Skip to main content Accessibility help

‘Cherchez la femme!’ Heresy and Law in Late Antiquity

  • Caroline Humfress (a1)


In contrast with contemporary heresiological discourse, the Codex Theodosianus, a Roman imperial law code promulgated in 438, makes no systematic gendered references to heretics or heresy. According to late Roman legislative rhetoric, heretics are demented, polluted and infected with pestilence, but they are not seductive temptresses, vulgar ‘women’ or weak-minded whores. This article explores the gap between the precisely marked terrain of Christian heresiologists and (Christian) legislators. The first part gives a brief overview of early Christian heresiology. The second explores late Roman legislation and the construction of the heretic as a ‘legal subject’ in the Codex Theodosianus. The third turns to the celebrated account crafted by Pope Leo I of anti-Manichaean trials at Rome in 443/4, arguing that they should be understood as part of a much broader developing regime of ecclesial power, rather than as concrete applications of existing imperial anti-heresy laws.


Corresponding author

*School of History, University of St Andrews, 71 South St, St Andrews, KY16 9DD. E-mail:


Hide All

1 ‘[M Jackal] Il y a une femme dans toutes les affaires; aussitôt qu'on me fait un rapport, je dis: «Cherchez la femme!»’: Dumas, Alexandre, Théåtre complet XXIV. Les Mohicans de Paris (Paris, 1889), 103.

2 Dumas did not, of course, invent the trope of ‘bad things begin with a woman’. As Jennifer Eyl points out, ‘[o]ne can think of numerous literary and mythological examples: Eve in Genesis 3, Hesiod's Pandora and Helen of Troy’: ‘Optatus's Account of Lucilla in Against the Donatists, or, Women are good to undermine with’, in Susan Ashbrook Harvey et al., eds, A Most Reliable Witness: Essays in Honor of Ross Shepard Kraemer (Providence, RI, 2015), 155–64, at 159.

3 Lacey, Nicola, ‘Unspeakable Subjects, Impossible Rights: Sexuality, Integrity and Criminal Law’, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 11 (1998), 4768.

4 ‘In this paper, rather than focussing on specific features of the criminal process, I shall address the question of how criminal law itself constructs the wrong of rape’: ibid. 50.

5 Ibid. 49.

6 Ibid. 66.

7 Theodosiani Libri XVI cum Constitutionibus Sirmondianis, ed. Theodor Mommsen and Paul M. Meyer (Berlin, 1905; hereafter: CTh; includes post-Theodosian Novellae); Codex Iustinianus, in Corpus Iuris Civilis (hereafter: CICiv), 2: Codex Iustinianus, ed. Paul Krüger (Berlin, 1877); Justinianic Novellae, in CICiv, 3: Novellae, ed. Rudolf Schöll and Wilhelm Kroll (Berlin, 1895). ‘Imperial constitution’ is the collective term for all types of authoritative communications written in the name of the emperor(s). In the extant late Roman evidence, these acts of communication usually took the (original) form of letters. For further discussion, see Corcoran, Simon, ‘State Correspondence in the Roman Empire: Imperial Communication from Augustus to Justinian’, in Radner, Karen, ed., State Correspondence in the Ancient World from New Kingdom Egypt to the Roman Empire (Oxford, 2014), 172209.

8 Comparisons could be drawn here with early modern witchcraft prosecutions: see Holmes, Clive, ‘Women: Witnesses and Witches’, P&P 140 (1993), 4578; (more broadly) Geis, Gilbert, ‘Lord Hale, Witches, and Rape’, British Journal of Law and Society 5 (1978), 2644; idem, ‘Revisiting Lord Hale, Misogyny, Witchcraft and Rape’, Criminal Law Journal 10 (1986), 319–29.

9 Burrus, Virginia, ‘The Heretical Woman as Symbol in Alexander, Athanasius, Epiphanius and Jerome’, HThR 84 (1991), 229–48. For discussion of later developments, see John Arnold, ‘Heresy and Gender in the Middle Ages’, in Judith Bennett and Ruth Karras, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe (Oxford, 2013), 496–510.

