit, which expressed itself in monasticism, affected the secular clergy also. The strict austerity of the Manichaean heretics was a certain challenge to the Church,​150 and in their extravagant praises of virginity some of the Christian fathers were barely able to stop short of the condemnation of marriage which was a tenet of the Manichees. The view that matrimony is a necessary evil naturally involved the question of the celibacy of the clergy. In this matter ecclesiastics were left free to follow the dictates of their own conscience, and no legislation was attempted, till a Roman council (about A.D. 384) summoned by Pope Siricius, forbade bishops, priests, and deacons to marry. "Celibacy," it has been said, "was but one of the many shapes in which the rapidly progressing sacerdotalism of Rome was overlaying religion with a multitude of formal observances."​151 Against the encroachments of this sacerdotalism, a protestant movement was led in Gaul by Vigilantius, who denounced celibacy, fasting, prayers for the dead, relics, and the use of incense; but it did not survive his death. By degrees, the celibacy of the clergy became the rule in the west. In the eastern provinces, where Roman influence was not preponderant, it was otherwise. Marriage after ordination was forbidden, but compulsory separation of clergy who were already married was not imposed except in the case of bishops.152

The Author's Notes:

1 C. Th. XVI.1.2. On the doctrine of Nicaea Harnack (History of Dogma, IV.49) observes: "One of its most serious consequences was that from this time forward Dogmatics were for ever separated from clear thinking and defensible conceptions, and got accustomed to what was anti-rational. The anti-rational — not immediately, but soon enough — came to be considered as the characteristic of the sacred."

2 C. Th. XVI.1.4.

3 Harnack, ib. 106: "The educated laity in the East regarded the orthodox formula rather as a necessary evil and as an unexplainable mystery than as an expression of their Faith. The victory of the Nicene Creed was a victory of the priests over the faith of the Christian people. The Logos-doctrine has already become unintelligible to those who were not theologians. . . . The thought that Christianity is the revelation of something incomprehensible became more and more a familiar one to men's minds." He refers to a quotation in Socrates, III.7, from Evagrius the Anchorite, who will have nothing to do with theological categories, and says σιωπῇ προσκυνείσθω τὸ ἄρρητον, "Let the mystery be adored in silence."

4 Harnack, p155.

5 The Emperor's difficulties are shown in his remarkable conversation with the abbot Dalmatius, recorded by Nestorius in the Bazaar of Heraclides; see the extract in Bethune-Baker, Nestorius and his Teaching, p6, n3. He desired Dalmatius to choose, but Dalmatius refused.

6 He was consecrated on April 10, 428.

7 By the 3rd Canon of the Council: τὰ πρεσβεῖα τῆς τιμῆς μετὰ τὸν τῆς Ῥώμης διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὴν νέαν Ῥώμην.

8 Ἕνωσις φυσική or ὑποστατική. On the ambiguity of this phrase see Bethune-Baker, op. cit. 171 sqq. The term hypostasis, subsistence, is not quite synonymous with οὐσία, substance; the difference is thus explained by a Nestorian theologian: "We apply the term hypostasis to the particular substance, which subsists in its own single being, numerically one and separate from the rest" (Labourt, Le Christianisme, pp283‑284). Cp. Bethune-Baker, op. cit. 220 sqq. Nestorius maintained there were two natures, two substances, and two hypostaseis in Christ.

9 Κατὰ συνάφειαν.

10 See Bethune-Baker, op. cit. ch. VI. The main object of this book was to prove that Nestorius was orthodox and was not a "Nestorian." The dialogue of Nestorius, the Bazaar of Heraclides, or Πραγματεία Ἡρακλείδου, recently discovered in a Syriac version, supplies the important evidence that Nestorius survived till the eve of the Council of Chalcedon and agreed with the Dogmatic Epistle of Pope Leo. Cp. Loofs' Nestorius (pp21, 22), which gives a clear and interesting account of the tragedy of Nestorius. This theologian agrees with Bethune-Baker partially; he concludes that Nestorius can be considered orthodox according to the western interpretation of the definition of Chalcedon (p100). On the meaning of the term πρόσωπον (person) see pp76 sqq.

