Writings of Eusebius - The Church History of Eusebius

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Translated by Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Ph.D.

Under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Semimary, New York, and Henry Wace, D.D., Principal of King's College, London

Published in 1890 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.

Book VIII.

Introduction.

As we have described in seven books the events from the time of the apostles, [2492] we think it proper in this eighth book to record for the information of posterity a few of the most important occurrences of our own times, which are worthy of permanent record. Our account will begin at this point.

Footnotes

[2492] Literally, "the succession of the apostles" (ten ton apostolon diadochen).

Chapter I.--The Events which preceded the Persecution in our Times.

1. It is beyond our ability to describe in a suitable manner the extent and nature of the glory and freedom with which the word of piety toward the God of the universe, proclaimed to the world through Christ, was honored among all men, both Greeks and barbarians, before the persecution in our day. 2. The favor shown our people by the rulers might be adduced as evidence; as they committed to them the government of provinces, [2493] and on account of the great friendship which they entertained toward their doctrine, released them from anxiety in regard to sacrificing. 3. Why need I speak of those in the royal palaces, and of the rulers over all, who allowed the members of their households, wives [2494] and children and servants, to speak openly before them for the Divine word and life, and suffered them almost to boast of the freedom of their faith? 4. Indeed they esteemed them highly, and preferred them to their fellow-servants. Such an one was that Dorotheus, [2495] the most devoted and faithful to them of all, and on this account especially honored by them among those who held the most honorable offices and governments. With him was the celebrated Gorgonius, [2496] and as many as had been esteemed worthy of the same distinction on account of the word of God.
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5. And one could see the rulers in every church accorded the greatest favor [2497] by all officers and governors. But how can any one describe those vast assemblies, and the multitude that crowded together in every city, and the famous gatherings in the houses of prayer; on whose account not being satisfied with the ancient buildings they erected from the foundation large churches in all the cities?

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6. No envy hindered the progress of these affairs which advanced gradually, and grew and increased day by day. Nor could any evil demon slander them or hinder them through human counsels, so long as the divine and heavenly hand watched over and guarded his own people as worthy. 7. But when on account of the abundant freedom, we fell into laxity and sloth, and envied and reviled each other, and were almost, as it were, taking up arms against one another, rulers assailing rulers with words like spears, and people forming parties against people, and monstrous hypocrisy and dissimulation rising to the greatest height of wickedness, the divine judgment with forbearance, as is its pleasure, while the multitudes yet continued to assemble, gently and moderately harassed the episcopacy. 8. This persecution began with the brethren in the army. But as if without sensibility, we were not eager to make the Deity favorable and propitious; and some, like atheists, thought that our affairs were unheeded and ungoverned; and thus we added one wickedness to another. And those esteemed our shepherds, casting aside the bond of piety, were excited to conflicts with one another, and did nothing else than heap up strifes and threats and jealousy and enmity and hatred toward each other, like tyrants eagerly endeavoring to assert their power. Then, truly, according to the word of Jeremiah, "The Lord in his wrath darkened the daughter of Zion, and cast down the glory of Israel from heaven to earth, and remembered not his foot-stool in the day of his anger. The Lord also overwhelmed all the beautiful things of Israel, and threw down all his strongholds." [2498] 9. And according to what was foretold in the Psalms: "He has made void the covenant of his servant, and profaned his sanctuary to the earth,--in the destruction of the churches,--and has thrown down all his strongholds, and has made his fortresses cowardice. All that pass by have plundered the multitude of the people; and he has become besides a reproach to his neighbors. For he has exalted the right hand of his enemies, and has turned back the help of his sword, and has not taken his part in the war. But he has deprived him of purification, and has cast his throne to the ground. He has shortened the days of his time, and besides all, has poured out shame upon him." [2499]

Footnotes

[2493] tas ton ethnon hegemonias [2494] gametais. Prisca, the wife, and Valeria, the daughter, of Diocletian, and the wife of Galerius, were very friendly to the Christians, and indeed there can be little doubt that they were themselves Christians, or at least catechumens, though they kept the fact secret and sacrificed to the gods (Lactantius, De mort. pers. 15) when all of Diocletian's household were required to do so, after the second conflagration in the palace (see Mason's Persecution of Diocletian, p. 40, 121 sq.). It is probable in the present case that Eusebius is thinking not simply of the wives of Diocletian and Galerius, but also of all the women and children connected in any way with the imperial household. [2495] Of this Dorotheus we know only what is told us here and in chap. 6, below, where it is reported that he was put to death by strangling. It might be thought at first sight that he is to be identified with the Dorotheus mentioned above in Bk. VII. chap. 32, for both lived at the same time, and the fact that the Dorotheus mentioned there was a eunuch would fit him for a prominent station in the emperor's household. At the same time he is said by Eusebius to have been made superintendent of the purple dye house at Tyre, and nothing is said either as to his connection with the household of the emperor or as to his martyrdom; nor is the Dorotheus mentioned in this Chapter said to have been a presbyter. In fact, inasmuch as Eusebius gives no hint of the identity of the two men, we must conclude that they were different persons in spite of the similarity of their circumstances. [2496] Of Gorgonius, who is mentioned also in chap. 6, we know only that he was one of the imperial household, and that he was strangled, in company with Dorotheus and others, in consequence of the fires in the Nicomedian palace. See chap. 6, note 3. [2497] apodoches. A few mss., followed by Stephanus, Valesius, Stroth, Burton, and most translators, add the words kai therapeias kai dexioseos ou tes tuchouses, but the weight of ms. authority is against them, and they are omitted by the majority of editors. [2498] Lam. ii. 1, 2. [2499] Ps. lxxxix. 39-45

Chapter II.--The Destruction of the Churches.

1. All these things were fulfilled in us, when we saw with our own eyes the houses of prayer thrown down to the very foundations, and the Divine and Sacred Scriptures committed to the flames in the midst of the market-places, and the shepherds of the churches basely hidden here and there, and some of them captured ignominiously, and mocked by their enemies. When also, according to another prophetic word, "Contempt was poured out upon rulers, and he caused them to wander in an untrodden and pathless way." [2500] 2. But it is not our place to describe the sad misfortunes which finally came upon them, as we do not think it proper, moreover, to record their divisions and unnatural conduct to each other before the persecution. Wherefore we have decided to relate nothing concerning them except the things in which we can vindicate the Divine judgment. 3. Hence we shall not mention those who were shaken by the persecution, nor those who in everything pertaining to salvation were shipwrecked, and by their own will were sunk in the depths of the flood. But we shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be usefull first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity. [2501] Let us therefore proceed to describe briefly the sacred conflicts of the witnesses of the Divine Word. 4. It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, [2502] in the month Dystrus, [2503] called March by the Romans, when the feast of the Saviour's passion was near at hand, [2504] that royal edicts were published everywhere, commanding that the churches be leveled to the ground and the Scriptures be destroyed by fire, and ordering that those who held places of honor be degraded, and that the household servants, if they persisted in the profession of Christianity, be deprived of freedom. [2505] 5. Such was the first edict against us. But not long after, other decrees were issued, commanding that all the rulers of the churches in every place be first thrown into prison, [2506] and afterwards by every artifice be compelled to sacrifice. [2507]

Footnotes

[2500] Ps. cvii. 40. [2501] Gibbon uses this passage as the basis for his severe attack upon the honesty of Eusebius (Decline and Fall, chap. 16), but he has certainly done our author injustice (cf. the remarks made on p. 49, above). [2502] Diocletian began to reign Sept. 17, 284, and therefore his nineteenth year extended from Sept. 17, 302, to Sept. 16, 303. Eusebius is in agreement with all our authorities in assigning this year for the beginning of the persecution, and is certainly correct. In regard to the month, however, he is not so accurate. Lactantius, who was in Nicomedia at the time of the beginning of the persecution, and certainly much better informed than Eusebius in regard to the details, states distinctly (in his De mort. pers. chap. 12) that the festival of the god Terminus, the seventh day before the Kalends of March (i.e. Feb. 23), was chosen by the emperors for the opening of the persecution, and there is no reason for doubting his exact statement. At the beginning of the Martyrs of Palestine (p. 342, below) the month Xanthicus (April) is given as the date, but this is still further out of the way. It was probably March or even April before the edicts were published in many parts of the empire, and Eusebius may have been misled by that fact, not knowing the exact date of their publication in Nicomedia itself. We learn from Lactantius that on February 23d the great church of Nicomedia, together with the copies of Scripture found in it, was destroyed by order of the emperors, but that the edict of which Eusebius speaks just below was not issued until the following day. For a discussion of the causes which led to the persecution of Diocletian see below, p. 397. [2503] Dustros, the seventh month of the Macedonian year, corresponding to our March. See the table on p. 403, below. [2504] Valesius (ad locum) states, on the authority of Scaliger and Petavius, that Easter fell on April 18th in the year 303. I have not attempted to verify the statement. [2505] This is the famous First Edict of Diocletian, which is no longer extant, and the terms of which therefore have to be gathered from the accounts of Eusebius and Lactantius. The interpretation of the edict has caused a vast deal of trouble. It is discussed very fully by Mason in his important work, The Persecution of Diocletian, p. 105 sq. and p. 343 sq. As he remarks, Lactantius simply describes the edict in a general way, while Eusebius gives an accurate statement of its substance, even reproducing its language in part. The first provision (that the churches be leveled to the ground) is simply a carrying out of the old principle, that it was unlawful for the Christians to hold assemblies, under a new form. The second provision, directed against the sacred books, was entirely new, and was a very shrewd move, revealing at the same time an appreciation on the part of the authors of the persecution of the important part which the Scriptures occupied in the Christian Church. The third provision, as Mason has pointed out, is a substantial reproduction of a part of the edict of Valerian, and was evidently consciously based upon that edict. (Upon the variations from the earlier edict, see Mason, p. 115 sq.) It is noticeable that not torture nor death is decreed, but only civil degradation. This degradation, as can be seen from a comparison with the description of Lactantius (ibid. chap. 13) and with the edict of Valerian (given in Cyprian's Epistle to Successus, Ep. No. 81, al. 80), consisted, in the case of those who held public office (times epeilemmenous), in the loss of rank and also of citizenship; that is, they fell through two grades, as is pointed out by Mason. In the interpretation of the fourth provision, however, Mason does not seem to me to have been so successful. The last clause runs tous de en oiketiais, ei epimenoien te tou christianismou prothesei eleutherias stereisthai. The difficult point is the interpretation of the tous en oiketiais. The words usually mean "household slaves," and are commonly so translated in this passage. But, as Valesius remarks, there is certainly no sense then in depriving them of freedom (eleutheria) which they do not possess. Valesius consequently translates plebeii, "common people," and Mason argues at length for a similar interpretation (p. 344 sq.), looking upon these persons as common people, or individuals in private life, as contrasted with the officials mentioned in the previous clause. The only objection, but in my opinion a fatal objection, to this attractive interpretation is that it gives the phrase hoi en oiketiais a wider meaning than can legitimately be applied to it. Mason remarks: "The word oiketia means, and is here a translation of, familia; hoi en oiketiais means ii qui in familiis sunt,--not graceful Latin certainly, but plainly signifying `those who live in private households.' Now in private households there lived not only slaves, thank goodness, but free men too, both as masters and as servants; therefore in the phrase tous en oiketiais itself there is nothing which forbids the paraphrase `private persons.'" But I submit that to use so clumsy a phrase, so unnecessary a circumlocution, to designate simply private people in general--hoi polloi--would be the height of absurdity. The interpretation of Stroth (which is approved by Heinichen) seems to me much more satisfactory. He remarks: "Das Edict war zunächst nur gegen zwei Klassen von Leuten gerichtet, einmal gegen die, welche in kaiserlichen Æmtern standen, und dann gegen die freien oder freigelassenen Christen, welche bei den Kaisern oder ihren Hofleuten und Statthaltern in Diensten standen, und zu ihrem Hausgesinde gehörten." This seems to me more satisfactory, both on verbal and historical grounds. The words hoi en oiketiais certainly cannot, in the present case, mean "household slaves," but they can mean servants, attendants, or other persons at court, or in the households of provincial officials, who did not hold rank as officials, but at the same time were freemen born, or freedmen, and thus in a different condition from slaves. Such persons would naturally be reduced to slavery if degraded at all, and it is easier to think of their reduction to slavery than of that of the entire mass of Christians not in public office. Still further, this proposition finds support in the edict of Valerian, in which this class of people is especially mentioned. And finally, it is, in my opinion, much more natural to suppose that this edict (whose purpose I shall discuss on p. 399) was confined to persons who were in some way connected with official life,--either as chiefs or assistants or servants,--and therefore in a position peculiarly fitted for the formation of plots against the government, than that it was directed against Christians indiscriminately. The grouping together of the two classes seems to me very natural; and the omission of any specific reference to bishops and other church officers, who are mentioned in the second edict, is thus fully explained, as it cannot be adequately explained, in my opinion, on any other ground. [2506] As we learn from chap. 6, §8, the edict commanding the church officers to be seized and thrown into prison followed popular uprisings in Melitene and Syria, and if Eusebius is correct, was caused by those outbreaks. Evidently the Christians were held in some way responsible for those rebellious outbursts (possibly they were a direct consequence of the first edict), and the natural result of them must have been to make Diocletian realize, as he had not realized before, that the existence of such a society as the Christian Church within the empire--demanding as it did supreme allegiance from its members--was a menace to the state. It was therefore not strange that what began as a purely political thing, as an attempt to break up a supposed treasonable plot formed by certain Christian officials, should speedily develop into a religious persecution. The first step in such a persecution would naturally be the seizure of all church officers (see below, p. 397 sq.). The decrees of which Eusebius speaks in this paragraph are evidently to be identified with the one mentioned in chap. 6, §8. This being so, it is clear that Eusebius' account can lay no claims to chronological order. This must be remembered, or we shall fall into repeated difficulties in reading this eighth book. We are obliged to arrange the order of events for ourselves, for his account is quite desultory, and devoid both of logical and chronological sequence. The decrees or writings (grEURmmata) mentioned in this paragraph constituted really but one edict (cf. chap. 6, §8), which is known to us as the Second Edict of Diocletian. Its date cannot be determined with exactness, for, as Mason remarks, it may have been issued at any time between February and November; but it was probably published not many months after the first, inasmuch as it was a result of disturbances which arose in consequence of the first. Mason is inclined to place it in March, within a month after the issue of the first, but that seems to me a little too early. In issuing the edict Diocletian followed the example of Valerian in part, and yet only in part; for instead of commanding that the church officers be slain, he commanded only that they be seized. He evidently believed that he could accomplish his purpose best by getting the leading men of the church into his hands and holding them as hostages, while denying them the glory of martyrdom (cf. Mason, p. 132 sq.). The persons affected by the edict, according to Eusebius, were "all the rulers of the churches" (tous ton ekklesion proedrous pEURntas; cf. also Mart. Pal. Introd., §2). In chap. 6, §8, he says tous pantachose ton ekklesion proestotas. These words would seem to imply that only the bishops were intended, but we learn from Lactantius (De mort. pers. 15) that presbyters and other officers (presbyteri ac ministri) were included, and this is confirmed, as Mason remarks (p. 133, note), by the sequel. We must therefore take the words used by Eusebius in the general sense of "church officers." According to Lactantius, their families suffered with them (cum omnibus suis deducebantur), but Eusebius says nothing of that. [2507] We learn from Lactantius (l.c.) that the officers of the church, under the terms of the second edict, were thrown into prison without any option being given them in the matter of sacrificing. They were not asked to sacrifice, but were imprisoned unconditionally. This was so far in agreement with Valerian's edict, which had decreed the instant death of all church officers without the option of sacrificing. But as Eusebius tells us here, they were afterwards called upon to sacrifice, and as he tells us in the first paragraph of the next Chapter, multitudes yielded, and that of course meant their release, as indeed we are directly told in chap. 6, §10. We may gather from the present passage and from the other passages referred to, taken in connection with the second Chapter of the Martyrs of Palestine, that this decree, ordaining their release on condition of sacrificing, was issued on the occasion of Diocletian's Vicennalia, which were celebrated in December, 303, on the twentieth anniversary of the death of Carus, which Diocletian reckoned as the beginning of his reign, though he was not in reality emperor until the following September. A considerable time, therefore, elapsed between the edict ordaining the imprisonment of church officers and the edict commanding their release upon condition of sacrificing. This latter is commonly known as Diocletian's Third Edict, and is usually spoken of as still harsher than any that preceded it. It is true that it did result in the torture of a great many,--for those who did not sacrifice readily were to be compelled to do so, if possible,--but their death was not aimed at. If they would not sacrifice, they were simply to remain in prison, as before. Those who did die at this time seem to have died under torture that was intended, not to kill them, but to bring about their release. As Mason shows, then, this third edict was of the nature of an amnesty; was rather a step toward toleration than a sharpening of the persecution. The prisons were to be emptied, as was customary on such great occasions, and the church officers were to be permitted to return to their homes, on condition that they should sacrifice. Inasmuch as they had not been allowed to leave prison on any condition before, this was clearly a mark of favor (see Mason, p. 206 sq.). Many were released even without sacrificing, and in their desire to empty the prisons, the governors devised various expedients for freeing at least a part of those who would not yield (cf. the instances mentioned in the next Chapter). At the same time, some governors got rid of their prisoners by putting them to death, sometimes simply by increasing the severity of the tortures intended to try them, sometimes as a penalty for rash or daring words uttered by the prisoners, which were interpreted as treasonable, and which, perhaps, the officials had employed their ingenuity, when necessary, to elicit. Thus many might suffer death, under various legal pretenses, although the terms of the edict did not legally permit death to be inflicted as a punishment for Christianity. The death penalty was not decreed until the issue of the Fourth Edict (see below, Mart. Pal. chap.3, note 2).

Chapter III.--The Nature of the Conflicts endured in the Persecution.

1. Then truly a great many rulers of the churches eagerly endured terrible sufferings, and furnished examples of noble conflicts. But a multitude of others, [2508] benumbed in spirit by fear, were easily weakened at the first onset. Of the rest each one endured different forms of torture. [2509] The body of one was scourged with rods. Another was punished with insupportable rackings and scrapings, in which some suffered a miserable death. 2. Others passed through different conflicts. Thus one, while those around pressed him on by force and dragged him to the abominable and impure sacrifices, was dismissed as if he had sacrificed, though he had not. [2510] Another, though he had not approached at all, nor touched any polluted thing, when others said that he had sacrificed, went away, bearing the accusation in silence. 3. Another being taken up half dead, was cast aside as if already dead, and again a certain one lying upon the ground was dragged a long distance by his feet and counted among those who had sacrificed. One cried out and with a loud voice testified his rejection of the sacrifice; another shouted that he was a Christian, being resplendent in the confession of the saving Name. Another protested that he had not sacrificed and never would. 4. But they were struck in the mouth and silenced by a large band of soldiers who were drawn up for this purpose; and they were smitten on the face and cheeks and driven away by force; so important did the enemies of piety regard it, by any means, to seem to have accomplished their purpose. But these things did not avail them against the holy martyrs; for an accurate description of whom, what word of ours could suffice?

Footnotes

[2508] murioi d' alloi. See the previous Chapter, note 8. [2509] i.e. those who, when freedom was offered them on condition of sacrificing, refused to accept it at that price. It was desirous that the prisons which had for so long been filled with these Christian prisoners (see chap. 6, §9) should, if possible, be cleared; and this doubtless combined with the desire to break the stubbornness of the prisoners to promote the use of torture at this time. [2510] See the previous Chapter, note 8.

Chapter IV.--The Famous Martyrs of God, who filled Every Place with their Memory and won Various Crowns in behalf of Religion.

1. For we might tell of many who showed admirable zeal for the religion of the God of the universe, not only from the beginning of the general persecution, but long before that time, while yet peace prevailed. 2. For though he who had received power was seemingly aroused now as from a deep sleep, yet from the time after Decius and Valerian, he had been plotting secretly and without notice against the churches. He did not wage war against all of us at once, but made trial at first only of those in the army. For he supposed that the others could be taken easily if he should first attack and subdue these. Thereupon many of the soldiers were seen most cheerfully embracing private life, so that they might not deny their piety toward the Creator of the universe. 3. For when the commander, [2511] whoever he was, [2512] began to persecute the soldiers, separating into tribes and purging those who were enrolled in the army, giving them the choice either by obeying to receive the honor which belonged to them, or on the other hand to be deprived of it if they disobeyed the command, a great many soldiers of Christ's kingdom, without hesitation, instantly preferred the confession of him to the seeming glory and prosperity which they were enjoying. 4. And one and another of them occasionally received in exchange, for their pious constancy, [2513] not only the loss of position, but death. But as yet the instigator of this plot proceeded with moderation, and ventured so far as blood only in some instances; for the multitude of believers, as it is likely, made him afraid, and deterred him from waging war at once against all. 5. But when he made the attack more boldly, it is impossible to relate how many and what sort of martyrs of God could be seen, among the inhabitants of all the cities and countries. [2514]

Footnotes

[2511] stratopedEURrches [2512] In the Chron. we are told of a commander by name Veturius, who is doubtless to be identified with the one referred to here. Why Eusebius does not give his name in the History, we do not know. There seems to be contempt in the phrase, "whoever he was," and it may be that he did not consider him worth naming. In Jerome's version of the Chron. (sixteenth year of Diocletian) we read: Veturius magister militiæ Christianos milites persequitur, paulatim ex illo jam tempore persecutione adversum nos incipiente; in the Armenian (fourteenth year): Veturius magister militiæ eos qui in exercitu Christiani erant, clanculum opprimebat atque ex hoc inde tempore ubique locorum persecutio se extendit. Evidently the occurrence took place a few years before the outbreak of the regular persecution, but the exact date cannot be determined. It is probable, moreover, from the way in which Eusebius refers to the man in the History that he was a comparatively insignificant commander, who took the course he did on his own responsibility. At least, there is no reason to connect the act with Diocletian and to suppose it ordered by him. All that we know of his relation to the Christians forbids such a supposition. There may have been some particular occasion for such a move in the present instance, which evidently affected only a small part of the army, and resulted in only a few deaths (see the next paragraph). Perhaps some insubordination was discovered among the Christian soldiers, which led the commander to be suspicious of all of them, and hence to put the test to them,--which was always in order,--to prove their loyalty. It is plain that he did not intend to put any of them to death, but only to dismiss such as refused to evince their loyalty by offering the customary sacrifices. Some of the Christian soldiers, however, were not content with simple dismission, but in their eagerness to evince their Christianity said and did things which it was impossible for any commander to overlook (cf. the instances given by Mason, p. 41 sq.). It was such soldiers as these that suffered death; and they of course were executed, not because they were Christians, but because they were insubordinate. Their death was brought on themselves by their foolish fanaticism; and they have no claim to be honored as martyrs, although Eusebius evidently regarded them as such. [2513] We should rather say "for their rash and unjustifiable fanaticism." [2514] In this sentence reference is made to the general persecution, which did not begin until some time after the events recorded in the previous paragraphs.

