Quintus Aurelius Symmachus

345 - 402

About the artist

Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402) was educated in Gaul. He was a very eloquent aristocrat Roman statesman. Symmachus was proconsul (governor) of Africa in 373, urban prefect of Rome in 384 and 385, and consul in 391. He unsuccessfully sought to preserve the traditional religion of Rome. He was rebutted by Ambrose, bishop of Milan, in the famous Victoria-altar question. (A number of senators wanted the altar of the goddess Victoria - removed by Emperor Gratian - back in the senate). Many of his writing have survived: nine books of letters, a collection of Relationes (official dispatches), three panegyrics (eulogies). Symmachus also engaged the publication of Livy’s historical work Ab urbe condita (From the founding of the city), books I-X.