It has been an excellent stretch in English for the Latin Arians of the fourth century. They have gotten heftier, more robust, more formidable. Daniel Williams' Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts challenges what he calls "the prevailing view" that they "posed little, if any, serious threat" to the Nicene faith of the western European churches from the 350s through the 380s. Neil McLynn's Ambrose of Milan: Church and Court in a Christian Capital insists that the Milanese Arians complicated Ambrose's career more than previous chroniclers of christological conflict and the biographers of the bishop ever allowed. These are fascinating studies, wonderfully readable presentations of immense learning that will inspire admiration, and justifiably so. Nonetheless, I have a few reservations about the revisions they propose to that "prevailing view." I want to revisit Milan, to sift evidence for Arian supremacy during the 360s and for Arian influence in the 370s. The result: something of a reinterpretation of the election and early pontificate of Ambrose that differs from those on offer.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1997

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1997 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Early Christian Studies 5, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 421-40. doi:10.1353/earl.1997.0072.

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