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This competitive culture shaped the terms of debate and the claims made for the leaders of the schools. Plotinus as a ‘teacher’ was also endowed with status as a ‘holy’ man, a man with religious power, entitled to pronounce on the validity of religious observances. But ‘holiness’ required validation, through demonstrations of power, or miracle-working. 77 The power of the ‘holy’ philosopher and his access to knowledge of the divine was demonstrated by his ability in ‘working the gods’ or ‘theurgy’.

77 The power of the ‘holy’ philosopher and his access to knowledge of the divine was demonstrated by his ability in ‘working the gods’ or ‘theurgy’. But such claims did not go unchallenged; the philosopher (or saint) hailed as a miracle-worker by his adherents would be dismissed by opponents as a magician or charlatan. Cultic diversity and religious competition, the growth of henotheism and the exclusive preoccupation of philosophy with religion 75. John North, ‘Pagan ritual and monotheism’, in Mitchell and van Nuffelen, One God, 34–52, stresses the compatibility of ritual with philosophical advocacy of a single ‘divinity’.

Lat. 3; Zos. 2; T. D. Barnes, ‘The Franci before Diocletian’, in G. Bonamente and F. Paschoud (eds), Historia Augusta Colloquium Genavense 2 (1996), 11–18. 42. On Gothic origins, see Peter Heather and John Matthews, The Goths in the Fourth Century, TTH 11, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1991, chs 1 and 2; Michael Kulikowksi, Rome’s Gothic Wars, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 34–99. 43.

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