Download the full-sized PDF of Amicitiae Cultus Ingenuus Est: The Proper Cultivation of Emperors, Patrons and Friends as Strategy and Mirage in the Works of Q. Aurelius SymmachusDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

Amicitiae Cultus Ingenuus Est: The Proper Cultivation of Emperors, Patrons and Friends as Strategy and Mirage in the Works of Q. Aurelius Symmachus Open Access


Other title
late antiquity
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Lougheed, Christopher J
Supervisor and department
Mackay, Christopher (History and Classics)
Examining committee member and department
Ben Zvi, Ehud (Religious Studies)
Vanderspoel, John (Classics and Religion, University of Calgary)
Kemezis, Adam (History and Classics)
Pownall, Frances (History and Classics)
Department of History and Classics
Classical Languages
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The late fourth-century Roman senator Q. Aurelius Symmachus (c. 340-402 CE), author of the Orations, Relations and Letters, is undoubtedly an important source for late Roman patronage and its cultivation. This thesis seeks to explain why these phenomena should be so clearly visible in these works, through a literary analysis of the works in which they most appear and an examination of their social context. It argues that Symmachus not only cultivated his superiors but was, among Latin authors, uniquely concerned with the question of proper cultivation, deliberately and regularly highlighting proper forms of cultivation – those which he practiced himself – in contrast to common improper forms. In doing so he was responding not only to the practical need to cultivate benefactors to advance and safeguard his career as a prominent senator, but also to a new, primarily negative, attention paid in his own age to cultivation and the unmerited advantages that it could procure, attested in Mamertinus and Libanius. The hypothesis that he responded in this way to particular negative attention to his friendships at court in in Rome in the later 390s explains many details of the organization and inclusion of material in the Letters, Symmachus’ main work of literary self-presentation. This was not, however, Symmachus’ first foray into discussion of cultivation: the explicit description of particular gifts as offering proper cultivation is a recurring and surely useful feature of a series of works delivered decades earlier and for a wholly different audience with its own expectations at imperial anniversaries. It is even found, albeit in a highly anomalous and inverted form, in the famous Relation 3. The cultivation of benefactors, then, is prominent in the works of Symmachus, across his career, not only because he was engaged in cultivation, but also because the activity raised suspicions and generated expectations on the part of his readers. As he responded to these, in his own way, Symmachus defined himself as statesman and friend.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (PDF/A)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 1983201
Last modified: 2017:11:08 17:12:21-07:00
Filename: Lougheed_Christopher_J_201705_PhD.pdf
Original checksum: fc15373601d1ee125bb3e513c0f95ca0
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date