The Religious World of Quintus Aurelius Symmachus


Jill Mitchell

ISBN 978-615-81689-6-0                                           Paperback, €45.00

eISBN 978-615-81793-7-9                                         Hardcover, €119.00

                                                                                     eBook, €45.00

March 2021                                                               

In colour, pp. 351


“The Religious World of Quintus Aurelius Symmachus” examines the religious life of one of the last pagan senators of Rome, dates c. 340-402, who lived in a tumultuous time during the Late Antique period of the Roman Empire, dying just a few years before the Western Empire began to break up. Symmachus could not have imagined the political reality developing so soon after his death, so he is important as a late example of the old Roman Western aristocracy, as well as one of the last pagans of Rome. He was regarded as the foremost orator of his time and was a prolific letter-writer who had correspondents in high places and throughout the Empire. He also filled the posts of Urban Prefect of Rome and Consul - and was the opponent of Bishop Ambrose of Milan during the so-called 384 CE “Altar of Victory Dispute,” which was one episode of many leading to the “ triumph” of Christianity over traditional Roman polytheism. Symmachus’ cache of 900 private letters and his official despatches while Urban Prefect have provided the raw material for this book. 




CHAPTER 1. Quintus Aurelius Symmachus and His World

CHAPTER 2. Literary Pursuits, Amicitia and Aristocratic Life

CHAPTER 3. Symmachus’ Religious Landscape

CHAPTER 4. Symmachus’ Religious Language

CHAPTER 5. Symmachus’ Religious Ritual

CHAPTER 6. Symmachus and the Religious Crisis of 384

CHAPTER 7. Symmachus and the Twilight of the Gods




Specific References

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