Chapter

Not many days later the Caesar arrived, not to congratulate his (adoptive) father, but to force him to yield his power. He had now but recently been in conflict with the old Maximian, and he had alarmed him by injecting the fear of civil war. So, at first, he met Diocletian gently and in a friendly manner, telling him that he was old now, and not strong, and not capable of the management of the affairs of state, that he ought to rest after his labors. At the same time, he suggested to him the...

Theodosian Code On Religion

Book 16, the final book of the Theodosian Code, treats religion. The tenor and contents of this book give us a sense of how the imperial court refashioned its own religious authority in the centuries following the legalization of Christianity. Although bishops might attempt to subordinate the imperial house to episcopal authority (see Text 8), the emperors still maintained their role as guardians of religious equilibrium. So emperors convoked Christian councils (see Chapter 8) and legislated on...

Hymn

A wonder By chance the corpse of that accursed one, 1 crossing over toward the rampart met me near the city And the Magus took and fastened on a tower the standard sent from the east, so that this standard-bearer would declare to the onlookers that the city was slave to the lords of that standard. Refrain Glory to the One Who wrapped the corpse in shame I wondered, Who indeed set a time for meeting 2 when corpse and standard-bearer both at one moment were present I knew it was a prearrangement,...

Ephraim Hymns Against Julian

Ephraim (ca. 306-73) lived in the far eastern reaches of the Roman Empire, where the language of daily life was Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic, related to Hebrew). Until 363, Ephraim was a teacher and hymnographer for the church in Nisibis following Julian's disastrous campaign against the Persians and the surrender of Julian's successor Jovian (in 363), Nisibis was ceded to the Persian Empire. Ephraim, along with other Christian refugees, found himself transplanted to the city of Edessa. There...

The Origin of Constantine

Although this brief life of Constantine survives only as incorporated into a later sixth-century text, it may, in fact, be the earliest biographical record of the first Christian emperor. References to Constantine's Christian enthusiasm were inserted by a later Christian editor, taken mainly from the early fifth-century History against the Pagans by Orosius, a disciple of Augustine. The original text probably ended with the defeat of Constantine's co-emperor Licinius and the founding of...

Late Antiquity

The mother of Galerius was a worshiper of the gods of the mountains. Since she was a very superstitious woman, she offered sacrificial repasts almost every day and made donations of the meals to her countrymen. Christians kept away, and while she would be dining with her fellow-pagans, they would redouble fasts and prayers. Therefore, she conceived a hatred for them and, with womanly complaints, she prevailed upon her son, no less superstitious, to get rid of these men. Therefore, secret...