A serious defect in recent discussions of the problem of loyalty has been the lack of any sound historical treatment of the subject.1 Much that is contained in the records of antiquity reveals a conscious concern of early governments with the problem of loyalty. Royal inscriptions and letters, abundant ritual texts, and the fervors of prophets and poets in every age of crisis betray a desire to incite feelings not of fear and submission alone but of genuine loyalty in the hearts of subjects and citizens, and might well be studied as propaganda literature. But for the fullest and most illuminating commentary on regimented loyalty one must turn to the rich and revealing records of the Roman world in the fatal years between the victory of Constantine and the sack of Rome by the Vandals in A.D. 450. It is no accident that scholars since World War II have gravitated with unerring instinct and unprecedented zeal to those documents that depict with unrivaled clarity the starts, alarums, and desperate devices of a world empire in disintegration, striving before all things to inspire that general loyalty which alone could arrest "the internal decay of the second half of the fourth century [which] had become as bad as a cancerous growth."2
The purpose of this paper is to consider three significant aspects of the Roman loyalty program in the period designated. These are (1) the attempt to excite loyalty by appealing to the traditions of Western civilization while emphasizing a worldwide culture-polarization, (2) the attempt to solve the problem of divided loyalty by lumping all good things together in a "one-package loyalty," and (3) the attempt of certain large and important interest groups to use the new loyalty as a club against old opponents, thereby effectively wrecking the whole program. In the course of the discussion it will become clear that we are dealing not merely with the desire of the Imperial government for loyal subjects but with concrete projects for the implementation of that desire. The present study is essentially a report on the effectiveness of those projects, resembling as they do certain controversial procedures of the present time.
In the fourth century A.D., Western civilization was threatened with the greatest crisis—internal and external—in its history.3 When cities (including the capital itself) were as likely to be taken by the operation of traitors and fifth-columnists as by enemy assault, when the fate of the world depended on the loyalty of some Gothic or Hunnish general to an emperor who did not know his own mind, when the armies of many nations could be hurled against each other or united in brotherhood by the force of a single order, when powerful pressure-groups and colorful individuals were bidding against each other for the support of mankind, when the life of prefect or governor could depend on the whim of a military or city mob—at such a time the survival of civilization depended on the possibility of inducing the world at large to declare its allegiance to some specific thing and of holding it to that allegiance with firm and sacred bonds. To the Roman mind, fides, a sense of personal reciprocal obligation, was the key to peace and security in life—the very essence of the social order.4 The same concept of loyalty imbues almost every page of Greek tragedy, investing it with a profoundly intimate and domestic atmosphere, which distinguishes the "Western" mind from the aloof ritualism of the gorgeous East. But by the fourth century long years of civil war and world crisis had widely uprooted the old domestic loyalties of Greek drama and Roman legend, and turned the oecumene into a world of displaced persons, inevitably drawn towards the Big City.5 To take the place of the old lost loyalty—the prisca fides—a new super-loyalty was needed to guarantee the permanence of the social order: men were taught to declare allegiance to a super-thing, a noble abstraction loosely designated as Romania or Romanitas.
A host of studies has come forth in recent years, showing the concept of Romanitas to be something very close indeed to that "Western Civilization" by which one conjures in our own day.6 At the end of the fourth century, Prudentius repeated what Aelius Aristides had proclaimed at the end of the second: Rome is more than a political or geographical entity, the mixed blood of all the nations; its culture is Culture itself, the extent of its rule is the orbis terrarum, the oecumene, its mission the realization of the Stoic doctrine "that nature intended that all men should as rational beings form a single community under the guidance of divine reason."7 The certainty with which public opinion glorified the empire as a world community is astonishing, says Vogt.8 Nor was this apparent love for a lofty abstraction a cold and impersonal sort of thing: devout Christian writers display as warm and vital an attachment to their Roman heritage as the church itself in the fourth century.9
This was the positive appeal to loyalty. But men's passions are more quickly and keenly stirred by opposition than by approbation, and the inevitable corollary to the doctrine of Romania was that of Barbaria. "Everything that existed outside of this unified world was viewed by the general public as desolation and barbarism."10 This again was an abstract and artificial thing—it was the old doctrine of the Two Worlds that has been discussed in this journal before, but, for all its hollowness, a highly effective force in history.11 Externus timor, maximum concordiae vinculum was an old Roman maxim—the secret of unity is to find an external foe. Since Republican times, Parthia had been "the type and representative of the untamed Orient," the Eastern peril, the symbol of Asiatic barbarism; but when the Parthians were absorbed by the revived and highly centralized Persian Empire, or during the years when Barbaria was united under a superman such as Attila, conditions were present for a true world polarization, with the East replying in kind to Western charges of barbarism and aggression.12 The situation may be illustrated by the story of Priscus on the steppes.
In A.D. 448 a Roman ambassador who had just arrived at the court of Attila, rex omnium regum, on the plains between Europe and Asia, came upon a well-dressed Scythian who, to his surprise, spoke Greek. He learned from the man that he had been a successful merchant in Moesia, but when his city fell, to save his business, he had joined up with the conquering hosts and soon found in the Scythian community a far better way of life than he had ever known as a Roman.
[He said that] once the war was over, anyone could live among the Scythians in complete independence, being free to manage his personal affairs exactly as he chose with virtually no interference from anybody. On the other hand, anyone living the Roman way of life stood a very good chance of getting killed in case of war, being forced to rely for his survival on the operations of others, since the mean suspicion of the government forbade anyone to bear arms in his own defense. Furthermore, those entrusted with the business of defense were rendered ineffectual by incompetent and cowardly commanders. And the burdens of peace were actually harder to bear than those of war—the intolerable load of taxation and tribute, the insults and injuries of rascally officials, the unequal application of the laws, by which an offender if he was rich enough got off scot-free, but if he was poor felt the full weight and majesty of the law for even the slightest unintentional slip; and if he lived long enough to see his case through the courts, would find himself utterly ruined by long, drawn-out, and expensive legal proceedings. The most disgusting thing about the whole business, he said, was that law and justice were strictly for sale.
"When he had run on this way at great length," says Priscus, "I finally asked him politely if he would consent to listen to my side of the story for a while." Then Priscus proceeded to point out that in theory there never was a better system than the Roman, in which each bore his proper burden, whether on the farm, in the army, or in government service. Priscus continues:
We are all bound to obey the laws, and that goes even for the Emperor himself; which is just the opposite of what you say, that the rich can gouge the poor with impunity—unless someone escapes justice by hiding. But in general you will find that what applies to the rich also applies to the poor. . . . That is the rule not only among the Romans but everywhere in the civilized world: every man thanks his private fortune for whatever befalls him as a free man, and is not dependent for it on the will of this or that military despot.
The Romans, he says, treat their house-slaves better than the barbarians do their subjects, "and they certainly do not have the power of life and death over them as your Scythian masters do. By and large, it is a free way of life."
At this point, Priscus avers, his new friend shed tears and confessed that the laws were indeed fair and the Roman government a good one, "but that the men who administered it had lost the good old Roman spirit, and had corrupted it." To this the Roman has no answer, and the conversation is conveniently interrupted.13
Gibbon saw in this debate only an effective statement of the case against Rome, to which the "prolix and feeble declamation" of the ambassador was no reply at all.14 Yet Priscus plainly thinks he has won the argument, and the modern reader, made wise by new experience, knows that this is one of those ideological discussions in which neither side is ever beaten. For all his fine Ciceronian after-thoughts, Priscus does not invent the issue, for Agathias some years later describes a general migration of "Christian philosophers" to the court of the Persian king, which at a distance looked to them like a true Utopia,15 and Procopius tells how the poorer classes, "the mechanics and handworkers, were naturally compelled to struggle with hunger, and many in consequence changed their citizenship and went off as fugitives to the land of Persia."16 Salvian, a contemporary of Priscus, reports from far western Gaul that "people are everywhere going over to the Goths, the Bagaudi or any other ruling tribe of barbarians. . . . For they prefer to live as free men sub specie captivitatis rather than to go on living as captives sub specie libertatis." Worst of all, says Salvian, those who have been the most loyal, deserving, and patriotic Romans are the very ones who are now "moved to declare that they wish they were not Romans!"17 Here again it is the clash between the Two Worlds, each describing itself as the free world and its rival as a slave-state. But if the freedom of the West is for Salvian only "so-called freedom," the case is no better with the vaunted barbarian freedom: the very purpose of Priscus's mission was to discuss the return to Attila of numerous of his subjects who had fled to the Empire seeking refuge from barbarian "freedom."18
On both sides the ancient propaganda of freedom has a singularly hollow ring. Within the overall polarization of East and West, each of those conflicting spheres was in itself a world of factions and parties, of rival ideologies and rival cultures pitted against each other in deadly conflict, yet so exactly alike in everything but label (and usually the rivals were contending for the possession of some world-commanding label) as to give the impression that one antagonist is simply a mirror-image of the other. A visitor to the field headquarters of any faction during the civil wars that opened the fourth century would have been at a loss to discover from his surroundings whether he was in a Christian or pagan, Roman or barbarian camp:19 in either case he would find the chief at prayer in his tent, long-robed priests chanting and burning tapers or busily practicing the arts of divination;20 and if he came at the right time such a visitor might even discover the nature of those signs in the heavens that each commander devoutly claimed as a special manifestation of Providence to himself and his followers.21 If our visitor toured about among the cities, he might marvel, as did Agathias, that the course of civil life was virtually the same in the Persian and the Roman Empires,22 and if he attended the synods of the church which made the age illustrious, he would have some difficulty to discern which side was which; for, as Hilary observed, that group which with fierce devotion supported a doctrine at one session might within the month be found espousing the very opposite doctrine with equal fervor.23 If he went to the games and shows that consumed almost the whole time and energy of the urban masses, the visitor would be required, as if his life depended on it, to take his stand with one noisy faction or another, with nothing in the world to enable him to distinguish between them save the colors they wore.24 Finally the bemused wanderer, if he went to court on a crown-day and stood in the presence of God's representative on earth, would surely have to ask a bystander whether it was the true ruler of the world he beheld or his depraved counterpart—for the court ritual of the two empires was identical,25 and it was the custom of the emperors of Rome and Asia to describe themselves in identical terms, while each accused his rival of being nothing but a base forgery and depraved imitation of himself.26
This all-pervading identity of institutions shows that we have here not a real clash of ideologies at all but only the rivalry of parties animated by identical principles and racing for the same objective.27 Yet loyalty to the West was no glib and superficial thing but a deeply ingrained cultural heritage. The concept of civilization as liberalitas, the free way of life, and of civilized man as one engaged in liberal thought and speaking the common language of all free, civilized men, as opposed to the barbarian who was necessarily inferior and necessarily a slave, was deeply felt and clearly formulated in late antiquity.28 It had far deeper roots, in fact, than the copy-desk clichés of our own day, for the permanent proximity of unassimilated barbarians made the idea of the Two Worlds an intimate reality. The age-long struggle to repel, check, or annihilate the perennial enemy from the steppes was once popularly described as "the eternal question," "the strife between Europe and Asia, between east and west, between Aryan and non-Aryan."29 But this is only the Western version of the conflict which all the great peripheral civilizations, from China to Britain, have had to wage with the "Heartland," whose hordes have been dealt with for thousands of years in the same established ways: by subtle and disruptive diplomacy, by the long and costly limes (borders), by punitive and deterrent expeditions, and, when all else has failed, by the reluctant absorption of their barbarian conquerors.