Chapter V.--Those in Nicomedia. [2515]

1. Immediately on the publication of the decree against the churches in Nicomedia, [2516] a certain man, not obscure but very highly honored with distinguished temporal dignities, moved with zeal toward God, and incited with ardent faith, seized the edict as it was posted openly and publicly, and tore it to pieces as a profane and impious thing; [2517] and this was done while two of the sovereigns were in the same city,--the oldest of all, and the one who held the fourth place in the government after him. [2518] 2. But this man, first in that place, after distinguishing himself in such a manner suffered those things which were likely to follow such daring, and kept his spirit cheerful and undisturbed till death.

Footnotes

[2515] Nicomedia, the capital city of Bithynia, became Diocletian's chief place of residence, and was made by him the Eastern capital of the empire. [2516] The great church of Nicomedia was destroyed on Feb. 23, 303, and the First Edict was published on the following day (see above, chap. 2, note 3). [2517] Lactantius relates this account in his De mort. pers. chap. 13, and expresses disapproval of the act, while admiring the spirit of the man. He, too, is silent in regard to the name of the man, though, living as he did in Nicomedia, he can hardly have been ignorant of it. We may perhaps imagine that he did not care to perpetuate the name of a man whom he considered to have acted rashly and illegally. The old martyrologies give the man's name as John. That he deserved death is clear enough. He was not a martyr to the faith, but a criminal, who was justly executed for treasonable conduct. The first edict contemplated no violence to the persons of the Christians. If they suffered death, it was solely in consequence of their own rashness, as in the present case. It is clear that such an incident as this would anger Diocletian and increase his suspicions of Christians as a class, and thus tend to precipitate a regular persecution. It must have seemed to the authorities that the man would hardly commit such a foolhardy act unless he was conscious of the support of a large body of the populace, and so the belief in the wide extension of the plot which had caused the movement on the part of the emperors must have been confirmed. See below, p. 398 sq. [2518] i.e. Diocletian and Galerius.

Chapter VI.--Those in the Palace.

1. This period produced divine and illustrious martyrs, above all whose praises have ever been sung and who have been celebrated for courage, whether among Greeks or barbarians, in the person of Dorotheus [2519] and the servants that were with him in the palace. Although they received the highest honors from their masters, and were treated by them as their own children, they esteemed reproaches and trials for religion, and the many forms of death that were invented against them, as, in truth, greater riches than the glory and luxury of this life. 2. We will describe the manner in which one of them ended his life, and leave our readers to infer from his case the sufferings of the others. A certain man was brought forward in the above-mentioned city, before the rulers of whom we have spoken. [2520] He was then commanded to sacrifice, but as he refused, he was ordered to be stripped and raised on high and beaten with rods over his entire body, until, being conquered, he should, even against his will, do what was commanded. 3. But as he was unmoved by these sufferings, and his bones were already appearing, they mixed vinegar with salt and poured it upon the mangled parts of his body. As he scorned these agonies, a gridiron and fire were brought forward. And the remnants of his body, like flesh intended for eating, were placed on the fire, not at once, lest he should expire instantly, but a little at a time. And those who placed him on the pyre were not permitted to desist until, after such sufferings, he should assent to the things commanded. 4. But he held his purpose firmly, and victoriously gave up his life while the tortures were still going on. Such was the martyrdom of one of the servants of the palace, who was indeed well worthy of his name, for he was called Peter. [2521] 5. The martyrdoms of the rest, though they were not inferior to his, we will pass by for the sake of brevity, recording only that Dorotheus and Gorgonius, [2522] with many others of the royal household, after varied sufferings, ended their lives by strangling, and bore away the trophies of God-given victory. 6. At this time Anthimus, [2523] who then presided over the church in Nicomedia, was beheaded for his testimony to Christ. A great multitude of martyrs were added to him, a conflagration having broken out in those very days in the palace at Nicomedia, I know not how, which through a false suspicion was laid to our people. [2524] Entire families of the pious in that place were put to death in masses at the royal command, some by the sword, and others by fire. It is reported that with a certain divine and indescribable eagerness men and women rushed into the fire. And the executioners bound a large number of others and put them on boats [2525] and threw them into the depths of the sea. 7. And those who had been esteemed their masters considered it necessary to dig up the bodies of the imperial servants, who had been committed to the earth with suitable burial and cast them into the sea, lest any, as they thought, regarding them as gods, might worship them lying in their sepulchers. [2526] 8. Such things occurred in Nicomedia at the beginning of the persecution. [2527] But not long after, as persons in the country called Melitene, [2528] and others throughout Syria, [2529] attempted to usurp the government, a royal edict directed that the rulers of the churches everywhere [2530] should be thrown into prison and bonds. 9. What was to be seen after this exceeds all description. A vast multitude were imprisoned in every place; and the prisons everywhere, which had long before been prepared for murderers and robbers of graves, were filled with bishops, presbyters and deacons, readers and exorcists, [2531] so that room was no longer left in them for those condemned for crimes. 10. And as other decrees followed the first, directing that those in prison if they would sacrifice should be permitted to depart in freedom, but that those who refused should be harassed with many tortures, [2532] how could any one, again, number the multitude of martyrs in every province, [2533] and especially of those in Africa, and Mauritania, and Thebais, and Egypt? From this last country many went into other cities and provinces, and became illustrious through martyrdom.

Footnotes

[2519] On Dorotheus, see above, chap. 1, note 3. [2520] i.e. in Nicomedia, before Diocletian and Galerius. [2521] petros, "a rock." It is clear from the account of Lactantius (chap. 15) that this man, and the others mentioned in this connection, suffered after the second conflagration in the palace and in consequence of it (see below, p. 400). The two conflagrations led Diocletian to resort to torture in order to ascertain the guilty parties, or to obtain information in regard to the plots of the Christians. Examination by torture was the common mode of procedure under such circumstances, and hence implies no unusual cruelty in the present case. The death even of these men, therefore, cannot be looked upon as due to persecution. Their offense was purely a civil one. They were suspected of being implicated in a treasonable plot, and of twice setting fire to the palace. Their refusal to sacrifice under such circumstances, and thus evince their loyalty at so critical a time, was naturally looked upon as practically a confession of guilt,--at any rate as insubordination on a most grave occasion, and as such fitly punishable by death. Compare Pliny's epistle to Trajan, in which he expresses the opinion that "pertinacious and inflexible obstinacy" ought at any rate to be punished, whatever might be thought of Christianity as such (see above, Bk. III. chap. 33, note 1); and at such a time as this Diocletian must have felt that the first duty of all his subjects was to place their loyalty beyond suspicion by doing readily that which was demanded. His impatience with the Christians must have been increasing under all these provocations, and thus the regular persecution was becoming ever more imminent. [2522] Gorgonius has been already mentioned in chap. 1, above. See note 4 on that Chapter. [2523] In a fragment preserved by the Chron. Paschale, and purporting to be a part of an epistle written from prison, shortly before his death, by the presbyter Lucian of Antioch to the church of that city, Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, is mentioned as having just suffered martyrdom (see Routh's Rel. Sac. IV. p. 5). Lucian, however, was imprisoned and put to death during the persecution of Maximinus (a.d. 311 or 312). See below, Bk. IX. chap. 6, and Jerome's de vir. ill. chap. 77. It would seem, therefore, if the fragment given in the Chron. Paschale be genuine, and there seems no good reason to doubt it, that Anthimus suffered martyrdom not under Diocletian, but under Maximinus, in 311 or 312. In that case Eusebius is mistaken in putting his death at this early date, in connection with the members of the imperial household. Indeed, we see no reason for his execution at this time, and should find it difficult to explain if we were to accept it. In the time of Maximinus, however, it is perfectly natural, and of a piece with the execution of Peter of Alexandria and other notable prelates. Eusebius, as we have already seen, pays no attention to chronology in this Eighth Book, and hence there is no great weight to be placed upon his mention of the death of Anthimus at this particular place. Mason (p. 324) says that Hunziker (p. 281) has conclusively shown Eusebius' mistake at this point. I have not seen Hunziker, and therefore cannot judge of the validity of his arguments, but, on the grounds already stated, have no hesitation in expressing my agreement with his conclusion. Of Anthimus himself, we know nothing beyond what has been already intimated. In chap. 13, §1, below, he is mentioned again, but nothing additional is told us in regard to him. Having observed Eusebius' mistake in regard to Anthimus, we realize that there is no reason to consider him any more accurate in respect to the other martyrdoms referred to in this paragraph. In fact, it is clear enough that, in so far as his account is not merely rhetorical, it relates to events that took place not at this early date, but during a later time after the regular religious persecution had begun. No such "multitude" suffered in consequence of the conflagration as Eusebius thinks. The martyrdoms of which he has heard belong rather to the time after the Fourth Edict (see below, Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2), or possibly to the still later time when Maximinus was at Nicomedia, and was in the midst of his bloody career of persecution. [2524] Eusebius does not accuse Galerius of being the author of the conflagration, as Lactantius does. In fact, he seems to have known very little about the matter. He mentions only one fire, whereas Lactantius distinctly tells us there were two, fifteen days apart (chap. 14). Eusebius evidently has only the very vaguest information in regard to the progress of affairs at Nicomedia, and has no knowledge of the actual order and connection of events. In regard to the effects of the fire upon Diocletian's attitude toward the Christians, see above, note 3, and below, p. 400. Constantine (Orat. ad Sanct. Coet. XXV. 2) many years afterwards referred to the fire as caused by lightning, which is clearly only a makeshift, for, as Burckhardt remarks, there could have been no doubt in that case how the fire originated. And, moreover, such an explanation at best could account for only one of the fires. The fact that Constantine feels it necessary to invent such an explanation gives the occurrence a still more auspicious look, and one not altogether favorable to the Christians. In fact, it must be acknowledged that the case against them is pretty strong. [2525] Literally, "The executioners, having bound a large number of others on boats, threw them into the depths of the sea" (desantes de hoi demioi allo ti plethos epi skEURphais, tois thalattiois enape& 207;rhipton buthois). The construction is evidently a pregnant one, for it cannot be supposed that boats and all were thrown into the depths of the sea. They seem to have bound the prisoners, and carried them out to sea on boats, and then thrown them overboard. Compare the Passion of St. Theodotus (Mason, p. 362), where we are told that the "President then bade them hang stones about their necks, and embark them on a small shallop and row them out to a spot where the lake was deeper; and so they were cast into the water at the distance of four or five hundred feet from the shore." Crusè translates, "binding another number upon planks," but skEURphe will hardly bear that meaning; and even if it could, we should scarcely expect men to be bound to planks if the desire was to "cast them into the depths of the sea." Lactantius (chap. 15), in speaking of these same general occurrences, says, "Servants, having millstones tied about their necks, were cast into the sea." Closs remarks that drowning was looked upon in ancient times as the most disgraceful punishment, because it implied that the criminals were not worthy to receive burial. [2526] Compare Bk. IV. chap. 15, §41, above, and Lactantius, Div. Inst. V. 11. That in the present case the suspicion that the Christians would worship the remains of these so-called martyrs was not founded merely upon knowledge of the conduct of Christians in general in relation to the relics of their martyrs, but upon actual experience of their conduct in connection with these particular martyrs, is shown by the fact that the emperor first buried them, and afterward had them dug up. Evidently Christians showed them such honor, and collected in such numbers about their tombs, that he believed it was necessary to take some such step in order to prevent the growth of a spirit of rebellion, which was constantly fostered by such demonstrations. Compare the remarks of Mason on p. 135. [2527] Part of the events mentioned in this Chapter occurred at the beginning; others, a considerable time later. See note 5, above. [2528] Melitene was the name of a district and a city in Eastern Cappadocia. Upon the outbreak there we know only what can be gathered from this passage, although Mason (p. 126 sq.) connects it with a rebellion, of which an account is given in Simeon Metaphrastes. It is possible that the account of the Metaphrast is authentic, and that the uprising referred to here is to be identified with it, but more than that cannot be said. There can be no doubt that the outbreak was one of the causes of the promulgation of the Second Edict, in which case of course it is clear that the Christians, whether rightly or wrongly, were held responsible for it. See above, chap. 2, note 7. [2529] Valesius identifies this usurpation in Syria with that of Eugenius in Antioch, of which we are told by Libanius (in his Oratio ad Theodosium post reconciliationem, and in his Oratio ad Theod. de seditione Antioch., according to Valesius). The latter was but a small affair, involving only a band of some five hundred soldiers, who compelled their commander Eugenius, to assume the purple, but were entirely destroyed by the people of the city within twenty-four hours. See the note of Valesius ad locum, Tillemont's Hist. des Emp. IX. 73 sq., and Mason, p. 124 sq. This rebellion took place in the time of Diocletian, but there is no reason for connecting it with the uprising mentioned here by Eusebius. The words of Eusebius would seem to imply that he was thinking, not of a single rebellion, but of a number which took place in various parts of Syria. In that case, the Antiochian affair may have been one of them. [2530] tous pantachose ton ekklesion proestotas. Upon this second edict, see above, chap. 2, note 7. [2531] It is evident enough from this clause alone that the word proestotas, "rulers," is to be taken in a broad sense. See the note just referred to. [2532] The Third Edict of Diocletian. Eusebius evidently looks upon the edict as a sharpening of the persecution, but is mistaken in his view. The idea was not that those who refused to sacrifice should be punished by torture for not sacrificing, but that torture should be applied in order to induce them to sacrifice, and thus render it possible to release them. The end sought was their release, not their punishment. Upon the date and interpretation of this edict, see chap. 2, note 8. [2533] Eusebius is probably again in error, as so often in this book, in connecting a "multitude of martyrs in every province" with this Third Edict. Wholesale persecution and persecution as such--aimed directly at the destruction of all Christians--did not begin until the issue of the Fourth Edict (see below, Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2). These numerous martyrdoms referred to here doubtless belong to the period after the issue of that edict, although in Africa and Mauritania, which were under Maximian, considerable blood was probably shed even before that time. For it was possible, of course, for a cruel and irresponsible ruler like Maximian to fix the death penalty for refusal to deliver up the Christian books, or for other acts of obstinacy which the Christian would quite commonly commit. These cases, however, must be looked upon as exceptional at this stage of affairs, and certainly rare.

Chapter VII.--The Egyptians in Phoenicia.

1. Those of them that were conspicuous in Palestine we know, as also those that were at Tyre in Phoenicia. [2534] Who that saw them was not astonished at the numberless stripes, and at the firmness which these truly wonderful athletes of religion exhibited under them? and at their contest, immediately after the scourging, with bloodthirsty wild beasts, as they were cast before leopards and different kinds of bears and wild boars and bulls goaded with fire and red-hot iron? and at the marvelous endurance of these noble men in the face of all sorts of wild beasts? 2. We were present ourselves when these things occurred, and have put on record the divine power of our martyred Saviour Jesus Christ, which was present and manifested itself mightily in the martyrs. For a long time the man-devouring beasts did not dare to touch or draw near the bodies of those dear to God, but rushed upon the others who from the outside irritated and urged them on. And they would not in the least touch the holy athletes, as they stood alone and naked and shook their hands at them to draw them toward themselves,--for they were commanded to do this. But whenever they rushed at them, they were restrained as if by some divine power and retreated again. 3. This continued for a long time, and occasioned no little wonder to the spectators. And as the first wild beast did nothing, a second and a third were let loose against one and the same martyr. 4. One could not but be astonished at the invincible firmness of these holy men, and the enduring and immovable constancy of those whose bodies were young. You could have seen a youth not twenty years of age standing unbound and stretching out his hands in the form of a cross, with unterrified and untrembling mind, engaged earnestly in prayer to God, and not in the least going back or retreating from the place where he stood, while bears and leopards, breathing rage and death, almost touched his flesh. And yet their mouths were restrained, I know not how, by a divine and incomprehensible power, and they ran back again to their place. Such an one was he. 5. Again you might have seen others, for they were five in all, cast before a wild bull, who tossed into the air with his horns those who approached from the outside, and mangled them, leaving them to be token up half dead; but when he rushed with rage and threatening upon the holy martyrs, who were standing alone, he was unable to come near them; but though he stamped with his feet, and pushed in all directions with his horns, and breathed rage and threatening on account of the irritation of the burning irons, he was, nevertheless, held back by the sacred Providence. And as he in nowise harmed them, they let loose other wild beasts upon them. 6. Finally, after these terrible and various attacks upon them, they were all slain with the sword; and instead of being buried in the earth they were committed to the waves of the sea.

Footnotes

[2534] From the Martyrs of Palestine, chap. 8 sq. (more fully in the Syriac; Cureton's English translation p. 26 sq.), we learn that in the sixth and following years of the persecution, many Egyptian Christians were sent to Palestine to labor in the mines there, and that they underwent the severest tortures in that country. No mention is made of such persons in the Martyrs of Palestine previous to the sixth year. Those in Tyre to whom Eusebius refers very likely suffered during the same period; not under Diocletian, but under Maximinus, when the persecution was at its height. Since in his Martyrs of Palestine Eusebius confines himself to those who suffered in that country (or were natives of it), he has nothing to say about those referred to in this Chapter, who seem, from the opening of the next Chapter, to have suffered, all of them, in Tyre.

Chapter VIII.--Those in Egypt. [2535]

1. Such was the conflict of those Egyptians who contended nobly for religion in Tyre. But we must admire those also who suffered martyrdom in their native land; where thousands of men, women, and children, despising the present life for the sake of the teaching of our Saviour, endured various deaths. 2. Some of them, after scrapings and rackings and severest scourgings, and numberless other kinds of tortures, terrible even to hear of, were committed to the flames; some were drowned in the sea; some offered their heads bravely to those who cut them off; some died under their tortures, and others perished with hunger. And yet others were crucified; some according to the method commonly employed for malefactors; others yet more cruelly, being nailed to the cross with their heads downward, and being kept alive until they perished on the cross with hunger.

Footnotes

[2535] No part of Christendom suffered more severely during these years than the territory of the tyrant Maximinus, who became a Cæsar in 305, and who ruled in Egypt and Syria.

Chapter IX.--Those in Thebais. [2536]

1. It would be impossible to describe the outrages and tortures which the martyrs in Thebais endured. They were scraped over the entire body with shells instead of hooks until they died. Women were bound by one foot and raised aloft in the air by machines, and with their bodies altogether bare and uncovered, presented to all beholders this most shameful, cruel, and inhuman spectacle. 2. Others being bound to the branches and trunks of trees perished. For they drew the stoutest branches together with machines, and bound the limbs of the martyrs to them; and then, allowing the branches to assume their natural position, they tore asunder instantly the limbs of those for whom they contrived this. 3. All these things were done, not for a few days or a short time, but for a long series of years. Sometimes more than ten, at other times above twenty were put to death. Again not less than thirty, then about sixty, and yet again a hundred men with young children and women, were slain in one day, being condemned to various and diverse torments. 4. We, also being on the spot ourselves, have observed large crowds in one day; some suffering decapitation, others torture by fire; so that the murderous sword was blunted, and becoming weak, was broken, and the very executioners grew weary and relieved each other. 5. And we beheld the most wonderful ardor, and the truly divine energy and zeal of those who believed in the Christ of God. For as soon as sentence was pronounced against the first, one after another rushed to the judgment seat, and confessed themselves Christians. And regarding with indifference the terrible things and the multiform tortures, they declared themselves boldly and undauntedly for the religion of the God of the universe. And they received the final sentence of death with joy and laughter and cheerfulness; so that they sang and offered up hymns and thanksgivings to the God of the universe till their very last breath. 6. These indeed were wonderful; but yet more wonderful were those who, being distinguished for wealth, noble birth, and honor, and for learning and philosophy, held everything secondary to the true religion and to faith in our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. 7. Such an one was Philoromus, who held a high office under the imperial government at Alexandria, [2537] and who administered justice every day, attended by a military guard corresponding to his rank and Roman dignity. Such also was Phileas, [2538] bishop of the church of Thmuis, a man eminent on account of his patriotism and the services rendered by him to his country, and also on account of his philosophical learning. 8. These persons, although a multitude of relatives and other friends besought them, and many in high position, and even the judge himself entreated them, that they would have compassion on themselves and show mercy to their children and wives, yet were not in the least induced by these things to choose the love of life, and to despise the ordinances of our Saviour concerning confession and denial. But with manly and philosophic minds, or rather with pious and God-loving souls, they persevered against all the threats and insults of the judge; and both of them were beheaded.

Footnotes

[2536] Thebais, or the territory of Thebes, was one of the three great divisions of Egypt, lying between lower Egypt on the north and Æthiopia on the south. From §4, below, we learn that Eusebius was himself an eye-witness of at least some of the martyrdoms to which he refers in the present Chapter. Reasons have been given on p. 10, above, for supposing that he did not visit Egypt until the later years of the persecution, indeed not until toward the very end of it; and it is therefore to this period that the events described in this Chapter are to be ascribed. [2537] archen tina ou ten tuchousan tes kat' 'AlexEURndreian basilikes dioikeseos enkecheirismenos. Valesius says that Philoromus was the Rationalis, seu procurator summarum Ægypti, i.e. the general finance minister of Egypt (see above, Bk. VII. chap. 10, note 8). But the truth is, that the use of the tina implies that Eusebius is not intending to state the particular office which he held, but simply to indicate that he held some high office, and this is all that we can claim for Philoromus. We know no more of him than is told us here, though Acts of St. Phileas and St. Philoromus are extant, which contain an account of his martyrdom, and are printed by the Bollandists and by Ruinart (interesting extracts given by Tillemont, H. E. V. p. 486 sq., and by Mason, p. 290 sq.). Tillemont (ibid. p. 777) and others defend their genuineness, but Lardner doubts it (Credibility, chap. 60). I have examined only the extracts printed by Tillemont and Mason, and am not prepared to express an opinion in the matter. [2538] Phileas, bishop of Thmuis (an important town in lower Egypt, situated between the Tanite and Mendeaian branches of the Nile), occupies an important place among the Diocletian martyrs. The extant Acts of his martyrdom have been referred to in the previous note. He is mentioned again by Eusebius in chaps. 10 and 13, and in the former a considerable part of his epistle to the people of his diocese is quoted. Jerome mentions him in his de vir. ill. chap. 78, where he says: elegantissimum librum de martyrum laude composuit, et disputatione actorum habita adversum judicem, qui eum sacrificare cogebat, pro Christo capite truncatur. The book referred to by Jerome seems to be identical with the epistle quoted by Eusebius in the next Chapter, for we have no record of another work on this subject written by him. There is extant, however, the Latin version of an epistle purporting to have been written by the imprisoned bishops Hesychius, Pachymius, Theodorus, and Phileas, to Meletius, author of the Meletian schism. There seems to be nothing in the epistle to disprove its genuineness, and it is accepted by Routh and others. The authorship of the epistle is commonly ascribed to Phileas, both because he is known to us as a writer, and also because his name stands last in the opening of the epistle. Eusebius says nothing of such an epistle (though the names of all four of the bishops are mentioned in chap. 13, below). Jerome's silence in regard to it signifies nothing, for he only follows Eusebius. This epistle, and also the fragment of the one quoted in the next Chapter by Eusebius, are given by Routh, Rel. Sac. IV. p. 87 sq., and an English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 161 sq. Phileas' learning is praised very highly by Eusebius and Jerome, and his scholarly character is emphasized in his Acts. The date of his death cannot be determined with exactness, but we may be confident that it did not, at any rate, take place before 306, and very likely not before 307. The epistle quoted in the next Chapter was written shortly before his martyrdom, as we learn from §11 of that Chapter.

