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Palilia  The Sack of Rome in  AD

Michele Renee Salzman

Memory and Meaning. Pagans and 

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Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Rom

e Sack of Rome in  AD

e Event, its Context and its Impact

Proceedings of the Conference held at the German Archaeological Institute at Rome,  November 

edited by Johannes Lipps – Carlos Machado – Philipp von Rummel



Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag Wiesbaden

Umschlagbild:

Forum Romanum: D-DAI-ROM-. (Foto H. Behrens); Gemälde: „Il sacco di Roma del “, von Jospeh-Noel Sylvestre, . Musée Paul Valéry, Sète (Inv.-Nr. --)

Zwischenblätter Seite : Gemälde: „Il sacco di Roma del “, von Jospeh-Noel Sylvestre, . Musée Paul Valéry, Sète (Inv.-Nr. --) und Kon- greßbilder, Palazzo Massimo (Fotos: Philipp von Rummel) Seite ,  und : Ausschnitte aus dem Gemälde: „Il sacco di Roma del “, von Jospeh-Noel Sylvestre, . Musée Paul Valéry, Sète (Inv.-Nr. --)

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

Michele Renee Salzman

Memory and Meaning

Pagans and 

“… it is dangerous to generalize too directly from the political discourse generated by activists and politi- cal professionals to the ideas and beliefs of ordinary citizens, even if the latter are sympathetic with move- ment groups. But it is also the case that if discourse has no resonance with the public it would fade in prominence” 1 .

e  sieges that led to Alaric’s  sack of Rome challenged the religious faith of many Romans; what kind of a God allowed this catastrophe? In the imme- diate aftermath of the events of August ,  and though , Augustine tried to answer the doubts raised by these events for his North African congregants with

a series of sermons. In one sermon he vividly articulates

his audience’s concerns as a dialog between a Roman, whom he calls a ‘pagan’, and a perplexed Christian:

“But what can I [the Christian] say to the pagan 2 . He [the pagan] is insulting me.” “What’s he [the pagan] saying to you? How is he in- sulting you?” “Look, when we used to sacrifice to our gods, Rome continued to stand. Now, because the sacrifices of your God have won the day and been so frequent- ly oered, and the sacrifices of our gods have been stopped and forbidden, look what Rome suers” 3 . Augustine’s ‘pagan’, like his Christian neighbor, explains

the events that led to  as the result of divine anger; in

a series of hostile, confrontational questions, the ‘pagan’

raises doubts about the benefits of Christianity and the present calamities are explained as the result of the dis- ruption of traditional religion. Yet, according to Alan Cameron’s recent book, e Last Pagans of Rome, no good evidence exists to suggest

Williams , .

Augustine uses the term ‘pagan’ here with derogatory intent, as do several other of the Christian sources be- low. ough the term ‘pagan’ or ‘Hellene’ may not have been originally pejorative, as Cameron ,  has argued, the use of this term by Augustine and fifth cen- tury Christian leaders cited in this paper represented this group as “the other” in pejorative contexts. Where the word ‘pagan’ is not explicitly used and hence trans- lated, I will refer to non-Christians and non-Jews as traditional religionists.

that the ‘pagan’ in this work or those in the early fifth century texts to be discussed below were in any kind of open conflict with Christians or even were a significant concern to church or state:

It has traditionally been assumed that paganism re- mained dominant well into the fifth century. is is little more than speculation, based not on evidence but assumptions, assumptions that will be reassessed in the course of this book […]. It is a mistake to see the occasional pagan prefect in the first decade or two of the fifth century as proof that paganism remained strong and anti-pagan legislation ineective. Heresy was the real worry for both church and court. As far as paganism was concerned, it was enough that there was no more sacrifice and the temples were closed. e stragglers would soon come over; the conversion of the few remaining pagans mattered little to the church or the state 4 .

If Cameron’s view is correct, the aggressive ‘pagan’ in Augustine’s sermon is no more than a rhetorical con- struct, born out of a tradition of apologetic literature, ‘good for Christians to think with.’ But is Cameron right? Was there, in Peter Brown’s words, no “place for resentment, for regret, still less for anger at the success of so much blasphemy against the gods and continued, unspoken fear of their vengeance?” 5 Was there no pagan response incited by the fall of Rome? It seems likely that in the early fifth century some traditional religionists survived and expressed such emotions in responding to the events that led to the sack of Rome in . I say this knowing that we do not have much in the way of direct testimony from ‘pagans.’ What survives, in most cases, are hostile Christian

Aug. serm. , , translation here and throughout by E. Hill (New York ) with adaptations by author. Sed quid dico pagano? insultat mihi. Quid tibi dicit? unde tibi insultat? Ecce quando faciebamus sacrificia diis nostris, stabat Roma; modo quia superavit et abun- davit sacrificium Dei vestri, et inhibita sunt et prohibita sacrificia deorum nostrorum, ecce quid patitur Roma.

Cameron ,  and . In agreement with Cam- eron’s vies of the conversion of the empire, see Barnes  and Barnes .

Brown , .



Michele Renee Salzman

representations of ‘pagans’ which, as Rita Lizzi Testa noted, “are often apt to exaggerate” 6 . at our sourc- es are such is because most of the extant fifth century texts are written by Christians, and Christianity did, in time, silence alternative religious choices, whether they were pagan, heretical Christian, or Jewish. Nonetheless, by reading certain texts by Christians against the grain, in conjunction with some few texts by traditional reli- gionists, I propose that we can discern a particular set of identifiable ‘pagan’ emotions and attitudes in response to the fall of Rome, the memory of which was part of an ongoing dialogue over the nature of divine power and religious tradition in relation to the Roman state. In my view, depictions of ‘pagan’ attitudes and emo- tions in Christian texts worked because they resonated with their respective audiences. And they resonated, I contend, because they were familiar enough from con- temporaries, as well as from texts and popular culture 7 . So, while Cameron is certainly right that pagans did not turn to leading a political party after  as it was once argued, there is good evidence to indicate that traditional religionists survived into the early fifth century and expressed their anger and fear, remem- bering the fall of Rome as a sign of divine anger and raising the kinds of troubling questions attributed to them by Christian leaders 8 . Indeed, such emotions at times spilled out into violence in the fifth century in the west as in the east 9 . at some Christians were feel- ing equally susceptible to such emotions and to ‘pagan’ interpretations only made it all the more important for Christian leaders to confront ‘pagan’ explanations of the meaning of . To interpret how pagans felt and responded to , I will begin, in part one of this paper, by focusing on the sermons of two Christian leaders who discussed the 

Lizzi Testa , .

Madden , , in her study of the pagan deities and their worship exclusive of the City of God concludes:

“[…] it was not necessary that he (Augustine) should give complete characterizations of ceremonial rites, the duties of the organized priesthoods, and the pro- cedure in festivals held in honor of the pagan gods, as these were details with which the people of that time were quite familiar. […] [Augustine included referenc- es to the pagan divinities and their worship since he ] made a direct appeal to his contemporaries to abandon every vestige of paganism and to grasp the full signifi- cance of Christianity.”

For those who have construed the pagan response to the sieges of Alaric and the sack as political, see Heinz- berger , ; Matthews , ; and Demandt – Brummer , . See too the dis- cussion by Cameron , .

sack, namely Augustine, who preached on this topic in , and the bishop of Rome, Leo, who also preached on the sack in the s. Because we know their sermons were not only preached to their respective congrega- tions in North Africa and Rome, but also circulated to wider audiences of clerics and lay people from a range of places and social classes, their depictions of ‘pagans’ takes on a potentially wider meaning 10 . Moreover, the ‘pagans’ they depict are not just the educated elite, of- ten Neoplatonists, so often discussed in scholarship on late Roman traditional religion. Both Augustine’s and Leo’s sermons depict generic ‘pagans’ who were hostile and fearful of divine retribution, blaming the barbari- an invasions and sack on the disruption of traditional religion. As these two bishops make their case, they both adopt what sociologists tell us is typical for leaders when they aim to construct a group identity; both men compare and contrast their group with those whom they iden- tify “as the moral other against which one’s own group stands as a bulwark.” is political demonizing, as Rhys Williams has shown in the modern world, “is a com- mon outcome of the symbolic discourse of politics” 11 . But this strategy only succeeds because the discourse has resonance; it if lacked this, as Williams notes, it would fade in prominence 12 . Precisely because ‘pagans’ and their interpretation of  still had resonance into the mid-fifth century, Christian ‘opinion makers’ con- tinued to depict ‘pagans’ as angry, resentful, and fearful of divine retribution for failing to sacrifice and venerate the pagan deities 13 . at this rhetoric was still relevant explains why it was still used in the mid-fifth century sermons of Leo (). To better understand responses to  by traditional religionists, it will be necessary to turn, in part two of

Salzman , .

