This groundbreaking study brings into dialogue for the first time the writings of Julian, the last non-Christian Roman Emperor, and his most outspoken critic, Bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, a central figure of Christianity. Susanna Elm compares these two men not to draw out the obvious contrast between the Church and the Emperor’s neo-Paganism, but rather to find their common intellectual and social grounding. Her insightful analysis, supplemented by her magisterial command of sources, demonstrates the ways in which both men were part of the same dialectical whole. Elm recasts both Julian and Gregory as men entirely of their times, showing how the Roman Empire in fact provided Christianity with the ideological and social matrix without which its longevity and dynamism would have been inconceivable.
Universalism and Governance
Julian the Emperor and Gregory the Theologian
Gregory and the Bishops
Julian and Gregory in Context
1. Nazianzus and the Eastern Empire, 330–361
Nazianzus and Gregory: The Personal and the Local
Constantinople: Emperor, Cosmopolis, and Cosmos
Constantius’s Triumph: Unity and Harmony, 358–360
Reversal: Constantius and Julian Augustus, 360–361
2. Julian, from Caesar to Augustus: Paris to Constantinople, 355–362
Toward Constantinople: From Caesar to Augustus, 360–361
Julian’s Concepts of Leadership: Philosopher and King
3. Philosopher, Leader, Priest: Julian in Constantinople, Spring 362
The Context of Julian’s Concepts of the True Philosophical Life
A Philosopher as Leader, in Julian’s Own Words: Against the Cynic Heraclius
A Universal Divinity for a Universal Empire; or, How to Interpret Myth: Hymn to the Mother of the Gods
How to Achieve True Philosophy: Against the Uneducated Cynics
The Law Regarding Teachers
4. On the True Philosophical Life and Ideal Christian Leadership: Gregory’s Inaugural Address, Oration 2
A High-Wire Act: The True Philosophical Life as the Model of Priesthood in Late Antiquity
The Codes of Aptitude
5. The Most Potent Pharmakon: Gregory the Elder and Nazianzus
The Other High-Wire Act: Fathers and Sons
The Royal Road: Gregory the Elder’s Opponents at Nazianzus
6. Armed like a Hoplite—Gregory the Political Philosopher at War: Eunomius, Photinus, and Julian
Oikeiosis pros Theon as Political Philosophy
The Enemy on the Inside: Photinus and Eunomius
What Do Words Mean?
Oikeiosis pros Theon: Oration 2 against Eunomius
7. A Health-Giving Star Shining on the East: Julian in Antioch, July 362 to March 363
The Emperor as Priest
Julian’s Divine Mandate
The Platonic Philosopher-King: The Misopogon and Julian’s Universal Vision
8. The Making of the Apostate: Gregory’s Oration 4 against Julian
The Pillar of Infamy: An Inverted Fürstenspiegel
Imperial Decrees and Divine Enactments: Julian and Constantius
9. A Bloodless Sacrifice of Words to the Word: Logoi for the Logos
Myth and Allegory
Logoi: The Theological Implications
Apostasis versus Theosis; or, True Oikeiosis pros Theon
Oration 6, On Peace: Unity and Concord
10. Gregory’s Second Strike, Oration 5
The Pagan Context
Gregory’s Second Strike against the Pagans
Procopius versus Valens
Conclusion: Visions of Rome
Governing the Oikoumene
Authority and Kinship of the Elites
Susanna Elm is Professor of History and Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Virgins of God: The Making of Asceticism in Late Antiquity.
“In this magisterial study, Susanna Elm illuminates fresh and persuasive connections between intellectual life and imperial politics in the late Roman empire, describing complex concepts with consummate ease and in a splendidly fluent style. Sons of Hellenism is a model of what a history of ideas should be.”—John Anthony McGuckin, Professor of Byzantine Christian History, Columbia University.
“With this book, Susanna Elm has blown an irreparable hole in the wall that has long separated the study of philosophy, theology, and politics in the ancient world. Sons of Hellenism is an intellectual tour de force and a master work in every respect.”—H.A. Drake, author of Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance.
Nazianzus and the Eastern Empire, 330-361
"I have been beaten, and I recognize my defeat: I have surrendered to the Lord and have come to supplicate him" (Gr. Naz. Or. 2.1). With these words Gregory the Younger of Nazianzus begins his second oration, delivered probably on Easter 363 and circulated soon thereafter. This oration represents the earliest systematic treatment of the Christian priesthood propagated by a member of the Greek-speaking Roman elite. Gregory's treatise on the nature of Christian leadership had a profound and lasting impact, for example on John Chrysostom, another member of that elite and bishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom's work on the priesthood, based on Gregory's, then influenced another bishop in an imperial residence, Ambrose of Milan, through whom it gained purchase in the West. Rufinus's Latin translation of Gregory's oration influenced Western writers directly, including Augustine and Jerome, who had heard Gregory speak in Constantinople, as well as Paulinus of Nola and Julian of Eclanum. Gregory the Great's work on the priesthood also reflects his acquaintance with Gregory of Nazianzus's, gained either during the former's stay in Constantinople or through Rufinus's translation. In sum, Gregory's Oration 2, On the Priesthood, became immensely influential in the East and permeated the Western tradition. But in 363 this was all in the future.
When Gregory spoke the opening words (or words very similar to those he chose to preserve for posterity), he had just returned to his ancestral city of Nazianzus from a sojourn at Annesi, a small village in Pontus where the family of his friend Basil, later bishop of Caesarea, owned an estate. Ostensibly, his departure and return are the key themes of the second oration. Given its length, however-117 chapters-we can surmise that Gregory's reasons for leaving and coming back were complex. Indeed, they range from his own affairs to those of the oikoumen? of the Romans and to the very cosmos and its genesis. All these reasons, personal, local, and the global and cosmic, were seamlessly intertwined in Oration 2, the principal focus of Part II of this book. But not only in Oration 2. Gregory in all his writings from the early 360s-that is, his first six orations-formed a densely woven tapestry that included the same elements, from the personal to the cosmological. These orations were composed like an instrument with many different strings (to use his own intertextual metaphor), each one activated at appropriate moments but all sounding together in harmony as a comprehensive whole. As such these six orations contain the nucleus of Gregory's interpretation of the nature of the divine; its relation to the sensible, material world; and the consequences of that relation for humans seeking to guide others toward the divine. In these orations Gregory delineates which persons had been divinely entrusted to lead mankind and how they ought to comport themselves to approach the divine so that they could lead others to it. In short, these orations are the foundational work that made Gregory "the Theologian."
Gregory formulated most of these concepts in Nazianzus, and they were in the first instance intended for a local audience. But Nazianzus was not an island. Gregory's thoughts and positions engaged some of the most intense debates then gripping men of the Greek-speaking elites of the Eastern Roman Empire and reverberating among their Western contemporaries. These debates revolved around the nature of the divine and its interaction with the material world and humanity, crystallized in the way in which the divine was thought to speak to humans. How the divine and these interactions were understood affected the qualities considered necessary to lead the oikoumen? and its inhabitants to salvation. To understand Gregory's second oration and its impact we need to know first what the state of the debate was in the late 350s and early 360s. Who were Gregory's contemporaries, and what were they debating in the 360s? How had these debates evolved in the preceding decade, and why did they matter? And who was Gregory of Nazianzus?
Nazianzus and Gregory: The Personal and the Local
"I, Diocaesarea, am a small town." Gregory's description, placed rhetorically into the mouth of his native city, was certainly accurate. Diocaesarea, Nazianzus in the native tongue, was a small town. In western Cappadocia, however, a small town was not necessarily insignificant. Diocaesarea, like Caesarea, Tyana, and Archela∩s, actually had municipal or city status, in a region exceptional for its lack of such cities. Diocaesarea-Nazianzus's territory, the Tiberine, was considerable. It included Venasa, some fifty kilometers to the north; Karbala, about ten kilometers south; and Sasima, twenty-five kilometers east. Furthermore, it was located on one of the major west-east routes of the empire, linking the imperial residences Constantinople and Antioch, a route Ammianus described as the usus itineribus solitis. It passed from Antioch to Issus, Mopsuestia, and Tarsus, and then crossed the mountains at the Cilician Gates to descend to Tyana, passing via Sasima and Nazianzus to Ancyra and then Constantinople. In fact, the only mention of Nazianzus prior to Gregory's occurred in two itineraries designating it in Latin either as a "mansio Anathiango" or as Nandianulus. Nazianzus was (or, rather, parts of it were) indeed a mansio (Greek mon?) or stathmos, a posting station between Archela∩s (Civitas Colonia) and the next mansio on the main highway between Constantinople and Antioch, the said Sasima, twenty-four Roman miles distant.
As a mansio, Nazianzus was equipped with inns offering "meals and sleeping quarters; [a] change of clothing for the drivers and postilions; [a] change of animals [stabling as many as forty horses, mules, or both], carriages, and drivers ...; grooms ...; escorts for bringing back vehicles and teams to the previous station ...; porters ...; veterinarians ... [and] cartwrights." Mansiones had to accommodate ordinary travelers passing through, all those who held permission to use the cursus publicus, and the large imperial traveling parties. Numerous inscriptions and literary sources attest to the effort and personnel an emperor required as he moved across his realm. During the late 350s and the early 360s, imperial travel between Constantinople and Antioch was especially frequent, because Antioch was the traditional staging place for Persian campaigns, and the size of the entourage only increased when the emperor was en route to a military campaign.
Thus, while neither a Caesarea nor an Archela∩s, Nazianzus was no isolated hamlet. A polis with a mansio on a major route traversed by the imperial court, numerous public officials, and other men of letters, Nazianzus had regular contact with the wider world. Although Gregory had reason to refer to Nazianzus-Diocaesarea as insignificant, such a characterization was also a well-known rhetorical topos. Authors who considered themselves members of a well-established provincial elite expressed pride in their ancestral cities in rhetorical formulations that, paradoxically, stressed their very insignificance. Thus Plutarch, Aelius Aristides, and Galen, like Gregory, frequently evoked the smallness of their native cities. The artfully constructed context, however, leaves no doubt that these writers, Gregory included, intended to contrast the insignificance of the city with the importance of the author who hailed from it and whose praise would immeasurably augment its prestige.