11 See Mansi, IV.617, 680. Cyril counted on theological differences in the Imperial family. Theodosius and Eudocia were under the influence of Nestorius. Theodosius saw through Cyril's tactics, and wrote him a sharp letter (ib. V.1109). Pulcheria took the other side. She had quarrelled with Nestorius, who is said to have repeatedly rebuffed and insulted her. Nestorius describes her as "a bellicose woman, a queen, a young virgin, who quarrelled with me because I would not agree to her demand of comparing a person corrupted by men to the spouse of Christ" (Book of Heraclides, p89). It appears that he questioned her virtue. The grievances of Pulcheria against Nestorius are enumerated in a letter written after the death of Nestorius to a certain Cosmas of Antioch (ib. App. I pp363‑364).

12 Held early in August 430. It condemned the views of Nestorius.

13 Book of Heraclides, in Bethune-Baker, p39; in Nau's version, p236. The antagonists of Nestorius complained similarly of the violence of the other faction and also of the partiality of Candidian. The best and fullest account of the whole proceedings is probably that of Tillemont, Mémoires, XIV.307 sqq., allowing for his prejudice against Nestorius.

14 Mansi, IV.1453; 1428.

15 A list of Cyril's presents to the chamberlains and some of the ministers at the court is preserved (printed in Nau, op. cit. p368). The most important persons to gain over were the Empress Eudocia and the Grand Chamberlain Chrysoretus, both of whom had been on the side of Nestorius. Two ladies-in‑waiting, Marcella and Droseria, received each £2250 for "persuading" Eudocia. Paul, who was probably the praepositus of Pulcheria, received the same amount and a number of valuable household things (carpets, ivory chairs, etc.). Similar but more numerous presents were made to the Grand Chamberlain to buy off his opposition, and he was promised £9000 for his help. Helleniana, the wife of the Praetorian Prefect of the East, was presented with gifts of the same kind and number, and was to receive £4500 if she enlisted her husband's help. And so on.

Thayer's Note: A reminder that Bury wrote in 1923. That these are very substantial bribes is made clear by converting them into today's money (2007): as a very rough estimate,

£2250 would be £131,000, or about $262,000.

£4500: £262,000, or about $524,000.

£9000: £524,000 — over a million dollars.

16 It seems that John the Patriarch of Antioch, who had supported him at Ephesus, found his presence embarrassing and made representation at court. Pulcheria was believed to be responsible for the exile to Oasis. See Brière, "La Légende syriaque de Nestorius," in Revue de l'orient chrétien (1910), pp1‑25.

17 C. Th. XVI.5.66.

18 He was for some time a prisoner among the Blemmyes. For the hardships he endured see Evagrius, I.7. In the Book of Heraclides, which he wrote shortly before his death, he describes the proceedings of the Second Council of Ephesus (449), and he implies that the faith which he regarded as true had triumphed (at (p355) Chalcedon), and Dioscorus had been defeated. See Bethune-Baker, op. cit. 34‑35, and Journal of Theol. Studies, IX.601.

19 Cp. Victor Tonn. sub a. 450.

20 Nestorius had been succeeded by Maximian, 431, Proculus was elected in 434, Flavian in 446. There is a good article on Eutyches in the Dict. of Chr. Biogr.

21 The collection of Pope Leo's letters (P. L. LIV; Mansi, VI) includes not only his own letters on the controversy to Theodosius, Pulcheria, Marcian, eastern ecclesiastics, etc., but also the correspondence of Galla Placidia and others with the Imperial family at Constantinople.

22 Leo, Ep. 28 (P. L. LIV.755 sqq.).

23 Harnack, ib. 207.

24 He was banished to Hypaepa in Lydia, and died on his way thither in consequence of ill-treatment.

25 Leo, Epp. 82‑86.

26 Ep. 89.

27 About 600.

28 Namely, his Synodal letters to Nestorius and the Orientals (Epp. 4, 17; 39).

29 Ἐν δύο φύσεσιν ἀσυγχύτως κτλ. Cp. Loofs, op. cit. 97.

30 Συντρεχούσης.

31 Harnack, ib. 196, 214. It is worth observing that the majority of the bishops of the Asiatic provinces absented themselves.

32 Loofs, op. cit. p99. Duchesne (Hist. anc. de l'Église, III.449) remarks: "Vive la doctrine de Flavien et de Léon ! Anathème à Nestorius ! C'est tout le concile de Chalcédoine."

