Early Church Fathers
57 Rufinus connects this man with the town of Phrygia just referred to, and makes him one of the victims of that catastrophe. But Eusebius does not intimate any such connection, and indeed seems to separate him from the inhabitants of that city by the special mention of him as a martyr. Moreover, the official titles given to him are hardly such as we should expect the citizen of an insignificant Phrygian town to bear. He is said, in fact, to have held the highest imperial-not merely municipal-offices. We know nothing more about the man than is told us here; nor do we know when and where he suffered.
58 taj kafolou dioikhseij thj tar autoij kaloumenj magistrothtoj te kai kafolikothtoj. The second office (kafolikothj) is apparently to be identified with that mentioned in Bk. VII. chap. 10, §5 (see note 8 on that chapter). We can hardly believe, however, that Adauctus (of whom we hear nowhere else) can have held so high a position as is meant there, and therefore are forced to conclude that he was but one of a number of such finance ministers, and had the administration of the funds only of a particular district in his hands.
59 The barbarous mutilation of the Christians which is spoken of here and farther on in the chapter, began, as we learn from the Martyrs of Palestine, in the sixth year of the persecution (a.d. 308). The tyrant Maximin seems to have become alarmed at the number of deaths which the persecution was causing, and to have hit upon this atrocious expedient as a no less effectual means of punishment. It was practiced apparently throughout Maximin's dominions; we are told of numbers who were treated in this way, both in Egypt and Palestine (see Mart. Pal. chap. 8 sq.).
60 This abominable treatment of female Christians formed a feature of the persecutions both of Maximian and Maximin, who were alike monsters of licentiousness. It was entirely foreign to all the principles of Diocletian's government, and could never have been allowed by him. It began apparently in Italy under Maximian, after the publication by him of the Fourth Edict (see Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2), and was continued in the East by Maximin, when he came into power. We have a great many instances given of this kind of treatment, and in many cases, as in the present, suicide relieved the victims of the proposed indignity.
61 Eusebius evidently approved of these women's suicide, and it must be confessed that they had great provocation. The views of the early Church on the subject of suicide were in ordinary cases very decided. They condemned it unhesitatingly as a crime, and thus made a decided advance upon the position held by many eminent Pagans of that age, especially among the Stoics. In two cases, however, their opinion of suicide was somewhat uncertain. There existed in many quarters a feeling of admiration for those who voluntarily rushed to martyrdom and needlessly sacrificed their lives. The wiser and steadier minds, however, condemned this practice unhesitatingly (cf. p. 8, above). The second case in connection with which the opinions of the Fathers were divided, was that which meets us in the present passage. The majority of them evidently not only justified but commended suicide in such an extremity. The first Father distinctly to condemn the practice was Augustine (De civ. Dei. I. 22-27). He takes strong ground on the subject, and while admiring the bravery and chastity of the many famous women that had rescued themselves by taking their own lives, he denounces their act as sinful under all circumstances, maintaining that suicide is never anything else than a crime against the law of God. The view of Augustine has very generally prevailed since his time. Cf. Leckey's History of European Morals, 3d edition (Appleton, New York), Vol. II. p. 43 sq.
62 On Anthimus, see above, chap. 6, note 5.
63 On Lucian of Antioch, see below, Bk. IX. chap. 6, note 4.
64 Of Tyrannion and Zenobius, we know only what is told us here and in the next paragraph. All of the martyrs of whom Eusebius tells us in this and the following books are commemorated in the Martyrologies, and accounts of the passions of many of them are given in various Acts, usually of doubtful authority. I shall not attempt to mention such documents in my notes, nor to give references to the Martyrologies, unless there be some special reason for it in connection with a case of particular interest. Wherever we have farther information in regard to any of these martyrs, in Eusebius himself or other early Fathers, I shall endeavor to give the needed references, passing other names by unnoticed. Tillemont (H. E. V.) contains accounts of all these men, and all the necessary references to the Martyrologies, the Bollandist Acts, etc. To his work the curious reader is referred.
65 Silvanus is mentioned again in Bk. IX. chap. 6, and from that passage we learn that he was a very old man at the time of his death, and that he had been bishop forty years. It is, moreover, directly stated in that passage that Silvanus suffered martyrdom at the same period with Peter of Alexandria, namely, in the year 312 or thereabouts. This being the date also of Lucian's martyrdom, mentioned just above, we may assume it as probable that all mentioned in this chapter suffered about the same time.