The marvelous victories that thwarted the great Persian attacks on Greece in the fifth century B.C. had been to the men who won those victories a plain manifestation of divine power, a sobering and chastening experience that placed all human pretense, Greek and barbarian alike, in its proper and humiliating perspective. But the men of a later age and another mold, viewing those successes in retrospect, preferred a more flattering interpretation of events: Marathon and Salamis were held up to posterity as a brilliant demonstration of the natural superiority of Western man over barbarians.30 Whereas Aeschylus and Herodotus have no fond illusions about Greek virtue and Asiatic baseness, the educators of succeeding ages fed upon such pleasing stuff and made it the mortar of a common sentiment which, to quote Eduard Meyer, "bound the civilized world together from the Rhone to Cyprus, from the Dnieper to the Crimea and Cyrene."31
Thus Western Civilization was nursed in the schools on a legend of Western Goodness: Hic est Ausonia, the Western World of clean, fresh, simple, unspoiled pioneers. This fiction became the very cornerstone of the official Vergilian doctrine of Romanitas—Rome was great because Rome was good.32 The emperors who after the second century took the names of Pius and Felix were giving expression "to the old Roman belief in the close association between piety and good fortune,"33 while indulging in the ingrained Roman vice, blatantly paraded throughout the whole of Latin literature, of dwelling with a kind of morbid fascination on one's own simple goodness. School boys have been told for centuries that the Romans were a simple, severe, and virtuous folk, with a near monopoly on pietas and fides, because, forsooth, the Romans themselves always said so, though almost every page of the record contradicts the claim.34 What better demonstration for the effectiveness of the official propaganda? Teachers and orators drilled the essentials of Western goodness into their pupils and auditors until, by the fourth century, when hardly a speck of ancient virtue remained, men could talk of nothing but that virtue.35 They go right on sinning, Salvian reports, in the sublime conviction that no matter how vilely they may act, or how nobly the barbarians behave, God must necessarily bless them and curse the barbarians for being what they are. Yet Salvian himself shows how well the lesson has been taught when he stoutly affirms that, after all, no barbarian can be really virtuous!36
To the lessons of the schools, carefully supervised by the government,37 was added a more aggressive policy of deliberately widening the gulf between the Two Worlds. For centuries, barbarian and Roman, East and West, had been mingling on terms of greatest intimacy, producing a borderline culture in which it was quite impossible to draw the line between one culture and the other.38 Priscus mentions quite casually the presence of people from the West, visiting relatives in the camps of the Asiatics; he notes the busy coming and going of merchants between the Two Worlds and describes the kind hospitality shown him, a complete stranger, in the homes of the Easterners. But with this he gives us the other side of the picture—the official side: the ubiquitous activity of spies and agents in Roman pay, the infusion into the very court of Attila of large sums of Roman money to corrupt and divide, the insane and mounting conviction of each of the rulers of the two halves of the world (both barbarians!) that his was the divine calling to liberate the human race from the intolerable ambition of the other.39 The official attitude to the barbarians was set forth a few years after this in Synesius's instructions to the feeble Emperor Arcadius. According to the good bishop, every Roman household has its Scythian slave, every petty artisan and craftsman his Scythian helper, and every Roman street is alive with Scythian porters and runners, "as if these people thought service in Rome was the only thing."40 As to the moral qualities of these foreigners, Synesius must admit that they surpass the Romans in energy, honesty, reliability, and perseverance.41 Yet for all that they are still barbarians, and as liable to murder citizens in their beds as were ever any of their savage ancestors. "Your father made allies of these Scythians," he tells the young and idiotic emperor: "He should have known that there is no virtue in a barbarian. From that day to this they have simply laughed at us." Lacking the heroic qualities of their fathers, "they are slaves, for they are people without a land of their own. Hence the proverb, 'the empty waste of the Scythians,' for they are always running away from settled life."42 Plainly Synesius thinks that the primordial ways of the nomads are some new sign of degeneracy. So far was one of the most learned men of his day, an expert advisor on foreign affairs, from comprehending the Asiatic way of life which was impinging upon the Roman world at a thousand points.43
For their part, the barbarians, at first enormously impressed by the Empire,44 became resentful of the snubbing they received and then, through long familiarity, openly and increasingly contemptuous. "We see the barbarians living intermingled with us in our armies, our cities, and our provinces," says Sulpicius Severus, "yet refusing to accept our culture as their own."45 In the fifth century, it was impossible, especially in the Western regions, to distinguish between Romani and Barbari, since they had become completely intermingled; in which state of things, he says, it was the barbarians who insisted on widening the breech, glorying in the name of "barbarian" as the only fit title for free men.46
There is no need to trace the endless course of this futile and paralyzing game; Nancy Lenkeith has shown how it persisted right into the Middle Ages, when even Pope Gregory would not come to an understanding with the Lombards "chiefly because the pontiff had a feeling of revulsion for the barbarians. . . . The Romans . . . despised Lombard laws, disliked their costumes, customs, and smell."47 The crippling effect of the doctrine of the Two Worlds is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the pathetic doctrine of the Super-Weapon: God has given the civilized world a super-weapon, that all may know where security and right reside. This wishful assurance is another invention of the fourth century, as we gather from the teachings of a later emperor to his son:
This fire [Greek-fire] was revealed and taught to the great First Emperor of Christians, Constantine (as we are fully assured by ancient fathers and divines) by an angel from heaven, who gave him emphatic instructions to the effect that this weapon is only to be manufactured among Christians—nowhere else—and only in that city where they have their capital, and absolutely nowhere else. Under no circumstances is any sample of the substance or the formula for it to be transmitted to any other nation. It was for the purpose of keeping this secret under his successors that the same Constantine had placed upon the high altar of the Great Church itself an inscription to the effect that anyone who dares to give a sample of said fire to any other nation forfeits thereby the name of Christian and the right to hold any government office, that such an one should be stripped of any office he holds, be declared anathema forever and ever, and be made a public example—even though he be the Emperor or the Patriarch himself, or any other high official . . . any attempt to break this rule must incur the penalty. And he calls upon all who have the cause and fear of God at heart to treat anyone acting in a contrary way as a Public Enemy and a traitor to this supreme order, and to consign him to the most humiliating and painful death possible. It actually happened once (for there are always criminal types) that one of our generals accepted a huge bribe from a number of foreign (gentile) powers to provide them with a sample of this fire; but God, who would not suffer such a crime to be perpetrated . . . smote the offender with fire from heaven . . . and from that day no one, whether Emperor, prince, commoner, army officer or any other mortal, has ever dared to think of such an act, let alone making any attempt to perpetrate it (cf. fig. 16).48
In this little lesson on loyalty, God, Christianity, civilization, the empire, the Imperial City, the government, and the ministration of angels are all on the side of the super-weapon, while those to whom the fire is denied are all lumped together as gentiles, foreigners, heathen, traitors, public enemies, criminals, and damned. Nor does it seem to occur to the devout monarch that if God's own fires are at the immediate disposal of Western civilization, there is little need for putting such desperate trust in the virtues of naphthalene and military security, or that an appeal to loyalty cannot well be accompanied by hysterical threats that only argue a lack of good faith in the one who is appealing.49 Certainly the super-weapon produced a serious weakening of military fiber in the West, and, once in the hands of the Arabs and Turks, was death to Western fleets and cities.50
The hardest political problem with which the Greeks and Romans had to struggle was that of conflicting loyalties. The holy court of the Areopagus proved the problem insoluble when they deadlocked at the trial of Orestes, and the letters of Cicero set forth in detail the tragic dilemma of the Roman with his immense capacity and hunger for loyalty having to change sides with cynical dexterity in order to survive in the wars of class and faction.51 The fourth century was one of those times in Roman history when the tension of divided loyalties had become so intolerable that the world was ready for any settlement that would guarantee a measure of peace, unity, and security.52 The exhausted age accepted the same emergency solution that had given Rome the kingship, the consuls, and the principate. The aureum aevum (Golden Age) of Constantine that put an end to the long reign of civil discord, as that of Augustus had done three centuries before, was formally launched with all the solemn rites and theatrical properties familiar to the Romans since the days of the fabled kings.53 The purpose of the gorgeous displays of Diocletian and Constantine, pagan and Christian, as of all royal ritual, was to produce in the beholders a religious experience which would command loyalty—of that the poets and orators give us clear assurance.54 The great scaffoldings, acres of painted canvas, firmaments of tapers and torches, fabulous displays of jewels and lavish applications of gilt paint left no one in doubt that the glory of the Lord was round about.55 Heaven in Our Time was not something to be worked for but something to be accepted; not a hope, but a fulfillment, a stupendous miracle, nay, the Christian Emperor was hailed at his coronation as "dominus noster . . . praesens et corporalis deus" (Our Lord . . . God in the flesh among us),56 and Christian and pagan orators vied in proclaiming the long-awaited blessed age of the prophets and the Sibyl.57 Like a man distracted by the claims of a hundred creditors, who turns all his bills over to a lending agency in exchange for one simple, ruinous obligation, so the men of the fourth century lumped all their conflicting loyalties together in one single, unlimited obligation to the emperor and Romanitas. All good things became one vague and luminous whole; whatever could command loyalty was "in the composition of a specious argument . . . artfully confounded in one splendid and brittle mass."58
Caecilius in the Octavius had charged the Christians not with contempt of any particular doctrine or practice of the ancients but with failing to be duly impressed by the whole magnificent agglomeration of antique civilization as a fit object of veneration and awe.59 To this noble composite the church in the fourth century, as if to atone for her long hesitation and former aspersions, declared passionate allegiance, sustaining the traditional heathen dogma, that Roma aeterna was immortal and impregnable, long after the canny pagans themselves had given it up!60 Henceforward to be a Christian and to be a Roman were one and the same thing: "ubique patria, ubique lex et religio mea," cries Orosius, ". . . quia ad Christianos et Romanos, Romanus et Christianus accedo" (my country is everywhere, everywhere my law and religion . . . because I associate with Christians and Romans as a Roman and a Christian).61 When Christian writers can tell us that the distance between Roman and barbarian is as great as that between quadrupeds and bipeds,62 or that the laws of barbarian nations "bear the same relation to genuine law—Roman law—as a parrot's squawk to human speech,"63 we have come a long way from the charity of the early Christian writers, who loved, like certain earlier Greek philosophers, to mock the vain and artificial distinction between "Jew and Greek, bond and free" (Galatians 3:28).64 But now the church was wholly committed—dangerously committed—to the program of the Empire: Prudentius boldly throws the challenge to the pagan world, that victory of Christian Rome over the barbarians will be sure proof of the truth of the Christian religion—one can imagine the reaction in both camps when Rome was thoroughly beaten!65
The complete identity of the interests of the church with those of the Empire in the fourth century was a revolutionary transfer of loyalty. "The imperial cult remains," writes Alfoldi, "only such forms as offend Christian sentiments are a little veiled."66 The Church Fathers, diligently reconstructing history in retrospect, made it appear that the church and Rome had always been one.67 Eusebius, taking the lead, announces that Christianity and the Pax Romana "burst upon the world together as if germinated from a single seed: the twin blessing of the universe. . . . In the same moment all error and superstition were overcome and an end put to all war and hostility among the members of the human race. One Empire was set up over all the earth and all men became brothers, having one Father—God, and one Mother—true piety."68 In defense of this new one-package loyalty, philosophy and theology, riding high on the fashionable tide of Neoplatonism, were Aaron and Hur upholding the emperor's hands: "God is One," says Lactantius, "therefore there cannot be more than one ruler in this world: there are not many masters in one house, not many pilots in one ship, not many leaders in one flock or herd, not many kings in one hive, nor either can there be many suns in the sky, nor many souls in one body."69 These are the very terms in which the Khans of Asia have been wont to teach mankind the divinity of their single rule—the West of the fourth century and after speaks with a strong Asiatic accent.70
