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Q. AURELI SYMMACHI 
RELATIO III 

INTRODUCTION, TRANSLATION AND NOTES 

BY 

KATHARINE RANDALL TENER 



THESIS 

FOR THE 

DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARTS 

IN 

LATIN 



COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES 
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 
1917 



p\7 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 



May .30 192.2. 



THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT THE THESIS PREPARED UNDER MY SUPERVISION BY 

KAT.H. AB I M . . .RA.N EAL k . . .TMER 

EN T I TLED . . . .0. AUREL I. . . S YMMA.C H I . . RE L AT 10 .11 1 

INTRODUCTI^^^ 

IS APPROVED BY ME AS FULFILLING THIS PART OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE 

degree OF..BACHi:.LQil...QF...ARTS...IN...LLATIN 



.*Jzl.J...../3..a^tSL., 

Instructor in Charge 



Approved 



HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF ...<*£jJL£UuQ.LG*6. 



a?662i 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



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Table of Contents 



Page 

I Q. Aureli Symmachi Relatio III 1 
II Introduction 7 
III Translation 13 
IV Notes 20 



Q. Aureli Symmachi 
Pvelatio III* 

DDDHIIU • Ualentiniano Theodosio et Arcadio semper Aaggg. 
Symmachus u. c. praefectus urbis. 

1 Ubi primum senatus amplissimus semperque uester subiecta legi- 
bus aitia Gognou.it et a prinoipibus piis uidit purgari famo.m tem- 
porum proximorum, boni saeouli auctoritatem secutus euomuit diu 
pressum dolorem atque iterum me querelarum suarum iussit esse lega - 
turn. cui ideo diui prinoipis denegata est ab improbis audientia, 

2 quia non erat iustitia defutura, dddnrm. imperatores. gemino 
igitur functus officio et ut praefectus uester gesta publica per- 
sequor et ut legatus ciuium mandata coramendo . nulla est hie 
dissensio uoluntatum, quia iam credere homines desierunt aulico- 
rum se studia praestare, si discrepent. amari coli diligi maius 
imperio est. quis ferat obfuisse rei publicae priuata certa- 
mina? merito illos senatus insequitur, qui potentiam suam famae 
principis praetulerunt . noster autem labor pro dementia uestra 
ducit excubias. cui enim magis commodat quod instituta maiorum 
quod patriae iura et fata defendimus quam temporum gloriae? 

quae tunc maior est, cum uobis contra morem parentum intellegitis 

3 nil licere. repetimus igitur religionum statum qui rei publicae 

diu profuit. certe dinumerentur principes utri usque sectae utri- 

usque sententiae: pars eorum prior cerimonias patrum coluit, 

recentior non remouit. si exemplum non facit religio ueterum, 

faciat dissimulatio proximorum. quis igitur ita familiaris est 

barbaris , ut aram Uictoriae non requirat? oauti in posterum 
* ?gxt, Meyer, Leipzig,, 1672. 



I 



■' 



V 



8umu8 et aliarum reruin ostenta uitmus. reddatur s..J.tern nomini 
honor, qui numini denegatus est. multa Uictoriae debet aeter- 
nitcs uestra et adhuc plura debebit. auersentur hana potestatem, 
quibus nihil profuit. uos amicum triumphis patrooinium nolite 
deserere. cunotis potentia uotiua est Iftta* nemo oolend.m ne- 

4 get, quam profitetur optandam. quod si huius ominis non esset 
iusta uit..tio, ornamentis saltern curiae decuit abstineri. prae- 
state, oro uos, ut ea, quae pueri suscepimus , senes poster is re- 
linquamus . consuetudinis amor magnus est. merito diui Con- 
stantii factum diu non stetit. omnia uobis exempla uitc~nda sunt, 
quae mox remota didicistis, aeternitatem ouramus famae et nominis 

5 uestri, ne quid futura aetas inueniat corrigendum. ubi in leges 
uestras et uerba iurabimus? qua religione mens falsa terrebi- 
tur, ne in testimoniis raentiatur? omnia quidem deo plena sunt 
nec ullus perfidis tutus est locus, sed plurimum ualet ad metum 
delinquendi etiam praesentia numinis urgueri. ilia ara concor- 
diam tenet omnium, ilia ara fidem conuenit singulorum, neque aliuc 
magis auctoritatem facit sententiis, quam quod omnia quasi iuratus 
ordo decernit. patebit ergo sedes profana periuris et hoc in- 

6 clyti principes mei probabile iudicabunt, qui Sacramento publico 
tuti sunt? sed diuus Constantius idem fecisse dicetur. cetera 
potius illius principis aemulemur, qui nihil tale esset aggressus 
si quis ante se alius deuiasset. corrigit enirn sequentem lap- 
sus prioris et de reprehensione antecedentis exempli nascitur e- 
mendatio. fas fuit, ut parens ille clementiae uestrae in re ad- 
huc noua non caueret inuidiam. num potest etiam nobis eudem de- 
f ensio conuenire , si imitemur quod meminimus improbatum? ac- 

7 cipiat aeternitas uestra alia eiusdem principis facta, quae in 



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uaum dignius trt-hat. nihil illo decerpsit aacrarum uirginum 
priuilegils, decreuit nobilibus sacerdotia, Romanis cerimoniia non 
negauit inpensas et per omnea uias aeternae urbia laetum secutus 
aenatum uidit placido ore delubra, uidit insoripta fastigiis deum 
nomina, percontatua templorum originea eat, miratua est conditoree 

8 oumque aliaa religionea sequeretur, haa seruauit imperio. a una 
enim cuique mos , suua ritua eat. aarioa custodes urbibus cultua 
mens diuina distribuit. ut animae nascentibua, ita populi8 fa- 
talea genii diuiduntur. accedit utilitas, quae maxirae homini 
deoa aaserit. nam cum ratio omnia in operto ait, unde rectiua 
qu-.m de memoria at que documentia rerum secundarum cognitio uenit 
numinum? iara ai longa aetas auctoritatem religionibua faciat, 
aeruanda eat tot saeoulia fides, et sequendi sunt nobia parentea, 