Chapter X.--The Writings of Phileas the Martyr describing the Occurrences at Alexandria.

1. Since we have mentioned Phileas as having a high reputation for secular learning, let him be his own witness in the following extract, in which he shows us who he was, and at the same time describes more accurately than we can the martyrdoms which occurred in his time at Alexandria: [2539] 2. "Having before them all these examples and models and noble tokens which are given us in the Divine and Sacred Scriptures, the blessed martyrs who were with us did not hesitate, but directing the eye of the soul in sincerity toward the God over all, and having their mind set upon death for religion, they adhered firmly to their calling. For they understood that our Lord Jesus Christ had become man on our account, that he might cut off all sin and furnish us with the means of entrance into eternal life. For `he counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross.' [2540] 3. Wherefore also being zealous for the greater gifts, the Christ-bearing martyrs endured all trials and all kinds of contrivances for torture; not once only, but some also a second time. And although the guards vied with each other in threatening them in all sorts of ways, not in words only, but in actions, they did not give up their resolution; because `perfect love casteth out fear.' [2541] 4. "What words could describe their courage and manliness under every torture? For as liberty to abuse them was given to all that wished, some beat them with clubs, others with rods, others with scourges, yet others with thongs, and others with ropes. 5. And the spectacle of the outrages was varied and exhibited great malignity. For some, with their hands bound behind them, were suspended on the stocks, and every member stretched by certain machines. Then the torturers, as commanded, lacerated with instruments [2542] their entire bodies; not only their sides, as in the case of murderers, but also their stomachs and knees and cheeks. Others were raised aloft, suspended from the porch by one hand, and endured the most terrible suffering of all, through the distension of their joints and limbs. Others were bound face to face to pillars, not resting on their feet, but with the weight of their bodies bearing on their bonds and drawing them tightly. 6. And they endured this, not merely as long as the governor talked with them or was at leisure, but through almost the entire day. For when he passed on to others, he left officers under his authority to watch the first, and observe if any of them, overcome by the tortures, appeared to yield. And he commanded to cast them into chains without mercy, and afterwards when they were at the last gasp to throw them to the ground and drag them away. 7. For he said that they were not to have the least concern for us, but were to think and act as if we no longer existed, our enemies having invented this second mode of torture in addition to the stripes. 8. "Some, also, after these outrages, were placed on the stocks, and had both their feet stretched over the four [2543] holes, so that they were compelled to lie on their backs on the stocks, being unable to keep themselves up on account of the fresh wounds with which their entire bodies were covered as a result of the scourging. Others were thrown on the ground and lay there under the accumulated infliction of tortures, exhibiting to the spectators a more terrible manifestation of severity, as they bore on their bodies the marks of the various and diverse punishments which had been invented. 9. As this went on, some died under the tortures, shaming the adversary by their constancy. Others half dead were shut up in prison, and suffering with their agonies, they died in a few days; but the rest, recovering under the care which they received, gained confidence by time and their long detention in prison. 10. When therefore they were ordered to choose whether they would be released from molestation by touching the polluted sacrifice, and would receive from them the accursed freedom, or refusing to sacrifice, should be condemned to death, they did not hesitate, but went to death cheerfully. For they knew what had been declared before by the Sacred Scriptures. For it is said, [2544] `He that sacrificeth to other gods shall be utterly destroyed,' [2545] and, `Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'" [2546] 11. Such are the words of the truly philosophical and God-loving martyr, which, before the final sentence, while yet in prison, he addressed to the brethren in his parish, showing them his own circumstances, and at the same time exhorting them to hold fast, even after his approaching death, to the religion of Christ. 12. But why need we dwell upon these things, and continue to add fresh instances of the conflicts of the divine martyrs throughout the world, especially since they were dealt with no longer by common law, but attacked like enemies of war?

Footnotes

[2539] On this epistle, see the previous Chapter, note 3. [2540] Phil. ii. 6-8. [2541] 1 John iv. 18. [2542] tois amunteriois. The word amunterion means literally a weapon of defense, but the word seems to indicate in the present case some kind of a sharp instrument with claws or hooks. Rufinus translates ungulæ, the technical term for an instrument of torture of the kind just described. Valesius remarks, however, that these amunteria seem to have been something more than ungulæ, for Hesychius interprets amunterion as xiphos distomon, i.e. a "two-edged sword." [2543] The majority of the mss., followed by Laemmer and Heinichen, omit tessEURron, "four." The word, however, is found in a few good mss., and is adopted by all the other editors and translators, and seems necessary in the present case. Upon the instrument referred to here, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 16, note 9. It would seem that "four holes" constituted in ordinary cases the extreme limit. But in two cases (Bk. V. chap. 1, §27, and Mart. Pal. chap. 2) we are told of a "fifth hole." It is possible that the instruments varied in respect to the number of the holes, for the way in which the "four" is used here and elsewhere seems to indicate that the extreme of torture is thought of. [2544] phesi: "He says," or "the Scripture saith." [2545] Ex. xxii. 20. [2546] Ex. xx. 3.

Chapter XI.--Those in Phrygia.

1. A small town [2547] [2548] of Phrygia, inhabited solely by Christians, was completely surrounded by soldiers while the men were in it. Throwing fire into it, they consumed them with the women and children while they were calling upon Christ. This they did because all the inhabitants of the city, and the curator himself, and the governor, with all who held office, and the entire populace, confessed themselves Christians, and would not in the least obey those who commanded them to worship idols. 2. There was another man of Roman dignity named Adauctus, [2549] of a noble Italian family, who had advanced through every honor under the emperors, so that he had blamelessly filled even the general offices of magistrate, as they call it, and of finance minister. [2550] Besides all this he excelled in deeds of piety and in the confession of the Christ of God, and was adorned with the diadem of martyrdom. He endured the conflict for religion while still holding the office of finance minister.

Footnotes

[2547] I read polichnen with the majority of mss. and editors. A number of mss. read polin, which is supported by Rufinus (urbem quandam) and Nicephorus, and is adopted by Laemmer and Heinichen; but it would certainty be more natural for a copyist to exaggerate than to understate his original. [2548] Lactantius (Dio inst. V. 11), in speaking of persecutions in general, says, "Some were swift to slaughter, as an individual in Phyrgia who burnt an entire people, together with their place of meeting (universum populum cum ipso pariter conventiculo)." This apparently refers to the same incident which Eusebius records in this Chapter. Gibbon contends that not the city, but only the church with the people in it was burned; and so Fletcher, the translator of Lactantius in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, understands the passage ("who burnt a whole assembly of people, together with their place of meeting"). Mason, on the other hand, contends that the population of the entire city is meant. The Latin would seem, however, to support Gibbon's interpretation rather than Mason's; but in view of the account in Eusebius, the latter has perhaps most in its favor. If the two passages be interpreted differently, we can hardly determine which is the true version of the incident. Mason has "no hesitation" in referring this episode to the period immediately following the First Edict of Diocletian, at the time when the rebellions in Melitene and Syria were taking place. It may have occurred at that time, but I should myself have considerable hesitation in referring it definitely to any particular period of the persecution. If Eusebius' statement at the close of this paragraph could be relied upon, we should be obliged to put the event after the issue of the fourth edict, for not until that time were Christians in general called upon to offer sacrifices. But the statement may be merely a conclusion of Eusebius' own; and since he does not draw a clear distinction between the various steps in the persecution, little weight can be laid upon it. [2549] Rufinus connects this man with the town of Phrygia just referred to, and makes him one of the victims of that catastrophe. But Eusebius does not intimate any such connection, and indeed seems to separate him from the inhabitants of that city by the special mention of him as a martyr. Moreover, the official titles given to him are hardly such as we should expect the citizen of an insignificant Phrygian town to bear. He is said, in fact, to have held the highest imperial--not merely municipal--offices. We know nothing more about the man than is told us here; nor do we know when and where he suffered. [2550] tas katholou dioikeseis tes tar' autois kaloumenes magistrotetos te kai katholikotetos. The second office (katholikotes) is apparently to be identified with that mentioned in Bk. VII. chap. 10, §5 (see note 8 on that Chapter). We can hardly believe, however, that Adauctus (of whom we hear nowhere else) can have held so high a position as is meant there, and therefore are forced to conclude that he was but one of a number of such finance ministers, and had the administration of the funds only of a particular district in his hands.

Chapter XII.--Many Others, both Men and Women, who suffered in Various Ways.

1. Why need we mention the rest by name, or number the multitude of the men, or picture the various sufferings of the admirable martyrs of Christ? Some of them were slain with the axe, as in Arabia. The limbs of some were broken, as in Cappadocia. Some, raised on high by the feet, with their heads down, while a gentle fire burned beneath them, were suffocated by the smoke which arose from the burning wood, as was done in Mesopotamia. Others were mutilated by cutting off their noses and ears and hands, and cutting to pieces the other members and parts of their bodies, as in Alexandria. [2551] 2. Why need we revive the recollection of those in Antioch who were roasted on grates, not so as to kill them, but so as to subject them to a lingering punishment? Or of others who preferred to thrust their right hand into the fire rather than touch the impious sacrifice? Some, shrinking from the trial, rather than be taken and fall into the hands of their enemies, threw themselves from lofty houses, considering death preferable to the cruelty of the impious. 3. A certain holy person,--in soul admirable for virtue, in body a woman,--who was illustrious beyond all in Antioch for wealth and family and reputation, had brought up in the principles of religion her two daughters, who were now in the freshness and bloom of life. Since great envy was excited on their account, every means was used to find them in their concealment; and when it was ascertained that they were away, they were summoned deceitfully to Antioch. Thus they were caught in the nets of the soldiers. When the woman saw herself and her daughters thus helpless, and knew the things terrible to speak of that men would do to them,--and the most unbearable of all terrible things, the threatened violation of their chastity, [2552] --she exhorted herself and the maidens that they ought not to submit even to hear of this. For, she said, that to surrender their souls to the slavery of demons was worse than all deaths and destruction; and she set before them the only deliverance from all these things,--escape to Christ. 4. They then listened to her advice. And after arranging their garments suitably, they went aside from the middle of the road, having requested of the guards a little time for retirement, and cast themselves into a river which was flowing by. 5. Thus they destroyed themselves. [2553] But there were two other virgins in the same city of Antioch who served God in all things, and were true sisters, illustrious in family and distinguished in life, young and blooming, serious in mind, pious in deportment, and admirable for zeal. As if the earth could not bear such excellence, the worshipers of demons commanded to cast them into the sea. And this was done to them. 6. In Pontus, others endured sufferings horrible to hear. Their fingers were pierced with sharp reeds under their nails. Melted lead, bubbling and boiling with the heat, was poured down the backs of others, and they were roasted in the most sensitive parts of the body. 7. Others endured on their bowels and privy members shameful and inhuman and unmentionable torments, which the noble and law-observing judges, to show their severity, devised, as more honorable manifestations of wisdom. And new tortures were continually invented, as if they were endeavoring, by surpassing one another, to gain prizes in a contest. 8. But at the close of these calamities, when finally they could contrive no greater cruelties, and were weary of putting to death, and were filled and satiated with the shedding of blood, they turned to what they considered merciful and humane treatment, so that they seemed to be no longer devising terrible things against us. 9. For they said that it was not fitting that the cities should be polluted with the blood of their own people, or that the government of their rulers, which was kind and mild toward all, should be defamed through excessive cruelty; but that rather the beneficence of the humane and royal authority should be extended to all, and we should no longer be put to death. For the infliction of this punishment upon us should be stopped in consequence of the humanity of the rulers. 10. Therefore it was commanded that our eyes should be put out, and that we should be maimed in one of our limbs. For such things were humane in their sight, and the lightest of punishments for us. So that now on account of this kindly treatment accorded us by the impious, it was impossible to tell the incalculable number of those whose right eyes had first been cut out with the sword, and then had been cauterized with fire; or who had been disabled in the left foot by burning the joints, and afterward condemned to the provincial copper mines, not so much for service as for distress and hardship. Besides all these, others encountered other trials, which it is impossible to recount; for their manly endurance surpasses all description. 11. In these conflicts the noble martyrs of Christ shone illustrious over the entire world, and everywhere astonished those who beheld their manliness; and the evidences of the truly divine and unspeakable power of our Saviour were made manifest through them. To mention each by name would be a long task, if not indeed impossible.

Footnotes

[2551] The barbarous mutilation of the Christians which is spoken of here and farther on in the Chapter, began, as we learn from the Martyrs of Palestine, in the sixth year of the persecution (a.d. 308). The tyrant Maximin seems to have become alarmed at the number of deaths which the persecution was causing, and to have hit upon this atrocious expedient as a no less effectual means of punishment. It was practiced apparently throughout Maximin's dominions; we are told of numbers who were treated in this way, both in Egypt and Palestine (see Mart. Pal. chap. 8 sq.). [2552] This abominable treatment of female Christians formed a feature of the persecutions both of Maximian and Maximin, who were alike monsters of licentiousness. It was entirely foreign to all the principles of Diocletian's government, and could never have been allowed by him. It began apparently in Italy under Maximian, after the publication by him of the Fourth Edict (see Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2), and was continued in the East by Maximin, when he came into power. We have a great many instances given of this kind of treatment, and in many cases, as in the present, suicide relieved the victims of the proposed indignity. [2553] Eusebius evidently approved of these women's suicide, and it must be confessed that they had great provocation. The views of the early Church on the subject of suicide were in ordinary cases very decided. They condemned it unhesitatingly as a crime, and thus made a decided advance upon the position held by many eminent Pagans of that age, especially among the Stoics. In two cases, however, their opinion of suicide was somewhat uncertain. There existed in many quarters a feeling of admiration for those who voluntarily rushed to martyrdom and needlessly sacrificed their lives. The wiser and steadier minds, however, condemned this practice unhesitatingly (cf. p. 8, above). The second case in connection with which the opinions of the Fathers were divided, was that which meets us in the present passage. The majority of them evidently not only justified but commended suicide in such an extremity. The first Father distinctly to condemn the practice was Augustine (De civ. Dei. I. 22-27). He takes strong ground on the subject, and while admiring the bravery and chastity of the many famous women that had rescued themselves by taking their own lives, he denounces their act as sinful under all circumstances, maintaining that suicide is never anything else than a crime against the law of God. The view of Augustine has very generally prevailed since his time. Cf. Leckey's History of European Morals, 3d edition (Appleton, New York), Vol. II. p. 43 sq.

Chapter XIII.--The Bishops of the Church that evinced by their Blood the Genuineness of the Religion which they preached.

1. As for the rulers of the Church that suffered martyrdom in the principal cities, the first martyr of the kingdom of Christ whom we shall mention among the monuments of the pious is Anthimus, [2554] bishop of the city of Nicomedia, who was beheaded. 2. Among the martyrs at Antioch was Lucian, [2555] a presbyter of that parish, whose entire life was most excellent. At Nicomedia, in the presence of the emperor, he proclaimed the heavenly kingdom of Christ, first in an oral defense, and afterwards by deeds as well. 3. Of the martyrs in Phoenicia the most distinguished were those devoted pastors of the spiritual flocks of Christ: Tyrannion, [2556] bishop of the church of Tyre; Zenobius, a presbyter of the church at Sidon; and Silvanus, [2557] bishop of the churches about Emesa. 4. The last of these, with others, was made food for wild beasts at Emesa, and was thus received into the ranks of martyrs. The other two glorified the word of God at Antioch through patience unto death. The bishop [2558] was thrown into the depths of the sea. But Zenobius, who was a very skillful physician, died through severe tortures which were applied to his sides. 5. Of the martyrs in Palestine, Silvanus, [2559] bishop of the churches about Gaza, was beheaded with thirty-nine others at the copper mines of Phæno. [2560] There also the Egyptian bishops, Peleus and Nilus, [2561] with others, suffered death by fire. 6. Among these we must mention Pamphilus, a presbyter, who was the great glory of the parish of Cæsarea, and among the men of our time most admirable. 7. The virtue of his manly deeds we have recorded in the proper place. [2562] Of those who suffered death illustriously at Alexandria and throughout Egypt and Thebais, Peter, [2563] bishop of Alexandria, one of the most excellent teachers of the religion of Christ, should first be mentioned; and of the presbyters with him Faustus, [2564] Dius and Ammonius, perfect martyrs of Christ; also Phileas, [2565] Hesychius, [2566] Pachymius and Theodorus, bishops of Egyptian churches, and besides them many other distinguished persons who are commemorated by the parishes of their country and region. It is not for us to describe the conflicts of those who suffered for the divine religion throughout the entire world, and to relate accurately what happened to each of them. This would be the proper work of those who were eye-witnesses of the events. I will describe for posterity in another work [2567] those which I myself witnessed. 8. But in the present book [2568] I will add to what I have given the revocation issued by our persecutors, and those events that occurred at the beginning of the persecution, which will be most profitable to such as shall read them. 9. What words could sufficiently describe the greatness and abundance of the prosperity of the Roman government before the war against us, while the rulers were friendly and peaceable toward us? Then those who were highest in the government, and had held the position ten or twenty years, passed their time in tranquil peace, in festivals and public games and most joyful pleasures and cheer. 10. While thus their authority was growing uninterruptedly, and increasing day by day, suddenly they changed their peaceful attitude toward us, and began an implacable war. But the second year of this movement was not yet past, when a revolution took place in the entire government and overturned all things. 11. For a severe sickness came upon the chief of those of whom we have spoken, by which his understanding was distracted; and with him who was honored with the second rank, he retired into private life. [2569] Scarcely had he done this when the entire empire was divided; a thing which is not recorded as having ever occurred before. [2570] 12. Not long after, the Emperor Constantius, who through his entire life was most kindly and favorably disposed toward his subjects, and most friendly to the Divine Word, ended his life in the common course of nature, and left his own son, Constantine, as emperor and Augustus in his stead. [2571] He was the first that was ranked by them among the gods, and received after death every honor which one could pay to an emperor. [2572] 13. He was the kindest and mildest of emperors, and the only one of those of our day that passed all the time of his government in a manner worthy of his office. Moreover, he conducted himself toward all most favorably and beneficently. He took not the smallest part in the war against us, but preserved the pious that were under him unharmed and unabused. He neither threw down the church buildings, [2573] nor did he devise anything else against us. The end of his life was honorable and thrice blessed. He alone at death left his empire happily and gloriously to his own son as his successor,--one who was in all respects most prudent and pious. 14. His son Constantine entered on the government at once, being proclaimed supreme emperor and Augustus by the soldiers, and long before by God himself, the King of all. He showed himself an emulator of his father's piety toward our doctrine. Such an one was he. But after this, Licinius was declared emperor and Augustus by a common vote of the rulers. [2574] 15. These things grieved Maximinus greatly, for until that time he had been entitled by all only Cæsar. He therefore, being exceedingly imperious, seized the dignity for himself, and became Augustus, being made such by himself. [2575] In the mean time he whom we have mentioned as having resumed his dignity after his abdication, being detected in conspiring against the life of Constantine, perished by a most shameful death. [2576] He was the first whose decrees and statues and public monuments were destroyed because of his wickedness and impiety. [2577]

