BIBLIOGRAPHY: The history of the destruction of paganism is a subject that has tempted many historians. Beugnot (1835), Lasaulx (1854), Schulze (Jena, 1887-1892) have tried it with varying success (see Wissowa, Religion der Römer, pp. 84 ff.). But hardly any one has been interested in the reconstruction of the theology of the last pagans, although material is not lacking. The meritorious studies of Gaston Boissier (La fin du Paganisme, Paris, 1891) treat especially the literary and moral aspects of that great transformation. Allard (Julien l'Apostat, I, 1900, p. 39 ff.) has furnished a summary of the religious evolution during the fourth century.
8_1. Socrates, Hist. Eccl., IV, 32.
8_2. It is a notable fact that astrology scarcely penetrated at all into the rural districts (supra, ch. VII, n. 7_9), where the ancient devotions maintained themselves; see the Vita S. Eligii, Migne, P. L., XL, col. 1172 f.--In the same way the cult of the menhirs in Gaul persisted in the Middle Ages; see d'Arbois de Jubainville, Comptes Rendus Acad. Inscr., 1906, pp. 146 ff.; S. Reinach, Mythes, cultes, III, 1908, pp. 365 ff.
8_3. Aug., Civ. Dei, IV, 21 et passim. Arnobius and Lactantius had previously developed this theme.
8_4. On the use made of mythology during the fourth century, cf. Burckhardt, Zeit Contantins, 2d ed., 1880, pp. 145-147; Boissier, La fin du paganisme, II, pp. 276 ff. and passim.
8_5. It is well known that the poems of Prudentius (348-410), especially the Peristephanon, contain numerous attacks on paganism and the pagans.
8_6. Cf. La polémique de l'Ambrosiaster contre les païens (Rev. hist. et litt. relig., VIII, 1903, pp. 418 ff.). On the personality of the author (probably the converted Jew Isaac), cf. Souter, A Study of Ambrosiaster, Cambridge, 1905 (Texts and Studies, VII) and his edition of the Quaestiones (Vienna, 1908), intr. p. xxiv.
8_7. The identity of Firmicus Maternus, the author of De errore profanarum, religionum, and that of the writer of the eight books Matheseos appears to have been definitely established.
8_8. Maximus was Bishop of Turin about 458-465 A.D. We possess as yet only a very defective edition of the treatises Contra Paganos and Contra Judaeos (Migne, Patr. lat., LVII, col. 781 ff.).
8_9. Particularly the Carmen adversus paganos written after Eugene's attempt at restoration in 394 A. D. (Riese, Anthol. lat., I, 20) and the Carmen ad senatorem ad idolorum servitutem conversum, attributed to St. Cyprian (Hartel. ed., III, p. 302), which is probably contemporaneous with the former.
8_10. On this point see the judicious reflections of Paul Allard, Julien l'Apostat, I, 1900, p. 35.
8_11. Hera was the goddess of the air after the time of the Stoics (Ἥρα = ἀήρ).
8_12. Cf. supra, pp. 51, 75, 99, 120, 148. Besides the Oriental gods the only ones to retain their authority were those of the Grecian mysteries, Bacchus and Hecate, and even these were transformed by their neighbors.
8_13. The wife of Praetextatus, after praising his career and talents in his epitaph, adds: "Sed ista parva: tu pius mystes sacris | teletis reperta mentis arcano premis, | divumque numen multiplex doctus colis" (CIL, 1779 =Dessau, Inscr. sel., 1259).
8_14. Pseudo-August. [Ambrosiaster], Quaest. Vet. et Nov. Test., (p. 139, 9-11, Souter ed): "Paganos elementis esse subiectos
nulli dubium est. . . . Paganos elementa colere omnibus cognitum est"; cf. 103 (p. 304, 4 Souter ed.): "Solent (pagani) ad elementa confugere dicentes haec se colere quibus gubernaculis regitur vita humana" (cf. Rev. hist. lit. rel., VIII, 1903, p. 426, n. 3).--Maximus of Turin (Migne, P. L., LVII, 783): "Dicunt pagani: nos solem, lunam et stellas et universa elementa colimus et veneramur." Cf. Mon. myst. Mithra, I, p. 103, n. 4, p. 108.
8_15. Firmicus Maternus, Mathes., VII prooem: "(Deus) qui ad fabricationem onmium elementorum diversitate composita ex contrariis et repugnantibus cuncta perfecit."
