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Palladas and Christian Polemic

Author(s): Alan Cameron


Source: The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 55, No. 1/2, Parts 1 and 2 (1965), pp. 17-30
Published by: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
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PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
By
ALAN CAMERON
Eduard Norden's well known claim that
pagans only
read the New Testament when
they
wanted to refute it 1 has never been
seriously challenged. During
the first four centuries
of the Christian era the
only pagans
who can be shown to have had a
thorough acquaintance
with Christian
writings
and
knowledge
of Christian
teachings
are
Celsus,
Porphyry,
and the
Apostate Julian
2-all of whom wrote detailed refutations of
Christianity.
Yet it has often been
alleged
that there are allusions to Christian doctrines and even
echoes of New Testament
phrases
in the
epigrams
of Palladas of Alexandria. Now
this,
if
true,
would be of
great
interest and
importance;
for
although
it
has,
from time to
time,
been
contended that Palladas was a
Christian,3 there can in
my opinion
be little doubt
that,
like
so
many
other schoolmasters in fourth and fifth
century Egypt,4
he was a pagan. It is
sufficient to refer to his caustic
couplet
on the
monks,5
his numerous
poems
on
Tx5X ,
so
characteristic of
pagan
writers of the
day,6
and his ironic comments on the ' conversion ' of
the statues of the old
Olympians,
and on some Victories
adapted
to herald the
victory
of
Christ
7
(further
evidence is adduced in
?
ii).
The reason for this
pagan neglect
of Christian
writings
was,
of course, above all their
inferiority
from the
literary point
of
view,8
and it would be
especially interesting
to find them
being
read
by
a
pagan
whose business was with classical literature. Hence it is worth
subjecting
these
alleged
echoes of New Testament ideas and
phrases
to a closer
scrutiny.
It is the
purpose
of this
paper
to show
(a)
that there is no reason for
supposing
that Palladas
had
any knowledge
of the Bible or indeed
any knowledge
of Christian
teaching
at
all,
but
(b)
that he was nevertheless familiar with the
catch-phrases
and cliches of Christian
apologetic,
and that realization of this is the
key
to some of his most
enigmatic poems.
I
Georg
Luck
9
and Sir Maurice Bowra 10 have
recently
lent their
support
to the view that
when
Heracles,
whose statue had
just
been overthrown
(probably
in the
anti-pagan
riots at
Alexandria in
39'),
tells Palladas in a dream that
KOCipco
ouXeucov Kac
OeE'S Qv siCaov
(AP
IX, 44I,
6)
he is
playing
on or
alluding
to Paul's words in Rom.
12, II, TCr
Kcatp
sOUVE'UOVTrS.
Both
scholars admit that the
phrase Koapc) 5OUAEv?EtV
is common in
pagan contexts,
e.g.
TOb
KcipoV
Cj 8ouE5ovUCV
oi
6OKOoVTrEs
apXEtv (Plut.,
Arat.
42),11
but Bowra finds an
'elegant
double entendre
'
in Palladas' use of the
phrase.
There
is, however,
one decisive
argument against
this view.
KOCap)
is
only
a variant in the MSS of Romans for the textus
receptus
KUpiCO.
I do not know on what
grounds
Luck
(p. 460)
calls
Kcapc?
the textus
receptus.
KUpicp
is read not
only
in the Sinaiticus
(4c.),
Alexandrinus
(5c.),
Vaticanus
(4c.)
and
'plerique
codices Graeci'
(Souter),
but in the
Vulgate (4c.),
old
Coptic
(3-4c.)
and
Syriac
versions
(5c.)
and in citations from the Greek fathers.
Athanasius, Origen
and
Jerome
1 Antike
Kunstprosa
II
(1909), 517 f., quoted
and
endorsed
by Harnack,
Mission and
Expansion of
Christianity (tr.
Moffat
I908) I, 378,
with
506,
n. i.
For an
attempt
to
prove
that Themistius was
familiar with the New
Testament,
not in
my opinion
compelling,
see G.
Downey,
Harv. Theol. Rev. L
(1957),
262 f.
(though
Themistius does
quote
Proverbs
xxI,
I three
times, always
referred to
obliquely
as
?6yos TcOv 'Acravpicov:
see
Downey
again,
Studia Patristica
v, 3, 1962, 480 f.).
For
J.
Straub's
theory
that the authors of the Historia
Augusta
were familiar with Christian
writings,
see
below
pp. 240
ff.
2
See, briefly,
P. de Labriolle's La reaction
paienne (I934),
III
f., 223 f., 369
f.
Many
later anti-
Christian
writings,
such as those reflected in the
Quaestiones
of Ambrosiaster
(cf.
P.
Courcelle,
Vigiliae
Christianae
XIII, 1959, 133-69),
in all
probability
derive their
knowledge
of the Bible from
Porphyry.
3
Most
recently by
P.
Waltz,
REG
59/60
(1946/7), 203
f.
4
I have collected the evidence in ?? I and iv of
my
article
'
Wandering
Poets
'
in
Historia,
xiv
(I965).
5
Below, p. 29.
6
cf. Sir Maurice
Bowra,
'
Palladas on
Tyche',
CQ n.s. x
(1960),
ii8
f.,
and add to the
poems
he
discusses Anth. Pal.
x, 77
and
xi,
62 (henceforth all
references to
poems
from the Anth. Pal. will be cited
by
book and
poem
number
only).
7
IX, 528 ; XVI,
282
;
cf.
JHS
LXXXIV
(I964), 54
f-
8
cf.
Norden,
l.c. As Tertullian observed (De
test.an.I,
4)
'
tantur abest ut nostris litteris annuant
homines,
ad
quas
nemo venit nisi iam
Christianus'.
9
Harvard Studies LXIII
(1958), 459
f.
10
Proc. Brit. Acad. XLV
(I959),
260 f.
11
cf. W.
Headlam, J1. of Philology,
xxx
(1907),
300.
explicitly reject
12
Kalpc ;
it is
represented
often in citations from Latin
fathers,
but one
hesitates to believe that the few words of Latin Palladas
may
have known enabled him to
read a Latin version of Romans. It is
scarcely likely, then,
that the Alexandrian Palladas
should have alluded to a varia lectio in the text of Romans not to be found in editions
accessible in Alexandria.
It is
hardly necessary
to take
seriously
most of the
arguments
with which Teresa
Bonanno has
recently
obscured the issue of Palladas' attitude to
Christianity,13
but her
allegation
that in
x, 34,
an elaborate demonstration of the
futility
of
worrying,
Palladas is
criticizing
the Christian doctrine of
providence
should
perhaps
be mentioned. Here is
the
poem:
Ei TO
-r .IEXV SW'OCaCI Ti,
I,EpiIlva
KOi
IjIEAE'C
CO
1'
Ei s ?xkE1
TTEpi
cOU
sCallovt,
croi
T0i Ur Aei;
OiTrE pepitV(JcrElS 5lXa
baiodovoS,
o?T'
&paEhAi'jxsi'
&aX'
iva
croi Tl
IrXE,A 5caipovI
TOU rO o
?A?e1.
Everything, according
to
Palladas,
is ordered
by
God. Therefore there is no
point
in
worrying,
because we cannot even
worry
unless it is God's will that we should. Bonanno
takes this as an
implicit
attack on the Christian idea that divine
providence
can be
reconciled with human freedom of
action, which,
she
claims,
'Palladas non
poteva
certo
ignorare
'. But in view of the fact that the
problem
of the relation between divine
grace
and
human will was first raised in its extreme form
by
a Christian in the West 14 when Palladas
was an old man or even dead,15
it is
asking
rather a lot to assume that Palladas,
in the
Eastern
empire,
was
sufficiently
familiar with this
sophisticated
answer to
subject
it to
satire. For the same reason it was
hardly legitimate
for
Johannes
Irmscher to remark
of vii,
339:
o u 5 ? v a
p
a
p
Tr cr a
s yE?v6opv rTrapaoc
TCV
pE
TeKOVrcoV
' wie unchristlich ! ',16 and to
prefer
Grotius' translation ' nil
ego peccaram
'
to
Beckby's
'ohne verschulden' on the
grounds
that
caqapTavco
is a
'festgepraigter
christlicher
Terminus '.17 Did Palladas know that it was ? The
apparent ignorance displayed by
no
less a
person
that St.
John Chrysostom regarding
the doctrine of
Original
Sin caused no
little embarrassment to St.
Augustine
(c. Jul.,
I,
22).
In
any
event
attempts
to harmonize
providence
and freedom of will are
by
no means confined to Christian thinkers. The
pagan
neoplatonist Hierocles,
a
contemporary
and fellow-citizen of
Palladas,
wrote a treatise on
the
subject,
and it has been said of his
arguments
that
they
'
rappellent singulierement
le
grand
effort intellectuel
d'Origene pour
harmoniser le libre arbitre et la
providence'.18
Plainly
therefore there is no
necessity
to see
any
allusion to Christian
teaching
here. In fact
I would maintain that x,
34
is
merely
another statement of Palladas' often
expressed
belief
that
everything
is
governed by
a blind
capricious Tx)TI
19
and that man's efforts are of no
avail. cf.
x, 77, 3
f.:
TCO 58ai,ovI u1X qiiovYiKEl,
Cqlv
5e
T')XTIV c-rEpycov
ilVoaXiv ayaora.
