Early Church Fathers
86 Libukwterouj topouj. Libya was an indefinite term among the ancients for that part of Africa which included the Great Desert and all the unexplored country lying west and south of it. Almost nothing was known about the country, and the desert and the regions beyond were peopled by the fancy with all sorts of terrible monsters, and were looked upon as the theater of the most dire forces, natural and supernatural. As a consequence, the term "Libyan" became a synonym for all that was most disagreeable and dreadful in nature.
87 Mareotis, or Mareia, or Maria, was one of the land districts into which Egypt was divided. A lake, a town situated on the shore of the lake, and the district in which they lay, all bore the same name. The district Mareotis lay just south of Alexandria, but did not include it, for Alexandria and Ptolemais formed an independent sphere of administration sharply separated from the thirty-six land districts of the country. Cf. Bk. II. chap. 17, notes 10 and 12, above. Mommsen (Roman Provinces, Scribner's ed. Vol. II. p. 255) remarks that these land districts, like the cities, became the basis of episcopal dioceses. This we should expect to be the case, but I am not aware that we can prove it to have been regularly so, at any rate not during the earlier centuries. Cf. e.g. Wiltsch's Geography and Statistics of the Church, London ed., I. p. 192 sq.
88 hmaj de mallon en odw kai prwtouj katalhfqhsomenouj etacen.
89 ta Kollouqiwnoj (sc. merh), i.e. the parts or regions of Colluthion. Of Colluthion, so far as I am aware, nothing is known. It seems to have been a town, possibly a section of country in the district of Mareotis. Nicephorus spells the word with a single l, which Valesius contends is more correct because the word is derived from Colutho, which was not an uncommon name in Egypt (see Valesius' note ad locum).
90 kata meroj sunagwgai, literally, "partial meetings." It is plain enough from this that persons living in the suburbs were allowed to hold special services in their homes or elsewhere, and were not compelled always to attend the city church, which might be a number of miles distant. It seems to me doubtful whether this passage is sufficient to warrant Valesius' conclusion, that in the time of Dionysius there was but one church in Alexandria, where the brethren met for worship. It may have been so, but the words do not appear to indicate, as Valesius thinks they do, that matters were in a different state then from that which existed in the time of Athanasius, who, in his Apology to Constantius, §14 sq., expressly speaks of a number of church buildings in Alexandria.
91 Sabinus has been already mentioned in Bk. VI. chap. 40, §2, from which passage we may gather that he held the same position under Decius which Aemilianus held under Valerian (see note 3 on the chapter referred to).
92 We learn from chap. 20, below, that this epistle to Domitius and Didymus was one of Dionysius' regular festal epistles (for there is no ground for assuming that a different epistle is referred to in that chapter). Domitius and Didymus are otherwise unknown personages. Eusebius evidently (as we can see both from this chapter and from chapter 20) supposes this epistle to refer to the persecution, of which Dionysius has been speaking in that portion of his epistle to Germanus quoted in this chapter; namely, to the persecution of Valerian. But he is clearly mistaken in this supposition; for, as we can see from a comparison of §22, below, with Bk. VI. chap. 40, §6 sq., Dionysius is referring in this epistle to the same persecution to which he referred in that chapter; namely, to the persecution of Decius. But the present epistle was written (as we learn from §23) while this same persecution was still going on, and, therefore, some years before the time of Valerian's persecution, and before the writing of the epistle to Germanus (see Bk. VI. chap. 40, note 2), with which Eusebius here associates it. Cf. Valesius' note ad locum and Dittrich's Dionysius der Grosse, p. 40 sq.
93 Isa. xlix. 8.
94 See above, Bk. VI. chap. 40, note 10.
95 See ibid. §6 sq.
96 Paraetonium was an important town and harbor on the Mediterranean, about 150 miles west of Alexandria. A day's journey among the ancients commonly denoted about 180 to 200 stadia (22 to 25 miles), so that Dionysius retreat must have lain some 60 to 70 miles from Paraetonium, probably to the south of it.
97 On Maximus, see above, note 5.
98 Of Dioscorus we know only what is told us here. He is not to be identified with the lad mentioned in Bk. VI. chap. 41, §19 (see note 17 on that chapter).
99 Of Demetrius and Lucius we know only what is recorded here.
100 Faustinus and Aquila are known to us only from this passage.
101 On these three deacons, see above, notes 6-8.
102 See below, chap. 32, §5.
103 See chap. 28, note 8.
104 That is, until the persecution of Diocletian, a.d. 303 sq.
105 That is, according to Eusebius, in the time of Valerian, but only the events related in the first part of the chapter took place at that time; those recorded in the epistle to Domitius and Didymus in the time of Decius. See above, note 25.
106 Of these three men we know only what is told us in this chapter.
107 Marcionitic martyrs are mentioned by Eusebius in Bk. IV. chap. 15, and in Martyrs of Pal. chap. 10. In H. E. V. 16, it is stated that the Marcionites as well as the Montanists had many martyrs, but that the orthodox Christians did not acknowledge them as Christians, and would not recognize them even when they were martyred together. Of course they were all alike Christians in the eyes of the state, and hence all alike subject to persecution.