 For the copying, editing and circulation of Augustine’s sermons, see De Bruyn , , and Hill , introduction who notes the testimony of Possid. vita Aug. , to people making copies of Augustine’s ser- mons and keeping of copies in the library at Hippo where some were revised as well as made available. For Leo’s sermons, see CCSL , cxciii (ed. A. Chavasse); and Neil , . As to the preacher’s audience, I do not agree with Macmullen , , but rath- er with Rousseau , , who sees Christian preachers as able to reach a wide audience with their rhetoric. Williams , . Williams , , cited as the epigram to this paper.







Kahlos, , passim calls Christian bishops and lead- ers ‘opinion makers.’

Memory and Meaning



this paper, to the evidence for how pagans interpreted the meaning of ; this is based largely on the work of the historian Olympiodorus, whose history was used by later fifth and sixth century historians 14 . Pagans, as the New History of Zosimus demonstrates, remembered  as the failure of correct religious procedures. Zosimus, depending on Olympiodorus, blamed the Christians for the demise of the city and its empire 15 . In sharp con- trast, Christian historians, like Sozomen and Orosius, sought to remember these events as just punishment by god, a view that we can also see in the earlier sermons of Augustine and Leo. is paper’s attempt at retrieving responses of tradi- tional religionists – even on the level of feelings and at- titudes – along with an appreciation of conflicting views of divine power that lay at the heart of debates over the meaning of  – is highly relevant to the historical understanding of this period. On the one hand, the re- trieval of a traditional religionist response better allows us to assess the argumentation and rhetorical tools of Christian leaders. e depictions of pagans as “morally other” is a kind of violence which, though non-violent, was eectively used by Christian leaders 16 . On the other hand, reconstructing responses of traditional religion- ists bears on the much vexed question of the religious transformation of the city and empire. If the respons- es of traditional religionists and their interpretations of the  period were ongoing concerns to fifth century Christian leaders, we cannot agree with those scholars who see the conversion of the empire as more or less ended by the fourth century in the western em- pire 17 . e religious transformation of Rome, its city and empire, remained a concern for the church and the state

into the fifth century. ough pagans were no longer in the majority and were declining in numbers, recon- structing their emotions and arguments about contem-

porary events helps us to better understand how the empire moved from a pagan to a ‘post-pagan’ world. In this transformation, bishops used ‘pagans’ to reinforce the collective identity of their Christian communities whose faith was challenged by the fall of Rome to Alar-

ic 18 . Pagans remembered these same events quite dif-

ferently.

Christian constructions of pagan responses to 

Augustine’s Sermons on the Sack of Rome Augustine preached some eight sermons between 

 that refer, directly or indirectly, to the sack of Rome 19 .

I want to begin with Sermon , noted above, though

it was delivered late in  since it oers an instance of

a pagan response as a challenge to Christians. Indeed,

the date for this sermon was in itself significant; Sermon  was preached on the birthday of Rome’s two patron saints, Peter and Paul, June , , likely in Carthage 20 . Augustine devotes almost half of the sermon (sections

 out of ) to helping his audience better respond to ‘insulting’ pagans and thus explaining how Christians should interpret the sack. e text suggests that some in his audience had fled Rome and some Christians were feeling disillusioned 21 . Some Christians wondered why the memoriae of the apostles and other martyrs had not saved the city from destruction; they, like their pagan neighbors, saw such places as holy sites and expected

 See notes  below for Olympiodorus’ text and some relevant.

 

Denis ; Miscellanea Agostiniana [Rome ], , ; serm.  (= PL , ); serm.  (=

 See notes  below for Zosimus’s text and some rel- evant bibliography.

serm. Casin. , ; Miscellanea Agostiniana , ); serm.  (= PL , ); ser. urb. exc.



Shaw , : “Violence is not just the specific

(= CCSL , ). For these sermons studied as

acts of physical hostility […] But also the surrounding world of speech and writing of which these acts were a living part.”



a unit, see especially, Fredouille ; De Bruyn ; and Doignon . Hill, ,  n. .



Cameron ,  is a sophisticated analysis ex- ploring what the end of paganism would mean, and  for pagan converts as essentially a fourth cen- tury phenomenon among the aristocracy. See too, dis- cussions of the conversion of the empire based on high

 Aug. serm. , : Sic et tu nolebas quid? forte amittere peculium tuum, quod hic relicturus eras? Attende ne cum relinquendo remaneas. Nolebas ante te mori forte filium tuum, nolebas ante te mori uxorem tuam. Quid enim, et si Roma non caperetur, non aliquis vestrum



oce holders as taking place with Constantine, e. g. Barnes  and Barnes . Brown , .

prior moriturus erat? Nolebas ante te mori uxorem tuam; nolebat uxor tua mori ante se virum suum: am- bobus obtemperaturus erat Deus? Ordo penes ipsum



Aug. serm. a (= serm. Denis , CCSL , ); serm. Denis A (= serm. Denis ; CCSL , ); Sermon  (= CCSL, ); Sermon A (= serm.

sit, qui novit ordinare quod creavit: obtempera tu vol- untati.



Michele Renee Salzman

them to oer protection to worshippers 22 . Augustine’s sermon indicates that there were those in his audience who, though Christian, shared the perspective of the pagan interlocutor. Some pagans, according to Augus- tine, claimed that the sack was the direct result of the end of sacrifices and interpreted the fall of the city as a sign of divine wrath 23 . Explaining the sack as the result of the anger of the gods accords well with pagan notions of divinity. is explanation was clearly influencing the Christians in Au- gustine’s audience, which is why Augustine counsels con- gregants to stop discussing these matters with pagans:

For the time being, give him [the insulting pagan] a very short answer, to get rid of him. You, however, should have quite other thoughts. You weren’t called, after all, to embrace the earth, but to obtain heaven […] 24 . Augustine attacks the pagan interlocutor as a “lover of worldly felicity and grumbler against the living God, who prefers to serve demons and sticks and stones” 25 . Augustine’s dismissal of the pagan as morally inferior is an eective rhetorical tool that allowed him to reen- force Christian group identity. Yet even so, Augustine cannot so easily ignore the grumblings of pagans. He continues to address them by turning to events from “their history”; Rome was burnt twice under pagan gods, once by the Gauls and once by Nero, and only once un- der Christian times! 26 Going against his own advice to stop conversing with pagans, Augustine repeats the arguments of the pagan who complains that the present disaster is worse than

the past ones and criticizes the Christian god who has not protected his followers. is argument reiterates common ancient expectations of reciprocity between worshipper and divinity. It is the strength of this criticism that leads Augus- tine to assert that it was the distinctive mark of the Christian to endure temporal evils so as to “hope for ev- erlasting goods”. e promise of eternal rewards cannot satisfy the pagan, however, since he is limited to want- ing earthly satisfactions, and indeed, Augustine’s pagan interlocutor goes on to bemoan the rising number of devastations under the Christian god 27 . In the face of criticism of the inability of the Christian god to protect his worshippers, Augustine takes another line of argument. Augustine proclaims the need to turn away from the pagan; in the basilica where Christians and non-Christians (including potential pagan con- verts) could listen, he turns his attention to Christians:

“Right now, brothers and sisters, let’s leave the pagans out of it for a moment or two, let’s turn our eyes on our- selves” 28 . Augustine admonishes his audience to con- sider their own flaws and sins, to be angry not at God, but at themselves; for their sins they are being punished by earthly catastrophes 29 . He develops the parable of the two slaves; both are disobedient, but the one who knows true God will be beaten more than the one who does not. Hence, the Christian is suering so that he can act better than his pagan neighbor. Better to suer now, than for eternity, as will be the fate of the pagans who are now ‘insulting’ Christians by underscoring the suering in these ‘Christian times’ 30 .