10 Jill Harries, Law and Empire in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 1999), gives an overview of late Roman law and practice, including discussion of who made (imperial) law and an explanation of its predominantly responsive, yet at the same time proactive, nature. On the rhetorical nature of late Roman imperial law, see the classic study by Wulf Eckart Voß, Recht und Rhetorik in den Kaisergesetzen der Spätantike. Eine Untersuchung zum nachklassischen Kauf- und Übereignungsrecht, Forschungen zur byzantinischen Rechtsgeschichte (Frankfurt am Main, 1982).

11 Shenoute, ‘As I sat on a Mountain’, in Selected Discourses of Shenoute the Great: Community, Theology, and Social Conflict in Late Antique Egypt, ed. and transl. David Brakke and Andrew Crislip (Cambridge, 2015), 39–53, at 39–40.

12 For further discussion of whether heresy always necessarily implies ‘insider status’ in late antique heresiological discourse, see Peter Schadler, John of Damascus and Islam: Christian Heresiology and the Intellectual Background to Earliest Christian-Muslim Relations, History of Christian-Muslim Relations 34 (Leiden, 2018), 20–48.

13 For a summary of the debate over the physical presence of peacocks and Nile geese in Shenoute's church (and in Coptic churches today), see Shenoute's Literary Corpus, ed. Stephen Emmel, CSCO 599–600 / CSCO Subsidia 111–12, 2 vols (Louvain, 2004), 2: 611.

14 Peter Brown, Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Madison, WI, 1992), 138. On Theophilus of Alexandria's anti-Origenist campaigns, see now Krastu Banev, Theophilus of Alexandria and the First Origenist Controversy: Rhetoric and Power (Oxford, 2015). On Shenoute, see further Hugo Lundhaug, ‘Shenoute's Heresiological Polemics and its Context(s)’, in Jörg Ulrich, Anders-Christian Jacobsen and David Brakke, eds, Invention, Rewriting, Usurpation: Discursive Fights over Religious Traditions in Antiquity, Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity 11 (Frankfurt am Main, 2012), 239–61.

15 Clark, Elizabeth, The Origenist Controversy: The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate (Princeton, NJ, 1992).

16 Burrus, Virginia, The Making of a Heretic: Gender, Authority and the Priscillianist Controversy (Berkeley, CA, 1995); eadem, ‘“In the Theater of this Life”: The Performance of Orthodoxy in Late Antiquity’, in William Klingshirn and Mark Vessey, eds, The Limits of Ancient Christianity: Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R. A. Markus (Ann Arbor, MI, 1999), 80–96; Cameron, Averil. ‘How to Read Heresiology’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 33 (2003), 471–92; Kimberley Stratton, ‘The Rhetoric of “Magic” in Early Christian Discourse: Gender, Power and the Construction of “Heresy”’, in Todd Penner and Caroline Vander Stichele, eds, Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourses, Biblical Interpretation Series 84 (Leiden, 2007), 89–114; Young Richard Kim, Epiphanius of Cyprus: Imagining an Orthodox World (Ann Arbor, MI, 2015); Andrew Jacobs, Epiphanius of Cyprus: A Cultural Biography of Late Antiquity (Oakland, CA, 2016); Todd Berzon, Classifying Christians: Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity (Oakland, CA, 2016).

17 As argued by Elizabeth Clark, ‘The Lady vanishes: Dilemmas of a Feminist Historian after the “Linguistic Turn”‘, ChH 67 (1998), 1–31; eadem, ‘Holy Women, Holy Words: Early Christian Women, Social History, and the “Linguistic Turn”’, JECS 6 (1998), 413–30. See also Dale Martin, ‘Introduction’, to idem and Patricia Cox Miller, eds, The Cultural Turn in Late Ancient Studies: Gender, Asceticism, and Historiography (Durham, NC, 2005), 1–21.

18 Judith Lieu, ‘What did Women do for the Early Church? The Recent History of a Question’, in Peter D. Clarke and Charlotte Methuen, eds, The Church on its Past, SCH 49 (Woodbridge, 2013), 261–81, at 280.

19 See further Jennifer Knust, Abandoned to Lust: Sexual Slander and Ancient Christianity (New York, 2006), 143. Writing in the fourth century, Jerome interweaves 2 Tim. 3: 6 with his depiction of ‘Manichaean orgies’, during which the ‘Manichaean Elect … shut themselves up alone with silly women, and between intercourse and embraces … enchant them with suggestive quotations from Virgil’: Jerome, Ep. 22.13.3, quoted in Harry Maier, ‘“Manichee!”: Leo the Great and the Orthodox Panopticon’, JECS 4 (1996), 441–60, at 452.