8_16. Elementum is the translation of στοιχεῖον, which has had the same meaning in Greek at least ever since the first century (see Diels, Elementum, 1899, pp. 44 ff., and the Septuagint, Sap. Sal., 7, 18; 19, 17. Pfister, "Die στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου in den Briefen des Paulus," Philologus, LXIX, 1910, p. 410.--In the fourth century this meaning was generally accepted: Macrobius, Somn. Scipionis, I, 12, § 16: "Caeli dico et siderum, aliorumque elementorum"; cf. I, II, § 7 ff. Martianus Capella, II, 209; Ambrosiaster, loc. cit.; Maximus of Turin, loc. cit.; Lactantius, II, 13, 2: "Elementa mundi, caelum, solem, terram, mare."--Cf. Diels, op. cit., pp. 78 ff.
8_17. Cf. Rev. hist. litt. rel., VIII, 1903, pp. 429 ff.--Until the end of the fifth century higher education in the Orient remained in the hands of the pagans. The life of Severus of Antioch, by Zachariah the Scholastic, preserved in a Syrian translation [supra, ch. VII, n. 7_81], is particularly instructive in this regard. The Christians, who were opposed to paganism and astrology, consequently manifested an aversion to the profane sciences in general, and in that way they became responsible to a serious extent for the gradual extinction of the knowledge of the past (cf. Rev. hist. litt. rel., ibid., p. 431; Royer, L'enseignement d'Ausone à Alcuin, 1906, p. 130 ff.). But it must be said in their behalf that before them Greek philosophy had taught the vanity of every science that did not have the moral culture of the ego for its purpose, see Geffcken, Aus der Werdezeit des Christentums, p. 7, p. III.
8_18. Mon. myst. Mithra, I, p. 294. Cf. supra, pp. 175 f.
8_19. Ambrosiaster, Comm. in Epist. Pauli, p. 58 B: "Dicentes per istos posse ire ad Deum sicut per comites pervenire ad regem" (cf. Rev. his. lit. rel., VIII, 1903, p. 427).--The same idea was set forth by Maximus of Turin (Adv. pag., col. 791) and by Lactantius (Inst. div., II, 16, § 5 ff., p. 168 Brandt); on the celestial court, see also Arnobius, II, 36; Tertullian, Apol., 24.--Zeus bore the name of king, but the Hellenic Olympus was in reality a turbulent republic. The conception of a supreme god, the sovereign of a hierarchical court, seems to have been of Persian origin, and to have been propagated by the magi and the mysteries of Mithra. The inscription of the Nemroud Dagh speaks of Διὸς Ὠρομάσδου θρόνους (supra, ch. VI, n. 6_26), and, in fact, a bas-relief shows Zeus-Oramasdes sitting on a throne, scepter in hand. The Mithra bas-reliefs likewise represent Jupiter Ormuzd on a throne, with the other gods standing around him (Mon. myst. Mithra, I, p. 129; 11, p. 188, fig. 11); and Hostanes pictured the angels sitting around the throne of God (supra, ch. VI, n. 6_38; see Rev. iv). Moreover, the celestial god was frequently compared, not to a king in general, but to the Great King, and people spoke of his satraps; cf. Pseudo-Arist., Περὶ κόσμου, c.6, p. 398a, 10 ff. = Apul., De mundo, c. 26; Philo, De opif. mundi, c. 23, 27 (p. 24, 17; 32, 24, Cohn); Maximus of Turin, X, 9; and Capelle, Die Schrift von der Welt (Neue Jahrb. für das klass. Altert., VIII), 1905, p. 556, n. 6. Particularly important is a passage of Celsus (Origen, Contra Cels., VIII, 35) where the relation of this doctrine to the Persian demonology is shown. But the Mazdean conception must have combined, at an early date, with the old Semitic idea that Baal was the lord and master of his votaries (supra, p. 94 ff.). In his Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte (2d. ed., 1906, p. 364 ff.), Holtzmann insists on the fact that the people derived their conception of the kingdom of God from the pattern of the Persian monarchy. See also supra, p. 111.
A comparison similar to this one, which is also found among the pagans of the fourth century, is the comparison of heaven with a city (Nectarius in St. Aug., Epist., 103 [Migne, P. L., XXXIII, Col. 386]): "Civitatem quam magnus Deus et bene meritae de eo animae habitant," etc. Compare the City of God of St. Augustine and the celestial Jerusalem of the Jews
[paragraph continues] (Bousset, Religion des Judentums, 1903, p. 272).--Cf. also Manilius, V, 735 ff.