 Aug. serm. , : Iacet Petri corpus Romae, dicunt homines, iacet Pauli corpus Romae, Laurentii corpus Romae, aliorum martyrum sanctorum corpora iacent Romae; et misera est Roma, et vastatur Roma; aigi- tur, conteritur, incenditur; tot strages mortis fiunt, per famem, per pestem, per gladium. Ubi sunt Memoriae Apostolorum? Quid dicis? Ecce hoc dixi: Tanta mala Roma patitur; ubi sunt Memoriae Apostolorum? Ibi sunt, ibi sunt sed in te non sunt.  Aug. serm. , , cited above note .  Aug. serm. , : vocatus es ad felicitatem terrenam, sed ad caelestem; non ad temporales successus et pros- peritatem volaticam et transitoriam, sed ad aeternam cum angelis vitam.  Aug. serm. , : Tamen et huic amatori carnalis fe- licitatis, et murmuratori adversus Deum vivum, volenti servire daemoniis et lignis et lapidibus, cito responde.  Aug. serm. , : Sicut habet historia eorum, incen- dium Romanae urbis hoc tertium est; sicut habet his- toria eorum, sicut habent litterae ipsorum, incendium

bis arserat inter sacrificia paganorum. Semel a Gallis sic incensa est, ut solus collis Capitolinus remaneret; secundo a Nerone, nescio utrum dicam saeviente an fluente, secundo igne Roma flagravit. Iussit Nero im- perator ipsius Romae, servus idolorum, interfector Ap- ostolorum, iussit, et incensa est Roma. Quare, putatis, qua causa? Homo elatus, superbus et fluidus delectatus est Romano incendio. Videre volo, dixit, quomodo ar- sit Troia. Arsit ergo sic semel, bis, tertio modo: te quid delectat contra Deum stridere pro ea quae consuevit ardere?  Aug. serm. , : Sed in ea, inquiunt, passi sunt tanta mala tam multi Christiani. Excidit tibi, Christianorum est pati mala temporalia, et bona sperare sempiterna? Tu quisquis paganus es, habes quod plangas; quia et temporalia perdidisti, et aeterna nondum invenisti.  Aug. serm. , : Iam, fratres, dimittamus paululum paganos foris, oculum ad nos convertamus. Evangeli- um praedicatur, totus mundus plenus est. Antequam Evangelium praedicaretur, latebat voluntas Dei […].

Romanae urbis, quod modo contigit, tertium est. Quae



Aug. serm. , .

modo semel arsit inter sacrificia Christianorum, iam



Aug. serm. , .

Memory and Meaning



is pagan questioning of the ability of the Christian god to help human worshippers is a continuing problem for Christians and is so discussed frequently in Augus- tine’s sermons; it is the same issue at the heart of Ser- mon , preached in , likely in Carthage soon after Sermon  31 . Again the audience is concerned about the recent destruction, hence Augustine devotes five of the thirteen sections of this sermon (sections ) to its interpretation. Here Augustine claims that pagans and even some Christians are attacking him:

“But he shouldn’t say these things about Rome”, people have been saying about me. “Oh, if only he would shut up about Rome!” As though I were hurl- ing taunts, and not rather interceding with the Lord, and in whatever way I can be encouraging you. Far be it from me to hurl taunts. […] So what am I saying, when I don’t shut up about Rome , other than what they say about our Christ is false, that it’s he that has ruined Rome, that gods of stone and wood used to protect Rome? Add the value of bronze; add more, that of silver and gold […] ere you have the sort of guardians to whom learned men (docti homines) have entrusted Rome, having eyes and unable to see. Or if they were able to save Rome, why did they themselves perish before? 32 Augustine states that “learned men” (docti homines) are blaming Christ for the ruin of the empire. Within the context of this sermon, this must refer to pagans who advance the worship of idols instead of devotion to Christ 33 . Pagans connected the loss of idols and rites with the sack for Augustine notes that “on account of these adversities they blaspheme our Christ” 34 . His ref- erence to damaged idols is also an allusion to contem- porary imperial policy; the closure of temples and the

removal of images had been reiterated by recent laws of Honorius in / 35 . So, Augustine argues, some

cities, like Carthage, had remained safe even though its idols, in this case the cult of Caelestis, had been ‘over- thrown’ 36 . Despite this rhetoric, when the bishop of Carthage in  tried to celebrate Easter in Caelestis’s shrine and attempted to close it to pagans, there was

a widespread outbreak of pagan unrest, fueled too by

a pagan prophecy that Caelestis herself would restore

pagan rites 37 . Pagans were arguing that the Christian disrespect for cult statues had angered the gods, and had led to the barbarian invasions that destroyed Rome. In Sermon , Augustine once more turns to history to counter this criticism, though here to more recent history. Rad- agaisus, labeled a pagan, had threatened Rome, leading some pagans to claim that the loss of their traditional gods and rites had brought this disaster upon Rome. Radagiasus’s defeat at the hands of Christian soldiers in  is said to prove the power of the Christian god 38 . Ironically, Augustine is here using the same line of rea- soning as ‘pagans’ by arguing that the true god is the one who can bring victory, although this view was cer- tainly familiar for it had been advanced by Christians for over a century 39 . Perhaps it is in part the weakness of this argument, given the reality of the fall of Rome, that brings Augustine back to his earlier line of reasoning, namely to assert that such things are merely fleeting concerns; and so he can dismiss pagans for “chasing af- ter earthly things, desiring earthly things, placing their hopes in earthly things” 40 . Only Christians will be hap- py for eternity because they have dismissed the value of the temporal world, an argument that Augustine will develop at length about the two cities in the civitas dei.



Perler ,  for this date. Augustine mentions

 

phemant Christum nostrum.

Carthage in Sermon , .



Cod. eod. , ,  (/), and again Cod. eod.



Aug. serm. , : Sed non dicat de Roma, dictum est

, ,  ().

de me: O si taceat de Roma: quasi ego insultator sim,



Aug. serm. , : Carthago in nomine Christi manet,

et

non potius Domini deprecator, et vester qualiscum-

et olim eversa est Coelestis, quia non fuit coelestis, sed

que exhortator. Absit a me, ut insultem. Avertat Deus

 

terrestris.

a

corde meo, et a dolore conscientiae meae. […] Quid



Quodv. prom. , , ; Salv. gub. , , . ; , , . See

ergo dico, cum de illa non taceo, nisi quia falsum est quod dicunt de Christo nostro, quod ipse Romam per-



too Salzman , . Aug. serm. , . Radagaisus’s assault led the pagans

diderit, quod dii lapidei Romam tuebantur et lignei? Adde pretium, aerei. Adde plus, argentei et aurei […] Ecce qualibus Romam docti homines custodibus com- miserunt, habentibus oculos, et non videntibus. Aut si Romam servare potuerunt, quare ipsi ante perierunt?



in Rome to reconsider sacrifice and the “City seethed with blasphemy”; see Oros. hist. , , . Augustine returns to this set of ideas in Aug. civ. , . See, for example, Eusebius on Constantine, and Drake .



Some scholars have attributed these remarks to Chris- tians, but in the light of the criticism of Christ, pagans seem the only possible source. For diverse opinions on this, see De Bruyn ,  notes  and .

 Aug. serm. , : Isti autem blasphematores, terrena sectantes, terrena desiderantes, in terrenis spem po- nentes, cum ista velint nolint perdiderint, quid tene- bunt? ubi remanebunt?