9 qui aecuti sunt feliciter suos. Romam nunc putemua aasiatere 
atque hia uobiaoum agere aermonibua; Optimi prinoipum, patres 
patriae, reueremini annoa meos , in quos me piua ritus adduxit; 
utar oerimoniis auitis; neque enim penitet. uiuam meo more, 
quia libera sum. hie cultus in leges meas orbem redegit , haec 
s.iora Eannib^.lem a moenibua a Gapitolio Senonaa repulerunt. ad 

10 hoo ergo aeruata aum, ut longaeua reprehendar? uidero, quale 
ait, quod instituendum putatur. sera autem et contumelioaa eat 
emendatio seneotutis. ergo diis patriis diis indigetibus pacem 
rogamus . aequum eat, quioquid omnes oolunt, unum putari. eadeir 
spectamus aatra, commune caelum eat, idem noa mundua inuoluit. 
quid intereat, qua quisque prudentia uerum requirat? uno itinere 
non protest perueniri ad tarn grande secretum. sed otiosorum dis- 

11 putatio est haec. nunc precee non certamen afferimus. quanto 



-4- 

oommodo saori aerarii uestri Uestalium uirginum praerog;;tiua de- 
traota est? sub largissimis imp era to rib us denegetur, quod par- 
cissimi praestiterunt . honor solus est in illo ueluti stipendio 
oastitatis . ut uittae earum capiti deous faoiunt, ita insigne 
duoitur sacerdotii uacare muneribus. nudum quoddam nomen inmuni- 
tatis requirunt , qoniam paupertate B dispendio tutae sunt. itaqu( 
amplius laudi earum tribuunt , qui aliquid rei detrahunt . siqui- 

12 dem saluti publioae dicata uirginitas oresoit merito , cum c^ret 
praemio. absint ab aerarii uestri puritate ista compendia, 
fiscus bonorum principum non sacerdotum dampnis, sed hostium spo- 
liis augeatur. illud tenue lucrum conpensat inuidiam? at qui 
auaritia in mores uestros non cadit. hoc miseriores sunt, quibus 
subsidia uetera decerpta sunt. etenim sub imperatoribus , qui 
alieno abstinent, quia resistunt cupiditati , ad solam detrahitur 

13 amittentis iniuricim, quod desiderium non mouet auferentis. agros 
etiam uirginibus et ministris deficientium uoluntate legatos fis- 
cus retentat. oro uos, iustitiae sacerdotes, ut urbis uestrae 
sacris reddatur priuata successio. dictent testamenta securi 

et sciant sub principibus non auaris stabile esse, quod scripse- 
rint. delectet uos ista felicitas generis humani. coepit 
causae huius exemplum sollicitare morientes. ergo Romanae re- 

14 ligiones ad Romana iura non pertinent? quod nomen accipiet ab- 
latio facultatum, quas nulla lex nullus casus fecit caducas? 
capiunt legata liberti , seruis testamentorum iusta commoda non 
negantur. tantum nobiles uirgines et fatalium sacrarum ministri 
excludentur praediis hereditate quaesitis? quid iuuat saluti 
publioae castum corpus dicare et imperii aeternitatem caelestibus 
fulcire praesidiis, armis uestris aquilis uestris arnicas applicare 



-5- 

uirtutes, pro omnibus effioaoia uota susoipere, et ius oum omni- 
bus non habere? itane melior est seruitus , quae hominibus im- 

15 penditur? rem publictim laedimus , cui numquam expediit, ut in- 
grata sit. nemo me putet tueri solam oausam religionum. ex 
huius modi facinoribus orta sunt cuncta Romani generis incommoda. 
honorauerat lex parentum Uestales uirgines ao ministros deorum 
uiotu modioo iustisque priuilegiis. stetit nnmeris huius inte- 
gritas usque ad degeneres trapezitas , qui ad mercedem uilium 
baiulorum sucrt. castitatis alimenta uerterunt, seouta est hoo 
factum fames publica et spem prouinoiarum omnium messis aegra 

16 decepit. non sunt haec uitia terrarum, nihil imputemus austris. 
neo rubigo segetibus obfuit, neo auena fruges neoauit. sacrile- 
gio annus exaruit. necesse enim fuit perire hominibus, quod re- 
ligionibus negabatur. oerte si est huius mali aliquod exemplum, 
imputemus tantam famem uicibus annorum. grauis hanc sterilita- 
tem causa contraxit. siluestribus arbustis uita produoitur et 
rursus ad Dodonaeas arbores plebis rustioae inopia conuolauit. 

1 ? quid tale prouinciae pertulerunt, cum religionum ministros honor 
publicus pasceret? quando in usum hominum concussa quercus, quan ■ 
do uulsae sunt herbarum radices, quando alternos regionum defec- 
tus deseruit fecunditas mutua, cum populo et uiginibus sacris 
communis esset annona? oommendabt.t enim terrarum prouentum uiotu j 
antistitum et remedium magis quam largitas erat. an dubium est, 

18 semper pro copia omnium datum, quod nunc inopia omnium uindicauit? 
dicet aliquis sumptum publicum denegatum alienae religionis impen- 
diis. absit a bonis principibus ista sententia, ut, quod olim 
de oommuni quibusdam tributum est, in iure fisoi esse uideatur. 
nam cum res publica de singulis constet, quod ab ea profiscitur, 



-6- 

fit rursu3 proprium singulorum. omnia regitie , sed suum ouiquo 
seruatis , plusque apud uos iustitia quam lioentia u-let. oon- 
sulite oerte munificentiem uestr^m, an adhuc publioa uelit exis- 
timari quae in alios transtulistis . semel honori urbis delata 
compendia desinunt esse tribuentium, et quod a principio benefi- 

19 oium fuit usu atque aetate fit debitum. inanem igitur metum 
diuino animo uestro temptat incutere, si quis asserit oonsoientiam 
uos habere praebentium, nisidetrahentium subieritis inuidiam. 
faueant clementiae uestrae sectarum omnium arcana praesidia et 
haec maxime , quae maiores uestros i liqu.ndo iuuerunt , uos defen- 
dant, a nobis colantur. eum religionum statum petimus, qui diuo 

20 parenti numinis uestri seruauit imperium, qui fortunato prinoipi 
legitimos suffeoit heredes. speotat senior ille diuas ex aroe 
siderea laorimas saoerdotum et se culpatum putat more uiolato , 
quern libenter ipse seruauit, pr< estate etitim diuo fratri uestro 
alieni oonsilii correctionem, tegite factum, quod senatui dis- 
pliouisse nesciuit. siquidem constat ideo exclusam legationem, 
ne ad eum iudicium publicum perueniret. pro existimatione est 
temporum superiorum, ut non dubitetus abolere, qjiod probandum est 
principis non fuisse. 