33 The change was bitterly felt by Ephesus, the premier see of Asia Minor, associated as it was with early apostolic history, the memories of Paul and Timothy, and of John the Evangelist, who was said to have died and been buried there. The archbishop lost not only his independence but even his rank, for he was placed second to the metropolitan of Cappadocian Caesarea. It was hardly much consolation that he was allowed the title of "Exarch of the Diocese of Asia."

34 See Cyrillus, Vita Euthymii, p64 sqq. Génier, Vie de Saint Euthyme, 209 sqq.

35 The usurpation of Theodosius lasted for 20 months, A.D. 452‑453. Evagrius, II.5. Theophanes, A.M. 5945.

36 Gelzer (in Krumbacher, G. B. L., p919) designates the decisions of Chalcedon, regarded from a political aspect, as a most grievous misfortune for the east-Roman Empire.

37 Jerome, Comm. in Jerem., P. L. XXIV.680‑682, 757‑758. Cp. Bury, "The Origin of Pelagius," in Hermathena, XXX.26 sqq. On the controversy, see Pelagius, Letter to Demetrias, P. L. XXXII.1100; the numerous writings of Augustine on the subject, P. L. XLVII; Marius Mercator, Commonitorium super nomine Caelestii, ib. XLVIII; Jerome's Three Books Adversus Pelagium, and his Letter to Ctesiphon (P. L. XXII.1152). A Commentary by Pelagius on the Pauline epistles existed in Ireland in the Middle Ages (Zimmer, Pelagius in Ireland, 1901). The Patriarch Nestorius wrote treatises against Pelagianism of which Latin translations by Marius Mercator are preserved (P. L. XLVIII).

38 Pelagius distinguished eternal life from the bliss of Paradise.

39 De peccatorum meritis; de natura et gratia; and de perfectione iustitiae hominis (A.D. 415).

40 At the Synods of Carthage and Milevis (A.D. 416). Innocent replied (Jan. 417), condemning the heresy in strong language. The correspondence will be found in Innocent, Epp. 26‑31, P. L. XX.

41 Zosimus, Epp. 2 and 3 (P. L. XX.649, 654).

42 Id., Ep. 12 (ib. 675). In this letter he says quamvis patrium traditio apostolica sedi auctoritatem tantam tribuerit ut de eius iudicio disceptare nullus auderet.

43 Cp. Maassen, Gesch. der Quellen und der Lit. des kanonischen Rechts, I p316. Caelestius was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

44 Known as Semipelagians.

Thayer's Note: For an exhaustive treatment, see the article Semipelagianism in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

45 In another African affair he also compromised himself. A priest of Sicca, deposed by his bishop, appealed to Rome. Zosimus, in demanding his reinstatement, based his action on a canon which he alleged to be Nicene. The African bishops were unable to discover it among the canons of the Council of Nicaea. It was really a canon of the Council of Sardica.

46 Epp. Impp. Pontt., ed. Günther, I p58 = P. L. XIII.587; it was provided that the appeal might also be addressed to a council of fifteen neighbouring bishops.

47 It may be added that Roman excommunication was recognised as exclusion from Catholic communion. Boniface, Ep. 14, P. L. XX.777. Cp. Babut, Le Concile de Turin, p75.

48 Marseilles was an exception to the rule that the civil was also the ecclesiastical metropolis. The civil metropolis of Narbonensis II was Aquae (Aix). Marseilles was in Narbonensis I.

49 C. A.D. 413, cp. Mommsen, Chron. Min. I p553. Patroclus was a friend of the Patrician, afterwards Emperor, Constantius, and doubtless had the support of his influence. Prosper, sub 412.

50 See Zosimus, Ep. 1, P. L. XX.642, addressed universis episcopis per Gallias et septem provincias constitutis.

51 The difficulties about this Council, its date, and its importance, were first elucidated by Babut, op. cit. For the history of the struggle over theº Arles see also Gundlach, Der Streit der Bistümer Arles und Vienne, 1890.

52 After his death the bishops of Africa, in a letter to Pope Boniface, expressed a hope that they would not again be exposed to such arrogance, non sumus iam istum typhum passuri, P. L. XX.752.

53 Boniface, 418‑422; Celestine, 422‑432.

54 By Boniface. For Celestine's attitude see his letter, Ep. 4, P. L. L.429.

55 Babut, op. cit. 147 sqq.

56 Valentinian III, Nov. 17. Leo, Ep. 10, P. L. LIV.628. Cp. Tillemont, Mém. 15, 82; Babut, p172.

57 Five years later, however, Leo restored this rank to Arles, giving it a part of the Viennese diocese. This was after Hilary's death.

