Writings of Eusebius - The Life of Constantine - Introduction and Book I
3. English translations
Translated by Ernest Cushing Richardson, Ph.d.
librarian and associate professor in hartford theological seminary.
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.
The Life is found in the editions of Eusebius (compare list in Dr.
McGiffert's Prolegomena) of 1544 (p. 117^a-), 1612 (p. 301-), 1659,
1672, 1678, 1720 (p. 583-) and 1822 at least. The edition of Heinichen
first published in 1830 (p. 1-332, 333-406, 407-500) and republished
in 1869: Eusebius Pamphili Vita Constantini et Panegyricus atque
Constantini ad sanctorum Coetum oratio. Recensuit cum annotatione
critica atque indicibus denuo edidit...Lipsiæ, Hermann Mendelssohn,
1869. 8^o is the latest and best.
The editions of Latin translations are very numerous. Basil. 1549,
Portesius (V.C. 650-698, O.C. 698-715, no L.C.); Basil, 1557, Musculus
(V.C. 158-215, O.C. 217-231, no L.C.); Basil, 1559 (V.C. 650-698, O.C.
698-715); Par. 1562, Musculus (V.C. 160-218, O.C. 218-234); Antv. 1568
(?), Christophorson (V.C. 224-306^a, O.C. 306^b-326^a, L.C.
326^b-361); Basil, 1570, Portesius (V.C. 862-914, O.C. 915-932) and
Christophorson (L.C. 932-971); Paris, 1571, Christophorson (258-341,
341-362, 362-397); Basil, 1579, Portesius (V.C. 862-914, O.C.
915-932), and Christophorson (L.C. 923-971); Paris, 1581 (V.C. p.
214-297, O.C. 297-317, L.C. 317-355); Colon. 1581, Christophorson
(V.C. 195-268, O.C. 269-286, L.C. 287-317); "1591 (Grynæus)"; Basil,
1611 (Grynæus), Christophorson (V.C. 118-170, O.C. 171-184, no L.C.);
Paris, 1677, Valesius (V.C. 164-232, O.C. 233-248; L.C. 249-275); Frf.
ad M. 1695, Valesius (328-465, 466-497, 498-549); Cambr. 1720
(Reading) Valesius; Cambr. 1746 (Reading) Valesius; 1822 (Zimmermann),
Valesius (772-1046, 1047-1117, 1118-1232); Par. 1842 (Cailleau). The
editions of 1612, 1659, and 1672 at least also have Latin
translations. There is a French translation by J. Morin, Histoire de
la délivrance de l'Église, &c., Par. 1630, fol., and another by
Cousin, Par. 1675, 4º, and 1686, 4º. There is a German translation by
Stroth, Quedlinb. 1799, v. 2, p. 141-468, and one by Molzberger.
Kempten, 1880. For English translations, see the following paragraph.
The first English translation of Eusebius was by Merideth Hanmer
(compare Prolegomena of Dr. McGiffert). The first editions of Hanmer
did not contain the Life of Constantine. It is a little hard to
distinguish the early editions, but there were at least three, and
perhaps four, editions (1577 (76), 1585 (84), 1607, 1619?), before
there was added in 1637 to the 1636 edition ("fourth edition" not
"fifth edition 1650," as Wood, Athenæ Oxon.), a translation by Wye
Saltonstall as follows:
Eusebius | His life of Constantine, | in foure | bookes. | With
Constantine's Oration to the Clergie | ... | London. | Printed by
Thomas Cotes, for Michael Sparke, and are to be | sold at the blue
Bible in greene Arbour | 1637; fol. pp. (2) 1-106 (E), 107-132 (C),
133-163 (4) (L.C.). The dedication by the "translator" is signed Wye
Saltonstall. This was reprinted: London. Printed by Abraham Miller,
dwelling in Black Friers, 1649. fol., and is probably the same as that
quoted often (e.g. Hoffmann) as 1650. The Life occupies p. 1-74. It
was again reprinted, London, 1656, fol., it is said, revised and
enlarged. The former editions having become exhausted, it was proposed
to re-edit and republish Hanmer's (Saltonstall's) version, but the
editor found it "a work of far greater labor to bring Dr. Hanmer's
Translation to an agreement with the Greek Text of Valesius' Edition,
than to make a New One," which latter thing he accordingly did and did
well. It was published in 1682, with the following title:
The | Life | of | Constantine | in four books, | Written in Greek, by
Eusebius Pamphilus, Bishop of Cæsarea in | Palestine; done into
English from that edition set forth by | Valesius, and Printed at
Paris in the Year 1659. | Together with | Valesius's Annotations on
the said Life, which are made | English, and set at their proper
places in the margin. | Hereto is also annext the Emperour
Constantine's Oration to the | Convention of the Saints, and Eusebius
Pamphilus's Speech concerning the praises of Constantine, | spoken at
his tricennalia. | Cambridge, | Printed by John Hayes, Printer to the
University, 1682, fol. This was published with the 1683 edition of the
History, and so is properly 1683 in spite of title-page. In 1692 this
was reprinted with a general title-page, but otherwise identically the
same edition with same sub-titles and same paging. In 1709 a new
edition was published, also with the History, having substantially the
same matter on the title-page but The second edition. London. Printed
for N. and J. Churchill, in the Year 1709. In this paging is the same
(527-633), but there is preliminary matter added before the History.
This version is said by Crusé (compare also Dr. McGiffert's
Prolegomena) to be by T. Shorting. Whoever it was by, it was well done
and most interesting. In the course of time, however, it became
antiquated in form, and there was added in 1845 to the Bagster edition
of the ecclesiastical historians an anonymous translation:
The | Life | of | the Blessed Emperor | Constantine, | in four books.
| From 306-337 a.d | By | Eusebius Pamphilus | ... | London: | Samuel
Bagster and Sons; | ... | MDCCCXLV. 8º p. xx, 380. This translation is
in somewhat inflated style, which perhaps represents Eusebius and
Constantine better than a simpler one, but which sometimes out-Herods
Herod, as, e.g. in the oration of Constantine, p. 279, where it takes
fourteen English words to express seven Greek ones, "Far otherwise has
it been during the corrupt and lawless period of human life" for "It
was not thus in lawless times." A quotation from Matthew (xxvi. 52) on
p. 267 takes eight words in the original, twelve in the 1881 Revised
Version, sixteen in the phrase of Constantine, and twenty-two in this
translation. The translation is made from the edition of Valesius, not
the first of Heinichen, as appears from the division of Bk. I, chap.
10, and similar peculiarities. The present edition (1890) is a
revision of the translation of 1845 founded on the edition of
4. Author and date
Almost no fact of history is unquestioned; therefore the
unquestionable authorship of Eusebius has been questioned. Some have
made the author Macarius (compare Vog. Hist. lit. p. 12), evidently on
the ground of the letter (3. 52) which the author says was addressed
to himself, but which is to Macarius and others, but there is no real
doubt of the Eusebian authorship. It was written after the death of
Constantine (337), and therefore between 337 and 340, when Eusebius
died. The interesting hypothesis of Meyer (p. 28) that it was perhaps
written mainly in Constantine's lifetime, at the suggestion and under
the direction of Constantine, to defend him against charges brought,
or which might be brought, against him, is worth mentioning, although
it is more ingenious than probable. The headings of the chapters are
by another, though probably not much later, and a competent hand (cf.
5. Trustworthiness of Eusebius
The value of a writer is determined by (1) His sources of knowledge,
(2) His own intellectual and moral ability. Again, the criticism of a
given work seeks whether the aim proposed for that work has been truly
fulfilled. A man who attempts a treatise on Geometry is not to be
criticised because he omits mention of sulphuric acid, or if he
proposes a description of Wagner's music, because he does not produce
a Helmholtz on Sound. The application of these principles to Eusebius'
Life of Constantine requires brief examination of 1. The proposed
scope of the work. 2. The character of the sources. 3. The
intellectual and moral competency of Eusebius on the premises.
(1) The Scope of the Work. This is quite definitely outlined (i. 11).
In contrast with those who have recorded the evil deeds of other
emperors and have thus "become to those who by some favor had been
kept apart from evil, teachers not of good, but of what should be
silenced in oblivion and darkness," he proposes to record the noble
actions of this emperor. He proposes, however, to pass over many
things,--his wars, personal bravery, victories, and successes, his
legislative acts, and many other things, and confine himself to such
things as have reference to his religious character. His aim,
therefore, is distinctly limited to his religious acts, and it is not
stretching his meaning too far to say, expressly limited to his
(2) Character of the Sources. Respecting this there is endless
controversy. The fullness of material is unquestionable, the
intellectual competency of Eusebius is almost equally so, and the
questionings regard mainly whether the author has made a proper use of
material. Opinions are various, but this does not mean that they are
equally well grounded and valuable. Some of the latest judgments are
the most severe. Crivellucci (Livorno, 1888) calls it an historical
novel, and Görres, in a review of Crivellucci, agrees that it is worth
less than the Panegyrics of Eumenius and Nazarius, which is certainly
milder than Manso's (p. 222) "more shameless and lying" than these.
Right or wrong, this is a frequently repeated view. Some (Hely, p.
141) cannot speak too strongly of the "contempt" which he "deserves,"
and accuse of "pious fraud" or the next thing to it (Kestner, 1816, p.
67). For farther criticisms consult the works cited by Dr. McGiffert
under Literature, and the special works on Eusebius cited in the
Literature to Constantine above, passim. The criticisms group
generally around 1. The suppression of the facts respecting the deaths
of Crispus, &c., and various others derogatory to Constantine. 2. The
eulogistic tone and coloring of the work, especially the very
pietistic saintly sort of flavor given to Constantine.
As to the suppression of facts, note (1) That he gives entire warning
of his plan. It would have been artistically and ethically improper,
in a work which distinctly sets out with such purpose, to admit that
class of facts. It takes more or less from the value of the work, but
it does not reflect on the general trustworthiness of what is said.
(2) No similar judgment is passed on Eutropius, the Victors, Anonymous
Valesianus or Zosimus, for not mentioning his pious acts. (3) A
comparison of most biographies of living and dead presidents, kings,
and emperors will be greatly to the advantage, even, of this fourth
century eulogist over those of our boasted critical age.
As to the eulogistic and exaggerated tone, observe (1) That it was
more or less justified. That is, the premises of the criticism which
are substantially that Constantine was not saintly or pietistic and
was non-committal toward Christianity, are false. His extreme
testimony is backed by very general testimony in the election of
Constantine to technical saintship. (2) That is compares well with
modern eulogists and extremely well with the contemporary Panegyrists
of Constantine. (3) That Eusebius takes care frequently to guard his
statements by quoting his source, as in the matter of the vision of
the cross, or by ascribing to hearsay.
In general, the work stands much on the same level as the biographies
of generals in the late civil war, or of presidents, written by
admiring members of their staffs or cabinets, incorporating authentic
documents, intending to be truthful, and generally succeeding, but yet
full of the enthusiasm of admiring friendship and inclined not to see,
or to extenuate or even suppress, faults and mistakes. Nevertheless,
they are valuable on the positive side as the real testimony to
genuinely believed excellency by those in the position to know
intimately. Eusebius is, substantially, genuine. Such supreme
hypocrisy as would produce this work, without admiring respect and
after its subject was dead, is inconceivable in him. All the
unconscious turns of phrase show at least a consistent attitude of
mind. The work is, in brief, by a competent author, from ample sources
and without intentional falsification or misrepresentation. It
probably represents the current Christian view of the man as
accurately and honestly as any biography of Lincoln or the Emperor
William written within a year or two of their deaths has done. As we
now think of these two men whom doubtless inquisitive criticism might
find to have faults, so the Christians in general and his friend
Eusebius in particular thought of the Great Emperor. Compare
discussion and literature of the trustworthiness of Eusebius as a
historical writer in the Prolegomena of Dr. McGiffert in this volume.