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OrXRODUOTIQB 

Long-established institutions do not die without a strug- 
gle and their last defenders are almost as noteworthy as their found 
ers. Paganism held supremacy for mt.ny hundreds of years and when 
Christianity arose to take its place, it yielded only after a fierce 
struggle. It was during the fourth century of our era th-t the 
last important contest was waged and the last and most ardent champ- 
ion of paganism was Quintus Aurelius Symmachus. The life of Rome 
in the fourth century is full of interest, and we must remember that 
"Rome" did not exist merely in the time of Caesar and Cicero. The 
centuries that follov/ed were outgrowths of that golden age and are 
of vast significance for modern times. Foremost among the events 
of that period is the growth of Christianity. Hand in hand with 
this development went the decline of paganism, and its last brave 
efforts to survive deserve our careful study. 

Q. Aurelius Symmachus was a contemporary of Jerome and Am- 
brose, of Ausonius , Prudentius , and Claudian. Although he was 
one of the nobility, his family cannot be traced further back than 
the time of Constantine. The first recorded instance of the name 
is the mention of his grandfather, Aurelius Iulianus Symmachus who 
was consul in 350. His son was Lucius Aurelius Avianius Symmachus 
who married a woman of a noted family. One of their children was 

Symmachus, the orator and statesman, Avianius, himself, was des- 

1 

cribed by Ammianus as one of the most conspicuous examples of learn- 
ing and modesty. He was a praetor in Rome, pontifex maior, prefect 
of the city, consul, and his opinion was asked first, in the senate. 



Amm. Larc . ZX7II g,. Z. 



2. C.I.L. VI 1698 



-0- 

Like his son, he was a firm believer in the ancient religion. An 
interesting story is told of his private life. A plebian spread 
the rumor that Avianius had s. id he v/ould slake lime with his wine 
rather than sell at the price demanded. Aroused "by this report, the 
populace burned his beautiful house, situated across the Tiber, and 
Avianius withdrew to the country. To make amends, the senate be- 
stowed an honor, never before given to a private person Avianius 

was petitioned to return to the city. The occasion gave rise to an 
•ration on the part of his son, and another was delivered when his 
father was chosen consul. 

Q. Aurelius Symmachus was born about 340 and received the 
ordinary education of a Roman gentleman. In his library were the 
Annals of Livy, Gallic Y/ar of Caes-r, Katural History of Pliny, sev- 
eral works of Cicero, Varro , Talerius liaximus , Terence, Plautus, 

1 

Horace and Vergil. Pliny, the younger, was his especial favorite, 

2 

and kacrobius, in his Saturnalia, speaks of the two together as writ* 
ing in a style, "pingue et floridum". 

On the statue erected to Symmachus by his son, his many 
public offices are enumerated. E^rly in his public career, he was 
appointed by the senate to carry an offering of gold and deliver a 
panegyric to Valentinian I at the time of his Quinquennalia in 369. 
He was proconsul of Africa when the Moors were in revolt. In 383, 
Symmachus became prefect of the city. It was while he held this 
office that the third relatio was delivered and the Christian plot 
agi inst him failed. Praetextatus , the friend of Symmachus , had 
procured an imperial decree by which the prefect of the city was or- 
dered to restore temple property. Elated by this success, the 

1TI Seeck - De Symmachi Uita XIV. 
2. Macrobius - Sat. V. 1, 7. 



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pagane tried to do more and sent Symmachus to the emperor to ask for 
the restoration of the alt^r of Tictory and other pagan privileges 
which Gratian had removed. He was unsuccessful , however. Then th* 
Christians accused Symmachus of torturing Christian priests. This 
called forth imperial censure, but Symmachus cleured himself, and he 
and Praetextatus retained the favor of the emperor. Later that 
yet.r, Symmachus lost a close friend and the pagans a valuable champ- 
ion, in the death of Praetextatus. His enemies increased and Sym- 
machus withdrev/ from office in 385, though he was still regarded as 
the leading man of the senate. In 387, he delivered a panegyric in 
praise of Liaximus , the ursurper, and as a result was accused of 
treason. He fled to the church for protection and was pardoned by 
Theodosius who made him consul in 391. He again sought to restore 
the altar of Victory, and Theodosius, in a rage, banished him a hun- 
dred miles from Milan. The account says he was forced to ride in a 
oarriage without cushions. Symmachus was in danger again when ano- 
ther rebellion occurred in Africa. War with the Moors would shut 
off the corn supply from Home and c^use riots. In order to prevent 
unpopularity falling upon the emperor, the senate was forced to 
make the declaration of war. Symmachus had to bear the brunt of 
ill-will but it soon disappeared and his closing days were spent 
in peace. He died probably in 403. 

In privr.te life, Symmachus was a representative of the 
Roman nobility, a gentleman in the best sense of the word. His 
letters are an important source for our knowledge of the life of 
the times, and of his own character, although his son, who edited 
and published his father's writings, carefully expurgated any com- 



-10- 

promising statements. These might, however, have been most en- 
lightening. Symmachus was an extremely wealthy man for he held the 
offices of quaestor and praetor whioh were a right of "birth. All 
senators held them, if rich. The family property included a house 

in Capua, three houses in the city, fifteen villas, :.nd three farms, 

1 

and others which are not mentioned in the letters. Symmachus 
married Husticiana, the daughter of Llemmius Vitrasius Orfitus, and 
she brought him a rich dowry. They had a son Fab i us Memmius Sym- 
machus and a daughter whose name is unknown, but who married Yirius 
Mchomachus Flavianus , the younger. 