108 Valerian was taken captive by Sapor, king of Persia, probably late in the year 260 (the date is somewhat uncertain) and died in captivity. His son Gallienus, already associated with him in the empire, became sole emperor when his father fell into the Persians' hands.
109 Eusebius has not preserved the text of these edicts (programmata, which were public proclamations, and thus differed from the rescripts, which were private instructions), but the rescript to the bishops which he quotes shows that they did more than simply put a stop to the persecution,-that they in fact made Christianity a religio licita, and that for the first time. The right of the Christians as a body (the corpus Christianorum) to hold property is recognized in this rescript, and this involves the legal recognition of that body. Moreover, the rescript is addressed to the "bishops," which implies a recognition of the organization of the Church. See the article of Görres, Die Toleranzedicte des Kaisers Gallienus, in the Jahrb. für prot. Theol., 1877, p. 606 sq.
110 antigrafh: the technical term for an epistle containing private instructions, in distinction from an edict or public proclamation. This rescript was addressed to the bishops of the province of Egypt including Dionysius of Alexandria). It was evidently issued some time after the publication of the edicts themselves. Its exact date is uncertain, but it was probably written immediately after the fall of the usurper Macrianus (i.e. late in 261 or early in 262), during the time of whose usurpation the benefits of Gallienus' edicts of toleration could of course not have been felt in Egypt and the Orient.
111 Eusebhj, Eutuxhj, Sebastoj.
112 Of Pinnas and Demetrius we know nothing. The identification of Demetrius with the presbyter mentioned in chap. 11, §24, might be suggested as possible. There is nothing to prevent such an identification, nor, on the other hand, is there anything to be urged in its favor beyond mere agreement in a name which was not an uncommon one in Egypt.
113 opwj apo twn topwn twn qrhskeusimwn apoxwrhswsi. This is commonly taken to mean that the "Christians may come forth from their religious retreats," which, however, does not seem to be the sense of the original. I prefer to read, with Closs, "that the heathen may depart from the Christians' places of worship," from those, namely, which they had taken possession of during the persecution.
114 The reference is doubtless to the edicts, referred to above, which he had issued immediately after his accession, but which had not been sooner put in force in Egypt because of the usurper Macrianus (see above, note 3).
115 So far as I am aware, this man is known to us only from this passage.
116 o tou megistou pragmatoj prostateuwn. Heinichen, following Valesius, identifies this office with the o epi twn kaqolou logwn (mentioned in chap. 10, §5), with the o twn kaqolou logwn eparxoj (mentioned in Bk. IX. chap. 11, §4), &c. For the nature of that office, see chap. 10, note 8. The phrase used in this passage seems to suggest the identification, and yet I am inclined to think, inasmuch as the rescript has to do specifically with the Church in Egypt, that Aurelius Cyrenius was not (as Macrianus was under Valerian) the emperor's general finance minister, in charge of the affairs of the empire, but simply the supreme finance minister or administrator of Egypt (cf. Mommsen's Provinces of the Roman Empire, Scribner's ed., II. p. 268).
117 The use of their cemeteries, both as places of burial and as meeting-places for religious worship, had been denied to the Christians by Valerian. On the origin of the word koimhthria, see chap. 11, note 14.
118 On Xystus II., see chap. 5, note 5.
119 On Demetrianus, see Bk. VI. chap. 46, note 12.
120 On Fabius, see Bk. VI. chap. 39, note 7.
121 On Firmilianus, see Bk. VI. chap. 26, note 3.
122 Gregory Thaumaturgus, bishop of Neo-Caesarea in Pontus from about 233-270 (?). Upon Gregory, see Bk. VI. chap. 30, note 1.
123 On Athenodorus, see ibid. note 2.
124 On Theoctistus, see Bk. VI. chap. 19, note 27.
125 Of the life and character of Domnus we know nothing. So far as I am aware he is mentioned only here. His dates are uncertain, but his predecessor, Theoctistus, was still bishop in the time of Stephen of Rome (254-257; see above, Bk. VI. chap. 19, note 27), while he himself became bishop before the death of Xystus of Rome, as we may gather from this chapter, i.e. before August, 258 (see chap. 5, note 5), so that between these dates his accession must be placed. Eusebius' words in this passage will hardly admit an episcopate of more than one or two years; possibly he was bishop but a few months.
126 The dates of Theotecnus are likewise uncertain. Eusebius in Bk. VII. chap. 32, says that he was acquainted with Pamphilus during the episcopate of Agapius (the successor of Theotecnus), implying that he first made his acquaintance then. It is therefore likely that Agapius became bishop some years before the persecution of Diocletian, for otherwise we hardly allow enough time for the acquaintance of Pamphilus and Eusebius who did so much work together, and apparently were friends for so long a time. Pamphilus himself suffered martyrdom in 309 a.d. Theotecnus was quite a prominent man and was present at the two Antiochian synods mentioned in chaps. 27 and 30, which were convened to consider the heresy of Paul of Samosata.
