Gratians Edicts against Ancient Religions

In 382 C.E., Gratian issued various edicts that severely restricted pagan religious practices. Although his edicts are not extant, we can reconstruct them from several sources, including the letters of Ambrose, the treatises of Symmachus, and a law (CodexTheodosianus 16.10.20) of415 C.E. published byHonorius (see Primary Document 5.1). In that we learn that Gratian (1) withdrew funding for the traditional pagan cults at Rome and confiscated the revenues and properties for maintaining cult practices and ceremonies; (2) diverted into the treasury revenues from the pagan temples, including those of Vestal Virgins; and (3) stripped pagan religious officials of their exemptions from any other public service. Finally, he ordered that the altar of Victory be removed from the Curia. The unchecked euphoria that had spread through the senate when Gratian came to power had passed. Even after the repressive measures of Valentinian I, these measures seemed harsh and inflammatory.

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