Veit Rosenberger "Individualization"

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Four letter-writers: Religion in Pliny, Trajan, Libanius, and Julian

Veit Rosenberger
"Individualization" is a both helpful and problematic term. If we follow the Munich Protestant theologian Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, for whom “individualization” is too vague because it describes everything and nothing1, the word is not a helpful interpretation for understanding a society. But then, Graf writes almost exclusively about the early modern and modern world. Since our task is to find traces of “individualization” in the ancient world, we might feel safe from Graf's verdict for the moment. One of the approaches in tracking down “individualization” is to delve into the ancient epistolographic tradition.2 In this paper, I would like to analyze the letters of Pliny, Trajan, Libanius and Julian.
That this approach involves serious methodological questions, if not insurmountable problems, requires no explanation. Firstly there is the question of quantity and quality. In the case of Pliny and Julian, we have a set of 121 letters; however, the correspondence between Julian and Libanius is much smaller. Libanius produced more than 1,500 letters that still survive. In some cases, it is doubtful whether a letter was actually written by its supposed author, as letters might be regarded as genuine or as forgeries.3 The corpus of the letters of Julian or Libanius differs in every edition; it can be a difficult task to find a letter from the Loeb edition in the Tusculum series or in each volume of the Collection Budé. Secondly, letters mirror many different communicative situations: a letter to a friend is quite different from a letter to the emperor, which might go through many hands until finally being read aloud to the ruler; some of the texts in the editions of Julian's letters are edicts that were sent to his subjects. Pliny wrote to the emperor as legatus Augusti in a Roman province, Libanius wrote as a professor of rhetoric. Furthermore, one has to be aware of the thorny area of “private” and “public” in ancient letters, letters originally written or later revised to be published for a wider audience and posthumous publications of letters. Thirdly, letters are only a fraction of our authors' literary output. It might seem unbalanced to ignore Pliny's Panegyricus, Libanius' speeches, Trajan's rescripts, Julian's Misopogon, imperial coins and inscriptions, to name but a few. By confining my research to the letters, I hope to shed unusual and fresh light on the views of the four authors. To some degree, all four writers belong to the Second Sophistic: the knowledge of Greek, the importance of paideia is paramount to them – with the exception of Trajan: his letters to Pliny are short and technical; but as a member of the elite, Trajan knew his Greek, too.
Taking into account and yet leaving aside all these methodological problems, there are quite a number of statements about religion in the letters of Pliny, Trajan, Libanius and Julian. Writing about two hundred and fifty years after Pliny and Trajan, Libanius and Julian witnessed a changed religious world. While Pliny and Trajan still lived in the heyday of the pagan cults, Libanius and Julian had to defend their paganism – hellenismos, as Julian would say – against the omnipresent Christians. Because “changes” can indicate the phenomenon of “individualization”, the analysis of the four authors promises to be fruitful. My thesis is that we can track down an intensification of “individualization” in the letters of Julian compared to the other three writers. In the first part I shall deal with Pliny and Trajan; the second chapter examines religion in the letters of Libanius and Julian.

1. Pliny and Trajan

Pliny the Younger's letters are, as John Henderson remarked, “oceanic” in scope – and can therefore be interpreted in various ways4. In the Early Modern period, Pliny´s confession became an issue. The edition of C. Plinii Caecilii Secundi Epistolae et Panegyricus, by Christoph Cellarius, Leipzig 1700, contains a iudicium, quo Christianum eum non fuisse, ut volunt alii, ostenditur. For early modern authors, it was an important question as to whether Pliny was a Christian or not. In the eyes of G. Boissier Pliny treated the gods with the greatest respect: “Pline ne parle jamais des dieux qu'avec le plus grand respect, et il ne paraît pas qu'autour de lui il y eût beaucoup d'incrédules.“5 In contrast to this, we find in the Zürich dissertation of Hans-Peter Bütler that the gods were hardly important in Pliny's letters: „Die Bedeutung der Götter innerhalb der thematisch so umfassenden und vielfältigen plinianischen Briefsammlung ist…ziemlich gering“.6 If one reads the letters looking for “individualization”, several aspects appear.

