Life and letters in the fourth century; (1901)
WHEN studying the history of the early Roman Empire the reader has at call a thousand impressions of the writers of the day, whom he has read from boyhood, and who have helped to form the mind and the temper with which he reads. But the same does not hold of the period of the Gothic invasions and the fall of Paganism. The literature is extensive, but it is not known, it is hardly read. No one who has given it a sympathetic study can call it wanting in pathos or power, but the traditions of scholarship point in another direction. An age that can boast an Augustine and a Synesius in prose, a Claudian and a Prudentius in poetry, is nevertheless in general ignored, except by scholars engaged in some special research, who use them as sources.
My endeavour has been, by reading (if I may use the expression) across the period, to gain a truer knowledge because a wider. Then, bearing in mind its general air and character, I have tried to give the period to my reader, not in a series of generalizations but in a group of portraits. I have tried to present the men in their own way, carefully and sympathetically ; to shew their several attempts, successful or unsuccessful, to realize and solve the problems common to them all ; and to illustrate these attempts from their environment, literary, religious and political. As far as possible, I have tried to let them tell their own tale, to display themselves in their weakness and their strength.
I have deliberately avoided the writers, whose work may be strictly called technical or special, for those whose concern was more with what is fitly called literature, but I have at the same time not forgotten the former. For instance, to have treated the theological writings of Athanasius or Augustine at all adequately would have gone far beyond my present limits. And indeed it was less necessary to attempt this, as it has been done fully and ably by others. Rather my concern has been with the world in which the philosopher and the theologian found themselves, and I trust that some who study them may find help in my effort to picture this world. For such students I am only supplying background. Still I hope this background may have for those who are interested in the refraction of light as well as in light itself, a value and an interest as a presentment of an important and even pathetic moment in the history of our race.
As my course has been across the period, I have had again and again to explore a fresh stream upward and toward its source. Every writer has his own antecedents, and some consideration of these has been in every case necessary. No stream however lacks tributaries, and some have many. I suppose that of all of these I should have had some personal knowledge, but as this would have meant a constantly widening and never-ending series of independent researches, I have done the human thing in accepting the work of other men in outlying regions, while surveying as far as I could myself the lands adjacent to my particular subject in each instance. In such cases I have generally given my authority. It may very well occur that specialists will find blunders in detail in my work. I have found them myself in places where I felt secure. But I trust that no blunders will be found of such dimensions as to un-focus any of my portraits or at least
to affect at all materially my general picture.
I have made constant use of the works of Gibbon, of M. Boissier, of Dr Hodgkin and Professor Bury. Other books which I have consulted are mentioned in the various notes. Professor Dill’s interesting book, Roman Society in the last Century of the Western Empire, I did not see till some seven of my chapters were written. As in one or two places his work and mine have overlapped, I felt I had less freedom to use his book, but in general it. will be found that our periods and provinces have been quite distinct. My table of dates is based chiefly on Goyau, Chronologie de I’Empire Romain. Dr Sandys has been kind enough to read some of my proofs.
Most of my work on this volume has been done in Canada. Those who know the difficulties with which young Universities have to contend in “all the British dominions beyond the seas,” difficulties incident to young countries and as a rule bravely faced and overcome, will not be surprised that the Library at my disposal was small. But any one who knows Queen’s University will understand what compensations I have had for a limited number of books in the friendship, the criticism and the encouragement of the colleagues to whom I have dedicated my work.
ST JOHN’S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
Table of Dates xii
Chapter I. Introduction 1
II. Ammianus Marcellinus 20
III. Julian 47
IV. Quintus of Smyrna 77
V. Ausonius 102
VI. Women Pilgrims 125
VII. Symmachus 148
VIII. Macrobius 171
IX. St Augustine’s Confessions 194
X. Claudian 216
XI. Prudentius 249
XII. Sulpicius Severus 278
XIII. Palladas 303
XIV. Synesius 320
XV. Greek and Early Christian Novels 357
Author: Glover, T. R. (Terrot Reaveley), 1869-1943
Subject: Symmachus, Quintus Aurelius, d. 405; Silva, of Aquitaine; Julian, Emperor of Rome, 331-363; Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo; Synesius, of Cyrene, Bishop of Ptolemais; Quintus, Smyrnaeus, 4th cent; Ausonius, Decius Magnus; Macrobius, Theodosius; Claudianus, Claudius; Prudentius, b. 348; Severus, Sulpicius; Ammianus Marcellinus; Latin literature — History and criticism; Pilgrims and pilgrimages; Greek fiction — History and criticism; Christian literature, Early; Palladas; Rome — Social life and customs
Publisher: Cambridge : University press
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Call number: SRLF:LAGE-210451
Digitizing sponsor: MSN
Book contributor: University of California Libraries
Collection: americana; cdl