Aug. serm. ,: propter istas adversitates blas-



Michele Renee Salzman

It is striking, nonetheless, that in the wake of , pa- gans and Christians turned to the same proof texts to make some meaning out of recent events. e prophecy of Jupiter in Aeneid ,  predicting that the em- pire of the Romans would be “without end” was known to all school childern, and became part of the pagan in- terpretation of , as it was for Christians. e eterni- ty of Rome’s empire, predicted by Jupiter, depended on divine support; denigration of the state cult and failure to sacrifice would thus threaten the survival of the state, or so pagans would argue. Augustine also accepts this text as true, but reads the prediction allegorically; the empire “without end” promised to the Romans is that of the heavenly kingdom, not the earthly Roman one. e need to rebut these lines emerges if we consider how widespread this view was. Independent testimony of this view comes from the survival of a late fourth or fifth century inscription discovered near the Scala San- ta in the Lateran; though the original location is uncer- tain, the inscription reproduces verses of Vergil, includ- ing the prophecy of an empire without end (, ) in the longest citation of Vergil ever found 41 . ese preserved lines attest to the popularity of this prophecy, and the idea of Roma Aeterna in late antiquity, among pagans and Christians 42 . Even Augustine accepts these verses with his allegorical reading, though it must have been grating to pagan readers to hear him defending Virgil by claiming that the poet had been pressured into mak- ing such an elliptical statement in order to flatter the emperor 43 . Over a two year period of sermonizing, Augustine developed a set of responses to answer the concerns of pagans and Christians after the  sack. Sermon  A, preached soon after the sack in September , makes no direct reference to the sack though it shows Augustine thinking of how to help Christians explain

adversity. ey should not question the reason for God’s acts, and they should see that the “wicked” who thrive now will suer with eternal judgment 44 . is is the theme Augustine accents again in another sermon, delivered three days later, Sermon  A. Now, the pa- gans are branded “impious” and “infidels” by Augustine when they ridicule the faithful 45 . As Augustine tries to reenforce his congregation’s faith, complaints surface that there are “many misfortunes in Christian times!” and that Christianity is the culprit 46 . Again, it seems likely that the attackers are pagans. He refers to them again as ‘impii’ and in the next section turns to the amphitheater in Hippo Diarrhtys and mocks the kind of piety it teaches: “Brothers you see the amphitheat- er which now falls. Extravagance built that. You think that piety built it? It was built by none other than the extravagance of godless men. Don’t you wish that what extravagance built will someday fall down, and that what piety builds will rise?” 47 e pagan definition of piety, writ large in the amphitheatre, was a traditional object for Christian leaders to denounce 48 . But such acts of piety, branded ‘pagan’, continued to fund repairs to amphitheaters into the fifth century as is perhaps best demonstrated in Rome 49 . According to Augustine, pagans responded to  by blaming the Christians for no longer worshipping the traditional gods. Pagans pointed to the city’s destruc- tion, and argued on the basis of history and poetry, notably Vergil. In his sermon On the Destruction of the City of Rome, Augustine even asserts that some pagans dared to turn to scripture to mock the Christian god 50 . Citing Abraham’s intercession with God on behalf of Sodom 51 , these men “impiously attack our Scriptures” and are „not those who search them with reverence“; the impious, who can here be only the pagans, ask “vehement and formidable questions” 52 . Based on the



Panciera, , ; and the discussion by

Ista omnia, mala quibus nos conteris, praedicta erant;



Machado , . Paschoud .

securi sumus quia ventura sunt et bona. Quando nos et mali simul emendamur, fit voluntas tua.



Aug. serm. , .



Aug. serm.  A, : Attendite enim, fratres, et videte



Aug. serm. A, .

amphitheatra ista, quae modo cadunt. Luxuria illa ae-

 Aug. serm. A, : Christianorum fides, quae ab impiis et infidelibus irridetur, haec est, quia nos dicimus esse aliam vitam post istam.  Aug. serm. A, : Ecce temporibus Christianis quan- ta mala sunt! Ante tempora Christiana quanta bona



dificavit; putatis, quia illa pietas aedificavit? non illa aedificavit nisi luxuria hominum impiorum. Non vultis ut aliquando cadat quod luxuria aedificavit, et surgat quod pietas aedificat? Kahlos , .

abundabant! Non erant tanta mala. Ista de pressura



See, for example, Orlandi .

amurca exit, per cloacas currit; os ipsius propterea ni-



Aug. urb. exc., with commentary and text by O’Reilly

 

grum est, quia blasphemat: non splendet. Oleum relu- cet. Invenis autem alium hominem de pressura ipsa, et de ipsa tritura quae illum trivit; numquid non ipsa trit-



. On the authenticity of this Sermon, see now too De Bruyn , . Gen. , .

ura est, quae illum trivit? Audistis vocem amurcae, au-

 Aug. exc. urb. (II): Quid ergo dicemus, frater? Occurrit

dite vocem olei: Deo gratias! Benedictum nomen tuum!

enim nobis quaestio vehemens et valida, praesertim ab

Memory and Meaning



assumption that God would have saved Rome, just as he would have saved Sodom, for the sake of at least ten righteous individuals, the question is raised about this recent destruction in Rome: “In such a great number of the faithful, in such a great number of chaste men and women dedicated to God, […] was it impossible to find fifty just people, or forty, or thirty, or twenty, or even ten?” 53 Augustine responds to this paraphrase of Scrip-

„And would that this may serve as an example to inspire

of the doubts of their pagan neighbors, lends urgency to Augustine’s interpretation. After all, he had only a few years earlier preached directly to pagans and to the uncommitted in the hopes of converting them to Chris- tianity 56 . Lepelley, for one, has showen how an earlier sermon, entitled Contra Paganos, attacks pagans and provides evidence for the survival of paganism into the fifth century 57 .

ture with the assertion that though there are people in Rome who are viewed as righteous by commonly ac- cepted standards, by God’s standards one cannot claim them to be wholly righteous. Moreover, God showed his mercy by sparing many of Rome’s inhabitants, for a city is more than its houses 54 . is important distinction between the physical city (urbs) and the human com- munity or commonwealth (civitas) will lie at the heart of Augustine’s later work, civitas dei. But in this sermon Augustine reminds his congretation of  in order to unite the pious Christians against the impious pagans:

fear […] so Rome also has endured a single tribulation, in which the pious man has either been freed or cor- rected, the impious has been condemned – „either to death and eternal damnation, or a life of blasphemy and damnation; due to God’s mercy, the city was amended not destroyed” 55 . Fear and obedience are the lessons of  for Christians according to Augustine. is lengthy sermon sums up many or Augustine’s thoughts on the sack, and for that reason, suggests a date late in , though time and place are not attest- ed. Augustine is intent on refuting pagans who dared to use Scripture to explain the sack of Rome as the fail- ure of the Christian god. e hostility and vehemence with which Augustine contests these arguments make for an engaging sermon. Nonetheless, it seems highly likely that Augustine’s rhetoric would not work if the arguments and attitudes he attributes to pagans did not resonate with contemporaries. at recently convert- ed Christians or potential converts might share some

Leo’s Sermon , pagans, and the sack of Rome in  Another, little noted indicator of the pagan response to  is the sermon that Leo, bishop of Rome (), delivered to commemorate Alaric’s invasionin late Au- gust or early September in Rome in the years . is sermon, , was one of those circulated after the first five years of the pontificate of Leo; hence it appeared in a collection in Italy soon after  58 . Leo’s view of the sack and how to best interpret its meaning were prom- ulgated well beyond the day and church where the ser- mon was delivered. As Leo’s Sermon  shows, the church at Rome saw  as a religious challenge, of such import that they in- stituted a day for its commemoration and to give thanks for the survival of the city. Leo’s sermon indicates that the Church in Rome had continued to commemorate the liberation of Rome down to his own pontificate 59 . Leo’s concern to continue this thanksgiving service reflects in part contemporary anxieties he faced in the early s. After the fall of Carthage ( October ), the Vandals threatened the whole Mediterranean area. ey reached Sicily, and were poised to attack peninsular Italy. Ten- sions ran high in Rome especially as negotiations con- tinued until, in , Valentinian III accepted the treaty oered by Geiseric, the Vandal leader 60 . A day to give thanks and celebrate Rome’s earlier victory over barbar- ians may well have attracted crowds. But with the  treaty, the people in Rome could feel safe again 61 ; this may also help to explain Leo’s complaint about church attendance on this day:

 

hominibus qui scripturis nostris impietate insidiantur, non qui eas pietate requirunt; translation by O’Reilly , .



autem damanatus, damnatus inquam […]; translation by O’Reilly , . See Aug. serm.  augm [= ed. F. Dolbeau, Paris ,



Aug exc. urb. (II): et dicunt maxime de recent excid-

]; and  B [= ed. F. Dolbeau, Paris , ], both

io tantae urbis: Non erant Romae quinquaginta isti? In tanto numero fidelium, sanctimonialium, conti- nentium […] nec quinquanta iusti inveniri potuerunt,



dated to . For the translation, see Hill , . See Lepelley , .

nec quadraginta, nec triginta, nec viginti, nec decem?; translation by O’Reilly , .



For this collection of sermons after his first five years in oce, see Chavasse , . ; and Neil , .



Aug exc. urb. (VI): An putatis, fratres, civitatem in



Leo M. serm. , . For the text, see note  below.

paretibus et non in civibus deputandum?



Gillet .



Aug exc. urb. (): Atque utinam valeat ad exemplum timoris […] Sic et unam tribulationem Roma pertulit in qua vel liberatuss vel emendatus est pius, impius

 Chavasse ,  has suggested this as a reason for dating Leo’s Sermon  to late . While this scenario is possible, there is no firm evidence to support such a



Michele Renee Salzman

e religious devotion with which the whole body of the faithful used to come together to give thanks to God for the day of our chastisement and of our lib- eration, has recently been neglected by almost every- one, as the very scarcity of the few who were present has shown. It brings much sadness to my heart and produces very great anxiety” 62 . [Italics added by au- thor] Such ingratitude is equivalent to impiety since sal- vation, Leo states, is owed more to the “veneration of the saints” (cura sanctorum) than to the “circus games” (ludi Circensium) (Sermo , ) […]” 63 . Leo is concerned that Rome’s salvation be correctly understood; “Let us attribute our deliverance not, as the impious (impii) think, to the eects of stars, but to the inexpressible mercy of the Almighty God, who willed to soften the hearts of raging barbarians” 64 . e “impious folk” impii is Leo’s term for pagans, and he has so used it in other contexts, though here he may have extend- ed it to the Manicheans and to other heretical groups as well 65 . Leo’s reference to the softening of barbarians’ hearts (Sermon , ), refers to Alaric’s departure from the city after three days of looting. But if it was God who softened the barbarians’ hearts, it was the bishop who had to convey thanks and lead the community in prayers on this day of ‘chastisement and liberation.’ For Leo, the good will of god is maintained through the prayers of thanks mediated by the bishop’s intersession. is is a direct refutation of the views of the ‘impii’ who claimed that their gods saved the city. By assuming responsibility for the survival of the city, Leo also asserted the centrality of the empire – the temporal realm – to the Church. is emphasis on the city as the care of the bishop helps to explain why Leo sought to maintain the memory of and thanksgiving

for Rome’s survival in the annual yearly cycle of the Church. Moreover, Leo claimed that he did so in op- position to those who supported other means to secure Rome’s survival – ludi. Leo’s derogatory references to the circuses and demons associated with pagans sound like formulaic topoi 66 . But in truth, Honorius had come to Rome soon after the sack and celebrated games there in part to reassert the imperial presence in a reviving city 67 . Leo’s hostility toward the games was part of his sustained opposition to the traditions of Rome’s sena- torial aristocratic civic leaders who, soon after the sack and continuing still, in the s, spent large sums of monies on the games that competed with the ceremo- nies in church. A series of inscriptions from the Col- osseum dating before  show how elites and emper- ors manifested their support for games in this public space 68 . We see this same motivation to compete with the games when Leo, established a specific day in the annual calendar of the Roman Church for the Collects, the collection of charity in the parishes in Rome on the same day as the Ludi Plebeii in November; he stated, quite openly, that this day was chosen in order to “de- stroy the snares of the Devil” and to be “most profitable to the growth of the Church” 69 . Leo’s eorts at undermining rituals now labeled as ‘pagan’ in the mid-fifth century city were part of his ef- fort to redirect traditional patterns of patronage. Mon- ies spent on the games by Rome’s lay elite, still tainted by their pagan associations, would be better spent on the Christian community in Rome. Hence Leo, like Au- gustine, portrays such pagan traditions as morally infe- rior and denigrates them as the work of demons. Based on frequency of mention, Leo is more con- cerned about pagans even than Manichees in his ser- mons. He derides Manichees specifically in eight ser-

precise dating; rather, any year between  must be allowed, i. e. any time within Leo’s first five years as bishop.



deputantes, qui corda furentium barbarorum mitigare dignatus est. For ‘impii’ used of pagans, see Leo M. serm. , ; , ;

 Leo M. serm. , (CCSL A, ): Religiosam de- votionem, dilectissimi, qua ob diem castigationis et liberationis nostrae, cunctus fidelium populus ad agen-



, . For Leo’s concern about Manichees and heretics, see especially, Maier , . Kahlos , .

da Deo gratias confluebat, pene ab omnibus proxime



Gillett .

fuisse neglectam, ipsa paucorum qui adfuerunt raritas



See Orlandi , .  and .

demonstravit.  Leo M. serm. , (CCSL A, ): Quis hanc urbem reformavit saluti? Quis a captivitate eruit? Quis a ca- ede defendit? Ludus Circensium, an cura sanctorum, quorum utique precibus divinae censurae flexa senten- tia est.  Leo M. serm. , (CCSL A, ): […] et libera- tionem nostram, non, sicut opinantur impii, stellarum eectibus, sed ineabili omnipotentis Dei misericordiae



Leo M. serm. (CCSL , ): […] ad destruendas antiqui hostis insidias in die quo impii sub idolorum suorum nomine diabolo serviebant. Leo M. serm. , (CCSL , ): […] ut quia in hoc tempore gentilis quondam populus superstitiosius daemonibus servie- bat, contra profanas hostias impiorum sacratissima nostrarum elemosinarum celebraretur oblatio. Quod quia incrementis Ecclesiae fructuosissimum fuit, placuit esse perpetuum.

Memory and Meaning



mons, whereas he attacks pagans in sixteen 70 . e range of terms to describe pagans varies from ‘impii’ to ‘gen- tilis’ or ‘gens’, but the contexts are always derogatory;

Pagan interpretations of Alaric and the sack of : the

based on his history 75 . Hence, Olympiodorus’s history represents a pagan interpretation of , and records a pagan response as well.

nine of the sixteen times pagans are lumped with Jews, and portrayed as “the moral other”, and seven times pagans are derided on their own 71 . No one would say that there were not Manichees or Jews in Rome against whom these sermons were directed; we should not dis- miss the evidence from Leo’s sermons that non-Chris- tians – i. e. pagans – were also still in Rome, expressing emotions and explanations for events based on tradi- tional religious ideas 72 . Such attitudes, and the likeli- hood that Christians would respond positively to such views, helps explain why they were still perceived as a problem to mid-fifth century Christian leaders who were eager to maintain the faith of their congregations.