Indeed, Gregory expressed civic pride through such literary topoi naturally. His family belonged to Cappadocia's landholding elite, and his father had been one of the most prominent citizens (a principalis or leading curialis) of Nazianzus, a rank to which his son could also lay claim. Born around 329 or 330, most likely at Arianzus, one of his family's estates at Karbala located in the hills about ten kilometers south of Nazianzus, Gregory was the older son of Gregory the Elder and his wife Nonna's three children, Gorgonia, Gregory, and Caesarius. Arianzus was also where he spent the years of his retirement after Constantinople. This and the family's other estates contained vineyards, orchards, and flowering fields, and were pleasant and fertile despite occasional severe droughts.
Caesarea and Athens
To this Nazianzus Gregory returned in 363. It was not his first return. In 358 or 359 he had come home after nearly a decade spent in Athens in pursuit of higher education. Athens had not been the first stop on his educational journey. Gregory and his younger brother, Caesarius, like most of their social peers, were first trained in grammar at home by a paidag?gos, Carterius, who also accompanied the brothers to the provincial capital, Caesarea, for further training in grammar and rhetoric, probably during the year 345/6. About a year later they proceeded to Caesarea Maritima, in Palestine. This city housed the remarkable library of Origen, continued by Pamphilus and Eusebius. John McGuckin proposed even that Gregory and his brother were sent there because it "was the closest thing in the fourth century to a Christian university town."
Indeed, Gregory's stay at Caesarea in Palestine marks a decisive period in modern scholarly accounts of his Christianization. Because of the city's excellent Christian library dating back to Origen, scholars have assumed that Gregory received his first profound introduction to Origen's thought and method as well as to the theological debates then surrounding them, and that the decisive influence of Origen on his later thought began with his sojourn in Caesarea. Scholars support this assumption by pointing to the so-called Philocalia, excerpts of Origen's writings that Gregory supposedly made together with Basil in the late 350s or early 360s. While Gregory probably had contact with the library and its Christian milieu, his scant remarks on his time in Caesarea praise only his pagan teacher Thespesius. Even though Gregory calls him a grammarian, Thespesius was a well-known rhetorician in the tradition of the Second Sophistic, who also counted among his students a certain Euzoius, who would renovate Eusebius's library after he had succeeded Acacius as bishop of the city. Gregory's praise of Thespesius and Libanius's complaint that Caesarea's reputation as a center of rhetorical education rivaled Antioch's suggest that this excellent education exercised at least as much pull as Origen's library (which Gregory does not mention). Still, Gregory may have purchased the excerpts of Origin's writings later known as the Philocalia while he was at Caesarea. But it is important to keep in mind that assumptions about Gregory's immersion in an Origenist milieu at that time, however tempting they may be in explaining his education as Christian, are unverified, notwithstanding Origen's notable influence on Gregory's later oeuvre. After about a year in Caesarea, toward the end of 348, Gregory and Caesarius moved on to Alexandria. Here, the brothers parted ways, Caesarius remaining in Alexandria to study medicine, and Gregory proceeding to Athens, evidently without having met either Didymus the Blind or Athanasius in Alexandria (i.e., again having established no demonstrable connections to the local Christian circles).
Gregory arrived in Athens in 348 or 349 and remained there for nearly a decade. He did not fail to record in his later writings the imprint of Athens on his formation, though he said little or nothing of that of either Caesarea in Palestine or Alexandria. "O Athens, the glory of Greece; O Athens, the golden city of learning!" With these words he celebrated his own and Basil's time in Athens many years later in his eulogy for the deceased bishop of Caesarea. As Samuel Rubenson has noted, Gregory's evocation of that city "is the longest extant passage on contemporary Athens in the entire literature of the Patristic period," and certainly not by accident. Gregory left no doubt that he enjoyed his stay at Athens thoroughly and that he embraced and was prepared to defend the "passionate love of letters" that he had deepened in "the golden city of learning." Among those who fostered his passion were the rhetoricians Himerius, as Socrates and Sozomen tell us, and Prohaeresius, as Gregory himself confirms in a later epigram. Himerius, who came from Prusias, in Bithynia, was so famous for his harmoniously poetic style as to be compared to Aelius Aristides. The Armenian Prohaeresius, who had spent time in Cappadocian Caesarea prior to coming to Athens, was famous for his extemporaneous speeches and renowned as a mentor. He was a Christian and as such an exception in Athens and among Gregory's teachers. A certain Priscus, a disciple of Iamblichus, also lectured there at that time, and Gregory may have heard him too. Although Gregory heaped lavish praise on Athens as a center of learning, he was, again, rather reticent about his Christian formation there. A single reference to "our sacred buildings" asserts a preference for these rather than the teachers outside (Gr. Naz. Or. 43.21). Things Christian were not on Gregory's mind when he recalled his time at Athens, except for the preternaturally mature Basil (Or. 43.23). Basil arrived in Athens a few years after Gregory. The two men may have already known each other from Caesarea in Cappadocia, or they may have met in Athens as Cappadocians tending toward companions and teachers with connections to Cappadocia or at least Asia Minor. In any event, in Athens the two became "all in all" to each other, one soul in two bodies, sharing room, table, and all their days and nights (Or. 43.19).
In Athens both men also made a momentous decision: to cultivate excellence or virtue (aret9) with a twist. "Philosophy was the object of our zeal," as Gregory would later say (Or. 43.19-20), though exactly what he meant by that will occupy us for much of the subsequent chapters. For now it suffices to note Gregory's recollection that he and Basil had already in Athens attempted to combine the goal of philosophy with a Christian formation, basing their attempt solely on the scriptures and each other as inspiration and "measuring rod" (Gr. Naz. Or. 43.17-22). To have at hand a collection of excerpts from Origen's writings on questions such as the nature of free will and "the divine inspiration of the divine scripture, and how it is to be read and understood; and what is the reason for the obscurity in it, and for what is impossible in some cases when it is taken literally, or what is unreasonable," may well have been of great value in this endeavor, which would further support Neil McLynn's suggestion that Gregory had purchased such a collection at Caesarea. As he points out, the Philocalia, which throughout suggests an individual approaching the divine writings without reference to institutional settings such as a teacher or a community, would have been ideal for such enterprising students as Gregory and Basil.
Gregory and Basil were not alone in these experiments. Gregory's connections to men such as Sophronius, eventually a magistrate (magister officiorum) at the court of Valens in Antioch and then prefect of Constantinople; Eustochius, a future professional rhetor at Caesarea; Hellenius, eventually equalizing the taxes at Nazianzus (as peraequator); Julian, another tax assessor responsible for Nazianzus and perhaps also praeses, or governor, of Phrygia; and Philagrius, a fellow student of Caesarius, all date back to his student days. These friendships were forged, according to Gregory's later reminiscences, in an atmosphere of intense rivalry and correspondingly tight-knit groups of like-minded students, a brotherhood based on common geographic origin and further enhanced by allegiance to specific teachers, often with the same regional background, who "initiated" their flock to the Muses (Or. 43.22). Rivalries between such brotherhoods involved public displays of individual aret9, which was understood as the capacity to endure blows, to devise appropriate rhetoric to accompany such skirmishes, and to maintain face on all occasions. For those who trained in Athens, such public displays gained from the opportunity there to reenact the famous bouts of a Demosthenes or Callimachus at the very site-a heady experience, no doubt, even for someone like Gregory, who had learned, as he later claimed (in the process of establishing once and for all his superiority while verbally beating his opponents to the ground), to sublimate his competitive streak through his desire for the philosophical life (Or. 43.20). Competition in public and between close friends such as Gregory and Basil was an essential feature of rhetorical training; after all, those who received such an education had to learn how to confront as well as collaborate with each other, and with those ranking above and below them in the public forum of the empire and its administration.
Indeed, while Gregory and Basil's decision to search for ways "to become more pleasing to God" (to use words attributed to Libanius in his correspondence with Basil) did not represent a common path for young men of their background and education, both men began after Athens to do what Gregory's friends did-to become professional rhetoricians, advocates, and public officials. As Gregory's later autobiographical writings and letters exchanged after Basil's return to Cappadocia in the mid-350s and Gregory's about three years later confirm, Gregory in fact engaged in the profession of rhetorician more decisively than Basil.
Although Gregory makes scant reference to how he spent his time upon returning to Nazianzus around 358, his letters and his autobiographical poem De vita sua reveal that he instructed students "in the Attic training" and had "shown off logoi" and "danced for friends." There is little doubt among scholars that Gregory became a teacher of rhetoric. It is very probable, however, that he held that position longer than the few months or one year that have usually been assumed, at least until his ordination in late 361 or early 362 and potentially even to mid-363. Gregory's social status and that of his family support this probability. As members of the curial class, Gregory and his father were affected by the complex and improvisational imperial legislation regulating curial exemptions and membership in the clergy. As mentioned, Gregory the Elder had been among the principales, the leading curiales of his city, prior to becoming a bishop. He retained his properties and upon his ordination, at least according to a law issued in 349, his privileges and his fiscal responsibilities would have devolved upon his sons. Caesarius, who had returned to Nazianzus at the same time as Gregory, took a highly popular route to escape these responsibilities: he moved up the social ladder and on to Constantinople and a position in the senate there (Gr. Naz. Or. 7.9). Gregory as an Athens-trained rhetor pursued another proven method to alleviate his and his family's fiscal burdens: for any city would happily have granted relief from fiscal responsibilities in exchange for boasting such a figure among its citizens, as an enhancement of its status and as an exemplar of its connection to the wider world.
Nazianzus in 358-361
Fiscal and other obligations go a long way toward explaining Gregory's moves in the late 350s and early 360s, as reflected in a famous exchange of letters between Gregory and Basil. I return to this exchange in Chapter 6 but sketch its general contours and their standard interpretation here. According to scholarly consensus, by the time Gregory returned to Cappadocia, around 358/9, Basil had already made a start on the philosophical life of retreat that both men envisioned at Athens. Prompted by the example of his younger brother Naucratius, who had just renounced his position as an advocate and rhetor, Basil moved to his country estate, Annesi, to dedicate himself to the pursuit of philosophy. Almost immediately, he began to persuade or to pressure Gregory to join him in that pursuit, in accordance with their plans. Gregory, however, wavered (already in keeping with his scholarly depiction as a labile character), torn between his desire for retreat with Basil and the pressures that his father put on him to remain in the world. "I must confess it. I have gone back on my promise to be with you and live the philosophical life with you as I had promised as far back as our Athenian days. ... One law has won out over another [nomou nomon nik?santos], the one that prescribes care for one's parents [over] that of loving friendship and togetherness."
