The Defense Before Constantius

1. Gwatkin, Arianism2 (1900), 157; O. Barden hewer, Geschichte der alt kirchlich en Literatur 3 (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1912), 62; Opitz on 279.1; M. Tetz, TRE 4 (1979), 340; Brennecke, Hilarius (1984), 110. Opitz on 210.16 dated the Defense to the second half of 357 and put its composition and that of the Defense of His Flight between the Defense against the Arians and the History of the Arians. But the dependence of the Defense before Constantius on the Defense against the Arians, which he rightly detected (on 279.9ff.), only establishes a terminus post quern of 349 (App. 2).

2. Robertson, Select Writings ( 1892), li, 236.

3. J.-M. Szymusiak, Sources chrétiennes 56 (1958), 30, 55, 59-63 (unchanged in the second edition of 1987). Szymusiak holds that Athanasius began to compose the Defense immediately after the final defeat of Magnentius in the summer of 353.

4. The episode occurred at Easter (14.4-15.5). The year has been variously estimated as 347, 352, or 355: see, respectively, Opitz on 286.34 (347); Seeck, Geschichte 4 (Berlin, 1911), 139, 444, followed by Brennecke, Hilarius (1984), 118 (352); A. Martin, 'Les premiers siècles du Christianisme à Alexandrie: Essai de topographie religieuse (IIP-1V siècles),' REAug 30 (1984), 211-235, at 217/8 (between 351 and 353); L. S. Le Nain de Tillemont, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclésiastique 8 (Pans, 1713), 149, followed by Robertson, Select Writings (1892), 243 (355). All the dates except 347 are deduced from the Defense itself: on the analysis argued here, the year is most likely to be 351.

5. J.-M. Szymusiak, Sources chrétiennes 56 (1958), 60/1.

6. For the invitation to visit the speaker's city, cf. Pan. Lat. 6(7).22 (an orator from Autun addressing Constantine in 310). A rhetorical handbook of the early fourth century advises a speaker who delivers an imperial panegyric to conclude with a prayer 'beseeching God that the emperor's reign may endure long' (Mcnander Rhetor, ed. D. A. Russell and N. G. Wilson (Oxford, 1981], 94/5)—a precept to which Eusebius gave a Christian twist when he concluded Iiis panegyric of 336 by looking forward to Constantine's reception into heaven (Triakontaeterikos 10.7).

7. Probably on 10 August, cf. Seeck, Geschichte 4 (1911), 439.

8. Chapter XIII.

9. PLRE 1.119. Unfortunately, there seems to be no evidence for Asterius or his career apart from these two passages and Hist. Ar. 51.4, which refers to 'Asterius the comes and Palladius the notariusy as bringing instructions from Constantius to prevent the arrest of Athanasius in 350.

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