Symmachus, Quintus Aurelius

Symmachus, Quintus Aurelius a prefect, pontiff, and augur of Rome in its declining age; remarkable for his eloquent appeal against the ruin threatened by the triumph of Christianity; he is the author of Epistles still extant. His zeal for the ancient faith of Rome exercised throughout life a marked influence upon his character. He was chosen by the senate to remonstrate with Gratian on the removal of the altar of victory (A.D. 382), from their council hall, and for curtailing the annual allowance to the Vestal Virgins. The emperor banished him from Rome, but in 384, having been appointed prefect of the city, he urged in an epistle to Valentinianus the restoration of pagan deities. In this he was unsuccessful, but without personal loss, being appointed consul under Theodosius in 391.

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