While these letters appear to corroborate the scholarly characterizations of the protagonists, with Basil steadfast and committed and Gregory wavering and tormented, in fact Gregory himself later chose and edited his own letters together with Basil's responses, presumably to present to posterity a cameo of a forceful Basil and a deliberating (or wavering) Gregory, carefully examining his options and obligations as early as the late 350s and the beginning of the 360s. And he may well have had reasons for shaping his own historiographic persona as well as Basil's in this manner.
"May we forgive each other, I who have been the victim of this beautiful tyranny ..., and you who have exercised this beautiful tyranny upon me." However attractive the idea of the retreat (apragmosyn?) in Pontus may have been, however sweet and powerful the bonds of friendship, Gregory, as his own preserved contemporary writings make clear, wanted it known that between 358 and 363 the duty to serve one's parents was paramount. He had in fact joined Basil at Annesi for a brief period before being called back by the laws circumscribing the duties toward his parents and his city, and the specific requirements that they placed on him at that moment. In the event, Basil's philosophical sojourn at Annesi did not last long either. By late 359, Basil had left Annesi, first for Constantinople and then for Caesarea, and Gregory was in Nazianzus, teaching as a rhetorician and "dancing" his Attic training for his friends. To appreciate fully what this position and his duties to his father entailed, however, it is necessary to step back in time and outwards geographically, to retrace what other than curial obligations were at stake for Basil in Constantinople and for Gregory and his father in Nazianzus in the late 350s and early 360s: it is time to place the personal and the local into the wider context of the oikoumen?.
Constantinople: Emperor, Cosmopolis, and Cosmos
Constantius II as Sole Ruler, 353-358
With the defeat and subsequent suicide of the usurper Magnentius at Mons Seleuci in the Alps in August 353, Constantius II, the son of the Divus Constantinus of iusta veneranda memoria, became the sole ruler of the empire, the first since 337. Constantius immediately began to focus on the task that was his by right of inheritance as well as military superiority: to consolidate and secure a united orbis Romanus. As sole Augustus, he immediately offered amnesty to the usurper's followers and even to members of his family and some close friends, and issued new coins to spread the message of a unified realm as quickly as possible. These coins signaled that while Constantius II was now Augustus of the entire realm, the East, where he had grown up and where he had ruled since 337/8, was to be the model. In the East Constantius had labored most to secure the oikoumen? against the aggressive Persians under Shapur II. Most of his trusted friends hailed from the East. He had, moreover, lavished much attention on monuments that showcased Constantinople as the new capital, and it was only appropriate that for him the New Rome now equaled the first Rome as the gloria Romanorum and gloria rei publicae.
Constantius had paid dearly to suppress the rebellion of the Frankish officer Magnentius, and before him that of a certain Vetranio. While Magnentius's usurpation had not been the first attempt to seize the throne, it had been the most dangerous, not least because in 350 Magnentius had murdered the Western Augustus, who was Constantius's sole surviving brother, Constans. The situation had been further destabilized when the Danubian army elevated its commander, Vetranio, as Augustus on March 1, 350, a second usurpation in short sequence. Constantius learned of these events while in Edessa, engaged with the Persians under Shapur II, and moved west after entrusting the ongoing engagements to Lucilianus, who eventually defeated the Persians. On December 25, 350, the Danubian army, apparently after an eloquent display of diplomacy, joined Constantius's cause, and Vetranio elected to retire. That left Magnentius and the Persians as the principal foci of Constantius's attention. To regulate matters in the East while engaged in the West, Constantius elevated his cousin Gallus, the son of his stepuncle Julius Constantius, as Caesar of the East on March 15, 351 (in the presence of bishop Theophilus the Indian). Constantius married him to his sister, Constantia, and dispatched Gallus to the imperial residence at Antioch. Magnentius reacted by also elevating one of his own relatives to the rank of Caesar and by withdrawing troops from the Rhine in order to march against Constantius. The ensuing battle at Mursa, in September 351, proved among the most costly of the time. Magnentius was finally beaten only in the summer of 353, and on October 10, 353, Constantius could at last celebrate his sole rule.
The new totius orbis dominus took up residence in Arles, but he could not ignore the affairs of the East in favor of those preoccupying him in the West. Gallus had not proved a felicitous choice. A food crisis that affected Antioch in particular-an economic and social challenge notoriously difficult to handle-had evidently overtaxed Gallus's leadership abilities. According to Ammianus, who was, however, ill disposed toward him, Gallus had fatally alienated the local curiales by accusing them (apparently with good cause) of speculative hoarding and had further instigated the populace to murder the consularis Syriae, activities Constantius could not ignore. Toward the end of 354, Gallus was executed.
In the meantime, Constantius had to move further west in early 354 to restore order on the weakened Rhine frontier, managing to do so again by means of diplomacy. He spent the winter of 354 in Milan, henceforth his residence and staging ground for his Western campaigns along the Rhine until he moved east, first to Sirmium and then to Constantinople in 357/8. While in Milan, Constantius entrusted Silvanus, master of infantry and a Frank, with the command of the Rhine army. Alas, Silvanus, evidently the victim of an intrigue, found himself forced to revolt in August 355 and was executed soon thereafter. Now Constantius requested that his sole surviving male relative, Flavius Claudius Julianus, his cousin and Gallus's half-brother, at that moment engaged in advanced studies in Athens, come to Milan and accept the mantle of Caesar. Julian was appointed Caesar on November 6, 355. He presented his Augustus and cousin with a panegyric that reflects his awareness of the enormous responsibility now placed on his shoulders as the second most powerful person on earth. To be a scion of the house of Constantine was a natural advantage, Julian conceded, but did not suffice to ensure the qualities of a ruler. (See Gallus's example.) That a natural aptitude had to be combined with strict discipline the excellent example of the Augustus demonstrated and the new Caesar understood perfectly well, as indicated by his inaugural speech. Newly married to another of Constantius's sisters, Helena, Julian left for Gaul soon after his acclamation. Constantius remained in Milan until he concluded new treaties with the Alemanni in 356, whereupon he proceeded east to Sirmium in early 357.
The actions briefly outlined above provide a framework for Constantius's principal duties as sole ruler and scion of the second Flavian dynasty: the defense and consolidation of the inheritance of the divus Constantinus. Unification of the realm and the securing of its frontiers were paramount in these endeavors. To do justice to Constantius II, the man and his rule, is, however, no easy undertaking: our chief narrative sources present sharply divergent pictures. Constantius is praised as erudite and just or condemned as boorish and cruel; characterized as generous, courageous, capable, and moral, or as feebly aping Constantine, a mere plaything of his eunuchs, wives, and courtiers. Two general tendencies account for such starkly opposing variations of the panegyric themes. One is the Julianic strand of contemporary writings, including Ammianus's work, in which Constantius becomes the negative foil for his successor Julian, representing the polar opposite of all Julian's outstanding qualities. The other strand-or, better, strands, both positive and negative, are represented by persons directly affected by Constantius's own rule and his imperial wish to consolidate his realm, namely leading Christians.
Phrased differently, as in the case of every new emperor, Constantius's accession and his efforts to consolidate the empire meant realignments among those with access to the ruler. Loyal men, mostly Easterners, were honored with favors and signs of imperial benevolence (philanthr?pia), while others suffered the consequences of his displeasure: execution, exile, removal to their homes, and more or less voluntary retirement. In both groups, those with access and favor as well as those demoted and removed, were Christian bishops and their advisors, some of whom wrote their Constantius for posterity according to the treatment they and their friends received at his hands. Here, an important historiographic strand clustered around Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and his supporters, who had been among those removed, and whose portrayal of the emperor was correspondingly unfavorable, to put it mildly. The combined balance of the Julianic and Athanasian historiography was, hence, negative. Moreover, the Christian historiographic tradition that was positively inclined toward Constantius and opposed to Athanasius was declared heretical after 381, and survives only in fragments. Not surprisingly, this overwhelmingly negative portrayal of Constantius in the surviving and easily accessible narrative sources has dominated his modern scholarly assessment as well. Recent research, however, is redressing this picture, and the chapters that follow seek to contribute to that redress. Nevertheless it is possible to reconstruct, with fair accuracy, Constantius's policies vis-α-vis the new religion in his realm, especially those policies that affected persons such as Gregory the Elder of Nazianzus and his son, Gregory the Younger.
Constantius and the Bishops, 337-358
Among those attending the emperor Constantine the Great during his final moments in Bithynia, in Nicomedia in May 337, was a man who had played an increasingly important role as friend and advisor during the emperor's final years. His name was Eusebius; he was then bishop of Nicomedia, the tetrarchic imperial residence adjacent to Constantinople, and he could draw upon a substantial network of friends, hoi peri tou Eusebiou, who profited as much from his closeness to the emperor as he did from their support. Eusebius is said not only to have been at the emperor's bedside at his death but also to have baptized Constantine just before. More important, if we are to trust the historian Philostorgius, the dying emperor entrusted Eusebius to relate his last wishes to his eldest son, Constantius II, who "alone among his sons ... rushed [from Antioch] to be near him" as soon as he learned of his father's illness-alas, too late to reach him alive.
Philostorgius, born in 368 in Borissa, Cappadocia, and writing about a hundred years after these events, has to be counted among Eusebius's friends; he related a version of the events sympathetic to Eusebius, and he belongs to the fragmentary pro-Constantius historiographic tradition. Sympathy was required, because Constantine's succession-the real theme of the incident Philostorgius related-was a famously messy affair very much in need of subsequent interpretation. The details will probably never be untangled. The various interpretations will occupy us in subsequent chapters, but these are the salient facts: Constantine died on May 22, 337, intestate and in the midst of preparing a Persian campaign. In the preceding years, he had devolved increasingly important positions and functions to his sons Constantine II, Constantius II, and Constans, and in addition on his half-brothers and their sons, presumably intending to install a collegiate rule in the tetrarchic fashion, albeit on a dynastic basis. On September 9, 337, however, nearly four months after his death, only his three sons were acclaimed as rulers-Constantine II of most of the West; Constantius of the East; and Constans of Italy, Africa, Illyricum, and Moesia. As a result of, or in the context of, a military revolt in Constantinople and its environs, Constantine's half-brothers and most of their male relatives were dead, among them Julius Constantius, Gallus's and Julian's father.
