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On Roman Time

On Roman Time: The Codex-Calendar of 354 and the Rhythms of Urban Life in Late Antiquity

MICHELE RENEE SALZMAN
Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 335
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnh4c
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  • Book Info
    On Roman Time
    Book Description:

    Because they list all the public holidays and pagan festivals of the age, calendars provide unique insights into the culture and everyday life of ancient Rome. The Codex-Calendar of 354 miraculously survived the Fall of Rome. Although it was subsequently lost, the copies made in the Renaissance remain invaluable documents of Roman society and religion in the years between Constantine's conversion and the fall of the Western Empire. In this richly illustrated book, Michele Renee Salzman establishes that the traditions of Roman art and literature were still very much alive in the mid-fourth century. Going beyond this analysis of precedents and genre, Salzman also studies the Calendar of 354 as a reflection of the world that produced and used it. Her work reveals the continuing importance of pagan festivals and cults in the Christian era and highlights the rise of a respectable aristocratic Christianity that combined pagan and Christian practices. Salzman stresses the key role of the Christian emperors and imperial institutions in supporting pagan rituals. Such policies of accomodation and assimilation resulted in a gradual and relatively peaceful transformation of Rome from a pagan to a Christian capital.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90910-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xv-xx)
  5. PREFACE
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. Part I. The Book:: The Codex-Calendar of 354

    • I INTRODUCTION: ANTECEDENTS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF THE CODEX-CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 3-22)

      A wealthy Christian aristocrat by the name of Valentinus received an illustrated codex containing a calendar for the year A.D. 354. Valentinus must have been pleased by the gift. The calligraphy was of exceptional quality, being the work of the most famous calligrapher of the century, Furius Dionysius Filocalus; Filocalus, himself a Christian, had inscribed his own name alongside the wishes for Valentinus's well-being which adorned the opening page of the codex (Fig. 1).¹ The attractive illustrations that accompanied the text were also somewhat unusual; these, the earliest full-page illustrations in a codex in the history of Western art, may...

    • II DESCRIPTION OF THE CONTENTS OF THE CODEX-CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 23-60)

      To create the Codex-Calendar of 354,¹ more than a dozen diverse texts were brought together and united into one codex. These texts were already in circulation and readily available in Rome when work began on this deluxe edition in A.D. 353.² Each text, therefore, has an independent existence, can be located within its own tradition, and is of interest in its own right; indeed, the background and sources for these diverse texts have been much discussed. Little analyzed or appreciated, however, is the fact that each of these texts was chosen for this particular codex. Consequently, the process by which...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
  7. Part II. The Calendar:: A Roman Calendar for A.D. 354

    • III THE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE MONTHS IN THE CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 63-115)

      Although the illustrations of the months in the Calendar (section VI) have been much studied, they continue to be misinterpreted. According to one view, the illustrations of the months were merely decorative, added to the Calendar for nostalgic effect; a second interpretation suggests that they were created for a completely different object and were simply reused for the Calendar of 354. Both of these views and the consequent identification of iconographic features of the individual months are untenable. Unlike other pictorial cycles of the months, the illustrations in the Calendar of 354 were designed for their context: for a calendar...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • IV THE TEXT OF THE CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 116-190)

      The visit of the Emperor Constantius II to Rome in A.D. 357 was a momentous occasion. Symmachus, in his famousThird Relatioof 384 (quoted above), described the city and its pagan religion, which so impressed this Christian emperor that he willingly gave his support to the pagan cult, its rituals, and its priesthoods. Whatever moved Symmachus to describe the visit in such glowing terms, his account is corroborated by a large body of contemporary evidence that highlights the vitality of late Roman paganism. But what was the nature and appeal of that paganism? What did Constantius II see that...

  8. Part III. The World:: Roman Society and Religion and the Codex-Calendar of 354

    • V CONSUETUDINIS AMOR: ROME IN THE MID FOURTH CENTURY
      (pp. 193-231)

      The Codex-Calendar of 354 with its yearly round of pagan holidays and illustrations was produced in Rome for a Christian aristocrat living under the reign of Constantius II. The content and the circumstances of production of this codex reflect its contemporary world. That world mid-fourth-century Rome has been interpreted according to two very different theoretical models.

      The first model focuses on the points of conflict, especially political conflict, between pagans and Christians. Like two modern superpowers, these two groups are seen as locked in a struggle to the death in a city polarized along religious lines. In drawing this conflictual...

    • VI EPILOGUE: THE TURNING OF THE TIDE
      (pp. 232-246)

      The tolerant atmosphere described at Rome in the 350s and reflected by the Codex-Calendar of 354 continued only for the next thirty years. A brief pagan revival under Constantius II’s successor, Julian (361–363), was centered in the Greek East; thus, although it must have encouraged some Western pagans, this movement had little direct political impact in Rome.¹ Under Julian’s successors, Jovian and Valentinian I, a policy of religious toleration prevailed. This thirty-year period saw a gradual undermining of paganism before the steady advance of Christianity, but it was not until the reigns of Gratian and the “most Christian of...

  9. Appendices

    • APPENDIX I. THE MANUSCRIPTS AND THEIR TRADITION
      (pp. 249-268)
    • APPENDIX II. COMPARABLE CALENDAR CYCLES FROM THE LATIN WEST
      (pp. 269-272)
    • APPENDIX III. LATIN POETRY OF THE MONTHS
      (pp. 273-274)
    • APPENDIX IV. THE TEXT OF THE DISTICHS (ANTHOLOGIA LATINA 665) IN THE CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 275-278)
    • APPENDIX V. DATING THE CODEX-CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 279-282)
    • APPENDIX VI. CONSULAR DATING AS A CRITERION FOR SOURCE ANALYSIS OF THE CODEX-CALENDAR OF 354
      (pp. 283-286)
    • APPENDIX VII. A FOURTH-CENTURY VARIANT MYTH
      (pp. 287-288)
  10. General Index
    (pp. 289-312)
  11. Index of Illustrated Subjects
    (pp. 313-315)