20 Tertullian, De praescriptione 41.2–8, quoted in Berzon, Classifying Christians, 67.

21 Stratton, ‘Rhetoric of “Magic”’, 111.

22 Burrus, ‘Heretical Woman as Symbol’, 230.

23 Ibid. 231–2; see also Nicola Denzey, The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women (Boston, MA, 2007), 184–5.

24 Burrus, ‘Heretical Woman as Symbol’, 231–2 n. 6.

25 For a comparison with how the figure of ‘the temptress’ is used to construct ‘exemplary male figures’ in late antique rabbinic discourse, see Jordan Rosenblum, ‘The Night Rabbi Aqiba slept with Two Women’, in Harvey et al., eds, Most Reliable Witness, 67–75.

26 Burrus, ‘Heretical Woman as Symbol’, 235.

27 Athanasius, Three Orations against the Arians 1.1–10, quoted in Burrus, ‘Heretical Woman as Symbol’, 236.

28 The systematic development of a ‘feminized’ idea of heresy from the fourth century onwards was also grounded within ancient biological theories: ‘The female proclivity for error is written into ancient ideas of human biology and fetal gestation: to be born female is to have ceased developing in the womb. Women are essentially “failed” or “underdeveloped” men’: Eyl, ‘Optatus's Account of Lucilla’, 160.

29 ‘There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and maidens without number. My dove, my perfect one, is only one, the darling of her mother, a chosen one to her that bore her’: S. of S. 6: 8, as quoted in Epiphanius, De Fide 2.4 – 7.2: The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis. Books II and III (Sects 47–80, De Fide), transl. Frank Williams (Leiden, 1994), 639–44. For a detailed discussion of Epiphanius's Panarion and related works, see Jacobs, Epiphanius of Cyprus, 20–1, 176–220.

30 Epiphanius, De Fide 7.1 (Panarion, transl. Williams, 644).

31 Epiphanius, Panarion 79.8.

32 Denzey, Bone Gatherers, 184.

33 Quotation from Simon Corcoran, ‘The Gregorianus and Hermogenianus assembled and shattered’, Mélanges de l’école française de Rome 125 (2013), 285–304, at 294 (p. 10 of the edition online at: <>, accessed 1 February 2019).

34 Leslie Green, ‘Gender and the Analytical Jurisprudential Mind’, University of Oxford, Legal Research Paper 46 (26 August 2015), 8, online at: <>, accessed 1 February 2019. Green is here quoting the summary of ‘his view’ given by Joanne Conaghan, Law and Gender (Oxford, 2013), 18–22.

35 John Crook, ‘Patria Potestas’, Classical Quarterly 17 (1967), 113–22, at 122, argues that the Roman legal concept of patria potestas needs to be divided into three distinct analytical categories: ‘sacral headship; power over the persons and lives of members of the family … [what Crook terms] “gubernatorial” headship; and property headship. For the extent and intensity of each of these within the family differs from society to society.’ On the late republic and early empire, see also Richard Saller, ‘Patria potestas and the Stereotype of the Roman Family’, Continuity and Change 1 (1986), 7–22; for the later empire, see Antti Arjava, ‘Paternal Power in Late Antiquity’, JRS 88 (1998), 147–65.

36 For further discussion, see Joëlle Beaucamp, Le Statut de la femme à Byzance (4e–7e siècles), 2 vols (Paris, 1990–2); Antti Arjava, Women and the Law in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 1996); Caroline Humfress, ‘Gift-Giving and Inheritance Strategies in Late Roman Law and Legal Practice’, in Ole-Albert Rønning, Helle Sigh and Helle Vogt, eds, Donations, Strategies and Relations in the Latin West and Nordic Countries (London, 2017), 9–27.

37 Elizabeth Clark, ‘Ideology, History, and the Construction of “Woman” in Late Ancient Christianity’, JECS 2 (1994), 155–84, at 171.

38 David Daube, Roman Law: Linguistic, Social and Philosophical Aspects (Edinburgh, 1969), 72.

39 CTh 9.7.1; CI 9.9.28.

40 Judith Evans Grubbs, ‘Virgins and Widows, Show-Girls and Whores: Late Roman Legislation on Women and Christianity’, in Ralph Mathisen, ed., Law, Society and Authority in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2001), 220–41, which also analyses the handful of laws relating to lowest-status women and Christianity.

