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The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire ePub download

by Michele Renee Salzman

  • Author: Michele Renee Salzman
  • ISBN: 0674016033
  • ISBN13: 978-0674016033
  • ePub: 1751 kb | FB2: 1244 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: World
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 25, 2004)
  • Pages: 368
  • Rating: 4.1/5
  • Votes: 990
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The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire ePub download

Michele Salzman intends for her book to supplement earlier studies of the late Roman period.

Michele Salzman intends for her book to supplement earlier studies of the late Roman period. Salzman proffers that it is her purpose "to place the senatorial aristocracy at the center of analysis. to understand how the Roman aristocracy became Christian in the fourth century. on the culture and institutions of the aristocracy and the key differences among aristocrats" (xiii).

PDF On Jan 1, 2002, Michele Renee Salzman and others published The Making of Christian Aristocracy: Social and . Michele Renee Salzman is not, of course, the first to seek. to explain this seismic change, but her approach seeks to make good the shortcomings of. earlier attempts.

PDF On Jan 1, 2002, Michele Renee Salzman and others published The Making of Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire. She notes (pp. ix-x) the deficiencies of one of the most celebrated efforts

Michele Renee Salzman .

Michele Renee Salzman. The making of a Christian aristocracy: Social and religious change in the Western Roman Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002. Salzman presents an excellent analysis of the interaction of the Roman aristocracy with Christianity in the western half of the Roman Empire. The argument is based on prosopographical data for the years 284-423 (all dates are . drawn largely from the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire and its numerous addenda. On the other hand, the arguments put forth in the book indicate how much the process of imperial influence was in fact indirect and illustrates its practical limitations.

Similar books and articles. The End of Public Sacrifice. The Christianization of the Aristocracy . Salzman: The Making of a Christian Aristocracy. Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire The End of Public Sacrifice. Oup Usa. Deontology and Teleology: An Investigation of the Normative Debate in Roman Catholic Moral Theology. Todd A. Salzman - 1995 - Uitgeverij Peeters. The Aristocrat as Average Man: The Uses of 'Aristocracy' in Ortega’s The Revolt of the Masses. Dagmar Vandebosch - 2014 - Neohelicon 40 (1):1-10. An impressive piece of work. Salzman has produced the most complete quantitative study of conversion of aristocrats to date. I particularly liked her concluding chapter on their influence on Christianity. She shows that fourth-century bishops adopted the rhetoric of nobility and honor in their preaching and writing in a way that appealed to aristocrats. Elizabeth Clark, Duke University ). Год: 2004.

Start by marking The Making of a Christian Aristocracy . Examining the world of the ruling class-its institutions and resources, its values and style of life-Salzman paints a fascinating picture, especially of aristocratic women.

Start by marking The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. Her study yields new insight into the religious revolution that transformed the late Roman Empire.

by Michele Renee Salzman. Michele Salzman takes a fresh approach to this much-debated question.

The Making of a Christian Aristocracy : Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire. by Michele Renee Salzman. Focusing on a sampling of individual aristocratic men and women as well as on writings and archeological evidence, she brings new understanding to the process by which pagan aristocrats became Christian, and Christianity became aristocratic.

By Michele Renee Salzman Like von Haehling, Salzman regards the reign of the emperor Gratian, who ruled the western empire from 375 to 383, as "pivotal" in the conversion of th. . Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Michele Salzman's "important and carefully crafted book" is "the most complete quantitative study of conversion of aristocrats to date" according to the puffs provided for the dust-jacket by two distinguished historians of Late Antiquity. Like von Haehling, Salzman regards the reign of the emperor Gratian, who ruled the western empire from 375 to 383, as "pivotal" in the conversion of the Roman aristocracy to Christianity (pp. xi, 79-80, 89, 96, 135, 143, 147, 347).

The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002). Book 1 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011)

The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002). Book 1 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011). Michele Renee Salzman, Marianne Sághy, Rita Lizzi Testa (e., Pagans and Christians in Late Antique Rome: Conflict, Competition, and Coexistence in the Fourth Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

What did it take to cause the Roman aristocracy to turn to Christianity, changing centuries-old beliefs and religious traditions? Michele Salzman takes a fresh approach to this much-debated question. Focusing on a sampling of individual aristocratic men and women as well as on writings and archeological evidence, she brings new understanding to the process by which pagan aristocrats became Christian, and Christianity became aristocratic.

Roman aristocrats would seem to be unlikely candidates for conversion to Christianity. Pagan and civic traditions were deeply entrenched among the educated and politically well-connected. Indeed, men who held state offices often were also esteemed priests in the pagan state cults: these priesthoods were traditionally sought as a way to reinforce one's social position. Moreover, a religion whose texts taught love for one's neighbor and humility, with strictures on wealth and notions of equality, would not have obvious appeal for those at the top of a hierarchical society. Yet somehow in the course of the fourth and early fifth centuries Christianity and the Roman aristocracy met and merged.

