made image (ayaA|ja) of piety' (5) who, 'in the authority attached to his dignity', is 'like God' (21). He is the eye of the world (46), a luminary like the sun (51), who has 'received the sceptre of kingship from God' (61). Such phrases seem amply to confirm the subservient role that Western scholars once assumed was the lot of Eastern Christians, a condition summed up by the label of'Caesaropapism'. But this is a conclusion that can only be reached by ignoring the religious nature of the ancient state, and even more the late antique world's particular understanding of that state.

In 'Caesaropapism' there are two distinct entities, a secular state and a spiritual church, each with its own defined sphere of authority. The problem arises when the secular ruler, Caesar, asserts authority over the church, acting thus like a pope. But just as the term 'Caesaropapism' is modern, so too is the distinction between church and state. The ancient state was always itself a religious institution, and a chief duty of all ancient rulers in whatever kind of polity was to maintain the goodwill of divinity.5 If there was one thing on which pagans and Christians agreed, it was that such goodwill was the single most important factor in determining the successful outcome of an event. Never was this more so than in the late empire, when for a variety of reasons imperial legitimacy came increasingly to be associated with the favour of a divine ally, or comes.6

The significance of this easily overlooked difference between ancient and modern states is that divisions that come so readily to the modern mind -between 'religious' and 'political' office, for instance, or between 'church' and 'state' - would have been meaningless to an ancient one. The same officials who discharged what today we would call secular duties were also responsible for maintaining the goodwill of the gods. These were (it goes without saying) the gods of the state - deities conceived as having a special relationship with one's particular polity.7 When Augustus, the first of the Roman emperors, assumed the title of pontifex maximus, he - and his successors - also assumed primary responsibility for maintaining this relationship with the divine. There was, thus, a sanctity attached to the office of emperor that cannot be lightly discounted when considering the relationship Christians had with the empire -after Constantine as well as before him.

5 The earliest citation recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary is to an article in the Edinburgh review for April 1890, in which the author uses the term in reference to the rule ofJustinian. See further G. Dagron, Emperor and priest, ch. 9.

6 A. D. Nock, 'The emperor's divine comes"; see further H. A. Drake, Constantine and the bishops, ch. 3.

7 S. R. F. Price, 'Between man and God'; R. Gordon, 'Religion in the Roman empire'.

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