41 Ibid., with additional discussion of relevant imperial legislation in the post-Theodosian Novellae and the Codex Iustinianus.

42 Clark, ‘Ideology, History, and the Construction of “Woman”’, 179.

43 Ibid.

44 On Melania the Elder and her granddaughter Melania the Younger, see Catherine Chin and Caroline Schroeder, eds, Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of one Family (Oakland, CA, 2017). Clark, ‘Ideology, History, and the Construction of “Woman”’, 180, goes on to suggest that ‘[i]t is perhaps the Church Fathers’ emotional and financial dependence on such women … coupled with their misogynistic constructions of “woman” that gives an unpleasant edge to their diatribes against rich women.’

45 On the later fifth and sixth centuries, see Caroline Humfress, ‘A New Legal Cosmos: Late Roman Lawyers and the Early Medieval Church’, in Peter Linehan, Janet L. Nelson and Marios Costambeys, eds, The Medieval World, 2nd edn (London, 2018), 653–73.

46 For a more detailed discussion, see Caroline Humfress, ‘Ordering Divine Knowledge in Late Roman Legal Discourse’, COLLeGIUM 20 (2016), 160–76.

47 CTh 16.1, De fide catholica (‘On the Catholic / Universal Faith’); CTh 16.11, De religione (‘Concerning “Religion”’).

48 CTh 16.2, De episcopis, ecclesiis, et clericis (‘Concerning Bishops, Churches and Clerics’); CTh 16.3, De monachis (‘Concerning Monks’).

49 CTh 16.6, Ne sanctum baptisma iteretur (‘Holy Baptism not to be repeated’).

50 For a careful and nuanced discussion of this complex imperial constitution, see Neil McLynn, ‘Moments of Truth: Gregory of Nazianzus and Theodosius I’, in Scott McGill, Cristiana Sogno and Edward Watts, eds, From the Tetrarchs to the Theodosians: Later Roman History and Culture, 284–450 CE (Cambridge, 2010), 215–40, at 215–18.

51 CTh 16.2.22 (Given at Trier, 1 December 372); 16.2.44 (Given at Ravenna, 8 May 420). For further discussion see JECS 15/2 (2007), special issue, ‘Holy Households: Space, Property and Power’, guest ed. Kristina Sessa; Kim Bowes, Private Worship, Public Values, and Religious Change in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2008).

52 ‘Nulla nisi emensis sexaginta annis, “cui votiva domi proles sit”, secundum praeceptum apostoli ad diaconissarum consortium transferatur’: Codex Theodosianus, ed. Mommsen and Meyer, 1/2: 843; cf. 1 Tim. 5: 9–10.

53 ‘Nihil de monilibus et superlectili, nihil de auro argento ceterisque clarae domus insignibus sub religionis defensione consumat, sed universa integra in liberos proximosve vel in quoscumque alios arbitrii sui existimatione transcribat ac si quando diem obierit, nullam ecclesiam, nullum clericum, nullum pauperem scribat heredes’: ibid.

54 CTh 16.2.27 was (partially?) repealed two months later by CTh 16.2.28, a result of lobbying at the imperial court.

55 CTh 16.5.6, 1 (given at Constantinople, 10 January 381); 16.5.15 (given at Stobi, 14 June 388); 16.5.20 (given at Rome, 19 May 391); 16.5.40, 2 (given at Rome, 22 February 407); 16.5.41, preface (given at Rome, 15 November 407); 16.5.44 (given at Ravenna, 24 November 408); 16.5.52, 5 (given at Ravenna, 30 January 412); 16.5.62, 16.5.64 (probably given at Aquileia, 6 August 425); 16.5.65, preface (given at Constantinople, 30 May 428).

56 CTh 16.5.7, 1 (given at Constantinople 8 May 381); 16.5.35 (given at Milan, 17 May 399). CTh 16.5.65 gives a list of twenty-three named heresies and refers to the Manichaeans as ‘those who have arrived at the lowest depth of wickedness’.