6. Value of the Work
That the work on any basis but the untenable one of out-and-out
forgery should be characterized as "worthless" or "a mere romance" or
"of less value than the heathen panegyrists" is a curious bit of
psychological performance, for it does precisely what it grounds its
contempt for Eusebius on,--suppresses and exaggerates. Taking the
minimum residuum of the most penetrating criticism, and the work is
yet a source of primary value for understanding the man Constantine.
This residuum includes (1) The documents which the work contains.
These amount at the very least estimate to more than one-fourth of the
whole matter, and the appended oration of Constantine is nearly as
much more. (2) Many facts and details where there could be no
possibility of motive for falsifying. (3) Much which critical care can
draw out of the over-statements of eulogy.
§2. Oration of Constantine.
The Editions and Translations of this work are substantially identical
with those of the Life. See above, under Life. The Authenticity of the
work has been doubted, and its composition ascribed to Eusebius or
some other Christian writer, but without sufficient reason. It was
appended by Eusebius to his Life of Constantine as specimens of the
latter's style (cf. V.C. 4. 32). As such it shows a man of some
learning, though learning taken at second hand, it is thought, from
Lactantius and others (cf. Wordsworth's Constantine I.). It was
composed in Latin, and translated into Greek by the special officials
appointed for such work (V.C. 4. 32). It was delivered on Good Friday,
but in what year or where is not known. It has been placed before the
year 324 (Ceiller, 130), but the mention of events and the character
of the work itself suggest a considerably later date.
§3. Oration of Eusebius.
The Editions and Translations of this work are substantially identical
with those of the Life, above, but some of the earlier ones do not
contain the work. It was delivered in the year 336 (or possibly 335)
at Constantinople, in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of
Constantine's accession, Constantine himself being present (cf. V.C.
4. 46 and O.C. 1). It gave the emperor lively satisfaction, from which
one may safely infer a peculiar taste for combined panegyric and
philosophical theology unless the hypothesis of a double work be true.
According to this hypothesis the work consists of two separate
orations, spoken perhaps at different times, the first including
chapters 1-10, which are panegyrical in character, and the other
chapters 11-18, which are theological (compare Lightfoot, Eusebius, p.
343; also McGiffert, Prolegomena, p. 43). It is like the oration of
Constantine, a proper part of the Life of Constantine being appended
according to his promise in Bk. 4, ch. 46.
The special points relating to these works are treated in the notes.
The Life of the blessed emperor Constantine,
Chapter I.--Preface.--Of the Death of Constantine.
Already  have all mankind united in celebrating with joyous
festivities the completion of the second and third decennial period of
this great emperor's reign; already have we ourselves received him as
a triumphant conqueror in the assembly of God's ministers, and greeted
him with the due meed of praise on the twentieth anniversary of his
reign:  and still more recently we have woven, as it were,
garlands of words, wherewith we encircled his sacred head in his own
palace on his thirtieth anniversary. 
But now, while I desire  to give utterance to some of the
customary sentiments, I stand perplexed and doubtful which way to
turn, being wholly lost in wonder at the extraordinary spectacle
before me. For to whatever quarter I direct my view, whether to the
east, or to the west, or over the whole world, or toward heaven
itself, everywhere and always I see the blessed one yet administering
the self-same empire. On earth I behold his sons, like some new
reflectors of his brightness, diffusing everywhere the luster of their
father's character,  and himself still living and powerful, and
governing all the affairs of men more completely than ever before,
being multiplied in the succession of his children. They had indeed
had previously the dignity of Cæsars;  but now, being invested
with his very self, and graced by his accomplishments, for the
excellence of their piety they are proclaimed by the titles of
Sovereign, Augustus, Worshipful, and Emperor.
 Literally "recently" or "not long since," and so it is rendered
by Tr. 1709, Stroth, Molzberger, Valesius ("nuper"), and Portesius.
Christophorson and Cousin avoid the awkwardness by circumlocution or
simple omission, while our translator shows his one characteristic
excellence of hitting nearly the unliteral meaning in a way which is
hard to improve.
 The assembly referred to was the Council of Nicæa.
Constantine's vicennial celebration was held at Nicomedia during the
session of the Council at Nicæa (July 25), according to Hieronymus and
others, but celebrated again at Rome the following year. The speech of
Eusebius on this occasion is not preserved. Valesius thinks the one
spoken of in the V. C. 3. 11, as delivered in the presence of the
council, is the one referred to.
 This oration is the one appended by Eusebius to this Life of
Constantine, and given in this translation (cf. V. C. 4. 46).
 [In the text it is ho logos, "my power of speech, or of
description, much desires," and so throughout this preface: but this
kind of personification seems scarcely suited to the English
idiom.--Bag.] This usage of Logos is most interesting. Both he and his
friend, the emperor, are fond of dwelling on the circles of
philosophical thought which center about the word Logos (cf. the
Oration of Constantine, and especially the Vicennial Oration of
Eusebius). "My Logos desires" seems to take the place in ancient
philosophical slang which "personality" or "self" does in modern. In
ancient usage the word includes "both the ratio and the oratio"
(Liddell and Scott), both the thought and its expression, both
reasoning and saying,--the "internal" and "expressed" of the Stoics,
followed by Philo and early Christian theology. He seems to use it in
the combined sense, and it makes a pretty good equivalent for
"personality," "my personality desires," &c. The idiom is kept up
through the chapter.
 Constantine II., Constantius, and Constans proved on the whole
sorry reflectors of glory.
 The first had been Cæsar more than twenty years; the second,
ten; and the third, less than five.
Chapter II.--The Preface Continued.
And I am indeed amazed, when I consider that he who was but lately
visible and present with us in his mortal body, is still, even after
death, when the natural thought disclaims everything superfluous as
unsuitable, most marvelously endowed with the same imperial dwellings,
and honors, and praises as heretofore.  But farther, when I
raise my thoughts even to the arch of heaven, and there contemplate
his thrice-blessed soul in communion with God himself, freed from
every mortal and earthly vesture, and shining in a refulgent robe of
light, and when I perceive that it is no more connected with the
fleeting periods and occupations of mortal life, but honored with an
ever-blooming crown, and an immortality of endless and blessed
existence, I stand as it were without power of speech or thought
 and unable to utter a single phrase, but condemning my own
weakness, and imposing silence on myself, I resign the task of
speaking his praises worthily to one who is better able, even to him
who, being the immortal God and veritable Word, alone has power to
confirm his own sayings. 
 Referring to special honors paid after death, as mentioned in
 Here there is play on the word Logos. My logos stands voiceless
and a-logos, "un-logosed." If the author meant both to refer to
expression, the first relates to the sound, and the second to the
power of construction or composition. The interchangeableness of the
weaving of consecutive thought in the mind, and the weaving it in
expressed words, is precisely the question of the "relation of thought
and language," so warmly contested by modern philosophers and
philologians (cf. Müller, Science of Thought, Shedd's Essays, &c.).
The old use of logos for both operations of "binding together" various
ideas into one synthetical form has decided advantages.
 Here there is again the play on the word Logos. For Eusebius'
philosophy of the logos, and of Christ as the Logos or Word, see the
second half of his tricennial oration and notes.
Chapter III.--How God honors Pious Princes, but destroys Tyrants.
Having given assurance that those who glorify and honor him will meet
with an abundant recompense at his hands, while those who set
themselves against him as enemies and adversaries will compass the
ruin of their own souls, he has already established the truth of these
his own declarations, having shown on the one hand the fearful end of
those tyrants who denied and opposed him,  and at the same time
having made it manifest that even the death of his servant, as well as
his life, is worthy of admiration and praise, and justly claims the
memorial, not merely of perishable, but of immortal monuments.
Mankind, devising some consolation for the frail and precarious
duration of human life, have thought by the erection of monuments to
glorify the memories of their ancestors with immortal honors. Some
have employed the vivid delineations and colors of painting  ;
some have carved statues from lifeless blocks of wood; while others,
by engraving their inscriptions deep on tablets  and monuments,
have thought to transmit the virtues of those whom they honored to
perpetual remembrance. All these indeed are perishable, and consumed
by the lapse of time, being representations of the corruptible body,
and not expressing the image of the immortal soul. And yet these
seemed sufficient to those who had no well-grounded hope of happiness
after the termination of this mortal life. But God, that God, I say,
who is the common Saviour of all, having treasured up with himself,
for those who love godliness, greater blessings than human thought has
conceived, gives the earnest and first-fruits of future rewards even
here, assuring in some sort immortal hopes to mortal eyes. The ancient
oracles of the prophets, delivered to us in the Scripture, declare
this; the lives of pious men, who shone in old time with every virtue,
bear witness to posterity of the same; and our own days prove it to be
true, wherein Constantine, who alone of all that ever wielded the
Roman power was the friend of God the Sovereign of all, has appeared
to all mankind so clear an example of a godly life.
 Compare Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum, which doubtless
the author had in mind.
 [Kerochutou graphes, properly encaustic painting, by means of
melted wax.--Bag] Compare admirable description of the process in the
Century Dictionary, ed. Whitney, N.Y. 1889, v. 2.
 Kubeis, at first used of triangular tablets of wood, brass, or
stone, but afterwards of any inscribed "pillars or tablets." Cf.
Chapter IV.--That God honored Constantine.
And God himself, whom Constantine worshiped, has confirmed this truth
by the clearest manifestations of his will, being present to aid him
 at the commencement, during the course, and at the end of his
reign, and holding him up to the human race as an instructive example
of godliness. Accordingly, by the manifold blessings he has conferred
on him, he has distinguished him alone of all the sovereigns of whom
we have ever heard as at once a mighty luminary and most clear-voiced
herald of genuine piety.
 Whether dexios is read or dexios, with Valesius, "present to
aid," covers the idea better than "graciously present" (Molz).
Chapter V.--That he reigned above Thirty Years, and lived above Sixty.
With respect to the duration of his reign, God honored him with three
complete periods of ten years, and something more, extending the whole
term of his mortal life to twice this number of years.  And
being pleased to make him a representative of his own sovereign power,
he displayed him as the conqueror of the whole race of tyrants, and
the destroyer of those God-defying giants  of the earth who
madly raised their impious arms against him, the supreme King of all.
They appeared, so to speak, for an instant, and then disappeared:
while the one and only true God, when he had enabled his servant, clad
in heavenly panoply, to stand singly against many foes, and by his
means had relieved mankind from the multitude of the ungodly,
constituted him a teacher of his worship to all nations, to testify
with a loud voice in the hearing of all that he acknowledged the true
God, and turned with abhorrence from the error of them that are no
 Compare discussion of length of reign and life under Life in
Prolegomena, p. 411.