Just as all obedient subjects are embraced in a single shining community, so all outsiders are necessarily members of a single conspiracy of evil, a pestilential congregation of vapors of such uniform defilement that none can be ever so slightly tinged with its complexion without being wholly involved in its corruption.71 A favorite passage with the churchmen of the period was that which declared that to err in the slightest point of the law is to break the whole law. To accept the homoiousios (of similar substance) in place of the homoousios (consubstantial) is for the enlightened Hilary not just a mistake; it is the commission of every possible crime, the consummation of all that is depraved; it hands the whole world over to the Devil.72 By attending a discussion of the homoiousios the emperor has anathematized the holy men of Nicaea; thereby he has cursed all who have ever approved of those men; thereby he has damned his own father and set himself up as the foe of divine religion, the enemy of the saints, and a rebel against all sacred filial obligation. Nay, he is worse than a Decius or a Nero, for they fought only Christ the Son, while he fights both the Father and the Son! Again, the emperor who tolerates heretical groups is not just a dupe and a fool, he is a monster of iniquity, guilty of adultery, theft, and murder—and that not in a mere, crass physical sense, mind you, but in a spiritual sense, which is infinitely worse.73 If the emperor in question refuses to make a martyr of the churchman who flings the coarsest insults in his face, that does not soften his guilt but only deepens it—he is only being kind to be cruel, because he knows that such kindness will put his priestly assailants at a disadvantage.74 Yet from the festering depths of unspeakable depravity there is one thing that can save the debauched and unnatural animal—by a single act, in fact, he can redeem himself and become the holiest thing on earth, an emperor under God. And what is the miraculous prescription? It is very simple: "Fac transitum ad nos" (Come over to us)!75 All virtue is comprised in the fact of membership in Our Group; all vice consists in not belonging.76
It can be shown by a most convenient syllogism that since God is on our side we cannot show any degree of toleration for any opposition without incurring infinite guilt.77 In the fourth century everybody was officiously rushing to the defense of God;78 but John Chrysostom's pious declaration that we must avenge insults to God while patiently bearing insults to ourselves is put in its proper rhetorical light by the assumption of Hilary that an insult to himself is an insult to God.79 Therein lies the great usefulness of the doctrine of guilt and innocence by association that became so popular in the fourth century: one does not need to quibble; there is no such thing as being partly wrong or merely mistaken; the painful virtue of forbearance and the labor of investigation no longer embarrass the champions of one-package loyalty. No matter how nobly and austerely heretics may live, for Augustine they are still Antichrist—all of them, equally and indiscriminately;80 their virtues are really vices, their virginity carnality, their reason unreason, their patience in persecution mere insolence; any cruelty shown them is not really cruelty but kindness.81 Chrysostom goes even further: the most grossly immoral atheist is actually better off than an upright believer who slips up on one point, since though both go to hell, the atheist has at least the satisfaction of having gratified his lust on earth. Why not? Is not heresy in any degree a crime against God? And is not any crime against God an infinite sin?82
The insidious thing about such immoral conclusions is that they are quite logical. The cruelty of the times, says Alföldi, "cannot fully be explained by the corruption of the age; . . . the spirit of the fourth century has its part to play. The victory of abstract ways of thinking, the universal triumph of theory, knows no half-measures; punishment, like everything else, must be a hundred per cent, but even this seems inadequate."83 Compromise is now out of the question: God, who once let his sun shine upon the just and the unjust, and let the wheat and tares grow together, now insists that the unjust should cease to exist, that only wheat should grow in the earth, and that only sheep should inhabit it.84 In all seriousness the Emperor Justinian announced to the churchmen his intention of forcing the devil himself to join the true church and thus achieving in the world that perfect unity "which Pythagoras and Plato taught."85
We have considered the first two steps in the development of loyalty propaganda in the fourth century, namely, the establishment of Romanitas as an object deserving the loyalty of all civilized men and the identification of Christian with Roman loyalty. The third and inevitable step was the employment of this magnificent imperative by various interest groups as a partisan weapon. The partisan groups we shall consider were the churchmen, the landowners, and the professors. The story of how the military went their own way and followed their own code of loyalty, cooperating only with governments and individuals who were willing and able to "make a deal," and of how their slanted loyalty brought them and the Empire to a common ruin, has been told often and well since the days of Gibbon. We need not repeat it here.
We have just noted the use of absolutes in clerical polemic. The results were what might have been expected, but the ferocity of party conflict within the church as described by the writers of the fourth and fifth centuries exceeds the wildest imaginings. Even those men, St. Basil reports, who had fought the uphill fight for decency and striven conscientiously through the years to be just and fair with others, in the end found themselves forced to surrender and become just like the rest, who were all engaged in a frantic game of testing each others' loyalty.86 The result, he says, is that the church is entirely leaderless, everyone wants to give orders, but no one will take them; the self-appointed have grabbed what they could and broken up the church in a spirit of such savage, unbridled hatred and universal mistrust that the only remaining principle of unity anywhere is a common desire to do harm: men will cooperate only where cooperation is the most effective means of doing injury to others.87 It was characteristic of the Age of Constantine, says Burckhardt, "that a man could be intensely devout and at the same time grossly immoral." There was nothing contradictory in that—men had simply discarded personal integrity for a much easier group loyalty.88 "Who can swim against the tide of custom?" cries Augustine, who recalls how lightly he surrendered his own conscience to the keeping of the gang. The emperor's formula for establishing perfect unity and loyalty in the church and the empire was that plan which the clergy themselves constantly urged upon him and his successors, importunately demanding that he proscribe, banish, and anathematize whoever withheld allegiance from their particular parties. The Vita Constantini tells how the emperor attempted to end each crisis by outlawing all opposition, thereby inevitably sowing the seeds of the next crisis. But how could one expect a simple soldier to question the proposition that compulsory loyalty is the secret of universal peace, when it was being pressed upon him by all the cleverest men of the age? "The barbarians reverence God, because they fear my power," he had declared, and everyone had applauded his doctrine of compulsory reverence.89
But it didn't work. No sooner had Constantine removed his last civil and military opponents than the issue between his Christian and pagan subjects became acute. No sooner had he "given profound peace and security to the Church" by restraining her pagan opponents than the churchmen started accusing each other of heresy with a wild abandon that surpassed—as the emperor himself observed—any performance of the heathen.90 No sooner had his successors removed the last heretic and received the undying thanks of the church, than the true believers were at each others' throats. St. Ambrose notes that it is harder to make orthodox Christians live together in peace than it is to eliminate heretics.91 The problem was never solved, for the doctrine of absolute, one-package loyalty would allow no compromise.92
Consider next the landowners. The aristocracy living on its great estates (though possessing the wealth of the cities as well) was a characteristic fixture of Roman society throughout historic times; "the personnel of the ruling class might change," as it did under Vespasian and Diocletian, but that "could not have changed the nature of those classes themselves," who always remained true to a type and an ideal.93 The victory of the church only strengthened their hold, for they claimed Latin Christianity as peculiarly their own, and it has recently been argued with some plausibility that the breaking away from the church of "fundamentalist" sects, beginning with the Montanists, was "a series of peasant movements" protesting the capture of the church by the propertied classes.94
Loyalty was the watchword of the great landowners: pietas, fides, and fortitudo were at all times "the three distinguishing marks of the perfect Roman gentleman."95 Their typical representative in the fourth century was "aristocratic, senatorial, traditionalist, anti-oriental."96 But from Cicero it is clear enough that theirs was loyalty to a class alone, and their slanted interpretation reduced the noble abstractions in which they dealt so freely to "merely shopworn catch phrases without real meaning in history."97 No word was dearer to them than libertas, the glory of free agency, but "the nobiles conceived of this popular political catchword as meaning freedom for them to exercise their dignitas," and not for people without money.98 In the fourth century they "had plenty to say about their humanitas, philanthropia . . . their mercy, their pious serenity. . . . But such self-praise carries no weight; the choice words are a mere empty form."99 In the Senate they called loudly for arms to defend civilization—when no personal sacrifice was involved; and when the barbarians were at the gates they spent their time not in meeting the foe but in hysterical attacks on possible subversives.100 When one considers the magnificently planned and executed defensive installations of the frontier, "one cannot keep from being amazed," say Diehl and Marçais, "that they were not more effective than they were, and that this closely-knit network of skillfully deployed fortresses let the invaders pass through it so many times." This grim defect is attributed (1) to the economies of the government, which, while giving away enormous wealth to individuals, so reduced the personnel of the border forces that "the strong places, badly manned, were simply forgotten, often without garrisons," and (2) to the low morale and frequent desertions of the underpaid soldiers who remained.101 Nobody who could pay for defense was willing to do it.
The great landowners "appreciated civilization and culture very highly," says Rostovzeff, "their political outlook was narrow, their servility was unbounded. But their external appearance was majestic, and their grand air impressed even the barbarians. . . . For the other classes they had neither sympathy nor understanding."102 Their fault was not that they would enjoy the good things of the earth, but that they would enjoy them exclusively: "The earth is the mother of all of us," said the starving field and factory-workers, "for she gives equally; but you pretend that she is your mother only."103 Their ideal was Cato, whose forthright and uncompromising dedication to his own interests, whose unflinching devotion to self and steely resistance to any ennervating impulse of sympathy for others had about it something of sublime integrity.104 Skimming the cream of the world's natural resources on their vast tax-free estates, these men thought of themselves as natural-born leaders of men; they oozed the virtue and loyalty of the prosperous: why should they not be loyal to Rome? They were Rome!105 Under the early emperors "the state's sphere of activity had been curtailed to an astonishing degree; the state simply secured peace and law in the world and then turned it over to private exploitation."106 Deeply loyal to a system that gave them everything, the great owners could not understand why all others should not be just as loyal.107 Nor could they, who soon learned that the secret of survival was absolute servility and had made an art of groveling to secure their broad acres, have any patience with those who refused to play the game.108
But when in the fourth century the Imperial government went after a larger share of the income in order to support the costly wars of defense, the great landowners displayed the quality of their patriotism by resisting savagely and cunningly. They quickly became experts in evading taxation and shifting the expenses of war and government to others.109 But it was their busy speculation in grain that brought the issue of loyalty into the open with the public threat of the Emperor Julian "to have all gentlemen arrested" for sabotaging his attempts at price control. They in reply accused the emperor of low demagoguery in trying to fix minimum grain prices in the face of drought and an artificial boom market created by the army; and they not only refused to sell at government prices, but bought up what grain they could at those prices to resell on the black market or outside the price-control zone.110 Small wonder that bishops, government officials, and the common people blamed "the rich" for deliberately engineering famines that were profitable to themselves.111 Whether these charges were true or not (and Libanius admits abuses), the grain scandals present a typical large-scale clash of loyalties, with each side accusing the other of treason to the res publica.112
This partisan concept of loyalty poisons the whole stream of Roman history. Curio, says Cicero, was wrong when he pleaded that the demands of the people beyond the Po were just but inexpedient: he should have known that demands cannot possibly be just which are not expedient to our interests: "non esse aequam, quia non esset utilis rei publicae."113 This, the morality of Trimalchio, was death to any true fides. At the end of the fourth century when Stilicho remained true to his master though it would have served his interests to betray him, native Romans could attribute his behavior only to a lack of good sense—so completely had they forgotten the meaning of fides at a time when loyalty to Rome was on the tongue of every orator.114 Just so the great landowners, failing utterly to recognize real loyalty when they saw it, sent their champion Aetius against the very peasants who in an "amazing" demonstration of loyalty to Rome stopped Attila on the Catalaunian Plain and in the end forced those peasants to join forces reluctantly with the barbarians whom they might have stopped for good had their loyalty been trusted.115 "Whatever the frequency of peasant revolts during the third and fourth centuries," says a recent investigator, "they reached such a climax in the first half of the fifth century as to be almost continuous."116 These were not slave uprisings or barbarian invasions: it was the scorned loyalty of the peasants, "ces hordes indigènes qui dans leur rage détruisirent tout ce qu'il y avait comme oeuvres de la civilisation" (those native hordes who in their fury destroyed all the achievements of civilization).117
Last come the leaders of education, which, in the fourth century, means the professors of rhetoric. It was, as we have seen, through the activity of professional rhetoricians that "the Greeks became aware of themselves as the makers and bearers of Western Civilization."118 By the fourth century the rhetoricians, by a process that cannot be described here, had gained complete and absolute control of every department of public life.119 It was what Ammianus calls "the yokes of the Empire," i.e., the specialists in words, the fast talkers, the experts on public relations, the supersalesmen, who by substituting sound for substance in their lush and busy careers completely undermined the rickety structure of the civilization which they claimed to be rescuing.120 The secret of success in these professions lay in their boasted power to command loyalty, a talent for which the world was willing to pay any price.
