Talk:Theodosius I

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Nicene Christianity becomes the state religion[edit]

"Theodosius promoted Nicene Trinitarian Christianity within the Empire. On 27 February 380, he declared "Catholic Church" the only legitimate Imperial religion, ending official state support for the traditional religion.[12]" This could be misleading as it leads one to erroneously suppose the present Roman Catholic Church is meant. The term 'Catholic Church' at that time consisted of what we now know to be the Orthodox East and Catholic West prior to the schism. It would be in the interests of clarity to change this to "he declared that Christianity the only legitimate Imperial religion".

Nicene Christianity becomes the state religion[edit]

"Theodosius promoted Nicene Trinitarian Christianity within the Empire. On 27 February 380, he declared "Catholic Church" the only legitimate Imperial religion, ending official state support for the traditional religion.[12]"

This could be misleading as it leads one to erroneously suppose the present Roman Catholic Church is meant. The term 'Catholic Church' at that time consisted of what we now know to be the Orthodox East and Catholic West prior to the schism. It would be in the interests of clarity to change this to "he declared that Christianity the only legitimate Imperial religion". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:42, 29 March 2012 (UTC)


Would someone please explain what it means that Theodosius decided to punish "witchcraft"? How did his men decide what to call witchcraft, and what did they do about it? --Dan

In the ancient world there was a clear distinction between the worship of nature gods and natural forces, which was until Theodosius legal, public, and (often) state-subsidized and the attempt to help or harm others by private powers or to find out the fate of others through private augury. The typical Latin name is veneficia (which also means any kind of "poisoning"); I don't have a copy of the Theodosian Code at home to look up what term it uses or what the penalty is. It had for a very long time (since Augustus Caesar?) been illegal to practice private divination about the life of the emperor; this included astrology, which many of the Romans believed in fervently. Public augury had been legal - in fact, a duty of state officials. Private augury had always been seen as subversive; after the prevailing of Christianity it was also seen as a practice that denied free will. So if you are thinking of the nature-religion side of modern Wicca this may help sort that out. --MichaelTinkler.

So if the Theodosian decrees mention "veneficia" that would be nothing new, and would refer to astrology as a treasonous inquiry, rather than to the veneration of the gods. If "witchcraft" was a red herring here, it doesn't appear any more. Other distinctions are more historical: the subject of Ambrose' and Theodosius' intolerance for the synagogues is not even mentioned in this article yet...

Wetman 19:57, 5 Jul 2004 (UTC)

With the remark "Emperors Don't Have to Collude," an anon. editor has given us this picture: "Theodosius participated in actions by Christians against major cult sites:" Not actually true, is it? I haven't reverted. Our anon. passer-by also removed "fanatical" describing the mob that looted the Serapeum. If this was not fanaticism, perhaps, then, no actions may be termed "fanatical," --if Christians are involved. --Wetman 23:34, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Arians vs. Homoians[edit]

