Symmachus the Prefect
Q. AURELIUS SYMMACHUS
Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 340/345-c. 402/405) was born
into a wealthy political family and became a well-known orator
and pagan apologist. In 373, he was made proconsul of Africa,
and during his tenure, he recommended Augustine be made a
teacher of rhetoric in Milan. In 384, he was appointed prefect
of Rome; in this capacity, he argued unsuccessfully for the
return of the statue of Victory to the Roman senate house.
St. Ambrose of Milan successfully opposed the plan. When
Magnus Maximus became emperor in 387, Symmachus represented
the senate and offered congratulations to the new ruler.
Symmachus became consul of Rome in 391. His son collected
and published ten volumes of his correspondence, much of
which is with St. Ambrose. Fragments of Symmachus' speeches
survive and have been published in the Monumenta
Karen Rae Keck
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