 'GigEURnton. The persecuting emperors appear to be meant, of
whom there is more mention hereafter.--Bag.] Refers of course to the
mythical Gigantes who fought against the gods. It is used in the same
sense in which Æschylus uses it of Capaneus (Theb. 424), who defied
Zeus in declaring that even his thunderbolts should not keep him out
Chapter VI.--That he was the Servant of God, and the Conqueror of
Thus, like a faithful and good servant, did he act and testify, openly
declaring and confessing himself the obedient minister of the supreme
King. And God forthwith rewarded him, by making him ruler and
sovereign, and victorious to such a degree that he alone of all rulers
pursued a continual course of conquest, unsubdued and invincible, and
through his trophies a greater ruler than tradition records ever to
have been before. So dear was he to God, and so blessed; so pious and
so fortunate in all that he undertook, that with the greatest facility
he obtained the authority over more nations than any who had preceded
him,  and yet retained his power, undisturbed, to the very close
of his life.
 Compare the various wars against Franks, Bructerians, Goths,
Sarmatians and others mentioned in Life in Prolegomena. Compare also
Chapter 8 of this book.
Chapter VII.--Comparison with Cyrus, King of the Persians, and with
Alexander of Macedon.
Ancient history describes Cyrus, king of the Persians, as by far the
most illustrious of all kings up to his time. And yet if we regard the
end of his days,  we find it but little corresponded with his
past prosperity, since he met with an inglorious and dishonorable
death at the hands of a woman. 
Again, the sons of Greece celebrate Alexander the Macedonian as the
conqueror of many and diverse nations; yet we find that he was removed
by an early death, before he had reached maturity, being carried off
by the effects of revelry and drunkenness.  His whole life
embraced but the space of thirty-two years, and his reign extended to
no more than a third part of that period. Unsparing as the
thunderbolt, he advanced through streams of blood and reduced entire
nations and cities, young and old, to utter slavery. But when he had
scarcely arrived at the maturity of life, and was lamenting the loss
of youthful pleasures, death fell upon him with terrible stroke, and,
that he might not longer outrage the human race, cut him off in a
foreign and hostile land, childless, without successor, and homeless.
His kingdom too was instantly dismembered, each of his officers taking
away and appropriating a portion for himself. And yet this man is
extolled for such deeds as these. 
 [Such seems to be the probable meaning of this passage, which
is manifestly corrupt, and of which various emendations have been
proposed.--Bag.] Perhaps better paraphrased, "But since the test of
blessedness lies not in this, but in his end, we look and find that
this." The key to the idea is found in the remark near the end of
Chapter 11. Cf. also note.
 This is the account of Diodorus, who says he was taken prisoner
and crucified by the queen of the "Scythians" (3. 11, ed. 1531, f.
80^b). Herodotus says that he was slain in battle, but his head cut
off afterwards and dipped in a sack of blood by the queen Tomyris, who
had rejected his suit, the death of whose son he had caused, and who
had sworn to "give him his fill of blood" (Herod. Bk. I, §§205-214).
Xenophon says he died quietly in bed (Cyrop. 8. 7).
 A malarial fever, but made fatal by drinking at a banquet (cf.
Plut. chaps. 75 and 76, Arrian, Bk. 7).
 Eusebius' rhetorical purpose makes him unfair to Alexander, who
certainly in comparison with others of his time brought relative
blessing to the conquered (cf. Smith, Dict. I, p. 122).
Chapter VIII.--That he conquered nearly the Whole World.
But our emperor began his reign at the time of life at which the
Macedonian died, yet doubled the length of his life, and trebled the
length of his reign. And instructing his army in the mild and sober
precepts of godliness, he carried his arms as far as the Britons, and
the nations that dwell in the very bosom of the Western ocean. He
subdued likewise all Scythia, though situated in the remotest North,
and divided into numberless diverse and barbarous tribes. He even
pushed his conquests to the Blemmyans and Ethiopians, on the very
confines of the South; nor did he think the acquisition of the Eastern
nations unworthy his care. In short, diffusing the effulgence of his
holy light to the ends of the whole world, even to the most distant
Indians, the nations dwelling on the extreme circumference of the
inhabited earth, he received the submission of all the rulers, 
governors,  and satraps of barbarous nations, who cheerfully
welcomed and saluted him, sending embassies and presents, and setting
the highest value on his acquaintance and friendship; insomuch that
they honored him with pictures and statues in their respective
countries, and Constantine alone of all emperors was acknowledged and
celebrated by all. Notwithstanding, even among these distant nations,
he proclaimed the name of his God in his royal edicts with all
 Toparchs or prefects.
Chapter IX.--That he was the Son of a Pious Emperor, and bequeathed
the Power to Royal Sons.
Nor did he give this testimony in words merely, while exhibiting
failure in his own practice, but pursued every path of virtue, and was
rich in the varied fruits of godliness. He ensured the affection of
his friends by magnificent proofs of liberality; and inasmuch as he
governed on principles of humanity, he caused his rule to be but
lightly felt and acceptable to all classes of his subjects; until at
last, after a long course of years, and when he was wearied by his
divine labors, the God whom he honored crowned him with an immortal
reward, and translated him from a transitory kingdom to that endless
life which he has laid up in store for the souls of his saints, after
he had raised him up three sons to succeed him in his power. As then
the imperial throne had descended to him from his father, so, by the
law of nature, was it reserved for his children and their descendants,
and perpetuated, like some paternal inheritance, to endless
generations. And indeed God himself, who distinguished this blessed
prince with divine honors while yet present with us, and who has
adorned his death with choice blessings from his own hand, should be
the writer of his actions; since he has recorded his labors and
successes on heavenly monuments. 
 "The pillars of heaven."--Molz (?).
Chapter X.--Of the Need for this History, and its Value for
However, hard as it is to speak worthily of this blessed character,
and though silence were the safer and less perilous course,
nevertheless it is incumbent on me, if I would escape the charge of
negligence and sloth, to trace as it were a verbal portraiture, by way
of memorial of the pious prince, in imitation of the delineations of
human art. For I should be ashamed of myself were I not to employ my
best efforts, feeble though they be and of little value, in praise of
one who honored God with such surpassing devotion. I think too that my
work will be on other grounds both instructive and necessary, since it
will contain a description of those royal and noble actions which are
pleasing to God, the Sovereign of all. For would it not be disgraceful
that the memory of Nero, and other impious and godless tyrants far
worse than he, should meet with diligent writers to embellish the
relation of their worthless deeds with elegant language, and record
them in voluminous histories, and that I should be silent, to whom God
himself has vouchsafed such an emperor as all history records not, and
has permitted me to come into his presence, and enjoy his acquaintance
and society? 
Wherefore, if it is the duty of any one, it certainly is mine, to make
an ample proclamation of his virtues to all in whom the example of
noble actions is capable of inspiring the love of God. For some who
have written the lives of worthless characters, and the history of
actions but little tending to the improvement of morals, from private
motives, either love or enmity, and possibly in some cases with no
better object than the display of their own learning, have exaggerated
unduly their description of actions intrinsically base, by a
refinement and elegance of diction.  And thus they have become
to those who by the Divine favor had been kept apart from evil,
teachers not of good, but of what should be silenced in oblivion and
darkness. But my narrative, however unequal to the greatness of the
deeds it has to describe, will yet derive luster even from the bare
relation of noble actions. And surely the record of conduct that has
been pleasing to God will afford a far from unprofitable, indeed a
most instructive study, to persons of well-disposed minds.
 The Bagster translation, following Valesius, divides the tenth
Chapter, making the eleventh begin at this point.
 It looks as if there might perhaps be a direct hit at
Lactantius here, as having, through "enmity," described actions
intrinsically base in peculiarly elegant diction; but Lactantius'
descriptions are hardly more realistic than Eusebius' own.
Chapter XI.--That his Present Object is to record only the Pious
Actions of Constantine.
It is my intention, therefore, to pass over the greater part of the
royal deeds of this thrice-blessed prince; as, for example, his
conflicts and engagements in the field, his personal valor, his
victories and successes against the enemy, and the many triumphs he
obtained: likewise his provisions for the interests of individuals,
his legislative enactments for the social advantage of his subjects,
and a multitude of other imperial labors which are fresh in the memory
of all; the design of my present undertaking being to speak and write
of those circumstances only which have reference to his religious
And since these are themselves of almost infinite variety, I shall
select from the facts which have come to my knowledge such as are most
suitable, and worthy of lasting record, and endeavor to narrate them
as briefly as possible. Henceforward, indeed, there is a full and free
opportunity for celebrating in every way the praises of this truly
blessed prince, which hitherto we have been unable to do, on the
ground that we are forbidden to judge any one blessed before his
death,  because of the uncertain vicissitudes of life. Let me
implore then the help of God, and may the inspiring aid of the
heavenly Word be with me, while I commence my history from the very
earliest period of his life.
 [Alluding probably to Ecclesiastes xi. 28, "Judge none blessed
before his death; for a man shall be known in his children." Or,
possibly, to the well-known opinion of Solon to the same effect. Vide
Herod. i. 32; Aristot. Eth. Nicom. i. II.--Bag.] Compare also above,
Chapter XII.--That like Moses, he was reared in the Palaces of Kings.
Ancient history relates that a cruel race of tyrants oppressed the
Hebrew nation; and that God, who graciously regarded them in their
affliction, provided that the prophet Moses, who was then an infant,
should be brought up in the very palaces and bosoms of the oppressors,
and instructed in all the wisdom they possessed. And when in the
course of time he had arrived at manhood, and the time was come for
Divine justice to avenge the wrongs of the afflicted people, then the
prophet of God, in obedience to the will of a more powerful Lord,
forsook the royal household, and, estranging himself in word and deed
from the tyrants by whom he had been brought up, openly acknowledging
his true brethren and kinsfolk. Then God, exalting him to be the
leader of the whole nation, delivered the Hebrews from the bondage of
their enemies, and inflicted Divine vengeance through his means on the
tyrant race. This ancient story, though rejected by most as fabulous,
has reached the ears of all. But now the same God has given to us to
be eye-witnesses of miracles more wonderful than fables, and, from
their recent appearance, more authentic than any report. For the
tyrants of our day have ventured to war against the Supreme God, and
have sorely afflicted His Church.  And in the midst of these,
Constantine, who was shortly to become their destroyer, but at that
time of tender age, and blooming with the down of early youth, dwelt,
as that other servant of God had done, in the very home of the
tyrants,  but young as he was did not share the manner of life
of the ungodly: for from that early period his noble nature, under the
leading of the Divine Spirit, inclined him to piety and a life
acceptable to God. A desire, moreover, to emulate the example of his
father had its influence in stimulating the son to a virtuous course
of conduct. His father was Constantius  (and we ought to revive
his memory at this time), the most illustrious emperor of our age; of
whose life it is necessary briefly to relate a few particulars, which
tell to the honor of his son.
 The persecuting emperors. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
 He was brought up with Diocletian and Galerius. Compare
 Constantius Chlorus, Neo-Platonist and philanthropist. Compare
Chapter XIII.--Of Constantius his Father, who refused to imitate
Diocletian, Maximian, and Maxentius,  in their Persecution of
At a time when four emperors  shared the administration of the
Roman empire, Constantius alone, following a course of conduct
different from that pursued by his colleagues, entered into the
friendship of the Supreme God.