58 The unwillingness of leading churchmen at the beginning of the fifth century to admit the exorbitant claims of Rome is illustrated by Jerome's letter to Evangelus, Ep. 146, P. L. XXII p1194; he observes, orbis maior est urbe.

59 See above Chap. II, p64. A.D. 421, C. Th. XVI.11.45. Cp. Innocent, Ep. 13. Gieseler, Lehrbuch, II.217.

60 Estimates, based on highly conjectural data, of the number of Christians vary from one-twentieth to one-sixth of the total population. See V. Schultze, Der Untergang des gr.-röm. Heidentums, I p22 sqq.

61 The law is not preserved, but is recorded by Eusebius, Vita Const. II.45, and referred to by Constantius, C. Th. XVI.10.2.

62 Firmicus Maternus, in his De errore profanarum religionum, urged them to drastic measures.

63 C. Th. XVI.10.4 (A.D. 342) gladio ultore sternatur.

64 Julian, Ep. 78, ed. Hertlein.

65 Ammianus Marc. XXX.9 inter religionum diversitates medius stetit.

66 Zosimus, IV.3.

67 Ambrose, Epp. I.17 and 18 (P. L. XVI.961 and 971). Symmachus, Relatio 3. Prudentius, Contra Symmachum. Gracchus, Prefect of Rome in 376, demolished a cave-temple of Mithras at Rome (Jerome, Ep. 107 ad Laetam, P. L. XXII.868; Prudentius, ib. I.561 sqq.).

68 See Libanius, Or. XXX § 8 (ed. Förster). This appeal which Libanius addressed to the Emperor on behalf of the temples was written in summer A.D. 388, as R. van Loy has satisfactorily shown (B. Z. XXII.313 sqq.). The orator refers to the campaign conducted by Cynegius, who had recently died.

69 Eunapius, Vita Aedesii, p43.

70 The account of Sozomen, VII.15, is better than that of Socrates, V.16, 17. See also Eunapius, ib. The pagans were not guiltless in this affair. They had attacked the Christians and fortified themselves in the buildings of the Serapeum; but they had been provoked to this outbreak by Theophilus, who had paraded religious symbols, taken from a temple of Dionysus (which the Emperor had permitted him to convert into a church), through the streets in derision of the pagan cults. The most unfortunate occurrence was the destruction of the library of the Serapeum (Orosius, VI.15).

71 C. Th. XVI.10.10 and 11 (391); 12 (392).

72 A.D. 394. On the debate in the Senate see Zosimus IV.59; Prudentius, Contra Symm. I.415 sqq.; Hodgkin, Italy, I.580 sqq.

73 E.g. Albinus, a pontifex. Jerome, Ep. 107 ad Laetam (P. L. XXII.868). As to the small number of Christian senators cp. above, p164.

74 Swinburne's version. The original is preserved in the Vita S. Artemii (A. S. 20 Oct. viii), § 35, p870:

ἔιπατε τῷ βασιλῆι, χαμαὶ πέσε δαίδαλος αὐλά·
οὐκέτι Φοῖβος ἔχει καλύβαν, οὐ μάντιδα δάφναν,
οὐ παγὰν λαλέουσαν· ἀπέσβετο καὶ λάλον ὕδωρ.

75 Cedrenus I.364 (cp. Moses of Chorene, III.40); Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, III. p. xv. A passage of Julian (Ep. 35) seems to imply that the Pythian, Nemean, and Isthmian games were celebrated in his day. Cp. C. Th. XV.5.4 for games at Delphi (A.D. 424), and there is a record that the Olympian games came to an end in the reign of Theodosius II (Scholia in Lucianum, Praec. Rhet. ed. Rabe, p174).

76 Eunapius (Vita Maximi) suggests that the destruction was wrought by a band of fanatical monks who accompanied the Gothic army.