This was a common belief in all
periods
of ancient
thought,
and I can see no
justification
for
detecting
a
polemical
reference to Christian
theology
in a
poem
whose main
purpose
is to
serve as a vehicle for Palladas' verbal
dexterity
(cf.
especially x,
73).
I
suspect
that most
scholars would subscribe to
Jacob's judgment: 'ineptum epigramma, quod
in
putidis
alliterationibus versatur '.20
12
See the testimonia cited by Tischendorf, ad loc. (I965). Pelagius' teachings
on Free Will did not
13
Orpheus
v
(I958), 119 f: x, 82 she takes to be a attract much notice before the
beginning
of the fifth
satire on the Christian way of life as a tirocinio century.
for the life after death
;
for my interpretation see below 16 At p. i65
of his very
useful
study
of Palladas in
p. 27. For her interpretation of x, 90 see n. 4I.
Wiss. Zeitschr. d. Humboldt-Universitdt, Gesell. u.
14
cf. Harnack, History of Dogma (tr. I897 from sprachwiss. Reihe, vi
(1956/7).
3rd
German ed.) III, 265:
'
The fundamental 17 Studia Patristica IV, 2 (I96I) 463,
n. 5.
importance of the First Fall . . . won acceptance
as an
18
D. Amand, Fatalisme et Liberte dans
l'antiquite
authoritative Biblical doctrine, but never obtained grecque, Universite de Louvain, Receuil de travaux
the same certainty, clearness, or importance among
d'histoire et de
philologie,
IIIe ser., fasc.
I9 (I945), I76,
the Greek Fathers as
among the Latin '. Gregory
of with full discussion of other
pagan
writers who deal
Nazianzus was incautious enough to say that small with the matter.
children were &rr6vqipoi (Or. XL, 23).
19
cf. Bowra, o.c.
(n. 6), passim.
15
See my
'
Notes on Palladas
'
? IV, in
CQ
n.s. xv
20
Animadv. in Anth. Graec.
1, 3 (i8oi), 259.
I8 ALAN CAMERON
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
Luck
(p. 461-2) pointed
out a
parallel
between
x, 58,
yfis ET-rrTlv
yupvos
yupv6oS
' UTrO
yctaiv
&aw-rrI.
KOii TI prrlTIV pOXOC),
yuvpvOv
opcov
-rO
rTAOS;
and I. Tim. 6, 7, oV65E
yap EioTlVEyKcapEV els
TOV
KO6apOV, OTr
oUSEv
EEVE)yKEiV
TI
8uv&aCu?a.
Compare
also a far more
striking parallel
from the book of
Job
:
a-ros
y
u
p
v 6
s
i
0 A
o
v EK
KOXliaS
piTrTpo6 pov, y
u
p
v Kai a w e X E c o
p
I EKEi.21
But,
as Luck
justly
observed of I Tim.
6, 7,
' it contains
nothing specifically Christian, just
as Palladas'
epigram
contains
nothing specifically
anti-Christian', and there are
many
even closer
parallels
from
pagan
texts. Luck
compares Seneca, Ep. 22, 15
'nemo aliter
quam quomodo
natus est
exit e vita'
(quoting Epicurus,
F
495, Usener),
and cf. also CLE Biich.
1949:
'Nudus natura fueras a matre
creatus,
nudus eris. obitis
gratia
nulla datur.' 22
Both this
poem
and
x, 58 display
a
decidedly
un-Christian
pessimism.
L. Sternbach 23
thought
that Palladas wrote the
following poem
'eo consilio ut cum
Platone Christiani deriderentur ':
S[copa Traos
yuXiS, SrljS, poip',
ao
X0oS, avayKnr
Kai
EaJ0i6
24
KpcTEPb
K K6pA t
KAaCi
paacrvcov.
'AAA' oTav
EXEA8T
TOU cbUro cc roS cs
rro6
8sEcrPi
V
TOU
0av&rou,
YpEyEl wrpOS
e6ov aOavcrov. (x, 88)
To this there are two
objections. First,
I cannot see
anything
in the
poem
to
suggest
that it
is a satire of
anything;
on the
contrary
its tone seems to be
perfectly
serious.
Second,
though
the sentiment
expressed-that
the
body
is the
prison
of the soul-is not inconsistent
with
Christianity,
there is
certainly nothing especially
or
exclusively
Christian about it.
But it is
decidedly
and
very characteristically Platonic; indeed Luck well remarked that the
poem
'
might
have been written on the title
page
of the Phaedo '.25
Beckby quotes
a close
parallel
from the
Pythagorean
Carmen Aureum
(70-i)-a
work
singled
out for
special
comment
by
the
pagan Hierocles of Alexandria. Moreover the
apparently quite
sincere
Platonic character of the
poem might
be claimed as a
legitimate
reason for
doubting
whether
it was in fact written
by
Palladas at all. For elsewhere he makes it
perfectly
clear that
he had scant
sympathy
for such fanciful
speculations.
In x, 45
he
upbraids
man for his
ueyaAocppocouvqi
(11. 3-5):
'AA' 6 rfT&rcov aoit rUcov O6vEpcbccaov
EvUpcaEv,
a avcr6ov ae
A?Eycov
Kiai
(prTov oupaviov.
'EK
TTilAou yEyovas.
Ti
(ppoVEi5
piya;
It is hard to believe that the
scathing
attack on Platonism contained in
x,
45
came from the
same
pen
as
x, 88.
I have noticed a
parallel
between
x, 79:
NUKTOS aTr?pXOHEV1S yEvvccbipEa fipap
1rT'
puap
TOU
TrpOTEpoU
p1OTOU lt6?EV EXOVrT?S
E?T
and II Cor. 4,
i6: El Kai 6 ?co)
avOpcoTros StapeipErTat,
&AA' 6 ?aCo avaKalvouv'Tat
iuPpa
Kaci rli?pa
: but as Zerwes 26 has
shown, the idea is a
commonplace. Compare Plutarch, de
E
apud Delphos
392d,
6 Tr'
?X?OS
Es
TOV
caIPEpoV TE?vrlKEV KTA., and Seneca, Ep.
58,
22,
' nemo nostrum est idem mane
qui
fuit
pridie,'
who
explicitly
traces the idea to Heraclitus
(cf. Diehls-Kranz, Vorsokr. F
49a).
There is, moreover, nothing especially
or
exclusively
Christian in the
passage
from II Corinthians.
Zerwes
pointed
out a close verbal
parallel
between xi, 386, 4,
the words of a statue of
NIKyT awarded to a charioteer called Patricius: 27 O UK ?
y
v co
S c u
p
6O v
o
;
TTa-rpIKic
5?55opiai
and the words of
Cleopas
to Christ on the road to Emmaus: v I 6 v o
S
TracpotKei
21
A. Rahlfs' ed. of the Septuagint, II
(952), 274. for the ms. 5ipog; ; cf. also T. W. Lumb, Notes on
22
cf. also Propertius III, 5,
14
; Lucian, Mort. the Greek Anthology (I920),
86.
Dial., x, I. 25
Luck, o.c. (n. 9), 459; Bowra, o.c.
(n. IO), 264.
23
Analecta Laurentiana, Festschr. Theodor Gomperz
26
In his Tiubingen Dissertation Palladas von
(I902),
398.
Alexandrie (1956; typescript, available only in
24
5EUp6s is a not altogether satisfactory correction
Tiubingen),
ad loc.
27
cf.
JHS
I964,
58.
I9
Ev
'IlpouacXArl
Kai 0
oUK
?
y
V co Ta
yEv6OVEa
Ev auJrTi (Lk. 24,
I8).
Zerwes himself
considered the
parallel
coincidental-the words after all are
commonplace-and
we must
surely agree
with him. A deliberate allusion here would
argue
considerable
familiarity
with the
Gospels
on Palladas'
part.
If Palladas was as familiar with the New Testament as
this,
it would be attractive to
detect in
x, 85:
wTrvTES
TG3) avarco
TrlpoOvtEOaa
Kai
Tpr?9PE6?ECI
cos
a
y
? X
X
o i
p
co v
ac(paoP?vov aX6ycos
a reference to the Gadarene
swine,
a
y
EX
X
i
p
co v
IEyaAlr poo<opEivrl (Mk. 5,
I
;
Mt. 8, 30;
Lk. 8, 32).
The
&A6ycoS
might then be
pressed
as a verdict on Christ's action
not unlike that of Thomas Woolston, as ' an
injury
done to the
proprietors,
and
unbecoming
to the Goodness of the
holy Jesus.'
28
However,
the simile is more
probably
the result of a
visit to the
slaughter-house
than of a
reading
of the
Gospels.
Sternbach
suggested
that in
writing x, 90, 4
f.:
OUTCOS EToitcA)os
- co
p
i a
s0ovAEUOIEV.
"E X A r v
ES
?
EriEv avSpES eTro5copE?Vti
(a poem certainly
to be connected with the
pagan persecutions
of
391
: see below
pp.
21
ff.)
'Palladas
procul
dubio Pauli
Apostoli
verba
(I.
Cor.
I,
23) 'lEIs
6s
KrlpUccYao
tEV
Xpior6v
E0ocTaUpCAbEvov, 'IoucaioiS pEv ox&av8aAov, "'E A
l
cr a co p i a v
respexit.'
