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date: 28 November 2022

Firmicus Maternus, Iuliuslocked

Firmicus Maternus, Iuliuslocked

  • David Potter

Extract

Firmicus Maternus, Iulius, of *Syracuse, wrote (334–7ce) an astrological treatise, Mathesis, in eight books, the first containing an apologia for *astrology. In this book he promised to provide a Latin summary of the wisdom of Babylonian and Egyptian astrologers. In doing so he reveals considerable ignorance of the technical aspects of the subject; the panegyric on *Constantine (1) in book 1 is however of considerable interest, as is the discourse on the lingering death of *Plotinus (Math. 1. 10. 13–14, 1. 7. 14–22). He later converted to *Christianity and wrote Concerning the Error of Profane Religions, a blistering attack upon traditional cult in which he urged *Constantius II and *Constans to eradicate paganism (343–50). The most interesting features of this work are his effort to contrast pagan symbolism with Christian, his accounts of the origins of some ancient cults, and the insight that he offers into the impact of Constantinian legislation against traditional cults in the western empire.

Subjects

  • Roman Myth and Religion

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