Footnotes

[2554] On Anthimus, see above, chap. 6, note 5. [2555] On Lucian of Antioch, see below, Bk. IX. chap. 6, note 4. [2556] Of Tyrannion and Zenobius, we know only what is told us here and in the next paragraph. All of the martyrs of whom Eusebius tells us in this and the following books are commemorated in the Martyrologies, and accounts of the passions of many of them are given in various Acts, usually of doubtful authority. I shall not attempt to mention such documents in my notes, nor to give references to the Martyrologies, unless there be some special reason for it in connection with a case of particular interest. Wherever we have farther information in regard to any of these martyrs, in Eusebius himself or other early Fathers, I shall endeavor to give the needed references, passing other names by unnoticed. Tillemont (H. E. V.) contains accounts of all these men, and all the necessary references to the Martyrologies, the Bollandist Acts, etc. To his work the curious reader is referred. [2557] Silvanus is mentioned again in Bk. IX. chap. 6, and from that passage we learn that he was a very old man at the time of his death, and that he had been bishop forty years. It is, moreover, directly stated in that passage that Silvanus suffered martyrdom at the same period with Peter of Alexandria, namely, in the year 312 or thereabouts. This being the date also of Lucian's martyrdom, mentioned just above, we may assume it as probable that all mentioned in this Chapter suffered about the same time. [2558] i.e. Tyrannion. [2559] Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, is mentioned also in Mart. Pal. chaps. 7 and 13. From the former Chapter we learn that he became a confessor at Phæno in the fifth year of the persecution (a.d. 307), while still a presbyter; from the latter, that he suffered martyrdom in the seventh year, at the very close of the persecution in Palestine, and that he had been eminent in his confessions from the beginning of the persecution. [2560] Phæno was a village of Arabia Petræa, between Petra and Zoar, and contained celebrated copper mines, which were worked by condemned criminals. [2561] Peleus and Nilus are mentioned in Mart. Pal. chap. 13, from which passage we learn that they, like Silvanus, died in the seventh year of the persecution. An anonymous presbyter and a man named Patermuthius, are named there as perishing with them in the flames. [2562] On Pamphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40. Eusebius refers here to his Life of Pamphilus (see above, p. 28). [2563] On Peter of Alexandria, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 54. [2564] Faustus is probably to be identified with the deacon of the same name, mentioned above in Bk. VI. chap. 40 and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. At any rate, we learn from the latter Chapter that the Faustus mentioned there lived to a great age, and died in the persecution of Diocletian, so that nothing stands in the way of identifying the two, though in the absence of all positive testimony, the identification cannot be insisted upon. Of Dius and Ammonius we know nothing. [2565] On Phileas, see above, chap. 9, note 3. [2566] A Latin version of an epistle purporting to have been written by these four bishops is still extant (see above, chap. 9, note 3). We know nothing more about the last three named here. It has been customary to identify this Hesychius with the reviser of the text of the LXX and the Gospels which was widely current in Egypt in the time of Jerome, and was known as the Hesychian recension (see Jerome, Præf. in Paralipom., Apol. adv. Ruf. II. 27, Præf in quattuor Evangelia; and cf. Comment. in Isaiam, LVIII. 11). We know little about this text; but Jerome speaks of it slightingly, as does also the Decretal of Gelasius, VI. §15 (according to Westcott's Hist. of the Canon, 5th ed. p. 392, note 5). The identification of the two men is quite possible, for the recension referred to belonged no doubt to this period; but no positive arguments beyond agreement in name and country can be urged in support of it. Fabricius proposed to identify our Hesychius with the author of the famous Greek Lexicon, which is still extant. But this identification is now commonly rejected; and the author of the lexicon is regarded as a pagan, who lived in Alexandria during the latter part of the fourth century. See Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Biography and Smith and Wace's Dict. of Christ. Biog. s.v. [2567] Eusebius refers here to his Martyrs of Palestine. See above, p. 29 sq. [2568] kata ton paronta logon. Eusebius seems to refer here to the eighth book of his History; for he uses logos frequently in referring to the separate books of his work, but nowhere else, so far as I am aware, in referring to the work as a whole. This would seem to indicate that he was thinking at this time of writing only eight books, and of bringing his History to an end with the toleration edict of Galerius, which he gives in chap. 17, below. Might it be supposed that the present passage was written immediately after the publication of the edict of Galerius, and before the renewal of the persecution by Maximin? If that were so, we might assume that after the close of that persecution, in consequence of the victory of Constantine and Licinius, the historian felt it necessary to add yet a ninth book to his work, not contemplated at the time he was writing his eighth; as he seems still later, after the victory of Constantine over Licinius, to have found it necessary to add a tenth book, in order that his work might cover the entire period of persecution and include the final triumph of the Church. His motive, indeed, in adding the tenth book seems not to have been to bring the history down to the latest date possible, for he made no additions during his later years, in spite of the interesting and exciting events which took place after 325 a.d., but to bring it down to the final triumph of the Church over her pagan enemies. Had there been another persecution and another toleration edict between 325 and 338, we can hardly doubt that Eusebius would have added an account of it to his History. In view of these considerations, it is possible that some time may have elapsed between the composition of the eighth and ninth books, as well as between the composition of the ninth and tenth. It must be admitted, however, that a serious objection to this supposition lies in the fact that in chaps. 15 and 16, below, the tenth year of the persecution is spoken of, and in the latter Chapter the author is undoubtedly thinking of the Edict of Milan, which was issued in 312, after the renewal of Maximin's persecution described in Book IX. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that Eusebius, when he wrote the present passage, was expecting to close his work with the present book, and that the necessity for another book made itself manifest before he finished the present one. It may be that the words in chaps. 15 and 16 are a later insertion. I do not regard this as probable, but knowing the changes that were made in the ninth book in a second edition of the History, it must be admitted that such changes in the eighth book are not impossible (see above, p. 30 and 45). At the same time I prefer the former alternative, that the necessity for another book became manifest before he finished the present one. A slight confirmation of the theory that the ninth book was a later addition, necessitated by the persecution of Maximin's later years, may be found in the appendix to the eighth book which is found in many mss. See below, p. 340, note 1. [2569] The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, the two Augusti, took place on May 1, 305, and therefore a little more, not a little less, than two years after the publication of Diocletian's First Edict. The causes of the abdication have been given variously by different writers, and our original authorities are themselves in no better agreement. I do not propose to enter here into a discussion of the subject, but am convinced that Burckhardt, Mason, and others are correct in looking upon the abdication, not as the result of a sudden resolve, but as a part of Diocletian's great plan, and as such long resolved upon and regarded as one of the fundamental requirements of his system to be regularly observed by his successors, as well as by himself. The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian raised the Cæsars Constantius and Galerius to the rank of Augusti, and two new Cæsars, Maximinus Daza in the East, and Severus in the West, were appointed to succeed them. Diocletian himself retired to Dalmatia, his native province, where he passed the remainder of his life in rural pursuits, until his death in 313. [2570] Eusebius is correct in saying that the empire had never been divided up to this time. For it had always been ruled as one whole, even when the imperial power was shared by two or more princes. And even the system of Diocletian was not meant to divide the empire into two or more independent parts. The plan was simply to vest the supreme power in two heads, who should be given lieutenants to assist them in the government, but who should jointly represent the unity of the whole while severally administering their respective territories. Imperial acts to be valid had to be joint, not individual acts, and had to bear the name of both Augusti, while the Cæsars were looked upon only as the lieutenants and representatives of their respective superiors. Finally, in the last analysis, there was theoretically but the one supreme head, the first Augustus. While Diocletian was emperor, the theoretical unity was a practical thing. So long as his strong hand was on the helm, Maximian, the other Augustus, did not venture to do anything in opposition to his wishes, and thus the great system worked smoothly. But with Diocletian's abdication, everything was changed. Theoretically Constantius was the first Augustus, but Galerius, not Constantius, had had the naming of the Cæsars; and there was no intention on Galerius' part to acknowledge in any way his inferiority to Constantius. In fact, being in the East, whence the government had been carried on for twenty years, it was natural that he should be entirely independent of Constantius, and that thus, as Eusebius says, a genuine division of the empire, not theoretical but practical, should be the result. The principle remained the same; but West and East seemed now to stand, not under one great emperor, but under two equal and independent heads. [2571] Constantius Chlorus died at York, in Britain, July 25, 306. According to the system of Diocletian, the Cæsar Severus should regularly have succeeded to his place, and a new Cæsar should have been appointed to succeed Severus. But Constantine, the oldest son of Constantius, who was with his father at the time of his death, was at once proclaimed his successor, and hailed as Augustus by the army. This was by no means to Galerius' taste, for he had far other plans in mind; but he was not in a position to dispute Constantine's claims, and so made the best of the situation by recognizing Constantine not as Augustus, but as second Cæsar, while he raised Severus to the rank of Augustus, and made his own Cæsar Maximin first Cæsar. Constantine was thus theoretically subject to Severus, but the subjection was only a fiction, for he was practically independent in his own district from that time on. Our sources are unanimous in giving Constantius an amiable and pious character, unusually free from bigotry and cruelty. Although he was obliged to show some respect to the persecuting edicts of his superiors, Diocletian and Maximian, he seems to have been averse to persecution, and to have gone no further than was necessary in that direction, destroying some churches, but apparently subjecting none of the Christians to bodily injury. We have no hint, however, that he was a Christian, or that his generous treatment of the Christians was the result in any way of a belief in their religion. It was simply the result of his natural tolerance and humanity, combined, doubtless, with a conviction that there was nothing essentially vicious or dangerous in Christianity. [2572] Not the first of Roman emperors to be so honored, but the first of the four rulers who were at that time at the head of the empire. It had been the custom from the beginning to decree divine honors to the Roman emperors upon their decease, unless their characters or their reigns had been such as to leave universal hatred behind them, in which case such honors were often denied them, and their memory publicly and officially execrated, and all their public monuments destroyed. The ascription of such honors to Constantius, therefore, does not in itself imply that he was superior to the other three rulers, nor indeed superior to the emperors in general, but only that he was not a monster, as some had been. The last emperor to receive such divine honors was Diocletian himself, with whose death the old pagan regime came finally to an end. [2573] This is a mistake; for though Constantius seems to have proceeded as mildly as possible, he did destroy churches, as we are directly informed by Lactantius (de Mort. pers. 15), and as we can learn from extant Acts and other sources (see Mason, p. 146 sq.). Eusebius, perhaps, knew nothing about the matter, and simply drew a conclusion from the known character of Constantius and his general tolerance toward the Christians. [2574] The steps which led to the appointment of Licinius are omitted by Eusebius. Maxentius, son of the old Augustus Maximian, spurred on by the success of Constantine's move in Britain, attempted to follow his example in Italy. He won the support of a considerable portion of the army and of the Roman people, and in October of the same year (306) was proclaimed emperor by soldiers and people. Severus, who marched against the usurper, was defeated and slain, and Galerius, who endeavored to revenge his fallen colleague, was obliged to retreat without accomplishing anything. This left Italy and Africa in the hands of an independent ruler, who was recognized by none of the others. Toward the end of the year 307, Licinius, an old friend and comrade-in-arms of Galerius, was appointed Augustus to succeed Severus, whose death had occurred a number of months before, but whose place had not yet been filled. The appointment of Licinius took place at Carnuntum on the Danube, where Galerius, Diocletian, and Maximian met for consultation. Inasmuch as Italy and Africa were still in the hands of Maxentius, Licinius was given the Illyrian provinces with the rank of second Augustus, and was thus nominally ruler of the entire West. [2575] Early in 308 Maximinus, the first Cæsar, who was naturally incensed at the promotion of a new man, Licinius, to a position above himself, was hailed as Augustus by his troops, and at once notified Galerius of the fact. The latter could not afford to quarrel with Maximinus, and therefore bestowed upon him the full dignity of an Augustus, as upon Constantine also at the same time. There were thus four independent Augusti (to say nothing of the emperor Maxentius), and the system of Diocletian was a thing of the past. [2576] The reference is to the Augustus Maximian. After his abdication he retired to Lucania, but in the following year was induced by his son, Maxentius, to leave his retirement, and join him in wresting Italy and Africa from Severus. It was due in large measure to his military skill and to the prestige of his name that Severus was vanquished and Galerius repulsed. After his victories Maximian went to Gaul, to see Constantine and form an alliance with him. He bestowed upon him the title of Augustus and the hand of his daughter Fausta, and endeavored to induce him to join him in a campaign against Galerius. This, however, Constantine refused to do; and Maximian finally returned to Rome, where he found his son Maxentius entrenched in the affections of the soldiers and the people, and bent upon ruling for himself. After a bitter quarrel with him, in which he attempted, but failed, to wrest the purple from him, he left the city, attended the congress of Carnuntum, and acquiesced in the appointment of Licinius as second Augustus, which of course involved the formal renunciation of his own claims and those of his son. He then betook himself again to Constantine, but during the latter's temporary absence treacherously had himself proclaimed Augustus by some of the troops. He was, however, easily overpowered by Constantine, but was forgiven and granted his liberty again. About two years later, unable to resist the desire to reign, he made an attempt upon Constantine's life with the hope of once more securing the power for himself, but was detected and allowed to choose the manner of his own death, and in February, 310, strangled himself. The general facts just stated are well made out, but there is some uncertainty as to the exact order of events, in regard to which our sources are at variance. Compare especially the works of Hunziker, Burckhardt, and Mason, and the respective articles in Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog. Eusebius' memory plays him false in this passage; for he has not mentioned, as he states, Maximian's resumption of the imperial dignity after his abdication. A few important mss., followed by Heinichen, omit the entire clause, "whom we have mentioned as having resumed his dignity after his abdication." But the words are found in the majority of the mss. and in Rufinus, and are accepted by all the other editors. There can, in fact, be no doubt that Eusebius wrote the words, and that the omission of them in some codices is due to the fact that some scribe or scribes perceived his slip, and consequently omitted the clause. [2577] Valesius understands by this (as in §12, above), the first of the four emperors. But we find in Lactantius (ibid. chap. 42) the distinct statement that Diocletian (whose statues were thrown down in Rome with those of Maximian, to which they were joined, Janus-fashion) was the first emperor that had ever suffered such an indignity, and there is no hint in the text that Eusebius means any less than that in making his statement, though we know that it is incorrect.

Chapter XIV.--The Character of the Enemies of Religion.

1. Maxentius his son, who obtained the government at Rome, [2578] at first feigned our faith, in complaisance and flattery toward the Roman people. On this account he commanded his subjects to cease persecuting the Christians, pretending to religion that he might appear merciful and mild beyond his predecessors. 2. But he did not prove in his deeds to be such a person as was hoped, but ran into all wickedness and abstained from no impurity or licentiousness, committing adulteries and indulging in all kinds of corruption. For having separated wives from their lawful consorts, he abused them and sent them back most dishonorably to their husbands. And he not only practiced this against the obscure and unknown, but he insulted especially the most prominent and distinguished members of the Roman senate. 3. All his subjects, people and rulers, honored and obscure, were worn out by grievous oppression. Neither, although they kept quiet, and bore the bitter servitude, was there any relief from the murderous cruelty of the tyrant. Once, on a small pretense, he gave the people to be slaughtered by his guards; and a great multitude of the Roman populace were slain in the midst of the city, with the spears and arms, not of Scythians and barbarians, but of their own fellow-citizens. 4. It would be impossible to recount the number of senators who were put to death for the sake of their wealth; multitudes being slain on various pretenses. 5. To crown all his wickedness, the tyrant resorted to magic. And in his divinations he cut open pregnant women, and again inspected the bowels of newborn infants. He slaughtered lions, and performed various execrable acts to invoke demons and avert war. For his only hope was that, by these means, victory would be secured to him. 6. It is impossible to tell the ways in which this tyrant at Rome oppressed his subjects, so that they were reduced to such an extreme dearth of the necessities of life as has never been known, according to our contemporaries, either at Rome or elsewhere. 7. But Maximinus, the tyrant in the East, having secretly formed a friendly alliance with the Roman tyrant as with a brother in wickedness, sought to conceal it for a long time. But being at last detected, he suffered merited punishment. [2579] 8. It was wonderful how akin he was in wickedness to the tyrant at Rome, or rather how far he surpassed him in it. For the chief of sorcerers and magicians were honored by him with the highest rank. Becoming exceedingly timid and superstitious, he valued greatly the error of idols and demons. Indeed, without soothsayers and oracles he did not venture to move even a finger, [2580] so to speak. 9. Therefore he persecuted us more violently and incessantly than his predecessors. He ordered temples to be erected in every city, and the sacred groves which had been destroyed through lapse of time to be speedily restored. He appointed idol priests in every place and city; and he set over them in every province, as high priest, some political official who had especially distinguished himself in every kind of service, giving him a band of soldiers and a body-guard. And to all jugglers, as if they were pious and beloved of the gods, he granted governments and the greatest privileges. 10. From this time on he distressed and harassed, not one city or country, but all the provinces under his authority, by extreme exactions of gold and silver and goods, and most grievous prosecutions and various fines. He took away from the wealthy the property which they had inherited from their ancestors, and bestowed vast riches and large sums of money on the flatterers about him. 11. And he went to such an excess of folly and drunkenness that his mind was deranged and crazed in his carousals; and he gave commands when intoxicated of which he repented afterward when sober. He suffered no one to surpass him in debauchery and profligacy, but made himself an instructor in wickedness to those about him, both rulers and subjects. He urged on the army to live wantonly in every kind of revelry and intemperance, and encouraged the governors and generals to abuse their subjects with rapacity and covetousness, almost as if they were rulers with him. 12. Why need we relate the licentious, shameless deeds of the man, or enumerate the multitude with whom he committed adultery? For he could not pass through a city without continually corrupting women and ravishing virgins. 13. And in this he succeeded with all except the Christians. For as they despised death, they cared nothing for his power. For the men endured fire and sword and crucifixion and wild beasts and the depths of the sea, and cutting off of limbs, and burnings, and pricking and digging out of eyes, and mutilations of the entire body, and besides these, hunger and mines and bonds. In all they showed patience in behalf of religion rather than transfer to idols the reverence due to God. 14. And the women were not less manly than the men in behalf of the teaching of the Divine Word, as they endured conflicts with the men, and bore away equal prizes of virtue. And when they were dragged away for corrupt purposes, they surrendered their lives to death rather than their bodies to impurity. [2581] 15. One only of those who were seized for adulterous purposes by the tyrant, a most distinguished and illustrious Christian woman in Alexandria, conquered the passionate and intemperate soul of Maximinus by most heroic firmness. Honorable on account of wealth and family and education, she esteemed all of these inferior to chastity. He urged her many times, but although she was ready to die, he could not put her to death, for his desire was stronger than his anger. 16. He therefore punished her with exile, and took away all her property. Many others, unable even to listen to the threats of violation from the heathen rulers, endured every form of tortures, and rackings, and deadly punishment. These indeed should be admired. But far the most admirable was that woman at Rome, who was truly the most noble and modest of all, whom the tyrant Maxentius, fully resembling Maximinus in his actions, endeavored to abuse. 17. For when she learned that those who served the tyrant in such matters were at the house (she also was a Christian), and that her husband, although a prefect of Rome, would suffer them to take and lead her away, having requested a little time for adorning her body, she entered her chamber, and being alone, stabbed herself with a sword. Dying immediately, she left her corpse to those who had come for her. And by her deeds, more powerfully than by any words, she has shown to all men now and hereafter that the virtue which prevails among Christians is the only invincible and indestructible possession. [2582] 18. Such was the career of wickedness which was carried forward at one and the same time by the two tyrants who held the East and the West. Who is there that would hesitate, after careful examination, to pronounce the persecution against us the cause of such evils? Especially since this extreme confusion of affairs did not cease until the Christians had obtained liberty.

Footnotes

[2578] See the previous Chapter, note 21. The character which Eusebius gives to Maxentius in this Chapter is borne out by all our sources, both heathen and Christian, and seems not to be greatly overdrawn. It has been sometimes disputed whether he persecuted the Christians, but there is no ground to suppose that he did, though they, in common with all his subjects, had to suffer from his oppression, and therefore hated him as deeply as the others did. His failure to persecute the Christians as such, and his restoration to them of the rights which they had enjoyed before the beginning of the great persecution, can hardly be looked upon as a result of a love or respect for our religion. It was doubtless in part due to hostility to Galerius, but chiefly to political considerations. He apparently saw what Constantine later saw and profited by,--that it would be for his profit, and would tend to strengthen his government, to gain the friendship of that large body of his subjects which had been so violently handled under the reign of his father. And, no doubt, the universal toleration which he offered was one of the great sources of his strength at the beginning of his reign. Upon his final defeat by Constantine, and his death, see below, Bk. IX. chap. 9. [2579] On the alliance of Maximinus with Maxentius, his war with Licinius, and his death, see below, Bk. IX. chaps. 9 and 10. Upon his accession to the Cæsarship, and usurpation of the title of Augustus, see above, chap. 13, notes 16 and 22. Maximinus Daza was a nephew of Galerius, who owed his advancement, not to his own merits, but solely to the favor of his uncle, but who, nevertheless, after acquiring power, was by no means the tool Galerius had expected him to be. Eusebius seems not to have exaggerated his wickedness in the least. He was the most abandoned and vicious of the numerous rulers of the time, and was utterly without redeeming qualities, so far as we can ascertain. Under him the Christians suffered more severely than under any of his colleagues, and even after the toleration edict and death of Galerius (a.d. 311), he continued the persecution for more than a year. His territory comprised Egypt and Syria, and consequently the greater part of the martyrdoms recorded by Eusebius in his Martyrs of Palestine took place under him. (See that work, for the details.) Upon the so-called Fifth Edict, which was issued by him in 308, see Mart. Pal. chap. 9, note 1. Upon his treatment of the Christians after the death of Galerius, and upon his final toleration edict, see Bk. IX. chap. 2 sq. and chap. 9 sq. [2580] Literally, "a finger-nail" (onuchos). [2581] Compare chap. 12, note 3, above. [2582] Ibid.

Chapter XV.--The Events which happened to the Heathen. [2583]

1. During the entire ten years [2584] of the persecution, they were constantly plotting and warring against one another. [2585] For the sea could not be navigated, nor could men sail from any port without being exposed to all kinds of outrages; being stretched on the rack and lacerated in their sides, that it might be ascertained through various tortures, whether they came from the enemy; and finally being subjected to punishment by the cross or by fire. 2. And besides these things shields and breastplates were preparing, and darts and spears and other warlike accoutrements were making ready, and galleys and naval armor were collecting in every place. And no one expected anything else than to be attacked by enemies any day. In addition to this, famine and pestilence came upon them, in regard to which we shall relate what is necessary in the proper place. [2586]

Footnotes

[2583] tois ektos. [2584] Diocletian's First Edict was issued on Feb. 24, 303; and the persecution was brought to a final end by Constantine and Licinius' edict of toleration, which was issued at Milan late in the year 312 (see below, Bk. IX. chap. 9, note 17). The persecution may therefore be said to have lasted altogether ten years; although of course there were many cessations during that period, and in the West it really came to an end with the usurpation of Maxentius in 306, and in the East (except in Maximin's dominions) with the edict of Galerius in 311. [2585] This passage is largely rhetorical. It is true that enough plotting and warring went on after the usurpation of Maxentius in 306, and after the death of Galerius in 311, to justify pretty strong statements. Gibbon, for instance, says: "The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian was succeeded by eighteen years of discord and confusion. The empire was afflicted by five civil wars; and the remainder of the time was not so much a state of tranquillity as a suspension of arms between several hostile monarchs, who, viewing each other with an eye of fear and hatred, strove to increase their respective forces at the expense of their subjects" (chap. xiv.). At the same time, during the four years between 307 and 311, though there was not the harmony which had existed under Diocletian, and though the interests of the West and East were in the main hostile, yet the empire was practically at peace, barring the persecution of the Christians. [2586] See below, Bk. IX. chap. 8.

Chapter XVI.--The Change of Affairs for the Better.