8_20. August., Epist. 16  (Migne, Pat. Lat., XXXIII, col. 82): "Equidem unum esse Deum summum sine initio, sine prole naturae, seu patrem magnum atque magnificum, quis tam demens, tam mente captus neget esse certissimum? Huius nos virtutes per mundanum opus diffusas multis vocabulis invocamus, quoniam nomen eius cuncti proprium videlicet ignoramus. Nam Deus omnibus religionibus commune nomen est. Ita fit ut, dum eius quasi quaedam membra carptim variis supplicationibus prosequimur, totum colere profecto videamur." And at the end: "Dii te servent, per quos et eorum atque cunctorum mortalium communem patrem, universi mortales, quos terra sustinet, mille modis concordi discordia, veneramur et colimus." Cf. Lactantius Placidus, Comm. in Stat. Theb., IV, 516.--Another pagan (Epist., 234 , Migne, P. L., XXXIII, col. 1030 speaks "deorum comitatu vallatus, Dei utique potestatibus emeritus, id est eius unius et universi et incomprehensibilis et ineffabilis infatigabilisque Creatoris impletus virtutibus, quos (read quas) ut verum est angelos dicitis vel quid alterum post Deum vel cum Deo aut a Deo aut in Deum."
8_21. The two ideas are contrasted in the Paneg. ad Constantin. Aug., 313 A. D., c. 26 (p. 212, Bährens ed.): "Summe rerum sator, cuius tot nomina sunt quot gentium linguas esse voluisti (quem enim te ipse dici velis, scire non possumus), sive tute quaedam vis mensque divina es, quae toto infusa mundo omnibus miscearis elementis et sine ullo extrinsecus accedente vigoris impulsu per te ipsa movearis, sive alique supra onme caelum potestas es quae hoc opus tuum ex altiore naturae arce despicias."--Compare with what we have said of Jupiter exsuperantissimus (p. 190).
8_22. Macrobius, Sat., I, 17 ff.; cf. Firm. Mat., Err. prof. rel., c. 8; Mon. myst. Mithra, I, 338 ff. Some have supposed that the source of Macrobius's exposition was Iamblichus.
8_23. Julian had intended to make all the temples centers of moral instruction (Allard, Julien l'Apostat, II, 186 ff.), and this great idea of his reign was partially realized after his death. His homilies were little appreciated by the bantering
and frivolous Greeks of Antioch or Alexandria, but they appealed much more to Roman gravity. At Rome the rigorous mysteries of Mithra had paved the way for reform. St. Augustine, Epist., 91  (Migne, P. L., XXXIII, Col. 315), c. 408 A. D., relates that moral interpretations of the old myths were told among the pagans during his time: "Illa omnia quae antiquitus de vita deorum moribusque conscripta sunt, longe aliter sunt intelligenda atque interpretanda sapientibus. Ita vero in templis populis congregatis recitari huiuscemodi salubres interpretationes heri et nudiustertius audivimus." See also Civ. Dei, II, 6: "Nec nobis nescio quos susurros paucissimorum auribus anhelatos et arcana velut religione traditos iactent (pagani), quibus vitae probitas sanctitasque discatur." Compare the epitaph of Praetextatus (CIL, VI, 1779 = Dessau, Inscr. sel., 1259): "Paulina veri et castitatis conscia | dicata templis," etc.--Firmicus Maternus (Mathes, II, 30) demands of the astrologer the practice of all virtues, "antistes enim deorum separatus et alienus esse debet a pravis illecebris voluptatum. . . . Itaque purus, castus esto, etc."
8_24. This is clearly asserted by the verses of the epitaph cited (v. 22 ff): "Tu me, marite, disciplinarum bono | puram ac pudicam SORTE MORTIS EXIMENS, | in templa ducis ac famulam divis dicas: | Te teste cunctis imbuor mysteriis." Cf. Aug., Epist., 234 (Migne, P. L., XXXIII, col. 1031, letter of a pagan to the bishop,):"'Via est in Deum melior, qua vir bonus, piis, puris iustis, castis, veris dictisque factisque probatus et deorum comitatu vallatus . . . . ire festinat; via est, inquam, qua purgati antiquorum sacrorum piis praeceptis expiationibusque purissimis et abstemiis observationibus decocti anima et corpore constantes deproperant.'--St. Augustine( Civ. Dei, VI, 1 and VI, 12) opposes the pagans who assert "deos non propter praesentem vitam coli sed propter aeternam."