Superstition. Pliny gives no advice about orthopraxy, but he clearly states what is wrong: superstition. His personal enemy, M. Aquilius Regulus, worked also as an advocate. Regulus was a quaestor under Nero and succeeded in becoming a praetor.7 Regulus is described as extremely superstitious and greedy. He visits a sick and wealthy widow, prepares her horoscope and concludes that she will live on; a haruspex (of the cheap sort) comes to the same conclusion – the widow died soon after, not without having granted Regulus a part of her money (2,20,6). At another time, Regulus asked a haruspex how fast he could make a fortune of 60 million sesterces (2,20,13f.). Octavius Avitus, legate of the governor of Africa, anointed a dolphin, because he regarded the animal as a god. Pliny characterises this as religio prava. Funnily enough, the poor fish fled from the unknown smell of the oil.8 Each time Pliny hammers home how inappropriate superstition is to an educated man.

An important aspect in Pliny´s letters is the afterlife. Pliny muses about a tomb and the proper inscription: “Everyone who has done some great and memorable deed should, I think, not only be excused but even praised if he wishes to ensure the immortality he has earned, and by the very words of his epitaph seeks to perpetuate the undying glory of his name.”9 Although we might doubt whether this belongs to the field of “individualization”, it is worth mentioning because Cicero writes a lot about the proper place for the monument for his grave in his letters.

Dreams. Pliny refers about the late Gaius Fannius, who was engaged in writing the lives of those who were put to death or banished by Nero. He had already finished three books in an unadorned, accurate style and in the Latin language.

However, Caius Fannius had had for a long time a presentiment of what was to befall him. He dreamt in the quiet of the night that he was lying on his bed dressed for study and that he had a writing desk before him, as was his wont. Then he thought that Nero came to him, sat down on the couch, and after producing the first volume which Fannius had written about his crimes, turned over the pages to the end. He did the same with the second and third volumes, and then departed. Fannius was much alarmed, and interpreted the dream to mean that he would stop writing just where Nero had left off reading, and so the event proved.10

Pliny does not criticise this story as being superstitious. He comments on it with an almost epicurean remark: “Let us do our best, therefore, while life lasts, that death may find as few works of ours as possible for him to destroy.” In the famous letter to Suetonius about the meaning of dreams, Pliny quotes a warning dream he once had; he ignored the warning and was successful.11 There is method behind this apparent ambiguity – others may believe in their dreams, but an educated man will not allow a dream the power to change his plans. History offers enough examples of successful men who interpreted a dream to their advantage.

Temples and sanctuaries. The citizens of Tifernum Tiberinum selected Pliny as their patronus when he was very young. Pliny feels an obligation to them. He wants to give back some of the respect he had earned at Tifernum Tiberinum, and decides to build a temple at his own expense. “Now that it is completed it would be hardly respectful to the gods to put off its dedication any longer. So we shall be present on the dedication day, which I have arranged to celebrate with a banquet.”12 Pliny does not waste a single word on the god for whom he had built the temple. The temple was not the result of a deep religious feeling or of an obligation after receiving divine aid: Pliny simple felt he had to do something for the people of Tifernum Tiberinum. In another case, Pliny actually names the god:

I am told by the haruspices that I must rebuild the temple of Ceres which stands on my property; it needs enlarging and improving, for it is certainly very old and too small considering how crowded it is on its special anniversary, when great crowds gather there from the whole district on 13 September and many ceremonies are performed and vows made and discharged. But there is no shelter near by from rain or sun, so I think it will be an act of generosity and piety alike to build as fine a temple as I can and add porticoes – the temple for the goddess and the porticoes for the public.13

Pliny seems to have used the “functionalist approach” avant la lettre. Again, there is no word about a special relationship with the god, but this time he gives us the name of the god. He acts not sua sponte, but haruspicum monitu, he shows his pietas, he regards the temple and the precinct as a gathering place, and he seizes the opportunity to demonstrate that he is a good patronus: Pliny wants to build porticoes in order to keep people sheltered from rain and sun. In the rest of the letter Pliny discusses the architectural problems of the building. In the famous letter about the sanctuary of Clitumnus, Pliny offers an ekphrasis of the temenos: clear water, the temple and the image of the god, beautiful trees etc.14 Only one aspect is worth mentioning:

Everything in fact will delight you, and you can also find something to read: you can study the numerous inscriptions in honour of the spring and the god which many hands have written on every pillar and wall. Most of them you will admire, but some will make you laugh – though I know you are really too charitable to laugh at any of them.