Philostorgius's account reflects the troubles surrounding the succession by relating that Constantine's last wish entrusted to Eusebius was to deliver a letter to Constantius II, voicing the emperor's suspicion that he had been poisoned and urging his son, as his heir, to avenge his untimely death. Philostorgius's account, furthermore, reflects a reality not directly connected to the fateful months of 337: Constantius II as Augustus of the East acted as his father's heir at least insofar as he, too, retained Eusebius as friend and advisor. In characterizing Eusebius's role at this time (337), Philostorgius reflects this friend's subsequent influence at court and also exonerates and legitimizes Constantius II, the emperor who granted Eusebius access and accepted his advice.
Constantius II certainly could have used advice. Among the many things not in harmony in 337 were the affairs of Christianity, which at that point had been a legitimate religion in the East for barely twelve years (since the death of Licinius), though longer in the West. The situations at Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch are instructive. The first of these cities was just emerging as an imperial residence; the second lacked an imperial residence but was one of the most important cities of the East, and the third was both an imperial residence and an important city. In all three, prominent Christians and their supporters had spent years vying for influence and for the recognition of their interpretation of Christianity as the true one; such recognition would gain for them a commensurate devolvement of imperial assets. By 337 in Constantinople, the position of a certain Paul as bishop had been challenged by Macedonius; in Alexandria, Athanasius had been in conflict with a number of different contenders; and in Antioch the Christian leadership had been in flux after the deposition of Eustathius as bishop in 331. By 338, Constantius, with the advice of Eusebius of Nicomedia, had begun to take things in hand. Eusebius had been ordained bishop of Constantinople, and one of his supporters, the Cappadocian Gregory, then bishop of Caesarea, had been named bishop of Alexandria, while Athanasius was invited to go into exile at Rome. Constantius's imperial authority enforced the decisions, but he acted with consensus established with the help of Eusebius and his supporters. These men included Flacillus, the new bishop of Antioch; the bishops Dianius, now of Caesarea in Cappadocia; Maris of Chalcedon, on the shore opposite Constantinople; Theodore of Heraclea, in whose sphere of influence Constantinople belonged; and Theognis of Nicaea, another city close to Constantinople. All these men supported Constantius's and Eusebius's choices.
The efforts of Eusebius and Constantius were thus carefully orchestrated to achieve a consensus among important Eastern bishops by 339/40. However, Constantius did not rule alone. While the regents, Constantius's brothers Constantine II and Constans, made attempts to coordinate acts of governance, each had his own priorities and viewpoints, so that consensus between them was rare. More to the point, unanimity among his Christian subjects proved elusive even in Constantius's part of the empire, because those who opposed Eusebius, and thus Constantius, often found support in the parts of the realm to which they had been exiled, ruled by brothers of Constantius, who themselves often disagreed with him. Further, the emperor was almost always on the move and engaged in military operations, occasionally against his own brothers. Therefore, Constantius actively formulated and implemented religious policies in concert and dialogue with his bishops and their advisors, but he was also forced to respond and react to continuously changing circumstances over which he had only limited control.
For example, Paul of Constantinople and Athanasius of Alexandria both went into exile in parts of the empire controlled by Constantine II and, after his death in 340, by Constans alone, where each of them found support for his opposition to Eusebius and Constantius. Thus, the fifth-century church historian Socrates quotes from a letter alleged to be from Constans to Constantius, requesting that Paul and Athanasius be reinstated. On firmer historical ground is a letter sent to Antioch around 340 by Julius, bishop of Rome, in which city Athanasius and a certain Marcellus, deposed from his see in Ancyra, had made common cause. Julius asked to meet with Eusebius and his supporters in Rome to discuss the cases of Athanasius and Marcellus. Eusebius rejected such interference, and Julius responded in 341 by sending a letter of protest to Antioch, where Constantius was in residence, accusing "those around Eusebius" and opposed to Athanasius of championing heretical views.
Such accusations did not help matters either between East and West or among the Eastern bishops, because even the consensus reached by 339/40 on the basis of Eusebius's and Constantius's actions rested on unstable foundations. Reaching agreement among the leading Christians on the foundations of the new religion, to which the fate of the realm had now been entrusted, proved tension-filled and difficult, as the events of the subsequent years reveal. This comes as a no surprise. After all, if the ruler and his advisors did not accurately comprehend the divinity now safeguarding the oikoumen?, they could not guide the oikoumen? according to the will of that divinity, and the consequences for the well-being of all were potentially disastrous. Hence both Constantius and his advisors needed to achieve harmony and unanimity on the foundational tenets of the new imperial religion and fought intensely to gain (imperial) acceptance of the superiority of their concepts. If it was almost impossible for Constantius and his advisors to create harmony in the East, his task as sole ruler of the oikoumen? after 353 was near monumental in magnitude.
Patristic scholars and church historians have discussed the reasons for the tensions that beset the Eastern bishops and their advisors and that jeopardized Constantius's efforts to establish harmonious unity in the context of the council of Nicaea and its legacy. I will refrain from using the standard terminology that labels these tensions as the struggle between heretical Arianism and Nicene orthodoxy, headings that anticipate the eventual outcome of the struggle in favor of the Nicene orthodox group. My aim is to trace and analyze the evolution of that conflict and the mechanisms at play in the larger context of the empire, rather than in Christian circles alone, without anachronistically anticipating its outcome, implicit in the majority of our surviving Nicene orthodox sources, by employing the labels that these contemporaries used in a decidedly polemical manner. To trace the evolution of what are known as Arianism and Nicene orthodoxy, I structure the account that follows around the persons involved and the technical terminology discussed explicitly by all the participants rather than around the two camps-even though this structure may make for a more difficult reading.
After all, bishops and their supporters were divided and united according to personal rivalries that often involved competing claims to leadership in important cities, exacerbated by the rivalry between emperors such as Constans and Constantius. These personal rivalries were heightened by these Christian leaders' different interpretations of the divine, resulting in no small measure from their approach to the Christian scriptures and to the question of how they should read and explicate them as influenced by their own views of advanced Greek learning-namely philosophy. For now it suffices to point out that all those involved in these debates brought to bear on their interpretations of the scriptures their own understanding of the advanced techniques of grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy, and of the fundamental philosophical concepts on cosmology, anthropology, epistemology, language theory, and ethics.
At stake was precisely how the teachings of these scriptures, in particular those addressing the relationship between the Father and the Son, ought to be integrated into the matrices provided by the vocabulary, presuppositions, and assumptions of paideia-of Greek (and also Latin) learning and all that it stood for-assumptions shaped in turn by each person's access to paideia and hence each person's own social status. In short, most of the participants in these debates were driven by multiple personal viewpoints and concerns, though expressed in the common framework offered by their shared paideia. Hence, the difficulty of achieving consensus on any aspect of this complex process should come as no surprise. Alliances shifted constantly, often involving personal loyalties, so that common political exigencies-access to the emperor and his court-might well trump differences in approach to questions of philosophy or faith. At other times these philosophical differences proved too profound to be overcome even by friendship and advantageous political constellations.
In the relationship between the Father and the Son, the most vexing question in all the attempts to illuminate their respective natures as based on the scriptures was causality. This question was of fundamental importance. If there was only one God, the creator of everything, then how should one conceive of the divinity of his Son? Given that the Father as the creator of all could himself not have been created, to what degree was the divinity of his Son as his creation equal in essence? How had the Son, the Word, been caused? And how could the process of the Son's causation or creation be explicated in human speech, using human grammar? Father and Son had to be closely related to remain one God, but they were also distinct. How ought one, then, conceptualize and phrase that distinction: ontological, or relational, or some combination of the two? Should their relation be expressed as a source and its product, or as the one that exists (for example) between the thought or intellect and its expression through the word? What were the consequences of such considerations for human salvation? How one defined the essence (ousia) of the divine and of all that it had created or caused affected the relationship between the creator and its creation, whether understood as the Divine Intellect (Nous) and its Word or as the Father and the Son. Since that creation did not cease with the Son, but encompassed the world (i.e., the cosmos and the human beings populating it), these questions were fundamental to understanding the relationship between man and his creator. That is, they also had immediate repercussions for human salvation. The correct understanding of the grammar of the divine was crucial, because faulty definitions and incorrect readings precluded the salvation of everyone and everything. And that divine mandate, after all, had always been given to those divinely chosen to lead, persons such as the emperor and his advisors, bishops prominent among them: to safeguard those in their care and to ensure that they guided them toward the divine that had caused them.
By 337-in our context, more accurately, by the late 330s and early 340s-two main tendencies in such matters predominated among the Eastern Christian leaders and some of their Western contemporaries: one that stressed the sameness between the Father and the Son and used language emphasizing their shared characteristics and qualities, including a shared essence, and one that stressed the difference between them, emphasizing as a result the unique character of the Father as prior cause. Those holding the latter position, though differing among themselves in numerous details, expressed that difference in relational terms, stressing that the Son is independent and hierarchically lower because "produced as altogether different in his nature and in his power, being in complete likeness of disposition and power to him who made him ..., called into being by his will," to cite Eusebius of Nicomedia. He and Eusebius of Caesarea, the church historian, prominently favored the position maintaining a difference between Father and Son, while Athanasius of Alexandria most prominently exemplified the position of their sameness. There was an additional strand within the sameness group, distinct from Athanasius and significant in the decades that followed. Marcellus of Ancyra represented that strand. Controversies between those groups, in particular between bishops from the East and those exiled to the West and their supporters, date back to the council of Nicaea in 325, and in fact predate that council but erupted in earnest as soon as that council, convened by Constantine, had been concluded. At Nicaea, those who favored the sameness position had prevailed. All their underlying assumptions, however, were immediately questioned, especially their definition and use of terms that had played a significant role, such as ousia and hypostasis but also "begotten," "unbegotten," "made" (genn?tos, agenn?tos, gen?tos). The ensuing debates revealed that the majority of the leaders in the East favored in effect the difference position, represented by Eusebius of Nicomedia and his friends, including Eusebius of Caesarea, even though they disagreed on philosophical specifics of their position.