Hello -- my edits about Arians and Homoians were removed by a user who did not log in. I'd like to hear justification for these edits. Most scholars of late antiquity would not use "Arian" to discuss most of the contenders for ecclesiastical power in the late 4th century AD. Their Nicene opponents (like Ambrose of Milan and Gregory of Nyssa) would have called them Arians, and those opponents ended up prevailing and defining Orthodoxy; however, these ecclesiastics would not have called themselves this, and, more importantly, were a different group than the self-declared followers of Arius from the early 4th century. Check out Daniel Williams "Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Nicene-Arian Conflicts" for more details. Unless the nameless editor would like to discuss the reasons behind these changes, I'd like to revert back. The resulting article doesn't even make grammatical sense, for one thing. --Jfruh 19:54, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Can you explain what you understand to be the relationships and distinctions between the Homoians and the Arians? How are they similar? How are the different? Paul August 20:53, Feb 10, 2005 (UTC)
Basically, Arius had taught that Jesus had been created by, and was therefore different from and inferior to, God the Father. This was the belief that had been condemened as heresy by the Council of Nicea; the Nicene Creed that had been established by the bishops there declared the the Father and Son were "homoousios", which can be variously translated as "of the same same nature" or "of the same substance." The council also explicity declared Arius and his followers to be heretics. Mainstream chruchmen (with a few exceptions) accepted the heretic nature of Arius and they did not preach that Jesus was a created or inferior being; however, many did not accept the "homoousios" formula. Some declared that Jesus was of a "like substance/nature" (homoiousios) to God the Father; others wanted to get rid of discussion about "nature" altogether, and would only say that Jesus was "like (homoi) the Father, according to the scriptures." It was this last group who had been favored by Valens, though the idea that there were rigidly defined factions is perhaps a bit overschematic; many churchmen changed their position to match prevailing wisdom or political expediencey. The non-Nicene churchmen would not have identified themselves as Arians.
The issue is clouded by a couple of points. First, the champions of Nicene theology, like Gregory of Nyssa and Ambrose of Milan, didn't really care about these distinctions: as far as they were concerned, anyone who didn't accept the homoousios formula was an Arian whether they admitted it or not. Since their faction ended up prevailing under Theodosius, it's their writings that have been by and large used to understand the conflict, though modern scholars attempt to see past their biases to understand precisely how the other side defined themselves. Second, outside the Roman Empire, the Christian churches in Germany were explicitly Arian, and when the Germans conquered the West in the 5th century AD, they brought their Arian religion with them, setting off another round of conflict that the Nicenes eventually won again. Thus the early 4th century, late 4th century, and 5th century conflicts tend to be collapsed into a single, long-running Arian vs. "Catholic" battle.
The salient facts for this article are that the conflict in the late 4th century was one fought within the church organization, rather than between two separate churches; while Valens had favored Homoians and occasionally intervened (sometimes violently) in Church affairs, many Nicene bishops were allowed to keep their positions throughout his reign. Cases like that of the Nicene Gregory of Nazianzus, who claimed to be the "real" bishop of Constantinople while another Homoian churchman also held the role (and was recognized as bishop by most of the city), were rare; usually conflict broke out when a bishop died and the factions vied to establish one of their own as his successor. Theodosius, however, intervened much more forcefully, ejecting the incumbant bishop in Constantinople and recognizing Gregory of Nazianzus, and establishing the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria and legally defined Christianity. His strong intervention, along with the shameful death of a known non-Nicene emperor, combined to establish the Nicene faith in the East.
Anway, I've gone on quite a bit here; hope it answers your question. The question now is, how to best integrate all this into the article? --Jfruh 21:42, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions. I think I understand the situation a bit better now. I still have some questions though. Some of what you are saying seems at variance with our article on Arianism which says:

Arius and his followers agreed that Jesus was the son of God, but denied that they were one substance (Greek: homo-ousios). Instead, they viewed God and the Son as having distinct but similar substances (Greek: homoi-ousios). The difference in Greek was literally one iota (reflected in the English letter I) of difference. The apparently trivial nature of this difference led Edward Gibbon to remark that "the profane of every age have derided the furious contests which the difference of a single diphthong excited between the Homoousians and the Homoiousians".

Is the above in your view inaccurate? How did the belief of the "Homoians" differ from those of the Arians? Is the term Arian being used correctly elsewhere in the article? Specifically:
  • "…Theodosius expelled the Arian bishop, Demophilus of Constantinople."
  • "Although much of the church hierarchy in the East had held Arian positions in the decades leading up to Theodosius' accession, he managed to impose Nicene uniformity during his reign."
Also if you do reinsert your edits, since there does seem to be some controversy surrounding this, (as one would expect from what may be a longstanding historical misnomer), please consider including more explanation (perhaps in a footnote?) and citing some sources.
Paul August 22:35, Feb 13, 2005 (UTC)

Let me just add that the quoted passage from the article on Arianism certainly is completely inaccurate. Arius and his immediate followers did not use the term homoiousios, which was coined by later theologians after the Council of Nicaea in an attempt to find a formulation on which everyone could agree. Gibbon's famous dismissal of the entire debate is as misleading as it is flippant, since (a) there was far more to it than simply the rival terms homoousios and homoiousios, and (b) these two terms may have differed by only an iota but meant completely different things. Arius might have approved of "homoiousios" if it had been put to him, but we'll never know; the most extreme Arians, fifty years later, were branded "Anoians", meaning that they didn't even think the Son was like the Father. Finally, the use of the term "Son of God" in the quoted passage is completely misleading, since this term was originally a moral one, not a metaphysical one. To say that someone thinks that Jesus was the Son of God is in itself almost completely meaningless. 11:24, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

slightly more neutral wording added; section itself seems kind of pointless since the article seems to address the issues as relevant to the subject, and they're covered in full detail elsewhere. (talk) 01:02, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

succession box[edit]

