Summary and Keywords
Meropius Pontius Paulinus was a Gallo-Roman aristocrat whose social network, wealth, and education led him to the prestigious governorship of the Italian province of Campania. After returning to Gaul in the mid-380s, however, Paulinus abandoned his secular career and life-style, withdrawing in 395 to live as a monachus at the memorial shrine of the confessor Felix, just outside the Campanian town of Nola. From there he nurtured epistolary friendships with such leading literary and ecclesiastical figures of his day as Augustine, Jerome, and Sulpicius Severus, and managed the burgeoning cult of St. Felix. Paulinus’ surviving letters and poems, many devoted to the feast day of Felix, reveal his attitudes and values, illuminate his social and spiritual relationships, preserve vivid traces of the literary and aesthetic evolution of Latin literature under the influence of Christian ideas, and document the emergence of the late antique cult of the saints. All of this makes Paulinus a remarkable representative of many of the forces reshaping Roman society and religion in the later Empire.
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