57 ‘Quid de Donatistis sentiremus, nuper ostendimus. Praecipue tamen Manichaeos vel Frygas sive Priscillianistas’ meritissima severitate persequimur. Huic itaque hominum generi nihil ex moribus, nihil ex legibus sit commune cum ceteris. Ac primum quidem volumus esse publicum crimen, quia quod in religionem divinam conmittitur, in omnium fertur iniuriam’: CTh 16.5.40, preface and 1 (Codex Theodosianus, ed. Mommsen and Meyer, 1/2: 867; The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions, transl. Clyde Pharr et al. [Princeton, NJ, 1952], 457). As noted by an anonymous reviewer, the ‘Priscillianists’ referred to here are probably not the followers of the Spanish ascetic Priscillian but rather ‘Montanists’ or ‘Phrygians’ and followers of Priscilla: see Theodor Mommsen et al., eds, Les Lois religieuses des empereurs romains de Constantin à Théodose II (312—438), 1: Code Théodosien XVI, SC 497, 484.

58 Caroline Humfress, ‘Citizens and Heretics. Late Roman Lawyers on Christian Heresy’, in Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Zellentin, eds, Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity (Tübingen, 2008), 35–56.

59 CTh 16.5.52 (given at Ravenna, 30 January 412); 16.5.54 (given at Ravenna, 17 June 414).

60 Berzon, Classifying Christians, 92.

61 This point also stands for the anti-Manichaean rescript issued by the Emperor Diocletian to Julianus, proconsul of Africa, probably in 302: text in Salvatore Riccobono et al., eds, Fontes iuris Romani anteiustiniani, 2: Auctores, 2nd edn (Florence, 1968), 580–1.

62 ‘Gender is relevant to several problems in normative jurisprudence, and to some problems in special jurisprudence. Gender is not relevant to general jurisprudence; and that is why it gets little mention there’: Green, ‘Gender and the Analytical Jurisprudential Mind’, 28.

63 Ibid. 27–8.

64 Leo, Sermones 9 (probably preached in 443, shortly before Sermo 16) and 16 (preached during the December fast of 443). On Leo's other anti-Manichaean Sermones (24, 34, 42, 76) and his Ep. 7 (to the bishops of Italy, 30 January 444), see Maier, ‘“Manichee!”’; Sermons and Letters against the Manichaeans: Selected Fragments, ed. Hendrik Schipper and Johannes van Oort, Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum Series Latina 1 (Turnhout, 2000), which also includes Leo, Epp. 8, 15, 15a and Sermo 72.

65 For a detailed discussion of the complex manuscript transmission of Leo's sermons, see Sancti Leonis Magni Romani Pontificis Tractatus Septem et Nonaginta, ed. Antoine Chavasse, CChr.SL 138, L–CCI.

66 For the broader history relating to Manichaeans at Rome, see Samuel Lieu, Manichaeism in the Later Roman Empire and Medieval China: A Historical Survey (Manchester, 1985), 164–8.

67 Leo, Sermo 9.4 (Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 25).

68 Ibid. See also Maier, ‘“Manichee!”’, 450, who discusses the wider context of ‘Leo's exhortations to the faithful of Rome and the bishops of Italy to enter into a campaign of denunciation and betrayal’.

69 See also CTh 16.5.62 (probably issued at Aquileia, 6 August 425, addressed to the prefect of the city of Rome), which orders that Manichaeans, heretics, schismatics, astrologers and every sect that is an enemy of the Catholics are to be banished from ‘the very sight of the City of Rome, in order that it may not be contaminated by the contagious presence of the criminals’: Theodosian Code, transl. Pharr et al., 462. The touchstone for orthodoxy adopted in this constitution is communion with Pope Celestine I.

70 Leo, Sermo 16.4 (Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 26). Bronwen Neil, translator of Leo the Great (Abingdon, 2009), 32, notes that Leo's tribunal ‘was made up of both secular and ecclesiastical judges, and presided over by the bishop himself’. Susan Wessel stresses Leo's ability to exploit connections with Rome's senatorial aristocracy: Leo the Great and the Spiritual Rebuilding of a Universal Rome, Vigiliae Christianae Supplements 93 (Leiden, 2008), 121–6.

71 ‘Qui [the Manichaean Elect] cum de perversitate dogmatis sui et de festivitatum suarum consuetudine multa reserassent, illud quoque scelus, quod eloqui verecundum est, prodiderunt’: Leo, Sermo 16.4 (Leo the Great, transl. Neil, 77).

