Chapter 38. Pagans in a Christian Empire

  1. Philip Rousseau
  1. Neil McLynn University Lecturer Faculty Fellow

Published Online: 9 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444306101.ch38

A Companion to Late Antiquity

A Companion to Late Antiquity

How to Cite

McLynn, N. (2009) Pagans in a Christian Empire, in A Companion to Late Antiquity (ed P. Rousseau), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444306101.ch38

Editor Information

  1. Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Early Christian Studies, The Catholic University of America, USA

Author Information

  1. University of Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 9 MAR 2009
  2. Published Print: 30 JAN 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405119801

Online ISBN: 9781444306101



  • pagans in Christian Empire;
  • “Paganism,” by contrast generating its own scare quotes;
  • term “pagans” - has itself become contentious;
  • Christians invented paganism - solely to measure it against their own religion;
  • Codifying Paganism - the problem of Theodosian code;
  • Letter of the Law - sacrifice;
  • AD 392 law mentioning temples – those caught sacrificing in public temples;
  • pagan survivors - Libanius, Symmachus, Ammianus


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Codifying Paganism: The Problem of the Theodosian Code

  • The Letter of the Law: Sacrifice

  • Renegotiating Space: Temples

  • Pagan Survivors: Libanius, Symmachus, Ammianus

  • Pagan Legacies: The Fifth Century

  • In Search of the Last Pagans

  • Bibliographical Note