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

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

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

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The power of the emperor was such and the crises that faced his empire so immense that Theodosius chose to champion one faction of Christians, the supporters of Nicaea, over its rivals. He not only isolated what were now described in law as ‘heretics’ but attempted to suppress pagan thought as well. By doing so, he assaulted two important bastions of Greco-Roman civilisation. The first was a tradition of sophisticated debate that included both Christian and pagan thinkers, which retained its intellectual pre-eminence precisely because it could operate in comparative freedom.

An early-fifth-century philosopher, Synesius of Cyrene, gave a definition of a Hellene, by which he meant a pagan Greek, as one ‘able to associate with men on the basis of a knowledge of all worthwhile literature’. Particularly impressive was the networking of this elite in the distribution to each other of copies of major works in almost every discipline. That literature circulated widely in the Christian as in the pagan world. Having signed the contract and begun to work on the structure of the book, I had to provide a chapter or two on how the tradition of rational thought, which the Greeks had done so much to define, came to an end.

These arrived in Thrace in the summer of 377 and had some success in pushing the Goths back across the Haemus mountains and holding them in battle at Ad Salices, ‘the place by the willows’. It was a temporary respite. The Goths were now back in touch with the border tribes, and they even seem to have recruited some Huns with the promise of booty from further raiding. During the winter of 377 and 378 a fresh, larger enemy force moved back into Thrace. It was essential that the Romans used the campaigning season of 378 to regain the initiative.

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