77 Gregorovius, Gesch. d. Stadt Athen, I.26.33.

78 Marinus, Vita Procli, c30.

79 Gregorovius, ib. 64, conjectures in the reign of Justinian.

80 C. Th. XVI.10.13 (395); XVI.10.14 (396) abolishing some immunities still enjoyed by old priesthoods.

81 Ib. XVI.10.16.

82 Theodoret V.9.

83 In southern Gaul, C. Th. XVI.10.15; in Africa, ib. XVIII (399).

84 Sulpicius Severus, Dialogus, III.2. Vacandard, Saint Victrice, 1903. Burns, Life and Works of Nicetas of R., 1905.

85 A.D. 423, C. Th. XVI.10.22.

86 A.D. 435, ib. 25.

87 C. Th. I.11.8; subsequent laws against Hellenism by Leo, Zeno, or Anastasius (?), ib. 9.10.

88 A.D. 448, ib. I.1.3. The law says, the books of Porphyry "or any one else." The anti-Christian work of Porphyry has perished, like those of Celsus and Julian. There is a new edition of the fragments by Harnack, Porphyrius "Gegen die Christen" 1916 (Abh. of the Prussian Academy).

89 In quiete degentibus, C. Th. XVI.10.24.

90 A law issued at Ravenna in 408 excluded enemies of the Catholic faith from serving in the Palace, but was probably applied only temporarily. C. Th. XVI.5.42. In 416 persons polluted with errors of pagan rites were excluded from state service, ib. XVI.10.21, but this would not affect those who had not been found guilty of sacrificing.

91 Gregorovius, ib. 28, 29.

92 On the origins of the cult of saints and martyrs see E. Lucius, Die Anfänge des Heiligenkults in der christlichen Kirche, 1904; P. Saintyves, Les Saints successeurs des dieux, 1907; J. Rendel Harris, The Dioscuri in the Christian Legends, 1903, Cult of the Heavenly Twins, 1906.

93 Known as the anargyroi, physicians who take no fee. For their miracles see Zeumer, De incubatione, 69 sqq., where the whole subject is treated.

94 In his church at Sosthenion on the Bosphorus, Sozomen, II.3.

95 See their Acts in P. G. LXXXVII.3.3424 sqq.

96 There seems to have been much mutual tolerance between Christians and pagans in private life. Chrysostom exhorts to goodwill and friendliness toward Hellenes. "They are all children," he says, "and, like children, when we talk about necessary things they do not attend but laugh." Hom. 4 on Ep. I ad Corinth., P. G. LXI.38. In another sermon he describes a dispute between a Hellene and a Christian on the merits of Plato and Paul, the one asserting that Paul was rude and unlearned, the other that he was more learned and eloquent than Plato. Chrysostom's comment is that the Christian took a wrong line, and that the glory of the apostles lay in their rudeness and ignorance. (Hom. iii ib. 27). Elsewhere he disparages Socrates (Hom. 4, ib. p35), and Plato (Hom. 4 on Acts, P. G. 60, 50).

97 Anthol. Pal. IX.441.

98 1000 solidi or something more, Damascius, Vita Isidori, § 158, referring to the time of Proclus. That the other professors were well paid from the public σιτήσεις may be inferred from Libanius, Epp. 1449.

Thayer's Note: A reminder again that Bury wrote in 1923. Today (2007), as a very rough estimate, £600 would be £35,000, or about $70,000: the same kind of salary as a modern university professor.

99 He was the pupil of Aedesius, the most distinguished pupil of Iamblichus who was himself a pupil of Porphyry.

100 We know a good deal about university life at Athens in the fourth and fifth centuries. (See Hertzberg, Gesch. Griechenlands, III passim; Sievers, Das Leben des Libanius, 42 sqq.). The principal sources for the fifth are Olympiodorus, fr. 51; Marinus, Vita Procli; Damascius, Vita Isidori; various articles in Suidas.

101 He had studied Plotinus and Porphyry in Latin translations. See Angus, Sources of De civ. Dei, p268.

102 Gesch. der philosophie, 73‑74, in WerkeXV. The most recent treatment of the metaphysics of Proclus will be found in Whittaker's The Neoplatonists. Procopius, the famous sophist of Gaza, wrote a refutation of the theology of Proclus, which has been preserved under the name of Nicolaus of Methone (Ἀνάπτυξις τὴς θεολογικῆς στοιχειώσεως Πρόκλου) who simply transcribed Procopius, as has been shown by J. Dräseke, B. Z. VI.55 sqq.

103 See the instructive article of K. Prächter, in B. Z. XXI.1 sqq. Of the works of Hierocles are preserved his Commentary on the Golden Words of Pythagoras, in Mullach, Fr. phil. graec. I.416 sqq., and fragments Περὶ προνοίας καὶ εἱμαρμένης in Photius, Bibl. 214, 251.

