The Letters of Symmachus: Book 1
This introduction to, commentary on, and translation into English of the first book of letters by Quintus Aurelius Symmachus shows the leading orator and statesman of the fourth-century Roman Senate deeply engaged in conversation with the leading men of the empire. The book highlights the influence of the late Roman aristocracy that flourished in the century after Constantine and demonstrates that it did not become powerless in the face of the bishops and the new Christian elite. Shared goals united the late Roman elites far more than religion divided them, helping explain the relatively nonviolent and gradual conversion of the western Roman aristocracy. One hundred and seven letters—crafted to match the recipient’s personality, status, and interest—discuss literature, religion, politics, and social life. They provide a unique window into the private lives of Rome’s leaders, pagan and Christian, in late antiquity.