Early Church Fathers
46 Cf. §1, notes 2 and 3.
47 [This section (8) appears as a "Preface" to the Edinburgh edition.]
1 The words insanire, bacchari, refer to the appearance of the ancient seers when under the influence of the deity. So Virgil says, Insanam vatem aspicies (Aen., iii. 443), and, Bacchatur vates (Aen., vi. 78). The meaning is, that they make their asseverations with all the confidence of a seer when filled, as he pretended, with the influence of the god.
2 Et velut quiddam promptum ex oraculo dicere, i.e., to declare a matter with boldness and majesty, as if most certain and undoubted.
3 Popularia verba, i.e., rumours arising from the ignorance of the common people.
4 The Christians were regarded as "public enemies," and were so called.
5 Or, "all party zeal."
6 So Meursius,-the ms. reading is inusitatum, "extraordinary."
7 So Gelenius; ms., coartatur, "pressed together."
8 Or, "race," gens, i.e., the Christian people.
9 The verb mereri, used in this passage, has in Roman writers the idea of merit or excellence of some kind in a person, in virtue of which he is deemed worthy of some favour or advantage; but in ecclesiastical Latin it means, as here, to gain something by the mere favour of God, without any merit of one's own.
10 See Livy, i. 31, etc.; and Pliny, Nat. Hist., ii. 38.
11 The ms. reads, flumina cognoverimus ingentia lim-in-is ingentia siccatis, "that mighty rivers shrunk up, leaving the mud," etc.
12 So Tertullian, Apologet., 40, says,-"We have read that the islands Hiera, Anaphe, Delos, Rhodes, and Cos were destroyed, together with many human beings."
13 Arnobius, no doubt, speaks of the story of Phaethon, as told by Ovid; on which, cf. Plato, Tim., st. p. 22.
14 Nourry thinks that reference is here made to the contests of gladiators and athletes with lions and other beasts in the circus. But it is more likely that the author is thinking of African tribes who were harassed by lions. Thus Aelian (de Nat Anim., xvii. 24) tells of a Libyan people, the Nomaei, who were entirely destroyed by lions.
15 The city of Amyclae in Italy is referred to, which was destroyed by serpents.
16 In the Timaeus of Plato, c. vi. st. p. 24, an old priest of Saïs, in Egypt, is represented as telling Solon that in times long gone by the Athenians were a very peaceful and very brave people, and that 9,000 years before that time they had overcome a mighty host which came rushing from the Atlantic Sea, and which threatened to subjugate all Europe and Asia. The sea was then navigable, and in front of the pillars of Hercules (Strait of Gibraltar) lay an island larger than Africa and Asia together: from it travellers could pass to other islands, and from these again to the opposite continent. In this island great kings arose, who made themselves masters of the whole island, as well as of other islands, and parts of the continent. Having already possessions in Libya and Europe, which they wished to increase, they gathered an immense host; but it was repelled by the Athenians. Great earthquakes and storms ensued, in which the island of Atlantis was submerged, and the sea ever after rendered impassable by shoals of mud produced by the sunken island. For other forms of this legend, and explanations of it, see Smith's Dictionary of Geography, under Atlantis; [also Ancient America, p. 175, Harpers, 1872. This volume, little known, seems to me "stranger than fiction," and far more interesting].
17 Cf. Matt. v. 39.
18 The ms. here inserts a mark of interrogation.
19 So the ms. si facto et, corrected, however, by a later copyist. si facio ut, "if I cause that," etc.
20 Plato, Tim., st. p. 22.
21 "To analyze"-dissolvere- is in the ms. marked as spurious.
22 In the ms. we find "to chill and numb"-congelare, constringere; but the last word, too, is marked as spurious.
23 ms. sustinere (marked as a gloss), "to sustain;" perferre, "to endure."
24 See Introduction.
25 [Our author thus identifies himself with Christians, and was, doubtless, baptized when he wrote these words.]
26 Sine ullis feriis, a proverbial expression, "without any holidays;" i.e. without any intermixture of good.
27 For qui durare Ursinus would read quiret durare; but this seems to have no ms. authority, though giving better sense and an easier construction.
28 That is, unsuccessfully.
29 Alemanni, i.e., the Germans; hence the French Allemagne. The ms. has Alamanni.
30 ["Innumerable Christians:" let this be noted.]
31 The Gaetuli and Tinguitani were African tribes. For Tinguitanos, another reading is tunc Aquitanos; but Tinguitanos is much to be preferred on every ground.
32 The ms. reads at, "but."
33 Defendere is added in the ms., but marked as a gloss.
34 Consumere is in like manner marked as a gloss.
35 So Orelli, for the ms. judicationis, "judgment."
36 The carelessness of some copyist makes the ms. read ve-st-ri, "your," corrected as above by Ursinus.
37 So Ursinus, followed by Heraldus, LB., and Orelli, for the ms. errores, which Stewechius would change into errones-"vagrants"-referring to the spirits wandering over the earth: most other edd., following Gelenius, read, "called demigods, that these indeed"-daemonas appellat, et hos, etc.
38 So the ms.,which is corrected in the first ed. "us to be willing"-nos velle: Stewechius reads, "us to be making good progress, are envious, enraged, and cry aloud," etc.-nos belle provenire compererunt, invident, indignantur, declamitantque, etc.; to both of which it is sufficient objection that they do not improve the passage by their departure from the ms..
39 A beautiful appeal, and one sufficient to show that our author was no longer among catechumens.]
40 So LB. and Orelli; but the ms. reads, "himself to be like a god by his prophets," etc.-se esse similem profiteatur in vatibus.
41 So corrected by Pithoeus for the ms. profanus.
42 [Evidences of our author's Christian status abound in this fine passage.]
43 So Gelenius, followed by Orelli and others, for the ms., reading divini interpretes viri (instead of juris)-"'O men, interpreters of the sacred and divine," which is retained by the 1st ed., Hildebrand, and Oehler.
44 Aii Locutii. Shortly before the Gallic invasion, B.C. 390, a voice was heard at the dead of night announcing the approach of the Gauls, but the warning was unheeded. After the departure of the Gauls, the Romans dedicated an altar and sacred enclosure to Aius Locutius, or Loquens, i.e., "The Announcing Speaker," at a spot on the Via Nova, where the voice was heard. The ms. reads aiaceos boetios, which Gelenius emended Aios Locutios.
45 So emended by Ursinus for the ms. libentinos, which is retained in the 1st ed., and by Gelenius, Canterus, and others. Cf. iv. 9, where Libentina is spoken of as presiding over lusts.
46 As a soul was assigned to each individual at his birth, so a genius was attributed to a state. The genius of the Roman people was often represented on ancient coins.
47 Thus the Athenians paid honours to Leaena, the Romans to Acca Laurentia and Flora.
48 The superstitions of the Egyptians are here specially referred to.
49 That is, by whose pleasure and at whose command they are preserved from annihilation.
50 So Orelli, adopting a conjecture of Meursius, for the ms. nobis.
51 That is, not self-existent, but sprung from something previously in being.
52 Columen is here regarded by some as equal to culmen; but the term "pillar" makes a good sense likewise.
53 This is according to the doctrine of Pythagoras, Plato, Origen, and others, who taught that the souls of men first existed in heavenly beings, and that on account of sins of long standing they were transferred to earthly bodies to super punishment. Cf. Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. p. 433.