I fixed it, since the thing wasn't showing up right. --Kross 08:24, Apr 28, 2005 (UTC)

edits by[edit]

I've reverted User's edits of 17:28–39, May 1, 2005. The following sentence was added:

"He ruled the Roman Empire independently from 392 to 395, but made an incredible impact of the Roman World. He ruled jointly with two others from 379-392, when he gained absolute power."

But, in my opinion this information is adequately covered in the article.

This user also tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to update the succession box to include his rule as Augustus of the Eastern empire, from 379-392. This might have some value. Paul August 02:34, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

Alaric would resume his rebellious behaviour against Arcadius?[edit]

"[Alaric].. participated in Theodosius' campaign against Eugenius in 394, only to resume his rebellious behavior against Theodosius' son and eastern successor, Arcadius, shortly after Theodosius' death."

Shouldnt it be his Western Successor, Honorius? Alaric mobilized his forces against the Eastern Empire at Honorius' behest shortly before Arcadius' death, but most his "rebellious behavior" was directed against Honorius... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Globus Cruciger[edit]

The caption for the coin photo says it depicts Valentinian II and Theodosius I holding a Globus cruciger. But the article for Glubus cruciger claims its first use was on a coin of Theodosius II in 423. Could this really be that coin?

No, the caption of this image is wrong.--Panairjdde 19:16, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

EB 1911[edit]

The text starts abruptly; something has been lost, but here goes:


Constantinople, consisting of 150 orthodox and 36 Macedonian bishops, met in the following year, confirmed the Nicene faith, ordered the affairs of the various sees, and declared the bishop of Constantinople to rank next to the bishop of Rome. The emperor cannot be acquitted of the intolerance which marks edicts such as that depriving apostatizing Christians of the right of bequest. It was not till 389 or 390 that he issued orders for the destruction of the great image of Serapis at Alexandria. Other edicts of an earlier or later date forbade the unorthodox to hold assemblies in the towns, enjoined the surrender of all churches to the catholic bishops, and overthrew the heathen temples " throughout the whole world." During the reign of Theodosius Gregory of Nazianzus was made bishop of Constantinople. In 383 Theodosius called a new council for the discussion of the true faith. The orthodox, the Arians, the Eunomians and the Macedonians all sent champions to maintain their special tenets before the emperor, who finally decided in favor of the orthodox party. He seems to have suffered the Novatians to hold assemblies in the city. Perhaps the most remarkable incident in the life of Theodosius from a personal point of view is the incident of his submission to the reprimands of Ambrose, who dared to rebuke him and refuse to admit him to the Eucharist till he had done public penance for punishing a riot in Thessalomca by a wholesale massacre of the populace. Equally praiseworthy is the generous pardon that the emperor, after much intercession, granted to the seditious people of Antioch, who, out of anger at the growing imposts, had beaten down the imperial statues of their city (387). When the Christians in the eastern part of the empire destroyed a Jewish synagogue and a church belonging to the Valentinians, Theodosius gave orders for the offenders to make reparation. Such impartial conduct drew forth a remonstrance from Ambrose, who, where the interests of his creed were concerned, could forget the common principles of justice.

Theodosius was twice married(l) to Aelia Flacilla, the mother of Arcadius (3/7-408) and Honorius (384-423); (2) to Galla (d. 394), the daughter of Valentinian I.

The chief authorities for the age of Theodosius are Ammianus Marcellinus, Zosimus, Eunapius and the ecclesiastical historians (Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret). Much information may also be gleaned from the writings of St Ambrose, St Gregory of Nazianzus, Isidore of Seville, and the orators Pacatus, Libanius, Themistius. Among modern authorities see: E. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (ed. Bury, London, 1896), chaps. 25 and 27; T. Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders (Oxford, 1892), chaps. 5, 6, 8-11; A. Giildenpenning and J. Ifland, Der Kaiser Theodosius der Grosse (Halle, 1878); G. R. Sievers, Stttdien zur Geschichte der Tdmischen Kaiser (Berlin, 1870), pp. 283-333.