In the letters, we find affection for his father, but very 
little mention made of his wife. There are many letters sent to 
his daughter, urging her to be Careful of her health. He was even 
more devoted to his son, and perso. nally looked after his health and 
education. He was greatly interested in the games Fabius gave as 
praetor, for Symmachus disapproved of the neglect of any ancient cus- 
tom. Though he was opposed to lavish expenditure in these games, h< 
was willing to overlook extravagance on the part of his son, for he 
is said to have spent 80,000 pounds on Fabius's praetorian games, 
purchasing Spanish horses, bears, antelopes, crocodiles, and silk 
robes and ornaments. Symmachus was also greatly interested in the 
marriage of his son to the granddaughter of Yirius llichomachus Flav- 
ianus. Friendships were a large part of his life. One of his mos* 
intimate friends, previously mentioned, was Vettius Agorius Prae- 
textatus , a most eminent pagan, a scholar, philosopher, and mystic. 
Others of his friends were Stilicho and Bauto , barbarian soldiers, 
Ausonius, the poet, and Ambrosius, bishop of liilan, both Christians. 
Seeck - De Symmachi Uit'a" - XLV--XLVI . 



-11- 

As to character, he seems to have had a narrow range of in- 
terests, and no extraordinary mental ability. Rome had become a 
provincial town, no longer the seat of government, and it lived on 
its past history. He was even more conservative than his fellow- 
citizens. In one of his own letters, he says there is nothing bet- 
ter for him to follow than "sometimes patching up his health, often 

1 

avoiding disturbances and always loving literature". Although these 
interests were not strenuous, he was honored and respected by both 
Christian and pagan. 

Symmachus was accounted in his own time a great orator and 
writer. But his chief, direct influence on history was his recom- 
mendation of Saint Augustine as a professor of rhetoric for the city 

of Lilian. His reputation for eloquence was spread throughout all 
2 

Italy. Prosper Aquitanicus said Symmachus was skilled in excel- 

3 

lent eloquence and wisdom, although he was a pagan. Prudentius, th< 

poet, called Symmachus — a fluent tongue, from the marvelous fount- 

4 

ain of words, an ornament of Roman eloquence! Emperors and fellow- 
countrymen alike esteemed him. The people considered him the chief 
man of the senate even when he had withdrawn from public life, and 
he was popular because of his honesty and amiability. He is now 
known as a champion of paganism rather than as an orator, but his 
third relatio which is his pagan plea, delivered in 584, has been 

5 

ranked by Angelus Politianus in the list of long-enduring orations. 
Symmachus is enjoyed by lovers of antiquity, for he gives us a pic- 
ture of his times v;hich cannot be obtained elsewhere, and his loyal- 
ly Liber IV. 44 - Quid enim magis adsectandum est mihi , sarcienti 
nonnumquam valet udinem, declinanti saepe turbas , litterarum semper 
innocentiam diligenti? 

2. Seeck - LTII. 

3. De Promissionibus Dei, parte III. 

4. lib. 1. contra Symmachum 

s. : iene. .7. P» — Uita Symr.achi exantiquissirna Editions. 



-12- 

ty to paganism is admirable, even though his love of the past seeraa 
txagga rated. Any Latin orator would find difficulty in living 
through the centuries after Cicero's fame, hut Syraraachus was truly 
an orator, a man who knew and utilized his art. 



Sources 

Divus Prosper Aquitanicus, de Promraissionibus Dei, parte III, 
C, I. L. VI 1698. 

Glover, T. R. , Life and Letters in the Fourth Century. 
Amraianus Marcellinus, lib. XXVII. 
Macrobius, Saturnalia, lib. V, cap. 1. 

Migne, J. P., Patrologiae Latinae, Vita Symmachi ex Antiquissima 

Edi ti one. 

Aurelius Prudentius, Lib. 1. contra Symraachum. 
Seeck, Otto, Symmachi Opera. 



Autre li Symznachi 

Helatio III 
Translation 



-13- 

Symmachus u.o.p.u. to our most revered masters, Valentl nian , Theodo- 
sius , and Arc-dius, 

When first the most honorable senate, and ever devoted to 
you, recognized that wrongs have been removed by lt.ws , and saw that 
the evil reputation of reoent times was being cleared sway by right- 
eous rulers, following the authority of a good age, and casting out 
the grief long endured, for the second time, it ordered me to be the 
ambassalor of their complaints, me, to whom, gracious rulers, a hear- 
ing was denied by unprincipled men, because justice would h^ve been 
done, had it been granted. Therefore, performing a twofold office, 
both as your prefect, performing my public duties, and as an ambas- 
sador, I commend to you the desires of my f ellow-citizens . Here 
there is no disagreement of desires, because already men have ceased 
to believe that they show zeal for the court, if they disagree. To 
be loved, to be cherished, to be highly esteemed, is greater than 
power. Who can endure the fact that private interests have injured 
the state? The senate properly censures those who place their own 
power before the reputation of the emperor, but in proportion to your 
kindness, we keep watch over it. For whatis itffiore fitting that 
we defend the institutions of our ancestors and the laws and destiny 
of our fatherland than for the glory of our times? This then is 
greater, since you know that you may do nothing contrary to the cus- 
tom of our fathers. 

We seek, therefore, the religious status which has for a 
long time helped the state. Surely the chiefs favoring each sect 
and each opinion ought to be considered. Those of an earlier day 
cherished the rites of our fathers, the more recent did not reject 



them. If the religion of the earlier ones does not furnish . n exam- 
ple, the pretense of reoent rulers should. Who , then, is so like th 
"barbarians that he does not seek the altar of Victory? We are or re- 
fill for the future and we avoid a display of new things. Let honor 
"be restored to the mme , at least, which is denied the goddess. You 
immortality owes much to Viotory and in the future will owe yet more. 
Let them reject this power for whom it avails nothing. Do not de- 
sert the protection which is friendly to your triumphs. This is the 
power desired by all. No one denies that that should be cherished 
which it is acknowledged should be desired. But if the avoidance of 
the effect of this omen is not proper, at least you should preserve 
the ornaments of the senate house. I beg of you, see to it, that 
those things which as boys we received, as old men, we she 11 leave to 
posterity. 

