Konsencjusz Młodszy z Narbo – przedstawiciel elity intelektualnej późnoantycznej Galii (V wiek)

Katarzyna Golonka


Consentius Junior of Narbo – a Representative of the Intellectual Elite of the Late Roman Gaul

Consentius, a correspondent of Sidonius Apollinaris, was an outstanding representative of the Gaul aristocracy and of the intellectual elite of the times. Born, most probably around 410–420 A.D., he received an allround education which was typical of the contemporary aristocracy. He began his career during the reign of Valentinian III as tribunus et notarius. Whereas it is not certain whether he held the position of quaestor sacri palatii. What we do know is that he was sent as an envoy to the emperor of the Eastern Empire – Theodoric II, and that during his mission he was greatly assisted by his knowledge of Greek and (if we are to believe Sidonius), his great diplomatic talent. Consentius’ political activity did not mean that he neglected his intellectual interests; it is worth drawing attention to his love of the theatre. The next stage in his political career was the post of cura sacri palatii, which he held at the court of the emperor who came from Gaul, namely Sidonius’ father-in-law – Eparchius Avitus. Following the fall of Eparchius, Consentius, withdrew from public life altogether. He remained outside the sphere of politics also during the reign of emperor Antemius who enjoyed the support of a considerable section of the Gaul-Roman aristocracy. The reason why he lost interest in politics was probably due to the fact that Narbonne, Consentius’ native city, had found itself under the rule of the Visigoths. After his withdrawal from political life, Consentius, devoted himself entirely to his literary pursuits (he wrote in Latin and Greek) as well as to nurturing his social life. It may well be that he also maintained friendly relations with the Visigoth court. The precise date of his death is not known, but in all likelihood, he was still alive around the year 480. His biography allows one to trace the history of the Gaul-Roman aristocracy, whereas in the writings of Sidonius, we find a reflection of the ideals of his social class.

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