History of Olympiodorus Two other extant accounts of the sack of Rome allow us to discern more clearly how some pagans interpreted the meaning of ; both are by Greek historians, one by the late fifth/early sixth century pagan Zosimus, and the other by the mid-fifth century Christian writer of Church history, Sozomen; both writers are acknowl- edged to have relied for their accounts on the now frag- mentary history of Olympiodorus of ebes of the years  CE, as demonstrated by their similarities to the fragments and to each other 73 . e ninth-century Byzantine patriarch, Photius, however read the entire work and, presumably drawing on its preface, noted that Olympiodorus described himself as a native of Egyptian ebes, a professional poet, and a “Hellene in his reli- gion”, that is, a pagan 74 . e pagan sympathies of Olym- piodorus are apparent in the fragments and in the works

Olympiodorus’s Pagan History Scholars concur that Olympiodorus was remarkably well informed about contemporary history in the west and in the east 76 . His position as a diplomat at the court at Constantinople allowed him to observe people and events at close hand. He traveled widely on embassies, and the history shows signs of this in its precise top- ographical detail. Unlike most other literary histories, Olympiodorus included Latin terms for titles and even quotations in Latin, as well as traditional dating by con- sular year, and statistics for things like distances, size of armies, sums of monies, among other things 77 . Rare, too, is Olympiodorus’ independence of judgment as demonstrated by his notices for such controversial fig- ures as Stilicho and Constantius 78 . Like Ammianus, Olympiodorus appears in his own history as an actor 79 . Olympiodorus’s last attested ap- pearance in his work is of particular import for this paper, since it evidently took him to Rome where, in addition to expressing amazement at the colossal size of some of the monuments and private houses, and at the wealth that aristocrats expended on games, he also referred to the usurpation of Johannes () 80 . is fragment has led many historians to connect Olympi- odorus’s visit to Rome to the embassy, sent by the East- ern emperor odosius II, to install his young cousin Valentinian III on the western throne. Valentinian’s proclamation at Rome, which took place on  Octo- ber, would then be the latest event in the history 81 . In any case, this fragment indicates that Olympiodorus was in Rome some fifteen years after the sack on ocial



 

For Leo on the Manichees, see Leo M. serm. , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , . For Leo on pagans, see Leo M. serm. , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , ; , .



 = Olymp. (ed. R. C. Blockley, Liverpool ), Testi- monium, . Photius describes Olympiodorus as “Hellenen ten thraskeian” a Hellene in religion. Matthews ; Gillett ; Treadgold ; Cameron



For pagans derided without Jews, see Leo M. serm. , ;

, .

, ; , ; , ; , ; , ; ,



Gillett ; Treadgold ; Cameron , .



For Manichees in the fourth century, see especially



ompson , ; Matthews , ; Tread-

Beduhn ; and for the fifth century, note  above; for Jews in late antiquity, see especially Rutgers .



gold , . Matthews .



It is one of the great misfortunes for historians of the



His first appearance is in  as a member of an em-



fifth century that what are called the Fragments of Olympiodorus’ History of the years  CE are re- ally only the bald summary made of it by the Byzantine patriarch Photius; see Matthews ,  and note . Blockley , prints only  Fragments. I will be refer- ring to his edition in this paper. Photius’s introduction to Olymp. Bibliotheca cod. ,

bassy to the Hunnish King Donatus; Olymp. Biblioteca cod. ,  = Blockley fr. ; and see Matthews , .  Olymp. Biblioteca cod. , . = Blockley fr. ; and Biblioteca cod. ,  = Blockley fr. .  Olymp. Biblioteca cod. ,  = Blockley fr. . See too Mathews .



Michele Renee Salzman

business. As part of the eastern embassy, Olympiodorus would have had access to documents and histories, but more importantly, he could speak with people who had lived through the sieges and sack of Rome a mere fifteen years before 82 . is would explain his precise knowl- edge about events in the west. Olympiodorus was a pagan who showed his religious sympathies in his history 83 . So, for example, in a pas- sage that Zosimus likely adapted from Olympiodorus, we see praise for the courageous stand of the pagan gen- eral Generidus who resigned his appointment in protest against a law of Honorius that prohibited pagans from holding oce 84 . In another passage in Zosimus again attributed to Olympiodorus, we find praise for Attalus’s consul, Tertullus, a man whom Orosius called a pagan and whose desire to be “consul and pontifex” has been seen as a statement about his religiosity 85 . In another fragment, Olympiodorus remarks the power of a pagan statue. It had stood in Sicily, opposite the crossing from Rhegium, and was believed to protect Sicily by prevent- ing the flow of lava from Mount Etna; it was said to have prevented Alaric from fleeing to Sicily after his retreat from Rome in . But once the Christian Constanti- us had ordered the statue’s removal, volcanic eruptions and barbarian attacks on Sicily took place, proof of the power of the pagan gods 86 . Olympiodorus brands as impious (anousiourgon) the orthodox Olympius, whom Augustine had praised 87 . ese passages serve as indi- rect advice in a work dedicated to a Christian emperor, eodosius II; though the Christian government denied the validity of pagan gods and ancestral rites, pagans and especially their cult objects could still oer help to the empire if they were respected and could do harm if

Zosimus and Sozomen on a pagan religious response Since Photius claims that Olympiodorus’s history ended in  with the reassertion of Eastern imperial authority in the west through the placement of Valentinian III on the throne, Olympiodorus was well aware that  sack had not “ended” the western Empire, nor the city; in- deed, it is in one of his fragments that we learn that the city had recovered to such an extent that by , the city prefect wrote that the supplies were insucient for the growing population 89 . Yet, this note of optimism is lack- ing in Zosimus’ narrative; he saw in  the reasons writ large for the demise of the empire. is is why Book of his history presumably once went, or was intended to do down to Alaric’s capture of Rome in August of  90 . Zosimus’s view was that Christianity was one of the pri- mary causes for the declining empire; the barbarization of the empire was the other 91 . Indeed, for Zosimus, the neglect of pagan ceremonies had destroyed the gods’ protection of the empire and ecacy of portents and oracles. is is a view that he adopted, it would appear, from Olympiodorus 92 . Zosimus’ account of the pagan rituals during Alaric’s siege is worth including in its entirety, for it is based, like that of Sozomen’s, on Olympiodorus. e problem be- gins with the failed embassy to Alaric to lift the second siege of the city, dated to  93 . As Zosimus describes it, these men were “despairing of all human resources” yet then these same leaders “remembered the help which used to come to the city in crises and how, by neglect- ing ancestral customs, they were left destitute of that succor” 94 . It is as they are reflecting on this aporia that the urban prefect, Pompeianus, chances upon a possible solution:

they were not 88 . is pagan interpretation is applied to  and is articulated openly by Zosimus.

 

As they were in the midst of these considerations, Pompeianus, prefect of the city happened upon





See Treadgold , . Matthews ; Cameron , 

ue ad fretum near Rhegium, discussed by Matthews , .



Zos. , . e law referred to is Cod. eod. , , 



Olymp. Biblioteca cod. ,  (= Blockley fr. ); Zos.



( CE). Zos. , , . Orosius calls Tertullus a pagan, Oros. hist.

, , ; , ; Aug. epist. . For Olympius, see too PLRE II () .

, , . Cameron , , argues that the phrase in



Treadgold , .

Zosimus (consul et pontifex) is formulaic because he



Olymp. Biblioteca cod. ,  (= Blockley fr. ).

finds it used of a Christian in Paul. Nol. epist. , .



Ridley , xiii.

However, Paulinus used this phrase metaphorically to



For the impact of ignoring pagan ritual, see Zos. , 

try to convince a Christian that he can gain more hon- ors than these in the next world; this does not negate the literal reading of this phrase when used by Zosi-



(Paschoud , ) and , , with translation above. For more on Zosimus’ view of religion, see Paschoud

mus. Hence, I remain convinced that Tertullus was a pagan; see too Salzman , .



. Zos.  with notes by Paschoud , .



Olymp. Biblioteca cod. ,  calls Olympius anou- siourgon (= Blockley fr. ). For the statue that stood there, cf. CIL ,  = ILS  of  B.C. noting a stat-



Zos. , ; translation here and in subsequent passages from Ridley , , with adaptations by author.