--FourthAve 07:54, 30 August 2005 (UTC)


Someone has overwritten Theodosius.jpg, which was once a very nice depiction of Theodosius from a contemporary silver plate, with what appears to be a circa 18th-19th century engraving. I've commented it out of the article because it's a fanciful depiction that has little to say about the real Theodosius. Can anyone restore the original image? And let this be a lesson: use specific file names, and be careful about overwriting files. --Jfruh 03:02, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Horrible 19th century engraving[edit]

Can we please not use this image? As the User:Kinneyboy90 says himself in the caption he added to the latest attempt to re-add this image to the article, it merely depicts what Theodosius "may have looked like", according to someone who lived 1500 years after his death, working from coins. I feel very strongly that this doesn't add anything helpful to the article, and in fact may give a false impression that we moderns "know" that Theodosius looks like this. I know its good to have portraits in articles that deal with individuals, and the temptation is to add portraits that are as photographic and lifelike as possible, but I don't see the point of using portraits that are fanciful reconstrutions just for the sake of having an image that "looks right" to us today.

Though I'm tempted very strongly to revert, I would like to build up some sort of consensus here to make sure I'm not totally out of the mainstream. If it must stay, might I suggest switching the locations of this image and the engraving in their current places in the article? The bronze-colored coin is a relatively good contemporary portrait of the man. --Jfruh (talk) 21:07, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

As far as I understand, those are engravings reproducing the images on coins. Furthermore, a good 19th century image ia better that a bad 4th century one (I am talking of photographic quality).--Panairjdde 13:37, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
It's not reproducing coins, it's based on coins, with a lot of the artists' fancy added in. It's totally ahistorical. And what's wrong with the photographic quality of the bronze coin picture? --Jfruh (talk) 13:58, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I wrote the wrong word but I have the correct concept in mind. I still prefer the 19th century engraving to the coin, because I feel the portrait of Theodosius on that coin is not good enough. This would be better, for example.--Panairjdde 14:11, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
It seems to me that the issue at stake is not the quality of the image in isolation. After all, I could find a friend who looks something like an image on a coin, dress him up in Roman garb, and take his picture with a high-quality digital camera, and it would be a better image than the one in this article, but it wouldn't be of particular use to the reader. It just seems obvious to me that that contemporary portraits should have priority over later reconstructions. Obviously you want to get the best contemporary portrait that you can, of course, but not at the risk of ahistoricity. The image you link too would be nice -- but it doesn't appear that they are available for free. --Jfruh (talk) 14:47, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I do not think that an engraving depicting the reconstruction of T. based on his portraits is worse than a low-quality picture on a follis, and is not comparable with your friend in costume. As regards the photographic quality, having a photograph of T. would be the best thing, of course, but if it were dark and un-detailed as the coin is it would be almost useless.--Panairjdde 15:07, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
It seems that we both feel fairly strongly about this, and it's just the two of us going back and forth. I hope you don't mind but I am going to put a request for a third opinion on the Wikipedia:Third opinion; if we don't get more people in on this we'll just be going in circles forever. --Jfruh (talk) 15:54, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
I find it very hard to understand why anyone would want to keep an engraving in an article which merely reproduces what a nineteenth century engraver thought Theodosius should look like. I don't understand how it can be argued that the engraving is a representation of the likeness on a coin - it looks nothing like the coin shown here. The image of the coin is quite good, and gives a much better flavour of how Theodosius and his officials wanted the emperor to be portrayed - surely far more relevant to an article about the emperor than the engraving. I vote very strongly to dump the engraving altogether. The contemporary images already in the article are quite good, and I think this image from a silver misourm showing Theodosius should head the article(see Once again, I find it hard to understand why anyone would want a fancilful nineteenth century engraving of said emperor. Way too many of those in Wikipedia.--Iacobus 06:22, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

Hello; this is in response to the listing at Wikipedia:Third opinion.