127 On Mazabanes, see Bk. VI. chap. 39, note 5.
128 According to the Chron. of Eusebius, Hymenaeus was bishop of Jerusalem from 265-298. It is expressly stated in the Chron. that the dates of the earlier Jerusalem bishops are not known (see Bk. V. chap. 12, note 1); but with the dates of the bishops of the latter part of the third century Eusebius can hardly have been unacquainted, and that Hymenaeus was bishop at any rate as early as 265 is proved by chaps. 27 and 30 (see the note on Mazabanes referred to just above). The dates given in the Chron. may therefore be accepted as at least approximately correct.
129 The martyrdom of Marinus after the promulgation of Gallienus' edict of toleration and after peace had been, as Eusebius remarks, everywhere restored to the churches, has caused historians some difficulty. It is maintained, however, by Tillemont and others, and with especial force by Görres in the Fahrbücher für prot. Theol., 1877, p. 620 sq., that the martyrdom of Marinus took place while the usurper Macrianus, who was exceedingly hostile to the Christians, was still in power in the East, and at a time, therefore, when the edicts of Gallienus could have no force there. This of course explains the difficulty completely. The martyrdom then must have taken place toward the beginning of Gallienus' reign, for Macrianus was slain as early as 262. Of the martyr Marinus we know only what Eusebius tells us here.
130 to klhma. The centurion received as a badge of office a vine-branch or vine-switch, which was called by the Romans Vitis.
131 Achaes is an otherwise unknown person. That he was governor of Palestine, as Valesius asserts, is apparently a pure assumption, for the term used of him (dikasthj) is quite indefinite.
132 On Theotecnus, see above, chap. 14, note 9.
133 We know nothing more about this Astyrius than is recorded here. Rufinus, in his H. E. VII. 13, tells us that he suffered martyrdom at about this time; but Eusebius says nothing of the kind, and it is therefore not at all probable that Rufinus is correct. He probably concluded, from Eusebius' account of him, that he also suffered martyrdom.
134 Burton and Crusè close the chapter at this point, throwing the next sentence into chap. 17. Such a transposition, however, is unnecessary, and I have preferred to follow Valesius, Heinichen, Schwegler, and other editors, in dividing as above.
135 Caesarea Philippi (to be distinguished from Caesarea, the chief city of Palestine, mentioned in previous chapters) was originally called Paneas by the Greeks,-a name which it retained even after the name Caesarea Philippi had been given it by Philip the Tetrarch, who enlarged and beautified it. The place, which is now a small village, is called Banias by the Arabs. It lies at the base of Mt. Hermon, and is noted for one of the principal sources of the Jordan, which issues from springs beneath the rocks of Mt. Hermon at this point. The spot is said to be remarkably beautiful. See Robinson's Biblical Researches in Palestine, Vol. III, p. 409 sq.
136 Valesius remarks that the heathen were accustomed to throw victims into their sacred wells and fountains, and that therefore Publicola asks Augustine, in Epistle 153, whether one ought to drink from a fountain or well whither a portion of sacrifice had been sent.
137 This account of the statue erected by the woman with the issue of blood is repeated by many later writers, and Sozomen (H. E. V. 21) and Philostorgius (H. E. VII. 3) inform us that it was destroyed by the Emperor Julian. Gieseler remarks (Eccles. Hist., Harper's ed. I. p. 70), "Judging by the analogy of many coins, the memorial had been erected in honor of an emperor (probably Hadrian), and falsely interpreted by the Christians, perhaps on account of a swthri or qew appearing in the inscription." There can be no doubt of Eusebius' honesty in the matter, but no less doubt that the statue commemorated something quite different from that which Christian tradition claimed. Upon this whole chapter, see Heinichen's Excursus, in Vol. III. p. 698 sq.
138 See Matt. ix. 20 sq.
139 ou para toij posin epi thj sthlhj authj. This is commonly translated "at his feet, upon the pedestal"; but, as Heinichen remarks, in the excursus referred to just above, the plant can hardly have grown upon the pedestal, and what is more, we have no warrant for translating sthlh "pedestal." Paulus, in his commentary on Matthew in loco, maintains that Eusebius is speaking only of a representation upon the base of the statue, not of an actual plant. But this interpretation, as Heinichen shows, is quite unwarranted. For the use of epi in the sense of "near" or "beside," we have numerous examples (see the instances given by Heinichen, and also Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon, s.v.).
140 Eusebius himself, as we learn from his letter to the Empress Constantia Augusta (see above, p. 44), did not approve of the use of images or representations of Christ, on the ground that it tended to idolatry. In consequences of this disapproval he fell into great disrepute in the later image-worshiping Church, his epistle being cited by the iconoclasts at the second Council of Nicaea, in 787, and his orthodoxy being in consequence fiercely attacked by the defenders of image-worship, who dominated the council, and won the day.