The educated visitor, as eager to read the inscriptions as a modern antiquarian, might be tempted to laugh at the texts – probably epigraphical documents recording the healing of a sickness. But his humanitas will keep him from laughing at the naïveté of the texts. In all, if Pliny describes a sanctuary, he is the educated man interested in what the others do there. He shows no religious feelings. Probably the most personal statement about religion is in a letter to Valerius Maximus. When a person is sick: "it is then that he remembers the gods and realizes that he is mortal".15 That is the time when a man starts to behave like a real philosopher.

Pliny and Trajan. More than once, Pliny prays for the emperor: "I pray that all success worthy of your reign may accrue to you, and through you to the human race". (Precor ergo, ut tibi et per te generi humano prospera omnia (10,1)16. "I beg the immortal gods that so happy an outcome may attend all your projects" (10,14). In general, Pliny displays his pietas and loyalty towards the emperor.17 He petitions Trajan to award him the augurate or the status of Septemvir, ut iure sacerdotii precari deos pro te publice possim, quos nunc precor pietate privata.18 Once Pliny has reached the augurate, he used this priesthood for his self-representation, since his great idol Cicero had also been augur. Another aspect is by far more interesting: Pliny explains that he reveres Trajan with his pietas privata; the priesthood offers him the opportunity to pray for the emperor pietate publica – this line of thought seems to be the opposite of “individualization”: Pliny's approach to the imperial cult can be described as “popularization” or “publicization” of religion – and is thus in keeping with the “civic cult”.

What can we say about Trajan's position on religion in his letters?19 We know Trajan's letters only through literary tradition after the death of Pliny. What we have is the tip of an iceberg. In fact, an enormous mass of letters originated from the imperial offices during Trajan's 19-year-reign. The emperor responds twice on questions concerning sacred space in Pliny's province Bithynia (10,50 and 72; cf. 10,76). In both cases, the ruler gives the subjects on whose behalf Pliny had requested permission to carry out their building activities the green light to do so. In the letter about the Christians, Trajan backs Pliny's strategy, too. There is no mention of personal religion, no trace of an “individualization” of religion. This is due not only to the nature of an imperial rescript, but also – as I hope to show – to the pagan world Trajan lived in.

2. Libanius and Julian
Libanius was probably the most prolific letter-writer in antiquity. More than 1,500 letters still survive.20 Although he strongly favoured Julian's religious politics, Libanius does not differ significantly from Pliny when it comes to religion. In the letter to the praeses Arabiae Belaios, who persecuted a Christian, Libanius presents the case of Marcus, the bishop of Arethusa in Syria. He had been responsible for the destruction of a temple and was severely punished. He was put on the rack, flogged and his beard was plucked out. Marcus endured the punishment and gained enormous prestige; Libanius warns Belaios against producing another Christian martyr.21 In a letter to Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, Libanius remembers how he and Symmachus' father made vows for young Symmachus:
When he (the father) saw that I was not one to be dismissed out of hand, he told me much of your ability and prayed that by grace of the gods there would occur some such eventuality as would make you participate in my exertions. And I made the same prayer, too…22
As professor of rhetoric, Libanius had many students, some of them Christians. His most famous pupil was John Chrysostomos, his second most important Christian student was Amphilochios. When he became bishop of Iconium, Libanios congratulated him in a polite letter. It is worth mentioning that Libanius does not use the word “bishop/episkopos”; he describes Amphilochios simply as a good orator with the ability to move his audience. For Libanius, it seems to make no difference whether one moves people as a pagan rhetorician or as bishop. He certainly does not regard Amphilochios as a dissident.23

