Standard Article

Ambrose (c.338–397)

  1. D. H. Williams

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0034

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Williams, D. H. 2011. Ambrose (c.338–397). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Born into Roman high society at Trier (Trêves), Aurelius Ambrosius, Bishop of Milan (Ambrose) never intended to pursue episcopal office. Like his brother Satyrus, he was trained in law and had already begun a career in imperial service, eventually being appointed provincial governor of the northern Italian province of Aemilia-Liguria. When the “Arian” bishop of Milan, Auxentius, died in 374, Ambrose entered the city basilica to quell the disturbances that threatened to escalate over choosing a successor, only to find himself being elected bishop. Since he had not yet been baptized, Ambrose was rushed through the catechetical process and baptized within a week by the presbyter Simplicianus.


  • Ambrose (c.338–397);
  • Aurelius Ambrosius, Bishop of Milan;
  • Scripture, and Latin and Greek theology;
  • defending his faith, against detractors;
  • pastoral duties;
  • teaching catechumens;
  • active building program, Milan