A.D. 381 : heretics, pagans, and the dawn of the by Emperor of Rome Theodosius I; Emperor of Rome Theodosius I;

By Emperor of Rome Theodosius I; Emperor of Rome Theodosius I; Freeman, Charles

Examines the pivotal ways that Theodosius's decree mandating a Christian orthodoxy ended debates in regards to the nature of God, exploring the explanations why Theodosius's function was once made to seem as a consensual ruling by way of the Council of Constantinople.

summary: Examines the pivotal ways that Theodosius's decree mandating a Christian orthodoxy ended debates in regards to the nature of God, exploring the explanations why Theodosius's function used to be made to seem as a consensual ruling through the Council of Constantinople

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2 So any argument that in general terms Christianity saved or destroyed civilisation, rational thought or whatever has to be qualified by a study of the specific historical and social context for which the statement is being made. When one reads that European civilisation is based on Christian values, one has to ask which of the enormously wide range of ‘values’ Christians have supported over the centuries are the relevant ones and whether some obviously important values, such as religious toleration, did not have to fight for survival against the attempts of the churches to suppress them.

Just at a time when the empire was under severe pressure, close in fact to collapse in the west, resources were being shifted from the ancient temples and buildings to opulent churches. Did this reflect a similar shift of the ideology that underpinned the society of late antiquity? My research set off in a new and unexpected direction as I began realising the extent to which the Church had benefited from but had also been shaped by the patronage of the state. After the granting of toleration to Christians by Constantine in 313, an important new phase in Christian history began during which the Church became associated with massive buildings, support of the empire’s objectives in war and a tightening up of authority as emperors such as Theodosius limited the freedom to discuss spiritual matters by both Christians and pagans.

Below the tableau, images of fertility stress the prosperity of Theodosius’ rule, just as in the panegyric of 382. A personification of Tellus, the earth, is portrayed to show the extent of the emperors’ domination of the whole earth, an image reinforced by including barbarians among the soldiers flanking the emperors. The presentation of the emperor to his subjects had to match the rhetoric. In Trier, the imperial capital on the Rhine frontier, the fourth-century audience hall still stands, although it has long since been stripped of the fine marbles that once encased its walls.

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