Julian was quite a dissident – Apostata – in the eyes of the Christians because he gave up the Christian faith. The debate about the exact moment of his apostasy, when he gained sole power or long before, is of no interest to us. As an emperor, Julian confessed to being a pagan, or in his own words, a “Hellenist”.24 He was the first to use the ethnicon “Hellenist, Hellenismos” in a strictly religious sense, to distinguish the worshippers of the pagan gods from the Christians, some of which also claimed to be good Greeks with a decent paideia.25 In inscriptions, Julian was hailed as restitutor libertatis et religionis Romanae.26 Julian's agenda was not the persecution of the Christians. In the words of Christian authors, he tried to convert Christians to the pagan cults.27 As Hubert Cancic has shown, Julian did not revive paganism, nor was he the “romantic on the throne”28. To say that his efforts “were largely divisive and served to fuel the rising tide of intolerance”29 is probably too harsh. Julian became a character in modern novels and is one of the widely known ancient persons these days.30

Contrary to the other letter-writers Julian has a religious agenda – and he is willing to write about it.31 Some of the letters are not private letters but rather more laws or decisions sent to a particular city in order to solve a specific problem. Since religion is omnipresent in Julian's letters, we are in the comfortable position of being able to make a selection and to look for hints of changes in traditional religious patterns.
Insights into personal religion. Julian was proclaimed Augustus by his troops in Gaul in 360. Seemingly reluctant, Julian accepted the honour. In the next year he was ready to fight Constantius, but the emperor died, leaving Julian as the sole ruler. In a letter to his uncle Julian, the new emperor describes how the gods had helped him (9; 5,382)
But Helios, whom of all the gods I besought most earnestly to assist me, and sovereign Zeus also, bear me witness that never for a moment did I wish to slay Constantius, but rather wished the contrary. Why then did I come? Because the gods expressly ordered me, and promised me safety if I obeyed them, but if I stayed, what I pray no god may do to me!
In a letter to the Athenians (284a-285d), Julian explains the signs given to him by the gods during his mutiny against Constantius. Two aspects are of interest to us in this subject. Firstly, Julian is, as far as I can see, the first pagan to say in a letter that “the gods told him to do so and so”. This is a clear sign of a radicalization in the relationship between a human being and the gods. It goes without saying that such a line of argument is inconceivable without the Christians.

Certainly, since the times of Herodotus – or even before, oracles told their clients what to do. But most oracular responses usually gave advice for rituals, for example on which gods sacrifices should be made to. Only in the mythological oracles people were told what they should do. Secondly, the specifics of the situation require consideration. Julian was about to usurp the title of Augustus, thereby bringing the empire to the brink of civil war. During the civil wars of the Late Republic, Roman generals hastened to demonstrate their access to divine will by employing personal or private seers. But as far as we can tell from our sources, they did not exclaim that they were acting because a god had told them to do so. Julian is a turning-point: there is a direct line from Julian to the exclamation Deus vult!, which gave rise to the first crusade. It should be noticed that other anecdotes about the usurpation show no traces of a change. The dream which Julian describes in his letter to Oribasius of Pergamon is perfectly within the usual set of dreams prophesying the throne.32

In a letter to Maximus, the philosopher, Julian talks again about how the gods urge him to act:
Above all, it is right that you should learn how I became all at once conscious of the very presence of the gods … I worship the gods openly, and the whole mass of the troops who are returning with me worship the gods. I sacrifice oxen in public. I have offered to the gods many hecatombs as thank-offerings. The gods command me to restore their worship in its utmost purity, and I obey them, yes, and with a good will. For they promise me great rewards for my labours, if only I am not remiss.
In another letter, Julian pronounces: “the gods told (keleuousin) to keep everything sacred as good as I can – and I obey them on my own accord”(21, 415C).33 Julian offers insights into his religious feelings. In a letter to his uncle Julian, the emperor exclaims that wishes he had more time to pray: “I do not even offer up many prayers, though naturally I need now more than ever to pray very often and very long. But I am hemmed in and choked by public business (29=12)”.
In a letter to Libanius, Julian talks about his problems during a journey. At Beroia, he sacrificed to Zeus and then talked to the senate about the worship of the gods.
But though they all applauded my arguments very few were converted by them, and these few were men who even before I spoke seemed to me to hold sound views.
Julian is quite frustrated and sounds like a disillusioned bishop (24=399D-400A). He received applause because he was emperor – and because the speech must have had rhetorical qualities. But the citizens of Beroia would not follow his advice. When Julian came to Batnae, he smelled frankincense and saw the victims ready for sacrifice. Nevertheless, Julian was not content with the situation:
But though this gave me very great pleasure, nevertheless it looked to me like overheated zeal and alien to proper reverence for the gods. For things that are sacred to the gods and holy ought to be away from the beaten track and performed in peace and quiet, so that men may resort thither to that end alone and not on the way to some other business.
In the same letter, we learn about Julian's sacrifices:
I sacrificed in the evening and again at early dawn, as I am in the habit of doing practically every day (401B).

