Symmachus, Quintus Aurelius (sĭmˈəkəs) [key], c.345–c.405, Roman government official and orator. Educated in Gaul, he held several official positions, including the consulship in 391. He is best known for his report to the emperor Valentinian II in 384 in which he argued for the retention of the old Roman religion in official state functions. His eloquent defense of ancient religious customs in the face of the inroads made by Christianity was successfully opposed by St. Ambrose. His official correspondence was later collected by his son.
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