who stayed away from the pagan altars out of ambition.14 This comment reflects a wider social and religious change, evidenced also by what we know about the conversion of elite families in Rome. The conversion of the Turcii from Rome provides a good example. The family can be traced to one L. Turcius Secundus, suffect consul in 300. Its members were prominent civic officials, pagans like L. Turcius Apronianus signo Asterius, urban prefect of Rome in 362/3. Yet in the second half of the fourth century, we find some members of the family embracing Christianity; a pagan, Turcius Apronianus, married the Christian woman Avita and converted to Christianity around the year 400.15 Thus, although pagan rituals and celebrations continued in Rome, there was a gradual turning away from pagan cults by urban elite aware of the mounting social and political liabilities in maintaining these traditions.16

One of the most striking aspects of the conversion of Rome's elite in the post-Constantinian period is the lack of attestation for overt physical conflict between pagans and Christians. There had been physical conflict between pagans and Christians in other cities, such as Alexandria, and among Christians in Rome as well. Although we do not hear of such outbursts in Rome, we should not think that there was no religious conflict between pagans and Christians in the city. There survives, from the Rome of the 380s, one of our best-attested verbal dialogues between these two groups. In the year 382, the emperor Gratian broke decisively with the pre-existing imperial policy of toleration for pagan cults. He confiscated the revenues for maintaining pagan cults, diverted property willed to priesthoods and Vestals for the upkeep of pagan rituals and ceremonies to the imperial treasury and abolished the exemption of pagan religious officials from compulsory public duties. In this same year, he ordered the removal of the Altar of Victory from the Roman senate house.17 When, in the next year, Gratian was overthrown and his thirteen-year-old brother, Valentinian II, a weak successor, ascended to the throne, the pagan senatorial aristocrats saw the opportunity of making a public stand in defence of the state religion. Symmachus, then urban prefect of Rome, sent a State Paper in July 384 on the senate's behalf to the ruling emperors requesting the return of the imperial policy of tolerance for pagan cult as well as the replacement of the Altar of Victory. The bishop of Milan, Ambrose, heard of this request and

14 Symmachus, Letter 51, 'Fuerit haec olim simplex divinae rei delegatio: nunc aris desse Romanos genus est ambienti.'

15 Salzman, The making of a Christian aristocracy, 80-1.

16 Salzman, On Roman time, 205-9.

17 The edict is referred to in a law of 415, CTh 16.10.20. The removal of the Altar is the subject of Symmachus' Third Relatio and Ambrose's Letters 17 and 18.

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