104 Suidas, sub Ἱεροκλῆς: προσέκρουσε τοῖς κρατοῦσι καὶ εἰς δικαστήριον ἀχθεὶς ἐτύπτετο τὰς ἐξ ἀνθρώπων πληγάς . . . φυγὴν δὲ κατακριθεῖς καὶ ἐπανελθὼν χρόνῳ ὕστερον εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν κτλ. The source of Suidas was Damascius, Vita Isidori, see Photius, Bibl. 242 (p338). It may be noted that in political philosophy the Neoplatonists held to Plato's theories. The only attempt at original speculation in the field of political science in this age is to be found in a tract Περὶ πολιτικῆς ἐπιστήμης, much mutilated, published in Mai (Scriptores vet. nov. coll. II.571 sqq.) which has been elucidated by Prächter in B. Z. IX.621 sqq. It seems to have been written by a Christian, c. A.D. 500, who was influenced by Neoplatonism, but did not swear by Plato, and made much use of Cicero's De republica.

105 Marinus, Vita Procli, c19. Six hymns of Proclus addressed to Greek gods are extant; others celebrated Isis, Marnas the god of Gaza, Thyandrites an Arabian deity (ib.).

106 Ib. c28. The learned Asclepigenia married a rich landowner Archiadas, who was very generous to the university. Their daughter, the younger Asclepigenia, married Theagenes, the richest Greek of the day and notably public-spirited in the use of his wealth. He became Archon of Athens.

107 See next Chapter, § 2.

108 Ep. 172 varietatem veritas, quae est simplex atque una, non recipit (P. L. XX p1216).

109 The chief sources for Manichaeanism are: the acta Archelai, and Alexander of Lycopolis (a Platonist, not a Christian), πρὸς τὰς Μανιχαίου δόξας (for the early stage of its development); Epiphanius, De haer.; Augustine, Contra Faustum (and other treatises).

110 They are accused of disgusting practices, Augustine, De haer. 46. Cp. Salmon's art. "Manicheans" in Dict. Chr. Biog. III.798.

111 C. Th. XVI.5.7 (A.D. 381); 9 (A.D. 382). Further legislation under Arcadius and Theodosius II will be found in the same title.

112 The words et ultimo supplicio tradendis, in C. J. I.5.5 are omitted in C. Th. XVI.5.65.

113 Ib. 25.

114 Ib. 27 (395); 58 (415).

115 C. J. I.5.8.

116 The numerous writings against the Donatists will be found in P. L. 43.

117 C. Th. XVI.6.4 and 6; 5.38 and 39.

118 Augustine, Ep. CXI.

119 For the proceedings of the conference see Mansi, IV.51 sqq.

120 A.D. 412. C. Th. XVI.5.52. Slaves and colons were to be beaten out of their false religion (a prava religione).

121 A.D. 414. Ib. 53 perpetua inustos infamia.

122 Augustine, Ep. CXIII.

123 Diocletian had legislated against Manichaeanism (A.D. 287) as destructive of morality.

124 Chrysostom expresses his views on the repression of heretics in Hom. 46 in Matth. (P. G. XLVIII p477), where he comments on the parable of the tares. They should be silenced but not put to death.

125 Maleficium. Sulpicius Severus, Chron. II.50 nec diffitentem obscenis se studuisse doctrinis, nocturnos etiam turpium feminarum egisse conuentus nudumque orare solitum. Babut, Priscillien et le Priscilliénisme (1909); Holmes, The Christian Church in Gaul, chapters VIII, IX.

126 A.D. 404. C. Th. XVI.8.15 confirms the privileges of the Jewish hierarchy. For the pressure put on Emperors by churchmen not to afford proper protection to the Jews against Christian fanatics cp. Ambrose, Epp. 40, 41. For the anti-Semitism of Chrysostom see his eight homilies Against the Jews delivered at Antioch, P. G. XLVIII.843 sqq. He says that "demons inhabit their souls," p852. There is a virulent attack on the Jews in Rutilius Nam. De reditu suo, I.382 sqq.

127 Ib. IX.4 (416); IX.5 (423). Justinian extended this to pagans, Samaritans, and all heterodox persons (C. J. I.10.2).

128 C. J. I.9.18 (439).

129 Thus in 412, Christians were forbidden to disturb Jewish worship; and in 423 to burn or take away synagogues (C. Th. XVI.8.20 and 25).