Great is the force of custom. It was right that the de- 
cree of the divine Constant! us did not long endure. All action 
must be avoided which you have learned cannot be persisted in. We 
are zealous for the immortality of your reputation and name lest fu- 
ture time find something that is a blemish. Where shall we swear 
fealty to you? By what religion will the false tongue be terrified 
so it shall not commit perjury? To be sure, all places are full of 
God, nor is any safe for perjurgrs, but the presence of the god is 
of great value in restraining wrong doing. That altar represents 
the agreement of all, that altar befits the faith of individuals, 
nor does anything give more authority to our opinions than the fact 
that the senatorial order determines everything as if on oath: 
Shall, then, that place be open to perjury and will my illustrious 
chiefs, who are safe by the public oath of the senate, judge this to 



be right? 

But the divine Const; ntius is said to h ve done the same. 
Let us rather emulate other aots of that emperor, who would have set 
out on no such undertaking, if any other "before him had gone astray. 
For the mistake of one corrects another who is following, and improve 
ment is horn from condemnation of the previous action. It was righl 
that that parent of your kindness, in things yet new, had no care foi 
unpopularity. The same defense cannot be ours, can it, if we imi- 
tate what we remember has been disapproved? Let your enduring re- 
putation rest on the other acts of that same chief, which he more 
worthily rerformed. He detracted nothing from the privileges of 
the Yestal virgins, he bestowed priesthoods on the nobles, he did no1 
refuse the Romans the cost of the ceremonies, and following the joy- 
ful senate through all the streets of the eternal city, he looked on 
the shrines with a 61 :1m countenance, saw the names of the gods graver 
on the pediments, inquired as to the origins of the temples, mar- 
veled at the founders, and d though he had c.nother creed, preserved 
these by his command. For each one has his own custom, his own re- 
ligious rites. Various forms of religion, the divine mind has dis- 
tributed as guards to the cities. As the breath of life to living 
things, so to peoples are divided the "genii", decreed by fate. And 
utility is a large factor in determining the gods men shall serve. 
For when no conclusion can be reached by reason, from what better 
source than from the memory and evidence of prosperity does the know, 
ledge of the gods come? If a long time gives authority to religion 
its reliability should be preserved because of its antiquity, and we 
ought to follow our parents, who happily followed theirs. 

How let us imagine Rome standing by and speaking to you i 



-lG- 
in these words, "Gre.-t chiefs, fathers of our oountry , reverence 
my years, to which a "blameless ritual has brought me; let me use the 
ancestral rituals, nor am I ash med of them. Let me live in my own 
way because I am free. This religion brought the whole world under 
my sway. These scored rites drove Hannibal from our walls and the 
Senr.ones from the capitol. Have I been preserved, then, for this, 
that in my old age I should be restrained? I will see what sort 
this is which some men say ought to be established. Yet change for 
old age is slow and full of reproaches. Therefore we ask safety f c f 
the gods of our fathers and our deified heroes." It is right, thai 
whatever all cherish should be considered one. We see the same 
stars, the sky is common, the same world is ours. that does it 
matter, by what knowledge each one comes to the truth? By only 
one path, we cannot arrive at so vast a secret. 

But this discussion is for those who have leisure. Bow 
we offer prayers, not ..rguments. How much gain is it to your sac- 
red treasury to have taken away the rights of the Vestal virgins? 
Should this be denied under the most liberal emperors which the 
most penurious have established? The only honor is in that tri- 
bute to purity, as it were. As the duplets mike an ornament for 
their heads, it is thought to be an honor of priesthood to be free 
from civil duties. They seek merely the bare name of immunity, 
since they are free from taxes by virtue of their poverty ana so th 
attribute more to their praise, who tJke away some of their proper- 
ty, since virginity, dedicated to the public safety, deservedly in- 
creases in reputation when it is free from reward. Let these 
profits be absent from the purity of your treasury. Let the 
private purse of good emperors not be augmented, by losses of the 



priests but by the spoils of the enemy. Does that small gain com- 
pensate for unpopularity? Avi.ri oe is not in keeping with your cha^ 
ter. For this reason they are no re wretched from whom their old 
support has been taken, For under emperors who keep their h;nds of. 
of another's property bee. use they resist greediness, attention is 
prawn to the solt wrong of those losing, because tl e "esire of pos- 
BBescing by force ..ioves none. The private purse reserves fields 
for the virgins and their servants, bequeathed by the wish of those 
dying. I ber: of you, priests of Justice, that the right of private 
inheritance be returned to the scred institutions of your city. 
Let them make their wills with a feeling of security and know that 
what they shall have written is permanent under chiefs who are not 
greedy. Let that h opiness of the human race delight you. In- 
stances of this kind begin to trouble those dying. Do then Soman re 
ligions not have the protection of Roman laws? Y/hat agpe will the 
taking aWc.y of these privileges receive, privileges which no law and 
no misfortune ever made inoper tive? Free dm en receive legacies; 
just bequests in legacies are not denied to slaves* Only the noble 
JTesfcal virgins and the servants of the appointed ritual are excluded 
from the estates granted by will. How does it help to consecrate 
a chaste body to the public safety and to protect the eternity of 
your power with heavenly guards, to show character that assists your 
arms and your eagles, to make vows effectual in behalf of all, ana 
not to show justice to everyone? Is there a better servitude which 

Is the lot of men? Vse injure the st^te, to whom it has never been 
expedient to be ungrateful. 