I agree with Panairjdde that the coin photograph is of sub-par quality and unsuitable for being displayed at the top of the article. But I also agree with Jfruh that the coin is more likely to be closer to an authentic depiction of the man than the engraving - I can't immediately find a verification for the assertion that the engraver was working from coin images, and a 19th century engraving may not be free from artistic licence. Finally, most of the handful of other emperor articles I've looked at also feature coin depictions at the top.

So I submit the following opinion: that the engraving should stay until the coin photograph is cleaned up by those versed in the ways of Photoshop - i.e. cropped, colours and contrast adjusted, etc. If this results in an acceptable picture, it should switch places with the engraving. Hope this helps. Sandstein 20:57, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

What is there to clean up in the coin photo? It is an old coin worn with time, but which speaks to us fairly directly of how Roman officialdom wanted Theodosius to be portrayed. Fairly powerful and relevant, I'd say. The engraving should be dumped as a matter of urgency. --Iacobus 06:29, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
A close look will show that the C19 engraving is based on the coin type. Very instructive pairing. Some footnote should be in the article to draw attention to the fact. --Wetman 07:39, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Nicene Christianity becomes the state religion[edit]

The last-but-one paragraph of this section ("In 391 or 392 he .... for this very purpose.") is more or less a repetition of the text above it. I personally would like to delete, if someone prefers a more subtle approach please do. Pukkie 11:45, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Notes at top[edit]

There is a disagreement between the brief notes near the top and the text about who Theodosius I ruled with at what times. The brief notes claim that he ruled with Gratian until 392 but the detailed information says that Gratian died in a rebellion in 383 and thereafter he ruled with Valentinian II. De Imperatoribus Romanis records the death of Gratian as 383, as well. David Marshall B.Ed. 06:41, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

The notes are admittedly confusing. The information they are trying to convey is that Theodosius wasn't sole ruler in the west until 392, and that he was co-ruler with various western figures, including Gratian and Valentinian II, before that point (whose dates aren't listed). The situation of "co-rulers" during his reign is very complex and hard to encapsualte in a brief note. --Jfruh (talk) 15:35, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Is "Last Emperor" POV?[edit]

I realize that I am arguing against the most common historiography but ...

This and other articles clearly state that Theodosius was the last ruler of the united empire. From a certain perspective this is correct but, according to the historiography of historians this could be argued to be invalid. The rationale behind this argument is that the Western Empire ceased to exist in 476 and Theodosius was the last emperor over the whole empire before that. However, the 476 date is really a modern convention and legally debatable. The Western Empire was falling apart in the 5th century and the emperorship in Rome was debatable at best. Odoacer basically came in and declared himself kind and gave nominal imperial authority (i.e. in name only) over Rome and what remained of the Western Empire to Zeno in Constantinople. One can debate whether Odoacer or Zeno had any right to that but one can equally debate whether Orestes had any right to name Romulus Augustus as emperor either. Objectively speaking the legal merits are IMHO equalling compelling (or equally non-compelling). The fact is that the rulers of at least the core remnants of the Western Empire pledged allegiance to the emperors in Constantinople until Justinian formally took over direct authority of (i.e. conquered) the Western lands. So one can make a valid argument that legally Zeno and some subsequent emperors were rulers over East and West (certainly they believed this to be true). In particular the Church in Rome generally always considered itself to be within the same empire as Constantinople up until the coronation of Charlemagne (that was stretching things, certaintly, but still ...).

I am not suggesting that Wikipedia should say the opposite of what is currently written (that would not be NPOV either) but should clarify this more. Perhaps to say that Theodosius was the last to rule over East and West before the final major decline of central authority in the West.

--Mcorazao 22:50, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. The Byzantine emperors after Zeno became the rulers of the unified empire until at least Lombard invasion. Even under Theodorich imperial edicts from Constantinople had power in Italy not to say Dalmatia and other Western provinces. Yes after Theodorich there were clashes between Rome and Byzantium, but only because Italian authoritis (in unity with the Roman Senate) supported their own candidates to the trone. So it can be considered only as a civil war rather than secession. Phocas visited Rome and erected a column there. He probably would be surprized that he is not the emperor in Rome.--Dojarca (talk) 01:24, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

The Disinfobox[edit]

The disinfobox was added to this article 10:24, 8 November 2006. It bore the wrong date until someone noticed today. That's over thirteen months. --Wetman (talk) 16:23, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

