Early Church Fathers
1 i e. deceased.
3 Valentinian I.
4 Valentinian and Valens.
5 The play upon the words nomen (name) and numen (divinity) cannot be reproduced in English.
6 The evil omen resulting from destroying the image and altar of Victory.
7 i.e. to acorns for food.
1 This is the legation to Gratian referred to in §10 of the preceding letter; Symmachus fared ill, being ordered from the imperial presence, and forbidden to come within a hundred miles of Rome.
2 i e. deceased.
4 Valentinian I.
5 Valentinian and Valens.
6 The play upon the words nomen (name) and numen (divinity) cannot be reproduced in English.
7 The evil omen resulting from destroying the image and altar of Victory.
8 i.e. to acorns for food.
9 Valentinian I., who, as Symmachus said above, did not destroy idol worhip, though he did not practise it, so that St. Ambrose says in his funeral oration on Valentinian II.: "Quod patri defuerat adjunxit; quod frater constituit, custodivit."
1 Perhaps by a rhetorical exaggeration reference is made to Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, who reigned less than three years between them; or else to Pertinax and his successor Julian, each of whom was murdered under three months.
2 These emperors were Valerian, taken prisoner by Sapor and treated with great indignity by the Persians, a.d. 260; and his son Gallienus, under whom a number of generals, nicknamed the "Thirty Tyrants," claimed and exercised independent authority. "Gallienus made but feeble and desultory attempts to put any of them down, turning into wretched jests each new humiliation, and taking refuge in sensuality from the hopeless task of state reorganization."-Dict. Chr. Biog. s. voc.
3 Prov. xxi. 1.
4 The law of Valentinian, de Episcopis, of which St. Jerome says [Ep. LII. ad Nepotianum, vol. 6, p. 92, of this series]: "I do not complain of the law, but I grieve that we have deserved a statute so harsh" ..."yet even so," he adds, "rapacity goes on unchecked." With the conversion of Constantine the world entered into the Church, and bishops becoming great personages, ambition and worldly passions gained a hold on many, and the scandals and evil of succeeding centuries seem likely to last, till the world once more turns against the Church of God. (Comp. Fr. Puller, Primitive Saints and the See of Rome, chap. iv.)
5 Exemption had been granted to the clergy from municipal offices by Constantine, but in consequence of abuse the privilege had been restrained. (See note on Ep. XL. §29.)
6 See Sosomen, Eccl. Hist. V. 5; Theodoret, Eccl. Hist. III. 8.
7 Cf. de Off. Min. II. 78, 137, 138.