Many of their disagreements resulted from divergent emphases of the philosophical underpinnings of the matters under debate. For example, if one preferred a more Aristotelian definition of ousia, or "essence," when applied to the divine Father, namely that essence does not permit of degree (Categories 3b34), a transfer of the Father's essence as first cause to the Son as product was not permissible. If, on the other hand, one saw essence more Platonically, as something capable of emanating or proceeding from something else, then an essential connection between a cause and its product was not inconceivable. Platonic language as used at the time also underscored divine transcendence, however, which in turn could favor a position of the Father as unique and hence essentially different from the Son, as Eusebius of Nicomedia argued. Such a unique, transcendent position of the Father could, however, also imply an understanding of the Son, as Word, as indistinct (in essence) from the speaker-that is, the Father. In short, much remained to be clarified, requiring intense debate and inquiry along lines divided by philosophical school, technique, and methodology, and therefore by the different teachers, disciples, groups of friends, and regional alliances in each.
In 341, ninety Christian leaders in the East were summoned to Antioch to dedicate a church built by Constantius but also to achieve a consensus on the matters concerning the correct relation of Father and Son adumbrated above in the presence of the emperor, who was then in residence. Under the leadership of Eusebius of Nicomedia, now bishop of Constantinople, and Flacillus, bishop of Antioch, the bishops-including Acacius of Caesarea in Palestine, Eusebius's successor; Dianius of Caesarea in Cappadocia, with his advisor Asterius; Macedonius of Mopsuestia; Gregory of Alexandria; Eudoxius of Germanicia; and Theodore of Heraclea-proceeded to do so by elimination. They produced four documents, of which the second and fourth were to assume particular relevance. The second one, also known as the "dedication creed," appears to have been the result of a real compromise, in part because it omitted several controversial expressions that had been used at Nicaea. For example, it does not say that the Son is "from the ousia of the Father," or that he is "begotten not made," pointing out instead that he is not to be considered "like one of the creatures" but rather as an "exact image" of the Father, generated by his will. At the same time, the Christian leaders also clarified other terminology further, for example that names such as "son" or "holy spirit" "are not given lightly or idly, but signify exactly the particular hypostasis and order and glory of each of those who are named, so that there are three hypostaseis, but one in agreement [symph?nia]"-that last, symph?nia, a neutral term well suited to unify moderately disparate views.
The fourth document summarized the second for Emperor Constans in Trier and hence the West. It went even further toward reconciliation, omitting all language referring to image or essence, but it contained nevertheless a strike against Marcellus by stating that the Son's kingdom has no end, because Marcellus had argued that the reign of Christ had begun exactly four hundred years prior, when he was "created at the conception of the body of Christ," and that it would end once his task was accomplished. That is, the document oscillates between expressing the views of the difference position and extending a hand to those in the West favoring sameness, all, however, in a context where the actions of Constantius and Eusebius against Athanasius and Marcellus were defended as appropriate. Unfortunately, Constans did not receive the brotherly gesture favorably. But Constantius, because he continued to struggle against the Persians, remained interested in reaching a compromise with his brother in the West. Thus, despite the negative outcome of this gesture, a follow-up meeting was envisaged for 343 in Serdica (modern Sofia), on the border between the brothers' spheres of interest.
From Serdica to Constantinople
In the interim, Eusebius of Nicomedia died, prompting Paul to return to Constantinople and to reclaim the position of bishop-by now, however, occupied by a Constantinopolitan presbyter called Macedonius. Constantius did not wish to see someone supported by Constans as religious leader in Constantinople and dispatched the magister equitum Hermogenes to Constantinople to remove Paul. In the riots that ensued between supporters of Paul and those of Macedonius, Hermogenes was killed. To kill an imperial envoy was an unforgivable outrage, for which Constantius held Paul responsible. To restore order, the emperor in person went to Constantinople. Paul was again removed and Macedonius installed as bishop a few years later.
The events at Constantinople demonstrated that conciliatory gestures went only so far. Foreshadowing Serdica, they make it evident that neither emperor was willing to tolerate interference in matters of personnel, the friends and advisors he selected and whom he wished to see in charge as bishops of major cities in his realm. Indeed, even though Emperor Constans and about ninety-five bishops from his sphere of influence went to Serdica in late 343, and even though Constantius dispatched two high-ranking court officials together with an almost equal number of bishops, the meeting was a debacle. In effect, the sides never actually met, convening in separate venues. Constans and his side wished to see Athanasius, Marcellus, and several other deposed bishops reinstated in their sees located in the sphere of Constantius, who together with his bishops rejected such interference.
Such heightened tensions were reflected in the documents produced: each side accused the other of endorsing an unacceptably extreme position. Thus, the representatives of the sameness position accused their Eusebian opponents of pushing their difference position, propelled by their desire to maintain God's transcendence, so far as to deny the Son full divinity, just as the heretic Arius had done. Their opponents retaliated by claiming that the Westerners (including Athanasius, but in particular Marcellus, who argued that the Son was mere word) merged Father and Son into an undifferentiated one, thus creating a new Judaism (associated with teachings earlier proposed by a certain Sabellius), because such teachings suggested a single divinity.
Serdica and its aftermath proved decisive for Constantius. It had been a nadir, a failure compounded by the difficulties of the battle against the Persians near Singara in 344, where the Roman army sustained significant losses. In the six years between 344 and Constans's death in 350, Constantius made only a few attempts at rapprochement. The theological positions remained divided between those who followed Eusebian lines (emphasizing difference) and those who embraced the positions of Athanasius and Marcellus (on sameness) as reformulated at Serdica. The persons representing these positions were also divided by the spheres of influence of the competing emperors: theology and politics went hand in hand. Indeed, each emperor, but Constans in particular, appears to have employed his bishops to influence decisions in the realm of the other ruler, only to be rejected by a consensus of the bishops there as well as by the opposing emperor in question-whatever the theological justifications, it appears that no one could become bishop of an important see without imperial approval. Conversely, imperial approval often went hand in hand with the thinking of a majority of bishops and their advisors. Furthermore, as Marcellus and Athanasius demonstrate, the other emperor was the one to appeal to when deposed by a council of bishops. That emperor then acted often in concert with a council of his own advisors on behalf of the appellant, provided the appellant's influence-the city of his see-was sufficiently important.
Such developments did not produce unity and harmony, particularly not throughout the empire. Thus when Constans was murdered in 350, Constantius was well aware of the fact that many Christian leaders in the part of the realm he now had to bring under his control were not positively disposed toward him. To unite the empire based on the model of the East was going to be a hard sell indeed. Time, however, was on Constantius's side-time and his insistence that a Christian leadership in unanimous agreement on the fundamentals of the faith was indispensable, because, in his words, "our commonwealth is sustained more by religion than through offices, physical labor, and sweat." And indeed, about five years after the suicide of Magnentius in 353, Constantius as sole ruler seemed finally, between 358 and 360, to have achieved this goal: agreement among his Christian leaders on the essential characteristics of the supreme divinity, based on the majority opinion of those resident in the East. Among these Christian leaders and their advisors were Gregory the Elder, bishop of Nazianzus, and his son, the rhetor.
Constantius's Triumph: Unity and Harmony, 358-360
By January 360, what must on occasion have felt like "that state which is always receding, like full employment or a life without weeds," had finally become reality: consensus in the empire on the nature of the divinity. Two factors had been instrumental in achieving it. First, Constantius was sole ruler, and there was no other emperor to play off against him; and second, a new generation had succeeded many of the participants in the earlier disputes. Even though the newcomers had philosophical and theological concerns that fell within the broad categories of sameness and difference, the new generation nevertheless moved the debates forward, eventually creating an intellectual platform acceptable to most (at least briefly).
Constantius's steps along the road toward that momentous event of 360 began after Constans's death, in Sirmium, Arles, and Milan, because, as has become evident, he had to settle matters first in the West, and that involved not just dealing with usurpers but also pacifying the Christian leaders there. By 350 Photinus, bishop of the imperial residence Sirmium, in Pannonia, had become a prominent representative of the position of Marcellus of Ancyra, whose arguments aimed to preserve God's wholeness and transcendence in notions of the Son as Word circumscribed by time rather than eternal. For those embracing difference-that is, most of the Easterners-such concepts became increasingly untenable. Basil, Marcellus's successor at Ancyra, among the most vocal opponents of Photinus, removed the latter from his see in 351 with the support of several bishops convened in Sirmium. Constantius, then in residence, approved.
When Constantius had moved to Arles, in 353, after Magnentius's suicide, and then to Milan in 355, he used the opportunity to convene Western bishops, inviting them to stop supporting Athanasius and to agree to the formulations Basil and the other bishops had employed at Sirmium to remove Photinus, formulations largely identical to the fourth conciliatory document put together in Antioch in 341. Most were willing, but not all Western bishops agreed to renounce Athanasius and Photinus and thereby presumably also their support of the sameness position. As a result, bishops such as Hilary of Poitiers, Eusebius of Vercelli, and Lucifer of Calaris (modern Calgiari) were sent east into exile.
In 357, with Julian firmly ensconced as Caesar and the Western frontiers largely in hand, Constantius turned east and once more sojourned in Sirmium en route to Constantinople. Again he used the opportunity to convene a small group of his advisors, including Valens, bishop of Mursa, and Ursacius of Singidunum, in Illyria, protΘgΘs of Eusebius of Nicomedia who had distinguished themselves in Serdica. Also present were Photinus's successor Germinius and perhaps George, formerly of Caesarea in Cappadocia and by now bishop of Alexandria. Their task was to adjust and clarify the language of the fourth document of 341 from Antioch, especially with regard to the meaning of ousia (essence). To be precise, now the term ousia, used prominently at Nicaea, was not only left out, as had been the case in the Antiochene "dedication creed," but was denounced outright: "substance [substantia], which is called ousia in Greek-that is, to speak more explicitly, homoousion or homoiousion, as it is called-there should be no mention of it whatever, nor should anyone preach it." These terms, after all, were found nowhere in scripture. Further, the revised document used a remarkable number of scriptural passages to emphasize the uniqueness of the Father and his difference from the Son, and to stress that both were beyond doubt God.