130 For the literature on early monasticism see C. Med. H. I. Bibliography to chap. XVIII; Bury, App. 3 to Gibbon IV.

131 The chief settlements were in the desert south of Alexandria, at Nitria (Wadi Natron) and Scete. At Nitria there were 5000 monks towards the end of the fourth century. The chief sources for Egyptian monasticism are Palladius, Historia Lausiaca, and Rufinus, Historia monachorum.

132 A.D. 388‑459. Having lived at first in an enclosed cell at Antioch, he built a low pillar in 423, and gradually raised it till in 430 it was forty cubits high; at the top it was three feet in circumference, according to Evagrius, I.13. It was situated at the ruins known as Kalat Semian, house of Simeon, described by De Vogüé, Syrie Centrale, I.141 sqq. Theodosius II wrote a letter to him, asking him to descend from his column. On his death, his body was taken to Antioch with the honours of a state funeral, and Leo I wished to have it transported to Constantinople (see Evagrius I.13, 14; Theodore Lector II.41; Vita Sim. Styl. ed. Lietzmann). Daniel, an imitator of Simeon, set up a pillar four miles north of Constantinople, and lived on it for thirty-three years, in the reigns of Leo I and Zeno. He was constantly frozen over with snow and ice, and his feet were covered with sores. Leo insisted on putting a shed over the top of the pillar. The saint descended from his perch in order to denounce the ecclesiastical policy of Belisarius. The Patriarch Euphemius attended him in his last moments. See the Vita Danielis.

133 The Rules will be found in his works, P. G. XXXI.889 sqq.

134 They are enumerated and located in Génier, Vie de Saint Euthyme le Grand, chap. I.

135 The lives of Euthymius and Sabas were written by Cyril of Scythopolis in the sixth century. On Theodosius we have a brief sketch by the same writer and a panegyric by Theodore, bishop of Petrae, probably delivered in 530. (See Bibliography, I.2, A.)

136 Euthymius did much for the conversion of the Saracens, and founded the Parembole (to the east of his own laura), a large enclosure in which baptized Saracens were settled. They had their own bishop. The Parembole was ruined by the invasion of Al‑Mundhar in the sixth century.

137 Cp. Génier, op. cit. p11.

138 Cyril, Vita Sabae, XLVIII p251.

139 Archimandrite, i.e. head of the mandra or sheep-pen, often used instead of ἡγούμενος, the usual term, or ἀββᾶς. In later times archimandrite was confined to designate authority over several monasteries; exarch was also used.

140 In 407‑408. He was an opponent of Chrysostom. For the beginnings of monasticism at Constantinople see Pargoire's article in Revue des questions historiques, LXV, 1899, where many false traditions are exposed.

141 Vita Marcellis, in Simeon Metaphrastes,º P. G. CXVI p712. Cp. Pargoire, Anaple et Sosthène, p64. The monks were called sleepless because they maintained choral service continuously by relays.

142 See Callinicus, Vita Hypatii.

143 Consul in 454. But an epigram on the church represents him as rewarded by the consul­ship for building it (Anth. Graeca, I.4).

144 Emir Ahor Jamissi. Described by van Millingen, Byzantine Churches, chap. II.

145 A.D. 462‑463. Theodore Lector, I.7 = Theophanes A.M. 5955. But the sleepless tradition was not maintained at Studion, and when we read of the Akoimetoi, the monks of the cloister on the Bosphorus are meant, not the Studites.

146 Cassian's Collationes profess to reproduce the teaching of the monastic leaders of Nitria and Scete.

147 An edict of 390 (Verona) commands monks to remain in "desert places and vast solitudes," C. Th. XVI.3.1, but in 392 Theodosius withdrew the prohibition of free entry into towns (ib. 2). Chrysostom excited much resentment in monastic circles by his endeavour to suppress the monks who lounged about Constantinople.

148 Canons 3, 4, 7, 16 (Mansi, VII.371 sqq.). Cp. C. J. I.3.53.

149 Zosimus, V.23.

150 Cp. Lea, History of Sacerdotal Celibacy, I.33 sqq.

151 Lea, ib. 66.

152 Cp. Socrates, V.22; C. J. I.3.45; Justinian, Nov. CXXIII.12; Concilium Trullianum, Canons 13, 30 (Mansi, XI.948, 956). Men who had been twice married were strictly excluded from holy orders.

Thayer's Note:

a The quip is in Letter 136.

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