Sidonius Apollinaris and the Fall of Rome, AD 407-485

Synopsis

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, vividly illustrates the processes which undermined Roman rule. Both a career politician and an ardent Christian, Sidonius in his writings reveals both the confusion of loyalties afflicting an aristocracy under threat, and the compromises necessary for survival. Harries 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.