Home About Network of subjects Linked subjects heatmap Book indices included Search by subject Search by reference Browse subjects Browse texts

Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



10328
Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 7.7-7.9


nanVII To the Lord Bishop Graecus [474-5 CE] HERE is Amantius 1, the usual bearer of my trifles; off once more to his Marseilles, to bring home a little profit out of the city, if he is fortunate in his business at the port. I could use the opportunity of his journey to gossip gaily on, if a mind that bears a load of sorrow could at the same time think of cheerful things. For the state of our unhappy region is miserable indeed. Every one declares that things were better in war-time than they are now after peace has been concluded. [2] Our enslavement was made the price of security for a third party; the enslavement, ah! the shame of it! of those Arvernians who by old tradition claimed brotherhood with Latium and descent from the sons of Troy; who in our own time stood forth alone to stay the advance of the common enemy; who even when closely beset so little feared the Goth that they sallied out against his leaguer, and put the fear of their valour into his heart. These are the men whose common soldiers were as good as captains, but who never reaped the benefit of their victories: that was handed over for your consolation, while all the crushing burden of defeat they had to bear themselves. These are the patriots who did not fear to bring to justice the infamous Seronatus, betrayer of imperial provinces to the barbarian, while the State for which they risked so much had hardly the courage on his conviction to carry out the capital sentence. [3] And this is to be our reward for braving destitution, fire, sword, and pestilence, for fleshing our swords in the enemy's blood and going ourselves starved into battle. This, then, is the famous peace we dreamed of, when we tore the grass from the crannies in the walls to eat; when in our ignorance we often by mistake ate poisonous weeds, indiscriminately plucking them with livid hands of starvation, hardly less green than they. For all these proofs of our devotion, it would seem that we are to be made a sacrifice. [4] If it be so, may you live to blush for a peace without either honour or advantage. For you are the channel through which negotiations are conducted. When the king is absent, you not only see the terms of peace, but new proposals are brought before you. I ask your pardon for telling you hard truths; my distress must take all colour of abuse from what I say. You think too little of the general good; when you meet in council, you are less concerned to relieve public perils than to advance private fortunes. By the long repetition of such acts you begin to be regarded as the last instead of the first among your fellow provincials. [5] But how long are these feats of yours to last? Our ancestors will cease to glory in the name of Rome if they have no longer descendants to bear their memory. Oh, break this infamous peace at any cost; there are pretexts enough to your hand. We are ready, if needs must, to continue the struggle and to undergo more sieges and starvations. But if we are to be betrayed, we whom force failed to conquer, we shall know beyond a doubt that a barbarous and cowardly transaction was inspired by you.


nanVIII To the Lord Bishop Euphronius [472 CE] I AM now held in the bonds of my clerical duty, but I should regard my undistinguished position as a veritable blessing if only the walls of our cities were as near as the borders of their territories. If that might only be, I should consult your holiness on all things small and great; my activities would flow like a placid and untroubled stream, could they but rise from your converse as from a life-giving spring. They should never know the froth of vain conceit, or the turbid course of pride, or the muddiness of a bad conscience, or the falls of headstrong youth; if defilement and corruption were found in them, they should be washed clean by the clear vein of your counsel. [2] But alas! the distance that divides us prevents the fulfilment of these desires; I therefore beg you to send a representative to advise on a perplexing question which has arisen here. The inhabitants of Biturica demand the consecration of the admirable Simplicius as their bishop; I want your decision in the matter. Your consideration for me, and your authority over others, are such that you need never press your views; you have simply to indicate your will, which is sure to coincide with justice. [3] I must tell you that of Simplicius all good is spoken, and by the best men in the city. At first I was inclined to view this testimony with little favour; it seemed to me to suggest favouritism. But when I observed that his rivals could find nothing better to do than to hold their tongues, especially those of the Arian persuasion; when I saw that no irregularity could be alleged to his discredit, though he is only a candidate and not yet in orders, I came to the conclusion that a man against whom the bad citizen could say nothing and on whose behalf the good could never say enough must be regarded as almost a perfect character. [4] But how foolish I am to make these comments, as if I were giving advice in place of asking it! The clergy will act in accordance with the decision contained in your letter; the people will acclaim it in the same spirit. We are not altogether irrational; we should not have decided to secure, if possible, your present aid, or if not, your advice, unless we had made up our minds to follow your counsel in all things. Deign to hold me in remembrance, my Lord Bishop.


nanIX To the Lord Bishop Perpetuus [472 CE] YOUR ardour for religious books has given you a most intimate acquaintance with everything written for the Catholic faith, whether by the Canonical authors or by the controversialists. You are even curious about productions unworthy the honour of your attention; for instance, you now wish me to send a copy of my public address delivered in the church at Biturica, an oration without the orthodox rhetorical divisions, or emphasis, or figures of speech to lend it a proper style and dignity. [2] It has none of the qualities of a finished eloquence; the weight of historical allusion, the enrichment of poetical quotation, the sparkling points of dialectic had all to be abandoned. I was distracted by the rancorous intrigues of the various factions; my mission occupied all my time; the abuses before my eyes were the one and only subject for my pen. So great was the company of the competitors, that two benches would not have held the candidates for the single vacant throne. And every one of these was as pleased with himself as he was critical of all his rivals. [3] If the people had not grown reasonable, and subordinated their judgement to that of the bishops, there would have been little chance of effecting anything. As it was, one saw small groups of priests whispering together in corners, though not a word was uttered openly, most of them being just as afraid of their own order as of every other. The result was that every one was suspicious of his neighbour; all were induced to hear our proposals without too much difficulty, and afterwards to explain them in their turn to others.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

2 results
1. Sallust, Catiline, 22.1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 1.1, 2.1, 2.13, 3.2, 3.13, 5.13, 8.7 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
anthemius Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
avitus, death Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 104; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 104
ferreolus Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
humour, name puns Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 94; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 94
lampridius, character Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
lampridius, death Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
majorian Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
paideia Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 94; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 94
petronius maximus (emperor) Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 104, 116; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 104, 116
pliny, as a model Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 94; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 94
sallust, allusions Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 94; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 94
sidonius, episcopacy Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 94; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 94
sidonius, panegyrist Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 104; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 104
slaves' Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 116
slaves Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 116