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By Boniface Ramsey

St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan from 374 to 397, was once the most vital figures of the fourth century Roman empire. This quantity explores the big impression of Ambrose on Western civilization, and examines the complexity of his rules and effect; as a poet, ascetic, mystic and flesh presser. Ambrose combines an updated account of his existence and paintings, with translations of key writings. Ramsey's quantity provides a accomplished and available perception right into a fairly unexplored character and argues that Ambrose has stimulated the Western international in methods as but unrealized.

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Example text

Between the conflict with Valentinian and Justina in 385–86 over the imperial court’s demand for a basilica and the events of 389–90 that culminated in the Thessalonikan massacre and Theodosius’ public penance, there was yet another incident involving Ambrose on the one hand and the emperor on the other. Sometime in the summer of 388, the Bishop of Callinicum, a relatively insignificant frontier town on the banks of the Euphrates, was accused of having instigated the burning of a local synagogue in reaction to an unspecified offense supposedly committed by the Jews against the Christians.

This event undoubtedly took place in the period from 352 to 354, since Liberius was elected bishop in May 352 and was forcibly removed from Rome by the Arian Emperor Constantius II not long before Christmas 355. Liberius did not return to his see until 358; at that time Ambrose would have been 19, according to most calculations, and almost certainly too old for his mother and his sister, by then already a virgin, to declare, as Paulinus says, that he was ‘a young man who did not know what he was talking about,’ when he would joke with them that he was going to become a bishop (cf.

Much of the letter is a kind of defense of the burning of the synagogue (the loss of the Valentinians’ temple seemed to be of considerably less consequence), and Ambrose went so far as to declare that he was willing to take responsibility for the arson himself: 34 INTRODUCTION This is what I myself ask, O emperor—that you punish me instead, and, if you think this a crime, that you ascribe it to me. Why pronounce judgement on the absent? Here you have someone at hand, here you have someone who is confessing his guilt.

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