rise of Christianity offered both provincial notables and cities a new medium for extending those traditional rivalries. Men now competed to become clerics, to become bishops, even to move to a more prestigious see. Cities now schemed to become metropolitan sees or to extend their ecclesiastical authority. Hierarchy, in the form of a sequence of clerical offices and the ranking of sees, was profoundly disruptive to creating a harmonious and ecumenical Christian community. As in the early empire, 'under the guise of religion cities disintegrated into rivalries'.20

In these rivalries some cities even changed their names as evidence of their enhanced status. In Cappadocia Caesarea had seemed to clinch its standing as provincial capital and metropolitan see through its imperial name, derived from Augustus Caesar. But once Tyana became another provincial capital and hence another metropolitan see in Cappadocia, it hoped to surpass its rival's imperial name by adopting the more impressive Christian name of Christoupolis. In a Christian empire 'Christ's city' could trump 'Caesar's city'.21

Spirituality and secular society

Personal devotion certainly motivated Christian emperors to demonstrate their patronage for bishops and clerics. But these emperors might well have additional political reasons for promoting the status and influence of bishops. From the beginning emperors had had to worry about challengers, such as the great senators who represented the traditions of the old Roman republic and who held offices in the imperial administration. To undermine the collective prestige of senators, emperors had promoted equestrians and provincial notables to high offices, and they had sometimes even relied upon the advice of freedmen, slaves, or, occasionally, their own mothers, wives and mistresses. During late antiquity some emperors were promoting eunuchs at court and barbarians to serve as military officers. The primary reason for the attractiveness of eunuchs and barbarians could also be applied to bishops and clerics: even though they were close advisers, they could not replace emperors. The ecclesiastical hierarchy became more prominent and influential from the early fourth century in part because emperors wanted to promote another counterweight to the influence of other prominent groups in Roman society, such as senators and military commanders. In the perspective of emperors, bishops

20 Rivalries: Tacitus, Annales 3.63.

21 Tyana as Christoupolis: Notitiaegraecae episcopatuum 1.21, 250.

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