Two points are worth observing: matters of personnel (in particular, the role of Athanasius) were no longer of concern, and the formulations were aimed at those in the West, whom they largely convinced. They opened the way for an alternative qualification of the relation between Father and Son among those speaking Greek, in which communality could be expressed in ways other than in notions of sameness of essence, tainted by Marcellus and Athanasius. The explicit rejection of the ousia language at Sirmium, however, had the predictable though unintentional result of attracting the attention of the Westerners: previously not concerned with the implications of these terms, they now became attentive to ensuing Eastern debates of these matters, something further facilitated by the total immersion of men like Hilary in the Greek language and its concepts, exiled in the East and present at subsequent meetings there.
The Formulation of Constantinople
Constantius's moves to achieve unity among the Christian bishops in his realm progressed apace with his return to Constantinople from the West. While still in Sirmium in 359, he convened another small gathering to prepare a position paper for discussion at large assemblies of bishops to be convened at Rimini and at Seleucia in Isauria later that year. The man principally responsible for that draft (also known as the "dated creed") had been Basil of Ancyra. Several months earlier, in 357 and 358, Basil had once more been propelled into action, this time apparently by the deeds of the new bishop of Antioch, a certain Eudoxius, a "friend of Eusebius" who had already been present in Antioch in 341 as bishop of Germanicia. Eudoxius, who had supported the Sirmium document of 357, the year he became bishop of Antioch, had subsequently embraced a position that took the degree of difference between Father and Son too far, at least according to Basil. Though Basil in principle shared the difference position, he believed that notions propagated by a certain Aetius, who had moved to Antioch when Eudoxius came there and whom Eudoxius had subsequently sponsored, were too different, pushing the avoidance of ousia or essence language to an extreme and denying all essential links between Father and Son. While such a position was a useful corrective to the views of Marcellus and Photinus, whom Basil had just recently denounced, to deny all notions of shared essence, after all implicit in Father/Son language, in his view went too far.
In 358, Basil invited a few friends to Ancyra to discuss these ideas and subsequently wrote a letter to the emperor containing their views. Differentiating between creator/created language and Father/Son language as concepts (epinoiai or ennoiai) that required different contextual readings, Basil of Ancyra developed a sophisticated statement according to which the Son is like the Father in essence, or ousia (homoios kat' ousian), to be understood not as material fatherhood but as indicating shared divinity: the Son's ousia flows out of the Father's energy, or energeia (but truly exists as separate, unlike the relation between mind and word posited by Marcellus). To deny the shared essence indicated by the Father/Son language, he argued, grants too much weight to the creator-created relationship: a father is more than a mere creator, and a son more than a creature. Basil, accompanied by a certain Eustathius of Sebaste and Eleusius, bishop of Cyzicus, went to Sirmium with this letter and presented it to the emperor. Constantius was immediately convinced by Basil's emphasis on the dual nature of the divinity as Father and Son as well as creator and created. He issued a statement to the effect that "when we first made a declaration of our belief ..., we confessed that our Savior is the Son of God and of like substance [kat' ousian homoios]": that is, more than a mere creature. He then expressed his displeasure with those who had advised him badly, including George of Alexandria, who had promoted Aetius there; and sent into exile Eudoxius, Aetius, and his advisor, a deacon by the name of Eunomius: Eudoxius to his family's estate in Armenia (Arbissus), Eunomius and Aetius to two different towns in Phrygia.
In 359, encouraged by Basil's new middle road, Constantius (who in the interim had recalled Eudoxius, but not Aetius and Eunomius) appears to have felt that the time had come for a general assembly. He convened a small group of advisors, including Valens and Ursacius and a certain Marc of Arethusa in addition to Basil, to develop compromise formulation (ekthesis piste?s) as the basis for discussion at Rimini and Seleucia. The resulting position paper (or "dated creed," mentioned above) was probably written by Marc. Like a true compromise, it was a stripped-down document, avoiding mention of the three hypostaseis, because this difficult concept was hard to translate into Latin, as well as of language describing the relation between Father and Son as image (a concept that had caused difficulties in the West before). And it emphasized the difference position more than Basil's letter had done, stressing that ousia language should be avoided, since it was not familiar to the masses and caused disturbances. It emphasized (against Aetius), however, that "the Son is like the Father in respect to everything [homoios kata panta], as the holy scriptures also declare and teach." Constantius now proceeded to Constantinople, halfway between Rimini and Seleucia, near Antioch, while his advisors and representatives went to Rimini and to Seleucia with this formulation and an imperial letter in hand, urging all to limit debates "to the faith and to unity [de fide atque de unitate]," and not to meddle in each other's matters of personnel.
Although the eventual result accorded with Constantius's wishes, the path to unity proved more circuitous than Constantius and his advisors at Sirmium had anticipated. When presented with the statement from Sirmium in late May 359, the approximately four hundred bishops assembled in Rimini declared it perverse (multae peruersae doctrinae) and superfluous; the documents from the meeting in Nicaea in 325 sufficed, and they requested permission to return home, since their mission was evidently accomplished. Upon receiving notice that a delegation of those in Rimini had arrived in Adrianople, Constantius asked them to wait. He was at that moment otherwise engaged (fighting the Persians) and could not receive them; furthermore, their colleagues in Seleucia had not even met. During this wait in the summer heat, with the majority stranded in Rimini and their delegates waiting in Nike in Thrace, it emerged that the Westerners had not been quite so firm in rejecting the imperial document as it had appeared. By October those waiting in Thrace changed their minds and now accepted the document with some modifications, and, upon their return, eventually also persuaded most of those remaining in Rimini to agree. By late November or early December 359, the bishops returned home (just before to the end of the traveling season), having sent a delegation to Constantinople to report their agreement.
In the meantime, in September 359, between 150 and 160 Eastern bishops, high-ranking court officials, and the military leaders of the region (the comes Leonas and the comes et praeses Isauriae Bassidius Lauricius) had gathered in Seleucia. These men proved as unpredictable as their Western counterparts, at that time sweltering in Rimini and Nike. The gathering at Seleucia, however, unlike that in Rimini, was plagued from the start by personnel issues, to the point that matters of content lost out almost entirely. In essence, the bishops were divided into two groups, those sympathetic to Basil of Ancyra and his modified difference position (as formulated in the Sirmian position paper) and others-according to the later pro-Basilian sources, the minority-who favored a formulation of the difference position clearer than Basil's. This group was represented by Eudoxius of Antioch and Acacius of Caesarea in Palestine. Interestingly, Basil himself was not present. Along with Macedonius of Constantinople, Eustathius of Sebaste, and Cyril of Jerusalem (who had appealed to the majority to reverse his removal from his position at the hands of Acacius)-that is, with most of the key homoios kat' ousian players-he had been detained and excluded from the initial meetings because of alleged misdemeanors.
Cyril's conflict with Acacius appears to have dominated the discussion and seems to have led to a hardening of the two camps' positions, even though they disagreed little on matters of importance. After some deliberation, Acacius of Caesarea presented a formulation that echoed the fourth document of Antioch in 341, in its turn similar to that of Sirmium; this formulation was accepted by the second, majority camp, now also including Basil and Macedonius. The second group did so in a closed session, with the minority around Acacius and Eudoxius absent, and as a result the minority rejected the agreement. In the end, despite the efforts of Leonas, the camps remained divided; each eventually sent a separate delegation to Constantinople. That of Acacius, Eudoxius, and George of Alexandria arrived first and agreed to the modified version of the document of Sirmium (the "dated creed"), to which the Westerners had also just communicated their assent. Representatives of the homoios kat' ousian position arrived later, by the end of December. They included Basil of Ancyra, Macedonius of Constantinople, Eustathius of Sebaste, and Dianius of Caesarea, accompanied by his advisor, his newly appointed reader Basil, who had left Annesi at Dianius's request to accompany him to Constantinople. Though they (at least according to later neo-Nicene sources) ostensibly represented the majority position in the East, they were presented with a fait accompli, to which in the end they also agreed.
Basil of Ancyra, in other words, had not remained a favorite of Constantius for long. The events at Seleucia and their reception at Constantinople in December 359 had reversed his fortunes; he himself may have contributed to that reversal by overzealously exploiting his success in 358, when he had used his position as favorite to remove from their sees several bishops of the Eusebian mold. At any rate, despite Constantius's initial support of Basil's homoios kat' ousian and then kata panta positions, by the end of December 359 the new Eusebians Eudoxius of Antioch and Acacius of Caesarea, though they did not agree on all specifics, had carried the day, in accord with the delegates from the West and after protracted negotiations. Another casualty of the accord now within reach was Aetius (whose extreme difference position mirrored Photinus's extreme sameness stance on opposite ends of the spectrum), from whom Eudoxius withdrew his support, whereupon Aetius's advisor Eunomius also chose to distance himself. On December 31, 359, to reiterate, all Eastern bishops, including Basil's supporters, signed the formula to which the Westerners had already given their assent. It stated, among other things, that the term hypostasis could not be employed to speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; that the relationship between Father and Son was homoios, "similar"; and that the term ousia was not to be used to define their relationship further.
When Constantius celebrated the beginning of his tenth consulship on January 1, 360, he could also celebrate a feat never before accomplished, even by Constantine: the unity of Christian belief throughout the empire based on a formulation of the divine and its incarnation as similar-that is, different-accepted by bishops from both West and East as expressed in the Constantinopolitan document or creed. As the preceding discussion has shown, to reach such a consensus had involved numerous debates with a cast of characters that, although it did not change dramatically, shifted its allegiances significantly over the decades in question. Nearly all debates had, at their crucial stages, involved the emperor in person. He had been not only present but a participant in these debates, themselves carried out at a high level of technical expertise, requiring an advanced level of philosophical training that Constantius appears to have been able to follow. To participate in these debates, in other words, and even more to be noted and noticed and hence gain access to the emperor, required thorough mastery of the philosophical underpinnings; only one well versed in advanced Greek learning could hope to have a significant voice. As far as Constantius is concerned, the preceding discussion suggests that the picture of him in Julianic historiography as an uneducated bore requires revision. It remains true, however, that he was the Arian of the Athanasian strand of historiography: the accord achieved in 360 emphasizing the difference between Father and Son certainly qualified as Arian, something worth keeping in mind in the following chapters.
