Ambrose of Milan: Church and Court in a Christian Capital

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In this new and illuminating interpretation of Ambrose, bishop of Milan from 374 to 397, Neil McLynn thoroughly sifts the evidence surrounding this very difficult personality. The result is a richly detailed interpretation of Ambrose's actions and writings that penetrates the bishop's painstaking presentation of self. McLynn succeeds in revealing Ambrose's manipulation of events without making him too Machiavellian. Having synthesized the vast complex of scholarship available on the late fourth century, McLynn also presents an impressive study of the politics and history of the Christian church and the Roman Empire in that period. Admirably and logically organized, the book traces the chronology of Ambrose's public activity and reconstructs important events in the fourth century. McLynn's zesty, lucid prose gives the reader a clear understanding of the complexities of Ambrose's life and career and of late Roman government.

Author Biography: Neil McLynn is Visiting Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, Keio University, Japan. He was trained in the classics at Oxford.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Neil McLynn is University Lecturer and Fellow in Later Roman History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
Ch. 1 The Reluctant Bishop 1
Ch. 2 Consolidation 53
Ch. 3 Ambrose and Gratian 79
Ch. 4 Persecution 158
Ch. 5 Ambrose's People, I: Master of Ceremonies 220
Ch. 6 Ambrose's People, II: Friends and Influence 252
Ch. 7 Ambrose and Theodosius 291
Ch. 8 Sanctity 361
Bibliography 379
Index 397
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2001

    Scholarly yet readable

    This is not a book for the Christian faithful looking for a hagiography; nor for casual readers wanting a standard 'life'. It is rather a re-examination of Ambrose in the light of modern scholarship, which has done much to fill in our understanding of political power in the late fourth century. Despite the scholarly tone, though, this is a very readable book; in particular, the chapter on Ambrose's dangerous confrontation with Valentinian over control of Milan's churches is spellbinding. Highly recommended if you already know something about the period and want a new view of one of the most important figures of late antiquity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A commanding performance from McLynn

    Precidely written, Ambrose of Milan reads somewhat like a well composed doctoral thesis. No matter. Part of a resurgent, Christian church, Ambrose's triumph over the last emperor of both western Rome and Byzantium, Theodosius I, have led biographers to tend toward hagiography. While no new material on Ambrose has surfaced, McLynn offers a more balanced view of his subject than existing scholarship.<BR/><BR/>McLynn's command of the nuance of late Roman society is very impressive and he earns 5 stars here for intellectual rigor.

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