Examining the world of the ruling class--its institutions and resources, its values and style of life--Salzman paints a fascinating picture, especially of aristocratic women. Her study yields new insight into the religious revolution that transformed the late Roman Empire.

Moswyn
Michele Salzman intends for her book to supplement earlier studies of the late Roman period. She tries to discern what factors served to expedite the conversion from paganism to Christianity of an "entrenched autonomous aristocratic culture" (xii). Salzman proffers that it is her purpose "to place the senatorial aristocracy at the center of analysis . . . [in order] to understand how the Roman aristocracy became Christian in the fourth century. Hence . . . [Salzman focuses] on the culture and institutions of the aristocracy and the key differences among aristocrats" (xiii). Salzman's purpose is to explain how, "during the course of the fourth and fifth centuries these two forces ' Christianity and the aristocracy ' met and merged. This conjunction ' the process by which pagan aristocrats became Christian and Christianity became aristocratic ' is the subject of this book" (3). She states: "The late Roman political world was more complicated and less centrifugal than this top- down interpretive model suggests. There were other sources of political power and influence than that of the emperor. The imperial court, the church, the `collegia', the senate, the military, and the provincial elites all exercised power and influence. Individual aristocrats had ties to one or other of these political groups. Even emperors desired to maintain their ties with the aristocracy. Thus, to comprehend the political dimension of religious change, we need a deep understanding [an understanding of the social and cultural world in which they live] of the aristocrats who faced these political forces in their daily lives" (xii). "Given the oft-expressed view that Christian emperors of the fourth century favored coreligionists, it is noteworthy that the office-holding patterns among Roman aristocrats in this study population show that Christians were not predominant from Constantine's time on. Nor do they show that Christianity spread in a smooth linear progression. Conversion was not the immediate reaction of most aristocrats to Constantine's or his successors' open support for Christianity. Rather, increases occur in an episodic fashion, reflecting only at times and imperfectly the preferences of the emperor under whom an aristocrat served" (188).

Salzman proposes to illustrate the process of conversion by examining the lives of some 414 aristocrats, from the western empire, who lived between the reign of Diocletian in 284 C.E. and the death of Honorius in 423 C.E. She accomplishes this by reviewing all extant evidence: literary, archaeological, epigraphic, and prosopographical. However, her argument "is based primarily on many years of study of Roman history and institutions and on a close reading of the literary and archaeological record" (7).
Salzman confines her study to aristocrats belonging to the `clarrisimus': the lowest senatorial rank conferred; this social rank is hereditary once achieved. Salzman maintains there were four paths to the senate: "through the military career, the senatorial civic career the imperial bureaucratic career, and the religious career" (111). Christians were more likely than pagans to begin their careers in the imperial bureaucracy.
Salzman attempts to define aristocracy by attributing to it identifiable qualities. Wealth was normally the most important determiner, but birth or mere acceptance as a peer by the rest of the aristocracy was enough for admittance (23). Members of the clarrisimus were wealthy, powerful, and influential people not typically led but rather leaders.
Among the aristocracy, family and friends were considered social resources to be utilized.

The picture Salzman paints is one of a functional patron'client, "good ol' boy," networking system wherein most of the members try to do well by the community they serve. Public offices were frequently a source of patronage, but there was a need to put men of talent into these offices: the more senior public offices had real power and responsibility: both judicial and administrative. A man's performance in office reflected on his patron; hence, a man who performed his job honorably reflected well on his patron, and the man who failed tarnished the reputation of the man who had recommended him. More minor positions controlled the giving of games. Philanthropic civic functionaries were good for the gods, the state, and spurred positive competition among the aristocrats. The honors and awards the aristocrats reaped were secondary to doing their jobs spectacularly well.

Salzman states that the senatorial aristocracy was central to Roman conversion to Christianity, but: "The message of Christianity'its ideological content'would not have been enough by itself to make a Christian aristocracy. The aristocrats had an economic and social investment in pagan theology that Christianity had to over-come. Theological and psychological motives used to explain conversion from pagan polytheism to monotheistic Christianity are insufficient. Rather, Christianity, as it emerged in it various fourth-century forms, must be understood in part as a response to aristocratic concerns with status and the traditional prerogatives of noble birth" (18).

There was no separation of the religious from the secular, and Christianity and polytheism coexisted for centuries in the late Roman period. "[M]en who held high state office also held the most important priesthoods in the pagan state cults" (2). Such men pursued enhanced social position, status, and power where they could. Priesthoods, either pagan or Christian, gave the aristocracy a stage upon which to ostentatiously display their wealth. The single largest expense an aristocrat might incur was related to holding or attempting to acquire public office. This was an ambition that required hosting public games. Games were state affairs, but many, for the sake of ostentatiousness, would augment the financing with funds from their own purse. One aristocrat, Symmachus, is cited for spending some 2,000 lbs. of gold for games given in his son's name. Another aristocrat reportedly spent 4,000 lbs. of gold for games.

