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Valentinian I, christianissimus imperator? Notes on a passage of the Passio Pollionis (BHL 6869)

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AbstractThe present article aims to draw attention to a neglected source attesting the epithet christianissimus imperator as a late antique imperial title. The source in question, the Passio Pollionis (BHL 6869), is one of the earliest testimonies, alongside Ambrose’s and Jerome’s works. It is also peculiar in that, as a hagiographic work, it addresses the emperor Valentinian I with this title. A brief comparison with the use of christianissimus in Ambrose, as well as the analysis of its literary—propagandistic function in the Passio Pollionis is meant to shed light on the documentary potential of the Passio.

Affiliations: 1: Sint-Michielsstraat 4, bus 3101, B-3000


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