1. Such was the state of affairs during the entire persecution. But in the tenth year, through the grace of God, it ceased altogether, having begun to decrease after the eighth year. [2587] For when the divine and heavenly grace showed us favorable and propitious oversight, then truly our rulers, and the very persons [2588] by whom the war against us had been earnestly prosecuted, most remarkably changed their minds, and issued a revocation, and quenched the great fire of persecution which had been kindled, by merciful proclamations and ordinances concerning us. 2. But this was not due to any human agency; nor was it the result, as one might say, of the compassion or philanthropy of our rulers;--far from it, for daily from the beginning until that time they were devising more and more severe measures against us, and continually inventing outrages by a greater variety of instruments;--but it was manifestly due to the oversight of Divine Providence, on the one hand becoming reconciled to his people, and on the other, attacking him [2589] who instigated these evils, and showing anger toward him as the author of the cruelties of the entire persecution. 3. For though it was necessary that these things should take place, according to the divine judgment, yet the Word saith, "Woe to him through whom the offense cometh." [2590] Therefore punishment from God came upon him, beginning with his flesh, and proceeding to his soul. [2591] 4. For an abscess suddenly appeared in the midst of the secret parts of his body, and from it a deeply perforated sore, which spread irresistibly into his inmost bowels. An indescribable multitude of worms sprang from them, and a deathly odor arose, as the entire bulk of his body had, through his gluttony, been changed, before his sickness, into an excessive mass of soft fat, which became putrid, and thus presented an awful and intolerable sight to those who came near. 5. Some of the physicians, being wholly unable to endure the exceeding offensiveness of the odor, were slain; others, as the entire mass had swollen and passed beyond hope of restoration, and they were unable to render any help, were put to death without mercy.

Footnotes

[2587] The edict of Milan, issued by Constantine and Licinius toward the close of the year 312 (upon the date, see Mason, p. 333, note) put an end to the persecution in its tenth year, though complete toleration was not proclaimed by Maximin until the following spring. Very soon after the close of the eighth year, in April, 311, Galerius issued his edict of toleration which is given in the next Chapter. It is, therefore, to the publication of this edict that Eusebius refers when he says that the persecution had begun to decrease after the eighth year. Maximin yielded reluctant and partial consent to this edict for a few months, but before the end of the year he began to persecute again; and during the year 312 the Christians suffered severely in his dominions (see Bk. IX. chap. 2 sq.). [2588] The plural here seems a little peculiar, for the edict was issued only in the name of Galerius, Constantine, and Licinius, not in the name of Maximin. We have no record of Licinius as a persecutor before this time, and Eusebius' words of praise in the ninth book would seem to imply that he had not shown himself at all hostile to the Church. And in fact Licinius seems ruled out by §2, below, where "they" are spoken of as having "from the beginning devised more and more severe measures against us." And yet, since Constantine did not persecute, we must suppose either that Licinius is included in Eusebius' plural, or what is perhaps more probable, that Eusebius thinks of the edict as proceeding from all four emperors though bearing the names of only three of them. It is true that the latter is rather a violent supposition in view of Eusebius' own words in the first Chapter of Bk. IX. I confess that I find no satisfactory explanation of the apparent inconsistency. [2589] i.e. Galerius. [2590] Matt. xviii. 7. [2591] Galerius seems to have been smitten with the terrible disease, which Eusebius here refers to, and which is described by Lactantius at considerable length (De mort. pers. chap. 33) and with many imaginative touches (e.g. the stench of his disease pervades "not only the palace, but even the whole city"!), before the end of the year 310, and his death took place in May of the following year.

Chapter XVII.--The Revocation of the Rulers.

1. Wrestling with so many evils, he thought of the cruelties which he had committed against the pious. Turning, therefore, his thoughts toward himself, he first openly confessed to the God of the universe, and then summoning his attendants, he commanded that without delay they should stop the persecution of the Christians, and should by law and royal decree, urge them forward to build their churches and to perform their customary worship, offering prayers in behalf of the emperor. Immediately the deed followed the word. 2. The imperial decrees were published in the cities, containing the revocation of the acts against us in the following form: 3. "The Emperor Cæsar Galerius Valerius Maximinus, Invictus, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, conqueror of the Germans, conqueror of the Egyptians, conqueror of the Thebans, five times conqueror of the Sarmatians, conqueror of the Persians, twice conqueror of the Carpathians, six times conqueror of the Armenians, conqueror of the Medes, conqueror of the Adiabeni, Tribune of the people the twentieth time, Emperor the nineteenth time, Consul the eighth time, Father of his country, Proconsul; 4. and the Emperor Cæsar Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Pius, Felix, Invictus, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribune of the people, Emperor the fifth time, Consul, Father of his country, Proconsul; 5. and the Emperor Cæsar Valerius Licinius, Pius, Felix, Invictus, Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Tribune of the people the fourth time, Emperor the third time, Consul, Father of his country, Proconsul; to the people of their provinces, greeting: [2592] 6. "Among the other things which we have ordained for the public advantage and profit, we formerly wished to restore everything to conformity with the ancient laws and public discipline [2593] of the Romans, and to provide that the Christians also, who have forsaken the religion of their ancestors, [2594] should return to a good disposition. 7. For in some way such arrogance had seized them and such stupidity had overtaken them, that they did not follow the ancient institutions which possibly their own ancestors had formerly established, but made for themselves laws according to their own purpose, as each one desired, and observed them, and thus assembled as separate congregations in various places. 8. When we had issued this decree that they should return to the institutions established by the ancients, [2595] a great many [2596] submitted under danger, but a great many being harassed endured all kinds of death. [2597] 9. And since many continue in the same folly, [2598] and we perceive that they neither offer to the heavenly gods the worship which is due, nor pay regard to the God of the Christians, in consideration of our philanthropy and our invariable custom, by which we are wont to extend pardon to all, we have determined that we ought most cheerfully to extend our indulgence in this matter also; that they may again be Christians, and may rebuild the conventicles in which they were accustomed to assemble, [2599] on condition that nothing be done by them contrary to discipline. [2600] In another letter we shall indicate to the magistrates what they have to observe. 10. Wherefore, on account of this indulgence of ours, they ought to supplicate their God for our safety, and that of the people, and their own, that the public welfare may be preserved in every place, [2601] and that they may live securely in their several homes." 11. Such is the tenor of this edict, translated, as well as possible, from the Roman tongue into the Greek. [2602] It is time to consider what took place after these events. That which follows is found in Some Copies in the Eighth Book. [2603] 1. The author of the edict very shortly after this confession was released from his pains and died. He is reported to have been the original author of the misery of the persecution, having endeavored, long before the movement of the other emperors, to turn from the faith the Christians in the army, and first of all those in his own house, degrading some from the military rank, and abusing others most shamefully, and threatening still others with death, and finally inciting his partners in the empire to the general persecution. It is not proper to pass over the death of these emperors in silence. 2. As four of them held the supreme authority, those who were advanced in age and honor, after the persecution had continued not quite two years, abdicated the government, as we have already stated, [2604] and passed the remainder of their lives in a common and private station. 3. The end of their lives was as follows. He who was first in honor and age perished through a long and most grievous physical infirmity. [2605] He who held the second place ended his life by strangling, [2606] suffering thus according to a certain demoniacal prediction, on account of his many daring crimes. 4. Of those after them, the last, [2607] of whom we have spoken as the originator of the entire persecution, suffered such things as we have related. But he who preceded him, the most merciful and kindly emperor Constantius, [2608] passed all the time of his government in a manner worthy of his office. [2609] Moreover, he conducted himself towards all most favorably and beneficently. He took not the smallest part in the war against us, and preserved the pious that were under him unharmed and unabused. Neither did he throw down the church buildings, nor devise anything else against us. The end of his life was happy and thrice blessed. He alone at death left his empire happily and gloriously to his own son [2610] as his successor, one who was in all respects most prudent and pious. He entered on the government at once, being proclaimed supreme emperor and Augustus by the soldiers; 5. and he showed himself an emulator of his father's piety toward our doctrine. Such were the deaths of the four of whom we have written, which took place at different times. 6. Of these, moreover, only the one referred to a little above by us, [2611] with those who afterward shared in the government, finally [2612] published openly to all the above-mentioned confession, in the written edict which he issued.

Footnotes

[2592] This edict was issued in April, 311 (see the previous Chapter, note 1). There has been considerable discussion as to the reason for the omission of Maximin's name from the heading of the edict. The simplest explanation is that he did not wish to have his name appear in a document which was utterly distasteful to him and which he never fully sanctioned, as we learn from Bk. IX. chaps. 1 and 2, below. It is possible, as Mason suggests, that in the copies of the edict which were designed for other parts of the empire than his own the names of all four emperors appeared. Eusebius gives a Greek translation of the edict. The original Latin is found in Lactantius' De mort. pers. chap. 34. The translation in the present case is in the main accurate though somewhat free. The edict is an acknowledgment of defeat on Galerius' part, and was undoubtedly caused in large part by a superstitious desire, brought on by his sickness, to propitiate the God of the Christians whom he had been unable to conquer. And yet, in my opinion, it is not as Mason calls it, "one of the most bizarre state documents ever penned," "couched in language treacherous, contradictory, and sown with the most virulent hatred"; neither does it "lay the blame upon the Christians because they had forsaken Christ," nor aim to "dupe and outwit the angry Christ, by pretending to be not a persecutor, but a reformer." As will be seen from note 3, below, I interpret the document in quite another way, and regard it as a not inconsistent statement of the whole matter from Galerius' own point of view. [2593] ten demosian epistemen. Latin: publicam disciplinam. [2594] ton goneon ton heauton ten hairesin. Latin: parentum suorum sectam. There has been some discussion as to whether Galerius here refers to primitive Christianity or to paganism, but the almost unanimous opinion of scholars (so far as I am aware) is that he means the former (cf. among others, Mason, p. 298 sq.). I confess myself, however, unable, after careful study of the document, to accept this interpretation. Not that I think it impossible that Galerius should pretend that the cause of the persecution had been the departure of the Christians from primitive Christianity, and its object the reform of the Church, because, although that was certainly not his object, he may nevertheless, when conquered, have wished to make it appear so to the Christians at least (see Mason, p. 302 sq.). My reason for not accepting the interpretation is that I cannot see that the language of the edict warrants it; and certainly, inasmuch as it is not what we should a priori expect Galerius to say, we are hardly justified in adopting it except upon very clear grounds. But in my opinion such grounds do not exist, and in fact the interpretation seems to me to do violence to at least a part of the decree. In the present sentence it is certainly not necessarily implied that the ancestors of the Christians held a different religion from the ancestors of the heathen; in fact, it seems on the face of it more natural to suppose that Galerius is referring to the earlier ancestors of both Christians and heathen, who were alike pagans. This is confirmed by the last clause of the sentence: ad bonas mentes redirent (eis agathen prothesin epanelthoien), which in the mouth of Galerius, and indeed of any heathen, would naturally mean "return to the worship of our gods." This in itself, however, proves nothing, for Galerius may, as is claimed, have used the words hypocritically; but in the next sentence, which is looked upon as the main support of the interpretation which I am combating, it is not said that they have deserted their ancient institutions in distinction from the institutions of the rest of the world, but illa veterum instituta (a term which he could hardly employ in this unqualified way to indicate the originators of Christianity without gross and gratuitous insult to his heathen subjects) quæ forsitan primum parentes eorumdem constituerant, "those institutions of the ancients which perchance their own fathers had first established" (the Greek is not quite accurate, omitting the demonstrative, and reading proteron for primum). There can hardly have been a "perchance" about the fact that the Christians' ancestors had first established Christian institutions, whatever they were--certainly Galerius would never have thought of implying that his ancestors, or the ancestors of his brother-pagans, had established them. His aim seems to be to suggest, as food for reflection, not only that the ancestors of the Christians had certainly, with the ancestors of the heathen, originally observed pagan institutions, but that perhaps they had themselves been the very ones to establish those institutions, which would make the guilt of the Christians in departing from them all the worse. In the next clause, the reference to the Christians as making laws for themselves and assembling in various places may as easily be a rebuke to the Christians for their separation from their heathen fellow-citizens in matters of life and worship as a rebuke to them for their departure from the original unity of the Christian Church. Again, in the next sentence the "institutions of the ancients" (veterum instituta) are referred to in the most general way, without any such qualification as could possibly lead the Christians or any one else to think that the institutions of the Christian religion were meant. Conformity to "the ancient laws and public discipline of the Romans" is announced in the beginning of the edict as the object which Galerius had in view. Could he admit, even for the sake of propitiating his Christian subjects, that those laws and that discipline were Christian? Veterum instituta in fact could mean to the reader nothing else, as thus absolutely used, than the institutions of the old Romans. Still further it is to be noticed that in §9 Galerius does not say "but although many persevere in their purpose...nevertheless, in consideration of our philanthropy, we have determined that we ought to extend our indulgence," &c., but rather "and since (atque cum) many persevere in their purpose," &c. The significance of this has apparently been hitherto quite overlooked. Does he mean to say that he feels that he ought to extend indulgence just because they do exactly what they did before--worship neither the gods of the heathen nor the God of the Christians? I can hardly think so. He seems to me to say rather, "Since many, in spite of my severe measures, still persevere in their purpose (in proposito perseverarent) and refuse to worship our gods, while at the same time they cease under the pressure to worship their own God as they have been accustomed to do, I have decided to permit them to return to their own worship, thinking it better that they worship the God of the Christians than that they worship no God; provided in worshiping him they do nothing contrary to discipline (contra disciplinam), i.e. contrary to Roman law." Thus interpreted, the entire edict seems to me consistent and at the same time perfectly natural. It is intended to propitiate the Christians and to have them pray for the good of the emperor to their own God, rather than refuse to pray for him altogether. It is not an acknowledgment even to the Christians that their God is the supreme and only true God, but it is an acknowledgment that their God is probably better than no god, and that the empire will be better off if they become loyal, peaceable, prayerful citizens again (even if their prayers are not directed to the highest gods), than if they continue disaffected and disloyal and serve and worship no superior being. That the edict becomes, when thus interpreted, much more dignified and much more worthy of an emperor cannot be denied; and, little respect as we may have for Galerius, we should not accuse him of playing the hypocrite and the fool in this matter, except on better grounds than are offered by the extant text of this edict. [2595] epi ta hupo ton archaion katastEURthenta. Latin: ad veterum instituta. [2596] pleistoi. Latin: multi. [2597] pantoious thanEURtous hupepheron. Latin: deturbati sunt. [2598] te aute aponoi‹ diamenonton. Latin: in proposito perseverarent. [2599] tous oikous, en hois sunegonto, sunthosin. Latin: conventicula sua componant. [2600] contra disciplinam, i.e. "against the discipline or laws of the Romans." Galerius does not tell us just what this indefinite phrase is meant to cover, and the letter to the magistrates, in which he doubtless explained himself and laid down the conditions, is unfortunately lost. The edict of Milan, as Mason conclusively shows, refers to this edict of Galerius and to these accompanying conditions; and from that edict some light is thrown upon the nature of these conditions imposed by Galerius. It has been conjectured that in Galerius' edict, Christianity was forbidden to all but certain classes: "that if a man chose to declare himself a Christian, he would incur no danger, but might no longer take his seat as a decurion in his native town, or the like"; that Galerius had endeavored to make money out of the transaction whereby Christians received their church property back again; that proselytizing was forbidden; that possibly the toleration of Christianity was made a matter of local option, and that any town or district by a majority vote could prohibit its exercise within its own limits (see Mason p. 330 sq.). These conjectures are plausible, though of course precarious. [2601] The Greek reads, in all our mss., kata pEURnta tropon, "in every manner." The Latin original, however, reads undique versum. In view of that fact, I feel confident that the Greek translator must have written topon instead of tropon. If, therefore, that translator was Eusebius, we must suppose that the change to tropon is due to the error of some scribe. If, on the other hand, Eusebius simply copied the Greek translation from some one else, he may himself have carelessly written tropon. In either case, however, topon must have been the original translation, and I have therefore substituted it for tropon, and have rendered accordingly. I find that Crusè has done likewise, whether for the same reason I do not know. [2602] Eusebius does not say whether the translating was done by himself or by some one else. The epistle of Hadrian to Minucius Fundanus, quoted in Bk. IV. chap. 9, above, was translated by himself, as he directly informs us (see ibid. chap. 8, note 17). This might lead us to suppose him the translator in the present case; but, on the other hand, in that case he directly says that the translation was his work, in the present he does not. It is possible that Greek copies of the edict were in common circulation, and that Eusebius used one of them. At the same time, the words "translated as well as possible" (kata to dunaton) would seem to indicate that Eusebius had supervised the present translation, if he had not made it himself. Upon his knowledge of Latin, see the note just referred to. [2603] The words of this title, together with the section which follows, are found in the majority of our mss. at the close of the eighth book, and are given by all the editors. The existence of the passage would seem to imply that the work in only eight books came into the hands of some scribe, who added the appendix to make the work more complete. (Cf. chap. 13, note 15, above.) Whoever he was, he was not venturesome in his additions, for, except the notice of Diocletian's death and the statement of the manner of the death of Maximinus, he adds nothing that has not been already said in substance by Eusebius himself. The appendix must have been added in any case as late as 313, for Diocletian died in that year. [2604] See above, chap. 13, §11. [2605] Diocletian died in 313, at the age of sixty-seven. The final ruin of all his great plans for the permanent prosperity of the empire, the terrible misfortunes of his daughter, and the indignities heaped upon him by Maximin, Licinius, and Constantine, wore him out and at length drove the spirit from the shattered body. According to Lactantius (De mort. pers. 42), "having been treated in the most contumelious manner, and compelled to abhor life, he became incapable of receiving nourishment, and, worn out with anguish of mind, expired." [2606] Upon the death of Maximian, see above, chap. 13, note 23. [2607] homen hustatos, i.e. Galerius, who was the second Cæsar and therefore the last, or lowest, of the four rulers. Upon his illness and death, see chap. 16, above. [2608] Constantius was first Cæsar, and thus held third rank in the government. The following passage in regard to him is found also in chap. 13, §12-14, above. [2609] Constantius was first Cæsar, and thus held third rank in the government. The following passage in regard to him is found also in chap. 13, §12-14, above. [2610] i.e. Constantine. [2611] i.e. Galerius. [2612] I read loipon which is found in some mss. and is adopted by Stephanus and Burton. Valesius, Schwegler, Laemmer and Heinichen follow other mss. in reading lipon, and this is adopted by Stroth, Closs and Crusè in their translations. The last, however, makes it govern "the above-mentioned confession," which is quite ungrammatical, while Stroth and Closs (apparently approved by Heinichen) take it to mean "still alive" or "still remaining" ("Der unter diesen allein noch Ueberlebende"; "Der unter diesen noch allein uebrige"), a meaning which belongs to the middle but not properly to the active voice of leipo. The latter translation, moreover, makes the writer involve himself in a mistake, for Diocletian did not die until nearly two years after the publication of Galerius' edict. In view of these considerations I feel compelled to adopt the reading loipon which is nearly, if not quite, as well supported by ms. authority as lipon.

Martyrs of Palestine [2613]

The Following also we found in a Certain Copy in the Eighth Book. [2614]

It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, in the month Xanthicus, [2615] which is called April by the Romans, about the time of the feast of our Saviour's passion, while Flavianus [2616] was governor of the province of Palestine, that letters were published everywhere, commanding that the churches be leveled to the ground and the Scriptures be destroyed by fire, and ordering that those who held places of honor be degraded, and that the household servants, if they persisted in the profession of Christianity, be deprived of freedom.

Such was the force of the first edict against us. But not long after other letters were issued, commanding that all the bishops of the churches everywhere be first thrown into prison, and afterward, by every artifice, be compelled to sacrifice.

Footnotes

[2613] On this work, see above, p. 29 sq. As remarked there, the shorter form of the work, the translation of which follows, is found in most, but not all, of the mss. of Eusebius' Church History, in some of them at the close of the tenth book, in one of them in the middle of Bk. VIII. chap. 13, in the majority of them between Bks. VIII. and IX. It is found neither in the Syraic version of the History, nor in Rufinus. Musculus omits it in his Latin version, but a translation of it is given both by Christophorsonus and Valesius. The Germans Stroth and Closs omit it; but Stigloher gives it at the close of his translation of the History. The English translators insert it at the close of the eighth book. The work is undoubtedly genuine, in this, its shorter, as well as in its longer form, but was in all probability attached to the History, not by Eusebius himself, but by some copyist, and therefore is not strictly entitled to a place in a translation of the History. At the same time it has seemed best in the present case to include it and to follow the majority of the editors in inserting it at this point. In all the mss. except one the work begins abruptly without a title, introduced only by the words kai tauta zn tini antigrEURpho en to ogdoû tomo heuromen: "The following also we found in a certain copy in the eighth book." In the Codex Castellanus, however, according to Reading (in his edition of Valesius, Vol. I. p. 796, col. 2), the following title is inserted immediately after the words just quoted: Eusebiou sungramma peri ton kat' auton marturesEURnton en to oktaetei Diokletianou kai ephexes Galeriou tou Maximinou diogmo. Heinichen consequently prints the first part of this title (Eusebiou...marturesEURnton) at the head of the work in his edition, and is followed by Burton and Migne. This title, however, can hardly be looked upon as original, and I have preferred to employ rather the name by which the work is described at its close, where we read Eusebiou tou Pamphilou peri ton en Palaistine marturesEURnton telos. This agrees with the title of the Syriac version, and must represent very closely the original title; and so the work is commonly known in English as the Martyrs of Palestine, in Latin as de Martyribus Palestinæ. The work is much more systematic than the eighth book of the Church History; in fact, it is excellently arranged, and takes up the persecution year by year in chronological order. The ground covered, however, is very limited, and we can consequently gather from the work little idea of the state of the Church at large during these years. All the martyrs mentioned in the following pages are commemorated in the various martyrologies under particular days, but in regard to most of them we know only what Eusebius tells us. I shall not attempt to give references to the martyrologies. Further details gleaned from them and from various Acts of martyrdom may be found in Ruinart, Tillemont, &c. I shall endeavor to give full particulars in regard to the few martyrs about whom we have any reliable information beyond that given in the present work, but shall pass over the others without mention. [2614] The Martyrs of Palestine, in all the mss. that contain it, is introduced with these words. The passage which follows, down to the beginning of Chap. 1, is a transcript, with a few slight variations, of Bk. VIII. chap. 2, §§4 and 5. For notes upon it, see that Chapter. [2615] The month Xanthicus was the eighth month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our April (see the table on p. 403, below). In Bk. VIII. chap. 2, Eusebius puts the beginning of the prosecution in the seventh month, Dystrus. But the persecution really began, or at least the first edict was issued, and the destruction of the churches in Nicomedia took place, in February. See Bk. VIII. chap. 2, note 3. [2616] Flavianus is not mentioned in Bk. VIII. chap. 2. In the Syriac version he is named as the judge by whom Procopius was condemned (Cureton, p. 4). Nothing further is known of him, so far as I am aware.

Chapter I.