The
passage
is also
quoted by
Luck
(p. 468,
n.
22)
and Bowra
(p. 262,
n.
3):
Luck
thought
Sternbach's
suggestion
an ' attractive
hypothesis
', Bowra decided that 'the text is
fully intelligible
without it.' Neither noticed that Sternbach had
misquoted
Paul's
words,
which are in fact
'louvSaois psv c<av6caAov,
E' v E a l 5E
[xcopiav.29
Further, Sternbach's
hypothesis
demands
that
!copia
should mean
Christianity
and
VEKpCOV
of 1. 6 be a reference to Christ. This was
in fact the view of Reiske, and
parallels
can be drawn from Celsus and
Julian
to
support
it.30 The reason
why
it must be
rejected
will become
apparent
when I discuss the
poem
in detail
(see
below
pp. 23
ff.).
It
might
also be observed that the
plausibility
of Sternbach's
suggestion
is not increased
by
the fact that in Palladas
pcopplc
and "EAArivEs are in different
sentences.
The last
suggestion
of this nature to be discussed is that of
J.
W.
Mackail,
31
that line
7
of the same
poem, x, 90:
aVE-rpaqpr yap
TravTa vvv Ta
-rpayuara
'seems to be a bitter attack on the doctrine of the resurrection.' The line
is, however,
clearly
to be connected with another
poem:
avEoTpaprcaV
c5o
op5
32
TOa
IrpaypocCra,
KaO T*fV
TUXrn
viv rv o-ruo xoOaaV EsSopEV (ix,
18I),
one of a series of
poems (ix, i80-I83)
that Palladas wrote on the conversion of the
Tychaion
of Alexandria into a tavern.33 It is difficult to entertain the
possibility
of a reference to the
resurrection in
ix,
181. But the clearest refutation of Mackail's
suggestion,
and
incidentally
the clearest
piece
of evidence that Palladas was
ignorant
of or not interested in Christian
teachings
is
provided by
his
poem
on
Magnus,
the famous
iatrosophist:
34
M&yvos
oT' etI 'AiSrlv KOrTEprI, TpoLEGcV
'Aivcbvsus
EiTyV: 'A v a cr T co v fXAu KaOi V E K v a
S
(XI, 281).
After death
Magnus
was
going
to
ply
his trade in Hades and raise
up
even the dead. That
the
poem
is
exclusively
concerned with the
extraordinary prowess
of
Magnus
as a
28
A discourse on the Miracles
of
our Saviour Fathers, presumably
under the influence of 'E?AuivEs
(1727), 38. The allusion would have added
point
if in the next verse.
we accept Bowra's
suggestion
that the
poem
was 30 See below n.
41.
inspired by the slaughter
of the
pagans
of Alexandria 31 Select
Epigrams of
the Greek Anthology
2
by Theophilus' monks, o.c.
(n. I0), 258.
The arch-
(I906), 330.
pagan Porphyry could scarcely
find words
strong
32
Lumb, o.c.
(n. 24), 59, suggests
cbs poc
for the
enough
to
express
his utter
contempt
for the
story
rather weak cbs 6opc
of the mss.
of the Gadarene swine : c&
p0Uo,
c&
Xqpos, yeXcos 6OVTCs
33
So Bowra, CQ, I960, I22.
TrXaTvus. Xoipcov TrAieos ...
(fr. 49 Harnack, Abh. Berl.
34
On
Magnus
see 0. Seeck, Die
Briefe
des
Akad. I9I6).
Libanius
(I906), 200, Magnus
Iv.
29
'EANioi is attested in a few citations from Greek
20 ALAN CAMERON
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
physician (of
which we hear also from
Eunapius,
Vit. Soph.
498)
is
proved by
the
position
of KCai. If Palladas had wished to make a
play
on the Christian
&va&orcans
vEKpCoV
he could
easily
have said that
Magnus
also was able to raise
up
the
dead,
thus
blasphemously placing
him on a
par
with Christ.35 But
clearly
there is a world of difference between '
Magnus
as
well will raise the dead ' and '
Magnus
will raise even the dead '. The
poem
would lose its
point completely
if
any
reference to the resurrection were intended. If then Palladas could
actually
use the technical term
avicrrrlp together
with VEKUvaS
apparently
without
any
ulterior
motive,
a
fortiori
he did not intend a reference to the resurrection with the word
avacorpEcco,
which is never used in this sense
by
Christian writers.
II
That there is no evidence that Palladas knew
anything
of the Bible or Christian
doctrine is no more than we should have
expected
from a
pagan
man of letters of the
day.
Yet no one who lived in
late-fourth-century
Alexandria could have failed to know
something
about
Christianity.
And indeed Palladas did
not,
like
Macrobius,
for
instance,
shut his
eyes
to the new
religion
and
pretend
that it did not exist: he refers
quite openly
to the
Christians
(Ix, 528)
and to the monks
(XI, 384),
and devoted a number of
poems
to the
destruction of the
pagan temples
and statues
by
the Christians in
39I.
It would
not,
therefore,
be
altogether astonishing
if we could detect in the
poems
he wrote at this time
some echoes of Christian
apologetic,
traces of the
anti-pagan arguments
the militant
Christians of Alexandria hurled
against
those of their fellow-citizens who
stubbornly
refused to see the
light.
It has
long
been realised that x, 82, 89, 90
and 91, poems obviously
connected with one
another, allude in dark and
mysterious language
to the defeat sustained
by
the
pagans
in
39I,
the
year
the Christians
destroyed
the
Serapeum
of Alexandria, a wonder of the Ancient
World, and one of the last bastions of
paganism.36
It is
my
belief that the
mystery
can be
solved and the
poems
made to
yield
a
perfectly
clear and consistent
meaning
if we assume
that Palladas is
assigning
to words the
meaning they
bear in Christian
anti-pagan writings.
The most
important-and
most
enigmatic-of
these
poems
are
x,
90 and 91:
&r
TTS
pEyliaolS
TOU
9
o 6 v o uV
TovTrpiaCs.
TOV
EvT1JxfUX piCE1 TIS,
O v 0 E 6
S9
iA ET.
oUTrcoS a v 6rO T o I T 06v e
Ocp
wXTrAav Ea,
OUTrcoS ?TOIroCOs
pcopia
p AouAsV
OpEv.
E AX A rv E S E&CEV
av5pES
ECTr0oScoEVOt,
V E K
p
CO V
EXOVTES EATlcSaS T?EaoppEoVaoc
avEcaTpaprj yap
TravTa vuv Tra
TrpaypiaTra.
(x,
90)
OTaCV a T -r
y
ri
TS
av6pa,
T o v Oe
Os (piAXE
o0CTOS
pE'yiaTrrlv
i co
p
i a v
KaTrEiCayWr
(pavEp5s yap
aOvrTZ TCO OeEc
KOpucycraETl,
X
6 A O v
pEyi0oov
EK ) 0 O6 v o u
8ESEypEVOS,
6?i
yap qIAEIv EK?EVOV,
6 V 0 6 O S A X E .
(x, 91)
The thrice
repeated
6v
(r6v)
E6OS cpiAeT
must be a reference to a definite
person,
and this
can
only be, as Lacombrade and
Keydell independently
37
realized, Theophilos, patriarch
of Alexandria from
385-4I2.
This rafher obvious
pun
on
Theophilus'
name seems to have
been not
displeasing
to the
patriarch himself, for
Synesius actually
makes use of it in a
letter addressed to
Theophilus,
6
OEopiAEorc-raos
T'arTlp
EE6oAXos (ep. 105),
and elsewhere
as well
(ep. I2).
Palladas'
description
of him as
E?v'Uxri presumably
refers to the
victory
he
won over the
pagans
in
39I,
when all the statues of the old
gods
were
destroyed
and
many
35
Pagans often asserted that Christ was merely a very common motif in Christian literature; cf.
very able magician, placing him on a level with, and Harnack, Mission, Bk. ii, Ch. 2, and, more
recently,
sometimes below (Lactantius, Div. Inst. v, 3) R. Arbesman, Traditio x
(I954),
I f.
Apollonius of Tyana and Apuleius. Cf. Arnobius,
36
It was Reiske who first connected the
poems
Adv. Nat. I, 52 f. for a list of magicians compared
with Theodosius' anti-pagan edict of
39I,
Cod.
with Christ; Augustine, ep. 5
and Eunapius, Vit. Theod. xvi, io,
i
(cited
in the Didot edition,
ad
loc.).
Soph., praef.
for adulation of Apollonius. Christ
37
Lacombrade,
Pallas
(153), 23 ; Keydell,
as the healer and physician par excellence is in fact a Byz. Zeit. L ( 957), i.
21
uncompromising
adherents of the old
religions
were forced to flee Alexandria
(Rufinus,
HE
II, 22, Socrates,
HE
v, I6).
In
90, 5
he states
emphatically
that the 'Hellenes '-
and at this
period
the word can
only
mean'
pagans
' 38-are done
for,
' burnt to ashes '. The
vivid word
orrobcopEvot
rings
a
striking
note of
finality.
The
repetition
of
"'EXArqv
in a
similar context in
go, 5, 82,
2 and
89,
2 and the allusions to
Theophilus
in both
go
and 9I
prove beyond any
reasonable doubt that all these
poems
are connected with the defeat of
the
pagan
and
victory
of the Christian
cause,
and all the other allusions in the
poems
must,
therefore,
be
interpreted
in this
light.