"Geographic origins comprised much of an aristocrat's religious and social experience" (73). Salzman finds there was a resistant core faction of the aristocracy deriving from traditional stock of the aristocracy in Rome and Italy that were pagan and remained pagan until the end of the fourth century. Senators residing in Rome and in Italy had greater independence than did the provincials. The provincials were more dependent on imperial approval for all of their acts; hence, their conversion to Christianity happened earlier than in Rome. By the end of the fourth century, new ascendants to the aristocracy, both Roman and provincial, were more likely to be Christians. Christianity necessarily had to acquire status within the Roman community before it would be accepted by those who had status. The provincials "transformed Christianity to conform to existing `aristocratic ideologies of prestige"' (89). Constantine's conversion and subsequent endorsement of Christianity as a state religion was also a part of this process.

Salzman points out that the Roman Senate had limited political power after Constantine. It was not required that imperial policy be approved by the senate by way of a formal vote, nor did the senate generally advance on its own initiative any imperial policy. Emperors consulted with the senate more as a matter of tradition, and placatory respect, than from any constitutional necessity. Rome remained the center of the Roman world until the sixth century-long after the imperial seat was removed from Rome by Constantine.

Salzman also discusses the role of women in this transformation. She believes that the role of aristocratic women in Roman conversion to Christianity has been over emphasized. She states that her analysis of the evidence does not support the theory that women were the principal impetus behind conversion. A woman's status position was too closely linked with that of her family. "The dominant role of the father in the life of the family extended as well to the religious activities of the children. Thus it would be through the father-and not the mother-that one would expect religious change to occur among the aristocracy" (155). Christian women might have been able to influence daughters in religious choice but not husbands and sons. Constantine, according to Salzman, followed in his father's wake; it was his father who first converted to Christianity, and despite contrary stories, it was his father who converted his mother, Helena, to Christianity.

Salzman believes that the church itself was against employing women as teachers because it was not thought to be proper and appeared unseemly. Salzman writes::
"When women were prominent in theological issues, the groups with which they were involved were often branded as heretical, and the dominant role of women in them was frequently used as a criticism since it was widely believed that `women are naturally more credulous than men, and that it is quite improper for them to be in authority"' (161).

Even after Christianity was sanctified by the emperor, Christian converts were still beset with problems. Public office holders were expected to fund and perform, as part of their civic administrative duties, pagan sacrificial rites: a loathsome task that repelled many Christians. In 341, public sacrifices were outlawed making public office more amicable for Christians. In 382, emperor Gratian confiscated certain monies set aside for pagan ceremonies. He also directed that an altar to Victory be removed from the senate, despite vehement protests. Exemptions from mandatory public service for being a priest of pagan rites were also removed. Emperor Valentinian II reiterated Gratian's directives during his reign. Theodosius also enacted stringent anti-pagan laws during his reign. A greater number of Roman aristocratic conversions are statistically apparent between 390 and 415. Imperial favor rewarded the ambitious men who were willing to convert, and imperial disfavor stifled those who maintained their pagan beliefs.

Religion was not the sole factor in Constantine's (nor any subsequent emperor's) selection of office holders. The aristocratic families in Rome had ancient ties and traditions that emperors needed to rule effectively; thus, Constantine chose some of these as well as his own favorites. Salzman states that honor was also important to the emperors; after all, they too were aristocrats. Christian emperors appointed prestigious pagan aristocrats to offices; their status reflected well on them. Military appointments in particular were based on talent and not religion.

Circa 382, Gratian renounced the title of `pontifex maximus': chief priest of the pagan religions of Rome. Through laws the emperors imbued the Christian church with exemptions, privileges, honors, and prestige that rivaled that of the pagan cults. This made Christianity attractive to the aristocrats and fit well into the aristocratic value system. Once Christianity enjoyed all of the amenities historically proffered to pagan cults, laws were passed circumscribing the activities, exemptions, and honors of the pagan cults. Often emperors were hesitant and legislated behavioral change only after it was de facto in effect. "[E]mperors could not do as they pleased. They were constrained by political exigencies, social relations, and, above all, by the norms of aristocratic status culture" (197). Emperors showed "how it was possible to be Christian even as they remained prestigious members of the aristocracy" (199).

Salzman concludes her book by recounting how the church accommodated the wealthy aristocracy. It afforded them prestigious offices equal to their status. It promoted salvation through charitable "works;" in essence justifying the excess wealth these people possessed. Once the church had configured itself and concepts, e.g., `nobilitas', in ways rivaling old pagan institutions and ideas, conversion became more amicable for the aristocracy, and the transformation of the pagan-Roman world to a Christian empire was expedited.

This book has a somewhat muddled beginning, and it is very narrow in its concept. Never-the-less, Michele R. Salzman presents new insights into how the Roman empire transformed from paganism to Christianity. I would recommend her book with qualification.
Gavinranadar
Salzman bases much of her argument on quantitative data. Her main conclusion is that the aristocracy only became predominantly Christian by the reign Theodosius, some sixty years after Constantine's death, primarily because it became a way to advance in society. It is certainly a plausible, and perhaps even likely case for a complicated subject. Worth the read for anyone interested in Roman history and religion, and Christianity.
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