The final accord of 360 was a felicitous outcome, all the more welcome to Constantius because in the summer of 359 Shapur had begun a major campaign after diplomatic efforts, initiated in 358 by the Roman praefectus praetorio Orientis, had failed. Constantius, responding with his proven defensive tactics while waiting for troops from the West, had lost, however, the city of Amida. In short, in 360, because another summer campaign against Shapur was imminent, to achieve harmony and at last unity in matters divine was all to the good. The prevailing group, for its part, wasted no time settling matters once and for all while Constantius was still in Constantinople. In January, Acacius assembled a small gathering consisting mostly of bishops from Bithynia, presided over by Maris of Chalcedon, who removed Basil of Ancyra, Eustathius of Sebaste, Macedonius of Constantinople, Eleusius of Cyzicus, and others who had supported them, from their sees, despite their all having just signed the new formula. An imperial order sent Aetius into exile again. Eudoxius became the new bishop of Constantinople, and Meletius, previously bishop in Beroea and then Sebaste, was poised to assume his position as bishop in Antioch. Eunomius replaced Eleusius as bishop in Cyzicus.
On February 15, 360, Eudoxius, in the presence of Constantius and the assembled bishops, inaugurated the new imperial church dedicated to Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia), begun by Constantine himself. Eudoxius used the occasion, so it is said, to crack a joke about the Father at the expense of his own difference position. Also in February, in Paris, Flavius Claudius Julianus was hailed as Augustus by his troops, who had been called east to assist Constantius in the defense against Shapur but had been reluctant to leave. Julian accepted his troops' acclamation of him as Augustus and considered himself equal to Constantius and no longer under his command: the specter of civil war appeared on the Western horizon. In the spring the emperor left Constantinople to move east against Shapur, who had entered Mesopotamia in February. Constantius was in residence in Caesarea in Cappadocia when he received news of Julian's usurpation.
At the same time, throughout the West and the East, a drive for signatures under the (Arian) Constantinopolitan formula of the homoios began that lasted until 361. Like their peers at Constantinople, almost all Eastern bishops signed the formula. Among the signatories was Dianius of Caesarea, who had probably signed already while in Constantinople. In Nazianzus, meanwhile, Gregory the Younger, as his correspondence with Basil of Caesarea (between 359 and 360/1) attests, decided after much deliberation that he could not, after all, at that time devote himself to the philosophical life, despite the wishes of his dear friend (who by then was advising Dianius of Caesarea, whom he accompanied to Constantinople). Gregory's sense of duty and obligation to his father demanded that he remain at Nazianzus to support and advise his father, Gregory, the bishop.
Nazianzus: Gregory the Elder
Gregory the Elder of Nazianzus, like the majority of Eastern bishops, signed the Arian accord of Constantinople, declaring Father and Son to be like but not the same in essence, sometime in 360. Dianius, the bishop of Caesarea, where the emperor resided in the spring of 360, had done the same. Both Gregory the Elder of Nazianzus and Dianius of Caesarea had by then been bishops for several decades. Dianius, as already noted, had first been mentioned as bishop of Caesarea and as one of Eusebius of Nicomedia's friends in 341, when he attended the meeting that Eusebius, by then bishop of Constantinople, and the emperor Constantius had called to dedicate the new church in Antioch, the same meeting that produced the fourth document foundational for the one signed in Constantinople twenty years later.
Gregory the Elder's appointment as bishop appears to date back even further, to the time following Constantine's victory over Licinius. According to our primary source, the funeral eulogy that his son delivered in 374, Gregory the Elder assumed the mantle of bishop between 328 and 330, just after his marriage to Nonna and around the time of Gregory's birth. In his son's later elaboration, his ordination had been preceded by a momentous conversion, initiated by Gregory the Younger's Christian mother. Previously, according to his son, Gregory the Elder had been a worshipper of Theos Hypsistos. According to Stephen Mitchell, by the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century, "Hypsistos was one of the most widely worshipped gods of the eastern Mediterranean world," especially in Asia Minor. Inscriptions, votive offerings, and other material remains suggest that for his worshippers Theos Hypsistos was the "highest God," the "Pantokrator," "the only God they worship," a divinity associated with the sun and the upper air of heaven to whom all other divinities (such as Apollo) were subordinate, acting as his divine messengers or angels. These other sources corroborate Gregory the Younger's description of his father's prior religion as a mixture of "Hellenic error and adherence to Jewish law" (Gr. Naz. Or. 18.5). The material evidence reflects such close interaction and mutual influence between Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants, united in their worship of one all-powerful God. Indeed, Gregory of Nyssa observed that those who worshipped Theos Hypsistos PantokratQr were distinct from Christians only because the former denied God the name of Father.
Thus, at least as far as his prior religion was concerned, Gregory the Elder, aged about forty in 328, may not have struggled quite so hard as his son later would have had his audience believe. Further, in his funeral oration Gregory the Younger leaves no doubt that his father had received the mantle of the bishop as a matter of course: he was one of the most prominent citizens of Nazianzus (politeias ou ta deutera esch?k?s), if not indeed the most prominent. Indeed, even if it was not a foregone conclusion that members of the curial elite such as Gregory the Elder would become Christian once Licinius was defeated, it was evidently assumed that if they wished they would be the bishops or at least Christian leading figures-their social status overrode most other criteria. It followed as a matter of course that when Gregory the Elder, a prominent local citizen, adopted the sole emperor's new religion about 328, he also assumed the correspondingly prominent position of bishop of his city, presumably at the recommendation of one of his peers, Leontius, bishop of Caesarea. Gregory the Elder, in sum, belonged to the original generation of post-Constantinian bishops who had (to cite Peter Brown) "drift[ed] into a respectable Christianity" almost by default rather than as the result of heroic transgressions or dramatic conversions.
Gregory's later presentation of his father's conversion from the worship of Theos Hypsistos to Christianity as a dramatic rupture initiated by his new wife, Nonna-so dramatic that his own mother had threatened to withhold moneys from him, a threat that led to a period of rupture between them-has been taken at face value by nearly all scholars. That Gregory shifted religious allegiance need not be doubted, but the intense drama of the conversion from the old to the new nurtured by Nonna owes more to Gregory the Younger's rhetorical prowess and the exigencies of 374 than to Gregory the Elder's assumption of Christianity and the mantle of bishop in the late 320s. By 374 another emperor ruled, embracing a Christianity very much in the mold of Constantius II-that is, highlighting the difference between Father and Son. By then, however, Gregory the Younger had come to think that such a stance was to be considered heretical, something neither he nor his father had believed in 360, when Gregory the Elder had signed the formula of Constantinople. Thus, in praising his father in 374, Gregory the Younger had some explaining to do, and a dramatic narrative of Gregory the Elder's deep struggle to become a committed Christian served both son and father well.
But in 360, things had not yet proceeded to where they stood fourteen years later. Then, most Eastern bishops had signed the Constantinopolitan document, which stipulated that the Father was the one supreme divinity, his transcendent position of monarch within the Trinity intact, while his Son occupied a subordinate, though like, position. It stands to reason that a man who had spent his formative years worshipping a PantokratQr of very similar attributes should find it easy to subscribe to such an understanding of the (Christian) PantokratQr. This is all the more plausible if we take into consideration Gregory the Younger's finely calibrated (though at first glance somewhat underhanded) compliment, that his father was "more pious than those who possessed rhetorical power ..., or rather, while taking second place as an orator, he surpassed all in piety." Indeed, it is possible that neither Gregory the Elder nor a significant number of his peers who had drifted into a respectable Christianity some years earlier fully grasped the complexities of essential and causal language and their philosophical underpinnings. For that reason, as I have already observed in the summary of the events leading up to 360, many of them, including Dianius and Gregory the Elder, availed themselves of expert advisors of a younger generation who had received advanced training in rhetoric and philosophy. These men included Asterius, Eunomius, Marc of Arethusa, and a number of others mentioned above, who were advisors to their bishops, as well as Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus-expertly trained younger men who in 360 and 361 could ill afford a prolonged period of retreat and withdrawal but needed to be actively involved in the debates of the day. For, as would soon become apparent, the accord reached in Constantinople in 360 and signed by most Eastern Christian leaders in the course of 360 and 361 was to prove of short duration.
Reversal: Constantius and Julian Augustus, 360-361
On January 27, 360, Eudoxius, formerly bishop of Germanicia and then of Antioch, was ordained bishop of Constantinople. When he dedicated the Hagia Sophia on February 15 in the presence of Constantius, the emperor and his advisor Eudoxius could celebrate much more than the completion of a major public monument inaugurated by Constantine the Great: for the first time since Nicaea in 325, the realm was united, and even the Christians within it were unanimous in their formulation of the fundamental nature of their divinity-a truly auspicious state of affairs (destined to last, alas, only a Constantinopolitan second). When Constantius left Constantinople in March to campaign once more against Shapur II his house was in order.
But the very next month, the emperor, in Caesarea, learned of the events that had taken place in Paris in February and March. In late 359, after the loss of Amida, Constantius had requested that his Caesar, Julian, transfer troops east in preparation for the coming Persian campaign. Many of these troops were native Germans, not pleased to be sent east against Shapur. In February they made their displeasure known by acclaiming their commander Julian as Augustus, and he had accepted. (I discuss these events and those leading up to them, Julian's rise, the relation between the Caesar and his Augustus, and their interpretation in scholarship, in the chapter that follows.) By March Julian had sent envoys to inform Constantius of his elevation to Augustus and to offer to share power. It was not, after the Tetrarchy, unheard of to have two Augusti from the same family ruling the empire, but Constantius, who had long competed with his brothers as regents and had suppressed a series of usurpers, was disinclined to share supreme power. He informed Julian's envoys that the Caesar ought to be content with his status; coins minted by Julian during this period featuring him as Augustus suggest that he did not concur. Nevertheless, the external threats to their realm commanded, for the moment, the full attention of both rulers. Constantius moved toward the Tigris and then, for the winter, to Antioch, and Julian moved west against the Franks, returning to winter at Vienne, where he celebrated the fifth year of his rule in October 360.