72 ‘De quo ne apertius loquentes castos offendamus auditus, gestorum documenta sufficient, quibus plenissime docetur nullam in hac sectam pudicitiam, nullam honestatem, nullam reperiri penitus castitatem, in qua lex est mendacium, diabolus religio, sacrificium turpitudo’: ibid. (Leo the Great, transl. Neil, 77).

73 Augustine, De haeresibus 46.9–10 (ed. Roel Vander Plaetse and Clemens Beukers, CChr.SL 46, 283–345, at 314–15).

74 Ibid. Augustine includes the pun hoc non sacramentum, sed exsecramentum, which Leo may have borrowed: Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 26 n. 6, 27 n. 7.

75 ‘[A]b amicitia vestra penitus abdicate, vosque praecipue, mulieres, a talium notitia et conloquiis abstinete, ne dum fabulosis narrationibus incautus delectatur auditus, in diaboli laqueos incidatis. Qui sciens quod primum virum mulieris ore seduxerit, perque femineam credulitatem omnes homines a paradisi felicitate deiecerit, vestro nunc quoque sexui securiore insidiatur astutia, ut eas quas sibi potuerit per ministros suae falsitatis illicere, et fide spoliet et pudore’: Leo, Sermo 16.5 (Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 26; Leo the Great, transl. Neil, 77–8).

76 ‘Illud quoque vos, dilectissimi, obsecrans moneo, ut si cui vestrum innotuerit ubi habitent, ubi doceant, quos frequentent, et in quorum societate requiescant, nostrae sollicitudini fideliter indicetis … et qui tales non prodendos putant, in iudicio Christi inveniantur rei de silentio, etiam non contaminantur assensu’: Leo, Sermo 16.5 (Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 28; Leo the Great, transl. Neil, 78).

77 Maier, ‘“Manichee!”’, 459. On Leo's specific ‘ecclesial power regime’, see also Salzman, Michele Renee, ‘Leo's Liturgical Topography: Contestations for Space in Fifth-Century Rome’, JRS 103 (2013), 208–32.

78 Maier, ‘“Manichee!”’, 454. According to Leo, Ep. 7 (to the bishops of Italy, 444) and Ep. 16 (to Turibius, bishop of Astorga in Spain, 447), the hearings continued into 444, until the city of Rome had been cleansed of all Manichaeans. Ep. 7 states that those Manichaeans who refused to convert were ‘made subject to the laws of the Christian Princes’ and ‘punished with a perpetual exile by the civil judges’ (per publicos iudices): Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 47.

79 Green, ‘Gender and the Analytical Jurisprudential Mind’, 28.

80 ‘Quae enim et quam dictu audituque obscena in iudicio beatissimi papae Leonis coram senatu amplissimo manifestissima ipsorum confessione patefacta sunt? adeo ut eorum quoque qui diceretur episcopus et voce propria proderet et omnia scelerum suorum secreta perscriberet’: Valentinian III, Novel 18, pr (Codex Theodosianus, ed. Mommsen and Meyer, 2: 104, lines 5–8; Theodosian Code, transl. Pharr et al., 531). This Novel is transmitted as Ep. 8 within Leo's corpus: Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 48–50.

81 ‘Neque enim aliquid nimium in eos videtur posse decerni, quorum incesta perversitas religionis nomine lupanaribus quoque ignota vel pudenda committit’: Valentinian III, Novel 18.4 (Codex Theodosianus, ed. Mommsen and Meyer, 2: 105, lines 25–6; Theodosian Code, transl. Pharr et al., 531).

82 Quotation in Wessel, Leo the Great, 3; see also ibid. 121–6.

83 The imperial household may have resided in Rome from late 439/40 onwards, having relocated from Ravenna: ibid. 16. Oral reports of Leo's hearings against the Manichaeans probably reached imperial ears, in addition to written acta of the proceedings. We also know that the acta were quickly circulated beyond Italy: in 445 Leo sent Acts on the Manichaeans, ‘which apparently meant the account of the Roman process’, to Turibius of Astorga: Sermons and Letters, ed. Schipper and van Oort, 19.

84 Lacey, ‘Unspeakable Subjects’, 66.

‘Cherchez la femme!’ Heresy and Law in Late Antiquity

  • Caroline Humfress (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.