I
propose
to
interpret
them on the
assumption
that
Palladas is
deliberately using
words that Christians used to attack
pagans
and
pagan
beliefs.
First,
what of the thrice
repeated (pOvos
? 'Woe for the wickedness of
906vos
'
(90, I),
' we
(pagans)
are
stupidly
led
astray by (pO6vos
'
(90, 3),
'
p6ovos
has
brought
wrath
down
upon
the
enemy
of
Theophilus (91,4).'
Now p06vos bulks
large
in Christian
writings,
and it is no mere
lexicographer's
whim that ' Suidas ' has two
separate
entries for
the
word,
one as used
by
St.
Paul,
the other as used
by pagan
writers. A number of
interesting
remarks will be found in the homilies devoted to
po6vos
by
St. Basil and St.
John
Chrysostom (PG 3I, 372 f.;
PG
63, 679 f.).
It was
responsible, they
tell
us,
for most of the
great
crimes in
history: Cain,
for
example,
was seized with qO6vos of
Abel,
Saul of
David,
Jacob's
sons of their brother
Joseph,
and,
Basil
emphasizes (377),
the
P?ytcrros
906voS
of all
was the crucifixion
(here following
the
Gospels, e.g.
Matt.
27,
I8 Sia
yeO6vov TrapEScoKaV
cOr6v).
St.
Chrysostom
dwells on the evils of
pq)ovos
on numerous occasions,39
and at
horn. in
Joann.
LXV
(PG 59, 359)
he
says
that it T'a avco KrTCO ETroirlcEV :
compare
Palladas'
aVE?Tpaypl
... w'TaVTc vUv Tr&
rrpa&ypara (90,
8).
At
9I, 3
Palladas
says
that as a result of
this
(p0ovos Theophilus' enemy
is
fighting god himself,
(p
a v ? p C6
S yap
aucr TCr 0E ? 5
Kop
c-ETc a .
According
to Basil
p6ovos
is
EVacVTicoc1S -Tp6os
OE6v
(376
f.),
what caused the Devil to
become
pavEpcoS 0E?opaxos,
it is
vocros
?eo,paXcias
5i5a'cKa?oS and causes a man to become
EX0p6S
OEou0
&yatOo
Kaic
a&povou (380).
For
Chrysostom
also 6
pacXoKacivCOv
Tr OEC
paXE)(-rTa
(PG
LXIII,
679).
Moreover it is a
commonplace
of Christian
writings
that it is
(qpovos
that
causes the Devil to work for the
disruption
of the church and the destruction of man. To
cite
just
one
example,
from St. Basil
again
:
'
TOY
aPXE?KCaKov
8caipova EIS
TOV KoXTO
avepcbrrcov ?IoV? w6pEov ;
o <
;
39a
Indeed
qpo6vos
is often used
concretely
meaning simply
'the Devil'
(e.g.
Eusebius,
Vita Const. I,
49, 2),
and
compare
also the
following
Christian
inscription:
2[Tra]pov [rrapovTos]
ou'?v
1rX)(VEt (== iXO?'Et)
0eovoS.39b
A
remarkably
close
parallel
to Palladas' Tf1jS pEyiCorT1s
TOo
(pe6vou
TrovTlpias
is
provided
by
the
closing
lines of the last book of
George
Pisides' De
Exped.
Pers.:
pXAac-r-r,
Xpi?
. .
EK Tr
S
T o r a u r
TS
T o p
q0
e v o u K a K O U
p y
i a . In view of the
frequency
of Christian
denunciations of
Pqo6vos
it is
hardly necessary
to
suppose
that
George was, either
deliberately
or
unconsciously, imitating Palladas,
but it is
certainly possible.
To
judge
by
the
frequent
imitations of Palladas
by
the
poetic
nun
Kasia,40
and
by
the fact that Constantine
Cephalas
included more
epigrams
of Palladas in his
Anthology
than of
any
other
poet,
he seems to
have been
very popular
in the
literary
circles of
Constantinople.
But if
George
was
recalling
Palladas'
words,
then it is
interesting
to note that he
obviously
took them in a Christian
sense.
Now TAacvcobEOa in 90,3. -rrAav'i and iTAav&aOcal are standard terms in Christian writers
to
designate paganism.
To take a few
examples
at
random, rl T?Epi
Tra EScoNa KOCi
6atipovas
r X a v r
(Eusebius,
HE
viii,
14, 8); &a0?s
r X acr cb
V C a ,
y
?vpi U X a avco ur iv,
38
'EAXrIv is the regular Greek word for
'
pagan
'
is certain
(cf.
the parallels quoted by E. Peterson, Eli
from the fourth
century
on: see K. Lechner, Oes6, I926, 35). For a number of Judaeo-Christian
Hellenen und Barbaren irm Weltbild der Byzantiner, amulets from Africa in the Later Empire designed
Diss.
Muinchen, 1954, I6-37,
and cf. also now I. to ward off
invidia,
cf. A.
Merlin,
REA XLII
(I940),
Opelt, Vigiliae
Christianae xix
(I965), 7 f. 486 f.
39
cf. the index to PG
64, 277-8, s.v. invidia.
40
Pointed out by Luck, o.c.
(n. 9), 470, n. 71.
39a
PG
31, 376a:
for
many more
examples see Kasia has 8 consecutive poems on the subject of
G.
J.
M.
Bartelink, Vigiliae
Christianae xii
(1958), qp6vos, e.g. 9eoveIv tpl so5s poI
XpIaT-
....
(edited by
37
f.
K. Krumbacher, SB Miinchen, I897, 359).
39b
Gregoire, Recueil No. 230 ter : the restoration
22 ALAN CAMERON
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
etc., passim
in Clement of Alexandria
(cf.
Stahlin's
index,
G.C.S.
39, p. 649 f.);
ol
Tracvc'bEvoI
(Theodoret, HE,
IV, I8, I2
andpassim).
It is
very
often found
coupled directly
with
"E?AArvEs, as,
for
example,
i
'EAAXrIVlK] Trravri
(Theodoret,
HE
v, 2I, i)
and even in
an
imperial law, rTIVE
EpvrpTVTai
'T TC TV avocriov KaCI
pucvapc55v
'
E A A r v co v wT A a v
KcrTEXO6EVOI
(Cod. Just. I, xi,
io).
This
contemptuous designation
of the beliefs and
observances that had led Rome
safely through
ten centuries of
glorious history
as rrwavri
naturally
rankled with
pagans.
This comes out
clearly
in the
aggressively pagan
historian
Zosimus,
who describes how Theodosius addressed the Roman
senate, TrapcancKacv &dcpiEvcat
pkv,
co a u T
o S
A
s y E v, iv
TrpTrEpov pE'TrlE-aV rT X a v
rq
v, XAEcr0ocx 5E TOV
Xpittravcov
Trio-rv
(IV, 59).
Is it a
coincidence, then,
that Palladas used this of all words to describe
pagans
in a
poem, moreover,
that laments their
folly
and
hostility
to the Patriarch himself ? It
may
be that he uses it in the same sense a few
poems later,
at
x, 97,
6:
TOTE KaT' EaCovUTQV Tf IT A
&C
V
T1 CKOTOUIEVOS
iUcyCo -rTa
TavTrc TrfS dt&rlia Xcaptv.
Compare
also the lines
immediately preceding
that
already
cited from
George
Pisides for
the combination of TrAavi and
po8vos
in a
prayer
to Christ
(De Exped.
Persica
III, 439
f.)
XETpacs cx3&.. o .ravpco
v
...
.
auvas
.
..rpos
T-
Aica Trs TrS
A
a v T
S ... uparTovs Troirlo-ov
cauTa T- co
q
e v
cp.
Perhaps
the most
puzzling
line in the
poems
is
90,
6:
VEKpCOV
EXOVTES
EwTri5aS
T'Eapp[Evas.
Who are these
veKpoi
whose
hopes
the defeated Hellenes had ?
Pagans
like
Julian
and
Eunapius
referred
contemptuously
to the Christian saints as
VEKpoi,41
but if
my interpreta-
tion is so far correct, then
VEKpCOV
must here bear a
meaning
found in Christian
writings.
It does in fact bear
just
such a
meaning, being
found
right
from the earliest
days
of Christian
Apologetic
as an
insulting designation
of the
pagan gods. For, claimed Christians,
the
so-called
gods
of the
pagans
were
really
no more than
distinguished
men who had been
accorded the honour of
worship
after their death. As
Theophilus, bishop
of Antioch
towards the end of the second
century,
put it
(ad
Autol. I, 9),
T'a uEv o6v6o'aTra Cov
(pfis
c-p3Eceatl
0 E 6
v,
6v6Oacra crTt v ? K
p
c V
&vepcbwov,
mere men,
according
to
Justin, o0vs
...
OEOsv
TwpocrcovopaoCcv,
ETrEt
apuXa
KXai v E K
p
a Ta-rac
yiyvcbo-oPEV
(Apol. I, 9,
i).
They
are
V E K
p
o i
ovpaviot
(Sib.
Or. VIII, 47), 8aikiovas a&dvXous,
v E K V co v E8coAX
KCapOVTCOV (ib. VIII,
394).