1. The first of the martyrs of Palestine was Procopius, [2617] who, before he had received the trial of imprisonment, immediately on his first appearance before the governor's tribunal, having been ordered to sacrifice to the so-called gods, declared that he knew only one to whom it was proper to sacrifice, as he himself wills. But when he was commanded to offer libations to the four emperors, having quoted a sentence which displeased them, he was immediately beheaded. The quotation was from the poet: "The rule of many is not good; let there be one ruler and one king." [2618] 2. It was the seventh [2619] day of the month Desius, [2620] the seventh before the ides of June, [2621] as the Romans reckon, and the fourth day of the week, when this first example was given at Cæsarea in Palestine. 3. Afterwards, [2622] in the same city, many rulers of the country churches readily endured terrible sufferings, and furnished to the beholders an example of noble conflicts. But others, benumbed in spirit by terror, were easily weakened at the first onset. Of the rest, each one endured different forms of torture, as scourgings without number, and rackings, and tearings of their sides, and insupportable fetters, by which the hands of some were dislocated. 4. Yet they endured what came upon them, as in accordance with the inscrutable purposes of God. For the hands of one were seized, and he was led to the altar, while they thrust into his right hand the polluted and abominable offering, and he was dismissed as if he had sacrificed. Another had not even touched it, yet when others said that he had sacrificed, he went away in silence. Another, being taken up half dead, was cast aside as if already dead, and released from his bonds, and counted among the sacrificers. When another cried out, and testified that he would not obey, he was struck in the mouth, and silenced by a large band of those who were drawn up for this purpose, and driven away by force, even though he had not sacrificed. Of such consequence did they consider it, to seem by any means to have accomplished their purpose. 5. Therefore, of all this number, the only ones who were honored with the crown of the holy martyrs were Alphæus and Zacchæus. [2623] After stripes and scrapings and severe bonds and additional tortures and various other trials, and after having their feet stretched for a night and day over four holes in the stocks, [2624] on the seventeenth day of the month Dius, [2625] --that is, according to the Romans, the fifteenth before the Kalends of December,--having confessed one only God and Christ Jesus as king, [2626] as if they had uttered some blasphemy, they were beheaded like the former martyr.

Footnotes

[2617] The account of Procopius was somewhat fuller in the longer recension of the Martyrs of Palestine, as can be seen from the Syriac version (English translation in Cureton, p. 3 sq.). There exists also a Latin translation of the Acts of St. Procopius, which was evidently made from that longer recension, and which is printed by Valesius and also by Cureton (p. 50 sq.), and in English by Crusè in loco. We are told by the Syriac version that his family was from Baishan. According to the Latin, he was a native of Ælia (Jerusalem), but resided in Scythopolis (the Greek name of Baishan). With the Latin agrees the Syriac version of these Acts, which is published by Assemani in his Acta SS. Martt. Orient. et Occident. ed. 1748, Part II. p. 169 sq. (see Cureton, p. 52). We learn from the longer account that he was a lector, interpreter, and exorcist in the church, and that he was exceedingly ascetic in his manner of life. It is clear from this paragraph that Procopius was put to death, not because he was a Christian, but because he uttered words apparently treasonable in their import. To call him a Christian martyr is therefore a misuse of terms. We cannot be sure whether Procopius was arrested under the terms of the first or under the terms of the second edict. If in consequence of the first, it may be that he was suspected of complicity in the plot which Diocletian was endeavoring to crush out, or that he had interfered with the imperial officers when they undertook to execute the decree for the destruction of the church buildings. The fact that he was commanded by the governor to sacrifice would lead us to think of the first, rather than of the second edict (see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 6, note 3, and chap. 2, note 8). Still, it must be admitted that very likely many irregularities occurred in the methods by which the decrees were executed in the province, and the command to sacrifice can, therefore, not be claimed as proving that he was not arrested under the terms of the second edict; and in fact, the mention of imprisonment as the punishment which he had to expect would lead us to think of the second edict as at least the immediate occasion of his arrest. In any case, there is no reason to suppose that his arrest would have resulted in his death had he not been rash in his speech. [2618] ouk agathon polukoiranie heis koiranos zsto, heis basileus. The sentence is from Homer's Iliad, Bk. II. vers. 204 and 205. It was a sort of proverb, like many of Homer's sayings, and was frequently quoted. As a consequence the use of it by Procopius does not prove at all his acquaintance with Homer or Greek literature in general. [2619] The majority of the mss. read "eighth," which according to Eusebius' customary mode of reckoning the Macedonian months is incorrect. For, as Valesius remarks, he always synchronizes the Macedonian with the Roman months, as was commonly done in his time. But the seventh before the Ides of June is not the eighth, but the seventh of June (or Desius). In fact, a few good mss. read "seventh" instead of "eighth," and I have followed Burton, Schwegler, and Heinichen in adopting that reading. [2620] Desius was the tenth month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our June (see the table on p. 403, below). [2621] On the Roman method of reckoning the days of the month, see below, p. 402. [2622] We may gather from §5, below, that the sufferings to which Eusebius refers in such general terms in this and the following paragraphs took place late in the year 303. In fact, from the Syriac version of the longer recension (Cureton, p. 4) we learn that the tortures inflicted upon Alphæus and Zacchæus were, in consequence of the third edict, issued at the approach of the emperor's vicennalia, and intended rather as a step toward amnesty than as a sharpening of the persecution (see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 5, note 8). This leads us to conclude that all the tortures mentioned in these paragraphs had the same occasion, and this explains the eagerness of the judges to set the prisoners free, even if they had not sacrificed, so long as they might be made to appear to have done so, and thus the law not be openly violated. Alphæus and Zacchæus alone suffered death, as we are told in §5, and they evidently on purely political grounds (see note 10). [2623] We learn from the Syriac version that Zacchæus was a deacon of the church of Gadara, and that Alphæus belonged to a noble family of the city of Eleutheropolis, and was a reader and exorcist in the church of Cæsarea. [2624] See above, Bk. IV. chap. 16, note 9. [2625] The month Dius was the third month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded with our November (see below, p. 403). [2626] monon hena Theon kai christon basilea 'Iesoun homologesEURntes Basileus was the technical term for emperor, and it is plain enough from this passage that these two men, like Procopius, were beheaded because they were regarded as guilty of treason, not because of their religious faith. The instances given in this Chapter are very significant, for they reveal the nature of the persecution during its earlier months, and throw a clear light back upon the motives which had led Diocletian to take the step against the Christians which he did.

Chapter II.

1. What occurred to Romanus on the same day [2627] at Antioch, is also worthy of record. For he was a native of Palestine, a deacon and exorcist in the parish of Cæsarea; and being present at the destruction of the churches, he beheld many men, with women and children, going up in crowds to the idols and sacrificing. [2628] But, through his great zeal for religion, he could not endure the sight, and rebuked them with a loud voice. 2. Being arrested for his boldness, he proved a most noble witness of the truth, if there ever was one. For when the judge informed him that he was to die by fire, [2629] he received the sentence with cheerful countenance and most ready mind, and was led away. When he was bound to the stake, and the wood piled up around him, as they were awaiting the arrival of the emperor before lighting the fire, he cried, "Where is the fire for me?" 3. Having said this, he was summoned again before the emperor, [2630] and subjected to the unusual torture of having his tongue cut out. But he endured this with fortitude and showed to all by his deeds that the Divine Power is present with those who endure any hardship whatever for the sake of religion, lightening their sufferings and strengthening their zeal. When he learned of this strange mode of punishment, the noble man was not terrified, but put out his tongue readily, and offered it with the greatest alacrity to those who cut it off. 4. After this punishment he was thrown into prison, and suffered there for a very long time. At last the twentieth anniversary of the emperor being near, [2631] when, according to an established gracious custom, liberty was proclaimed everywhere to all who were in bonds, he alone had both his feet stretched over five holes in the stocks, [2632] and while he lay there was strangled, and was thus honored with martyrdom, as he desired. 5. Although he was outside of his country, yet, as he was a native of Palestine, it is proper to count him among the Palestinian martyrs. These things occurred in this manner during the first year, when the persecution was directed only against the rulers of the Church.

Footnotes

[2627] We learn from the Syriac version that the death of Romanus occurred on the same day as that of Alphæus and Zacchæus. His arrest, therefore, must have taken place some time before, according to §4, below. In fact, we see from the present paragraph that his arrest took place in connection with the destruction of the churches; that is, at the time of the execution of the first edict in Antioch. We should naturally think that the edict would be speedily published in so important a city, and hence can hardly suppose the arrest of Romanus to have occurred later than the spring of 303. He therefore lay in prison a number of months (according to §4, below, a "very long time," pleiston chronon). Mason is clearly in error in putting his arrest in November, and his death at the time of the vicennalia, in December. It is evident from the Syriac version that the order for the release of prisoners, to which the so-called third edict was appended, preceded the vicennalia by some weeks, although issued in view of the great anniversary which was so near at hand. It is quite possible that the decree was sent out some weeks beforehand, in order that time might be given to induce the Christians to sacrifice, and thus enjoy release at the same time with the others. [2628] There is no implication here that these persons were commanded, or even asked, to sacrifice. They seem, in their dread of what might come upon them, when they saw the churches demolished, to have hastened of their own accord to sacrifice to the idols, and thus disarm all possible suspicion. [2629] As Mason remarks, to punish Romanus with death for dissuading the Christians from sacrificing was entirely illegal, as no imperial edict requiring them to sacrifice had yet been issued, and therefore no law was broken in exhorting them not to do so. At the same time, that he should be arrested as a church officer was, under the terms of the second edict, legal, and, in fact, necessary; and that the judge should incline to be very severe in the present case, with the emperor so near at hand, was quite natural. That death, however, was not yet made the penalty of Christian confession is plain enough from the fact that, when the emperor was appealed to, as we learn from the Syriac version, he remanded Romanus to prison, thus inflicting upon him the legal punishment, according to the terms of the second edict. Upon the case of Romanus, see Mason, p. 188 sq. [2630] Valesius assumes that this was Galerius, and Mason does the same. In the Syriac version, however, he is directly called Diocletian; but on the other hand, in the Syriac acts published by Assemani (according to Cureton, p. 55), he is called "Maximinus, the son-in-law of Diocletian"; i.e. Galerius, who was known as Maximianus (of which Maximinus, in the present case, is evidently only a variant form). The emperor's conduct in the present case is much more in accord with Galerius' character, as known to us, than with the character of Diocletian; and moreover, it is easier to suppose that the name of Maximinus was later changed into that of Diocletian, by whose name the whole persecution was known, than that the greater name was changed into the less. I am therefore convinced that the reference in the present case is to Galerius, not to Diocletian. [2631] See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 2, note 8. [2632] See above, Bk. IV. chap. 16, note 9, and Bk. VIII. chap. 10, note 5.

Chapter III.

1. In the course of the second year, the persecution against us increased greatly. And at that time Urbanus [2633] being governor of the province, imperial edicts were first issued to him, commanding by a general decree that all the people should sacrifice at once in the different cities, and offer libations to the idols. [2634] In Gaza, a city of Palestine, Timotheus endured countless tortures, and afterwards was subjected to a slow and moderate fire. Having given, by his patience in all his sufferings, most genuine evidence of sincerest piety toward the Deity, he bore away the crown of the victorious athletes of religion. At the same time Agapius [2635] and our contemporary, Thecla, [2636] having exhibited most noble constancy, were condemned as food for the wild beasts. 2. But who that beheld these things would not have admired, or if they heard of them by report, would not have been astonished? For when the heathen everywhere were holding a festival and the customary shows, it was noised abroad that besides the other entertainments, the public combat of those who had lately been condemned to wild beasts would also take place. 3. As this report increased and spread in all directions, six young men, namely, Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysius from Tripolis in Phoenicia, Romulus, a sub-deacon of the parish of Diospolis, [2637] Pæsis and Alexander, both Egyptians, and another Alexander from Gaza, having first bound their own hands, went in haste to Urbanus, who was about to open the exhibition, evidencing great zeal for martyrdom. They confessed that they were Christians, and by their ambition for all terrible things, showed that those who glory in the religion of the God of the universe do not cower before the attacks of wild beasts. 4. Immediately, after creating no ordinary astonishment in the governor and those who were with him, they were cast into prison. After a few days two others were added to them. One of them, named Agapius, [2638] had in former confessions endured dreadful torments of various kinds. The other, who had supplied them with the necessaries of life, was called Dionysius. All of these eight were beheaded on one day at Cæsarea, on the twenty-fourth day of the month Dystrus, [2639] which is the ninth before the Kalends of April. 5. Meanwhile, a change in the emperors occurred, and the first of them all in dignity, and the second retired into private life, [2640] and public affairs began to be troubled. 6. Shortly after the Roman government became divided against itself, and a cruel war arose among them. [2641] And this division, with the troubles which grew out of it, was not settled until peace toward us had been established throughout the entire Roman Empire. 7. For when this peace arose for all, as the daylight after the darkest and most gloomy night, the public affairs of the Roman government were re-established, and became happy and peaceful, and the ancestral good-will toward each other was revived. But we will relate these things more fully at the proper time. Now let us return to the regular course of events.

Footnotes

[2633] Of Urbanus governor of Palestine, we know only what is told us in the present work (he is mentioned in this passage and in chaps. 4, 7, and 8, below) and in the Syriac version. From the latter we learn that he succeeded Flavianus in the second year of the persecution (304), and that he was deposed by Maximinus in the fifth year (see also chap. 8, §7, below), and miserably executed. [2634] This is the famous fourth edict of Diocletian, which was issued in the year 304. It marks a stupendous change of method; in fact, Christianity as such is made, for the first time since the toleration edict of Gallienus, a religio illicita, whose profession is punishable by death. The general persecution, in the full sense, begins with the publication of this edict. Hitherto persecution had been directed only against supposed political offenders and church officers. The edict is a complete stultification of Diocletian's principles as revealed in the first three edicts, and shows a lamentable lack of the wisdom which had dictated those measures. Mason has performed an immense service in proving (to my opinion conclusively) that this brutal edict, senseless in its very severity, was not issued by Diocletian, but by Maximian, while Diocletian was quite incapacitated by illness for the performance of any public duties. Mason's arguments cannot be reproduced here; they are given at length on p. 212 sq. of his work. He remarks at the close of the discussion: "Diocletian, though he might have wished Christianity safely abolished, feared the growing power of the Church, and dared not persecute (till he was forced), lest he should rouse her from her passivity. But this Fourth Edict was nothing more nor less than a loud alarum to muster the army of the Church: as the centurions called over their lists, it taught her the statistics of her numbers, down to the last child: it proved to her that her troops could endure all the hardships of the campaign: it ranged her generals in the exact order of merit. Diocletian, by an exquisite refinement of thought, while he did not neglect the salutary fear which strong penalties might inspire in the Christians, knew well enough that though he might torture every believer in the world into sacrificing, yet Christianity was not killed: he knew that men were Christians again afterwards as well as before: could he have seen deeper yet, he would have known that the utter humiliation of a fall before men and angels converted many a hard and worldly prelate into a broken-hearted saint: and so he rested his hopes, not merely on the punishment of individuals, but on his three great measures for crushing the corporate life,--the destruction of the churches, the Scriptures, and the clergy. But this Fourth Edict evidently returns with crass dullness and brutal complacency to the thought that if half the church were racked till they poured the libations, and the other half burned or butchered, Paganism would reign alone forever more, and that the means were as eminently desirable as the end. Lastly, Diocletian had anxiously avoided all that could rouse fanatic zeal. The first result of the Fourth Edict was to rouse it." According to the Passio S. Sabini, which Mason accepts as in the main reliable, and which forms the strongest support for his theory, the edict was published in April, 304. Diocletian, meanwhile, as we know from Lactantius (de Mort. pers. 17) did not recover sufficiently to take any part in the government until early in the year 305, so that Maximian and Galerius had matters all their own way during the entire year, and could persecute as severely as they chose. As a result, the Christians, both east and west, suffered greatly during this period. [2635] Agapius, as we learn from chap. 6, below, survived his contest with the wild beasts at this time, and was thrown into prison, where he remained until the fourth year of the persecution, when he was again brought into the arena in the presence of the tyrant Maximinus, and was finally thrown into the sea. [2636] he kath' hemas Thekla. Thecla seems to be thus designated to distinguish her from her more famous namesake, whom tradition connected with Paul and who has played so large a part in romantic legend (see the Acts of Paul and Thecla in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 487 sq., and the Dict. of Christ. Biog., s.v.). She is referred to again in chap. 6, below, but we are not told whether she actually suffered or not. [2637] A city of Palestine, lying northwest of Jerusalem, and identical with the Lydda of Acts ix. 32 sq. For many centuries the seat of a bishop, and still prominent in the time of the crusades. The persons referred to in this paragraph are to be distinguished from others of the same names mentioned elsewhere. [2638] To be distinguished from the Agapius mentioned earlier in the Chapter, as is clear from the date of his death, given in this paragraph. [2639] Dystrus was the seventh month of the Macedonian year, corresponding to our March. See the table on p. 403, below. [2640] Diocletian and Maximian abdicated on May 1, 305. See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 16. [2641] When Maxentius usurped the purple in Rome, in the year 306. See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 21.

Chapter IV.

1. Maximinus Cæsar [2642] having come at that time into the government, as if to manifest to all the evidences of his reborn enmity against God, and of his impiety, armed himself for persecution against us more vigorously than his predecessors. 2. In consequence, no little confusion arose among all, and they scattered here and there, endeavoring in some way to escape the danger; and there was great commotion everywhere. But what words would suffice for a suitable description of the Divine love and boldness, in confessing God, of the blessed and truly innocent lamb,--I refer to the martyr Apphianus, [2643] --who presented in the sight of all, before the gates of Cæsarea, a wonderful example of piety toward the only God? 3. He was at that time not twenty years old. He had first spent a long time at Berytus, [2644] for the sake of a secular Grecian education, as he belonged to a very wealthy family. It is wonderful to relate how, in such a city, he was superior to youthful passions, and clung to virtue, uncorrupted neither by his bodily vigor nor his young companions; living discreetly, soberly and piously, in accordance with his profession of the Christian doctrine and the life of his teachers. 4. If it is needful to mention his native country, and give honor to it as producing this noble athlete of piety, we will do so with pleasure. 5. The young man came from Pagæ, [2645] --if any one is acquainted with the place,--a city in Lycia of no mean importance. After his return from his course of study in Berytus, though his father held the first place in his country, he could not bear to live with him and his relatives, as it did not please them to live according to the rules of religion. Therefore, as if he were led by the Divine Spirit, and in accordance with a natural, or rather an inspired and true philosophy, regarding this preferable to what is considered the glory of life, and despising bodily comforts, he secretly left his family. And because of his faith and hope in God, paying no attention to his daily needs, he was led by the Divine Spirit to the city of Cæsarea, where was prepared for him the crown of martyrdom for piety. 6. Abiding with us there, and conferring with us in the Divine Scriptures diligently for a short time, and fitting himself zealously by suitable exercises, he exhibited such an end as would astonish any one should it be seen again. 7. Who, that hears of it, would not justly admire his courage, boldness, constancy, and even more than these the daring deed itself, which evidenced a zeal for religion and a spirit truly superhuman? 8. For in the second attack upon us under Maximinus, in the third year of the persecution, edicts of the tyrant were issued for the first time, commanding that the rulers of the cities should diligently and speedily see to it that all the people offered sacrifices. [2646] Throughout the city of Cæsarea, by command of the governor, the heralds were summoning men, women, and children to the temples of the idols, and besides this, the chiliarchs were calling out each one by name from a roll, and an immense crowd of the wicked were rushing together from all quarters. Then this youth fearlessly, while no one was aware of his intentions, eluded both us who lived in the house with him and the whole band of soldiers that surrounded the governor, and rushed up to Urbanus as he was offering libations, and fearlessly seizing him by the right hand, straightway put a stop to his sacrificing, and skillfully and persuasively, with a certain divine inspiration, exhorted him to abandon his delusion, because it was not well to forsake the one and only true God, and sacrifice to idols and demons. 9. It is probable that this was done by the youth through a divine power which led him forward, and which all but cried aloud in his act, that Christians, who were truly such, were so far from abandoning the religion of the God of the universe which they had once espoused, that they were not only superior to threats and the punishments which followed, but yet bolder to speak with noble and untrammeled tongue, and, if possible, to summon even their persecutors to turn from their ignorance and acknowledge the only true God. 10. Thereupon, he of whom we are speaking, and that instantly, as might have been expected after so bold a deed, was torn by the governor and those who were with him as if by wild beasts. And having endured manfully innumerable blows over his entire body, he was straightway cast into prison. 11. There he was stretched by the tormentor with both his feet in the stocks for a night and a day; and the next day he was brought before the judge. As they endeavored to force him to surrender, he exhibited all constancy under suffering and terrible tortures. His sides were torn, not once, or twice, but many times, to the bones and the very bowels; and he received so many blows on his face and neck that those who for a long time had been well acquainted with him could not recognize his swollen face. 12. But as he would not yield under this treatment, the torturers, as commanded, covered his feet with linen cloths soaked in oil and set them on fire. No word can describe the agonies which the blessed one endured from this. For the fire consumed his flesh and penetrated to his bones, so that the humors of his body were melted and oozed out and dropped down like wax. 13. But as he was not subdued by this, his adversaries being defeated and unable to comprehend his superhuman constancy, cast him again into prison. A third time he was brought before the judge; and having witnessed the same profession, being half dead, he was finally thrown into the depths of the sea. 14. But what happened immediately after this will scarcely be believed by those who did not see it. Although we realize this, yet we must record the event, of which to speak plainly, all the inhabitants of Cæsarea were witnesses. For truly there was no age but beheld this marvelous sight. 15. For as soon as they had cast this truly sacred and thrice-blessed youth into the fathomless depths of the sea, an uncommon commotion and disturbance agitated the sea and all the shore about it, so that the land and the entire city were shaken by it. And at the same time with this wonderful and sudden perturbation, the sea threw out before the gates of the city the body of the divine martyr, as if unable to endure it. [2647] Such was the death of the wonderful Apphianus. It occurred on the second day of the month Xanthicus, [2648] which is the fourth day before the Nones of April, on the day of preparation. [2649]

Footnotes

[2642] On Maximinus and his attitude toward the Christians, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 14, note 2. He was made a Cæsar at the time of the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, May 1, 305, and Egypt and Syria were placed under his supervision. [2643] Apphianus is called, in the Syriac version, Epiphanius. We know him only from this account of Eusebius. For some remarks upon his martyrdom, see above, p. 8 sq. [2644] The modern Beirût. A celebrated school of literature and law flourished there for a number of centuries. [2645] The mss., according to Valesius, are somewhat at variance in the spelling of this name, and the place is perhaps to be identified with Araxa, a city of some importance in northwestern Lycia. [2646] This was simply a republication in its fullness of Maximian's fourth edict, which was referred to in chap. 3 (see note 2 on that Chapter). Eusebius does not mean to say that this was the first time that such an edict was published, but that this was the first edict of Maximinus, the newly appointed Cæsar. [2647] It is perhaps not necessary to doubt that an earthquake took place at this particular time. Nor is it surprising that under the circumstances the Christians saw a miracle in a natural phenomenon. [2648] Xanthicus was the eighth month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our April (see table on p. 403, below). The martyrdom of Apphianus must have taken place in 306, not 305; for according to the direct testimony of Lactantius (de Mort. pers. chap. 19; the statement is unaccountably omitted in the English translation given in the Ante-Nicene Fathers), Maximinus did not become Cæsar until May 1, 305; while, according to the present Chapter, Apphianus suffered martyrdom after Maximinus had been raised to that position. Eusebius himself puts the abdication of the old emperors and the appointment of the new Cæsars early in April or late in March (see above, chap. 3, §5, and the Syriac version of the Martyrs, p. 12), and with him agree other early authorities. But it is more difficult to doubt the accuracy of Lactantius' dates than to suppose the others mistaken, and hence May 1st is commonly accepted by historians as the day of abdication. About the year there can be no question; for Lactantius' account of Diocletian's movements during the previous year exhibits a very exact knowledge of the course of events, and its accuracy cannot be doubted. (For a fuller discussion of the date of the abdication, see Tillemont's Hist. des Emp., 2d ed., IV. p. 609.) But even if it were admitted that the abdication took place four or five weeks earlier (according to Eusebius' own statement, it did not at any rate occur before the twenty-fourth of March: see chap. 3, above, and the Syriac version, p. 12), it would be impossible to put Apphianus' death on the second of April, for this would not give time for all that must intervene between the day of his appointment and the republication and execution of the persecuting edicts. In fact, it is plain enough from the present Chapter that Apphianus did not suffer until some time after the accession of Maximinus, and therefore not until the following year. Eusebius, as can be seen from the first paragraph of this work on the martyrs, reckoned the beginning of the persecution in Palestine not with the issue of the first edict in Nicomedia on Feb. 24, 303, but with the month of April of that same year. Apphianus' death therefore took place at the very close of the third year of the persecution, according to this reckoning. [2649] i.e. Friday, the old Jewish term being still retained and widely used, although with the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week it had entirely lost its meaning. Upon the prevalence of the word among the Fathers as a designation of Friday, see Suicer's Thesaurus, s.v. paraskeue and nesteia. The day of Christ's crucifixion was called megEURle paraskeue, the "great preparation."

