Theodosius Courts the Roman Senate

In the summer of 389 C.E., eager to secure a power base in Rome, Theodosius visited the city where he presented his young son Honorius to the leading Roman senators. He showed clemency to any of the aristocratic families who had (albeit briefly) supported Maximus (including Symmachus, who had traveled to Milan to deliver a panegyric in his honor). While he was in residence at Rome, Theodosius also appointed Nicomachus Flavianus and Symmachus as praetorian prefect and consul, respectively, for the following year. It had been a congenial visit and the senators seem to have concluded from it that they could anticipate a sympathetic hearing for their request for the reinstitution of subsidies for religious cults. So, in 390 C.E., they sent another deputation to Theodo-sius, who was back in Milan (and perhaps still smarting from Ambrose's victory over the incident at Callinicum). Again, subsidies for the traditional pagan religious cults were refused, but this time Ambrose had been explicitly excluded from the deliberations. Theodosius' decision was not antagonistic and not motivated by any political obligation to Ambrose, but consistent with legislation prohibiting sacrifice.

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