they were to be remembered as heavenly icons or wild beasts - now lay with the clergy. Moreover, Christianity's unique development in the first centuries of its existence had left this institution with a capacity for acting and behaving independently such as senators had not known since the closing days of the republic, and Constantine's settlement had endowed the clergy with both the legitimating authority that had made the senate an important partner in the principate and patronage resources that rivalled, and eventually supplanted, those of the traditional elites.17 Increasingly during this period, bishops also assumed civic duties that neither local elites nor (especially in the West) imperial administrators were able to discharge. Implicit in Eusebius and Agapetus' exhortations, therefore, was the warning that an emperor who did not live up to them ran the risk of alienating a constituency that could, and would, withdraw its support. In effect, as T. D. Barnes has put it, 'By the end of the fourth century Christian orthodoxy had been added to the traditional list of virtues required in a legitimate emperor.'18

This dissonance in imperial and episcopal thinking about their relationship is the common denominator beneath two explosive confrontations that occurred within twenty years of each other at the turn of the fifth century. The first followed in the wake of a disastrous conflict between the army of Theodosius the Great and the citizens of Thessalonica in 390 that resulted in a wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians.19 As the story came to be told, Ambrose placed himself between Theodosius and the entry to the church in Milan, refusing the emperor admittance until he humbled himself through a very public act of penance. Fourteen years later, Constantinople's bishop, the fiery John Chrysostom, engaged in a similar test of will with the empress Eudokia, but in this case the result was his exile and eventual death. Because of their different outcomes, the two incidents came to be used as exemplars for the independence of Western Christianity and the subservience of its Eastern counterpart. But this is a very selective reading, one that ignores significant contingencies. In the Western conflict, for instance, Ambrose could rely on a unified clergy and a congregation whose loyalty had been forged in decades of significant encounters, whereas Theodosius, hundreds of miles from his permanent court at Constantinople, was definitely the outsider, and

17 See P. Brown, Poverty and leadership; C. Lepelley, 'Le patronat episcopal'; R. Lizzi, 'The bishop, vir venerabilis'.

18 T. D. Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius, 174.

19 The numbers vary and even the most commonly accepted figure of 5,000 should be viewed with suspicion. See N. McLynn, Ambrose of Milan, 315-23; Daniel Washburn, 'The Thessalonian affair'.

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