For while they besieged and wasted the churches of God, leveling them
to the ground, and obliterating the very foundations of the houses of
prayer,  he kept his hands pure from their abominable impiety,
and never in any respect resembled them. They polluted their provinces
by the indiscriminate slaughter of godly men and women; but he kept
his soul free from the stain of this crime.  They, involved in
the mazes of impious idolatry, enthralled first themselves, and then
all under their authority, in bondage to the errors of evil demons,
while he at the same time originated the profoundest peace throughout
his dominions, and secured to his subjects the privilege of
celebrating without hindrance the worship of God. In short, while his
colleagues oppressed all men by the most grievous exactions, and
rendered their lives intolerable, and even worse than death,
Constantius alone governed his people with a mild and tranquil sway,
and exhibited towards them a truly parental and fostering care.
Numberless, indeed, are the other virtues of this man, which are the
theme of praise to all; of these I will record one or two instances,
as specimens of the quality of those which I must pass by in silence,
and then I will proceed to the appointed order of my narrative.
 The author of the Chapter heading means of course Galerius.
Maxentius was not emperor until after the death of Constantius.
 [Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius.--Bag.]
 For account of these persecutions, see Church History, Bk. 8,
and notes of McGiffert.
 Compare the Church History, 8. 13, and Lactantius, De mort.
pers. 15. The latter says he allowed buildings to be destroyed, but
spared human life.
Chapter XIV.--How Constantius his Father, being reproached with
Poverty by Diocletian, filled his Treasury, and afterwards restored
the Money to those by whom it had been contributed.
In consequence of the many reports in circulation respecting this
prince, describing his kindness and gentleness of character, and the
extraordinary elevation of his piety, alleging too, that by reason of
his extreme indulgence to his subjects, he had not even a supply of
money laid up in his treasury; the emperor who at that time occupied
the place of supreme power sent to reprehend his neglect of the public
weal, at the same time reproaching him with poverty, and alleging in
proof of the charge the empty state of his treasury. On this he
desired the messengers of the emperor to remain with him awhile, and,
calling together the wealthiest of his subjects of all nations under
his dominion, he informed them that he was in want of money, and that
this was the time for them all to give a voluntary proof of their
affection for their prince.
As soon as they heard this (as though they had long been desirous of
an opportunity for showing the sincerity of their good will), with
zealous alacrity they filled the treasury with gold and silver and
other wealth; each eager to surpass the rest in the amount of his
contribution: and this they did with cheerful and joyous countenances.
And now Constantius desired the messengers of the great emperor 
personally to inspect his treasures, and directed them to give a
faithful report of what they had seen; adding, that on the present
occasion he had taken this money into his own hands, but that it had
long been kept for his use in the custody of the owners, as securely
as if under the charge of faithful treasurers. The ambassadors were
overwhelmed with astonishment at what they had witnessed: and on their
departure it is said that the truly generous prince sent for the
owners of the property, and, after commending them severally for their
obedience and true loyalty, restored it all, and bade them return to
This one circumstance, then, conveys a proof of the generosity of him
whose character we are attempting to illustrate: another will contain
the clearest testimony to his piety.
 Or the senior Augustus. "Diocletian is thus entitled in the
ancient panegyrists and in inscriptions."--Heinichen. It was "towards
the end of the second century of the Christian era" that there began
to be a plurality of Augusti, but "from this time we find two or even
a greater number of Augusti; and though in that and in all similar
cases the persons honored with the title were regarded as
participators of the imperial power, still the one who received the
title first was looked upon as the head of the empire."--Smith, Dict.
Gr. and Rom. Ant.
Chapter XV.--Of the Persecution raised by his Colleagues.
By command of the supreme authorities of the empire, the governors of
the several provinces had set on foot a general persecution of the
godly. Indeed, it was from the imperial courts themselves that the
very first of the pious martyrs proceeded, who passed through those
conflicts for the faith, and most readily endured both fire and sword,
and the depths of the sea; every form of death, in short, so that in a
brief time all the royal palaces were bereft of pious men.  The
result was, that the authors of this wickedness were entirely deprived
of the protecting care of God, since by their persecution of his
worshipers they at the same time silenced the prayers that were wont
to be made on their own behalf.
 Compare accounts of martyrs in the palaces, in the Church
History, 8. 6.
Chapter XVI.--How Constantius, feigning Idolatry, expelled those who
consented to offer Sacrifice, but retained in his Palace all who were
willing to confess Christ.
On the other hand, Constantius conceived an expedient full of
sagacity, and did a thing which sounds paradoxical, but in fact was
He made a proposal to all the officers of his court, including even
those in the highest stations of authority, offering them the
following alternative: either that they should offer sacrifice to
demons, and thus be permitted to remain with him, and enjoy their
usual honors; or, in case of refusal, that they should be shut out
from all access to his person, and entirely disqualified from
acquaintance and association with him. Accordingly, when they had
individually made their choice, some one way and some the other; and
the choice of each had been ascertained, then this admirable prince
disclosed the secret meaning of his expedient, and condemned the
cowardice and selfishness of the one party, while he highly commended
the other for their conscientious devotion to God. He declared, too,
that those who had been false to their God must be unworthy of the
confidence of their prince; for how was it possible that they should
preserve their fidelity to him, who had proved themselves faithless to
a higher power? He determined, therefore, that such persons should be
removed altogether from the imperial court, while, on the other hand,
declaring that those men who, in bearing witness for the truth, had
proved themselves to be worthy servants of God, would manifest the
same fidelity to their king, he entrusted them with the guardianship
of his person and empire, saying that he was bound to treat such
persons with special regard as his nearest and most valued friends,
and to esteem them far more highly than the richest treasures.
Chapter XVII.--Of his Christian Manner of Life.
The father of Constantine, then, is said to have possessed such a
character as we have briefly described. And what kind of death was
vouchsafed to him in consequence of such devotion to God, and how far
he whom he honored made his lot to differ from that of his colleagues
in the empire, may be known to any one who will give his attention to
the circumstances of the case. For after he had for a long time given
many proofs of royal virtue, in acknowledging the Supreme God alone,
and condemning the polytheism of the ungodly, and had fortified his
household by the prayers of holy men,  he passed the remainder
of his life in remarkable repose and tranquillity, in the enjoyment of
what is counted blessedness,--neither molesting others nor being
Accordingly, during the whole course of his quiet and peaceful reign,
he dedicated his entire household, his children, his wife, and
domestic attendants, to the One Supreme God: so that the company
assembled within the walls of his palace differed in no respect from a
church of God; wherein were also to be found his ministers, who
offered continual supplications on behalf of their prince, and this at
a time when, with most,  it was not allowable to have any
dealings with the worshipers of God, even so far as to exchange a word
 "Is said to have" is added conjecturally here by an earlier
editor, but Heinichen omits, as it would seem Eusebius himself did.
 Other readings are "with the others," or "with the rest," but
in whatever reading it refers to all the other emperors.
Chapter XVIII.--That after the Abdication of Diocletian and Maximian,
Constantius became Chief Augustus, and was blessed with a Numerous
The immediate consequence of this conduct was a recompense from the
hand of God, insomuch that he came into the supreme authority of the
empire. For the older emperors, for some unknown reason, resigned
their power; and this sudden change took place in the first year after
their persecution of the churches. 
From that time Constantius alone received the honors of chief
Augustus, having been previously, indeed, distinguished by the diadem
of the imperial Cæsars,  among whom he held the first rank; but
after his worth had been proved in this capacity, he was invested with
the highest dignity of the Roman empire, being named chief Augustus of
the four who were afterwards elected to that honor. Moreover, he
surpassed most of the emperors in regard to the number of his family,
having gathered around him a very large circle of children both male
and female. And, lastly, when he had attained to a happy old age, and
was about to pay the common debt of nature, and exchange this life for
another, God once more manifested His power in a special manner on his
behalf, by providing that his eldest son Constantine should be present
during his last moments, and ready to receive the imperial power from
his hands. 
 The persecution was in 303 or 304. Compare discussion of date
in Clinton, Fasti Rom. ann. 303-305. The abdication was in 305.
 Eusebius uses the terms Augustus, king, autocrat, and Cæsar
with a good deal of interchangeableness. It is hard to tell sometimes
whether king (basileus) means emperor or Cæsar. In general, Augustus
has been transferred in translations, and king and autocrat both
rendered emperor, which seems to be his real usage.
 Constantine reached him just before his death, though possibly
some weeks before. Compare Prolegomena.
Chapter XIX.--Of his Son Constantine, who in his Youth accompanied
Diocletian into Palestine.
The latter had been with his father's imperial colleagues,  and
had passed his life among them, as we have said, like God's ancient
prophet. And even in the very earliest period of his youth he was
judged by them to be worthy of the highest honor. An instance of this
we have ourselves seen, when he passed through Palestine with the
senior emperor,  at whose right hand he stood, and commanded the
admiration of all who beheld him by the indications he gave even then
of royal greatness. For no one was comparable to him for grace and
beauty of person, or height of stature; and he so far surpassed his
compeers in personal strength as to be a terror to them. He was,
however, even more conspicuous for the excellence of his mental 
qualities than for his superior physical endowments; being gifted in
the first place with a sound judgment,  and having also reaped
the advantages of a liberal education. He was also distinguished in no
ordinary degree both by natural intelligence and divinely imparted
 Diocletian and Galerius.
 Diocletian. He was on his way to Egypt in the famous campaign
against Achilleus in 296-297.
 Or "psychical," meaning more than intellectual.
 Rather, perhaps, "self-control."
Chapter XX.--Flight of Constantine to his Father because of the Plots
of Diocletian. 
The emperors then in power, observing his manly and vigorous figure
and superior mind, were moved with feelings of jealousy and fear, and
thenceforward carefully watched for an opportunity of inflicting some
brand of disgrace on his character. But the young man, being aware of
their designs, the details of which, through the providence of God,
more than once came to him, sought safety in flight;  in this
respect again keeping up his resemblance to the great prophet Moses.
Indeed, in every sense God was his helper; and he had before ordained
that he should be present in readiness to succeed his father.
 Eusebius himself speaks in the plural, and other writers speak
of plots by both Diocletian and Galerius. Compare Prolegomena.
 Compare detailed account in Lactantius, De M. P. c. 24.
Chapter XXI.--Death of Constantius, who leaves his Son Constantine
Immediately, therefore, on his escape from the plots which had been
thus insidiously laid for him, he made his way with all haste to his
father, and arrived at length at the very time that he was lying at
the point of death.  As soon as Constantius saw his son thus
unexpectedly in his presence, he leaped from his couch, embraced him
tenderly, and, declaring that the only anxiety which had troubled him
in the prospect of death, namely, that caused by the absence of his
son, was now removed, he rendered thanks to God, saying that he now
thought death better than the longest life,  and at once
completed the arrangement of his private affairs. Then, taking a final
leave of the circle of sons and daughters by whom he was surrounded,
in his own palace, and on the imperial couch, he bequeathed the
empire, according to the law of nature,  to his eldest son, and
breathed his last.
 Basileus. The writer of the Chapter headings uses this word
here and Augustus in the following Chapter, but it does not seem to
mean technically "Cæsar," and so the rendering emperor is retained.
 This seems to imply that Constantine reached him only after he
was sick in bed, i.e. at York in Britain; but other accounts make it
probable that he joined him at Boulogne before he sailed on this last
expedition to Britain. Compare Prolegomena.
 Literally, "than immortality [on earth]."