Memory and Meaning



(enetuxe) some Tuscans visiting Rome, who said that a city called Narnia had been freed from dan- ger; prayers to the gods and devotion in the ancestral manner had caused violent thunder and lightning, which had driven othe barbarian menace. His con- versation with these men made Pompeianus realize just how much priests could help, () but remember- ing that most people were Christians, he was anxious to proceed with greater caution, and confided com- pletely in Innocent the bishop of Rome. e latter considered the city’s safety more important than his own convictions and consented to the private practice of the rites which they knew. () e priests, however, declared that this would not help the city because the customary rites had to be performed publicly by the senate on the Capitol and in the Forum, but no-one dared to participate in the ancestral worship, so they dismissed the men from Tuscany and began to court the barbarian […] 95 . Zosimus’s account makes Pompeianus into a leader who happened upon – enetuxe – some men from Etruria. In- deed, this notion of chance, Tyche/ enetuxe, as a deter- minant factor in events is part of Olympiodorus’s world view, and he uses it elsewhere to explain Alaric’s failed negotiations with Honorius as well as Sarus’s disrup- tion of their negotiations 96 . Pompeianus’s role appears dierently in Sozomen’s history, and will be discussed below, but the image of the Christian bishop, Innocent, is far from flattering; Innocent’s decision to approve pri- vate rituals is explained as going against his faith. No other source describes Innocent’s role in this aair, but it is the kind of detail that a pagan author would have relished so as to denigrate a Christian bishop. Indeed, Innocent’s absence from Rome at the time of the sack as part of an embassy to petition the emperor on behalf of the Roman people lends credence to Zosimus’s explana- tion that Pompeianus consulted him before approving these public rites, for it acknowledges the status of the bishop in this crisis 97 . Zosimus’s account of Tuscan priests who were fa- miliar with “prayers to the gods and ancestral rites” has been interpreted by F. Paschoud and others to indicate

the survival of Etruscan haruspices, diviners trained in the reading of entrails and observing meteorological phenomena 98 . Since these men are said here to be us- ing prayers to bring about thunder and lightning, some historians have criticized Zosimus for misunderstand- ing the nature of the rites of the haruspices. However, Zosimus is far from being precise, and his text merely notes men who were Tuscans who wanted to use tradi- tional rites, including prayers and processions, to call upon divine aid. Hence, these men appear authentic in their desire to use pagan rites, and should not be read necessarily as evidence for the survival of Etruscan ha- ruspices 99 . Certainly, their insistence on public rites to validate their eect rings true to pagan traditions 100 . According to Zosimus, the failure to perform these pagan rites led to further wickedness; e evil spirit which had taken possession of man- kind now drove those in the city concerned with this task [of raising funds] to the ultimate wickedness. () ey decided to make up the deficiency from the decoration on the statues of the gods. is was simply to render objects consecrated by holy rites and decorated as befitted their guardianship of the city’s eternal prosperity, lifeless and inecacious after the diminution of the rites […] And since everything conducive to the city’s ruin had to happen at once, they not only stripped the statues, but even melted down some made of gold and silver, including that of Bravery, which the Romans called Virtus. When this was destroyed, whatever bravery and virtue the Romans possessed disappeared, as experts in religion and ancestral worship had foretold 101 . Zosimus’s criticism for desecrating cult images accords well with what we know of Olympiodorus’s views, based on extant fragments, as noted above. e divine spir- it that appeared after the failure of the rites is but one more sign that the sack of Rome was owed, according to traditional religionists, to divine anger for not perform- ing traditional rites and veneration of pagan gods. If we compare Zosimus’s version of these events with that of the mid fifth century Christian historian So- zomen who also relied on Olympiodorus’ History, we







Zos. , . Matthews .

See Paschoud , , , ; and Cameron , .



Dunn ,  argues that Innocent was in Ravenna



For a thorough discussion of the diviners and the evi-

in  and again in ; he dates Innocent’s epist.  (PL , ) to , and not . If he is correct, then Innocent could have been in Rome in , making Zo- simus’ account plausible. As far as we know, Innocent’s absence from Rome at the time of the sack was not cause for criticism. Some Christians saw his absence as providential; see Oros. hist. , , = CSEL , .

dence for them, see Paschoud : .  See Fest. : Public sacra, quae publico sumptu pro populo fiunt, quaeque pro montibus, pagis, curiis, sa- cellis; at privata, quae pro singulis hominibus, familiis, gentibus fiunt. See too Cameron , . Zos. , .





Michele Renee Salzman

see marked dierences in interpretation. Sozomen, one of the most polemical of the mid fifth century church historians and a trained lawyer, sharpened the religious conflict element 102 :

After the siege had lasted for some time […] ose among the senators who still adhered to pagan super- stition, proposed to oer sacrifices in the Capitol and the other temples; and certain Tuscans, who were summoned by the prefect of the city, promised to drive out the barbarians with thunder and lightning; they boasted of having performed a similar exploit at Narnia, a city of Tuscany […] e event (i.e. the sack of Rome), however, proved that no advantage could be derived from these persons for the city. All persons of good sense were aware that the calamities which this siege entailed upon the Romans were indications of Divine wrath sent to chastise them for their luxury, their debauchery and their manifold acts of injustice towards each other, as well as towards strangers 103 . Like Zosimus, Sozomen notes that the Romans consid- ered undertaking traditional rites to ward oAlaric, but he attributes this to the active intervention of pa- gan senators and of the unnamed prefect of the city. In describing the rites of the Tuscans, Sozomen has so ab- breviated them that they are not in keeping with what we know of Tuscan rituals, nor does he indicate, as did Zosimus, that the Tuscan diviners used prayer to arouse lightening, a plausible explanation 104 . Because Sozomen recounts the same detail, told in Zosimus, about the success of the diviners in warding Alaric away from Narnia, we can see that both authors used the same text, Olympiodorus’s History, but the omission of the damaging remark about the bishop Innocent’s accept- ance of private pagan rites is in keeping with his reli- gious sympathies. In fact, Sozomen does not say if the rites happened or not; the fate of the city is the result of the Christian god’s just wrath for the moral failings of the Romans. Sozomen’s account has led some historians to see this narrative as evidence for a pagan political reaction in which Pompeianus was a leader of the pagan party 105 . is seems unlikely, because little evidence for such an attack exists even in Sozomen. However, in both authors Pompeianus’s openness to pagan rites suggests that he

 See too Salzman, , .  Soz. , . Translation here by C. D. Hartranft (Oxford ), with slight modifications.  In my view, neither this passage nor Zos. ,  should be used to argue for the survival of Etruscan haruspic- es, as did Heinzberger, . For problems in this view, see Paschoud , . See my discussion above.

and others still believed in their ecacy and advocated for them in this dire situation. At the least, Pompeianus was either a lapsed pagan who had to realize (epeisin) the truth of ancestral rites, or one of the unaliated types, whom Kahlos has called ‘incerti,’ open to pagan and Christian ideas at the same time and unwilling to commit 106 . Given that both accounts show the urban prefect’s desire to pursue pagan rites, the only other ref- erence to Pompeianus’s religiosity as “most pagan” (hel- lenistaton) supports the view that he was seen as a tra- ditional religionist who advocated non-Christian rites in this crisis 107 . Following Olympiodorus in his account, Sozomen, like Zosimus, attributes the fall of the city to “Divine wrath”. But Sozomen refers to the anger of the Chris- tian god, enraged at the proposed pagan rites and the Romans’ sins. For Zosimus, however, the divine wrath of the pagan gods for not performing rites and sacrifices lets loose an evil spirit that led the pagans to destroy their own idols to raise the money to pay Alaric’s ran- som. Given Olympiodorus’s known pagan sympathies, it seems likely that Zosimus here is representing the former’s view. e pagan and Christian explanations for  use the same divine explanatory systems; they merely diverge on the nature of the god who sent Alaric.

