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4 Gregory’s Governors: Paideia and Patronage in Cappadocia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the strength of the magic of paideia by examining a particularly rich dossier which illustrates the means used by a cultured provincial to lobby his governors. In his collected correspondence Gregory Nazianzen included thirteen letters addressed to Olympius, governor of Cappadocia ii; all of these relate to the latter's term of office. Gregory's dealings with Olympius, as reflected in his correspondence, involved an unusually high level of drama. The three longest letters in the dossier each presents an emergency which would otherwise be wholly unknown to us. One is a domestic crisis, relating to the elder Nicobulus, which calls forth more impassioned eloquence than his troubles usually warranted. A second involves danger for Gregory's church, after a group of heretics had installed one of their own number as bishop there. Finally, and most dramatically of all, Gregory's whole city is faced with extinction, following a riot there.

Keywords: Cappadocia; domestic crisis; Gregory Nazianzen; Olympius; paideia



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