1st Edition

Christian Emperors and Roman Elites in Late Antiquity

By Rita Lizzi Testa Copyright 2022
    312 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This book brings together a number of case studies to show some of the ways in which, as soon as the Roman Senate gained new political authority under Constantine and his successors, its members crowded the political scene in the West.

    In these chapters, Rita Lizzi Testa makes much of her work – the fruit of decades of research –available in English for the first time. The focus is on the aristocratics' passion for aruspical science, the political use of exphrastic poems, and even their control of the hagiographic genre in the late sixth century. She demonstrates how Roman senators were chosen as legates to establish proactive relations with Christian emperors, their ministers and military commanders, and Eastern and Western provincial elites. Senators wove a web of relations in the Eastern and Western empires, sewing and stitching the empire's fabric with their diplomatic skills, wealth, and influence, while lively and highly litigious assembly activity still required of them a cultured rhetoric. Through employing astute political strategies, they maintained their privileges, including their own beliefs in ancient cults.

    Christian Emperors and Roman Elites in Late Antiquity provides a crucial collection for students and scholars of Late Antique history and religion, and of politics in the Late Roman Empire.

    1. Constantine and the Senatorial Aristocracy: The Men and Women He Could Not Ignore 2. Julian and the Pagan Tradition on Constantine 3. Quintus Aurelius Symmachus in Bauli: Literary Genres and Political Projects 4. Roman Senators and Imperial Officials at the Court of Valentinian I 5. The Brooms in Bloom: The Roman Aristocracy and the Haruspices 6. Ammianus, Phrynichus and Ancient Historians’ Self-Censorship 7. Pagan Senators and Christian Bishops: The Roman Senate at Work (382-384 AD) 8. Just Before the Sack: Between Political Crisis and Religious Anxiety in Rome 9. Saint Valentine and the Symmachi


    Rita Lizzi Testa studied in Florence, London (King’s College), and Princeton (Institute for Advanced Study). She taught at the University of Turin and is now a professor of Roman history at the University of Perugia. She has published numerous articles, and is an author of several books on the governance of Late Antique towns, and the institutional changes from Constantine to Theoderic the Great, with respect to the role of senatorial aristocracy in Rome. She is the editor and coeditor of many volumes on the conflict and dialogue among pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire, such as Senatori, popolo, papi. Il governo di Roma al tempo dei Valentiniani, Bari 2004; Le trasformazioni delle élites in età tardoantica, Roma 2006; Pagans and Christians in the Roman Empire: The Breaking of a Dialogue (IVth-VIth Century A.D.), Münster 2011 (with P. Brown); Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome. Conflict, Competition, and Coexistence in the Fourth Century, Cambridge 2016 (with M. Salzman and M. Saghy). She edited books also on various other topics, such as The Strange Death of Pagan Rome, Turnhout 2013; Late Antiquity in Contemporary debate, Newcastle upon Tyne 2017; The Collectio Avellana and Its Revivals, Newcastle upon Tyne 2019 (with Giulia Marconi).

    "The combination of clarity with the depth and breadth of the issues addressed makes the volume extremely thought-provoking, enriching, and enjoyable to historians acquainted with late-antique studies (and the biases surrounding them)." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review