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Libanius the SophistRhetoric, Reality, and Religion in the Fourth Century$
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Raffaella Cribiore

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452079.001.0001

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Julian’s School Edict Again

(p.229) Conclusion
Libanius the Sophist

Raffaella Cribiore

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter attempts to enrich our understanding of the position of moderate pagans confronted with the Emperor Julian's extremism. It considers again the edict and the subsequent imperial letter that Julian wrote with regard to teachers of higher education. Whereas the traditional view imagines only Christian professors as the target of those measures, this chapter suggests that moderate pagans were also included in the intended audience. The reality of a paganism that included many lax and apathetic worshippers must not have escaped the burning zeal of Julian, sensitized by his recent conversion; to succeed, his plans demanded more committed worshippers of the old gods. The edict sent a shiver of concern through those whose allegiance to paganism was more moderate, like Ammianus and Libanius. Whereas Ammianus hurried to write that the measure should be passed over in silence, Libanius responded rather with a charged silence.

Keywords:   Emperor Julian, moderate pagans, higher education, paganism, Libanius of Antioch

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