The Christian Leaders in the West in 360 and 361
Even as Constantius traveled east and his Eastern bishops were signing the formula of Constantinople, opposition against that formula gathered momentum in the West, and was encouraged by a new, autonomous Western Augustus, however questionable his legitimacy. The opposition was led by a Westerner who had been in Seleucia and Constantinople as an exile, and who therefore had had occasion to observe the debates in the East from up close, which prompted concerns regarding the philosophical underpinnings of what he and others had just signed: Hilary of Poitiers, who appears to have left Constantinople without Constantius's consent in early 360, when he learned of Julian's acclamation. Upon his return to the West Hilary lobbied against the accord of Constantinople and for a return to the positions that those from the West had originally held at Rimini and Nike, before the long wait that had seemingly induced them to change their minds. By late 360 or early 361, bishops from Gaul (presumably including Hilary) gathered with the approval of the Western ruler, Julian, in the imperial residence at Paris and wrote a letter deploring that many "bishops in the East ... eschewed the use of the word ousia, because it is essential to combatting Arianism.... They allow the word similitudo, 'likeness' [homoios].... But we must realize not a union but a unity of Godhead." That is, they accepted the homoios kat' ousian position while rejecting the notions of Marcellus and Photinus, and declared the "like" (homoios) formulation of Constantinople heretical.
The Christian Leaders in the East
In the East, meanwhile, things did not go smoothly either. In late fall 360, Constantius arrived in Antioch for the winter. In early 361 he gathered George of Alexandria, Acacius of Caesarea in Palestine, and several others, in part, it seems, to get to know those now dominating Christian affairs in his residence. Eudoxius, as mentioned above, had suggested Meletius, at that point bishop of Sebaste, as his successor, and Meletius was duly ordained bishop of Antioch by early 361. When the emperor invited him, together with George and Acacius, to give a public demonstration of their rhetorical brilliance, Meletius delivered a star performance with a homoian exegesis of the selected text, Proverbs 8:22. Deftly skirting the terminology banned at Constantinople and incorporating the homoios kat' ousian as well as the homoian position, Meletius suggested that the Son was "the inscrutable interpreter of the Inscrutable ..., a product like the Father and accurately reproducing the charakt?r [imprint] of the Father ... as the offspring of him who begot him."
Within one month of that performance, however, Meletius was sent into exile and replaced by the Alexandrian Euzoius, one of George's presbyters. The reasons for this sudden reversal of fortune remain unclear, but subsequent events suggest that Meletius might already then have countenanced a far more homoios kat' ousian position than had at first appeared, one that Acacius and George could not accept. Their reaction (and perhaps Meletius's removal) may be further explained by the disposition of another sizable group in Antioch in favor of a sameness position. Though this group, led by a certain Paulinus, was not in agreement with the supporters of Meletius, both combined could well threaten Constantius's accord. In 361 (probably after Constantius had left again for Persia) Lucifer of Calaris, a strident opponent of Constantius and fervent supporter of a strong sameness position, consecrated Paulinus bishop of (or in) Antioch.
In late 360 and early 361, others revoked their signing of the Cosmopolitan document or broke ranks with those who had signed it. Among them was Basil of Caesarea. He had been in contact with Eustathius of Sebaste since returning from Athens, and in 361, motivated perhaps by his regard for Eustathius, who had suffered at the hands of the homoians, Basil broke with his bishop Dianius, who had signed the Constantinopolitan formula, and retired once more to his family's estate at Annesi. In Nazianzus others reacted similarly. At some point during 361, men whom Gregory the Younger later described as "overzealous brothers" began to voice their disagreement with Gregory the Elder's signing the formulation declaring Father and Son like. During the months that followed, relations deteriorated to such an extent that some of their leaders were ordained by "foreign hands" (chersin allotriais)-that is, by a bishop other than Gregory the Elder. Neil McLynn has plausibly suggested that Lucifer of Calaris, en route from Antioch to Constantinople via Nazianzus, may have been the ordainer of the opposition to Gregory the Elder in Nazianzus as well. In sum, toward the end of 361 and during 362, Nazianzus experienced a schism that was to last until 364.
The situation at Nazianzus mirrored the state of the Eastern bishops: most of them had signed a formula that began to be dissected and denounced as heretical in both the East and in the West-seemingly before their signatures had dried. Constantius on February 14, 361, shortly before he moved again toward the Eastern frontier, issued an edict reaffirming that members of the clergy were immune from taxation. His introductory words, expressing his joy at having created the unity and concord in matters of religion so much more vital to the prosperity of his realm than his own labors, were little more than wishful thinking. By May 361, Constantius had declared Julian a public enemy (hostis publicus), and had returned from the eastern front to Antioch to prepare for an encounter with him. He was traveling to Constantinople-Julian was moving against him there as well-when he fell ill in Mopsucrena, the first mansio after Tarsus. Euzoius rushed to his bedside from Antioch to baptize him. Constantius died on November 3, 361, having on his deathbed declared Julian his legitimate heir.
Julian entered Constantinople as sole Augustus on December 11, 361. Among his first official acts were edicts and letters designed to reverse Constantius's religious policies. For example, in January 362 Julian issued an edict that restituted all temples and their properties and permitted all clergy exiled as a result of Rimini and Constantinople to return to their cities (but not necessarily to their sees). All opponents of Constantius-that is, all who held grievances against Eudoxius, Acacius, George of Alexandria, and other close Christian advisors of the former emperor-profited from the sea change. Among the new Christian men (novi homines) now invited to court at the pleasure of the emperor Julian were Aetius, Eunomius, a certain Novatus, and Basil of Caesarea.
Constantinople and Nazianzus: Caesarius
Already present at Julian's court was someone else from Cappadocia with far closer ties to Nazianzus than Basil: Caesarius, Gregory's younger brother. We left Caesarius in Alexandria toward the end of 348 as he embarked on his advanced training in medicine, to follow his older brother to Athens and then back to Nazianzus. In the interim, Caesarius had completed his studies and moved to Constantinople, where he embarked on a successful career as a physician, which garnered him an advantageous engagement, though in the end he did not marry. In 358 or 359, when Gregory passed through Constantinople on his return to Nazianzus from Athens, Caesarius accompanied him to spend a few months at home, but he returned to Constantinople shortly thereafter. There, he was invited to hold a seat in the new senate, and he advanced his career as public physician (or archiatros), establishing close ties to Constantius's court. His connections to that court were well chosen. For, when Julian assembled his friends and advisors, Caesarius was among them, despite his ties to Constantius's court. In Gregory's words, Julian advanced Caesarius "to the first rank among the physicians ..., and belonging to the friends of the emperor, he garnered the highest honors." The position was probably that of an archiater sacri palatii, further enhanced by the "rank" of Friend of the Emperor, a truly honored position (albeit shared by many) that implied privileged access (and may have resulted from contacts that Caesarius had made at Alexandria, a prominent center for medical studies, where a student of Oribasius, one of Julian's closest personal friends, had taught in the early 350s).
This, then, was the situation that Gregory the Elder faced when he ordained his elder son, Gregory, as presbyter or priest sometime toward the end of 361 or the beginning of 362. A number of persons at Nazianzus challenged openly his signature under the formulation sponsored by Constantius and his advisors. Because the emperor who had sponsored that formulation was dead, and opposition against the formula on the rise, these persons were not inclined to modify their challenge. Julian, on succeeding Constantius under hostile circumstances, had immediately begun to reverse Constantius's religious policies. Gregory's younger son, Caesarius, occupied an important position at Julian's court. Although some of those opposing Gregory the Elder's signature may have had reason to celebrate Julian's reestablishment of prominent bishops who had opposed the formulation of Constantinople and had been removed from their sees as a result, some signs of the new emperor's religious policies were troubling: he had also ordered the resumption of sacrifices in the temples. Under these circumstances, Gregory the Elder, wishing to avail himself formally and publicly of the advice of an Athens-trained rhetorician with advanced knowledge of philosophy, ordained Gregory the Younger as his presbyter or priest-as his official advisor.
Gregory the Younger reacted much like Basil of Caesarea. Sometime after his ordination, perhaps by the summer of 362, he left Nazianzus to join Basil at Annesi, where Basil had gone as a result of his disagreements with Dianius. When Gregory returned to Nazianzus, by Easter of 362 or 363 (I favor the later date, but the former is more commonly accepted), he came with his inaugural oration in hand, Oration 2, also known as Apologia de fuga sua, ready to assume his position beside his father on the terms laid out in that oration.
As this chapter's discussion has shown, the emperor, in this case Constantius II, played a key role in establishing the intellectual foundations of the new imperial Christian religion. Constantius, neither a heretical tyrant who merely dictated nor a brute without deeper understanding-these are the portraits painted by the Athanasian and Julianic strands of the ancient historiography, still relevant for modern scholarship-acted as emperor in concert and dialogue with his close Christian advisors. With consensus the aim, the emperor both acted and reacted in an informed manner; he knew and understood the philosophical concerns under debate. For example, when Basil of Ancyra pointed to some positions that could be considered extreme, the emperor reversed those positions (and removed those who had advised him badly), but he also tempered Basil's excesses in subsequently exploiting his new position as advisor by removing him. That is, the emperor was flexible and proactive while also seeking to react and harmonize; he was current with the debates and adjusted his views accordingly.
His advisors, the bishops and their own advisors, for their part, were eminently aware of the imperial voice. They needed access to court if they were to advocate for the acceptance and implementation of their positions. Access was granted because of friendships and personal ability. Thus, an advisor's prestige and access to court depended on his connections but also on his intellectual capacities (or those of his own advisor). These observations suggest two conclusions: first, successful bishops were on the move; to be a bishop did not imply being wedded to one see. Rather, successful bishops moved from lesser sees in peripheral cities to those where the emperor resided-in the East, Antioch and Constantinople-unless they already occupied sees in important cities: for example, a metropolis such as Caesarea in Cappadocia. Second, successful advisors often followed in their bishops' footsteps (for example by occupying sees that they had vacated) but were flexible enough to disagree and chart their own courses, if their situations demanded. Ordination as bishop was not required for access to the emperor; this could be achieved by prestige alone (though this might then result in ordination to a see).
The emperor's will was crucial in establishing the foundations of the new religion and those who would be its leaders; those who might influence that will had to be near the emperor. Because the emperor moved, gaining access to him also required movement, and so the bishops who wished to be influential moved (either temporarily to court, or to the synods or meetings, or, more permanently, from see to see). Advisors who lost favor and hence access also moved, in the opposite direction: home or into exile. Thus, people were in constant motion around the moving emperor and his court; and this did not change once the emperor's name was Julian or if the person seeking to write himself prestige to gain access, beginning with his second oration, was the young Gregory of Nazianzus. Part II of this book focuses on that oration, but to grasp fully the significance of Gregory's moves in the oration requires attention first to the person who played the central role in the empire for all its subjects in the years 361 and 362: Julian.
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