The ancients defined rhetoric as "the technique of persuasion," "the art of convincing people," or of convincing everybody, of anything—for a fee.121 The art which keeps people stirred up from necessitas (need) rather than from puritas (disinterested motives), scattering to the public from its overflowing bosom an abundance of delights, and thus leading them to conform to its purposes—that art, according to Augustine, is called Rhetoric.122 The great power of rhetoric lay in its unique ability to create artificial values, "to make unimportant things seem important," in Plato's words or, in those of Clement of Alexandria, "to make false opinions like true by means of words."123 The rhetorician works with words alone: to treat his profession as a science defeats its purpose, Aristotle observes, which is to deal not with real things but with words, and to convince not by evidence, as science and art must do, but by argument;124 he is the supersalesman who sells not goods but, in the last analysis, himself: "cupit enim se approbare, non causam" (he desires to win approval for himself, not his argument), says the pious Seneca.125
The secret of commanding and controlling loyalty, rhetoric teaches, is always to give people whatever they want: unlike Pericles, who invariably gave the Athenians what they most needed and least wanted, the Sophist studied to give his public what it most wanted and least needed. The very opposite of a true leader, the rhetorician was by his own confession "the slave of a thousand masters."126 Philo describes the general public as a harlot and the rhetor as her minion, nay, her lapdog, whose purpose in life is to obey her, wait on her, and do all that gives her pleasure. It would be hard to say who was the more debauched by such a pact of mutual corruption, the lady or her dog, for the rhetor demanded a terrible price for his toadying: by giving the public exactly what it wants, Augustine boasts, the orator makes them clay in his hands, a helpless automaton without a mind or will of its own, completely at the bidding of the skillful word-master.127 Dio Chrysostom and Lucian have told how this irresistible predatory profession, jauntily sure of itself in handling the man in the street, the gullible rich, and the lazy student population, always won out because it always pushed downhill128—selling whiskey to the Indians was not a surer thing, or a deadlier. Socrates prophesied in the Gorgias that a true teacher would have no more chance of holding his own against the smooth-talking Sophists with their easy but flashy and pretentious instruction, than an honest physician would have of winning child patients in competition with a pastry cook who prescribed nothing but dessert. Rhetoric was the ruin of all hard and honest thinking in the ancient world, but it paid big returns and swept all before it, to become the great heritage of the Middle Ages from Antiquity.129 Of the orating bishops, the glory of the fourth century, Gibbon says, "the true size and colour of every object is falsified by the exaggerations of their corrupt eloquence," a verdict which subsequent studies have fully confirmed.130
The only form of rhetoric that retained any real vitality in the fourth century was the panegyric, a formal set address in which the orator, in the name of the people or Senate, would declare undying devotion to the emperor or any other leader, civil or ecclesiastical, who had attained to a position of great political importance.131 Fides was the keynote, with ardent protestations of unfailing loyalty, delivered in set, conventional terms whose transfer from pagan to Christian use may be traced on coins and inscriptions as well as in the orators.132 Augustine, himself a one-time professional panegyrist, joyfully announces that the panegyric art, far from being discredited by Christianity, has received a new lease on life; for if rhetoric contributes a much-needed spice to the Christian teaching, that doctrine in return offers the exhausted panegyrist in the Christian God what he most needs—a materia grandis of unlimited possibilities.133 "The pagan emperors had been traditionally devoted to self-advertisement," says Cochrane, "but it remained for the first Christian sovereign to discover a more effective instrument of propaganda than any hitherto devised," in the Christian pulpit.134
From the capital the vogue for panegyrics spread, under government supervision, to the provinces. A local professor of rhetoric would be chosen to address the emperor as if he were present, and all people would be expected to applaud like mad "to prove their loyalty."135 The whole business was carefully controlled: the subject matter was prescribed, the time and place of delivery fixed, and the orator chosen by the very man who was to be acclaimed. M. Leclercq labors to exonerate the panegyrists of the common charges of being flatterers, liars, and pimps, on the grounds (1) that they fooled nobody (however hard, he admits, they tried), (2) that they had no choice in the matter but had to do what they were told (though they loved every minute of it and fought for the opportunity), and (3) that they were really sincere.136 Precisely in this last argument lies the most damning charge against the panegyrists, the secret of whose success was to make themselves sincere—for a fee. This is the classic dilemma of the rhetorician, who must employ all the exacting devices of his art to persuade his hearers before all else that he has no art.137 The sorriest victims of the dilemma were the fathers of the fourth century who, as has often been noted, use their most lush and artificial rhetoric to condemn the use of rhetoric.138
The result of this sort of thing was a ghastly air of unreality that characterized all attempts to win loyalty by formal persuasion. When men tried to bolster up the vast inertia of a sagging civilization with words alone, it was the world that remained unaffected, while the noble words were squashed flat and had all the meaning squeezed out of them by the dead weight of reality.139 The most successful panegyric of the age was a masterpiece in which the "ordinary reader . . . seeks in vain some glimmer of reasonableness, some promise of sense."140 The victory of the decadent rhetoric of the fourth-century schools was complete and conditioned all the thinking of the Middle Ages.141 Typical was the tendency to employ lofty abstractions, which imparts to Christian rhetoric an unmistakably pagan flavor which persists to the present day.142 The significant thing, however, is that the most movingly eloquent protestations of loyalty, though they did produce thunders of applause, failed to generate genuine loyalty, and the great Chrysostom observes often and with bitterness that the populace which recognizes him as perhaps the world's greatest orator will not pay the slightest heed to his mildest admonitions, but continues to go about the business of money-getting while he, Sunday after Sunday, speaks to empty walls.143 The world remained unconvinced, and to the end of the Middle Ages the darling theme of the rhetoricians, "the dream of a united Christendom . . . was seen to have been a dream."144
Each of the three attempts to foster loyalty in the century of crisis was a conspicuous failure. The disillusionment with the ideological appeal of West versus East is voiced in Jordanes's commentary on the Battle of the Catalaunian Plain which, far from being a cosmic struggle between conflicting ways of life, proved to him only one thing: When such a slaughter of nations can be caused by the crazy obsession of one man, or when the whim of some arrogant chieftain can undo in an instant what it has taken nature centuries to produce—that proves that the human race lives for the benefit of kings.145 One-package loyalty was, as Alföldi shows, no less a hopelessly artificial concept that could only ruin what it meant to save.146 "Men were aware of the danger that threatened," writes Straub. "They felt that the emergency of the time called for drastic decisions; but the absolute domination of Divine Grace left little margin [Spielraum] for any attempts at political reform. It is thus by no means surprising that we are almost never confronted by any concrete suggestion."147 One does not reform a holy system, and where the social order was God's order, "the human mind," in Bury's words, "was cabined by the Infinite. Thought was rendered sterile and unproductive under the withering pressure of an omnipresent and monotonous idea."148 It was an age of "utter incapacity to invent anything new . . . devoid of all creative power and helplessly submitting to current practice."149
Partisan appeals to universal loyalty completed the crippling process: the whole Tragik of the Middle Ages, says Ladner, was the ruling out of all possibility of compromise by a theory of loyalty which was partisanship raised to the nth power (die ins Ungemessene gesteigerten Einseitigkeiten).150 "Reverence for Augustine," writes Father Bligh, "forbids me to say that his justification of persecution was wrong; but its fruits were evil in the centuries which followed, and we may suspect that, if he had had as much experience to reflect upon as we have, Augustine would have reverted to his first opinion."151 On the contrary, it is we who are reverting to Augustine's second opinion.
Rostovzeff sums up all the evils of the age we have been discussing under one head: oversimplification. "Everywhere we meet with the same policy of simplification, coupled with a policy of brutal compulsion."152 The "system of the late Empire, despite its apparent complexity, was much simpler, much more primitive, and infinitely more brutal" than what had gone before.153 "In times of crisis," says Alföldi, "when the choice of the Government is simplified down to a plain 'to be or not to be,' the policy that wins is that of the fire-brigade, which elects to destroy the contents of a house in order to save the naked walls."154 And the ultimate expression of this blunt oversimplification was the army of secret police, agentes in rebus, whose business was to check on everybody's loyalty.155
The fourth century is not the twentieth. But loyalty is a timeless thing, and if the experience of the century of crisis proves anything, it is that there is no problem of loyalty. Conformity can be had by bribery, flattery, or force, but one can no more legislate loyalty than one can legislate love, of which it is a part. "The professed object of Constantine," says Cochrane, "was to legislate the millennium in a generation."156 The legislation of loyalty lay at the core of his plan, and its miserable failure should mean something to a modern world in which no ruler possesses a tenth of the religious, political, and military prestige that Constantine did. Since the essence of loyalty is disinterested devotion, there is something distressing in the attempts of the fourth (or any) century to conjure it up by appeals to interest, fear, or expediency.
Yet the "loyalty problem" is no mere question of semantics; the substitution of some such word as "security" or "conformity" for "loyalty" in designating the Executive Order of March 1947 does not really change the complexion of the thing. Loyalty is one of the few words in existence about whose meaning dispute is virtually impossible. Everyone knows what loyalty is, and what a desirable, nay indispensable thing it is to the survival of any community. Like honor and chastity, it is strongest when least talked about, and thrives only in a climate of uncritical acceptance. A virtuous investigation of loyalty is like a noisy oration in praise of silence, and the appearance of loyalty order and loyalty legislation such as are found in the Theodosian Code and elsewhere is a sign of lost confidence, a desperate groping in empty air for something which groping fingers only push farther out of reach.
