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Prudentius Clemens, Aurelius, 348–after 405 CE  

Cillian O'Hogan

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens was a Christian Latin poet who wrote in a variety of genres and metres. Born in northern Spain, in 348ce, he had a career in public administration before retiring to write poetry. His major works include the Liber Cathemerinon (poems keyed to the liturgy and religious calendar), Psychomachia (an allegorical epic on the battle between Virtues and Vices for the human soul), and the Liber Peristephanon (lyric poems in praise of the early martyrs of the church). Prudentius was particularly influenced by the works of Virgil and Horace, and aimed in his poetry to combine the form and language of classical Latin poetry with the message of Christianity. The most important Christian Latin poet of late antiquity, Prudentius was extremely influential throughout the Middle Ages.Aurelius Prudentius Clemens (348–after 405ce) was the most important and influential Christian Latin poet of late antiquity. Called by Richard Bentley the ‘.



Geoffrey Greatrex

Not much can be said of the shadowy Syriac compiler who expanded Zachariah’s Ecclesiastical History around the year 569ce. There is even some dispute as to whether his compilation should be termed a chronicle or an Ecclesiastical History; it is perhaps best to refer to it simply as a “Miscellaneous History,” as Witold Witakowski has proposed.1 The author was probably a monk based at Amida, a city that features extensively in Books vii—xii, and able to draw on both written and oral sources for his work; at xii.7l, for instance, he cites John of Resaina for his account of the Huns, while at vii.5b he implies familiarity with a certain Gadana at Amida. In the latter case, given that the siege described took place in 502–503ce, he may be drawing on an earlier source. He claims familiarity also with “a certain Dominic,” a refugee from Italy in Constantinople before Justinian’s reconquest (ix.18a). He had access to dossiers of correspondence, some of which may have been held in the library of Mara, bishop of Amid (viii.5b), and to some conciliar records (ii.3). It has recently been suggested that Pseudo-Zachariah may have been an archiatros or official doctor, perhaps before becoming a monk; there are, at any rate, several references to such officials in the work, for example, at ix.


Pulcheria, Roman Augusta, 414–453 CE  

Hugh Elton

Pulcheria was a Roman empress in the early to mid-5th century ce, one of the sisters of the eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II (408–450). Pulcheria spent her entire life in Constantinople (modern Istanbul) and its suburbs where she was a prominent public figure. She has been described as being influential in the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451, and as a significant founder of churches in Constantinople. Following the death of the childless Theodosius in 450, Marcian (450–457) became emperor and then married Pulcheria. Aged 55, Pulcheria died in Constantinople in July 453. Many ancient and modern interpretations of Pulcheria’s life rely heavily on later source material, with the result that she was more influential in historiography from the 6th century onward than in her own lifetime. She is portrayed very differently by two contemporary historians, Sozomen and Socrates Scholasticus. In Sozomen’s account, she is represented as managing the Roman Empire in the early part of Theodosius’ reign. Socrates Scholasticus, however, omits her from his history. These two different perspectives probably relate to conflict between Pulcheria and Eudocia, Theodosius’ wife from 421.


Rufinus (2), of Aquileia, Christian writer, translator, and monastic leader  

C. P. Bammel

Rufinus (2) of *Aquileia, Christianwriter, translator, and monastic leader, born c.ce 345 at Concordia Sagittaria of good family, boyhood friend of *Jerome, whose education he shared, baptised at Aquileia c.371, studied in Egypt for eight years under Didymus the Blind and desert hermits, presided over a monastery on the Mount of Olives, and from 393 onwards became involved in the Origenist controversy (see origen (1)), returning to Italy in 397. He there produced many translations or adaptations from the Greek, including *Eusebius'Church History, which he extended to 395 by adding two extra books; also Origen's De Principiis, commentaries on the Song of Songs and on Romans, and numerous homilies, the Clementine Recognitions, selected sermons of *Gregory (2) of Nazianzus and *Basil of Caesarea, and the Sentences of Sextus. He had an important influence on the development of western monasticism both personally and through his translations (Basil's Rule, the Historia Monachorum, writings of Evagrius Ponticus).


