The 'philosophy of the pagans' and secular public education were thus marginalised and eliminated. Lamented Ammianus Marcellinus, Rome's last great historian (who died in 395):
"Those few mansions which were once celebrated for the serious cultivation of liberal studies, now are filled with ridiculous amusements of torpid indolence ... The libraries, like tombs, are closed forever."
For those bright and privileged enough to seek education, career opportunities now lay exclusively within the hierarchy of the church and a Christianised state bureaucracy. With the active cooperation of the imperial court the Church had grasped complete control over education and, having done so, restricted instruction to potential priests.
Initially, rhetoric and grammar remained on the syllabus but knowledge which did not serve the purposes of the Church was suppressed. Mathematics, with its historic link to the 'demonic' philosophy of the Pythagoreans, was especially suspect:
"The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell."
– St. Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram, Book II, xviii, 37.
To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.