Apollinaris Sidonius

Apollinaris Sidonius - Apollinaris Sidonius (5 November...

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Apollinaris Sidonius (5 November c.430 - 21 August c.483) Europe in 451 Dictionary and Thesaurus I: General Remarks Although a saint, a bishop, and an important figure in a turbulent age, Sidonius is remembered particularly because of his somewhat dubious literary talents. These were so admired until the revival of appreciation for good Latin that some 147 letters and twenty-four poems of his have survived. It is not a simple matter to reconstruct an entire life from such materials, and much of what follows may not be correct in detail. Its account of the course of events and descriptions of some of the institutions of the Late Roman Empire are true enough, however, and the attempt to weave the life and attitudes of Apollinaris Sidonius into this context accords well enough with what we do know of the man and his works. II: Youth (c. 430-456) A: General Situation in the Empire in the West 1: The condition of the empire had deteriorated badly by the time of Sidonius' birth in Lyon in about the year 430, and the situation of the western provinces deteriorated rapidly during his youth.
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a: By 430, the first invaders of the Empire, the Vandals, had moved to Africa, the richest grain area of the Empire, which they took and held in defiance of imperial authority. They took to the sea and their piratical attacks soon destroyed Roman commerce on the Western Mediterranean. b: The Visigoths, who had sacked Rome in 410, were settled in Aquitaine by a treaty with the imperial government. They soon threw off their federate status and established themselves as a separate kingdom. Always seeking to operate in a favorable manner with the Romans, the Goths nevertheless sought to expand: into Spain, against the Vandals and Alans left in the northwest of the peninsula, and in every other direction against Roman provinces of the region, Tarraconensis, Narbonnensis, and Lugdunensis -- the province of Lyon -- which stretched along the valleys of the Rhone and Loire. c: The Burgundians had been allowed to settle in Savoy, along the upper Rhone, perhaps as a counterweight to the Visigoths. d: North of the Loire, the rebel Bretons were poised and, the greatest Germanic force that would emerge in the future, the Franks who were experiencing a slow but steady growth of population that would eventually drive them to cross the lower Rhine and establish themselves in what is now Belgium. 2: The Empire had not responded well to this threat. a: The Italian Provinces, especially Rome, had been favored at the expense of the more exposed regions. b: Rather than putting aside personal interests, the central government had become the site of almost continuous conspiracy and treachery. Barbarians used this factionalism to advance their own candidates for the throne, hoping to gain advantages thereby. c: The heavy expenses of government; salaries, bribes, and, most particularly, defense, were met
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2011 for the course HISTORY 170 taught by Professor Romero during the Fall '11 term at Rutgers.

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Apollinaris Sidonius - Apollinaris Sidonius (5 November...

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