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Headword: Λεόντιος
Adler number: lambda,254
Translated headword: Leontios, Leontius
Vetting Status: high
[Leontios,] bishop of Tripolis in Lydia;[1] in origin a Mysian of those who live by the Ister, whom Homer calls hand-to-hand fighters.[2] The heretical Philostorgius associates this Leontios with himself in his book as following the Arian heresy. [Leontios] had one son. When he saw that the child was not giving indications of good hope for virtue, by prayer (so they say) he caused him to die while still a boy, as he judged that it was best to end his life before anything shameful [happened], taking him out of the perils and risks of life. They used to call him a measuring-rod of the Church. He was equally independent towards all in his thinking and spoke freely [to all]. Once when a council was held, and Eusebia the wife of Constantius was puffed up by a swelling of self-esteem and treated with reverence by the bishops, he alone stayed at home treating her with indifference. But she feeling overheated in her passions and inflamed in her sentiment, sent to him, begging and flattering him with promises, [saying] "I will build a very great church for you and will spend a lot of money on it, if you come to me". But he replied, "If you wish to accomplish any of this, o empress, know that you will not benefit me more than your own soul. But if you wish me to come to you, so that the respect due to bishops may be preserved, let me come to you, but do you descend at once from your lofty throne and meet me and offer your head to my hands, asking for my blessing. And then let me sit down, but do you stand respectfully, and sit only when I bid you, when I give the signal. If you accept this, I would come to you; but in any other way, you cannot give so much nor be capable of such great deeds that we, neglecting the honor due to the bishops, would do violence to the divine order of priesthood". When this message was reported to her, she swelled up in her soul, not considering it endurable to accept such words from Leontios. Swelling with great anger and filled with emotion and making many threats from a woman's passionate and shallow disposition and describing [the situation] to her husband, she urged him to vengeance. But he instead praised the independence of [Leontios’] judgment and rebuked his wife for her anger and sent her away to the women's quarters. And then as the emperor Constantius sat in the midst of the bishops and wished to rule even over the churches, most [of the bishops] applauded and marveled as whatever he said, declaring that it was very well stated; but [Leontios] kept silent. And when the emperor asked him, "Of all [these men], why do you alone keep silent?" he said "I am amazed that when ordered to manage other things, you put your hand to other things, being in charge of military and political matters, but you give orders to the bishops concerning those matters which belong only to bishops". And the emperor was ashamed and ceased from commanding them in such matters. So independent was Leontios.
Greek Original:
Λεόντιος, Τριπόλεως τῆς Λυδίας ἐπίσκοπος, Μυσὸς τὸ γένος τῶν πρὸς τῷ Ἴστρῳ κατῳκημένων, οὓς ἀγχεμάχους Ὅμηρος καλεῖ. τὸν τοιοῦτον Λεόντιον προσεταιρίζεται ὁ κακόφρων Φιλοστόργιος ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁμόφρονα τῆς Ἀρειανικῆς αὐτοῦ κακοφροσύνης. ὃς παῖδα ἕνα ἐσχηκώς, ἐπειδὴ μὴ χρηστὰς ἐλπίδας αὐτὸν ὑποφαίνοντα πρὸς ἀρετὴν εἶδεν, εὐξάμενος, ὥς φασιν, ἔτι μειράκιον ὄντα ἐποίησεν ἀποθανεῖν: κάλλιστον ἡγησάμενος τὸ πρὸ αἰσχροῦ τινος καταλύσασθαι τὸν βίον, τῶν σφαλερῶν κατὰ τὸν βίον ὀλίσθων ἔξω γενόμενον. κανόνα δὲ αὐτὸν ἐκάλουν τῆς ἐκκλησίας. ἦν δὲ ἐλεύθερος τὴν γνώμην ἐπίσης εἰς