Let no one think that I defend this cause of religion, 
alone. From deeds of this sort, all troubles of the Roman race 



-18- 

have arisen. The law of our parents honored the Veetul virgins and 
the servants of the gods with a moderate living and Just privileges. 
The integrity of this office stood even among the degenerate money- 
changers who turned the food of sacred purity into hire of day labor- 
ers. A public famine followed this act . nd a poor harvest deceived 
the hope of all the provinces. These ^re not faults of the land, 
let us attribute nothing to the south winds. Lildew did not harm 
the corn, nor did the oats fell for this. The sacrilege of the year 
w ~s the oause. For it was necess. ry that punishment come to all men 
because religion was neglected. Surely, if there is any instance of 
such a famine, we should attribute it to the changes of the years. 
[A very serious cause has produced this sterility. Life is prolonged 
'by the forests and ag..in the want of the country people flocks to 
the Dodonean trees. Such suffering did the provinces endure when 
public honor fed the servants of religion? When was the oak shaken 
for the use of men, when were the roots pulled up, when did fertility 
desert the alternating fallowness of these regions, when the yearly 
crops were the property alike of the people and the sacred virgins? 
For the living of the priests made the crops of the land more produc- 
tive and was a help rather than c. gift. Is there a dcubt that men 
always gave in proportion to the supply, because now excessive po- 
verty claims all? 

Someone will say that public money should be refused for 
the expense of foreign religions. let that opinion be far from my 

good emperors, that what at one time was given to certain ones by the 

private 

Btate might seem to belong to the emperor's purse, For since the 
state is composed of individuals, what originates from it becomes 
again the right of individuals. You rule all things, but preserve 



b*. 

esmooed 
N vie 3 9*10 



-19- 

for each his own. Justice has more weight with you than license. 
Consider your generosity and whether it wishes those things to be 
considered public property v/hich you have given to others. A 
privilege once conferred for the honor of the city ceases to belong 
to those contributing, and what was kindness at first becomes a debt 
by custom and age. And so, an empty fear he tries to stir up in your 
divine mind, if anyone should assert it, that you have the conscious- 
ness of those causing unpopularity unless you have the consciousness 
of those removing it. 

Let the secret guards of all sects look with favor on your 
kindness, and those, especially, which at one time aided your ances- 
tors. Let them defend you, let us worship them, Yfe seek that 
st. te of religion which preserved the empire for your divine parent, 
and which furnished legitimate heirs to a fortunate prince. That 
deified sire looks down from the starry arch upon the tears of the 
priests and thinks himself blamed, when that custom is violated which 
he e o gladly preserved. Prefer the correction of another's plan 
rather than follow your deified brother, hide the deed which he did 
not know had displeased the senate, since it is clear that the em- 
bassy was excluded, lest it have public hearing. It is a thought 
of former times, that it is the duty of an emperor not to hesitate 
to abolish laws which never should have been made 



-20- 



BOTES 

D.K. i.e. dominus noster 
KHEUH, i« e « domini nostri tres. 

The rale of redoubling the consonant ending of a v;ord when 
abbreviated, in order to represent the plural, possibly originated 
among the engravers, but according to Llomrnsen was invented by Afri- 
can grammarians c.nd carried into Italy. R. Cagnat , Cours 

D'Epigraphie Lutine , pg. 401 

Talentinian II was emperor of the west from 375-59 2. Theodosius 
reigned in the eastern empire 379-39 5. Arcadius was the son of 
Theodosius who succeeded his father in the east in 395, but he had 
been created Augustus in 383 when only a boy of five. 

AUGGG . 

Aug. is the abbreviation for Augustus, auggg for Augnsti 

tres . 

U.C. i.e. uir clarissimus 

Sec. I 1. 1 amplissimus 

There were several distinct classes of society in the 
Roman State. The senatorial class was the "amplissimus ordo" • 
Cicero always addressed the senate as "putres conscripti" . 

Sec. I 1. 3. diu pres. um dolorem 

The grief which had long been endured by the senate was 
the action of the emperors against pagcii rites, culminating in the 



removal of the altar of Victory from the Ouria in 382. 

Sec. I 1. 4. iterum 

In 38£, a deputation had been sent to Gratian who refused 
audience. This had been intrusted to Symmachus who was banished 
from Home for the offense. On three other occasions, delegations 
from the senate were directed to visit the emperor of the west, one 
on the occasion of this speech, one to Theodocius in Z88, and a 
fourth to Valentinian in 392. 

Sec. II. 5. divi 

Divus was a frequent epithet for the deceased Roman emper- 
ors. 

Sec. I. 1. 5. improbis 

Ambrosius of Llilan presented notes, alleged to be from 
senators, declaring that they were not in favor of this embassy. 
As the Christians formed the least numerous party in the senate, 
they could only express by their absence their dissent from the 
legal acts of a pagan majority. These notes of Ambrosius are gen- 
er lly conceded to have been forged. 

Sec. I. 1. 6, quia erat. 

In golden Latin, quia takes the indicative only when the 
reason is given on the authority of the writer or speaker, other- 
wise it takes the subjunctive. It follows the rule here. 

Seo. II 1. 1. gemino officio 

Symmachus was prefect of the city in 384. He also re- 
presented the emperor as Pontifex Lnximus and Princeps Senatus, 



-22- 

Sec. II 1. 3. nulla diseensio 

Symmachus assumes complete unanimity of the senate which 
is exceedingly improbable as the Christians would hot have agreed with 

the pagans . 
Sec. II 1. 5. ami ri ff . 

An example of Symma onus's excellent flattering eloquence. 
Compare Paul's introduction in his speech before Agrippa. 

Sec. Ill 1. 3. pars eorurc prior coluit 

Up to the time of Constant ine, Christianity was tolerated 
but pagan rites were maintained by the emperors. 

Sec. Ill 1. 6. ar; m Yictoriae 

The altar and statue of Victory had been brought by August ij|s 
from Tarentum and placed in the Curia, the new senate house, begun 
by Julius Caesar and completed by Augustus. The building was dedi- 
cated in B.C. 29 and presumably the altar was placed in it at that 
time. Huelsen, Ch. The Roman Forum pg. 117. 