Again, Julian is probably the first pagan to write about his sacrificial habits. Cicero or Pliny would never have mentioned such a thing in their letters.34 Julian does not oppose the god of the Christians. He sees no reason why "their god should not be a mighty god" – the god's only problem is that his that his prophets and interpreters are not wise. All they can do is to shout with a loud voice: “tremble, be afraid, fire flame, death, a dagger, a broad-sword!” So they are much inferior to the pagan poets (295D-296B).

Plans to change the pagan cults. Much has been written about this emperor's religious programme; a few aspects of his ambitious plans will suffice here. In the “letter to a priest”, one of the emperor's longest letters, Julian explains his thoughts about the proper priest. A priest should lead a life more holy than the political life. “You must above all exercise philanthropia, for from it result many other blessings, and moreover that choicest and greatest blessing of all, the good will of the gods.” Philanthropia means charity, for example helping former prisoners or feeding the poor. It also means giving money to those in need. For the Neoplatonist Porphyry philanthropia was already the foundation of piety.35 For this aspect, Julian evokes the nature of Zeus Hetaireios: how can it be that someone worships Zeus Hetaireios and yet refuses to give some money to a poor neighbour? It is necessary to take the epikleses of the gods seriously: “When I observe this I am wholly amazed, since I see that these titles (the epikleses) of the gods are from the beginning of the world their express images, yet in our practice we pay no attention to anything of the sort (291C)”. Since all people descend from the first humans created by the gods, all people are kindred. Thus, it is only natural to help others. With such thoughts Julian introduces the Christian notion of charity to pagan religion.

The fact that pagan temples were destroyed does not prove that the gods are powerless: Julian quotes Socrates and others who were killed although the gods loved them. The gods allowed the murder of Socrates and the destruction of temples because everything manmade is destructible. Nevertheless, the gods will finally punish the destroyers of the temples; how and when, Julian does not say.

Julian plans to revive the prestige of the pagan priests. Much of what he says reminds the reader of Christian ideas.
It is our duty to adore not only the images of the gods, but also their temples and sacred precincts and altars. And it is reasonable to honour the priests also as officials and servants of the gods; and because they minister to us what concerns the gods, and they lend strength to the gods' gift of good things to us; for they sacrifice and pray on behalf of all men” (296B-C).
Priests are so important, Julian continues, that they should be well-paid and should receive the same honours as the magistrates of the state. Then, the emperor defines a good priest: a priest must be respected unless he is guilty of a crime. But as long as he “sacrifices for us and makes offerings and stands in the presence of the gods, we must regard him with respect and reverence as the most highly honoured chattel of the gods”(297A-B). The letter offers further prescriptions:
Wherefore we ought by all means to hold fast to deeds of piety, approaching the gods with reverence, and neither saying nor listening to anything base. And the priests ought to keep themselves pure not only from impure or shameful acts but also from uttering words and hearing speeches of that character.
Julian wants to banish all offensive jests and comes up with a canon of writings appropriate for a priest. A priest ought not to read the works of Archilochos or Hipponax, nor should he read works of the Old Comedy. Good authors are Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, the school of Chrysippus and Zeno.36 Parallels to the canonization of the Bible are obvious.