Two of the wisest contemporaries of Constantine, reflecting upon his Nicene Council, were not unaware of a serious implication in the holding of formal assemblies to decide upon the nature of God. "For if they believed," writes Athanasius," they would not be seeking as if for something they did not have," and Hilary says the same: "The Faith must be inquired after, as if we had none. The Faith must be written down, as if there could be any baptism without faith in Christ!"157 Just so, when we start defining loyalty we demonstrate to the world that we no longer know what it is. That is the lesson of the Age of Constantine.
*This article was originally published in Western Political Quarterly 6/4 (1953): 631-57, at a time when the loyalty of many patriotic Americans was being impugned by political opponents.
1. "We are facing an utterly new problem in American life. . . . Others believe that some or all 'loyalty measures' taken to safeguard the nation in the cold war reveal ignorance of the lessons of history and violate fundamental democratic principles." Thus Morris Ernst, Loyalty in a Democratic State, ed. John C. Wahlke (Boston: Heath, 1952), vi. Cf. Public Affairs Pamphlet No. 179 (Ithaca: Cornell University, 1952), 1-6. H. Westmann, "On Conflicts of Loyalties," Question 5 (Winter 1952): 5-15; C. R. Nixon, "Freedom vs. Unity: A Problem in the Theory of Civil Liberty," Political Science Quarterly 68 (March 1953): 88.
2. András Alföldi, A Conflict of Ideas in the Late Roman Empire, the Clash between the Senate and Valentinian, tr. Harold Mattingly (Oxford: Clarendon, 1952), 40. Cf. below, n. 6.
3. Johannes Straub, "Christliche Geschichtsapologetik in der Krisis des römischen Reiches," Historia 1 (1950): 52, citing Johann Burckhardt, goes so far as to call it a crisis unique in history; cf. Johannes Straub, "Parens Principum," Nouvelle Clio 3-4 (1952): 94.
4. R. M. Henry, "Pietas and Fides in Catullus," Hermathena 75 (1950): 63, and 76 (1951): 48-57.
5. "Carere patria intolerabile est. Aspice agedum hanc frequentiam, cui vix urbis immensae tecta sufficiunt . . . ex toto denique orbe terrarum confluxerunt" (Being without a country is unbearable. Look at this crowd, for whom the roofs of this vast city is scarcely enough. . . . They have gathered from every part of the world), Seneca, Ad Helviam Matrem De Consolatione XII. Cf. Cicero, Oratio Pro L. Cornelio Balbo IX, 24 ("libertas id est civitas"); Claudius Rutilius Namatianus, De Reditu Suo I, 66 ("urbem fecisti, quod prius orbis erat"), and so forth. The philosophers of the time "addressed themselves to a world of déracinés. They preached . . . salvation in 'society' regarded as distinct from and independent of political forms." Thus Charles N. Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture (Oxford: Clarendon, 1944), 31.
6. To the previously mentioned works of Alföldi, Straub, and Cochrane (especially Cochrane's second chapter "Romanitas"), add András Alföldi, The Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome (Oxford: Clarendon, 1948); Joseph Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert (Munich: Münchner, 1949); Walther Eltester, "Die Krisis der alten Welt und das Christentum," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 42 (1949): 1-19; André Piganiol, "L'Etat actuel de la question constantinienne 1939-49," Historia 1 (1950): 82-96; Aldo Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano. Romanità occidentale contrapposta a quella orientale," Antiquitas 1 (1946): 3-24, and other studies cited in the course of this paper. For a complete survey of the field and a demonstration of the great increase of interest in it, K. F. Stroheker, "Das konstantinische Jahrhundert im Lichte der Neuerscheinungen 1940-51," Saeculum 3 (1952): 654-80.
7. Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 12-15; Aelius Aristides, Orationes, ed. Wilhelm Dindorf (Leipzig: Weidmann, 1829), 14:206-8 (360-62); 225-27 (393-95); Prudentius, Contra Orationem Symmachi II, 578-633; Claudius Rutilius Namatianus, De Reditu Suo I, 47-66: "fecisti patriam diversis gentibus unam" (you have created a single country for many diverse peoples).
8. Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 16.
9. See below, nn. 69-73; P. Chavanne, "Le patriotisme de Prudence," Revue d'histoire et de litterature religieuses 4 (1899): 333-34, 412-13; Cassiodorus, Variae I, 21. Gustave Bardy, L'Église et les derniers Romains (Paris: Laffont, 1948), 48.
10. Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 13; Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano," 17-18, 23.
11. Hugh Nibley, "The Hierocentric State," Western Political Quarterly 4 (1951): 244-47; reprinted in this volume, pages 123-26.
12. Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 19-20; Priscus Rhetor, De Legationibus Romanorum ad Gentes 3, in PG 113:736; Jordanes, Historia Getica Getarum (Gothic History) 36; Claudius Claudianus, Bellum Geticum (The Gothic War) 364-79; Horace, Carmen Saeculare I, 12 and 53-60.
13. Priscus Rhetor, De Legationibus Romanorum ad Gentes 3, in PG 113:726-29.
14. Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 2 vols. (New York: Modern Library, 1932), 2:256.
15. Agathias, History II, 29-30, in PG 88:1393-95.
16. Procopius, Anecdota XXV, 25.
17. Salvianus, De Gubernatione Dei (On the Government of God) V, 3-11, in PL 53:96-97. The same sort of thing was going on 200 years earlier; Michael Rostovzeff, The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1926), 348-49.
18. Priscus Rhetor, De Legationibus Romanorum ad Gentes 1 and 3, in PG 113:704-5, 708, 716, where each side accuses the other of retaining its subjects, while denying the charge against itself. The Romans were constantly demanding the return of "deserters" who chose to live among the barbarians; E. A. Thompson, "Peasant Revolts in Late Roman Gaul and Spain," Past and Present 2 (November 1952): 15-18. Thompson cites a number of texts, including the fifth-century comedy Querolus, illustrating the degree to which the Romans idealized the free and simple barbarian way of life.
19. Henri Grégroire, "La 'conversion' de Constantin," Revue de l'Université de Bruxelles 36 (1930-31): 231-34; and Grégoire Cassimatis, "La Dixième 'Vexation' de l'Empereur Nicéphore," Byzantion 7 (1932): 152-54, has spread consternation among the learned by showing how historians have confused and even reversed the roles of the great protagonists.
20. Eusebius, Vita Constantini (Life of Constantine) II, 4-6, in PG 20:981-93.
21. Ibid. I, 28-31; II, 6, in PG 20:944-45, 985. By an interesting coincidence, just such a heavenly manifestation is attributed to Cyrus, the archetype of the divine king, Xenophon, Cyropaedia IV, 2 and 15.
22. Agathias, History IV, 29, in PG 88:1532.
23. Hilary, Ad Constantium Augustum (To Constantius Augustus) II, 5, in PL 10:566-67.
24. Ludwig Friedländer, Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms, 4 vols., 8th ed. (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1910), 2:338-39.
25. "Eine Audienz bei Chosrau mit Vela, strenger Rangordnung der Dignitäre, dem Silentiumsruf des Zeremonienmeisters unterscheidet sich in nichts von der strengen Etikette eines byzantinischen Silention" (an audience at Chosrau's court with veils, with a strict ordering of dignitaries, with a silentium called out by the master of ceremonies cannot be distinguished from the strict court etiquette of the Byzantine silention); A. M. Schneider, "Das byzantinische Zeremoniell und der alte Orient," Jahrbuch für kleinasiatische Forschung 2 (1952): 163. The Roman emperors were forced to adopt this ritual in the Prestigekampf (struggle for prestige) with the East, according to András Alföldi, "Die Geschichte des Throntabernakels," Nouvelle Clio 2 (1950): 541.
26. George of Pisidia, De Expeditione Persica II, 240-51, in PG 92:1226-27: "He [the General of Error] occupies himself with musical instruments, cymbals, impious din of song, dances of indecent women in lustful nudity. While thou, our General of Wise Panoply, dost take thy pleasure in Psalms played upon mystic instruments, a godly singing rejoiceth thy heart as thou holdest solemn sport with virgins. . . . He puts his hope in the moon, but suffers violent eclipse seeking to eclipse thy sun." On the exact resemblance of Christ and Antichrist, Romanus, De Judicio Extremo 8-10, in Jean B. Pitra, Analecta Sacra Spicilegio Solesmensi Parata (Paris: Tusculan, 1876), 1:38-39. The antagonist is the perfect image of the hero, but wickedly inverted, as in a mirror: Eusebius, Life of Constantine II, 4, in PG 20:981; Julius Firmicus Maternus, De Errore Profanorum Religionum (The Error of the Pagan Religions) 23, in PL 12:1032-33; Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis XV de Secundo Christi Adventu (Instruction XV about the Second Coming of Christ) 12, in PG 33:885, 1639. Naturally the painful resemblance of the adversary to the hero was attributed to a clever act of forgery by the demons.
27. Thus when Attila came upon a heroic painting in Milan depicting himself at the feet of the Roman emperor, he simply transposed the figures of the two leaders—the rest was as it should be, the clash being not between "ideologies" but personalities pure and simple, Suidas, cited by Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 2:289, n. 53.
28. This is fully illustrated by the references given, under the heading of barbarus and related words, in any large Greek or Latin lexicon.
29. Thus J. B. Bury, A History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great (London: Macmillan, 1913), 230, who sees in the Persian War "the first encounter in that still unclosed debate."
30. Eduard Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, 4 vols. (Jena: Diederich, 1928), 4:222-23, 277-316, 315-16, 340-75.
31. Ibid., 4:342.
32. Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 65-72.
33. Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 59; Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 188-89, sees in these titles an Oriental borrowing inseparable from the "diadem and jewelled robes instituted by his [Constantine's] immediate predecessors."
34. Catullus beautifully illustrates both these points; cf. Henry, "Pietas and Fides in Catullus," 63-68.
35. E.g., Prudentius, Contra Orationem Symmachi II, 488-91 and 503-23; Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano," 11-13.
36. Salvianus, On the Government of God VII, 2-3, in PL 53:130-32; V, 2-4, in PL 53:91-96. This reflects the traditional belief that "it is natural for Greeks to rule over Barbarians," Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis 1400, and that "among Barbarians no distinction is made between women and slaves," Aristotle, Politics 1252B. The unquestioned acceptance of Roman Goodness remained part of the permanent heritage of the West, Nancy Lenkeith, Dante and the Legend of Rome (London: Brill, 1952), 17.
37. On government patronage and control of literary education, Heathcote W. Garrod, The Oxford Book of Latin Verse (Oxford: Clarendon, 1944), xxvi-xxxvii (introduction).
38. Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 458, 123-24, 201, 414; Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 19-21; F. Vittinghoff, "Zur angeblichen Barbarisierung des römischen Heeres . . .," Historia 1 (1950): 389-407; Zosimus, Historia Nova II, 34.
39. The embassy was almost wrecked when the report reached Attila that one of the Romans had said at dinner that his master was a god while Attila was only a mortal; the remark nearly produced a riot.
40. Synesius, Oratio de Regno 15, in PG 66:1093.
41. Ibid., in PG 66:1096-97.
42. Ibid., in PG 66:1132, 1096-97.
43. On imperial foreign policy during Justinian's reign, see Charles Diehl and Georges Marçais, Le monde oriental 395 à 1081 (Paris: Presses universitaires, 1936), 79-81.