That someone apparently didn't read carefully enough then. The infobox differentiated between the phases of Theodosius' reign. For a similar example, see Constantine I. I've reverted the change for now. Iblardi (talk) 01:45, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Moreover, Emperor Theodosius I was the LAST UNIFIED Roman Emperor. He therefore had a single predecessor, and it was only his successors that were split into West and East. I'll correct that. -The Mysterious El Willstro (talk) 02:17, 19 January 2010 (UTC)


At the end of the first paragraph someone wrote: "He is also known for making Catholicism the official state religion of the Roman Empire." I really do not get this. Theodosius reigned from 379 to 395. What does Catholicism have to do with this period? To anyone who knows anything about history the Schism happened some 800 years later. I suggest that this should be removed as soon as possible. -- (talk) 13:40, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

-Catholicism is the decendant of the Roman state church, so in popular terms is the catholic church. I suppose you could argue to call it the Nicean church but that isnt a popular phrase. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

-Oh Jesus yes, let's puff up the egos of Roman Catholics by using their "preferred" terminology that inserts their religion into Pre-Roman Catholic history at the expense of an accurate description. Whatever religion the state enforced would be "Catholic" by definition, but the point is that the religion that was enforced as Catholic Christianity was Nicean Christianity, so this is the more enlightening term. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:31, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
- or do we have a problem with enlightenment here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

- I was the “someone” who did the change of "christianism" for "catholicism", that is historically the correct thing. But, reading now the first (and not very well informed) commentary about, I believe that it is suitable to add to the article the exact quote of Theodosius's decree, as it was compiled in the Codex Theodosianus, what I will do forthwith. At the moment I will put the version in English, because a Greek one is more difficult to obtain in Internet. Regards. --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 19:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC) - Sorry, a lapsus calami: I wanted to say "a Latin one" (from Mommsen). I was thinking about Constantinople...--Alicia M. Canto (talk) 19:57, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

- The problem is one of wording. At the time of Theodosius there could not be any misunderstanding about the term catholicism or catholic. For example, someone living in the 4th century and using the term "catholic church" could not possibly be talking about anything else but the whole body of the church. However, if someone uses that term today, the first thing that, I believe, comes to mind is the Roman Catholic church. We cannot be using such, let's say, esoteric language today when writing a general purpose article, at least not without clarifying the term completely. And, of course, then comes the point "why write catholocism and have to make all the clarifications, instead of writing christianism, which conveys the true spirit of what Theodosius did and said".
-- (talk) 20:36, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

- I believe that I understand what you want to say, but the edict of 380 makes very clear that, among the different sects or groups of the Christian church (all of them were equally Christians), only the Catholics would prevail, and all the rest considered heretical. I believe that the decree (in the meanwhile I inserted it already, in English and Latin, in two complete footnotes) is a cathegoric and full historical document, and does not have anything of "esoteric" (a curious interpretation). For your point "why write catholicism..." : Because if we were saying only "christianism”, and not “catholicism”, there would get lost completely the authentic sense and intention of this decree, on his own time, and we would go almost hundred years back, to the epoch of Constantine (sorry for my English) --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 21:54, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

- The point I am making is that the word "catholicism", used without any explanation in this general purpose educational text, is misleading and certainly, to my mind, fails to convey the intended meaning. Take the simple example of a 10-year-old child reading this article. It could very easily come to the conclusion that the Roman Catholic Church dates from the time of Theodosius.
-given that a wikipedia link of "Catholic Christianity" links to the Roman Catholic Church article, this hardly applies to 10-year-olds only
As is common knowledge, the meaning of words changes with the passing years, let alone centuries or millenia. You are saying that Theodosius was using it to refer to the true christians, excluding the heretics etc. That use of the word was valid back then. It is not valid today in everyday speech. Maybe it is still valid terminology within the ecclesiastic circles, which is what I meant with the word "esoteric", but it certainly is not enough today to explain which christians Theodosius was talking about back then. One, I feel, has to include the original text (as you did), where the original word is present, and then write an explanatory text where the term in question is properly explained according to today's standards. Your comment about the difference with Constantine's time could only be valid if we were living and writing at the time of Theodosius. However, this article has to conform to the knowledge that people have today. If a detailed enough explanation is given, concerning which christians we are talking about, I do not see how one could misinterpret anything. On the contrary, what I am suggesting is that more explanations should be given.
Ultimately, the need for clarification should be evident due to exactly what you have pointed out in your answer. Theodosius was using the word to denote all the true christians (non heretics). However, I do not think that any impartial person today would dare to consider present-day catholics as the only true christians; and an encyclopaedic articile must be impartial. I should think that this is reason enough to fully explain the term "catholic" appearing in the old text, instead of just using it in the article as-is, without any clarification.
As a final comment, to me it feels that keeping the word "catholicism" in the text without any explanation can not be justified, but could only be attributed to personal preference. However, personal preference is not what an encyclopaedia should be about.
-- (talk) 23:30, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

