Early Church Fathers
32 The compassion of Jesus appeared not in the fact that those who denied suffered such terrible punishments, but that the difference between their misery in their sufferings and the joy of the faithful in theirs became a means of strength and encouragement to the other Christians. Compare the note of Heinichen (III. p. 180).
33 Cf. 2 Cor. ii, 15. Cf. also Bk. IV. chap. 15, §37, above.
34 meta tauta dh loipon eij pan eidoj dihreito ta marturia thj ecodou autwn.
35 dia pleionwn klhrwn; undoubtedly a reference to the athletic combats (see Valesius' note in loco).
36 taj diecodouj twn mastigwn taj ekeise eiqismenaj. It was the custom to compel the bestiarii before fighting with wild beasts to run the gauntlet. Compare Shorting's and Valesius' notes in loco, and Tertullian's ad Nationes, 18, and ad Martyras, 5, to which the latter refers.
37 Among the Romans crucifixion was the mode of punishment commonly inflicted upon slaves and the worst criminals. Roman citizens were exempt from this indignity. See Lipsius' De Cruce and the various commentaries upon the Gospel narratives of the crucifixion of Christ.
38 Compare Isa. xxvii. 1, which is possibly referred to here.
39 wj nekrouj ecetrwse. Compare §11, above.
40 Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
41 apotumpanisqhnai. The word means literally "beaten to death," but it is plain that it is used in a general sense here, from the fact that some were beheaded and some sent to the wild beasts, as we are told just below.
42 Renan (Marc Auréle, p. 329) identifies this with the meeting of the general assembly of the Gallic nations, which took place annually in the month of August for the celebration of the worship of Augustus, and was attended with imposing ceremonies, games, contests, &c. The identification is not at all improbable.
43 as Cf. Matt. xxii. 11.
44 thganon: literally, "frying-pan," by which, however, is evidently meant the instrument of torture spoken of already more than once in this chapter as an iron seat or chair.
45 The Christians were very solicitous about the bodies of the martyrs, and were especially anxious to give them decent burial, and to preserve the memory of their graves as places of peculiar religious interest and sanctity. They sometimes went even to the length of bribing the officials to give them the dead bodies (cf. §61, below).
46 Rev. xxii. 11. The citation of the Apocalypse at this date as Scripture (ina h grafh plhrwqh) is noteworthy.
47 These words show us how much emphasis the Christians of that day must have laid upon the resurrection of the body (an emphasis which is abundantly evident from other sources), and in what a sensuous and material way they must have taught the doctrine, or at least how unguarded their teaching must have been, which could lead the heathen to think that they could in the slightest impede the resurrection by such methods as they pursued. The Christians, in so far as they laid so much emphasis as they did upon the material side of the doctrine, and were so solicitous about the burial of their brethren, undoubtedly were in large part responsible for this gross misunderstanding on the part of the heathen.
48 Namely, Antoninus Verus (in reality Marcus Aurelius, but wrongly distinguished by Eusebius from him), mentioned above in the Introduction. Upon Eusebius' separation of Marcus Aurelius and Antoninus Verus, see below, p. 390, note.
49 Phil. ii. 6.
50 Rev. iii. 14.
51 Rev. i. 5.
52 arxhgw thj zwhj tou qeou. Cf. Rev. iii. 14.
53 omologoi. The regular technical term for "confessor," which later came into general use, was omologhthj.
54 teleiwqhnai; i.e be made perfect by martyrdom. For this use of teleiow, see below, Bk. V1. chap. 3, §13, and chap. 5, §1; also Bk. VII. chap. 15, §5, and see Suicer's Thesaurus, s.v.
55 proj touj adelfouj.
56 Compare 1 Pet. v. 6.
57 pasi men apologounto. Rufinus translates placabant omnes; Musculus, omnibus rationem fidei suae reddebant; Valesius, omnium defensionem suscipiebant, though he maintains in a note that the rendering of Musculus, or the translation omnibus se excusabant, is more correct. It is true that pasi apologounto ought strictly to mean "apologized to all" rather than "for all," the latter being commonly expressed by the use of uper with the genitive (see the lexicons s.v. apologeomai). At the same time, though it may not be possible to produce any other examples of the use of the dative, instead of uper with the genitive, after apologeomai, it is clear from the context that it must be accepted in the present case.
58 The question of the readmission of the lapsed had not yet become a burning one. The conduct of the martyrs here in absolving (eluon) those who had shown weakness under persecution is similar to that which caused so much dispute in the Church during and after the persecution of Decius. See below, Bk. VI. chap. 43, note 1.
59 Acts vii. 60.
60 hmin, which is found in four important mss. and in Nicephorus, and is supported by Rufinus and adopted by Stephanus, Stroth, Burton, and Zimmermann. The majority of the mss., followed by all the other editors, including Heinichen, read aei.
61 Eusebius refers here to the Novatians, who were so severe in their treatment of the lapsed, and who in his day were spread very widely and formed an aggressive and compact organization (see below, Bk. VI. chap. 43, note 1).
