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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 7.8-7.9

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):

1 results
1. Sidonius Apollinaris, Letters, 1.1-1.2, 1.5, 1.7-1.8, 1.10, 7.5, 7.9 (5th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
sidonius, literary style Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 20; Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 20
sidonius, praefectus urbis' Hitch, Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world (2017) 20
sidonius, praefectus urbis Hanghan, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (2019) 20