The main religious controversy for Theodosius I would be Nicene Creed Christianity versus Arianism. A reference to the Creed should clarify what Catholicism means in this context. Dimadick (talk) 05:56, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

- To Sincerely, I believe that it is not precise any more clarification about the Theodosian decree and his intention (Dimadick: the questions about the creeds are already explained down in the text: "In May 381, Theodosius summoned a new ecumenical council at Constantinople to repair the schism, and sqq...."). A young reader 10 years old (¿?) cannot think never that here we are speaking about the Catholic, Roman, and Papal Church, because nothing of her is mentioned absolutly in the whole article. The phrases "He (scil., Theodosius) is also known for making Catholicism the official state religion of the Roman Empire", and "On February 27, 380, he declared Catholicism the only legitimate imperial religion, ending state support for the traditional Roman religion" they are both certain, since they are proved through the decree. And clearly they do not speak about any church, but about a religion or creed. Or, which is the same thing: it is the true that the catholic creed or religion existed some centuries before that the Catholic Church as organization (through, as I recorded in the footnote 10 "he katholiké ekklesía is found for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about the year 110", it is not applicable to the case, for the same reasons). In short: This one is not an article about our epoch, but on that of Theodosius I, and we must place the reader in the optics of his time, not thinking about everything what happened later, as still it had not happened. --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 08:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC) - Last but not least: They are not precise the personal allusions (already there were several here). It is not a question of a "personal preferences", that the historians must not use when they write, but of an historical document. --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 08:11, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

- About change without explanation made lastly by Gr8Lakes: I am not experienced at the "wars" at the Wikipedia, especially when I had just finished of arguing at length, and contributing the historical proof of rigor (the exact text of the decree and his references). The Arians and other groups also were Christians, but Theodosius declared them heretics and forced all the Empire to be "Christian Catholic", not only "Christian". This is what says the History, and the decree of 380 A.D. I imagine that in Wikipedia there exist arbiters, referees, umpires or judges who could control and re-lead situations like this, I cannot devote me to it. Regards. --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 14:20, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

- I propose a definition of consensus, to seeing if it would be possible to reach a pacific agreement, according this definition: "On 27 February, 380, by an edict issued in Thessalonica and published in Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius declared Catholic Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and defined the term "Catholic" in Roman Imperial law as follows... (decree)". I found it... in Wikipedia, "History of use of the term". --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 14:41, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Surely it makes the most sense to say "Emperor Theodosius declared Catholic (what we would call Nicaean) Christianity the official...". Using "Catholic" is using the word in an old sense but implying a modern sense. Note especially that in Wikipedia, Catholic Christianity redirects to Roman Catholic Church.

- Sorry, but it seems to me absurd (and even slightly offensive) to suggest nothing on a supposed "catholic ego" (¡!), as suggested by It is a question of respecting the exact words of the emperor Theodosius in an historical text of the year 380 A.D., that is: “We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians“. Theodosius wrote or spelled in his Edict nothing about “the Nicene Orthodoxy”. If one wants to be strict, it is no correct apply to this text the effect of events produced 1.300 years later. That is, on the contrary, what I observe in this debate. The normal and desirable is that someone interested with History can unterstand every text and expressions inside the context and epoch. --Alicia M. Canto (talk) 10:10, 6 September 2008 (UTC)


I would like to propose to include references to the Theodosian Line as it is known in historical works. I was wondering what others think of this?--Prinkipas (talk) 15:46, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


The article says when he passed a law against homosexuality this was the first time in the history of law that this had happenned - what about the Old Testament laws which called it an abomination punishable by death? Orlando098 (talk) 15:41, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Art Patronage section insult to reality[edit]

This emperor was responable for some of the most brutal demolitions of the classical world. Forget his forced massacres like that of the thessalonikans for example.

