IN the year 374, when the magician at Antioch was spelling out the name of Theodosius, a sudden crisis came in the life of a Roman governor named Ambrose. The father of Ambrose, as head of one of the departments of the empire, had ruled a great part of Europe. The son, at the age of thirty, was following in his father's steps. He was already set in authority over upper Italy. The chief city of his province was Milan. In 374, the people of Milan were assembled for the election of a bishop.
Episcopal elections had now become occasions of disorder. For example, Damasus, the contemporary bishop of Rome, the protector of St. Jerome and himself entitled "saint," had gained his place after an election so vigorously contested that when the enthusiastic debate was over, and the decision made, and the church emptied of the congregation, there were found upon the floor a hundred and thirty-seven bodies of dead electors. This disorder was due in part to the secular importance of the office. The bishopric of a con-