πάντας καὶ παρρησιαστικός. καί ποτε συνόδου γενομένης, Εὐσεβίας τῆς Κωνσταντίου γυναικὸς εἰς οἴδημα ἀρθείσης φρονήματος καὶ παρὰ τῶν ἐπισκόπων προσκυνουμένης, μόνος οὗτος παρὰ φαῦλον αὐτὴν τιθέμενος οἴκοι ἔμενεν. ἡ δὲ διὰ τοῦτο ὑποθερμανθεῖσα τοῖς θυμοῖς καὶ τὴν γνώμην φλεγμήνασα πέμπει πρὸς αὐτόν, αἰτιωμένη καὶ ὑποσχέσεσι κολακεύουσα, ὡς ἐκκλησίαν σοι μεγίστην ἐγερῶ καὶ χρήματα ἐπιδαψιλεύσομαι, εἰ ἀφίκοιο πρός με. ὁ δὲ ἀντεδήλωσε: τούτων μὲν εἴ τι βουληθείης τελέσασθαι, ὦ βασίλεια, οὐκ ἐμοὶ μᾶλλον ἢ τῇ σαυτοῦ ψυχῇ ἴσθι χαριουμένη. εἰ δὲ θελήσειας ὡς ἀφικέσθαι πρὸς σέ, ὡς τῆς ἐπισκόποις πρεπούσης αἰδοῦς φυλαχθησομένης, ἵν' εἰσέλθοιμι μὲν ἐγώ, σὺ δ' αὐτίκα τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ ὑψηλοῦ καταβᾶσα μετ' αἰδοῦς ὑπαντήσειας ἐμοὶ καὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν ὑπόσχοις ταῖς ἐμαῖς χερσίν, εὐλογιῶν ἀξιουμένη: κἄπειτα καθεσθείην μὲν αὖ ἐγώ, σὺ δ' ἀνεστήκοις αἰδουμένη, ὁπόταν δὲ κελεύσαιμι καθεδουμένη, ἥνικα δοίην τὸ σύνθημα. εἰ οὕτως αἱρήσῃ, ἀφικοίμην παρὰ σέ: εἰ δ' ἕτερον τρόπον, οὐχ οὕτω πολλὰ δώσεις, οὐδ' οὕτω μεγάλα δυνήσῃ, ὡς ἡμᾶς, τῆς προσηκούσης τιμῆς τοῖς ἐπισκόποις καθυφιεμένους, εἰς τὸν θεῖον ἐξυβρίσαι τῆς ἱερωσύνης θεσμόν. ταῦτα ὡς ἀπηγγέλθη, ἀναπίμπραται τὴν ψυχήν, οὐκ ἀνασχετὸν ποιουμένη πρὸς Λεοντίου τοιούτους δέξασθαι λόγους. καὶ πολλὰ διοιδήσασα καὶ παθηναμένη καὶ πολλὰ ἐκ γυναικείας ἀκροχόλου καὶ κούφης ἀπειλήσασα διανοίας καὶ τἀνδρὶ διηγησαμένη, πρὸς τιμωρίαν ἐξώρμα. ὁ δὲ μᾶλλον ἐπῄνεσε τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς γνώμης καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα παρήνεγκε τῆς ὀργῆς καὶ ἀποπέμπει εἰς τὴν γυναικωνῖτιν. καί ποτε μεταξὺ προκαθημένου τοῦ βασιλέως Κωνσταντίου τῶν ἐπισκόπων καὶ ἄρχειν καὶ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν ἐθέλοντος, οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ πᾶν ὅ τι φήσειεν ἐκρότουν καὶ ἐθαύμαζον, ἄριστα εἰρῆσθαι διοριζόμενοι: ὁ δὲ ἐσιώπα. ὡς δὲ ἤρετο αὐτὸν ὁ βασιλεύς, τί σιωπᾷ μόνος τῶν πάντων; θαυμάζω, ἔφη, ὅτι εἰς ἕτερα διέπειν ταχθεὶς ἑτέροις ἐπιχειρεῖς, στρατιωτικῶν μὲν καὶ πολιτικῶν πραγμάτων προεστηκώς, ἐπισκόποις δὲ περὶ τῶν εἰς μόνους ἐπισκόπους ἡκόντων διαταττόμενος. τὸν δὲ βασιλέα καταιδεσθέντα παύσασθαι τῆς ἐν τοῖς τοιούτοις ἤδη διακελεύσεως. τοιοῦτος ἦν ὁ Λεόντιος ἐλευθέριος.
From Philostorgius, Historia ecclesiastica VII.6a, pp. 84-5 Bidez-Winkelmann. Parts of this passage are repeated at omicroniota 31 and upsilon 496.
[1] The detail is needed to distinguish it from other cities of the same name, e.g. the one in Phoenicia (OCD(4) s.v.). This is Tripolis ad Maeandrum; Barrington Atlas map 65 grid A1.
[2] Homer, Iliad 13.5. The 'Ister' is the Lower Danube (OCD(4) s.v.); for Mysians cf. mu 1472.
R.P. Vaggione, Eunomius of Cyzicus and the Nicene Revolution, 277
Keywords: biography; children; Christianity; daily life; epic; ethics; geography; historiography; imagery; military affairs; politics; religion; women
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 28 November 2004@00:48:38.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified tr at one point; augmented notes and keywords) on 28 November 2004@05:13:30.
David Whitehead (augmented n.2) on 28 November 2004@11:22:13.
Catharine Roth (augmented reference) on 28 November 2004@23:57:39.
Catharine Roth (added bibliography) on 11 December 2004@01:53:13.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 3 October 2005@07:38:58.
David Whitehead (more keywords) on 20 November 2005@10:18:39.
Catharine Roth (added keyword) on 20 November 2005@19:42:16.
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics; raised status) on 4 April 2013@08:41:27.
David Whitehead on 5 August 2014@03:18:00.


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