Sec. Ill 1. 8. Victoriae debet aeternitas 

This is a statement probably used only for rhetorical ef- 
fect as it is doubtful whether Symmachus could have proved it. 
But Lanciani says the statue was considered a personification of the 
powers and destinies of imperial Rome. Lanciani, R. Ancient Rome 
in the Light of Recent Excavations, pg. 163. 

Sec. Ill 1. 11 colendam 

In this one short relatio, there are eight instances of 
the gerundive and one of the gerund. 



Sec. IV I, 1. ominis vit tio 

The Romans paid a greet deal of attention to omens, in- 
terpreting all strange happenings as good or bad omens. The never 
undertook any enterprise unless the omens were favorable, Sym- 
maohus reg. .rded the removal of the altar of Victory as a bad omen, 
for the statue and altar was a symbol of the Roman armies who were 
at the time engaged in trying to check an invasion of the Ostro- 
goths , 

Sec. IV 1, 4. Constanti factum 

In 355, Constantius II , by an edict which apparently was 
never executed, ordered that the temples should be shut and guarded 
and everyone should refrain from sacrifices. Violators would be 
punished by death and confiscation, and governors of the provinces 
would incur the s:-.me penalties if they neglected to punish offenders 
"Placuit omnibus locis atque urbibus universis claudi protinus 
templa, et access u vetitis omnibus licentiam delinquendi perditis 
abnegari. Volumus etiam cunctos a sacrifiis abstinere. Quod 
siquis alictuid forte huiusmodi perpetr; verit , gladio sternatur: 
facilitates etiam perempti fisco decernimus vindicari: et similiter 
adflgi rectores provinciarum si facinora vindicure neglexerint 
Gibbon, Edward, Decline and Pall of the Roman Empire, edited by 
Bury, J, B. Vol. II, pg. 393, 

Sec. V 1. 1. in leges et verba iurabimus 

"in legem iurare" was the form for swearing to observe 
a law, "in verba iurare" was to t;Jce a prescribed form of oath. 
The oath of allegiance to the emperor was similar to the soldier f s 
oath, the "sacrament urn" , which entitled him to carry on legitimate 



-24- 

wnrf are , 

Seo. T li 3| omnia deo plena cunt 

This use of deus in the singular by such an ardent pag .n 
and polytheist is interesting to note. Seneca, in the first cen- 
tury A.J), speaks of a single deity. In letter 47, he Bays, "Hoc 
qui dixerit, obliviscetur, id dominis parura non esse q.uod deo 
set est," and also in letter 53, "Tantum sapienti sua quantum deo 
omnis ;.etas patet." 

Seo VI. 7. iuratus ordo 

The senators were sworn on the altar of Victory to observe 
the lews of the emperor and of the empire. An offering of wine 
and incense was the ordinary prelude to public deliberations. 

Sec. VI 1. 2. idem 

Constantius II had removed the g ltar in 357. It was re- 
stored by Julian (360-363), tolerated by Valentinian I (364-375), 
and agi in removed by Gratian in 562. Eugenius who ursurped the 
power (392-394 ) restored the altar, and it was removed for all time 
by Theodosius in g94* 

Sec. VII 1. 1. ff. 

Constantius made a visit to Rome in 357 to indulge his 
pride and curiosity. His entry was like a triumphal procession. 
He had a splendid train and rode in a chair, gleaming with gold 
and gems. He was received by the magistrates and sen^teof Home, ' 
and the streets were lined with people, for a sovereign had not been 
in the city for thirty-two ye..rs. Constantius st yed in the ancient 
palace of Augustus, presided over the senate, assisted at the games 



-26 

of the cirous, and accepted crowns and panegyrioe. Hie visit 
last' d thirty d ys , during which he viewed all the temples and "mon- 
uments of power" and Bald that rumor had been inadequate in her ac- 
count of Rome, Ammianns 1. XVI a. 10 

Sec. VII 1. 2. sacrarum virginum privilegiis 

The sacred virgins were the priestesses of Vest: , goddess 
of the hearth fire. They were chosen by lot and served for thirty 
years. The Vestal virgins hadmany special privileges such as ex- 
emption from taxes, precedence over the consul in public, exemption 
from taking oaths, and burial in the Forum. A criminal 4 when being 
led to punishment, was freed if he chanced to meet a virgin. 7/ills 
and documents of stu.te were intrusted to their care. 

The order of the Vestal virgins lasted eleven centuries. 
Eugenius, the ursurper, was killed in 394; he was the last of the 
pagan tolerators. The atrium of the Vestals was thrown open to 
the public by Theodosius in 33 4. 

This atrium was the house of the Vestal virgins, analo- 
gous to a modern convent. Lanciani gives a detailed description 
of it. The house was a large, rectangular building with only 
one entrance. The cloisters, the atrium proper, was very large, 
out of all proportion to the rest of the building. It was 
surrounded by various compartments and there was a second story 
containing the bed rooms. This house is the prototype of all 
nunneries and convents. 

Sec. VII 1. 3. saoerdotia 

A priest's duty was to perform rites associated with the 
relations between the st^te and the gods. All priestly offices 



were held for life and special distinctions were aesoci ted with 
them. They were organized into various colleges or Quits, Ori- 
ginally, only patricians held these offices, hat pltblanfl gradually 
were admitted. 

Sec. VII 1. 4. inpensas 

Roman sacrifices would be deprived of their force and en- 
ergy if they were no longer celebr; ted at the expense of, and in 
the name of the state. Gibbon, Edward, Decline and Fallot the 
Roman Empire. Vol. Ill, pg. 192. 

Sec. VII 1. 5. delubra 

In the middle of the fourth century, guidebooks for the 
city of Rome stated that there were 424 temples, 304 shrines, 80 
statues of precious metals, of gods, 64 of ivory and 2785 miscel- 
laneous bronze statues. Lanciani, R. , Pa^ji and Christian Rome, 
Pg. 51. 

Sec. VII 1. 6. templorum 

Roman temples were used not only as places of worship, but 
also as galleries and museums. The principal temples at Rome were 
— The Pantheon, Temple of VEsta, of Castor, of Concord, of Faus- 
tina, of Mars Ultor, of Vespasian, and of Divus Iulius. 