8_25. The variations of this doctrine are set forth in detail by Macrobius, In Somn. Scip., I, II, § 5 ff. According to some, the soul lived above the sphere of the moon, where the immutable realm of eternity began; according to others, in the spheres of the fixed stars where they placed the Elysian Fields (supra, ch. V, n. 5_65; see Martian, Capella, II, 209). The Milky Way in particular was assigned to them as their residence
[paragraph continues] (Macr., ib., c. 12; cf. Favon. Eulog., Disput. de somn. Scipionis, p. I, 20 [Holder ed.]: "Bene meritis . . . . lactei circuli lucida ac candens habitatio deberetur"; St. Jerome, Ep., 23, § 3 [Migne, P. L., XXII, col. 426), in conformity with an old Pythagorean doctrine (Gundel, De stellarum appellatione et relig. Romana, 1907, p. 153 , as well as an Egyptian doctrine (Maspero, Hist. des peuples de l'Orient, I, p. 181).--According to others, finally, the soul was freed from all connection with the body and lived in the highest region of heaven, descending first through the gates of Cancer and Capricorn, at the intersection of the zodiac and the Milky Way, then through the spheres of the planets. This theory, which was that of the mysteries (supra, pp. 126, 152) obtained the approbation of Macrobius ("quorum sectae amicior est ratio") who explains it in detail (I, 12, § 13 ff.). Arnobius, who got his inspiration from Cornelius Labeo (supra, ch. V, n. 5_64), opposed it, as a widespread error (II, 16): "Dum ad corpora labimur et properamus humana ex mundanis circulis, sequuntur causae quibus mali simas et pessimi." Cf. also, II, 33: "Vos, cum primum soluti membrorum abieretis e nodis, alas vobis adfuturas putatis quibus ad caelum pergere atque ad sidera volare possitis," etc.). It had become so popular that the comedy by Querolus, written in Gaul during the first years of the fifth century, alluded to it in a mocking way, in connection with the planets (V, 38): "Mortales vero addere animas sive inferis nullus labor sive superis." It was still taught, at least in part, by the Priscillianists (Aug., De haeres., 70; Priscillianus, éd. Schepss., p. 153, 15; cf. Herzog-Hauck, Realencycl., 3d ed., s. v. "Priscillian," p. 63.--We have mentioned (supra, ch. V, n. 5_54) the origin of the belief and of its diffusion under the empire.
8_26. Cf. supra, p. 152, and pp. 189 ff.; Mon. myst. Mithra, I, p. 310.
8_27. This idea was spread by the Stoics (ἐκπύρωσις) and by astrology (supra, p. 262); also by the Oriental religions, see Lactantius, Inst., VII, 18, and Mon. myst. Mithra, I, p. 310.
8_28. Gruppe (Griech. Mythol., pp. 1488 ff.) has tried to indicate the different elements that entered into this doctrine.
8_29. Cf. supra, pp. 134 f., p. 160 and passim. The similarity
of the pagan theology to Christianity was strongly brought out by Arnobius, II, 13-14.--Likewise in regard to the Orient, de Wilamowitz has recently pointed out the close affinity uniting the theology of Synesius with that of Proclus (Sitzungsb. Akad. Berlin, XIV, 1907, pp. 280 ff.) he has also indicated how philosophy then led to Christianity.
8_30. M. Pichon (Les derniers écrivains profanes, Paris, 1906) has recently shown how the eloquence of the panegyrists unconsciously changed from paganism to monotheism. See also Maurice, Comptes Rendus Acad. Inscriptions, 1909, p. 165.--The vague deism of Constantine strove to reconcile the opposition of heliolatry and Christianity (Burckhardt, Die Zeit Constantins, pp. 353 ff.) and the emperor's letters addressed to Arius and the community of Nicomedia (Migne, P. G., LXXXV, col. 1343 ff.) are, as shown by Loeschke (Das Syntagma des Gelasius [Rhein. Mus., LXII, 1906, p. 44), "ein merkwüirdiges Produkt theologischen Dilettantismus, aufgebaut auf im wesentlichen pantheistischer Grundlage init Hilfe weniger christlicher Termini und fast noch weniger christlicher Gedanken." I shall cite a passage in which the influence of the astrological religion is particularly noticeable (Col. 1552 D): Ἰδοῦ γὰρ ὁ κόσμος μορφῆ εἳτουν σχῆμα τυγχάνει ὥν· καὶ οἱ ἀστέρες γε χαρακτῆρας προβέβληνται· καὶ ὅλως τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ σφαιροειδοῦς τούτου κύκλου, εῖ᾽δος τῶν ὃντων τυγχάνει ὅν, καὶ ὥσπερ μόρφωμα· καὶ ὅμως ὁ Θεὸς πανταχοῦ πάρεστι.