A Gallic panegyrist of 362 ascribed to the emperor Julian the credit for rekindling the languishing flames of literary studies in Gaul.1

This is a touching if somewhat misleading compliment that shows the concern of both men for education and letters. By the time Julian reached Gaul the most famous Gallic school of the early empire, the Aeduan Maenianum, was practically defunct and Julian’s presence did nothing to revive it. By contrast, the Bordelais schools were flourishing. A detailed exploration of the schools and scholars of fourth-century Bordeaux is one way of assessing the scope of educational activities in Gaul. Such an analysis also provides an insight into the impact of urban commercial prosperity on the formation of an affluent class that required quality education and human resources able to supply it. It further illuminates types of career that could carry men to the ranks of the imperial administration, and the extent to which their educational background prepared them for these posts. The basic source of information is a unique document, Ausonius’ Professores, a collection of poems on the school masters of Bordeaux. The poems are neither as comprehensive nor as detailed as the voluminous writings of the contemporary Libanius in Antioch, but like them, they illustrate the close ties between a city and its schools.2