44. Ibid., 71-72, 79; Jordanes, Gothic History 38.
45. Sulpicius Severus, Chronicon Historia Sacra II, 3, in PL 20:130: "exercitibusque nostris, urbibus atque provinciis permistas barbaras nationes . . . inter nos degere, nec tamen in mores nostros transire, videamus."
46. Victor Vitensis, De Persecutione Vandalica 5, in PL 58:255b.
47. Lenkeith, Dante and the Legend of Rome, 4.
48. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio (On the Administration of the Empire) 13, in PG 113:184-85.
49. Cf. the hysterical security rules of Valens, given in Ammianus Marcellinus XXX, 1, and discussed by Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 1:856-58, nn. 53-59.
50. Describing the siege of Ancona by the Saracens, a Florentine monk writes: "Ignis hi conficitur tantum per Paganos/ Ignis hic exterminat tantum Christianos/Incantatus namque est per illos prophanos/ Ab hoc perpetuo, Christe, libera nos." Cited in Charles Du Cange, Glossarium ad Scriptores Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis, 3 vols. (Paris: Osmont, 1733-36), 3:1308-9.
51. For Cicero the solution of "the problem of leadership in a free state," was the existence of a natural, unforced loyalty—"concensus, concordia ordinum." Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 58-59.
52. Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 449.
53. The essence of Romanitas is restoration, according to Cochrane, who notes of Constantine's program: "Once more, as in the far-off days of Augustus Caesar, the Roman world was stirred by a sense of fresh hopes and fresh beginnings," Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 183. In his inscriptions Constantine claims to be restoring the Empire "to its ancient splendor and glory," Eusebius, Life of Constantine I, 40, in PG 20:956. Caelius Sedulius, Carmen Paschale, in PL 19:549-752, is simply a Christian elaboration of the Carmen Saeculare that launched the Principate. Restoration is the normal theme of the panegyrics: even Authulf in taking over Romania calls himself "Romanae restitutionis auctor" (the father of the Roman restoration), Orosius, Historiae adversum Paganos (History against the Pagans) VII, 43, in PL 31:1172.
54. For new light on the special terminology which demonstrated the "lealismo dei Cristiani" (loyalty of the Christians) to the old majesty, see L. Alfonsi, "L'epistola I clementina, i papiri magici, i ludi saeculari," Aegyptus 27 (1947): 111-14. Cf. Juvencus, De Laudibus Domini, in PL 19:385; and Juvencus, Triumphus Christi Heroicus, in PL 19:385-88, for typical ties between the old loyalty and the new.
55. Compare Julian's painted glory, Sozomen, Historia Ecclesiastica (Ecclesiastical History) V, 17, in PG 67:1265-69, with Constantine's as described in the whole fourth book of Eusebius, Life of Constantine, in PG 20:1115-229. Also Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis XIV de Christi Resurrectione, in PG 33:841-44; F. Gerke, "Das Verhältnis von Malerei und Plastik in d. Theodos.-Honorianischen Zeit," Rivista di Archaeologica Cristiana 12 (1935): 140: the new art of majestas was the result of a "politisch gewordenen christlichen Weltanschauung" (politicized Christian world view). The super-ceremonial was no longer mere form, but a "Wirklichkeit auf einer neuen und höheren Ebene des Seins" (reality on a new and higher plane of being), according to Schneider, "Das byzantinische Zeremoniell und der alte Orient," 154.
56. Elias Bickermann, "Die römische Kaiserapotheose," Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 27 (1929): 21, citing Vegetius, II, 5. Cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History X, 4 and 9, in PG 20:848-80, 901-6; Eusebius, De Laudibus Constantini 17, in PG 20:1429-32, 1357; Eusebius, Life of Constantine II, 19 and 29, in PG 20:936-37, 1005-8. F. Cumont, "L'éternité des empereurs romains," Revue d'histoire et de litterature religieuses 1 (1896): 435-52. The New Order is greater and holier (timiotera) than heaven itself, according to John Chrysostom, Expositio in Psalmum (Exposition on Psalm) 148, in PG 55:483.
57. Ammianus Marcellinus, XIV, 6, 3, and 6: "Virtue and Fortune have formed a pact of eternal peace . . . the tranquility of Numa's time has returned." Eusebius, De Laudibus Constantini 17, in PG 20:1429; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History X, 4 and 9, in PG 20:848-80, 901-6; I, 3-4, in PG 20:68-80; IV, 7, in PG 20:316-21 (quoting panegyric orations); Lactantius, De Justitia V, 6-7, in PL 6:569-74, 590-92; Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses III, 2, 7, in PG 42:784-85, and III, 2, 2-3, in PG 42:776-77; Jerome, Commentarius in Isaiam Prophetam (Commentary on Isaiah) 18:66, in PL 24:674, 885; John Chrysostom, De Sancta Pentecoste Homilia (Homily on the Holy Pentecost) 1, in PG 50:454; John Chrysostom, Contra Judaeos et Gentiles, quod Christus Sit Deus (Against the Jews and the Gentiles That Christ Is God) 11-12, in PG 48:829-30; Ambrose, Epistolae (Epistles) 12, in PL 16:987-90; Cyprian, Epistolae (Epistles) 7, in PL 5:246-51; and Cyprian, Liber de Lapsis (On the Lapsed), in PL 4:479; Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis XVIII de Carnis Resurrectione XII, 18, in PG 33:1049, and so forth.
58. The quotation is from Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 1:644, describing the legend of Constantine's vision. The justice of its application in this instance may be seen from J. Gagé, "Stauros Nikopolos: La victoire imperiale dans l'empire chrétien," Revue d'histoire et de philosophie religieuses 13 (1933): 370-400, on the steps by which conflicting "Mystiques triomphales" were ultimately fused into a single whole in the Christian Imperial Cult. "The Roman world, whether for the moment dazzled by the prestige of the imperial physician or, perhaps because of its sickness ready for the most desperate expedient, appears to have accepted his ministrations without much visible indication of the scepticism which they deserved," thus Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 197.
59. Caecilius, Octavius IV-VIII.
60. Straub, "Christliche Geschichtsapologetik," 58-60, 76-77; Chavanne, "Patriotisme de Prudence," 349, 385, 400, 412.
61. Orosius, History against the Pagans V, 2, in PL 31:921-22.
62. Prudentius, Contra Orationem Symmachi II, 816-17: "Sed tantum distant Romana et barbara quantum/Quadrupes abiuncta est bipedi vel muta loquenti." Cf. Ambrose, Epistolam ad Romanos I, 14, in PL 17:57. For the Byzantine emperors "barbarian" is synonymous with "pagan," and intermarriage with barbarians is a crime, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, On the Administration of the Empire 13, in PG 113:185. A famous Byzantine formula states that there are four mothers of heresy: Barbarism, Scythism, Judaism, and Hellenism; John Damascus, De Haeresibus, in PG 94:677; Epiphanius, Anacephalaeosis, in PG 42:840-45, 849; Chronicon Paschale, in PG 92:112. A fourth-century wood carving from Egypt depicts the "Vertreibung der Barbaren von der Feste des Glaubens," the Faith and Romania being identical, Josef Strzygowski, Orient oder Rom: Beiträge zur Geschichte der spätantiken und frühchristlichen Kunst (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1901), 81-84, table 3.
63. Lenkeith, Dante and the Legend of Rome, 25, citing the twelfth century Pseudo-Irnerius. How Christianity actually deepened the gulf between Barbarian and Roman may be seen from Origen, Commentaria in Epistolam Pauli ad Romanos (Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans) I, 14, in PG 14:861; cf. Jerome, Commentarius in Epistolam ad Galatas (Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians) 2:3, in PL 26:380.
64. Thus Tatian, Oratio adversus Graecos I, 27, 30, in PG 6:804-5, 865, 868; see especially R. Massuetus, Dissertatio de Valentino, in PG 7:44-49; Clement of Alexandria, Stromata I, 15-17, in PG 8:776-802; Tertullian, De Anima (On the Soul) XILX, in PL 2:733-34; Didymus Alexander, De Trinitate (On the Trinity) II, 18, in PG 39:729. Later writers compared this Christian teaching with like teachings of the Greek Philosophers: Nicephorus Callistus, Ecclesiastical History IV, 10, in PG 145:1000; Nicephorus Gregor, Byzantina Historia VIII, 8, in PG 148:569; Theodoret, Graecarum Affectionum Curatio 5, in PG 83:944-52.
65. Straub, "Christliche Geschichtsapologetik," 63-64; cf. Claudius Claudianus, Panegyric on the Fourth Consulship of the Emperor Honorius 98-99; Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano," 15; Lenkeith, Dante and the Legend of Rome, 18: "If Rome were destroyed the physical basis of the legitimacy of both Popes and emperors would be lost together."
66. Alföldi, Conversion of Constantine and Pagan Rome, 117; cf. 106, 110, 112, 115-16. The fusion of Church and Empire is not without its modern panegyrists, e.g., A. Causse, "Essai sur le conflit du chistianisme primitif et de la civilization," RHR 78 (1918): 98-142, and 79 (1919): 175-223.
67. Walter Völker, "Von welchen Tendenzen liess sich Eusebius . . . leiten?" Vigiliae Christianae 4 (1950): 157-80. Roman secular history was also rewritten to prove that the Romans had from the first been God's people; Lenkeith, Dante and the Legend of Rome, 9.
68. Eusebius, De Laudibus Constantini 16, in PG 20:1421-29; cf. Prudentius, Contra Symmachum II, 578-95 and 634-40.
69. Lactantius, De Ira Dei 11, in PL 7:110.
70. Aristides, Oration 14 (To Rome), ed. Dindorf, 200 (349), boasts that Rome has achieved what Asia has always attempted to, the rule of one man over all the world; in Rome the Asiatic ideal is realized, ibid., 205 (359), 222 (389). "There are not two suns in the heavens; how can the people have two lords?" asks Ghenghis Khan, Friedrich E. Krause, Cingis Han: Die Geschichte seines Lebens nach den chinesischen Reichsannalen (Heidelberg: Winter, 1922), 25. Bayazid's official pronouncement reads exactly like an excerpt from the Theodosian Code: "The Koran says, 'Disquiet is worse than death,' the Sultan, the shadow of God upon earth, and the Lord of all true believers, ought to reign in conformity with the ever-to-be-imitated example of God, alone upon the throne, and without possibility of anyone revolting against him." Edwin S. Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, 2 vols. (London: Bentley, 1854-56), 1:50-51. Typically Asiatic is Basil's panegyric to the Pope of Alexandria, who shall trample his enemies under his feet: Basil, Liturgia Alexandrina, in PG 31:1632. Though Constantine "rejected the pretentions of the Oriental sacred monarchy," according to Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 179, he retained and strengthened all that the West had learned from it; ibid., 186, 188-89. The Church Fathers of the age remind us at times that all the pomp of this earth is mere empty show, "a game for children," a brief masquerade, and so forth, e.g., Eusebius, De Laudibus Constantini V, 6, in PG 20:1316-20, 1337-40; John Chrysostom, In Epistolam II ad Corinthios Homilia (Homily on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians) 15, in PG 61:508-9; but these are the commonplaces of the schools, in striking contrast to Hilary's frank and sorrowful admission that the Church "diligi se gloriatur a mundo, quae Christi esse non potuit, nisi eam mundus odisset" (boasts of being loved by the world, which could not be Christ's [church], unless the world hated it), Hilary, Contra Arianos (Against the Arians) 4, in PL 10:611.