In all, we know much more about the religious beliefs and practices of Julian than of any other pagan.37 In an ancient letter, it was not unusual to invoke a god, as the evidence of the papyri shows.38 Formulae such as “I greet you and I pray to all gods for you”39, “first of all, I pray to all gods that everything in your life shall go as you wish”40 or “if the gods help us”41 are numerous. Cicero, Pliny or Libanius often use similar phrases, like “by the gods”, “by Hercules” etc. Julian differs from the other letter-writers by the sheer number of invocations. In almost every letter, we find utterances such as: “the gods bear me witness”, “the gods know”, “by the gods” – (isasin hoi theoi (20=384D); “As soon as I became Augustus – not willingly, as the gods know” (21=414B). So Julian stands not for a change in quality but in quantity. He uses invocations to corroborate his agenda.

Is it possible to detect a progression, a development from Pliny and Trajan to Julian? Previous emperors had their favourite gods, too. Augustus propagated his close relation to Apollo Elagabalus attempted to establish the god Elagabalus in Rome. If we had the letters of Elagabalus, we might be able to find traces of “individualization”. In the ancient world, wealthy individuals could dedicate temples to their favourite gods. One of the earliest examples is Xenophon who dedicated the temple to Artemis in Skillous because the Artemis of Ephesus had helped him. Pliny the younger pays for a temple but does not mention the god who dwells in it. Although Julian has a favourite god, Helios,42 he wants to strengthen all “Hellenic” cults. And his plans clearly show that he adopted aspects of the successful Christians. While Pliny, Trajan and Libanius do not offer insights into their religious experience, Julian is different: he talks about his religious practices. Thus it is safe to say that Julian was the first pagan to display a new approach to religion, an approach we can describe as “individualization”. His philosophical influences, e.g. Iamblichus and Libanios, do not show such marked individualization because they did not have the ambitious plans of the emperor. We have much reason to believe that individualization gained enormous intensity with the rise of Christianity. The numerous martyrs who decided to give up their lives in order to win a better life after their death were powerful role models. In his reaction to the Christians, Julian introduced a part of this religious intensity and individualization to the pagan discourse.
Julian wrote letters to the Athenians43 and Antiochians just as Paul wrote letters to the Corinthians and the Ephesians. There is no better proof of the importance of letters.

1 Friedrich Wilhelm Graf, Zum Menschenbilderstreit in der Moderne, Munich 2009.

2 Cf. E. Dickey, Greek Forms of Address. From Herodotus to Lucian, Oxford 1996; K. Thraede, Grundzüge griechisch-römischer Brieftopik, Munich 1970; J.L. White, Light from Ancient Letters, Philadelphia 1986; S.K. Stowers, Letter Writing in Greco-Roman Antiquity, Philadelphia 1986; J. Sykutris, RE, Epistolographie, Suppl. 5, 186-220; Catherine Edwards, Epistolography, in: Stephen Harrison (ed.), A Companion to Latin Literature, Oxford 2005, 270-283; Carsten Drecoll, Nachrichten in der römischen Kaiserzeit. Untersuchungen zu den Nachrichteninhalten n Briefen, Freiburg 2006; Patrick Laurence (ed.), Epistulae antiquae IV. Actes du IVe Colloque International “L´Épistolaire Antique et ses Prolongements Européens, Louvain 2006; Silvia Corbinelli, Amicorum colloquia absentium. La scrittura epistolare a Roma tra comunicazione quotidiana e genere letterario, Naples 2008.

3 E.g. Peter van Nuffelen, Deux fausses lettres de Julien l´Apostat (La lettre aux Juifs, ep. 51 [Wright], et la lettre à Arsacius, ep. 84 [Bidez], in: Vigiliae Christianae 55, 2001, 131-150.

4 On Pliny´s letters in general: M. Ludolph, Epistolographie und Selbstdarstellung. Untersuchungen zu den “Paradebriefen” Plinius des Jüngeren, Tübingen 1997; J. Radicke, Die Selbstdarstellung des Plinius in seinen Briefen, in: Hermes 125, 1997, 447-469.