Compare especially
with Palladas' statement that the
pagans
nurtured
VEKpCOV
ATtriScas,
Clement's remark that
pagans
were
VEKpOIS TrETCMrTEUKOTES
(Protr.
III,
45, 5),
a
phrase repeated by
Eusebius after he had said that oi
d&utpi
TTV 'o TroXA ov w X A v
rl
v
worshipped
v E K
p
CO V Es'coXa
(Praep.
Ev. II,
5,
6).
In
support
of this thesis
(first
advanced,
of
course, by
a
pagan, Euhemerus) they
were able to
point
to texts like Callimachus' allusion
(h.
I, 8
f.)
to Zeus'
grave
in
Crete, sure
proof
that he was no
god:
these lines are
quoted by
a host of Christian writers, Athenagoras, Tatian, Clement, Epiphanius, Chrysostom
and
Theodoret
(see
Pfeiffer,
ad
loc.).
It is, in fact, largely
as a result of this revived Euhemerism
of the
Apologists
and Fathers that we know as much as we do about the
teachings
of
Euhemerus himself. For Christian writers
eagerly appealed
to him as a first-rate
pagan
source with which to confound the
pagans.42
The pagan Celsus turned this v
IKpos
theme
to his own
advantage (ap. Origen,
c. Cels. viI, 36; 40;
68)
and it
may
be that it was his
example Julian followed in
calling
Christ 6
VEKp6S, probably,
as de Labriolle
suggested,
'une retorsion contre les
attaques
chretiennes.'43
A
particularly interesting example,
and
very
relevant to the
present discussion,
is the
famous '
prophecy'
of the doom of
paganism
in
Egypt
inserted
(at
about the same time as
41
Eunapius, Vit. Soph. 472; for Julian see the Literatuur (Diss. Utrecht, 1952),
has collected the
passages collected by R. Asmus, Woch. f. kl. Phil. allusions to Euhemerus from Latin patristic writings.
XXIV
(I907),
152. Bonnano, Orpheus
1958, I24, taking
A full treatment of the subject, according to P.
VEKp5V Xwsrias5
as being the 'mondo ideale pagano Courcelle (REL xxx, 1952, 451), would require
immediatamente distrutto
'
thinks that Palladas is
'
deux gros volumes et une dizaine d'annees '.
deliberately opposing it to the Christian idea of death 43 La reaction paienne (I934), 415,
n. 2. To the
as the start of true life. But nowhere is Palladas more passages there cited add Julian, Adv. Cyn. 203c3,
as
likely to have heard talk of death as the start of true emended by D. A. Russell in CR n.s. xv
(I965), 43.
life than in the
pagan neoplatonic circles of Alexandria. Jews also accused Christians of worshipping
a
vsKp6s
42
J.
W. Schwippers, De Ontwikkeling der (Theodoret, Ad Rom. iv, PG 82, col.
93c).
Euhemeristische Godencritiek in de Christelijke Latijnse
23
Palladas wrote these
poems)
44
in the Hermetic treatise
Asclepius
: 'tunc
[i.e.
when the old
gods
have been driven from
Egypt,
and their
worship
forbidden
by law]
terra ista sanctissima
[i.e.
Egypt],
sedes delubrorum
atque templorum, sepulchrorum
erit
mortuorumque
plenissima
'
(? 24).
'
Sepulchrorum
erit
mortuorumque
plenissima'
was
probably
intended
as an
insulting
allusion to the Christian
worship
of
martyrs 45-compare Julian's
remark that
the Christians
Traxvra
ETrlppcrCav
Trapcov Kcai pvTqpJrcov (contra
Christ. p.
225,
9
Neum.)-
but
Augustine
cites the
passage triumphantly
as
proof
that Hermes
Trismegistos
himself
' deos
Aegypti
homines mortuos esse testatur '
(Civ.
Dei
vII, 26).
It is
perfectly possible
that
both
pagan prophecy
and Christian
interpretation
were current in Alexandria when Palladas
was
writing.
One other
example
worth
citing
is a remark of
George, patriarch
of Alexandria
in the
early
360's.
While
passing by
the
great temple
of Tuxri 46 in Alexandria one
day,
he
looked at it and said: '
quamdiu
hoc
sepulchrum
stabit ? '
(Amm.
Marc.
xxII, II,
7).
Here
then we have a clear
example
of the
gibe being
made
publicly
in Alexandria itself in
Palladas' lifetime-and this was doubtless not the
only
time. And if the
pagan
Ammianus
was able to learn of the incident when he visited Alexandria a few
years later,
it is not
likely
to have been unknown to
Palladas,
who lived there. In
x, go,
6 Palladas had said
that the
"EAqvE5S
were
?caro8copEvoi.
In the next line he
gives-ironically
of course-
the Christian reason:
they
are finished because
they hang
their
hopes,
not on
gods,
but
on dead men.
ix, 501, though formerly
a
riddle,
now becomes as clear as
day:
Ti3v TrAiv ol
vEKVS Tpo6TEpov cocraXv
KaTreAiyaov
PEiTS
&?
COVTES TTIV WT6OAV
EK(PEpOpEV.
The w6irv is Alexandria,47 and the
v?Ku?s
are the
pagan gods
who have been driven out
by
Theophilus
and his monks. Palladas
exploits
to the full the
possibilities
of
word-play
the
situation offers: the
city
used to be alive while the ' dead men ' dwelt in
it,
but now
Palladas
(or
does the
plural
mean ' we
pagans
'
?)
is left alive to officiate at the
city's
funeral
(EKqEppop?v).
In connection with this
poem-and
in confirmation of the
interpretation
of it
I have
suggested-compare
once more the
Asclepius prophecy already quoted,
where
Hermes
Trismegistos
is
represented
as '
foretelling
'
precisely
what
according
to Palladas
had now
happened,
that the
gods
will leave
Egypt:
'e terris enim et ad caelum recursura
[sc. erit] divinitas, linquetur Aegyptus terraque,
sedes
religionum quae fuit,
viduata
numinum
praesentia
destituetur '
(?
24).
And in
391
when the Christians started
destroying
pagan
statues and
temples,
the leader of the
pagan opposition,
a man
happily
named
Olympius,
told his
supporters
not to be
disheartened,
because
though
the statues were
made of
perishable material,
the
gods
who dwelt in them had flown
safely away
to heaven
(Sozomen, HE, vii,
i5).48
Several other words in these
poems
take on a clearer
meaning
once it is realized that
Palladas is
describing
the condition of the
pagans
as a Christian would have-or
perhaps
parodying
the
way
a Christian
(presumably,
among others, Theophilus) actually
did.
'AVO'rTOI, for
example, though naturally
an obvious
enough
word in
any
sort of
polemic,
is found with a
specific
connotation in Christian writers.
Clement,
for
example, says
av6roToi
oi a r i 7r T O i, avolrTovu Koai &a Tr e E? i
(ed.
Stiihlin II, 328, 2I; 233, 9)
and Palladas'
OJTCOS Ocv6rlToi reminds one of
o?0rcoS &v6rl'TITOI
oT of Galat.
3,
3
(cf.
Lk.
24,
25).
Mcopioc
too
might
seem so obvious a
reproach
as not to be worth
illustrating
from
Christian writers. Yet Palladas does
repeat
the word with some
emphasis
in both
x, 90o, 4,
ov0rcos ?Tro(os p,copia 6ouv?XE'opEv, and 9I, 2,
where the man who hates
Theophilus
PE?yio-rTv pcopiav
K?`irca`cy?i.
And it is a word that is used in a rather
specialized
context
in Christian
Apologetic.
For
although
Christ crucified was '
folly
to the Greeks '
(the
44
cf. Neill and Nock, Jl.
Theol. Stud. xxvi
47
An Alexandrian would
inevitably
mean Alex-
(1925), i74
f. andria when he referred to the rr6oAs, for Alexandria
45
For a different, but to my mind unconvincing,
was
distinguished
as the troA6s from the rest of
explanation, cf. Scott and
Ferguson, Hermetica iv Egypt,
known as
Xcbpa (U. Wilcken, Grundziige
u.
(I936), 187
n. Chrestom. I. I
(I9I2), 34).
cf. also
JHS I964,
6o.
46 This
temple
was
destroyed in
39I
and converted
48
The passages
of Palladas and Sozomen surely
into a tavern-an event to which Palladas devoted no confirm a date in the
390's
for the
'
prophecy'
: cf.
fewer than four poems: Anth. Pal. ix, I80-3 ; and n. 44 above.
cf. JHS LXXXIV (I964), 57.
24
ALAN CAMERON
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
parallel
adduced
by Sternbach,
above
p. o2),
Paul
goes
on to
say
that
caoqiac T0rov
KoiCovU Toivrov pwopir
wTrapca TCr ee
oS
Eor
(I.
Cor.
3, I9)
and
EpbpacvEv
6
OEBS
TeV cvoqpiav
TOU
K6oCiov
(ib.
I,
20).
This is a favourite line of the
Apologists:
for
Justin,
to
accept
Perseus'
virgin
birth from Danae and
deny
that of Christ from
Mary
is
6olocos -roIS
"E A A
Tr
c i
u oCA
p
a i v
E
V
(Dial. 67, 2),
and Clement
argued
that the
presence
of Christ made men
not
picopo
but
ouvE-TOi-it
was rather oil [X
O
EXAC0-aVTrES
WrieECCOa1
who were
pc5poi
(ed.
