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‘Paganism’ In Late Antiquity: Thematic Studies

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Chapter Summary

The pagan cults of Late Antiquity vary greatly in their characteristics. As a consequence it is almost impossible to assemble them under one single category. The triumph of Christianity was by no means inevitable, and it would be wrong to think that from the accession of Constantine imperial policy was set once and for all in favour of his favoured religion. The religious policies of emperors are reflected in the series of imperial pronouncements collated by the emperors Theodosius II and Justinian. The importance and success of the imperial cult can be explained by the fact that it provided a medium through which the nobility could gain access to prestigious priesthoods, and the Roman state could unify the culturally and religiously disparate peoples within its territory. A common feature of the intellectual landscape of Late Antiquity was the importance given to the ascetic holy man.

Keywords: Christianity; Constantine; Justinian; Late Antiquity; pagan



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