Saba, St  

Peter Heather

St. Saba, a Gothic martyr (see goths) killed on 12 April 372 during the Gothic persecution of Christians which followed the peace of 369. His remains were secured by Junius Soranus, dux Scythiae, and sent to his native Cappadocia; the Passion is the accompanying letter. Saba's example was exploited by *Basil of Caesarea (Epp.


sacramentum (military)  

George Ronald Watson and Antony Spawforth

Sacramentum (military), the oath of allegiance, sworn on attestation by a Roman recruit; the most strictly observed of all Roman oaths according to *Dionysius (7) of Halicarnassus. Its content stressed obedience to the consuls or commanding officers and good discipline (Dion. Hal., Ant. Rom. 11.43; 10. 18); in the mid-2nd cent. bce the tribunes administered it (Polyb. 6. 21. 2). After the reforms of C. *Marius (1) soldiers swore the oath to their general, and it took on a personal hue (e.g. Plut. Sull. 27. 3), thus encouraging the personal armies of the late Republic. From *Augustus loyalty was sworn to the emperor, before the standards (Tac.Ann. 15. 29); the oath was renewed annually on New Year's Day or the anniversary of the emperor's accession (Tac.Hist. 1. 55; Plin.Ep. 10. 60). In the Christian empire soldiers swore much the same oath but by God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost (Vegetius 2. 5). See oaths.


Salvianus, of Marseilles, b. c. 400 CE  

John F. Matthews and David Lambert

He had relatives at Cologne and c.421 witnessed the Frankish attack (see *Franks) upon Trier (*Augusta Treverorum). In 425, with his wife Palladia's consent, he joined Honoratus' monastery at Lérins. By the 460s he was resident in Marseilles, but it is not clear whether he had lived there ever since leaving Lérins. He died after c. 465. Two full length works and nine letters by Salvian are extant. Ad Ecclesiam (c.440) is a tract against avarice, focusing particularly on inheritance. Faced by misery and pauperism he urged that all estates be bequeathed for the poor and denounced inherited wealth. The German invaders he interpreted in his best-known work, De Gubernatione Dei, as an instrument of divine wrath against the decadent Roman Empire, contrasting Christian laxity with the high morality of the barbarians who erred ‘in good faith’. Salvian's moral criticism in De Gubernatione Dei is marked by concern with social injustice, and abuses of power by the wealthy and by the Roman state.


Sedulius, fl. 435 CE  

Samuel James Beeching Barnish

His Paschale Carmen, five books of hexameters (with prose paraphrase) on Christ's life and miracles, is mainly a Christologically didactic adaptation of the Gospels. Thick with Virgilian echoes (see virgil), and perhaps intended to rival the Aeneid, it long proved popular. Two hymns also survive.


Sextus (2), originator of a collection of maxims  

William David Ross and M. J. Edwards

Sextus (2), originator of a collection of maxims, mentioned by *Origen (1) and translated into Latin by *Rufinus (2) under the title Anulus. The Syriac translation bears the title Dicta Selecta Sancti Xysti Episcopi Romani, but *Jerome denies the attribution to Xystus (ce 256–8), calling the author Sextus Pythagoreus. The popularity of these sayings in Christian circles is attested by the discovery of a defective Coptic version at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. The original collection was probably non-Christian, made in the 2nd cent. ce, and, while Christian additions were gradually made, definite allusions to Christ were avoided.



William Moir Calder, John Manuel Cook, Antony Spawforth, and Charlotte Roueché

Smyrna (mod. Izmir), a city on the west coast of Asia Minor at the head of the Hermaic Gulf, the natural outlet of the trade of the *Hermus valley and within easy reach of the *Maeander valley. Old Smyrna lay at the NE corner of the gulf. Occupied by Greeks c.1000 bce, the site is important archaeologically, with excavations revealing a Dark Age Greek settlement, its village-like layout replaced in the 7th cent. by a handsome fortified city with regular streets and a peripteral temple (unfinished). Captured by *Alyattesc.600 bce, the city was thereafter inhabited ‘village-fashion’ (Strabo 14. 1. 37). It was refounded on its present site around Mt. Pagus by *Alexander (3) or his successors *Antigonus (1) and *Lysimachus; its Augustan appearance is recorded by Strabo (ibid.). Throughout the Roman period it was famous for its wealth, fine buildings and devotion to science and medicine. A major centre of the *Second Sophistic, it was home to Aelius *Aristides, who persuaded Marcus *Aurelius to restore it after earthquakes in ce 178 and 180.


