Hereabouts are various sepulchral urns and columns of no particular interest to the casual observer; the circular altar from Delos, ornamented in relief with sacrificial bulls and other subjects. 179 may, however, be noticed, together with the column marked 183, which bears the name of Socrates, son of Socrates, a native of Ancyra, of Galatia.
To the impenitent Arians he is as severe as ever, but for old enemies returning to a better mind he has nothing but brotherly consideration and respectful sympathy. Men like Basil of Ancyra, says he, are not to be set down as Arians or treated as enemies, but to be reasoned with as brethren who differ from us only about the use of a word which sums up their own teaching as well as ours.
Nothing is known of his early years and education, but we can see some things which influenced him later on. Ancyra was a strange diocese, full of uncouth Gauls and chaffering Jews, and overrun with Montanists and Manichees, and votaries of endless fantastic heresies and superstitions.
Writing to Edwin of Northumbria, curiously enough while he was still a pagan, he says: "We have sent to you a benediction of your protector the blessed Peter, prince of the Apostles, that is to say, a chemise embroidered with gold, and a garment of Ancyra."
As if to bring the danger nearer home to them, Eudoxius the new bishop of Antioch, and Acacius of Cæsarea convened a Syrian synod, and sent a letter of thanks to the authors of the manifesto. Next spring came the conservative reply from a knot of twelve bishops who had met to consecrate a new church for Basil of Ancyra. But its weight was far beyond its numbers.
They swept the surface of Asia Minor far beyond Tyana and Ancyra, and invested the Pontic Heraclea, once a flourishing state, now a paltry town; at that time capable of sustaining, in her antique walls, a month's siege against the forces of the East.
Altogether there were about a dozen more or less decided Arianizers thinly scattered over the country from the slopes of Taurus to the Jordan valley. Of the Pontic bishops we need notice only Marcellus of Ancyra and the confessor Paul of Neocæsarea. Arianism had no friends in Pontus to our knowledge, and Marcellus was the busiest of its enemies.
Ten of the Nicene leaders were exiled in the next year or two. But Alexandria and Ancyra were the great strongholds of the Nicene faith, and the Eusebians still had to expel Marcellus and Athanasius. As Athanasius might have met a charge of heresy with a dangerous retort, it was found necessary to take other methods with him.
The last of these condemns the Nicene of one essence clearly as Sabellian, though no reason is given. The synod broke up. Basil and Eustathius went to lay its decisions before the court at Sirmium. To conciliate the Nicenes, they left out the last six anathemas of Ancyra. They were just in time to prevent Constantius from declaring for Eudoxius and the Anomoeans.
This document was engraved on plates of bronze affixed to the imperial mausoleum by the Tiber, and copies of it were inscribed on the various temples dedicated to him in many provincial cities after his death. It is one of these copies, engraved on the vestibule wall of the temple of Augustus and Rome at Ancyra in Galatia, which still exists with inconsiderable gaps.