dictatorial powers and accepted a commission from the senate to rule at its behest.33 The story was on bronze tablets that Augustus ordered placed at the site of his mausoleum and replicated throughout the empire.

The tablets may not have survived to Gelasius' day, but the distinction clearly did. Augustus was referring to what he wanted to be perceived as a distinct change, resulting from his act of refusal, in the nature of the power by which he ruled. No longer was he obeyed because he was the most powerful man in Rome, but because he was the most just. This is what gives an edge to Gelasius' use of the same distinction. Gelasius' application of this difference to the nature of the power wielded by emperor and priest effectively appropriates to that body the moral authority that the first emperor arrogated to himself (and, implicitly, to his successors). Now, Gelasius was saying, government must rely on the church for its moral legitimacy. Thus, in words virtually indistinguishable from Chrysostom's, Gelasius claims that, of the two powers, 'the priestly burden is by far the heavier, because on Judgment Day they must give account to the Lord even for the actions of rulers'. For this reason, he continues, Anastasius must recognise 'that you are given precedence in rank over all men, but Your Piety must yield on religious matters to the leadership of those upon whose actions your own salvation depends'.34 Ultimately, Gelasius' distinction of the 'two powers' owes less to the thinking of Chrysostom and Ambrose than it does to that of Augustine, whose City of God, rejecting the bond between the heavenly and earthly realms, decisively re-oriented Western Christian thought.35 With the waning of imperial influence in the West, Gelasius' letter illustrates the deliberate way in which church officials began to assume imperial status as well as functions during this period.

East or West, it was dangerous for an emperor to interfere too often or too overtly in the priestly sphere. Ironically, given the view Western scholars have taken of Eastern independence, for many centuries the Eastern church actually demonstrated far more ability to manoeuvre than did their counterparts in the West. Ambrose's confrontation with Theodosius became an enduring myth, but still it was only a myth; in the East, bishops of Constantinople actually did bar emperors from entering the church, on more than one occasion.36

33 Rogers et al., eds., CaesarisAugustiResgestaeetFragmenta,cap. 34: Postidtem[pus a]uctoritate [omnibus praestiti, potest]atis au[tem n]ihilo ampliu[s habu]i quam cet[eri qui m]ihi quoque in ma[gis]tra[t]u conlegae fuerunt. See further M. Grant, From imperium to auctoritas.

35 G. Chesnut, 'The pattern of the past'.

36 Dagron, Emperor and priest, 104-10.

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