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Valentinian And The Bishops: Ammianus 30.9.5 In Context

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a context for understanding Ammianus Marcellinus' noted commendation of Valentinian's religious toleration. Valentinian's acclaimed religious tolerance was, then, perhaps no more than might be expected from a (new) imperial regime seeking to navigate successfully through the entrenched interests of its subjects. The chapter surveys the evidence for Valentinian's religious policy in general, and in relation to Christianity. It details his dealings with bishops, concluding that he shared with Valens the intention not to disturb the homoean doctrinal settlement of 359/60; where he was drawn into episcopal matters, it was in the interests of preserving public order in major cities of the empire. Ammianus' favourable judgement of Valentinian's laissez-faire approach to religion was aimed at appealing to pagan traditionalists in his Roman audience at a time of increasing intransigence from the Christian regime of Theodosius.

Keywords: Ammianus Marcellinus; Christian bishops; homoean doctrinal settlement; Valentinian's religious toleration

10.1163/ej.9789004162129.i-326.23
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