Stiihlin, II, 57, 12).
In the
chapter
of his
Quaest.
Vet. et Nov. Test. devoted to
answering
pagan objections
to
Christianity,
Ambrosiaster insists time and
again
that it is
really
the
pagans
who are
stulti,
not the
Christians,49
and
Philostorgius
records how a Christian
martyr
made
precisely
the same
rejoinder
to a
pagan
who accused him of
being
drrai6EuToS
KaC
'EAArVIKiS
cro<piCS
cx[eTOXOS (p.
158,
II
Bidez). Palladas,
as a "EAArv and
representative,
qua grammaticus,
of Hellenic ofpiac
might very naturally
have resented
being
told that
oi0..
"EEAArvs,
cr6cpoo Elvoc
XyovTEs icopdvOrcrcav (Aristides, Ap. 8, 2,
cf. Rom.
I, 23)-
as Celsus
certainly
did
(ap. Origen,
contra Cels. vi, 12; I, 9).
As for
5ouAEUopEV
(90, 4),
SoU8AEViv
as well is
frequently
used
by
Christians of
pagans,
in
phrases
like
8ucCEpEic sOUV0AE1V
(Theodoret, HE, III,
I,
I),
and oi
TTv
E
iSCbAov
wrAavi 68E8ouXcopivot
(ib. III, 6,
I), though
too much must not be made of
this,
as the word
is,
of
course,
used in
many
other contexts
by
Christians and
pagans
alike.
It
may
be instructive to cite at this
point
a
passage
from the
Epistle
to Titus
(III, 3),
quoted
in full
by
Clement in his ' Exhortation to the Greeks '
(Protr. I,
5),
where Paul (?)
writes, with reference to the
days
before he became a Christian:
iperv
yap
TToTE Kaci
TIPEi
o&v6rlo, &WEIOEt, ? TrAavccbEvoi, OU?AoEOVTES 1-leUJ[ali; KCIa
f|6ovCais
TrOIKiAcXS, EV C aKi Ka 6 v O
pV syowrst , cvyrlToi, cI O v -r
S &XAAiXou. It is
surely
striking
that so
many
of the words Palladas
applied
to
pagans
in x, 90
and 91
(for
placo0VTeS
cf.
90, i; 9I,
I and
4)
occur all
together
in this one sentence of St. Paul-and it is not
likely
that Clement was the
only
Christian
preacher
to address such a text to a
pagan
audience.
Lastly,
what of the
X6;AoS
pEyicrros
which is the result of
pq)6vos (9I,
3)
? What else
but the wrath of God that falls on unbelievers ?
Evangelists
then as now dilated on texts
such as arroKaCAV TErra c...
6pyi] OeoO E-Trri racxav c
aEpEiav
(Rom. i, I8)
and
repeated,
like
Clement
again,
Paul's remark
(Eph.
II,
3)
that those who did not turn to Christ were TEKVOC
6pyfls: e.g.
Protr.
II,
23,
opi
6'vat
? waot 'rKva
6pyfis'
ovopI&ovTai. Compare
another
poem
of Palladas, placed by Keydell
in
394
as
reflecting
the
dashing
of the
hopes
raised in
pagan
circles
by
the failure of the bid of the
pagan Eugenius
for the
purple
:
50
Ei 0e6OS1 ()fPltn,
K E X A X co
p
V K a i a u
ril
EXAArCiv, capa?poTs
?Ea-rrc6c5ac
AoyoTs. (x, 89, I-2)
Rumour also, if she be a
goddess (a
reminiscence of
Hesiod, Op.
764),51
is
angry
with the
pagans;
her
anger
is added
(K
a i
aocuri)
to the
XXAoS
that
qpeovos
had
brought
them in
x, 91, 4.
If
Stadtmueller,
Franke and Zerwes are
right
in
ascribing XI,
359
to Palladas
(acephalous
in the
Palatinus),
then it is
perhaps
to be connected with these
poems.
The
poet
is
evidently addressing
some
very important person, perhaps
(if
the author is
Palladas)
Theophilus again:
6r
Tr9S acTrcacrS Suv&apECoS 0TrpTT-rE,
CACOa6v PE TOV
sUOTClVOV
EK
TravroS 9
6 V v . ...
In
ix,
175, 5-6
Palladas
begs Theophilus
to
protect
him
(see
below
p. 27), just
as the
author of this
poem
asks for
protection.
The last two
lines, unfortunately,
are a hitherto
unsolved riddle 52-but the last word, significantly enough,
is
X6Aov.
This use of
X?XAo
to
49
cf. Hamack, Mission (tr. Moffat) I,
379,
n.
3. writing before Palladas, says (ep. 82
[59],
p.
137
'
Suidas
'
s.v. pcbpous states quite simply that roCis Bidez) : KCa
yexp
?i Troa ?TXpi
TEp ris Oipr15 o i rr o t a
rTOU
K6crpiou ca6qoUs KaEi picbpoVs.
(paav dbs rTIn EO6S. Hesiod's line is often quoted: see
50
o.c.
(n. 37), 2-3.
the testimonia in Rzach's editio maior ad. loc.
51
This line appears to be quoted by Synesius
52
Zerwes connects the aclsoupos of 1. 9 with
in his ep. 44:
si ptv O6bs
Eoarv ? I OIpr xcrrca ntva Trv
Timothy Ailurus, monophysite bishop
of Alexandria
?r a
p' fipv Troitrv,
as pointed out by L. A. Stella, from 457, but on any chronology of Palladas' life
Cinque poeti
dell'
antologia palatina
(I949), 383.
On this is a good thirty years after the last date he is
the other hand the motif may have been used by likely to have lived
to;
cf. ? iv of
my
article in
other poets besides Hesiod and Palladas, for Julian,
CQ I965.
25
26 ALAN CAMERON
designate (at any
rate in
9I, 4
and
89, i)
the wrath of
Jehovah gains
extra
significance
from
the fact that the Christian doctrine of a
god
of wrath was held to be monstrous
by
the
educated
pagan.
'Hoc
quidem
commune est omnium
philosophorum
. . .' remarked
Cicero,
'numquam
nec irasci deum nec nocere '
(De Off. III, I02),
and the
Apostate Julian
was
quite emphatic
on the
point:
ovi5apou
XcarEracivocv
6
OEos
(paivETal,
ou6' &yavoaKTCov,
oU6'
Opyi6OEVOS...
cos
6 M
CoOUij
(pqroi.53
There is another series of
poems, dealing
with Palladas' enforced retirement from the
teaching profession,
which should
perhaps
be discussed in this connection. For Palladas'
retirement seems to have been connected in some
way
both with his
paganism
and
Theophilus'
'
victory
':
Kax2Ai,XaXov
TrcoAcX
KOa
'T'ivSapov, i15E KOCx aorTaS
T-rrrco'ES ypaCppcTlIcclKs
rTTCOriv
?EXCV TrEViqS.
Acop6OEos yap EjpIlv Tpo>pqiiTv
cyOVTCra1V EA.uCYE,
wTpEcYpEirlv
KOCT' Epo0 TTV
a&cyEp
TrEXAcas.
'AAAx oiu
ou
rrp6crriq0t,
0
E
C i [k
E ?, pirSE
'
Eoarais
CJV5E?oC[icp TrEVirI TOiV
piov
?IavuicCai.
(IX, I75)
8e0c piXE
in 1.
5
is
presumably Theophilus
once
more,54
thus
setting
the
poem
in the same
context as
x, 90
and
89.
Palladas has been reduced to
poverty
and is
selling
his
books;
a
certain Dorotheus has
apparently
cut short the
living
he had earned as a schoolteacher
(a
pun
on the two
meanings
of
OUVT'rcatI,
'syntax'
and
'salary').
On the face of it the
Wp?ECo3EirV
acrEPfi
of 1.
4
means no more than that this Dorotheus was
'impious' enough
to
lay
information
against
Palladas that led to his
Tpoq)ipVi
o-VT'-ralS
being
withdrawn. But is
this all it was meant to
convey
?
Something
about the line
evidently
caused offence to
Planudes,
for he omitted it
completely,
and substituted another line of
(presumably)
his own
composition
instead:
Cb)UTE pE TO'U T?
T-IEV TOJ
T?E
CayEv
CXTOpETV.
If,
as seems
likely,
Pfeiffer is correct in
maintaining
that Planudes
directly
used the
Palatinus,55 then his omission of the line cannot be due to a defective
exemplar,
for it is
plainly
visible in the Palatinus, as can
easily
be verified
by
reference to Preisendanz'
admirable
photographic copy.
Now Planudes often took it
upon
himself to alter or even
omit or rewrite what he considered obscene,56 but there can be no
question
of this here:
one can
only conclude, therefore,
that the
good
monk took
exception
to it on
religious
grounds.
It is not
easy
to see
precisely
what can have
given
offence on this
count, though
the word
-TprpEpceia
is used
by
Christians to mean 'intercession '. And it is
possibly
significant
that the rabid
pagan Eunapius,
when
writing,
like
Palladas,
of
Theophilus
and his
monks,
contemptuously quotes
the names the Christians
gave
to what he calls the' bones and
skulls of criminals'
(i.e.
relics of
saints)
that
they worshipped: 1JaprvpTUp yoUv
EKaXov-ro ...
