Cover image for Sidonius Apollinaris and the fall of Rome, AD 407-485
Sidonius Apollinaris and the fall of Rome, AD 407-485
Harries, Jill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.
Physical Description:
xii, 292 pages : map ; 23 cm
Reading Level:
1710 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DG312.5.S5 H37 1994 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The fifth century AD was a period of military turmoil and political upheaval in Western Europe. The career of the Gallo-Roman senator and bishop, Sidonius Apollinaris (c. 430-c. 485), holder of government office under three Roman emperors and later bishop of Clermont Ferrand, vividlyillustrates the processes which undermined Roman rule. A champion of Latin letters and Roman aristocratic values, Sidonius was also for most of his career an advocate of co-operation with the Goths of Aquitaine. Both a career politician and an ardent Christian, Sidonius in his writings reveals boththe confusion of loyalties afflicting an aristocracy under threat and the compromises necessary for survival. This book, the first in English on its subject for sixty years, argues that Sidonius adapted literary conventions and exploited accepted techniques of allusion to explain his dilemmas,justify his own role, and convey his personal understanding of, and response to, the fall of Rome.

Author Notes

Jill Harries is at University of St Andrews.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In 455 a Gallic nobleman seized the Roman throne. Soon after, his friend and relative, Sidonius Apollinaris, came to the capital and by 468, Sidonius had risen to the top of the civil service. But the Empire was collapsing; in 470 Sidonius returned to Gaul, accepted the post of bishop of Clermont, and played a leading role in shaping a new society under Gothic rule. He and his fellow aristocrats succeeded in maintaining a remarkable degree of continuity in social structure and culture; his extensive writings are a major source for this transition. Harries (St. Andrews Univ.) has written the first study of Sidonius since the 1933 biography by C.E. Stevens. Solidly based on the sources, it is a genuine synthesis and interpretation of the period. Extensive footnotes and a splendid bibliography make the book doubly useful to any student pursuing research in the field. A lucid, comprehensive, and thoughtful work. Highly recommended, both undergraduate and graduate levels. R. I. Frank; University of California, Irvine

Table of Contents

Prefacep. v
Abbreviationsp. x
Introduction Veteris Reparator Eloquentiaep. 1
Part I Lyon and Romep. 21
1 The Apollinares and the Avitip. 23
2 Sidonius at Lyon and Arles, Ad 430--455p. 36
3 Avitus and the Gothsp. 54
4 Majorianp. 82
5 Otium: The Christian Layman, Ad 461-467p. 103
6 The Goths at Narbonne and Toulousep. 125
7 Prefect at Romep. 141
Part II Clermontp. 167
8 Consecrationp. 169
9 Clermont and the Saintsp. 187
10 The Bishop at Workp. 207
11 The End of Roman Clermontp. 222
Epiloguep. 243
Bibliography and Referencesp. 252
Indexp. 279