Conclusion

e emotions and attitudes with which traditional reli- gionists viewed the events that culminated in the sack of Rome in  are significant components of the inter- pretive framework that they applied to understand their world. ough no longer a majority, and no longer able to perform many of the public communal acts of cult life (e. g. sacrifice), traditional religionists survived into the fifth century. However, Alaric’s invasion, sieges and the sack of Rome were crises that they read in religious terms as the manifestation of divine anger; the fall of Troy in the Aeneid was the archetype of a fallen city familiar to traditional religionists and Christians alike, and it too fell due to divine wrath. Jupiter’s promise for Roma aeterna was made to a ‘pagan’ Rome, an idea that, as noted above, had widespread currency. Traditional

 See Cameron ,  for bibliography.  Kahlos .  In the Greek Life of Saint Melania, Pompeianus is called “most pagan” (hellenikotatos); see Vit. Melani- ae ch. ,  (ed. Gorce, Paris ). For the counter view of Pompeianus as not a pagan, see Cameron , .

Memory and Meaning



religionists argued that the disruption of their rites – sacrifice, processions, banquets – had incited the an- ger of the gods. Failure to venerate the gods had fueled this catastrophe. is much we can gather about pagan emotions and interpretations from extant texts, and from self-professed pagans, notably Olympiodorus and Zosimus. e emotions, attitudes and interpretations of  by pagans were also deemed important to fifth century Christian leaders. e sack of Rome had raised doubts in Christian communities about the power of their god and his protection of the now Christian state. Many of these Christians were, no doubt, recent converts themselves. And like their ‘pagan’ neighbors, many were similarly afraid of divine anger, a fact that made them all the more susceptible to the arguments of their ‘pagan’ or uncommitted neighbors. at is why Chris- tian preachers, like Augustine and Leo, addressed ‘pa- gan’ interpretations of  in sermons and encouraged congregants to shun those who raised such questions. Bishops explained that the sack was punishment for sin; they recommended prayers for forgiveness and grati- tude to god for surviving the sack as a means of winning divine favor. By branding the ‘pagan’ response to  as a de- monic threat, Christian leaders also reinforced their

own group’s identity. Indeed, it is to support the faith of Christians that Augustine preached in one of his sermons against pagans in , that they should:

“Pay attention […] so that you may be strong and have a good defense against the pagans” 108 . In this sermon he adopts the same strategy that he used when he made his audience refute pagan views of ; he literally tells his Christians to turn away from the ‘pagans’ in the church, as in Sermon , , and focus on their own faith. By shunning ‘pagans’ as morally other, Augustine tried to unite his Christian congregation, and Leo, later in the century, does the same. I have argued that Christian anxiety about ‘pagan’ in- terpretations of  resonated with Christian audiences not merely because of the gifted rhetoric of preachers, but because the attitudes and emotions Christians at- tributed to ‘pagans’ were recognizable in their neigh- bors and in the daily life of the late antique world. Iron- ically, the ‘pagan’ response to  is best known because it became part of the Christian explanation for the fall of the city. But such Christian interpretations were not divorced from reality. e fall of Rome in  evoked a range of range of emotions and meanings for Christians and traditional religionists, the study of which shows how very complicated was the process by which the em- pire became ‘non-pagan’.



Aug. serm.  augm,  (= ed. F. Dolbeau, Paris , ).



Michele Renee Salzman

Abbreviations

Barnes 

T. D. Barnes, e Religious Aliation of Consuls and Prefects , in:

T.

D. Barnes, From Eusebius to Augustine. Selected Papers , Col-

lected studies series  (Aldershot ) chapter VII. .

Barnes 

T. D. Barnes, Statistics and the Conversion of the Roman Aristocracy, JRS , , .

Beduhn 

J. Beduhn, Augustine’s Manichaean Dilemma I. Conversion and Apostasy,  CE (Philadelphia ).

Blockley 

R. C. Blockley, e Fragmentary Classicizing Historians of the Later Roman Empire. Eunapius, Olympiodorus, Priscus (Liverpool ).

Brown 

P. Brown, Review of Alan Cameron, e Last Pagans of Rome, New York Re- view of Books, . April , .

Cameron 

A. Cameron, e Last Pagans of Rome (New York ).

CCSL

Corpus Christianorum Series Latina

Chavasse 

A. Chavasse, Sancti Leonis Magni Romani pontificis tractatus, Corpus Chris- tianorum. Series Latina A (Turnhout ).

CSEL

Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum

De Bruyn 

T. S. De Bruyn, Ambivalence within a “Totalizing Discourse”. Augustine’s Ser- mons on the Sack of Rome, JEChrSt /, , .

Demandt – Brummer 

A. Demandt – G. Brummer, Der Prozess gegen Serena im Jahre , Historia , , .

Doignon  J. Doignon, Oracles, prophéties, ‘on-dit’ sur la chute de Rome (). Les reactions de Jérome et d’Augustin, Revue des Études Augustiniennes , , .

Drake 

H. Drake, Constantine and the Bishops (Baltimore ).

Dunn 

G. D. Dunn, e Care of the Poor in Rome and Alaric’s Sieges, in: G. D. Dunn –

D.

Luckensmeyer – L. Cross (ed.), Prayer and Spirituality in the Early Church

V.

Poverty and Riches (Strathfield, NSW )  .

Fredouille  J.-C. Fredouille, Les Sermons d’Augustin sur la chute de Rome, in: G. Madec (ed.), Augustin prédicateur (). Actes du Colloque international de Chantilly, sept. , Collection des Études Augustiniennes, Série Anti- quité  (Paris ) .

Gillett 

A. Gillett, e Date and Circumstances of Olympiodorus of ebes, Traditio , , .

Gillett 

A. Gillett, Rome, Ravenna, and the Last Western Emperors, BSR , , .

Harris 

W. Harris, History, Empathy and Emotions, AuA , , .

Heinzberger 

F. Heinzberger, Heidnische und christliche Reaktion auf die Krisen des west- römischen Reiches in den Jahren  (Bonn ).

Hill 

E. Hill (ed.), Sermons. e Works of S. Augustine. A Translation for the  st Century. Part III Volume ( A) (New York ).

Hill



E. Hill (ed.), Sermons. Newly Discovered Sermons. e Works of S. Augustine. A translation for the  st Century. Part III Volume  (New York ).

Kahlos 

M. Kahlos, Debate and Dialogue. Christian and Pagan Cultures ca.  (Aldershot ).

Memory and Meaning



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

Michele Renee Salzman

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Address

Prof. Dr. Michele Renee Salzman Department of History  HMNSS Building University of California, Riverside Riverside, CA  USA michele.salzman@ucr.edu

Contents

Vorwort

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Johannes Lipps – Carlos Machado – Philipp von Rummel

 

e Sack of Rome in  AD. An Introduction

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Philipp von Rummel Ereignis und Narrativ. Erzählungen der Plünderung Roms im August  zwischen Textüberlieferung und Archäologie

 



Riccardo Santangeli Valenzani Dall’evento al dato archeologico. Il sacco del 410 attraverso la documentazione archeologica

 

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

I. CONTEXT

 

Arnaldo Marcone Roma caput mundi. Il significato simbolico della città inconquistata

 

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Carlos Machado The Roman Aristocracy and the Imperial Court, before and after the Sack

 

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

Michael Kulikowski The Failure of Roman Arms

 

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II. EVENT

 

Ralph W. Mathisen Roma a Gothis Alarico duce capta est. Ancient Accounts of the Sack of Rome in  CE

 

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

Johannes Lipps

 

Alarichs Goten auf dem Forum Romanum? Überlegungen zu Gestalt, Chronologie

 

und Verständnis der spätantiken Platzanlage

 

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Antonella Corsaro – Alessandro Delfino – Ilaria de Luca – Roberto Meneghini Nuovi dati archeologici per la storia del Foro di Cesare tra la fine del IV e la metà del V secolo

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Fedora Filippi Nuovi dati da Campo Marzio e Trastevere

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

Contents

Stefania Fogagnolo Testimonianze del sacco del  in un cantiere edilizio a Trastevere

(Conservatorio di San Pasquale Baylon)

 

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