  • Delphi was dismantled on his orders, today the city is simply foundations because of his orders, Temple of Apollo (Delphi) and all the most famous classical pieces of art in the santuary destroyed.
  • Serapeum of Alexandriadismantledto its foundations by..
  • His much copied ideals of stealing art monuments from other nations when he chose not to destroy it as it represented power.

The list goes on.. This man destroyed so much important art and eradicated from history so much cultural heritage whether it be histories and sciences judged 'unholy' or his crusade of leveling every major classical santuary, statue and temple compex he could. The art patronage section has as much validity as Hitler giving Gandi a speach on ethics. At least build a section on his destruction of art, culture and the sciences. Forget his attacks on paganism, his brutality to the arts far outweighs his 'patronage.' He is one of the major christian figures who virtually single handedly landed europe in the dark ages and that is why his art patronage section is insulting to any encyclopedia. Iam amazed it is allowed to stand. His inhumanity to the arts and what was lost due to his actions completely eclipses any positive contribution to the arts. Reaper7 (talk) 00:22, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

I couldn't agree more! Theodosius was one of the most destructive forces against culture and art in Western history. This section is an insult. I can possibly justify one or two sentences being tacked on somewhere else, but the section itself has to go. (talk) 18:51, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
The temple of Vesta was closed by him and not destroyed. It was destroyed during the 15. and 16. century, in the age of humanism and the Renaissance. It's the same with most of the ancient buildings, only a few were really destroyed at the end of antiquity, in the most cases the stones were simply stolen in the later medieval age or later. The whole article is in its current form very strange, because it overstresses some details or relates a long term-process to a single person. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:17, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Nicene Christianity[edit]

The Council of Nicaea affirmed the prevailing view among Christians that Jesus was consubstantial with the Father. This concept was not merely asserted or proposed or introduced at the Council. It is widely recognized that Nicaea did not invent the dogma of the deity of Jesus. I have corrected this article, which had stated that the council had "asserted."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) Senator2029 | talk 15:58, 30 October 2011 (UTC)

Change to redirect of "Catholic Church" under "Nicene Christianity becomes the state religion"[edit]

Greetings, I changed the redirect of "Catholic Church" under "Nicene Christianity becomes the state religion" to redirect as Catholic Church instead of Catholic Church. The reason I did this was to make it NPOV towards the different churches claiming to be "Catholic", instead of it just assuming he meant the modern Roman Catholic Church. As his pronouncement was of the "Catholic Church" before the Great Schism, it would not be NPOV to redirect it to any certain church as at that time Christiandom did not exist as it does now. I would prefer to redirect it to a page dedicated solely to the pre-schism church, but I cannot find one so for now I think it best to stick with a disambiguation.

If you feel this edit is unfounded, please talk about it here!

I am very sorry that I am not logged in right now, my account is Gunnar123abc — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

The so-called "NPOV" is in itself a POV. It's a revision of what was accepted history until non-Catholic polemicists (particularly Protestants, but also Greeks) tried to dispute it. Referring to the Catholic religion of the Roman empire as anything other than the Roman Catholic faith is POV in favor of the Protestants and Greeks. The notion that there was no Catholic faith prior to the 1054 Schism is also favorable to Greeks. --ChristianHistory (talk) 04:30, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

15 May 392 – 17 January 395 (whole empire)[edit]

Hello, I have a question about the wording. In the heading, it say:

15 May 392 – 17 January 395 (whole empire)

However, if you read the "Battle of Frigidus" article, it says that after the battle (in 394), Theodosius took control of the entire empire. How was he the emperor of the whole empire in 392 if the battle of Frigidus didn't happen till 394? I hope you can understand my question. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:12, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Good question, but the battle of Frigidus was against Eugenius, a usurper, so his brief rule is not considered legitimate. Theodosius was emperor of the entire empire from the death of Valentinian II onwards.Tataryn77 (talk) 01:26, 2 April 2013 (UTC)