62 Of this Alcibiades we know only what is told us in this connection. Doubtless Eusebius found this extract very much to his taste, for we know that he was not inclined to asceticism. The enthusiastic spirit of the Lyons Christians comes out strongly in the extract, and considerable light is thrown by it upon the state of the Church there. Imprisoned confessors were never permitted to suffer for want of food and the other comforts of life so long as their brethren were allowed access to them. Compare e.g. Lucian's Peregrinus Proteus.
63 On Montanus and the Montanists, see below, chap. 16 sq.
64 Of this Montanist Alcibiades we know nothing. He is, of course, to be distinguished from the confessor mentioned just above. The majority of the editors of Eusebius substitute his name for that of Miltiades in chap. 16, below, but the mss. all read Miltiadhn, and the emendation is unwarranted (see chap. 16, note 7). Salmon suggests that we should read Miltiades instead of Alcibiades in the present passage, supposing that the latter may have crept in through a copyist's error, under the influence of the name Alcibiades mentioned just above. Such an error is possible, but not probable (see chap. 16, note 7).
65 Of the Montanist Theodotus we know only what is told us here and in chap. 16, below (see that chapter, note 25).
66 On Eleutherus, see above, Bk. V. Introd. note 2.
67 It is commonly assumed that the Gallic martyrs favored the Montanists and exhorted Eleutherus to be mild in his judgment of them, and to preserve the peace of the Church by permitting them to remain within it and enjoy fellowship with other Christians. But Salmon (in the Dict. of Christian Biog. III. p. 937) has shown, in my opinion conclusively, that the Gallic confessors took the opposite side, and exhorted Eleutherus to confirm the Eastern Church in its condemnation of the Montanists, representing to him that he would threaten the peace of the Church by refusing to recognize the justice of the decision of the bishops of the East and by setting himself in opposition to them. Certainly, with their close connection with Asia Minor, we should expect the Gallic Christians to be early informed of the state of affairs in the East, and it is not difficult to think that they may have formed the same opinion in regard to the new prophecy which the majority of their brethren there had formed. The decisive argument for Salmon's opinion is the fact that Eusebius calls the letter of the Lyons confessors to Eleutherus "pious and most orthodox." Certainly, looking upon Montanism as one of the most execrable of heresies and as the work of Satan himself (cf. his words in chap. 16, below), it is very difficult to suppose that he can have spoken of a letter written expressly in favor of the Montanists in any such terms of respect. Salmon says: "It is monstrous to imagine that Eusebius, thinking thus of Montanism, could praise as pious or orthodox the opinion of men who, ignorant of Satan's devices, should take the devil's work for God's. The way in which we ourselves read the history is that the Montanists had appealed to Rome; that the Church party solicited the good offices of their countrymen settled in Gaul, who wrote to Eleutherus representing the disturbance to the peace of the churches (a phrase probably preserved by Eusebius from the letter itself) which would ensue if the Roman Church should approve what the Church on the spot had condemned. ...To avert, then, the possibility of the calamity of a breach between the Eastern and Western churches, the Gallic churches, it would appear, not only wrote, but sent Irenaeus to Rome at the end of 177 or the beginning of 178. The hypothesis here made relieves us from the necessity of supposing this presbeia to have been unsuccessful, while it fully accounts for the necessity of sending it."
68 On Irenaeus, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 21, note 9.
69 omologhtwn. Eusebius here uses the common technical term for confessors; i.e. for those who had beefi faithful and had suffered in persecution, but had not lost their lives. In the epistle of the churches of Lyons and Vienne, the word omologoi is used to denote the same persons (see above, chap. 2, note 6).
70 Cf. §2 of the Introduction to this book (Bk. V.). On Eusebius' Collection of Martyrdoms, see above, p. 30.
71 i.e. Antoninus Verus, whom Eusebius expressly distinguishes from Marcus Aurelius at the beginning of the next chapter. See below, p. 390, note.
72 The expression logoj exei, employed here by Eusebius, is ordinarily used by him to denote that the account which he subjoins rests simply upon verbal testimony. But in the present instance he has written authority, which he mentions below. He seems, therefore, in the indefinite phrase logoj exei, to express doubts which he himself feels as to the trustworthiness of the account which he is about to give. The story was widely known in his time, and the Christians' version of it undoubtedly accepted by the Christians themselves with little misgiving, and yet he is too well informed upon this subject to be ignorant of the fact that the common version rests upon a rather slender foundation. He may have known of the coins and monuments upon which the emperor had commemorated his own view of the matter,-at any rate he was familiar with the fact that all the heathen historians contradicted the claims of the Christians, and hence he could not but consider it a questionable matter. At the same time, the Christian version of the story was supported by strong names and was widely accepted, and he, as a good Christian, of course wished to accept it, if possible, and to report it for the edification of posterity.
73 toutou de adelfon: the toutou referring to the Antoninus mentioned at the close of the previous chapter. Upon Eusebius' confusion of the successors of Antoninus Pius, see below, p. 390, note.