Franz Joseph Dölger-Institut

zur Erforschung der Spätantike

Der christliche Kaiser und die Wahrsager

JbAC 61 (2018) Seiten: 148-174

From Augustus’ principate onward, the Roman emperor was heavily involved in religious matters – as priest and as monarch. He was on the one hand responsible for the pax deorum and on the other hand used religion for his self-representation. It is mainly within these fields that the emperor encountered the diverse forms of divination. The interpretation of prodigies had always been an essential part both of government action and of private decision making, and it is important to keep the two areas separate when considering the emperor’s involvement with divination and its practitioners. This paper concentrates on how the policies of the Christian emperors concerning these matters developed during the 4th century. It further asks whether their legislation should be exclusively understood as part of an effort of depaganisation, or whether it was to some extent a continuation of the policies of their pagan predecessors.

Christoph Michels