5 G. Boissier, La religion romaine d´Auguste aux Antonins, 2. Aufl. Paris 1878, II 171.

6 Hans-Peter Bütler, Die geistige Welt des jüngeren Plinius. Studien zur Thematik seiner Briefe, Heidelberg 1970, 10.

7 Ronald Syme, Tacitus, Oxford 1958, 101f.; Sherwin-White 1966, 93.

8 Plin.ep. 9,33,9.

9 Plin.ep. 9,19,3: Omnes ego, qui magnum aliquid memorandumque fecerunt, non modo venia, verum etiam laude dignissimos iudico, si immortalitatem, quam meruere, sectantur victurique nominis famam supremis etiam titulis prorogare nituntur.

10 Plin.ep. 5,5: [5] Gaius quidem Fannius, quod accidit, multo ante praesensit. Visus est sibi per nocturnam quietem iacere in lectulo suo compositus in habitum studentis, habere ante se scrinium - ita solebat -; mox imaginatus est venisse Neronem, in toro resedisse, prompsisse primum librum quem de sceleribus eius ediderat, cumque ad extremum revolvisse; idem in secundo ac tertio fecisse, tunc abisse. [6] Expavit et sic interpretatus est, tamquam idem sibi futurus esset scribendi finis, qui fuisset illi legendi: et fuit idem.

11 Plin.ep. 1,18.

12 Plin.ep. 34,1.

13 Plin.ep. 9,39; cf. P. Bracconi/J. Uroz Sáez, Il tempio della tenuta di Plinio il Giovnae “in Tuscis”, in : Rosaria Ciardello (ed.), La villa romana, Naples 2007, 129-144.

14 Plin.ep. 8,8. Nec desunt villae quae secutae fluminis amoenitatem margini insistunt. [7] In summa nihil erit, ex quo non capias voluptatem. Nam studebis quoque: leges multa multorum omnibus columnis omnibus parietibus inscripta, quibus fons ille deusque celebratur. Plura laudabis, non nulla ridebis; quamquam tu vero, quae tua humanitas, nulla ridebis.

15 Plin.ep. 7,26.

16 Cf. Jason Moralee, „For Salvations´s Sake“. Provincial Loyalty, Personal Religion, and Epigraphic Production in the Roman and Late Antique Near East, New York/London 2004, 27-30.

17 10,9.

18 10,13; cf. 10,17a,2; 10,35; 10, 100 and 102.

19 Cf. C.F. Norefia, The social economy of Pliny´s correspondence with Trajan, in: American Journal of Philology 128, 2007, 239-277.

20 Hans-Ulrich Wiemer, Libanius und Julian, 1995; G. Wöhrle, Libanios´ Religion, in: Études Classiques 7, 1995, 71-89; G. Fatouros, Julian und Christus. Gegenapologetik bei Libanios?, in: Historia 45, 1996, 114-122.

21 819 F=Loeb 103=Tusculum 51; Rosen 2006, 309.

22 1004 F=Loeb 177=Tusculum 63.

23 1543 F=Loeb 144=Tusculum 74. Some editors regarded the letter as forged, see G. Fatouros/T. Krischer, Libanios. Briefe, Munich 1980, 467f.

24 On Julian, cf. P. Athanassiadi, Julian and Hellenism, 2. ed. 1992; Glen W. Bowersock, Julian the Apostate, 1978; Klaus Rosen, Julians Weg vom Christentum zum Heidentum, in: JbAC 40, 1997, 126-146; Klaus Bringmann, Kaiser Julian. Der letzte heidnische Herrscher, Darmstadt 2004; Klaus Rosen, Julian. Kaiser, Gott und Christenhasser, Stuttgart 2006; R. Malcom Errington, Roman Imperial Policy from Julian to Theodosius, Chapel Hill 2006; Christian Schäfer (ed.), Kaiser Julian „Apostata“ und die philosophische Reaktion gegen das Christentum, Berlin et al. 2008.

25 In the New Testament, “Hellenes” is a synonym for “heathen”. P. Athanassiadi, Julian. An Intellectual Biography, London/New York 2nd ed. 1992, 122-131; J. Bouffartigue, L´empereur Julien et la culture de son temps, Paris 1992, 658-661; Rosen 2006, 242f. and 301f.