Socrates Scholasticus, lawyer  

Jill Harries

Socrates Scholasticus, lawyer in *Constantinople, continued the Historia Ecclesiastica of *Eusebius from 305 ce to 439, basing his account on documentary and first-hand testimony, as Eusebius had done. Books 1–2, at first dependent on the history of *Rufinus (2) of Aquileia, were revised in the light of Athanasius' writings; Socrates' sources for the eastern Church (he knew little of the west) included documentary collections such as the conciliar Acta assembled by bishop Sabinus of Heraclea in 375, now lost. As a layman, he was relatively indifferent to doctrinal minutiae and had little time for episcopal squabbling. Writing, unlike the early Eusebius, under a Christian empire, Socrates, like *Sozomen, perceived a need to redefine the genre of church history invented by Eusebius by analysing the relationship of ecclesiastical to secular events. His history was the main source for Sozomen and *Theodoret, and the three histories were later edited to form the Latin Historia Tripartita.


Sophronius, 'the Sophist'  

John F. Matthews

Patriarch of Jerusalem (from c. 560–638, 634ce) at the time of the Arab conquest of 637. He wrote a theological manifesto against the doctrine that although Christ had two natures he had only one will, panegyrics on Egyptian saints (Cyrus and John, John the Almsgiver, Maria the penitent prostitute), sermons for Christmas and other feasts, and 23 anacreontic odes of esoteric difficulty.


Sozomen, church historian  

Alberto J. Quiroga Puertas

Salamanes Hermeias Sozomenus, also known as Sozomen, was a lawyer and church historian. The scarce biographical information that we have about him derives from ex silentio arguments and from the interpretation of passages of his extant work, The Ecclesiastical History. Even his full name presents doubts, as the three names that it consisted of are presented in different orders in the manuscripts transmitting his work. It has also been argued that Sozomen could be a Greek translation of Salamanes, a name of Semitic origins. Sozomen’s date of birth has also been a matter of debate, with estimates ranging from 380 to 427, although a date at the beginning of the 5th century seems to be the most likely approximation. Less problematic is to determine his place of birth, Betheleia, a village near Gaza in Palestine where Sozomen’s family had been long established. His grandfather seems to have been the first of the family to convert to Christianity when he witnessed how the monk Hilarion cast out a demon that had possessed a fellow citizen (Sozomen, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.


Stephanus of Byzantium  

Robert Browning

Greek grammarian, probably a contemporary of *Justinian, and a publicly appointed teacher in Constantinople. Nothing is known in detail of his life except that he was a Christian. He is the author of Ethnica, in sixty books, an alphabetical list of place-names together with the adjectives derived from them. The original work, which contained information on foundation-legends, etymologies, changes of name, oracles, historical anecdotes, proverbs, etc. , is lost. The surviving *epitome, consisting mainly of jejune entries, was compiled some time between the 6th and 10th cents. ce. It may be the work of one Hermolaus, mentioned in the *Suda, but some scholars believe that it is actually a conflation of at least two epitomes, made on slightly different principles. There are fragments of the original extensive text embedded in the De Administrando Imperio and De Thematibus of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.Stephanus was neither a geographer—he makes no direct use of *Ptolemy (4)—nor a historian—he puts down side by side information dating from different epochs—but a grammarian.


Sulpicius Quirinius, Publius  

Ronald Syme and Barbara Levick

Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, consul 12 bce, a *novus homo from *Lanuvium (on his career cf. Tac.Ann. 3. 48). Quirinius defeated the Marmaridae (Florus 2. 31), perhaps as proconsul of *Crete and *Cyrene (c.15 bce). Between 12 bce and ce 2 he subjugated the Homanadenses, ‘Cilician’ brigands (see brigandage) on Lake Trogitis (Strabo 569). The precise date of this war and the command held by Quirinius are disputed. It has been argued that he must have been legate of *Syria at the time; but the war could have been conducted only from the side of *Galatia, which province, though normally governed by imperial legates (see legati) of praetorian rank, might easily have been placed under a consular (cf. L. *Calpurnius Piso (2), c.13 bce, and M. *Plautius Silvanus in ce 6). Quirinius prudently paid court to *Tiberius on Rhodes, succeeded M.