 It will hardly be agreed that imperial succession is a law of
nature anyway. Rather, "the succession [where it exists] is
established by the express will or the tacit consent of the nation,"
and the "pretended proprietary right...is a chimera" (Vattell, Law of
Nations, Phila., 1867, p. 24, 25). That primogeniture is a natural law
has been often urged, but it seems to be simply the law of first come
first served. The English custom of primogeniture is said to have
risen from the fact that in feudal times the eldest son was the one
who, at the time of the father's death, was of an age to meet the
duties of feudal tenure (compare Kent, Commentaries, Boston, 1867, v.
4, p. 420, 421). This is precisely the fact respecting Constantine.
His several brothers were all too young to be thought of.
Chapter XXII.--How, after the Burial of Constantius, Constantine was
Proclaimed Augustus by the Army.
Nor did the imperial throne remain long unoccupied: for Constantine
invested himself with his father's purple, and proceeded from his
father's palace, presenting to all a renewal, as it were, in his own
person, of his father's life and reign. He then conducted the funeral
procession in company with his father's friends, some preceding,
others following the train, and performed the last offices for the
pious deceased with an extraordinary degree of magnificence, and all
united in honoring this thrice blessed prince with acclamations and
praises, and while with one mind and voice, they glorified the rule of
the son as a living again of him who was dead, they hastened at once
to hail their new sovereign by the titles of Imperial and Worshipful
Augustus, with joyful shouts.  Thus the memory of the deceased
emperor received honor from the praises bestowed upon his son, while
the latter was pronounced blessed in being the successor of such a
father. All the nations also under his dominion were filled with joy
and inexpressible gladness at not being even for a moment deprived of
the benefits of a well ordered government.
In the instance of the Emperor Constantius, God has made manifest to
our generation what the end of those is who in their lives have
honored and loved him.
 The verdict was not confirmed at once. Galerius refused him the
title of emperor, and he contented himself with that of Cæsar for a
little. Compare Prolegomena.
Chapter XXIII.--A Brief Notice of the Destruction of the Tyrants.
With respect to the other princes, who made war against the churches
of God, I have not thought it fit in the present work to give any
account of their downfall,  nor to stain the memory of the good
by mentioning them in connection with those of an opposite character.
The knowledge of the facts themselves will of itself suffice for the
wholesome admonition of those who have witnessed or heard of the evils
which severally befell them.
 But he has done this himself in his Church History. Compare
also Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum.
Chapter XXIV.--It was by the Will of God that Constantine became
possessed of the Empire.
Thus then the God of all, the Supreme Governor of the whole universe,
by his own will appointed Constantine, the descendant of so renowned a
parent, to be prince and sovereign: so that, while others have been
raised to this distinction by the election of their fellow-men, he is
the only one to whose elevation no mortal may boast of having
Chapter XXV.--Victories of Constantine over the Barbarians and the
As soon then as he was established on the throne, he began to care for
the interests of his paternal inheritance, and visited with much
considerate kindness all those provinces which had previously been
under his father's government. Some tribes of the barbarians who dwelt
on the banks of the Rhine, and the shores of the Western ocean, having
ventured to revolt, he reduced them all to obedience, and brought them
from their savage state to one of gentleness. He contented himself
with checking the inroads of others, and drove from his dominions,
like untamed and savage beasts, those whom he perceived to be
altogether incapable of the settled order of civilized life. 
Having disposed of these affairs to his satisfaction, he directed his
attention to other quarters of the world, and first passed over to the
British nations,  which lie in the very bosom of the ocean.
These he reduced to submission, and then proceeded to consider the
state of the remaining portions of the empire, that he might be ready
to tender his aid wherever circumstances might require it.
 The Franci, Bructeri, &c.
 [Eusebius here speaks of a second expedition of Constantine to
Britain, which is not mentioned by other ancient writers; or he may
have been forgetful or ignorant of the fact that Constantine had
received the imperial authority in Britain itself, Constantius having
died in his palace at York, a.d. 306. Vide Gibbon's Decline and Fall,
chap. 14.--Bag.] It seems to be a part of the confusion about his
crossing to Britain in the first place.
Chapter XXVI.--How he resolved to deliver Rome from Maxentius.
While, therefore, he regarded the entire world as one immense body,
and perceived that the head of it all, the royal city of the Roman
empire, was bowed down by the weight of a tyrannous oppression; at
first he had left the task of liberation to those who governed the
other divisions of the empire, as being his superiors in point of age.
But when none of these proved able to afford relief, and those who had
attempted it had experienced a disastrous termination of their
enterprise,  he said that life was without enjoyment to him as
long as he saw the imperial city thus afflicted, and prepared himself
for the overthrowal of the tyranny.
 Referring to the unsuccessful expeditions of Severus and
Chapter XXVII.--That after reflecting on the Downfall of those who had
worshiped Idols, he made Choice of Christianity.
Being convinced, however, that he needed some more powerful aid than
his military forces could afford him, on account of the wicked and
magical enchantments which were so diligently practiced by the tyrant,
 he sought Divine assistance, deeming the possession of arms and
a numerous soldiery of secondary importance, but believing the
co-operating power of Deity invincible and not to be shaken. He
considered, therefore, on what God he might rely for protection and
assistance. While engaged in this enquiry, the thought occurred to
him, that, of the many emperors who had preceded him, those who had
rested their hopes in a multitude of gods, and served them with
sacrifices and offerings, had in the first place been deceived by
flattering predictions, and oracles which promised them all
prosperity, and at last had met with an unhappy end, while not one of
their gods had stood by to warn them of the impending wrath of heaven;
while one alone who had pursued an entirely opposite course, who had
condemned their error, and honored the one Supreme God during his
whole life, had found him to be the Saviour and Protector of his
empire, and the Giver of every good thing. Reflecting on this, and
well weighing the fact that they who had trusted in many gods had also
fallen by manifold forms of death, without leaving behind them either
family or offspring, stock, name, or memorial among men: while the God
of his father had given to him, on the other hand, manifestations of
his power and very many tokens: and considering farther that those who
had already taken arms against the tyrant, and had marched to the
battle-field under the protection of a multitude of gods, had met with
a dishonorable end (for one of them  had shamefully retreated
from the contest without a blow, and the other,  being slain in
the midst of his own troops, became, as it were, the mere sport of
death  ); reviewing, I say, all these considerations, he judged
it to be folly indeed to join in the idle worship of those who were no
gods, and, after such convincing evidence, to err from the truth; and
therefore felt it incumbent on him to honor his father's God alone.
 Compare Chapters 36 and 37; also Lactantius, De M. P. chap. 44.
 This last phrase has exercised the ingenuity of translators
greatly. This translation does well enough, though one might hazard
"was easily overcome by death," or "was an easy victim to death."
Chapter XXVIII.--How, while he was praying, God sent him a Vision of a
Cross of Light in the Heavens at Mid-day, with an Inscription
admonishing him to conquer by that.
Accordingly he called on him with earnest prayer and supplications
that he would reveal to him who he was, and stretch forth his right
hand to help him in his present difficulties. And while he was thus
praying with fervent entreaty, a most marvelous sign appeared to him
from heaven, the account of which it might have been hard to believe
had it been related by any other person. But since the victorious
emperor himself long afterwards declared it to the writer of this
history,  when he was honored with his acquaintance and society,
and confirmed his statement by an oath, who could hesitate to accredit
the relation, especially since the testimony of after-time has
established its truth? He said that about noon, when the day was
already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a
cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the
inscription, Conquer by this. At this sight he himself was struck with
amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this
expedition, and witnessed the miracle. 
 Note here the care Eusebius takes to throw off the
responsibility for the marvelous. It at the same time goes to show the
general credibility of Eusebius, and some doubt in his mind of the
exact nature and reality of what he records.
 This very circumstantial account has met with doubters from the
very beginning, commencing with Eusebius himself. There are all sorts
of explanations, from that of an actual miracle to that of pure later
invention. The fact of some, at least supposed, special divine
manifestation at this time can hardly be denied. It is mentioned
vaguely by Paneg. 313, and on the triumphal arch shortly after. It is
reported as a dream by Lactantius about the same time with the
erection of the arch, and alluded to in general, but hardly to be
doubted, terms by Nazarius in 321. Moreover, it is witnessed to by the
fact of the standard of the cross which was made. As to the real
nature of the manifestation, it has been thought to be as recorded by
Constantine, and if so, as perhaps some natural phenomenon of the sun,
or to have been a simple dream, or an hallucination. It is hardly
profitable to discuss the possibilities. The lack of contemporary
evidence to details and the description of Lactantius as a dream is
fatal to any idea of a miraculous image with inscriptions clearly seen
by all. Some cross-like arrangement of the clouds, or a "parahelion,"
or some sort of a suggestion of a cross, may have been seen by all,
but evidently there was no definite, vivid, clear perception, or it
would have been in the mouths of all and certainly recorded, or at
least it would not have been recorded as something else by Lactantius.
It seems probable that the emperor, thinking intensely, with all the
weight of his great problem resting on his energetic mind, wondering
if the Christian God was perhaps the God who could help, saw in some
suggestive shape of the clouds or of sunlight the form of a cross, and
there flashed out in his mind in intensest reality the vision of the
words, so that for the moment he was living in the intensest reality
of such a vision. His mind had just that intense activity to which
such a thing is possible or actual. It is like Goethe's famous meeting
of his own self. It is that genius power for the realistic
representation of ideal things. This is not the same exactly as
"hallucination," or even "imagination." The hallucination probably
came later when Constantine gradually represented to himself and
finally to Eusebius the vivid idea with its slight ground, as an
objective reality,--a common phenomenon. When the emperor went to
sleep, his brain molecules vibrating to the forms of his late intense
thought, he inevitably dreamed, and dreaming naturally confirmed his
thought. This does not say that the suggestive form seen, or the idea
itself, and the direction of the dream itself, were not providential
and the work of the Holy Spirit, for they were, and were special in
character, and so miraculous (or why do ideas come?); but it is to be
feared that Constantine's own spirit or something else furnished some
of the later details. There is a slight difference of authority as to
when and where the vision took place. The panegyrist seems to make it
before leaving Gaul, and Malalas is inaccurate as usual in having it
happen in a war against the barbarians. For farther discussion of the
subject see monographs under Literature in the Prolegomena, especially
under the names: Baring, Du Voisin, Fabricius, Girault, Heumann,
Jacutius Mamachi, Molinet, St. Victor, Suhr, Toderini, Weidener,
Wernsdorf, Woltereck. The most concise, clear, and admirable supporter
of the account of Eusebius, or rather Constantine, as it stands, is
Newman, Miracles (Lond. 1875), 271-286.
Chapter XXIX.--How the Christ of God appeared to him in his Sleep, and
commanded him to use in his Wars a Standard made in the Form of the
He said, moreover, that he doubted within himself what the import of
this apparition could be. And while he continued to ponder and reason
on its meaning, night suddenly came on; then in his sleep the Christ
of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the
heavens, and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he
had seen in the heavens, and to use it as a safeguard in all
engagements with his enemies.
Chapter XXX.--The Making of the Standard of the Cross.
At dawn of day he arose, and communicated the marvel to his friends:
and then, calling together the workers in gold and precious stones, he
sat in the midst of them, and described to them the figure of the sign
he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones.
And this representation I myself have had an opportunity of seeing.
Chapter XXXI.--A Description of the Standard of the Cross, which the
Romans now call the Labarum. 
Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with
gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid
over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and
precious stones; and within this,  the symbol of the Saviour's
name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its
initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X in its centre:
 and these letters the emperor was in the habit of wearing on
his helmet at a later period. From the cross-bar of the spear was
suspended a cloth,  a royal piece, covered with a profuse
embroidery of most brilliant precious stones; and which, being also
richly interlaced with gold, presented an indescribable degree of
beauty to the beholder. This banner was of a square form, and the
upright staff, whose lower section was of great length,  bore a
golden half-length portrait  of the pious emperor and his
children on its upper part, beneath the trophy of the cross, and
immediately above the embroidered banner.
The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a
safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that
others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies.
 [From the Bretagnic lab, to raise, or from labarva, which, in
the Basque language, still signifies a standard.--Riddle's Lat. Dict.
voc. Labarum. Gibbon declares the derivation and meaning of the word
to be "totally unknown, in spite of the efforts of the critics, who
have ineffectually tortured the Latin, Greek, Spanish, Celtic,
Teutonic, Illyric, Armenian, &c., in search of an etymology."--Decline
and Fall, chap. 22, note 33.--Bag.] Compare the full article of
Venables, in Smith and Cheetham, Dict. 1 (1880), 908-911, with its
references and cuts.
 Thus rather than "on." Compare cuts in article of Venables. "It
[the monogram of Christ] is often set within a crown or palm
branch."--Wolcott, Sacred Archæalogy, p. 390.
 [Chiazomenou tou rh kata to mesaitaton. The figure ChR would
seem to answer to the description in the text. Gibbon gives two
specimens, -R and ×R as engraved from ancient monuments. Chap. 20,
note 35.--Bag.] The various coins given by Venables all have the usual
form of the monogram ×R . Compare also Tyrwhitt, art. Monogram, in
Smith and Cheetham; also the art. Monogramme du Christ, in Martigny,
Dict. d. ant. (1877), 476-483.
 That this was no new invention of Constantine may be seen by
comparing the following description of an ordinary Roman standard,
"...each cohort had for its own ensign the serpent or dragon, which
was woven on a square piece of cloth, elevated on a gilt staff, to
which a cross-bar was adapted for the purpose...under the eagle or
other emblem was often placed a head of the reigning emperor." Yates,
art. Signa militaria, in Smith, Dict. Gr. and Rom. Ant. (1878),
 "Which in its full extent was of great length."--Bag.,
according to suggestion of Valesius of a possible meaning, but better
as above, meaning the part below the cross-bar. So Valesius,
Christopherson, 1709, Molzberger.
Chapter XXXII.--How Constantine received Instruction, and read the
These things were done shortly afterwards. But at the time above
specified, being struck with amazement at the extraordinary vision,
and resolving to worship no other God save Him who had appeared to
him, he sent for those who were acquainted with the mysteries of His
doctrines, and enquired who that God was, and what was intended by the
sign of the vision he had seen. They affirmed that He was God, the
only begotten Son of the one and only God: that the sign which had
appeared was the symbol of immortality,  and the trophy of that
victory over death which He had gained in time past when sojourning on
earth. They taught him also the causes of His advent, and explained to
him the true account of His incarnation. Thus he was instructed in
these matters, and was impressed with wonder at the divine
manifestation which had been presented to his sight. Comparing,
therefore, the heavenly vision with the interpretation given, he found
his judgment confirmed; and, in the persuasion that the knowledge of
these things had been imparted to him by Divine teaching, he
determined thenceforth to devote himself to the reading of the
Moreover, he made the priests of God his counselors, and deemed it
incumbent on him to honor the God who had appeared to him with all
devotion. And after this, being fortified by well-grounded hopes in
Him, he hastened to quench the threatening fire of tyranny.
 Both Socrates (5. 17) and Sozomen (7. 15) relate that symbols
of the cross found in a temple of Serapis, on its destruction by
Theodosius, were explained by the Christians of the time as symbols of
immortality. Cf. also Suidas (ed. Gasiford, 2 (1834), 3398), s. v.
Stauroi; Valesius on Socrates and Sozomen; Jablonski, Opuscula, 1, p.
156- . The study of the pre-christian use of the cross is most
suggestive. It suggests at least that in some way the passion of our
Lord was the realization of some world-principle or "natural Law."
Chapter XXXIII.--Of the Adulterous Conduct of Maxentius at Rome.
For he who had tyrannically possessed himself of the imperial city,
 had proceeded to great lengths in impiety and wickedness, so as
to venture without hesitation on every vile and impure action.
For example: he would separate women from their husbands, and after a
time send them back to them again, and these insults he offered not to
men of mean or obscure condition, but to those who held the first
places in the Roman senate. Moreover, though he shamefully dishonored
almost numberless free women, he was unable to satisfy his ungoverned
and intemperate desires. But  when he assayed to corrupt
Christian women also, he could no longer secure success to his
designs, since they chose rather to submit their lives  to death
than yield their persons to be defiled by him.
 Compare the Church History, 8. 14.
 Maxentius, made emperor by an uprising of the Prætorian Guards
 "For" seems to express the author's real meaning, but both
punctuation of editors and renderings of translators insist on "but."
 Various readings of text add "lawfully married" women, and send
them back again "grievously dishonored," and so Bag., but Heinichen
has this reading. Compare note of Heinichen.
Chapter XXXIV.--How the Wife of a Prefect slew herself for Chastity's
Now a certain woman, wife of one of the senators who held the
authority of prefect, when she understood that those who ministered to
the tyrant in such matters were standing before her house (she was a
Christian), and knew that her husband through fear had bidden them
take her and lead her away, begged a short space of time for arraying
herself in her usual dress, and entered her chamber. There, being left
alone, she sheathed a sword in her own breast, and immediately
expired, leaving indeed her dead body to the procurers, but declaring
to all mankind, both to present and future generations, by an act
which spoke louder than any words, that the chastity for which
Christians are famed is the only thing which is invincible and
indestructible. Such was the conduct displayed by this woman.
 This Chapter is found almost word for word in the Church
History, 8. 14.
Chapter XXXV.--Massacre of the Roman People by Maxentius.
All men, therefore, both people and magistrates, whether of high or
low degree, trembled through fear of him whose daring wickedness was
such as I have described, and were oppressed by his grievous tyranny.
Nay, though they submitted quietly, and endured this bitter servitude,
still there was no escape from the tyrant's sanguinary cruelty. For at
one time, on some trifling pretense, he exposed the populace to be
slaughtered by his own body-guard; and countless multitudes of the
Roman people were slain in the very midst of the city by the lances
and weapons, not of Scythians or barbarians, but of their own
fellow-citizens. And besides this, it is impossible to calculate the
number of senators whose blood was shed with a view to the seizure of
their respective estates, for at different times and on various
fictitious charges, multitudes of them suffered death.
Chapter XXXVI.--Magic Arts of Maxentius against Constantine; and
Famine at Rome.
But the crowning point of the tyrant's wickedness was his having
recourse to sorcery: sometimes for magic purposes ripping up women
with child, at other times searching into the bowels of new-born
infants. He slew lions also, and practiced certain horrid arts for
evoking demons, and averting the approaching war, hoping by these
means to get the victory. In short, it is impossible to describe the
manifold acts of oppression by which this tyrant of Rome enslaved his
subjects: so that by this time they were reduced to the most extreme
penury and want of necessary food, a scarcity such as our
contemporaries do not remember ever before to have existed at Rome.
 1709, Molz. &c., add "nor anywhere else," but Bag. is
undoubtedly right in translating simply "ever before." The Chapter is
found substantially and in part word for word in the Church History,
Chapter XXXVII.--Defeat of Maxentius's Armies in Italy.
Constantine, however, filled with compassion on account of all these
miseries, began to arm himself with all warlike preparation against
the tyranny. Assuming therefore the Supreme God as his patron, and
invoking His Christ to be his preserver and aid, and setting the
victorious trophy, the salutary symbol, in front of his soldiers and
body-guard, he marched with his whole forces, trying to obtain again
for the Romans the freedom they had inherited from their ancestors.
And whereas, Maxentius, trusting more in his magic arts than in the
affection of his subjects, dared not even advance outside the city
gates,  but had guarded every place and district and city
subject to his tyranny, with large bodies of soldiers,  the
emperor, confiding in the help of God, advanced against the first and
second and third divisions of the tyrant's forces, defeated them all
with ease at the first assault,  and made his way into the very
interior of Italy.
 "Because the soothsayers had foretold that if he went out of
it, he should perish." Lact. De M. P.
 Bag.adds "and numberless ambuscades," following Valesius and
1709. The word so rendered is the word for "companies of soldiers."
The rather awkward "multitude of heavy-armed soldiers and myriads of
companies of soldiers" may be rendered as above, although "larger
bodies of soldiers and limitless supplies" suggested by the
translation is perhaps the real meaning. He had both "men and means."
 At Sigusium, Turin, Brescia, and Verona.
Chapter XXXVIII.--Death of Maxentius on the Bridge of the Tiber.
And already he was approaching very near Rome itself, when, to save
him from the necessity of fighting with all the Romans for the
tyrant's sake, God himself drew the tyrant, as it were by secret
cords, a long way outside the gates.  And now those miracles
recorded in Holy Writ, which God of old wrought against the ungodly
(discredited by most as fables, yet believed by the faithful), did he
in every deed confirm to all alike, believers and unbelievers, who
were eye-witnesses of the wonders. For as once in the days of Moses
and the Hebrew nation, who were worshipers of God, "Pharaoh's chariots
and his host hath he cast into the sea and his chosen chariot-captains
are drowned in the Red Sea,"  --so at this time Maxentius, and
the soldiers and guards  with him, "went down into the depths
like stone,"  when, in his flight before the divinely-aided
forces of Constantine, he essayed to cross the river which lay in his
way, over which, making a strong bridge of boats, he had framed an
engine of destruction, really against himself, but in the hope of
ensnaring thereby him who was beloved by God. For his God stood by the
one to protect him, while the other, godless,  proved to be the
miserable contriver of these secret devices to his own ruin. So that
one might well say, "He hath made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen
into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own
head, and his violence shall come down upon his own pate." 
Thus, in the present instance, under divine direction, the machine
erected on the bridge, with the ambuscade concealed therein, giving
way unexpectedly before the appointed time, the bridge began to sink,
and the boats with the men in them went bodily to the bottom. 
And first the wretch himself, then his armed attendants and guards,
even as the sacred oracles had before described, "sank as lead in the
mighty waters."  So that they who thus obtained victory from God
might well, if not in the same words, yet in fact in the same spirit
as the people of his great servant Moses, sing and speak as they did
concerning the impious tyrant of old: "Let us sing unto the Lord, for
he hath been glorified exceedingly: the horse and his rider hath he
thrown into the sea. He is become my helper and my shield unto
salvation." And again, "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods?
who is like thee, glorious in holiness, marvelous in praises, doing
 The Milvian, the present Ponte Molle.
 The present Ponte Molle is nearly 2½ kilometers (say 1½ miles)
from the Porta del Popolo (at the Mons Pincius). The walls at that
time were the ones built by Aurelian, and are substantially the same
as the present ones. This Pons Milvius was first built 100 years b.c.,
and "some part of the first bridge is supposed to remain" (Jenkin, p.
329). Compare Jenkin, art. Bridges, in Enc. Brit. 4 (1878), 329, for
cut and description.
 Ex. xv. 4. This is identically taken from the Septuagint with
the change of only one word, where Eusebius gains little in exchanging
"swallowed up in" for plunged or drowned in.
 "Heavy armed and light armed."
 Ex. xv. 5.