26 CIL 8,4326=ILS 752.

27 Hieronymus, Chronic. Olymp. 285,2; Gregory of Nazianz@, or. 21,32.

28 Hubert Cancik, Religionsfreiheit und Toleranz in der späteren römischen Religionsgeschichte (zweites bis viertes Jahrhundert n.Chr.), in: Hubert Cancic/Jörg Rüpke (ed.), Die Religion des Imperium Romanum, Tübingen 2009, 372. Cancic alludes to David Friedrich Strauß, Der Romantiker auf dem Thron der Caesaren, 1847. Cancik speaks of the „Sakralisierung des Bildungslebens“

29 So Michele Renee Salzman, Religious Koine and Religious Dissent in the Fourth Century, in: Jörg Rüpke (ed.), A Companion to Roman Religion, Oxford 2007, 118.

30 On the afterlife of Julian cf. Rosen 2006, 394-462.

31 Cf. Attilio Mastrocinque, Creating One´s Own Religion: Intellectual Choices, in: Jörg Rüpke (ed.), A Companion to Roman Religion, Oxford 2007, 391f.

32 Gregor Weber, Kaiser, Träume und Visionen in Prinzipat und Spätantike, Stuttgart 2000, 215-222.

33 21,414 C. Julian writes to the philosopher Eustathius that their friendship is strong because “it is inspired by the best education attainable and by our pious devotion to the gods” (44=9,416).

34 Christians talk pagans into conversion (24=401C). There are pagans so steadfast that the Christians do not succeed in infecting their sickness (nosos); Julian manages to convert a bishop to Hellenismos (35).

35 Porphyry, Letter to Marcella 35; cf. G. Downey, Philanthropia in Religion and Statecraft in the Fourth Century after Christ, Historia 4, 1955, 199-208; C. Rothrauff, The Philanthropia of the Emperor Julian, Diss. Cincinnati 1964.

36 Rosen 2006, 297f.

37 The letter to Basileios, by some editors regarded as a letter to Basileios the Great – contains not a word on religion (27=381).

38 Cf. F.X.J. Exler, The Form of the Ancient Greek Letter of the Epistolary Papyri (3rd c. B.C.-3rd c. A.D.). A Study in Greek Epistolography, Diss. Washington D.C. 1923; A.H. Salonius, Zur Sprache der griechischen Papyrusbriefe, Helsingfors 1923; W. Döllstädt, Griechische Papyrusprivatbriefe in gebildeter Sprache aus den ersten vier Jahrhunderten nach Christus, Borna/Leipzig 1934; H.A. Steen, Les Clichés Épistolaires dans les Lettres sur Papyrus Grecques, C&M 1, 1938, 119-176; G. Tibiletti, Le lettere private nei papiri greci del III e IV secolo d.C. Tra paganesimo e cristianesimo, Mailand 1979; R. Buzón, Die Briefe der Ptolemäerzeit. Ihre Struktur und ihre Formeln, Heidelberg 1984; J. Chapa, Letters of Condolence in Greek Papyri, Pap.Flor. 29, Florence 1998; M. Naldini, Il Cristianesimo in Egitto. Lettere private nei papiri dei secoli II-IV. 2nd ed. Fiesole 1998.

39 Amphilochios Papathomas, Fünfunddreißig griechische Papyrusbriefe aus der Spätantike, Corpus Papyrorum Raineri, Band 25, Munich/Leipzig 2006, n.1 (2.-3. century); cf. P. Brem. 58,4-6 (113-120); BGU I 38, recto 4-6 (2.-3. century).; in extenso Papathomas 5.

40 P.Oxy. 26,2783= G. Tibiletti, Le lettere private nei papiri greci del III e IV secolo d.C. Tra paganesimo e cristianesimo, Milan 1979, 145; P.Oxy. 42=Tibiletti 147; almost garrulous: P.Oxy. 7,1070=Tibiletti 158.

41 P.Oxy. 42,3069,20=Tibiletti 167.

42 Julian, Hel. 130C-131A; Rosen 54-63.

43 Jan Stenger, Gattungsmischung, Gattungsevokation und Gattungszitat. Julians Brief an die Athener als Beispiel, in: Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft 30, 2006, 153-179.

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