Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts

By Daniel H. Williams | Go to book overview

7
A Homoian Revival in Milan

THE decisions made at the council of Aquileia did not go unchallenged. Palladius had been condemned and deposed but not silenced. Sometime after the close of the council but before the end of 384, a different version of the events which had transpired at Aquileia began to circulate among ecclesiastical circles in Milan and elsewhere. This document was written as a riposte to those accusations formulated against Palladius and Secundianus which they were not given opportunity to answer in the council. The fragmented text is found only among the marginalia of the Paris MS Latinus 8907, a part of a larger apologia,1 and divulging the existence of an embittered Homoian reaction against the heavy-handed tactics employed at Aquileia. Its object of scorn is unquestionably Ambrose of Milan, who, although he is not mentioned by name, is repeatedly accused of 'insidiousness' (versutiae), administratively and theologically.

While we have no exact means of gauging the effect of the anti- Aquileian document in the west at this time, one indicator of its usefulness for Homoian purposes may be seen by its preservation and interpretation a full generation later by Maximinus. His 'Dissertatio Maximini contra Ambrosium' (so-called by Kauffmann) was responsible for preserving a number of unique pro-Homoian documents from the 380s, and among these is the denunciation of the events at Aquileia by Palladius in his apologia. Yet another means of detecting a Homoian reaction after the council of Aquileia is from the writing of De incarnationis dominicae sacramento by Ambrose, circa 382, in which the bishop still finds it necessary to refute anti-Nicene arguments referred to him by the emperor. We cannot say for certain whether these arguments stem from more recent polemics following the council, but, if the story which Paulinus records about the two Arian chamberlains demanding a public debate with Ambrose is true, then we can most easily place this challenge, and Ambrose's response, which was later published as De incarnatione, in the

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1
So Gryson has entitled it, "'Fragment from an Apology of the Condemned of Aquileia'", Scholia, 337r. 50-349r. 4 ( Gryson, Scolies, 274-324).

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