Sec. VIII 1. 1. suus cuiq.ue mos 

A peculiarly pagan idea is the one which ascribes 
different goes for different places and different people. The 
Pantheon at Rome was a house for all the gods. It was really a 
liberal belief in spite of its lasting conservatism. Even in the 
Old Testament the idea of other gods than Jehovah is accepted. 
See the story of Elijah and the worshippers of Baal, I Kings, 17 



-27- 

and 18. 

3eo. VIII 1. 3. raens divina 

In the 6th book of Vergil's Aeneid, line 727, Anchises, 
Aneaa'a father says, 

"mens agitat raolem et magnose corpore miscet." 

Sec VIII 1, 4. genii 

The Romans conceived of a genius or second self accompany- 
ing every individual through life. It was regarded as a good and "ben- 
eficent being. Families, societies, cities, and peoples had their 
own genii, also. 

Sec. VIII 1. 8. se<iusndi ff. 

Symmachus was extremely conservative and yet we must have 
sympathy for those last ardent pagans. In their minds, the old 
"belief of many protecting deities was necessary for the welfare of the 
state, and they clung to their beliefs through their patriotism. 

Sec. 12 1. 6. Hannibal em a moenibus 

The second Punic War was waged from 218 to 201 B.C. In 
211, Hannibal attempted an attack on Rome, but was unsuccessful. 

Sec. IX 1. 6. a 8apitolio Senones 

In 290 B.C. occurred an uprising against Rome on the part 
of the Italians to the north. The Senones, who had been allies, 
furnished soldiers to the Etruscans. The Romans completely an- 
hihilated the Senones in 283 B.C. 

Sec. X 1. 3. indigetibus 

Heroes were elevated to the rank of gods after their death 



and regarded as patron deities of their country. 

Sec. X 1. 6. uno itinere 

Seneca in his thirty-third letter to Lucilius saya that 
truth is open to everyone "patet omnibus Veritas". 

Sec. XI 1. 2. praerogativa detracta est 

By an aot of Gratian in 382, food allowances for the 
Vestals and priests were converted to public use, legacies which were 
left to them were treated as property without an heir, and the free- 
dom from taxes, which they had previously enjoyed, was removed. 

Sec. XI 1. 5. vittae capiti 

The Vestal virgins wore a coronet -shaped head band, a special 
indication of their office. 

Sec. XI 1. 5. insigne 

All priests had s ome external distinction. 

Sec. XII 1. 3. fiscus 

The emperor's private purse was instituted by Augustus 
and was controlled exclusively by the emperor. It was replenished 
from the revenues of the imperial provinces, unclaimed estates and 
confiscations. The income was used for army and navy expenditures, 
provision of com, and public buildings. 

Sec. XII 1. 5. avaritia ff. 

Symmachus employs every opportunity of inserting a bit of 

flattery. 

Sec. XIII 1. 1. agros 



-29- 

The Vestals were exoeedi m*Ly wealthy, from the revenues of 
the order which possessed a large amount of landed property, from be- 
quests and allowances, and from gifts from the emperors. Lanciani, 
R. : Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Excavations pg. 138. 

Sec. XIII 1. 3. privata successio 

The Vestals could freely hold property and dispose of it. 
TheVaconian Law, 169 B.C. abolished female inheritance but the Vestal 
were not subject to the ooinmon law* 

Sec. XIII 1. 3, testamenta 

By the Twelve Tables, the code of laws compiled in 451 B.C. 
a man could dispose of his property as he pleased even to the point o: ' 
using up the inheritance of his family. Later this was regulated so 
that a man could not give more than three-fourths in legacies. 
Harper's Classical Dictionary. 

Sec. XV 1. 6. trapezitas 

This word is formed from the Greek word for table, derived 
from the table upon which the money -changers or bankers did their 
bus iness. 

Bankers existed in Rome as early as 309 B.C. They ex- 
changed foreign money for Roman coin, kept money belonging to others, 
lent money, acted as agents in sales or auctions. They seem to have 
had a modern system of book-keeping. Wealthy bankers who carried cjja 
business on a large scale were respectable persons, but those who 
degraded their occupation by becoming usurers were held in contempt. 
Harper's Classical Dictionary. 



-30- 

Seo. XV 1. 8. fames 

In 38?, after the murder of Gratian, the harvest in the pro 
vineea was so small that it did not suffice even for the country peo- 
ple themselves, to say nothing of the people of Rome. SymmachuB ciai 
that this was the gods' revenge for the violation of their rites. 

Sec. X¥I 1. 6. silvestribus arbustis 

At the time of a famine, the country people would flock to 
the forest where there was still some vegetation, and eat roots and 
herbs, etc. 

Sec. XVI 1. 7. Dodonaeas arbores 

Dodona was a city and oracle of Jupiter in 5pirus. The 
oracle was situated in an oak or birch tree, the priestesses inter- 
preting the god's message through the rustling of the leaves. 

Sec. XVIII 1. 2. alienae religionis 

Since the state religion was Christianity, paganism would 
be considered a foreign religion. 

Sec. XX 1. 1. divo parenti 

Valentinian II was the son of Valentinian I who had toler- 
ated pagan worship. 

Sec. XX 1. 2. legitimos heredes 

Gratian, the violator of paganism, had no children. 

Sec XX 1. 4. divo fratri vestro 

Gratian and Valentinian II were brothers. Gratian had re- 
moved the altar in 382. 



ms 



-31- 

Sec. XX 

Note the successful endeavor to secure rhetorical effect in 
tnis closing section. 



32- 



SOURCES 

Arainianus Marcel linus. 

Cagnat , R. Cours D'Epigraphie Latine. 

Encycolpedia Britannica • 

Gibbon, Edward, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, edited by Bury 
J. B. 

Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Roman Antiquities. 

Huelsen, ch. The Roman Forum. 

Lancinai, Rudolfo, Pagan and Christian Rome. 

Lancinai, Rudolfo, Ancient Rome in the Light of Recent Excavations. 
Pauly's Real — Sncyclopadie 
Seeck, Otto, Syramachi Opera.