Salvian

c.400-c.470. Christian writer. Of a noble Christian family and probably born near Cologne, he had married early a young woman (Palladia) of pagan background, with whom by mutual consent the ascetic life had been chosen, to the vexation of her family. Separating according to agreement, he joined the community first at Lérins, later at Marseilles as presbyter. Apart from nine known letters, Gennadius provides what little else is known of the man. Under Augustinian influence Salvian composed (after 439) in eight books a treatise de Gubernatione Dei, falling back upon the fundamental biblical perspective of greater moral judgment upon the elect, while providing a vivid picture of the corrupt bureaucratic administration and its socioeconomic practices. As agent of the divine retribution, the “barbarian” peoples served rather than contravened Providence because of the greater perversity of the Romans in their sexual laxity, addiction to the games, and oppression of the poor. A work in four books also survives, concerning the willing of possessions to the church rather than to familial heirs.