Chapter V.

1. About the same time, in the city of Tyre, a youth named Ulpianus, [2650] after dreadful tortures and most severe scourgings, was enclosed in a raw oxhide, with a dog and with one of those poisonous reptiles, an asp, and cast into the sea. Wherefore I think that we may properly mention him in connection with the martyrdom of Apphianus. 2. Shortly afterwards, Ædesius, [2651] a brother of Apphianus, not only in God, but also in the flesh, being a son of the same earthly father, endured sufferings like his, after very many confessions and protracted tortures in bonds, and after he had been sentenced by the governor to the mines in Palestine. He conducted himself through them all in a truly philosophic manner; for he was more highly educated than his brother, and had prosecuted philosophic studies. 3. Finally in the city of Alexandria, when he beheld the judge, who was trying the Christians, offending beyond all bounds, now insulting holy men in various ways, and again consigning women of greatest modesty and even religious virgins to procurers for shameful treatment, he acted like his brother. For as these things seemed insufferable, he went forward with bold resolve, and with his words and deeds overwhelmed the judge with shame and disgrace. After suffering in consequence many forms of torture, he endured a death similar to his brother's, being cast into the sea. But these things, as I have said, happened to him in this way a little later.

Footnotes

[2650] The martyrdom of Ulpian is omitted in the Syriac version. It was apparently a later addition, made when the abridgment of the longer version was produced; and this perhaps accounts for the brevity of the notice and the words of explanation with which the mention of him is concluded. [2651] Called Alosis in the Syriac version.

Chapter VI.

1. In the fourth year of the persecution against us, on the twelfth day before the Kalends of December, which is the twentieth day of the month Dius, [2652] on the day before the Sabbath, [2653] while the tyrant Maximinus was present and giving magnificent shows in honor of his birthday, the following event, truly worthy of record, occurred in the city of Cæsarea. 2. As it was an ancient custom to furnish the spectators more splendid shows when the emperors were present than at other times, new and foreign spectacles taking the place of the customary amusements, such as animals brought from India or Ethiopia or other places, or men who could astonish the beholders with skillful bodily exercises,--it was necessary at this time, as the emperor was giving the exhibition, to add to the shows something more wonderful. And what should this be? 3. A witness of our doctrine was brought into the midst and endured the contest for the true and only religion. This was Agapius, who, as we have stated a little above, [2654] was, with Thecla, the second to be thrown to the wild beasts for food. He had also, three times and more, marched with malefactors from the prison to the arena; and every time, after threats from the judge, whether in compassion or in hope that he might change his mind, had been reserved for other conflicts. But the emperor being present, he was brought out at this time, as if he had been appropriately reserved for this occasion, until the very word of the Saviour should be fulfilled in him, which through divine knowledge he declared to his disciples, that they should be brought before kings on account of their testimony unto him. [2655] 4. He was taken into the midst of the arena with a certain malefactor who they said was charged with the murder of his master. 5. But this murderer of his master, when he had been cast to the wild beasts, was deemed worthy of compassion and humanity, almost like Barabbas in the time of our Saviour. And the whole theater resounded with shouts and cries of approval, because the murderer was humanely saved by the emperor, and deemed worthy of honor and freedom. 6. But the athlete of religion was first summoned by the tyrant and promised liberty if he would deny his profession. But he testified with a loud voice that, not for any fault, but for the religion of the Creator of the universe, he would readily and with pleasure endure whatever might be inflicted upon him. 7. Having said this, he joined the deed to the word, and rushed to meet a bear which had been let loose against him, surrendering himself most cheerfully to be devoured by him. After this, as he still breathed, he was cast into prison. And living yet one day, stones were bound to his feet, and he was drowned in the depths of the sea. Such was the martyrdom of Agapius.

Footnotes

[2652] The month Dius was the third month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our November (see table on p. 403, below). [2653] prosabbEURtou hemera, i.e. on Friday, prosEURbbatos being sometimes used among the Jews as a designation of that day, which was more commonly called paraskeue (cf. Mark xv. 42). Whether it was widely used in the Christian Church of Eusebius' day I am unable to say (Suicer does not give the word); but the use of it here shows that it was familiar at least in Palestine. It is said in Kraus' Real-Encyclop. d. christ. Alterth, s.v. Wochentage, to occur in a decree of Constantine, quoted in Eusebius' Vita Const. IV. 18; but the text is doubtful, and at best, the use of it there proves no more as to the prevalence of the word than its use in the present case, for Eusebius simply gives, in his own language, the substance of Constantine's edict. [2654] See above, chap. 3, §1. [2655] Cf. Matt. x. 18

Chapter VII.

1. Again, in Cæsarea, when the persecution had continued to the fifth year, on the second day of the month Xanthicus, [2656] which is the fourth before the Nones of April, on the very Lord's day of our Saviour's resurrection, [2657] Theodosia, a virgin from Tyre, a faithful and sedate maiden, not yet eighteen years of age, went up to certain prisoners who were confessing the kingdom of Christ and sitting before the judgment seat, and saluted them, and, as is probable, besought them to remember her when they came before the Lord. 2. Thereupon, as if she had committed a profane and impious act, the soldiers seized her and led her to the governor. And he immediately, like a madman and a wild beast in his anger, tortured her with dreadful and most terrible torments in her sides and breasts, even to the very bones. And as she still breathed, and withal stood with a joyful and beaming countenance, he ordered her thrown into the waves of the sea. Then passing from her to the other confessors, he condemned all of them to the copper mines in Phæno in Palestine. 3. Afterwards on the fifth of the month Dius, [2658] on the Nones of November according to the Romans, in the same city, Silvanus [2659] (who at that time was a presbyter and confessor, but who shortly after was honored with the episcopate and died a martyr), and those with him, men who had shown the noblest firmness in behalf of religion, were condemned by him to labor in the same copper mines, command being first given that their ankles be disabled with hot irons. 4. At the same time he delivered to the flames a man who was illustrious through numerous other confessions. This was Domninus, who was well known to all in Palestine for his exceeding fearlessness. [2660] After this the same judge, who was a cruel contriver of suffering, and an inventor of devices against the doctrine of Christ, planned against the pious punishments that had never been heard of. He condemned three to single pugilistic combat. He delivered to be devoured by wild beasts Auxentius, a grave and holy old man. Others who were in mature life he made eunuchs, and condemned them to the same mines. Yet others, after severe tortures, he cast into prison. Among these was my dearest friend Pamphilus, [2661] who was by reason of every virtue the most illustrious of the martyrs in our time. 5. Urbanus first tested him in rhetorical philosophy and learning; and afterwards endeavored to compel him to sacrifice. But as he saw that he refused and in nowise regarded his threats, being exceedingly angry, he ordered him to be tormented with severest tortures. 6. And when the brutal man, after he had almost satiated himself with these tortures by continuous and prolonged scrapings in his sides, was yet covered with shame before all, he put him also with the confessors in prison. 7. But what recompense for his cruelty to the saints, he who thus abused the martyrs of Christ, shall receive from the Divine judgment, may be easily determined from the preludes to it, in which immediately, and not long after his daring cruelties against Pamphilus, while he yet held the government, the Divine judgment came upon him. For thus suddenly, he who but yesterday was judging on the lofty tribunal, guarded by a band of soldiers, and ruling over the whole nation of Palestine, the associate and dearest friend and table companion of the tyrant himself, was stripped in one night, and overwhelmed with disgrace and shame before those who had formerly admired him as if he were himself an emperor; and he appeared cowardly and unmanly, uttering womanish cries and supplications to all the people whom he had ruled. And Maximinus himself, in reliance upon whose favor Urbanus was formerly so arrogantly insolent, as if he loved him exceedingly for his deeds against us, was set as a harsh and most severe judge in this same Cæsarea to pronounce sentence of death against him, for the great disgrace of the crimes of which he was convicted. Let us say this in passing. 8. A suitable time may come when we shall have leisure to relate the end and the fate of those impious men who especially fought against us, [2662] both of Maximinus himself and those with him.

Footnotes

[2656] i.e. April 2, 307. Eusebius is inconsistent with himself in this case. In chap. 3, above, he states that Apphianus suffered on April 2, in the third year of the persecution. But as shown in the note on that passage, Apphianus suffered in April, 306, and therefore, in that case, Eusebius reckons the first year of the persecution as beginning after the second of April. But in the present case he reckons it as beginning before the second of April, and the latter date as falling early in a new year of the persecution. That the martyrdom recorded in the present case actually took place in 307, and not in 308, as it must have done if Eusebius were consistent with himself, is proved, first, by the fact that, in entering upon this new Chapter, he says, "the persecution having continued to the fifth year," implying thereby that the event which he is about to relate took place at the beginning, not at the end, of the fifth year; and secondly, by the fact that later on, in this same Chapter, while still relating the events of the fifth year, he recounts martyrdoms as taking place in the month of November (Dius). This is conclusive, for November of the fifth year can be only November, 307, and hence the April mentioned in the present paragraph can be only April of the same year. Evidently Eusebius did not reckon the beginning of the persecution in Palestine from a fixed day, but rather from the month Xanthicus (April). As a consequence, the inconsistency into which he has fallen is not very strange; the second day of April might easily be reckoned either as one of the closing days of a year, or as the beginning of the ensuing year. In the present case, he evidently forgot that he had previously used the former reckoning. [2657] i.e. on Easter Sunday. In the Syriac version, the events recorded in the present Chapter are put on a Sunday; but that it was Easter is not stated. [2658] i.e. November fifth. [2659] On Silvanus, who afterward became bishop of Gaza, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13. [2660] Or "frankness"; literally, "freedom" (eleutheria). [2661] On Pamphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40. [2662] The death of Maximinus is related in Bk. IX. chap. 10. Nothing further is said in regard to Urbanus; but the fate of his successor Firmilianus is recorded in chap. 11, below. It is quite possible that Eusebius, in the present case, is referring to a more detailed statement of the fates of the various persecutors, which was to form the second part of the present work; and it is possible, still further, that the appendix printed at the close of the eighth book is a fragment of this second part, as suggested by Lightfoot (see above, p. 29).

Chapter VIII.

1. Up to the sixth year the storm had been incessantly raging against us. Before this time there had been a very large number of confessors of religion in the so-called Porphyry quarry in Thebais, which gets its name from the stone found there. Of these, one hundred men, lacking three, together with women and infants, were sent to the governor of Palestine. When they confessed the God of the universe and Christ, Firmilianus, [2663] who had been sent there as governor in the place of Urbanus, directed, in accordance with the imperial command, that they should be maimed by burning the sinews of the ankles of their left feet, and that their right eyes with the eyelids and pupils should first be cut out, and then destroyed by hot irons to the very roots. And he then sent them to the mines in the province to endure hardships with severe toil and suffering. 2. But it was not sufficient that these only who suffered such miseries should be deprived of their eyes, but those natives of Palestine also, who were mentioned just above as condemned to pugilistic combat, since they would neither receive food from the royal storehouse nor undergo the necessary preparatory exercises. 3. Having been brought on this account not only before the overseers, but also before Maximinus himself, and having manifested the noblest persistence in confession by the endurance of hunger and stripes, they received like punishment with those whom we have mentioned, and with them other confessors in the city of Cæsarea. 4. Immediately afterwards others who were gathered to hear the Scriptures read, were seized in Gaza, and some endured the same sufferings in the feet and eyes; but others were afflicted with yet greater torments and with most terrible tortures in the sides. 5. One of these, in body a woman, but in understanding a man, would not endure the threat of fornication, and spoke directly against the tyrant who entrusted the government to such cruel judges. She was first scourged and then raised aloft on the stake, and her sides lacerated. 6. As those appointed for this purpose applied the tortures incessantly and severely at the command of the judge, another, with mind fixed, like the former, on virginity as her aim,--a woman who was altogether mean in form and contemptible in appearance; but, on the other hand, strong in soul, and endowed with an understanding superior to her body,--being unable to bear the merciless and cruel and inhuman deeds, with a boldness beyond that of the combatants famed among the Greeks, cried out to the judge from the midst of the crowd: "And how long will you thus cruelly torture my sister?" But he was greatly enraged, and ordered the woman to be immediately seized. 7. Thereupon she was brought forward and having called herself by the august name of the Saviour, she was first urged by words to sacrifice, and as she refused she was dragged by force to the altar. But her sister continued to maintain her former zeal, and with intrepid and resolute foot kicked the altar, and overturned it with the fire that was on it. 8. Thereupon the judge, enraged like a wild beast, inflicted on her such tortures in her sides as he never had on any one before, striving almost to glut himself with her raw flesh. But when his madness was satiated, he bound them both together, this one and her whom she called sister, and condemned them to death by fire. It is said that the first of these was from the country of Gaza; the other, by name Valentina, was of Cæsarea, and was well known to many. 9. But how can I describe as it deserves the martyrdom which followed, with which the thrice-blessed Paul was honored. He was condemned to death at the same time with them, under one sentence. At the time of his martyrdom, as the executioner was about to cut off his head, he requested a brief respite. 10. This being granted, he first, in a clear and distinct voice, supplicated God in behalf of his fellow-Christians, [2664] praying for their pardon, and that freedom might soon be restored to them. Then he asked for the conversion of the Jews to God through Christ; and proceeding in order he requested the same things for the Samaritans, and besought that those Gentiles, who were in error and were ignorant of God, might come to a knowledge of him, and adopt the true religion. Nor did he leave neglected the mixed multitude who were standing around. 11. After all these, oh! great and unspeakable forbearance! he entreated the God of the universe for the judge who had condemned him to death, and for the highest rulers, and also for the one who was about to behead him, in his hearing and that of all present, beseeching that their sin toward him should not be reckoned against them. 12. Having prayed for these things with a loud voice, and having, as one who was dying unjustly, moved almost all to compassion and tears, of his own accord he made himself ready, and submitted his bare neck to the stroke of the sword, and was adorned with divine martyrdom. This took place on the twenty-fifth day of the month Panemus, [2665] which is the eighth before the Kalends of August. 13. Such was the end of these persons. But not long after, one hundred and thirty admirable athletes of the confession of Christ, from the land of Egypt, endured, in Egypt itself, at the command of Maximinus the same afflictions in their eyes and feet with the former persons, and were sent to the above-mentioned mines in Palestine. But some of them were condemned to the mines in Cilicia.

Footnotes

[2663] Of Firmilianus, the successor of Urbanus, we know only what is told us here and in chaps. 9 and 11, below. In the latter Chapter, §31, his execution is recorded. [2664] homoethnon. [2665] i.e. July 25 (a.d. 308). See the table on p. 403, below.

Chapter IX.

1. After such noble acts of the distinguished martyrs of Christ, the flame of persecution lessened, and was quenched, as it were by their sacred blood, and relief and liberty were granted to those who, for Christ's sake, were laboring in the mines of Thebais, and for a little time we were beginning to breath pure air. 2. But by some new impulse, I know not what, he who held the power to persecute was again aroused against the Christians. Immediately letters from Maximinus against us were published everywhere in every province. [2666] The governors and the military prefect [2667] urged by edicts and letters and public ordinances the magistrates and generals and notaries [2668] in all the cities to carry out the imperial decree, which ordered that the altars of the idols should with all speed be rebuilt; and that all men, women, and children, even infants at the breast, should sacrifice and offer oblations; and that with diligence and care they should cause them to taste of the execrable offerings; and that the things for sale in the market should be polluted with libations from the sacrifices; and that guards should be stationed before the baths in order to defile with the abominable sacrifices those who went to wash in them. 3. When these orders were being carried out, our people, as was natural, were at the beginning greatly distressed in mind; and even the unbelieving heathen blamed the severity and the exceeding absurdity of what was done. For these things appeared to them extreme and burdensome. 4. As the heaviest storm impended over all in every quarter, the divine power of our Saviour again infused such boldness into his athletes, [2669] that without being drawn on or dragged forward by any one, they spurned the threats. Three of the faithful joining together, rushed on the governor as he was sacrificing to the idols, and cried out to him to cease from his delusion, there being no other God than the Maker and Creator of the universe. When he asked who they were, they confessed boldly that they were Christians. 5. Thereupon Firmilianus, being greatly enraged, sentenced them to capital punishment without inflicting tortures upon them. The name of the eldest of these was Antoninus; of the next, Zebinas, who was a native of Eleutheropolis; and of the third, Germanus. This took place on the thirteenth of the month Dius, the Ides of November. [2670] 6. There was associated with them on the same day Ennathas, a woman from Scythopolis, who was adorned with the chaplet of virginity. She did not indeed do as they had done, but was dragged by force and brought before the judge. 7. She endured scourgings and cruel insults, which Maxys, a tribune of a neighboring district, without the knowledge of the superior authority, dared to inflict upon her. He was a man worse than his name, [2671] sanguinary in other respects, exceedingly harsh, and altogether cruel, and censured by all who knew him. This man stripped the blessed woman of all her clothing, so that she was covered only from her loins to her feet and the rest of her body was bare. And he led her through the entire city of Cæsarea, and regarded it as a great thing to beat her with thongs while she was dragged through all the market-places. 8. After such treatment she manifested the noblest constancy at the judgment seat of the governor himself; and the judge condemned her to be burned alive. He also carried his rage against the pious to a most inhuman length and transgressed the laws of nature, not being ashamed even to deny burial to the lifeless bodies of the sacred men. 9. Thus he ordered the dead to be exposed in the open air as food for wild beasts and to be watched carefully by night and day. For many days a large number of men attended to this savage and barbarous decree. And they looked out from their post of observation, as if it were a matter worthy of care, to see that the dead bodies should not be stolen. And wild beasts and dogs and birds of prey scattered the human limbs here and there, and the whole city was strewed with the entrails and bones of men, 10. so that nothing had ever appeared more dreadful and horrible, even to those who formerly hated us; though they bewailed not so much the calamity of those against whom these things were done, as the outrage against themselves and the common nature of man. 11. For there was to be seen near the gates a spectacle beyond all description and tragic recital; for not only was human flesh devoured in one place, but it was scattered in every place; so that some said that limbs and masses of flesh and parts of entrails were to be seen even within the gates. 12. After these things had continued for many days, a wonderful event occurred. The air was clear and bright and the appearance of the sky most serene. When suddenly throughout the city from the pillars which supported the public porches many drops fell like tears; and the market places and streets, though there was no mist in the air, were moistened with sprinkled water, whence I know not. Then immediately it was reported everywhere that the earth, unable to endure the abomination of these things, had shed tears in a mysterious manner; and that as a rebuke to the relentless and unfeeling nature of men, stones and lifeless wood had wept for what had happened. I know well that this account may perhaps appear idle and fabulous to those who come after us, but not to those to whom the truth was confirmed at the time. [2672]

Footnotes

[2666] This is the so-called Fifth Edict, and was issued (according to the Passio S. Theodori) by Galerius and Maximinus, but was evidently inspired by Maximinus himself. Mason speaks of it as follows: "It would be inaccurate to say that this Fifth Edict (if so we may call it) was worse than any of the foregoing. But there is in it a thin bitterness, a venomous spitefulness, which may be noticed as characteristic of all the later part of the persecution. This spitefulness is due to two main facts. The first was that Paganism was becoming conscious of defeat; the Church had not yielded a single point. The second fact was that the Church had no longer to deal with the sensible, statesmanlike hostility of Diocletian,--not even with the bluff bloodiness of Maximian. Galerius himself was now, except in name, no longer persecutor-in-chief. He was content to follow the lead of a man who was in all ways even worse than himself. Galerius was indeed an Evil Beast; his nephew was more like the Crooked Serpent. The artful sour spirit of Maximin employed itself to invent, not larger measures of solid policy against his feared and hated foes, but petty tricks to annoy and sting them." For a fuller discussion of the edict, see Mason, p. 284 sq. It must have been published in the autumn of the year 308, for the martyrdom of Paul, recorded in the previous Chapter, took place in July of that year, and some little time seems to have elapsed between that event and the present. On the other hand, the martyrdoms mentioned below, in §5, took place in November of this same year, so that we can fix the date of the edict within narrow limits. [2667] ho tou ton stratopedon archein epitetagmenos. Many regard this officer as the prætorian prefect. But we should naturally expect so high an official to be mentioned before the governors (hegemones). It seems probable, in fact, that the commander in charge of the military forces of Palestine, or possibly of Syria, is referred to in the present case. See Valesius' note, ad locum. [2668] Or "town clerks," taboulEURrioi [2669] Literally, "its athletes" (autes), the antecedent of the pronoun being "the divine power." [2670] i.e. Nov. 13, 308. [2671] MEURxus is not a Greek word. Ruinart, Acta Martt., p. 327, remarks, An a Syris repetenda, apud quos mochos est pulicanus a casas increpare? But the derivation is, to say the least, very doubtful. Cureton throws no light on the matter. The word in the Syriac version seems to be simply a reproduction of the form found in the Greek original. [2672] This is a glaring instance of uncritical credulity on Eusebius' part, and yet even Crusè can say: "Perhaps some might smile at the supposed credulity of our author, but the miracle in this account was not greater than the malignity, and if man can perform miracles of vice, we can scarcely wonder if Providence should present, at least, miracles of admonition." Cureton more sensibly remarks: "This, which doubtless was produced by natural causes, seemed miraculous to Eusebius, more especially if he looked upon it as fulfilling a prophecy of our Lord--Luke xix. 40: `I tell you, that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.' See also Hab. ii. 11."