71. For Claudius Claudianus, The Gothic War, passim, all who deny humble submission to Rome are faithless destroyers of peace, mad, demented, feeble-minded, insane, praedones, proditores, scellerati, presuntuosi, superbi, barbari, clienti, audacii falsi inerti, impii, rabiosi, perfidi, and so forth, see Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano," 17-18.
72. Hilary, Against the Emperor Constantius 15, in PL 10:593, 586, 602-3; cf. Hilary, Contra Arianos, in PL 10:609-10: peace is the greatest of blessings, but whoever accepts any peace but ours is the Antichrist.
73. Lucifer of Caliaris, De Non Conveniendo cum Haeresibus, in PL 13:774, 786-87, 790-91, 806; Hilary, Against the Emperor Constantius 15, in PL 10:598-99, 583.
74. Hilary, Against the Emperor Constantius 8, in PL 10:584-85.
75. Lucifer of Caliaris, De Non Conveniendo cum Haeresibus, in PL 13:806.
76. Thus Optatus, De Schismate Donatistarum (On the Donatist Schism) II, 13, in PL 11:966, can show that "the true Church cannot be cruel," since "dum sanat, vulnerat" (it causes pain while healing), ibid., in PL 11:1020. Those whom we kill are not martyrs, since only members of our church can be martyrs, ibid., in PL 11:1013-15, 1019; our side cannot persecute, since we are in the right, while anything that displeases us is necessarily persecution, ibid, in PL 11:1013, 1017; since we have the Scriptures written in our hearts, all Scripture we cite condemns you, while any you may cite against us is void, ibid., in PL 11:1101. Pacianus, Epistolae (Epistles) II, 5, in PL 13:1061-62, assures the Novatians that his side does not persecute, since it attacks only with words: "We deal with you like doves, ore potius quam dente confligimus." Yet Optatus tells the opposition that when they attack with words only they cut more cruelly than any swords, "slaying with the sword of the tongue," Optatus, On the Donatist Schism II, 13, in PL 11:979, 983. Augustine, Contra Donatistas (Against the Donatists) II, 11, says that persecution by the Church is "the persecution of love," and that as long as the Emperor persecutes on the right side he does well, Augustine, Epistolae (Epistles) 43, in PL 33:321-23.
77. Lucifer of Caliaris, De Non Conveniendo cum Haeresibus, in PL 13:768-70, 774, 777, 787, 791. True, Lucifer is extreme, but Athanasius, Ad Luciferum Epistolae 2, in PL 13:1040-41, who calls him the most inspired voice of the age, is himself no less severe: "Christus recusat et respuit obsequium tuum" (Christ rejects and disdains your compliance), he writes to a too-tolerant emperor, Athanasius, Epistolae (Epistles) XVII, in PL 16:1002-5.
78. "The common-sense republicanism of Tiberius Caesar had prompted the sentiment "deorum injuriae dis curae" (the gods' injuries are matters of concern to the gods). Constantine, however, undertook to support the prestige of deity by a law which forbade blasphemous utterances under pain of a fine of one-half one's goods." Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 204.
79. John Chrysostom, Homilia in Joannem (Homily on John) LIV, 4, in PG 59:301; Hilary, Against the Emperor Constantius II, 9, in PL 10:585: "unigenitus Deus, quem in me persequeris" (the only begotten God, whom you persecute in me).
80. Augustine, Enarrationes in Psalmos (Narrations on Psalms) 62:15, in PL 36:684-85; Augustine, De Civitate Dei (The City of God) XX, 19, 3, in PL 41:686. "How can we be blessed unless we loathe you utterly?" is Lucifer's refrain, in Lucifer of Caliaris, De Non Conveniendo cum Haeresibus, in PL 13:770-71.
81. Augustine, Contra Julianum Pelagianum (Against Julian Pelagius) IV, 30-31, in PL 44:753-54, 763: "Unbelievers do evil even when they do good." Cf. Augustine, Sermones (Sermons) CXLI, 3-4, in PL 38:777; Augustine, Epistles 113, in PL 33:322; Augustine, Narrations on Psalms 57:15, in PL 36:684-85. To call the emperor Antichrist when he is mistaken "non est temeritas, sed fides; neque inconsideratio, sed ratio" (it is not rashness but loyalty, not thoughtlessness but concern), and so forth, Hilary, De Non Conveniendo cum Hereticis, in PL 13:806. When the Emperor puts his official severitas at the disposal of the Church, "neither brother, beloved wife, nor son" should be spared, all loyal subjects being armed "to dismember the sacrilegious," Julius Firmicus Maternus, The Error of Pagan Religions 30, in PL 12:1048. Writers of the fourth century sometimes yield to principles of humanity, "nec potest aut veritas cum vi, aut justitia cum crudelitate conjugi" (truth cannot be joined with violence nor justice with cruelty), says Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones (Divine Institutions) V, 20, in PL 6:615; yet Lucifer can twist this sentiment into a proof that the Church, being true and just, is never cruel, see n. 76 above. Jerome must confess a definite conflict between the justa judicia of the Church and her irrationabili (!) clementia, Jerome, Epistolae (Epistle) 17, in PL 22:828, while Optatus pays a touching compliment to kindness when he declares that the Donatists should suffer death because they lack charity! Optatus, On the Donatist Schism III, 8, in PL 11:1018-19.
82. John Chrysostom, De Virginitate 5, in PG 48:536-37.
83. Alföldi, Conflict of Ideas in the Late Roman Empire, 40.
84. John Chrysostom, Exposition on Psalm 50, in PG 55:530; John Chrysostom, Homilia in Isaiam 6:1 (Homily on Isaiah 6:1) IV, 1-2, in PG 56:121; cf. John Chrysostom, Homilia in Matthaeum (Homily on Matthew) XXXIII, 1, in PG 57:389, and John Chrysostom, Contra Judaeos et Gentiles, quod Christus Sit Deus 6 and 12-13, in PG 48:821, 830-31; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History X, 4, in PG 20:847-80; Zeno, Tractatus II, 44, in PL 11:496: "zizania . . . in laeta frumenta mutavit" (he changed tares into useful grains).
85. Cedrenus Georgius, Historiarum Compendium, 2 vols. (Bonn: Weber, 1838-39), 1:662.
86. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto (On the Holy Ghost) 76-77, in PG 32:213-17. This agrees perfectly with the description in John Chrysostom, Adversus Oppugnatores Vitae Monasticae III, 8-10, in PG 47:361-65. The fourth-century fathers "cast aside truth and decency [Anstand] and converted controversy into the business of questioning personal loyalty," thus Martin Schanz, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, 4 vols. (Munich: Beck, 1914), 4:1:534.
87. Basil, On the Holy Ghost 76-77, in PG 32:213-17. According to Chrysostom, the spirit of the times is well expressed in the common remark: "I wish an earthquake would come and kill everybody but me; then I would be the richest man in Antioch!" John Chrysostom, In Epistolam II ad Timotheum (Commentary on the Second Epistle to Timothy) VII, 1-2, in PG 62:638.
88. Jakob C. Burckhardt, Die Zeit Konstantins des Grossen (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1929), 452. Optatus affirms that if chastity and virginity are found among any barbarian nations it is because something has gone wrong, for that simply cannot be, in Optatus, On the Donatist Schism III, 3, in PL 11:999.
89. Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History II, 28, in PG 67:1013-17. Later churchmen used Constantine's example to spur his successors to acts of increasing violence against unbelievers, P. Petit, "Libanius et la Vita Constantini," Historia 1 (1950): 581. In the Theodosian Code XVI, 1, 2, all who differ from the Emperor's theology are declared "extravagant madmen" who "must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our authority . . . shall think proper to inflict upon them," cited in Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 2:8. Constantine shows an "obvious lack of any sense of the limitations of law," says Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 204; "Ses conseillers l'ont fait vivre dans un monde d'illusions" (his advisers let him live in a dream world), Piganiol, "L'état actuel de la question Constantinienne 1939-49," 95.
90. The Emperor's famous letter is quoted in Eusebius, Life of Constantine II, 71, in PG 20:1044-45; Socrates, Ecclesiastical History I, 7, in PG 67:53-60; Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History I, 16, in PG 67:909-12.
91. Ambrose, Epistles 12, in PL 16:988-89. John Chrysostom, De Sancto Babyla, Contra Julianum et Gentiles (On Saint Babyla, Against Julian and the Gentiles) 8, in PG 50:544, says that the Church was better off under pagan emperors, because the members fought less savagely among themselves.
92. Gerhard Ladner, "Das heilige Reich des mittelalterlichen Westens," Welt als Geschichte 11 (1951): 143-53, especially 149. See below, n. 146.
93. Thompson, "Peasant Revolts in Late Roman Gaul and Spain," 20.
94. John Morris, "Early Christian Orthodoxy," Past and Present 3 (February 1953): 12, cf. 14: "In 500 A.D. the new world was Christian; it was a very different Christianity. The church . . . belonged to the world of the rulers, not of the ruled." Cf. Jean-Paul Brisson, "Les Origines du danger social dans l'Afrique chrétienne du IIIe siècle," Recherches de science religieuse 33 (1946): 280-316.
95. Henry, "Pietas and Fides in Catullus," 63.
96. Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano," 23.
97. C. D. Gordon, Review of C. Wirszubski, "Libertas" as a Political Idea at Rome during the Late Republic and Early Principate, in Phoenix 6 (1952): 28, where the quotation is found.
99. Alföldi, Conflict of Ideas in the Late Roman Empire, 37.
100. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 91-193, comments caustically on this.
101. Diehl and Marçais, Le monde oriental, 78-79.
102. Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 477. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 2:142: "The nobles of Rome express an exquisite sensibility for any personal injury, and a contemptuous indifference for the rest of the human species."
103. Philostratus, Vita Apollonii (The Life of Apollonius of Tyana) I, 15; cf. Zonaras, Annals XII, 10.
104. Plutarch, Marcus Cato 5, says the Athenians treat their mules better than Cato did his faithful slaves, but the Roman nobility regularly followed his example, Zonaras, Annals XII, 10. Though Cato opposed the foreign excesses of the rich, Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 30-32, the "villa-system" and foreign policy he advocated as well as his own acquisitiveness all favored the tendencies he was combatting, ibid., 34-35, 45, 55.
105. Tacitus, Histories II, 61, blushes with shame that "a plebeian had the presumption to mix his name with the great events of the time." The Historia Augusta reflects the violently partisan spirit of the nobility in the fourth century, according to Alföldi, Conflict of Ideas in the Late Roman Empire, 25. Its fierce prejudices are apparent in Plutarch, Coriolanus; Ammianus Marcellinus, XXVII, 4; Livy, VII, 6-7; Appian, Roman History XII, 4; XI, 4; Zonaras, Annals VII, 14, and so forth.
106. Vogt, Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 46.
107. They were genuinely shocked when their Scythian houseslaves (who had been captured by trickery and enslaved in disregard of solemn promises) staged a rebellion in Asia Minor—treachery, they called it, base ingratitude! Eunapius, De Legationibus Romanorum ad Gentus 6, in PG 113:657. The same thing is described centuries earlier by Appian, Roman History XII, 4; XI, 4. "If it were not for the wealth possessed by the rich," they said, "the poor would have no one to lend them money in time of famine and so starve to death!" Zonaras, Annals VII, 14. They believed all things were created for them alone, Symmachus, Epistolae (Epistles) II, 46; even life was given to other creatures as a means of preserving their flesh until they were ready to eat or sell it, Varro, De Re Rustica (On Agriculture) II, 4 and 10; III, 3-6; including human flesh, ibid. II, 10; Seneca, Epistles I, 95; Philo, On Abraham 20-21.