 "Godless," or if aneuis to be read, "destitute of his aid," as
Bag. Much conjecture has been expended on this reading. Heinichen has
 Ps. vii. 15, 16, Septuagint translation.
 This matter is discussed in the Prolegomena.
 Ex. xv. 10.
 Ex. xv. 1, 2, 11, Septuagint version. This whole Chapter with
the last paragraph of the preceding are in the Church History, 9. 9.
Chapter XXXIX.--Constantine's Entry into Rome.
Having then at this time sung these and suchlike praises to God, the
Ruler of all and the Author of victory, after the example of his great
servant Moses, Constantine entered the imperial city in triumph. And
here the whole body of the senate, and others of rank and distinction
in the city, freed as it were from the restraint of a prison, along
with the whole Roman populace, their countenances expressive of the
gladness of their hearts, received him with acclamations and abounding
joy; men, women, and children, with countless multitudes of servants,
greeting him as deliverer, preserver, and benefactor, with incessant
shouts. But he, being possessed of inward piety toward God, was
neither rendered arrogant by these plaudits, nor uplifted by the
praises he heard:  but, being sensible that he had received help
from God, he immediately rendered a thanksgiving to him as the Author
of his victory.
 Compare Prolegomena under Character, and also for other
accounts of the universal joy under Life.
Chapter XL.--Of the Statue of Constantine holding a Cross, and its
Moreover, by loud proclamation and monumental inscriptions he made
known to all men the salutary symbol, setting up this great trophy of
victory over his enemies in the midst of the imperial city, and
expressly causing it to be engraven in indelible characters, that the
salutary symbol was the safeguard of the Roman government and of the
entire empire. Accordingly, he immediately ordered a lofty spear in
the figure of a cross to be placed beneath the hand of a statue
representing himself, in the most frequented part of Rome, and the
following inscription to be engraved on it in the Latin language: by
virtue of this salutary sign, which is the true test of valor, I have
preserved and liberated your city from the yoke of tyranny. I have
also set at liberty the roman senate and people, and restored them to
their ancient distinction and splendor. 
 Compare the Church History, 9. 9. If it be true, as Crusè says,
that in this inscription there are traces of the Latin original, it
gives a strong presumption that Eusebius was quoting a really existing
inscription and accordingly that it is genuine. If so, of course the
probability of the vision of the cross is greatly increased.
Chapter XLI.--Rejoicings throughout the Provinces; and Constantine's
Acts of Grace.
Thus the pious emperor, glorying in the confession of the victorious
cross, proclaimed the Son of God to the Romans with great boldness of
testimony. And the inhabitants of the city, one and all, senate and
people, reviving, as it were, from the pressure of a bitter and
tyrannical domination, seemed to enjoy purer rays of light, and to be
born again into a fresh and new life. All the nations, too, as far as
the limit of the western ocean, being set free from the calamities
which had heretofore beset them, and gladdened by joyous festivals,
ceased not to praise him as the victorious, the pious, the common
benefactor: all, indeed, with one voice and one mouth, declared that
Constantine had appeared by the grace of God as a general blessing to
mankind. The imperial edict also was everywhere published, whereby
those who had been wrongfully deprived of their estates were permitted
again to enjoy their own, while those who had unjustly suffered exile
were recalled to their homes. Moreover, he freed from imprisonment,
and from every kind of danger and fear, those who, by reason of the
tyrant's cruelty, had been subject to these sufferings.
Chapter XLII.--The Honors Conferred upon Bishops, and the Building of
The emperor also personally inviting the society of God's ministers,
distinguished them with the highest possible respect and honor,
showing them favor in deed and word as persons consecrated to the
service of his God. Accordingly, they were admitted to his table,
though mean in their attire and outward appearance; yet not so in his
estimation, since he thought he saw not the man as seen by the vulgar
eye, but the God in him. He made them also his companions in travel,
believing that He whose servants they were would thus help him.
Besides this, he gave from his own private resources costly
benefactions to the churches of God, both enlarging and heightening
the sacred edifices,  and embellishing the august sanctuaries
 of the church with abundant offerings.
 "Oratories," or chapels.
 Variously rendered, but seems to say that the smaller buildings
were enlarged and the larger ones enriched. The number of buildings
which Constantine is claimed to have erected in Rome alone is
prodigious. One meets at every turn in the modern city churches which
were, it is said, founded or remodeled by him. For interesting
monograph which claims to have established the Constantinian
foundation of many of these, see Ciampini in Prolegomena, under
Chapter XLIII.--Constantine's Liberality to the Poor.
He likewise distributed money largely to those who were in need, and
besides these showing himself philanthropist and benefactor even to
the heathen, who had no claim on him;  and even for the beggars
in the forum, miserable and shiftless, he provided, not with money
only, or necessary food, but also decent clothing. But in the case of
those who had once been prosperous, and had experienced a reverse of
circumstances, his aid was still more lavishly bestowed. On such
persons, in a truly royal spirit, he conferred magnificent
benefactions; giving grants of land to some, and honoring others with
various dignities. Orphans of the unfortunate he cared for as a
father, while he relieved the destitution of widows, and cared for
them with special solicitude. Nay, he even gave virgins, left
unprotected by their parents' death, in marriage to wealthy men with
whom he was personally acquainted. But this he did after first
bestowing on the brides such portions as it was fitting they should
bring to the communion of marriage.  In short, as the sun, when
he rises upon the earth, liberally imparts his rays of light to all,
so did Constantine, proceeding at early dawn from the imperial palace,
and rising as it were with the heavenly luminary, impart the rays of
his own beneficence to all who came into his presence. It was scarcely
possible to be near him without receiving some benefit, nor did it
ever happen that any who had expected to obtain his assistance were
disappointed in their hope. 
 So usually rendered literally, "to those who came to him from
without," but it might rather mean "foreigners." His generosity
included not only the worthy poor citizens, but foreigners and
 The word used is the koinonia, familiar in the doctrine of the
"communion" or "fellowship" of the saints. It has the notion of
reciprocity and mutual sharing.
 The popular proverb that at the end of his life he was a
spendthrift, as given by Victor, represents the other side of this
liberality. Compare Prolegomena, under Character.
Chapter XLIV.--How he was present at the Synods of Bishops.
Such, then, was his general character towards all. But he exercised a
peculiar care over the church of God: and whereas, in the several
provinces there were some who differed from each other in judgment,
he, like some general bishop constituted by God, convened synods of
his ministers. Nor did he disdain to be present and sit with them in
their assembly, but bore a share in their deliberations, ministering
to all that pertained to the peace of God. He took his seat, too, in
the midst of them, as an individual amongst many, dismissing his
guards and soldiers, and all whose duty it was to defend his person;
but protected by the fear of God, and surrounded by the guardianship
of his faithful friends. Those whom he saw inclined to a sound
judgment, and exhibiting a calm and conciliatory temper, received his
high approbation, for he evidently delighted in a general harmony of
sentiment; while he regarded the unyielding wills with aversion.
 Constantine, like Eusebius himself, would be a distinct
"tolerationist" in modern theological controversy. One may imagine
that Eusebius entered into favor with Constantine in this way. It
commends itself to our feeling; but after all, the unyielding
Athanasius was a greater man than Eusebius.
Chapter XLV.--His Forbearance with Unreasonable Men.
Moreover he endured with patience some who were exasperated against
himself, directing them in mild and gentle terms to control
themselves, and not be turbulent. And some of these respected his
admonitions, and desisted; but as to those who proved incapable of
sound judgment, he left them entirely at the disposal of God, and
never himself desired harsh measures against any one. Hence it
naturally happened that the disaffected in Africa reached such a pitch
of violence as even to venture on overt acts of audacity;  some
evil spirit, as it seems probable, being jealous of the present great
prosperity, and impelling these men to atrocious deeds, that he might
excite the emperor's anger against them. He gained nothing, however,
by this malicious conduct; for the emperor laughed at these
proceedings, and declared their origin to be from the evil one;
inasmuch as these were not the actions of sober persons, but of
lunatics or demoniacs; who should be pitied rather than punished;
since to punish madmen is as great folly as to sympathize with their
condition is supreme philanthropy. 
 Compare Prolegomena, under Life and Works.
 [This passage in the text is defective or corrupt.--Bag.] What
is given is substantially the conventional translation of Valesius,
Heinichen, Molzberger, and with some variation, 1709 and Bag. It is
founded, however, on a conjectural reading, and reluctating against
this, a suggestion may be hazarded--"an excessive philanthropy for the
folly of the insane, even to the point of sympathy for them."
Chapter XLVI.--Victories over the Barbarians.
Thus the emperor in all his actions honored God, the Controller of all
things, and exercised an unwearied  oversight over His churches.
And God requited him, by subduing all barbarous nations under his
feet, so that he was able everywhere to raise trophies over his
enemies: and He proclaimed him as conqueror to all mankind, and made
him a terror to his adversaries: not indeed that this was his natural
character, since he was rather the meekest, and gentlest, and most
benevolent of men.
 Some read "unbroken" or "perfect."
Chapter XLVII.--Death of Maximin,  who had attempted a
Conspiracy, and of Others whom Constantine detected by Divine
While he was thus engaged, the second of those who had resigned the
throne, being detected in a treasonable conspiracy, suffered a most
ignominious death. He was the first whose pictures, statues, and all
similar marks of honor and distinction were everywhere destroyed, on
the ground of his crimes and impiety. After him others also of the
same family were discovered in the act of forming secret plots against
the emperor; all their intentions being miraculously revealed by God
through visions to His servant.
For he frequently vouchsafed to him manifestations of himself, the
Divine presence appearing to him in a most marvelous manner, and
according to him manifold intimations of future events. Indeed, it is
impossible to express in words the indescribable wonders of Divine
grace which God was pleased to vouchsafe to His servant. Surrounded by
these, he passed the rest of his life in security, rejoicing in the
affection of his subjects, rejoicing too because he saw all beneath
his government leading contented lives; but above all delighted at the
flourishing condition of the churches of God.
 There is long discussion of whether Maximian or Maximin is
intended. To any one who compares the order of narration in the Church
History, 9. 9, 11, the discussion will seem idle, though it is curious
that the one most jealous and greedy of power should have been
mistaken for one of the abdicators. It seems as if there had been some
confusion in the mind of Eusebius himself.
Chapter XLVIII.--Celebration of Constantine's Decennalia.
While he was thus circumstanced, he completed the tenth year of his
reign. On this occasion he ordered the celebration of general
festivals, and offered prayers of thanksgiving to God, the King of
all, as sacrifices without flame or smoke.  And from this
employment he derived much pleasure: not so from the tidings he
received of the ravages committed in the Eastern provinces.
 Unburnt offerings, meat offerings.
Chapter XLIX.--How Licinius oppressed the East.
For he was informed that in that quarter a certain savage beast was
besetting both the church of God and the other inhabitants of the
provinces, owing, as it were, to the efforts of the evil spirit to
produce effects quite contrary to the deeds of the pious emperor: so
that the Roman empire, divided into two parts, seemed to all men to
resemble night and day; since darkness overspread the provinces of the
East, while the brightest day illumined the inhabitants of the other
portion. And whereas the latter were receiving manifold blessings at
the hand of God, the sight of these blessings proved intolerable to
that envy which hates all good, as well as to the tyrant who afflicted
the other division of the empire; and who, notwithstanding that his
government was prospering, and he had been honored by a marriage
connection  with so great an emperor as Constantine, yet cared
not to follow the steps of that pious prince, but strove rather to
imitate the evil purposes and practice of the impious; and chose to
adopt the course of those whose ignominious end he had seen with his
own eyes, rather than to maintain amicable relations with him who was
his superior. 