KOi
TW
p
E?
CT
1I T OV
aiTo-EC?cV Trapa
TxSV O?EOV
(Vit. Soph. 472).
It
may
be that Planudes realized that Palladas had been
obliged
to
give up teaching
because of his
paganism (see below)
and
suspected-whether rightly
or
wrongly
we are not in a
position
to
say-that
1.
4
was an offensive allusion to the denunciation of his
paganism.
We learn more about Palladas' retirement from
ix, I71
6pyavcx Mouovacov,
-ra -rroX'uo-rova
3ip3iXa TrcoXC,
2iS ETEpoCS T?rXVTr
pyca PETEPXO6P?VOS.
Ft1?pi6?S,
'cbo 01i0E'
X6yol, uvvTaccroplot viJiv'
O0VVT-rCIS
yap
E?0oi
Kal O&avcTov
cTrpEXEI.
We read
again
that Palladas sold his
books,
only
this time with the additional detail that he
changed
his
profession (1. 2).
The last
couplet
contains the usual
plethora
of
puns,
for which
53 Contra
Christianos,
as reconstructed
by
K.
J.
56
cf. his 'normalization' of Anth. Pal.
v, 6, 5
Neumann, 1880, I90, 5
f. cf. also
CQ
n.s. xiv
(Callimachus) by substituting
6aXis 65i for dpasvliK6
(I964), 319, n.3. (Epco-r). Beckby
misleads when he
merely says
'om.
54
As seen
already by Stella,
o.c.
(n. 5I), 341.
P1.' in his note on
IX, I75, 4,
without
indicating
that
65 Callimachus I
(I953),
xcIII. But cf. now Gow Planudes
actually
wrote
something
else instead.
and
Page,
The Greek
Anthology:
Hellenistic
Epi-
grams I (I965),
xxxIII-Ix.
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
Palladas seems to have had an almost
pathological
fondness.57 At one level it means that
:syntax
' bores him to death
';
the other and more
important meaning
is that
teaching
the
-classics,
at least
during
this critical
period,
had
actually
become
dangerous.
Another
poem
that alludes to Palladas' loss of his
livelihood,
and connects
it, moreover,
with his
paganism,
is
x,
82:
apa
ar
v
Oav6v-rsg TC-Z
OKEI)V C)[E?V I6VOV,
"EXXrlvES &vSpeS, oup(p)opa
TrE1TrcoK6KTE?,
OVEtpov EiK&covTrE EIlvao
TOYV
p36v,
El
CjpEV
'
iETS
TOOU
Piou
T-rE8vKOKos;
Editors and commentators have hitherto been unable to
give
an
altogether satisfactory
interpretation
of this
poem-principally
because
they quite unjustifiably
desert the
reading
Ei
~cpev
of both the Palatinus and Planudes in 1.
4.58
I would translate somewhat as
follows: 'Are we not dead and
living only
in
appearance,
we Hellenes
(i.e. pagans),
fallen
on
disaster,
likening
life to a
dream,
if we continue to live while our livelihood is dead and
gone
? '
59
Piov
in 1.
4 might perhaps
mean ' our
(i.e.
the
pagan) way
of life
',
but I
prefer
to
take it as ' livelihood ' because of the other
poems
that mention Palladas'
changed
livelihood.
(For
a close
parallel
cf. Merchant
of
Venice
iv, I, 377:
'
You take
my
life when
you
do take
the means
whereby
I
live.')
I know of no other evidence that
teaching
the classics was
actually forbidden
at this
period,
and
any
such
prohibition
can
only
have been
very short-lived,
for we find the
beautiful
pagan philosopher Hypatia teaching
with
great
success in Alexandria
only
a
year
or two
later-though
her violent death at the hands of a band of fanatical monks shows that
it could
certainly
be
dangerous.
Indeed the
teaching
of the classics there remained in the
hands of
pagans
for another
century
or more:
60
as late as the end of the fifth
century
we hear
that the
grammarian Horapollon
used to offer
up
sacrifices to the
gods
with his
pupils,
thereby earning
from Christians the nick-name
Psychapollon,
'the
destroyer
of souls'.61 It
would be understandable if in the first flush of their '
victory
'
of
391
62
Christians had
attempted
to
prevent
their children
being corrupted by pagan
teachers-mindful
perhaps
that the
Apostate Julian
had tried to
stop
Christians
teaching
the
young.
And in addition to
the evidence of Palladas we hear of two other Alexandrian
grammarians,
Helladius and
Ammonius, who fled Alexandria
during
the riots of
391,
and set
up
school in
Constantinople
instead
(Socrates,
HE. v, I6).
But no law
actually forbidding pagans
to teach is attested
before
Justinian's edict of
529
(Cod.
Just.
i.
5,
i8, 4),
and even this law
only explicitly
forbids
pagans
to hold official chairs. It
may
be
simply
that
pagans holding municipal
chairs in Alexandria were
(at
any
rate
temporarily)
replaced by
Christians. This would not
have worried successful teachers, who reckoned to make far more in
private
fees than
they
received from the
city council,63 but those who were not so successful
(and
Palladas dilates
often on his
poverty) depended
on their
salary
for their
daily
bread. This is
surely
what
Palladas meant when he wrote that Dorotheus 'EucVE his
TpoqtpJ'lv
crVT'catv: 'OJVTcriS
means '
salary',
not 'fees '64 Dorotheus denounced Palladas as a
pagan,
and the authorities
refused to
pay
him his
salary.
Unable to make both ends meet on fees from
private pupils,65
he was
obliged
to sell his books and
try
his luck at another
profession.
We have seen that in
Ix, I75
Palladas asks for
Theophilus' help:
'AXX'a oru pou
Trp6cTrrit,
eE4
(piRs. Was his
request granted
? What
happened
to him after he
gave up
schoolteaching
? One last
poem, unfortunately
elusive as usual,
can
perhaps
cast a little
uncertain
light
on Palladas' last
days:
X-rpocv
ETCOV
O'c5yas pETa
ypacipaTiKfIS pJ3pupO6Oov,
pouXErTfS
VEKUCOV
WTTETrOp[at
El
'AiSriv. (x, 97)
57
For Palladas'
puns cf. Peek, P-W XVIII.
3,
61
Zacharias, Life of Severus, tr. Kuigener,
Patr.
I67; Zerwes, Palladas von Alexandrie
368-9;
and Or. ii
(1907), 32.
my article in Byz. Zeit. LVII
(I964),
at
pp. 287-91
62
cf. JHS I964, 59 f.
58
For discussion of the
reading
see ? III of
my
63
cf. A. H. M. Jones, Later Roman
Empire II
article in
CQ
n.s. xv (I965). (1964),
I002 and
my article
'
Roman School Fees' in
59
For close parallels
to this sentiment in other CR n.s. xv
(1965).
pagans
of the day cf.
CQ
I.c. (n. 58).
64
Libanius, for example,
uses rOIVTOatLs of the
60
Cf.
J. Maspero, Bulletin de l'institut
franf. municipal salaries paid
to teachers in Antioch
d'arch. orient. du Caire XI
(1914), I76 f. (Or. xxxI, 19).
65
cf. CR, I.c. (n.
63).
27
28 ALAN CAMERON
There were
72
solidi to the
AiTrpa (pound
of
gold).
In his usual tortuous fashion Palladas is
saying
that he has lived with
grammar
for
72 years
before
ending
his
days
as a
poueuTvrfs.
Presumably
this means that he was
72 years
old when he wrote the
poem,
rather than that
he had been
72 years
a
schoolmaster,
but in either case it is reasonable to assume that it fits
in the same context as the
group
under discussion. It is
unlikely
that Palladas retired from
teaching
a second
time,
after the
age
of
72. And,
as Bowra
observes,66
his
request
in
Ix, I75
that
Theophilus
should not allow him
rTV
piov
Etcavvccxa
in
poverty
'
suggests
that he is
conscious of not
having many years
before him '. Bowra takes
p3ouvAErris
as
meaning
' counsellor ', i.e. one who
advises,
but this is
quite inadmissible; pouEurTis
can
only
mean
' councillor ', i.e. one who serves on a local
povuAT
or senate.
Jacobs thought
that Palladas had
aspired
in vain to a seat on such a
body,
but this is to
forget
that in the late fourth
century
a
seat on a
p3ouvAi
was no
longer
an honour to be
eagerly sought after,
but a burden to be
avoided at all costs.67
Now as an official salaried
grammaticus
Palladas will have
enjoyed
extensive tax-
immunities: cf. Cod.
Just. x,
53,
6
(an
edict of
337)
' medicos...
grammaticos
et
professores
... una cum uxoribus et filiis... ab omni functione et ab omnibus muneribus
civilibus vel
publicis
immunes esse
praecipimus'.
When, therefore,
he ceased to be a
grammaticus,
he will
automatically
have ceased to
enjoy
these immunities, and one or other
of the
many public figures
he had
lampooned (e.g.
IX,
393,
x,
92)
will have made sure that
he was
conscripted
on to a
BouANi
without
delay.
It looks as
though
Palladas did end his
days
in
poverty
after all. But the relevance of the
poem
to
my present argument
is that the
last line seems
again
to reflect this use of terms from Christian
anti-pagan polemic.