108. "Ruere in servitium consules, patres, eques. Quanto quis inlustrior, tanto magis falsi ac festinantes." (Consuls, senators, and knights were rushing into slavery. The more distinguished the individual, the greater his hypocrisy and haste.) Tacitus, Annals I, 7, 1, cf. 35. The groveling and timidity of the Senate is a leitmotiv of Roman history: Polybius, Histories X, 3; Cicero, Letters to His Friends VI, 1; Tacitus, Annals XIII, 32; Aelius Lampridius, Heliogabalus 20; Aelius Lampridius, Commodus 18-20; Suetonius, Caius Caligula 11; Dio, Roman History LIII, 20; LXXIII, 20; LXXVII, 8; LXXIX, 20.
109. Thompson, "Peasant Revolts in Late Roman Gaul and Spain," 12; Salvianus, On the Government of God IV, 6, in PL 53:76-77; A. Hoepffner, "Un aspect de la lutte de Valentinien Ier contre le Sénat: La création du 'Defensor plebis,'" Revue historique 182 (1938): 225-38.
110. P. de Jonge, "Scarcity of Corn and Cornprices in Ammianianus Marcellinus," Mnemosyne, Ser. 4, vol. 1 (1948): 238-45; on the complex speculations of the corn-dealers, P. de Jonge, "A Curious Place in Ammianus Marcellinus Dealing with Scarcity of Corn and Cornprices," Mnemosyne, Ser. 4, vol. 1 (1948): 73-80.
111. "The world is turned upside down that a few men may be magnificent," Salvianus, On the Government of God IV, 4, in PL 63:75; see Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 475-77, 451; Ambrose, De Officiis Ministrorum (On the Duties of the Clergy) III, 7, in PL 16:169; Basil, Homilia Dicta Tempore Famis et Siccitatis, in PG 31:304-9, 321, 324; Cassiodorus, Variae II, 12; Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana I, 15.
112. William E. Heitland, The Roman Republic, 3 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1909), 2:235-37, describes the growth of the system in which the owner "took little thought of the horrors perpetrated with his sanction in the country side," and the only means of protest was rebellion.
113. Cicero, De Officiis III, 22, 88.
114. Straub, "Parens Principum," 115; E. Nischer-Falkenhof, Stilicho (Vienna: Seidel, 1947), 149-52.
115. Thompson, "Peasant Revolts in Late Roman Gaul and Spain," 20; cf. 14-15.
116. Ibid., 19-20.
117. Walther von Wartburg, Les origines des peuples romans (Paris: Presses universitaires, 1941), 269; Ammianus Marcellinus, XXXI, 6; Sidonius, Epistolae (Epistles) II, 1, 3-4; Orosius, History against the Pagans V, 9, 5; Joannes Malalas, Chronographia XVII, 420; Appian, Roman History III, 1; 1, 5; IV, 6, 43; Tacitus, Histories II, 51; II, 61; Zonaras, Annales VII, 14. Heitland, Roman Republic, 2:379, notes that it was traditionally the freemen rather than the slaves who ravaged the great estates.
118. Erwin Rohde, Der griechische Roman und seine Vorläufer (Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1900), 319.
119. Ibid., 316-17, 347; Schanz, Geschichte der römischen Literatur, 3:235.
120. Ammianus Marcellinus; the four yokes are orating Sophists, lawyers, legal advisers, and hack-writers; cf. Philo, On Drunkenness 79. The good men were snowed under by the fast-talkers, Dio Chrysostom, Discourses XXXII, 6-13; Lucian, Astrology, Rhetor Praecox (A Professor of Public Speaking), and Nigrinus.
121. Aristotle, The "Art" of Rhetoric I, 1, 14; I, 2, 1; Dio Chrysostom, Discourses XXXV, 7.
122. Augustine, De Ordine II, 13, in PL 32:1013.
123. Plato, Phaedrus 267A; Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VIII, 376, in PG 9:753. It can "exercise persuasive powers on any subject at all," says Aristotle, The "Art" of Rhetoric I, 2, 1.
124. Aristotle, The "Art" of Rhetoric I, 2, 11-13.
125. Seneca, Controversiae IX, preface 1. "The beginning of rhetoric is the probable, the process is epicherrema, and the end is persuasion . . . and admiration," Clement of Alexandria, Stromata VIII, 376.
126. Philo, On Joseph XIII, 64; XIV, 67; cf. Dio Chrysostom, Discourses XLVII, 19.
127. Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine) IV, 6; 29; 37; and 51, in PL 34:91-115; cf. Gustave Combès, Saint Augustin et la culture classique (Paris: Plon, 1927), 54-55.
128. Dio Chrysostom, Discourses 32-34; Lucian, Nigrinus; The Dead Come to Life or the Fisherman; Rhetor Praecox; The Dream or Lucian's Career.
129. F. James E. Raby, A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1934), 1:1-47. The education of Augustine was "celle d'un lettré de la décadence formé par le grammaticus et le rhéteur, avec en plus la dialectique. Grammaire et dialectique! Mais ce sont là les bases réeles de la scholastique" (that of a well-read person of the late Empire influenced by the grammaticus and the rhetorician, as well as dialectic. Grammar and dialectic! But these are the real foundations of scholasticism)! Henri I. Marrou, Saint Augustin et la fin de la culture antique (Paris: Boccard, 1938), 275. The only difference between Augustine's brand of Christian rhetoric and that of the pagan schools was that his was a simpler, streamlined course, even more superficial than the other, ibid., 517-18, denoting "cet abaissment du niveau général de la civilization, qui déjà, tout autour d'Augustin, annonce les temps barbares" (that lowering of the general level of culture that heralds, all around Augustine, the onset of the barbarian age), 518.
130. Gibbon, Decline and Fall, 1:941. Johann Zellinger, "Der Beifall in der altchristlichen Predigt," in Festgabe Alois Knopfler (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1917), 403. Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa vom VI. Jahrhundert v. Chr. bis in die Zeit der Renaissance, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Teubner, 1898), 2:623-24.
131. Henri Leclerq, "Panégyrique," in Fernand Cabrol and Henri Leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturigie, 15 vols. (Paris: Letouzey and Ané, 1907), 13:1:1037-38.
132. Ibid.; G. Manthey, "Il significato primitivo della legenda 'Pax perpetua' sulle monete degli imperatori romani," Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana 28 (1952): 45-75.
133. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine IV, 26, in PL 34:117-18. On the early Christian abhorrence of rhetoric, Zellinger, "Beifall in der altchristlichen Predigt," 403-4.
134. Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 207-8; cf. Italo Lana, Velleio Patercolo o della propaganda (Turin: University of Turin, 1952), 261, 294.
135. "Et les assistants applaudissent avec fureur pour prouver leur fidélité" (and the assistants applaud furiously in order to show their loyalty). Leclerq, "Panégyrique," in Cabrol and Leclerq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, 13:1:1043.
136. Ibid., 13:1:1042-44.
137. Thus in the great prototype of Latin Panegyrics, that of Pliny the Younger to Trajan, the orator protests loudly and repeatedly that this is a sincere, not a rhetorical, discourse: Pliny, Panegyricus 54 and 72-74.
138. Combès, Saint Augustin et la culture classique, 75. Norden, Antike Kunstprosa, 2:623-24; Rohde, Der griechische Roman, 348.
139. Rohde, Der griechische Roman, 348; Dio Chrysostom, Discourse XXXVI, 18; XXXVIII, 40; Polybius, Histories VI, 57.
140. Raby, History of Secular Latin Poetry, 1:73; Norden, Antike Kunstprosa, 2:652.
141. See n. 128 above; Engelbert Krebs, "Die Geschichte der scholastischen Methode bis zum Beginn des 13. Jahrunderts," Römische Quartalschrift 27 (1913): 33. Of a piece with the panegyric was the grandiose monumental architecture, "Panegyric in stone" that the Middle Ages inherited from this period, Gerke, "Verhältnis von Malerei und Plastik," 140, 159-60, 162-63; K. Felis, "Die Niken und die Engel in altchristlicher Kunst," Römische Quartalschrift 26 (1912): 24-25. It was Gaul, "das Land der Rhetoric," that preserved antique culture through the Middle Ages, Norden, Antike Kunstprosa, 2:631-33.
142. Marsili, "Roma nella poesia di Claudiano," 21. The first three pages of Pliny's model panegyric to Trajan (Pliny, Panegyricus) contain the abstractions: castitas, sanctitas, libertas, fides, veritas, humanitas, frugalitas, clementia, liberalitas, benignitas, continentia, potestas, pietas, abstinentia, mansuetodo, divinitas, temperantia, facilitas, amor, gaudium, modestia, moderatio, virtus, gloria, gratiae, laus, severitas, reverentia, conordia, concentus, hilaritas, gravitas, simplicitas, honor, dignitas, and maturitas. A full-blown "Christian" vocabulary.
143. John Chrysostom, De Incomprehensibili Dei Natura III, 6, in PG 48:725; John Chrysostom, De Baptismo Christi 1, in PG 49:363-65; John Chrysostom, Reprehensio 1, in PG 51:143-45; John Chrysostom, De Melchisedeco, in PG 56:257; John Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew XXXIII, 1-3, in PG 57:387-92; John Chrysostom, Homilia 1, in PG 63:461-62, and Ecloga de Non Contemnenda Ecclesia Dei et Sanctis Mysteriis Homilia 9, in PG:623-25, 629.
144. Frederick M. Powicke, Legacy of the Middle Ages (Oxford: Clarendon, 1938), 46. The failure of Rome to capture the real allegiance of Europe is the theme of Powicke's essay. See below, n. 150.
145. Jordanes, Gothic History 36.
146. András Alföldi, "Die Geburt der kaiserlichen Bildsymbolik," Museum Helveticum 8 (1951): 215.
147. Straub, "Christliche Geschichtsapologetik," 63.
148. John B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, 2 vols. (New York: Dover, 1958), 1:16.
149. Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 469.
150. Ladner, "Das heilige Reich des mittelalterlichen Westens," 149.
151. John Bligh, "The 'Edict of Milan'; Curse or Blessing?" Church Quarterly Review 153 (1952): 309. Origen believed that conversion to Christianity would save the Empire. "Alas!" says Bligh, "Things did not turn out that way. . . . Corruption and oppression continued unabated, and brought the tottering Empire to its fall." Ibid., 313. Have we any guarantee that an even less pristine Christianity can overcome that "corruption and oppression" which earlier Christianity could not even alleviate?
152. Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 476.
153. Ibid., 459; cf. 452-53, 457, 473: "There was indeed equality of a negative kind, for no political freedom was tolerated, no remnant of self-government was left, no freedom of speech, thought, or conscience was permitted, especially after the victory of Christianity."
154. Alföldi, Conflict of Ideas in the Late Roman Empire, 40.
155. Rostovzeff, Social and Economic History, 460.
156. Cochrane, Christianity and Classical Culture, 211.
157. Athanasius, De Synodis (On the Councils) I, 1-2 and 6-7, in PG 26:684, 689; Hilary, To Constantius Augustus II, 6, in PL 10:566-67, 569; cf. Philostorgius, Historia Ecclesiastica II, 3, in PG 65:468; Basil, Epistolae (Epistles) 82, in PG 32:457.