 Licinius married in 313 Constantia, sister of Constantine.
 Thus generally following the Church History (10. 8).
Chapter L.--How Licinius attempted a Conspiracy against Constantine.
Accordingly he engaged in an implacable war against his benefactor,
altogether regardless of the laws of friendship, the obligation of
oaths, the ties of kindred, and already existing treaties. For the
most benignant emperor had given him a proof of sincere affection in
bestowing on him the hand of his sister, thus granting him the
privilege of a place in family relationship and his own ancient
imperial descent, and investing him also with the rank and dignity of
his colleague in the empire.  But the other took the very
opposite course, employing himself in machinations against his
superior, and devising various means to repay his benefactor with
injuries. At first, pretending friendship, he did all things by guile
and treachery, expecting thus to succeed in concealing his designs;
but God enabled his servant to detect the schemes thus devised in
darkness. Being discovered, however, in his first attempts, he had
recourse to fresh frauds; at one time pretending friendship, at
another claiming the protection of solemn treaties. Then suddenly
violating every engagement, and again beseeching pardon by embassies,
yet after all shamefully violating his word, he at last declared open
war, and with desperate infatuation resolved thenceforward to carry
arms against God himself, whose worshiper he knew the emperor to be.
 This rendering of Bag. is really a gloss from the Church
History, 10. 8. Compare rendering of McGiffert. Molzberger renders
"and left him in complete possession of the portions of the kingdom
which had fallen to his lot."
Chapter LI.--Intrigues of Licinius against the Bishops, and his
Prohibition of Synods.
And at first he made secret enquiry respecting the ministers of God
subject to his dominion, who had never, indeed, in any respect
offended against his government, in order to bring false accusations
against them. And when he found no ground of accusation, and had no
real ground of objection against them, he next enacted a law, to the
effect that the bishops should never on any account hold communication
with each other, nor should any one of them absent himself on a visit
to a neighboring church; nor, lastly, should the holding of synods, or
councils for the consideration of affairs of common interest, 
be permitted. Now this was clearly a pretext for displaying his malice
against us. For we were compelled either to violate the law, and thus
be amenable to punishment, or else, by compliance with its
injunctions, to nullify the statutes of the Church; inasmuch as it is
impossible to bring important questions to a satisfactory adjustment,
except by means of synods. In other cases also this God-hater, being
determined to act contrary to the God-loving prince, enacted such
things. For whereas the one assembled the priests of God in order to
honor them, and to promote peace and unity of judgment; the other,
whose object it was to destroy everything that was good, used all his
endeavors to destroy the general harmony.
 Perhaps "synods or councils and conferences on economic
Chapter LII.--Banishment of the Christians, and Confiscation of their
And whereas Constantine, the friend of God, had granted to His
worshipers freedom of access to the imperial palaces; this enemy of
God, in a spirit the very reverse of this, expelled thence all
Christians subject to his authority. He banished those who had proved
themselves his most faithful and devoted servants, and compelled
others, on whom he had himself conferred honor and distinction as a
reward for their former eminent services, to the performance of menial
offices as slaves to others; and at length, being bent on seizing the
property of all as a windfall for himself, he even threatened with
death those who professed the Saviour's name. Moreover, being himself
of a nature hopelessly debased by sensuality, and degraded by the
continual practice of adultery and other shameless vices, he assumed
his own worthless character as a specimen of human nature generally,
and denied that the virtue of chastity and continence existed among
Chapter LIII.--Edict that Women should not meet with the Men in the
Accordingly he passed a second law, which enjoined that men should not
appear in company with women in the houses of prayer, and forbade
women to attend the sacred schools of virtue, or to receive
instruction from the bishops, directing the appointment of women to be
teachers of their own sex. These regulations being received with
general ridicule, he devised other means for effecting the ruin of the
churches. He ordered that the usual congregations of the people should
be held in the open country outside the gates, alleging that the open
air without the city was far more suitable for a multitude than the
houses of prayer within the walls.
Chapter LIV.--That those who refuse to sacrifice are to be dismissed
from Military Service, and those in Prison not to be fed.
Failing, however, to obtain obedience in this respect also, at length
he threw off the mask, and gave orders that those who held military
commissions in the several cities of the empire should be deprived of
their respective commands, in case of their refusal to offer
sacrifices to the demons. Accordingly the forces of the authorities in
every province suffered the loss of those who worshiped God; and he
too who had decreed this order suffered loss, in that he thus deprived
himself of the prayers of pious men. And why should I still further
mention how he directed that no one should obey the dictates of common
humanity by distributing food to those who were pining in prisons, or
should even pity the captives who perished with hunger; in short, that
no one should perform a virtuous action, and that those whose natural
feelings impelled them to sympathize with their fellow-creatures
should be prohibited from doing them a single kindness? Truly this was
the most utterly shameless and scandalous of all laws, and one which
surpassed the worst depravity of human nature: a law which inflicted
on those who showed mercy the same penalties as on those who were the
objects of their compassion, and visited the exercise of mere humanity
with the severest punishments. 
 Compare Church History, 10. 9.
Chapter LV.--The Lawless Conduct and Covetousness of Licinius.
Such were the ordinances of Licinius. But why should I enumerate his
innovations respecting marriage, or those concerning the dying,
whereby he presumed to abrogate the ancient and wisely established
laws of the Romans, and to introduce certain barbarous and cruel
institutions in their stead, inventing a thousand pretenses for
oppressing his subjects? Hence it was that he devised a new method of
measuring land, by which he reckoned the smallest portion at more than
its actual dimensions, from an insatiable desire of acquisition. Hence
too he registered the names of country residents who were now no more,
and had long been numbered with the dead, procuring to himself by this
expedient a shameful gain. His meanness was unlimited and his rapacity
insatiable. So that when he had filled all his treasuries with gold,
and silver, and boundless wealth, he bitterly bewailed his poverty,
and suffered as it were the torments of Tantalus. But why should I
mention how many innocent persons he punished with exile; how much
property he confiscated; how many men of noble birth and estimable
character he imprisoned, whose wives he handed over to be basely
insulted by his profligate slaves, and to how many married women and
virgins he himself offered violence, though already feeling the
infirmities of age? I need not enlarge on these subjects, since the
enormity of his last actions causes the former to appear trifling and
of little moment. 
 Compare Church History, 10. 9, and the same for the following
Chapters, in parts or whole.
Chapter LVI.--At length he undertakes to raise a Persecution.
For the final efforts of his fury appeared in his open hostility to
the churches, and he directed his attacks against the bishops
themselves, whom he regarded as his worst adversaries, bearing special
enmity to those men whom the great and pious emperor treated as his
friends. Accordingly he spent on us the utmost of his fury, and, being
transported beyond the bounds of reason, he paused not to reflect on
the example of those who had persecuted the Christians before him, nor
of those whom he himself had been raised up to punish and destroy for
their impious deeds: nor did he heed the facts of which he had been
himself a witness, though he had seen with his own eyes the chief
originator of these our calamities (whoever he was), smitten by the
stroke of the Divine scourge.
Chapter LVII.--That Maximian,  brought Low by a Fistulous Ulcer
with Worms, issued an Edict in Favor of the Christians.
For whereas this man had commenced the attack on the churches, and had
been the first to pollute his soul with the blood of just and godly
men, a judgment from God overtook him, which at first affected his
body, but eventually extended itself to his soul. For suddenly an
abscess appeared in the secret parts of his person, followed by a
deeply seated fistulous ulcer; and these diseases fastened with
incurable virulence on the intestines, which swarmed with a vast
multitude of worms, and emitted a pestilential odor. Besides, his
entire person had become loaded, through gluttonous excess, with an
enormous quantity of fat, and this, being now in a putrescent state,
is said to have presented to all who approached him an intolerable and
dreadful spectacle. Having, therefore, to struggle against such
sufferings, at length, though late, he came to a realization of his
past crimes against the Church; and, confessing his sins before God,
he put a stop to the persecution of the Christians, and hastened to
issue imperial edicts and rescripts for the rebuilding of their
churches, at the same time enjoining them to perform their customary
worship, and to offer up prayers on his behalf. 
 [Galerius Maximian. The description of his illness and death in
the next Chapter is repeated from the author's Ecclesiastical History,
Bk. 8, c. 16.--Bag.] Compare translation of McGiffert, p. 338, and
note; also Lactantius, De M. P. c. 33.
 Compare edict in the Church History, 8. 17.
Chapter LVIII.--That Maximin, who had persecuted the Christians, was
compelled to fly, and conceal himself in the Disguise of a Slave.
Such was the punishment which he underwent who had commenced the
persecution. He,  however, of whom we are now speaking, who had
been a witness of these things, and known them by his own actual
experience, all at once banished the remembrance of them from his
mind, and reflected neither on the punishment of the first, nor the
divine judgment which had been executed on the second persecutor.
 The latter had indeed endeavored to outstrip his predecessor in
the career of crime, and prided himself on the invention of new
tortures for us. Fire nor sword, nor piercing with nails, nor yet wild
beasts or the depths of the sea sufficed him. In addition to all
these, he discovered a new mode of punishment, and issued an edict
directing that their eyesight should be destroyed. So that numbers,
not of men only, but of women and children, after being deprived of
the sight of their eyes, and the use of the joints of their feet, by
mutilation or cauterization, were consigned in this condition to the
painful labor of the mines. Hence it was that this tyrant also was
overtaken not long after by the righteous judgment of God, at a time
when, confiding in the aid of the demons whom he worshiped as gods,
and relying on the countless multitudes of his troops, he had ventured
to engage in battle. For, feeling himself on that occasion destitute
of all hope in God, he threw from him the imperial dress which so ill
became him, hid himself with unmanly timidity in the crowd around him,
and sought safety in flight. 
He afterwards lurked about the fields and villages in the habit of a
slave, hoping he should thus be effectually concealed. He had not,
however, eluded the mighty and all-searching eye of God: for even
while he was expecting to pass the residue of his days in security, he
fell prostrate, smitten by God's fiery dart, and his whole body
consumed by the stroke of Divine vengeance; so that all trace of the
original lineaments of his person was lost, and nothing remained to
him but dry bones and a skeleton-like appearance.
 [Maximin, ruler of the Eastern provinces of the empire.--Bag.]
 He was defeated by Licinius, who had much inferior forces.
Compare Prolegomena, under Life, and references.
Chapter LIX.--That Maximin, blinded by Disease, issued an Edict in
Favor of the Christians.
And still the stroke of God continued heavy upon him, so that his eyes
protruded and fell from their sockets, leaving him quite blind: and
thus he suffered, by a most righteous retribution, the very same
punishment which he had been the first to devise for the martyrs of
God. At length, however, surviving even these sufferings, he too
implored pardon of the God of the Christians, and confessed his
impious fighting against God: he too recanted, as the former
persecutor had done; and by laws and ordinances explicitly
acknowledged his error in worshiping those whom he had accounted gods,
declaring that he now knew, by positive experience, that the God of
the Christians was the only true God. These were facts which Licinius
had not merely received on the testimony of others, but of which he
had himself had personal knowledge: and yet, as though his
understanding had been obscured by some dark cloud of error, persisted
in the same evil course.
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