We have
seen that Palladas was
obliged
to
give up teaching
because of his
paganism.
This reconstruc-
tion is confirmed
by x,
97.
Whatever the exact sense of the second line-it
may
well be that
the
obscurity
is
intentional, pcov&vrca
o vvrolrto
-
VEKicoV will bear the same
meaning
as
V?Kpcov
in
x,
90, 7
and
V?KUES
in
Ix, 50I,
I, i.e.
'pagan gods',
once more
connecting
Palladas' retirement with the
pagan
cause.
Now it will of course be
objected
to
my
thesis that these words are all
freely
used
by
both Christian and
pagan
writers of all
periods
in a
perfectly
neutral sense. To this
objection
I should
reply
that
although
most of the words are indeed
normally
used in their
ordinary
meaning
in
ordinary contexts,
the context in which
they
are used here is
very
far from
ordinary.
It cannot be
just
a casual coincidence that in
x, go
and 91 the word
(pOovoS
and
the allusion to the man 6v
(rov)
eE6oS (piAE
are
repeated
three times and
Icopica
twice:
obviously
the
repetition
of these words must have some
special significance.
And as
"EAAlJVES must mean
pagans,
as the man 6v OEos
qp)lXe
must be
Theophilus,
as the
"EAArnve
are said to be
finished,
and as Palladas wrote in Alexandria towards the end of the fourth
century,
there cannot be
any
doubt that the
poems
allude to
Theophilus' attempt
to
stamp
out
paganism
in Alexandria in
39I.
The
reproaches (pOvos, pcopiac,
TrXavcobpvot,
hopes
based
on
VEKpOt, etc.,
are then levelled at the
pagans
of Alexandria. What more natural in this of
all contexts to find that the
reproaches
are in fact the
reproaches
Christians
employed
for
this
very purpose
?
Furthermore,
and most
important,
mine is the
only interpretation
of the
poems
hitherto
propounded
which
gives
them a
meaning-and
a coherent and consistent
meaning
at that. What was
formerly
a
complete mystery
is now revealed to have a
perfectly
intelligible
and
very pointed contemporary significance.
Furthermore,
my suggestion
accords well with Palladas' notorious fondness for
playing
with words. It is not
just
that in
typical schoolmasterly
fashion he cannot resist a
pun.
He also liked to ' take off' or satirize what
displeased
or amused him in the works of others.
In his numerous
lampoons
on
apXovET?S,
for
example,
he turns
upside
down the usual
phraseology
of the honorific
epigrams
of his
day.68 Epigrams
in honour of
prefects
sometimes
contained a
phrase
like
EVsXos &-rEipEolov:
Palladas'
lampoon
on Themistius when he
became
prefect
of
Constantinople
describes his
prefecture
as a I a
X
o
s
raTElppCaov.69
And
since we
happen
to
possess
several
speeches
Themistius delivered
during
his
prefecture
to
66
Proc. Brit. Acad. XLV
(I959), 267. Bas-Empire (I948), 39
f.
67
cf.
Jones,
Later Roman
Empire II, 748
f. 69
Robert,
o.c.
98.
68
cf. L.
Robert,
Hellenica iv:
Epigrammes
du
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
justify
his
exchanging
the
philosopher's
cloak for the silver
carriage
of the
city prefect,
we
can see that the
poem
is a satire of certain
phrases
in these
speeches
that had struck Palladas
as
hypocritical. Themistius,
for
instance,
had
argued
that Plato was
wrong
to
represent
philosophers
as K a r a
paicvovTarc
to
public affairs,
for rT avco Kai KOTCa)O
a0s
Ox
(
aTAoov
(Or. XXXIV);
Palladas made the most of the
opportunities
such
sophistry
offered:
i<uea KaTCo
KpEio'CCOV, avapasct
5'
EyEVOU TWOAV0 XEipcV.
65up'
ava3iptil
Kcrcoo,
VUV
yap
avco
KaTEpriS. (XI,
292,70
3-4)
It is
only
natural that a man so
preoccupied, by profession
as well as
by inclination,
with
words and their uses and
abuses,
should have taken some interest in the
special meanings
so
many
words took on at the hands of Christians. Indeed it can be
proved.
One of the neatest
of all his
epigrams
is an ironic comment on the
outrageous logical inconsistency
with which
the Christian ascetics who flocked to the desert in their thousands 71 called themselves of all
things
solitaries:
Ei
tovacroi,
Ti
TrocoiSE; TroooiSE 56 TTCS wraAtl Po0voi;
c)
TrAXftvS
povax&5v EEvaapECVT piovcaa.
(XI, 384)
Now it is
scarcely
credible that Palladas used these Christian
terms, p86vos,
VKKpOt,
TrrA&vrl sincerely,
as a Christian would have, to denounce the
impious pagan ways
he had left
behind him. Lacombrade and Bowra, however, have
argued
that Palladas underwent a
nominal conversion in
391-as
did
many
who wished to save their skins and did not feel
strongly enough
about the old
gods
to risk both life and
property
in
defending
them.
Among
these time-servers, according
to
Palladas,
was Heracles
himself,
who
KaOipC ouV?UE'ov
KCl
EOS Cov
Jia0ov.72
(IX,
441,
6)
On the face of it there are
good
reasons
why
a man such as Palladas should have
acquiesced
in the new faith. He
displays
no
great
attachment either to the traditional
gods
(e.g.
x,
53)
or to the
philosophical speculations
that had
largely replaced
them
among
intellectual
pagans
of his
day (e.g. x, 45);
furthermore he seems to have been an old man when the
blow fell. But if,
like his Heracles, Palladas too learnt
Katipo5
souAev'iv, why
was he
obliged
to
give up
his
profession,
and
why
does he
speak
of the distress of ' we Hellenes
'
(x,
82 and
90),
thus
including
himself in their number ? If he had wished to
pass
himself off as a
convert would he not have addressed them in the second
person
so as to exclude himself
from the
9p6vos,
!tcopia
and -Travri for which he
upbraids
them ? As it
is,
he
clearly
identifies
himself with the Hellenes-as also, apparently,
did the authorities who withdrew his
salary.
If we
agree,
as I think we must, with
Keydell,73
that the threefold refrain-like
repetition
of
6v
(-rov)
0e6S 9IAE!
is full of
'
bitterster Ironie ', then
clearly
the rest of
x, 90 and 9I must be
ironical as well. I therefore find it hard to follow Bowra in
supposing
that Palladas
'
sees
himself in some sense as their
[the pagans']
counsellor
'
who
'
advised submission to the
Christians '.74 I
submit, on the
contrary,
that x, 90 and 91 are an ironic
pastiche
of
phrases
and words Palladas had heard
applied
to the
pagans by Christians, phrases
that seemed to
him, as a
pagan, particularly amusing
or
outrageous.
We have seen that Celsus
strongly
objected
to this use of
pcopia,
and the dismissal of the
pagan gods
as V?KpOt,
and how
indignant
Zosimus was at Theodosius' use of TrAavri to
designate
the ancestral
religion
of
Rome. What more natural than that Palladas should have found these same cliches
worthy
of his scorn ? x, 90 and
91
contain all the ideas and
catch-phrases
we
might
have
expected
to
find in a sermon of
Theophilus
himself
condemning
the
folly
and
futility
of the
pagan
resistance-or in the letter of Theodosius that arrived in Alexandria
during
the riots.
Rufinus,
' who had been at Alexandria before and after the event and
may
deserve the credit
70
For the text cf. ? v of my article in
CQ
n.s. xv Both Julian and Palladas
may
well have sincerely
(I965).
believed-or fondly hoped-that Christianity
would
71
Two thousand dwelt in the neighbourhood of 'blow over' before
long,
and allow Heracles and
Alexandria alone
(Sozomen,
HE vi, 29).
the oracles to come back into their own once more.
72
For an interesting parallel cf. Julian, Contra
73
Byz. Zeit. 1957, 2.
Christianos p. I98: 'paivSTat
6S T-r
auropOlq Xpra"ripltc
74
o.c. (n. 66), 267: his view depends largely on
ayficaai,
T o i T v X p
6 v co v i Kov T a r E
pio
o
s. his translation of
PouAEuTris
as counsellor.
29
30
PALLADAS AND CHRISTIAN POLEMIC
of an
original
witness
',75
describes for us the horrified amazement of the
pagans,
who could
not believe that
Theophilus'
violent measures would receive the sanction of the
Emperor,
when in the
very
first words of the letter 'vana
(= pcJpca) gentilium (='EXAAivcov):
superstitio culpabatur,
... errantes
(= TrAavcou'ivovs)
mallet emendare
quam perdere...'
(HE II, 22).
We
may
be sure that Palladas was treated to
many
such tirades. It was
only
natural that a man of his interests and
temperament
should have
composed
a
pastiche
of such
cliches for the amusement of himself and his
pagan friends-confident, perhaps,
that his
irony
would be
safely
lost on the
ignorant
monks of Alexandria.
Bedford College,
London.
75
Gibbon,
Decline and
Fall, ed.
Bury
Iv
(1897),
I am
grateful
to Prof. A.
Momigliano
and
I98,
n.
4I.
Mr. P. R. L. Brown for
helpful
comments.