Chapter X.

1. On the fourteenth day of the following month Appellæus, [2673] the nineteenth before the Kalends of January, certain persons from Egypt were again seized by those who examined people passing the gates. They had been sent to minister to the confessors in Cilicia. They received the same sentence as those whom they had gone to help, being mutilated in their eyes and feet. Three of them exhibited in Ascalon, where they were imprisoned, marvelous bravery in the endurance of various kinds of martyrdom. One of them named Ares was condemned to the flames, and the others, called Probus [2674] and Elias, were beheaded. 2. On the eleventh day of the month Audynæus, [2675] which is the third before the Ides of January, in the same city of Cæsarea, Peter an ascetic, also called Apselamus, [2676] from the village of Anea, [2677] on the borders of Eleutheropolis, like purest gold, gave noble proof by fire of his faith in the Christ of God. Though the judge and those around him besought him many times to have compassion on himself, and to spare his own youth and bloom, he disregarded them, preferring hope in the God of the universe to all things, even to life itself. A certain Asclepius, supposed to be [2678] a bishop of the sect of Marcion, possessed as he thought with zeal for religion, but "not according to knowledge," [2679] ended his life on one and the same funeral pyre. These things took place in this manner.

Footnotes

[2673] i.e. Dec. 14, 308 (see the tables on p. 403, below). [2674] The majority of the codices read Promos, but as Valesius remarks, such a proper name is quite unknown in Greek, and the form probably arose from a confusion of b and m, which in ancient mss. were written alike. Two of our existing codices read Probos, and this has been adopted by Zimmermann and Heinichen, whom I have followed in the text. [2675] i.e. Jan. 11, 309. [2676] In the Syriac version "Absalom." [2677] Of this village we know nothing, but Eleutheropolis (originally Bethozabris) was an important place lying some forty miles southwest of Jerusalem. [2678] einai dokon. Eusebius did not wish to admit that he was a bishop in a true sense. [2679] Rom. x. 2.

Chapter XI.

1. It is time to describe the great and celebrated spectacle of Pamphilus, [2680] a man thrice dear to me, and of those who finished their course with him. They were twelve in all; being counted worthy of apostolic grace and number. 2. Of these the leader and the only one honored with the position of presbyter at Cæsarea, was Pamphilus; a man who through his entire life was celebrated for every virtue, for renouncing and despising the world, for sharing his possessions with the needy, for contempt of earthly hopes, and for philosophic deportment and exercise. He especially excelled all in our time in most sincere devotion to the Divine Scriptures and indefatigable industry in whatever he undertook, and in his helpfulness to his relatives and associates. 3. In a separate treatise on his life, [2681] consisting of three books, we have already described the excellence of his virtue. Referring to this work those who delight in such things and desire to know them, let us now consider the martyrs in order. 4. Second after Pamphilus, Vales, who was honored for his venerable gray hair, entered the contest. He was a deacon from Ælia, [2682] an old man of gravest appearance, and versed in the Divine Scriptures, if any one ever was. He had so laid up the memory of them in his heart that he did not need to look at the books if he undertook to repeat any passage of Scripture. 5. The third was Paul from the city of Jamna, [2683] who was known among them as most zealous and fervent in spirit. Previous to his martyrdom, he had endured the conflict of confession by cauterization. After these persons had continued in prison for two entire years, the occasion of their martyrdom was a second arrival of Egyptian brethren who suffered with them. 6. They had accompanied the confessors in Cilicia to the mines there and were returning to their homes. At the entrance of the gates of Cæsarea, the guards, who were men of barbarous character, questioned them as to who they were and whence they came. They kept back nothing of the truth, and were seized as malefactors taken in the very act. They were five in number. 7. When brought before the tyrant, being very bold in his presence, they were immediately thrown into prison. On the next day, which was the nineteenth of the month Peritius, [2684] according to the Roman reckoning the fourteenth before the Kalends of March, they were brought, according to command, before the judge, with Pamphilus and his associates whom we have mentioned. First, by all kinds of torture, through the invention of strange and various machines, he tested the invincible constancy of the Egyptians. 8. Having practised these cruelties upon the leader [2685] of all, he asked him first who he was. He heard in reply the name of some prophet instead of his proper name. For it was their custom, in place of the names of idols given them by their fathers, if they had such, to take other names; so that you would hear them calling themselves Elijah or Jeremiah or Isaiah or Samuel or Daniel, thus showing themselves inwardly true Jews, and the genuine Israel of God, not only in deeds, but in the names which they bore. When Firmilianus had heard some such name from the martyr, and did not understand the force of the word, he asked next the name of his country. 9. But he gave a second answer similar to the former, saying that Jerusalem was his country, meaning that of which Paul says, "Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother," [2686] and, "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." [2687] 10. This was what he meant; but the judge thinking only of the earth, sought diligently to discover what that city was, and in what part of the world it was situated. And therefore he applied tortures that the truth might be acknowledged. But the man, with his hands twisted behind his back, and his feet crushed by strange machines, asserted firmly that he had spoken the truth. 11. And being questioned again repeatedly what and where the city was of which he spoke, he said that it was the country of the pious alone, for no others should have a place in it, and that it lay toward the far East and the rising sun. 12. He philosophized about these things according to his own understanding, and was in nowise turned from them by the tortures with which he was afflicted on every side. And as if he were without flesh or body he seemed insensible of his sufferings. But the judge being perplexed, was impatient, thinking that the Christians were about to establish a city somewhere, inimical and hostile to the Romans. And he inquired much about this, and investigated where that country toward the East was located. 13. But when he had for a long time lacerated the young man with scourgings, and punished him with all sorts of torments, he perceived that his persistence in what he had said could not be changed, and passed against him sentence of death. Such a scene was exhibited by what was done to this man. And having inflicted similar tortures on the others, he sent them away in the same manner. 14. Then being wearied and perceiving that he punished the men in vain, having satiated his desire, he proceeded against Pamphilus and his companions. And having learned that already under former tortures they had manifested an unchangeable zeal for the faith, he asked them if they would now obey. And receiving from every one of them only this one answer, as their last word of confession in martyrdom, he inflicted on them punishment similar to the others. 15. When this had been done, a young man, one of the household servants of Pamphilus, who had been educated in the noble life and instruction of such a man, learning the sentence passed upon his master, cried out from the midst of the crowd asking that their bodies might be buried. 16. Thereupon the judge, not a man, but a wild beast, or if anything more savage than a wild beast, giving no consideration to the young man's age, asked him only the same question. When he learned that he confessed himself a Christian, as if he had been wounded by a dart, swelling with rage, he ordered the tormentors to use their utmost power against him. 17. And when he saw that he refused to sacrifice as commanded, he ordered them to scrape him continually to his very bones and to the inmost recesses of his bowels, not as if he were human flesh but as if he were stones or wood or any lifeless thing. But after long persistence he saw that this was in vain, as the man was speechless and insensible and almost lifeless, his body being worn out by the tortures. 18. But being inflexibly merciless and inhuman, he ordered him to be committed straightway, as he was, to a slow fire. And before the death of his earthly master, though he had entered later on the conflict, he received release from the body, while those who had been zealous about the others were yet delaying. 19. One could then see Porphyry, [2688] like one who had come off victorious in every conflict, his body covered with dust, but his countenance cheerful, after such sufferings, with courageous and exulting mind, advancing to death. And as if truly filled with the Divine Spirit, covered only with his philosophic robe thrown about him as a cloak, soberly and intelligently he directed his friends as to what he wished, and beckoned to them, preserving still a cheerful countenance even at the stake. But when the fire was kindled at some distance around him in a circle, having inhaled the flame into his mouth, he continued most nobly in silence from that time till his death, after the single word which he uttered when the flame first touched him, and he cried out for the help of Jesus the Son of God. Such was the contest of Porphyry. 20. His death was reported to Pamphilus by a messenger, Seleucus. He was one of the confessors from the army. As the bearer of such a message, he was forthwith deemed worthy of a similar lot. For as soon as he related the death of Porphyry, and had saluted one of the martyrs with a kiss, some of the soldiers seized him and led him to the governor. And he, as if he would hasten him on to be a companion of the former on the way to heaven, commanded that he be put to death immediately. 21. This man was from Cappadocia, and belonged to the select band of soldiers, and had obtained no small honor in those things which are esteemed among the Romans. For in stature and bodily strength, and size and vigor, he far excelled his fellow-soldiers, so that his appearance was matter of common talk, and his whole form was admired on account of its size and symmetrical proportions. 22. At the beginning of the persecution he was prominent in the conflicts of confession, through his patience under scourging. After he left the army he set himself to imitate zealously the religious ascetics, and as if he were their father and guardian he showed himself a bishop and patron of destitute orphans and defenceless widows and of those who were distressed with penury or sickness. It is likely that on this account he was deemed worthy of an extraordinary call to martyrdom by God, who rejoices in such things more than in the smoke and blood of sacrifices. 23. He was the tenth athlete among those whom we have mentioned as meeting their end on one and the same day. On this day, as was fitting, the chief gate was opened, and a ready way of entrance into the kingdom of heaven was given to the martyr Pamphilus and to the others with him. 24. In the footsteps of Seleucus came Theodulus, a grave and pious old man, who belonged to the governor's household, and had been honored by Firmilianus himself more than all the others in his house on account of his age, and because he was a father of the third generation, and also on account of the kindness and most faithful conscientiousness which he had manifested toward him. [2689] As he pursued the course of Seleucus when brought before his master, the latter was more angry at him than at those who had preceded him, and condemned him to endure the martyrdom of the Saviour on the cross. [2690] 25. As there lacked yet one to fill up the number of the twelve martyrs of whom we have spoken, Julian came to complete it. He had just arrived from abroad, and had not yet entered the gate of the city, when having learned about the martyrs while still on the way, he rushed at once, just as he was, to see them. When he beheld the tabernacles of the saints prone on the ground, being filled with joy, he embraced and kissed them all. 26. The ministers of slaughter straightway seized him as he was doing this and led him to Firmilianus. Acting as was his custom, he condemned him to a slow fire. Thereupon Julian, leaping and exulting, in a loud voice gave thanks to the Lord who had judged him worthy of such things, and was honored with the crown of martyrdom. 27. He was a Cappadocian by birth, and in his manner of life he was most circumspect, faithful and sincere, zealous in all other respects, and animated by the Holy Spirit himself. Such was the company which was thought worthy to enter into martyrdom with Pamphilus. 28. By the command of the impious governor their sacred and truly holy bodies were kept as food for the wild beasts for four days and as many nights. But since, strange to say, through the providential care of God, nothing approached them,--neither beast of prey, nor bird, nor dog,--they were taken up uninjured, and after suitable preparation were buried in the customary manner. 29. When the report of what had been done to these men was spread in all directions, Adrianus and Eubulus, having come from the so-called country of Manganaea [2691] to Cæsarea, to see the remaining confessors, were also asked at the gate the reason for their coming; and having acknowledged the truth, were brought to Firmilianus. But he, as was his custom, without delay inflicted many tortures in their sides, and condemned them to be devoured by wild beasts. 30. After two days, on the fifth of the month Dystrus, [2692] the third before the Nones of March, which was regarded as the birthday of the tutelary divinity of Cæsarea, [2693] Adrianus was thrown to a lion, and afterwards slain with the sword. But Eubulus, two days later, on the Nones of March, that is, on the seventh of the month Dystrus, when the judge had earnestly entreated him to enjoy by sacrificing that which was considered freedom among them, preferring a glorious death for religion to transitory life, was made like the other an offering to wild beasts, and as the last of the martyrs in Cæsarea, sealed the list of athletes. 31. It is proper also to relate here, how in a short time the heavenly Providence came upon the impious rulers, together with the tyrants themselves. For that very Firmilianus, who had thus abused the martyrs of Christ, after suffering with the others the severest punishment, was put to death by the sword. Such were the martyrdoms which took place at Cæsarea during the entire period of the persecution.

Footnotes

[2680] On Pamphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40. [2681] On Eusebius' Life of Pamphilus, see above, p. 28 sq. [2682] i.e. Jerusalem. [2683] tes 'Iamniton poleos. Jamna, or Jamnia, was a town of Judea, lying west of Jerusalem, near the sea. [2684] i.e. Feb. 19 (see the table on p. 403, below). We learn from chap. 7, §§3-5, that Pamphilus was thrown into prison in the fifth year of the persecution and as late as November of that year, i.e. between November, 307, and April, 308. Since he had lain two whole years in prison (according to §5, above), the date referred to in the present passage must be February of the year 310. The martyrdom of Pamphilus is commonly, for aught I know to the contrary, uniformly put in the year 309, as the seventh year of the persecution is nearly synchronous with that year. But that the common date is a mistake is plain enough from the present Chapter. [2685] proegoros, literally "advocate," or "defender." [2686] Gal. iv. 26. [2687] Heb. xii. 22. Upon Eusebius' view of the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, see above, Bk. III. chap. 25, note 1. [2688] The reference is still to the same slave of Pamphilus whose tortures Eusebius has just been describing, as we learn from the Syriac version, where the slave's name is given at the beginning of the account. [2689] I read peri auton with Zimmermann, Heinichen, Burton, and Migne. The mss. all have peri autous, which can hardly have stood in the original. [2690] The common mode of punishment inflicted on slaves. [2691] Of the so-called country of Manganaia I know nothing. The Syriac version reads Batanea, which was a district of country lying to the northeast of Palestine, and it may be that Manganea was another name for the same region. [2692] i.e. March 5, 310. [2693] It was the universal custom in ancient times for a city to have its special tutelary divinity, to which it looked for protection and to which it paid especial honor. The name of the Cæsarean deity is unknown to us.

Chapter XII.

1. I think it best to pass by all the other events which occurred in the meantime: such as those which happened to the bishops of the churches, when instead of shepherds of the rational [2694] flocks of Christ, over which they presided in an unlawful manner, the divine judgment, considering them worthy of such a charge, made them keepers of camels, [2695] an irrational beast [2696] and very crooked in the structure of its body, or condemned them to have the care of the imperial horses;--and I pass by also the insults and disgraces and tortures they endured from the imperial overseers and rulers on account of the sacred vessels and treasures of the Church; and besides these the lust of power on the part of many, the disorderly and unlawful ordinations, and the schisms among the confessors themselves; also the novelties which were zealously devised against the remnants of the Church by the new and factious members, who added innovation after innovation and forced them in unsparingly among the calamities of the persecution, heaping misfortune upon misfortune. I judge it more suitable to shun and avoid the account of these things, as I said at the beginning. [2697] But such things as are sober and praiseworthy, according to the sacred word,--"and if there be any virtue and praise," [2698] --I consider it most proper to tell and to record, and to present to believing hearers in the history of the admirable martyrs. And after this I think it best to crown the entire work with an account of the peace which has appeared unto us from heaven.

Footnotes

[2694] logikon [2695] "It was a punishment among the Romans that freemen should be condemned to take care of the emperor's horses or camels, and to perform other personal offices of that kind" (Valesius). For fuller particulars, see Valesius' note ad locum. In the Acts of St. Marcellus (who was bishop of Rome) we are told that he was set by Maximian to groom his horses in a church which the emperor had turned into a stable. [2696] alogou zoou. [2697] Cf. Bk. VIII, chap. 2, §§2 and 3, and the note on that passage. [2698] Phil. iv. 8.

Chapter XIII.

1. The seventh year of our conflict was completed; and the hostile measures which had continued into the eighth year were gradually and quietly becoming less severe. A large number of confessors were collected at the copper mines in Palestine, and were acting with considerable boldness, so far as even to build places of worship. But the ruler of the province, a cruel and wicked man, as his acts against the martyrs showed, having come there and learned the state of affairs, communicated it to the emperor, writing in accusation whatever he thought best. 2. Thereupon, being appointed superintendent of the mines, he divided the band of confessors as if by a royal decree, and sent some to dwell in Cyprus and others in Lebanon, and he scattered others in different parts of Palestine and ordered them to labor in various works. 3. And, selecting the four who seemed to him to be the leaders, he sent them to the commander of the armies in that section. These were Peleus and Nilus, [2699] Egyptian bishops, also a presbyter, [2700] and Patermuthius, who was well known among them all for his zeal toward all. The commander of the army demanded of them a denial of religion, and not obtaining this, he condemned them to death by fire. 4. There were others there who had been allotted to dwell in a separate place by themselves,--such of the confessors as on account of age or mutilations, or for other bodily infirmities, had been released from service. Silvanus, [2701] a bishop from Gaza, presided over them, and set a worthy and genuine example of Christianity. 5. This man having from the first day of the persecution, and throughout its entire continuance, been eminent for his confessions in all sorts of conflicts, had been kept all that time that he might, so to speak, set the final seal upon the whole conflict in Palestine. 6. There were with him many from Egypt, among whom was John, who surpassed all in our time in the excellence of his memory. He had formerly been deprived of his sight. Nevertheless, on account of his eminence in confession he had with the others suffered the destruction of his foot by cauterization. And although his sight had been destroyed he was subjected to the same burning with fire, the executioners aiming after everything that was merciless and pitiless and cruel and inhuman. 7. Since he was such a man, one would not be so much astonished at his habits and his philosophic life, nor would he seem so wonderful for them, as for the strength of his memory. For he had written whole books of the Divine Scriptures, "not in tables of stone" [2702] as the divine apostle says, neither on skins of animals, nor on paper which moths and time destroy, but truly "in fleshy tables of the heart," [2703] in a transparent soul and most pure eye of the mind, so that whenever he wished he could repeat, as if from a treasury of words, any portion of the Scripture, whether in the law, or the prophets, or the historical books, or the gospels, or the writings of the apostles. 8. I confess that I was astonished when I first saw the man as he was standing in the midst of a large congregation and repeating portions of the Divine Scripture. While I only heard his voice, I thought that, according to the custom in the meetings, he was reading. But when I came near and perceived what he was doing, and observed all the others standing around him with sound eyes while he was using only the eyes of his mind, and yet was speaking naturally like some prophet, and far excelling those who were sound in body, it was impossible for me not to glorify God and wonder. And I seemed to see in these deeds evident and strong confirmation of the fact that true manhood consists not in excellence of bodily appearance, but in the soul and understanding alone. For he, with his body mutilated, manifested the superior excellence of the power that was within him. 9. But as to those whom we have mentioned as abiding in a separate place, and attending to their customary duties in fasting and prayer and other exercises, God himself saw fit to give them a salutary issue by extending his right hand in answer to them. The bitter foe, as they were armed against him zealously through their prayers to God, could no longer endure them, and determined to slay and destroy them from off the earth because they troubled him. 10. And God permitted him to accomplish this, that he might not be restrained from the wickedness he desired, and that at the same time they might receive the prizes of their manifold conflicts. Therefore at the command of the most accursed Maximinus, forty, lacking one, [2704] were beheaded in one day. 11. These martyrdoms were accomplished in Palestine during eight complete years; and of this description was the persecution in our time. Beginning with the demolition of the churches, it increased greatly as the rulers rose up from time to time against us. In these assaults the multiform and various conflicts of those who wrestled in behalf of religion produced an innumerable multitude of martyrs in every province,--in the regions extending from Libya and throughout all Egypt, and Syria, and from the East round about to the district of Illyricum. 12. But the countries beyond these, all Italy and Sicily and Gaul, and the regions toward the setting sun, in Spain, Mauritania, and Africa, suffered the war of persecution during less than two years, [2705] and were deemed worthy of a speedier divine visitation and peace; the heavenly Providence sparing the singleness of purpose and faith of those men. 13. For what had never before been recorded in the annals of the Roman government, first took place in our day, contrary to all expectation; for during the persecution in our time the empire was divided into two parts. [2706] The brethren dwelling in the part of which we have just spoken enjoyed peace; but those in the other part endured trials without number. 14. But when the divine grace kindly and compassionately manifested its care for us too, then truly our rulers also, those very ones through whom the wars against us had been formerly carried on, changed their minds in a most wonderful manner, and published a recantation; [2707] and by favorable edicts and mild decrees concerning us, extinguished the conflagration against us. This recantation also must be recorded. [2708] The End of the Book of Eusebius Pamphili concerning those who suffered Martyrdom in Palestine. [2709]

Footnotes

[2699] On Peleus and Nilus, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 8. Paleus is called Paul in the Syriac version. [2700] The name of this man is given as Elias in the Syriac version; but both he and Patermuthius are called laymen. [2701] On Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 6. [2702] 2 Cor. iii. 3. [2703] Ibid. [2704] The Syriac version says forty. [2705] On the cessation of the persecution in the West at the accession of Maxentius, see Bk. VIII. chap. 14, note 1. [2706] On the division of the empire to which Eusebius here refers, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 17. [2707] i.e. the toleration edict of Galerius, published in the spring of 311. See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 17, note 1. [2708] It would seem that the edict was originally appended to this shorter recension of the martyrs (the longer recension is complete in its present form, and contains no hint of such an addition). Very likely it was dropped with the second half of the work (see above, p. 29) as unnecessary, when the first half was inserted in the History. The edict is given in full in Bk. VIII. chap. 17, above. [2709] peri ton en Palaistine marturesEURnton telos. On the title of the work, see above, p. 342, note 1.


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