Symeon the Stylite the Younger  

Dina Boero and Charles Kuper

Symeon the Stylite the Younger (521–592 ce), a pillar-saint or “stylite,” practised his mode of Christian asceticism for more than sixty years on a mountain southwest of Antioch. Symeon’s lifetime, spanning most of the 6th century, coincides with a drastic time of transition in the history of Antioch, which began with the devastating earthquake of 526 ce and includes events such as the sack of Antioch in 540 ce and the Plague of Justinian in the following years. Symeon also happens to be one of the best-documented holy men from this period. The remains of his monastery have been preserved and studied extensively. A number of pilgrimage objects, most notably clay tokens, have also received much scholarly attention. The extant literary evidence is also vast, though understudied in comparison. It includes homilies, letters, and short hymns penned by the saint himself, as well as two hagiographies composed by members of his monastic community shortly after his death. Symeon, therefore, is a critical figure for understanding many issues relevant to the study of the Eastern Roman Empire during this period: political, social, and theological history; the development of cult sites and pilgrimage; the literary self-representation of a stylite and his community; and the construction of monumental architecture and water management in remote locations in Syria, among many others.


Synesius, of Cyrene, Christian Neoplatonist, c. 370–413 CE  

Peter Heather

Christian Neoplatonist (See neoplatonism) and bishop of Ptolemais (see pentapolis) 410–13. A pupil of *Hypatia at Alexandria, he tended towards oratory and poetry. Nine hymns, 156 letters, and a series of discourses are extant. Of the latter, the Dion is a powerful attack on the contemporary decline of humane culture, whether in the form of exaggerated Christian *asceticism or superstitious pagan *theurgy. He shared Neoplatonic interest in the occult (e.g. the Chaldaean oracles) and wrote on *divination by *dreams (see alchemy). His wife and brother were Christians; he himself was probably a catechumen as early as 399. He spent three years in *Constantinople (probably 397/8–400) as ambassador of his city requesting tax reductions, during which he became greatly involved in imperial politics. Much recent scholarship has focused on his De Regno and De Providentia, two works written at this time which both reveal Synesius' involvement with contemporary politics and shed much light on the issues and personalities concerned. Partly because of his ability to deal with government authorities, he was elected bishop of Ptolemais (Libya: see pentapolis) in 410.



Arnold Hugh Martin Jones and Stephen Mitchell

Tarsus, a native Cilician (see cilicia) town with a long prehistoric past, which later claimed *Triptolemus, *Perseus(1), and above all *Heracles as its founder. It was capital of the Cilician kings and of the Persian satraps of the region (see persia; satrap), but it issued coins in its own name with Greek and *Aramaic legends and with predominantly Persian types during the 5th and 4th cents. bce. It was renamed Antioch on the Cydnus and issued coins in this name under *Antiochus (4) IV between 175 and 164; the old name prevailed later and is still used today. Annexed to Cilicia by *Pompey it was granted freedom and immunity (see free cities; immunitas) by Antony (M. *Antonius(2)) and was capital of the province of Cilicia from c. ce 72. The city's prosperity owed much to the linen industry and it was a notable centre of commerce. During the 1st cent. bce it was the centre of a famous philosophical school and was the birthplace of St *Paul.


Tertullian, c. 160–c. 240 CE  

Eric Rebillard

Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus) was born in a pagan family and grew up in Carthage. Nothing is known about his conversion, but it happened in his youth or at least before he got married (ux. 1.1). Because Eusebius says he was well versed in the laws of the Romans (HE 2.2.4), some scholars proposed to identify him with the jurist Tertullianus mentioned in the Digest. There is no evidence, however, that Tertullian ever provided legal advice for a living, and though he displays a good knowledge of Roman law, this is in par with a rhetorical education.1 According to Jerome (vir ill. 53), Tertullian was the son of a “proconsular centurion” and a presbyter. The first information raises many historical difficulties; the second is still debated.2 At the time of Jerome, it is unlikely that a writer would address so many issues of pastoral and disciplinary matters without some clerical status. In the 3rd century, his standing as a “sophisticated literate” likely conferred to him enough authority for it.


Tetricus, Gaius Pius Esuvius, Roman emperor  

John Frederick Drinkwater

Gaius Pius Esuvius Tetricus became emperor in Gaul in 271 ce. In the literary tradition he appears weaker than *Postumus and *Victorinus, finally betraying his own army to *Aurelian at Châlons-sur-Marne (274). However, his coins (which show the late elevation of his son, Tetricus II, as Caesar) suggest a more resolute regime. Having led Tetricus in triumph, Aurelian gave him a senatorial appointment in Italy (PLRE 1.