66 i.e. Tyrannion.
67 Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, is mentioned also in Mart. Pal. chaps. 7 and 13. From the former chapter we learn that he became a confessor at Phaeno in the fifth year of the persecution (a.d. 307), while still a presbyter; from the latter, that he suffered martyrdom in the seventh year, at the very close of the persecution in Palestine, and that he had been eminent in his confessions from the beginning of the persecution.
68 Phaeno was a village of Arabia Petraea, between Petra and Zoar, and contained celebrated copper mines, which were worked by condemned criminals.
69 Peleus and Nilus are mentioned in Mart. Pal. chap. 13, from which passage we learn that they, like Silvanus, died in the seventh year of the persecution. An anonymous presbyter and a man named Patermuthius, are named there as perishing with them in the flames.
70 On Pamphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40. Eusebius refers here to his Life of Pamphilus (see above, p. 28).
71 On Peter of Alexandria, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 54.
72 Faustus is probably to be identified with the deacon of the same name, mentioned above in Bk. VI. chap. 40 and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. At any rate, we learn from the latter chapter that the Faustus mentioned there lived to a great age, and died in the persecution of Diocletian, so that nothing stands in the way of identifying the two, though in the absence of all positive testimony, the identification cannot be insisted upon. Of Dius and Ammonius we know nothing.
73 On Phileas, see above, chap. 9, note 3.
74 A Latin version of an epistle purporting to have been written by these four bishops is still extant (see above, chap. 9, note 3). We know nothing more about the last three named here. It has been customary to identify this Hesychius with the reviser of the text of the LXX and the Gospels which was widely current in Egypt in the time of Jerome, and was known as the Hesychian recension (see Jerome, Praef. in Paralipom., Apol. adv. Ruf. II. 27, Praef in quattuor Evangelia; and cf. Comment. in Isaiam, LVIII. II). We know little about this text; but Jerome speaks of it slightingly, as does also the Decretal of Gelasius, VI. §15 (according to Westcott's Hist. of the Canon, 5th ed. p. 392, note 5). The identification of the two men is quite possible, for the recension referred to belonged no doubt to this period; but no positive arguments beyond agreement in hame and country can be urged in support of it. Fabricius proposed to identify our Hesychius with the author of the famous Greek Lexicon, which is still extant. But this identification is now commonly rejected; and the author of the lexicon is regarded as a pagan, who lived in Alexandria during the latter part of the fourth century. See Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Biography and Smith and Wace's Dict. of Christ. Biog. s.v.
75 Eusebius refers here to his Martyrs of Palestine. See above, p. 29 sq.
76 kata ton paronya logon. Eusebius seems to refer here to the eighth book of his History; for he uses logoj frequently in referring to the separate books of his work, but nowhere else, so far as I am aware, in referring to the work as a whole. This would seem to indicate that he was thinking at this time of writing only eight books, and of bringing his History to an end with the toleration edict of Galerius, which he gives in chap. 17, below. Might it be supposed that the present passage was written immediately after the publication of the edict of Galerius, and before the renewal of the persecution by Maximin? If that were so, we might assume that after the close of that persecution, in consequence of the victory of Constantine and Licinius, the historian felt it necessary to add yet a ninth book to his work, not contemplated at the time he was writing his eighth; as he seems still later, after the victory of Constantine over Licinius, to have found it necessary to add a tenth book, in order that his work might cover the entire period of persecution and include the final triumph of the Church. His motive, indeed, in adding the tenth book seems not to have been to bring the history down to the latest date possible, for be made no additions during his later years, in spite of the interesting and exciting events which took place after 325 a.d., but to bring it down to the final triumph of the Church over her pagan enemies. Had there been another persecution and another toleration edict between 325 and 338, we can hardly doubt that Eusebius would have added an account of it to his History. In view of these considerations, it is possible that some time may have elapsed between the composition of the eighth and ninth books, as well as between the composition of the ninth and tenth.
It must be admitted, however, that a serious objection to this supposition lies in the fact that in chaps. 15 and 16, below, the tenth year of the persecution is spoken of, and in the latter chapter the author is undoubtedly thinking of the Edict of Milan, which was issued in 312, after the renewal of Maximin's persecution described in Book IX. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that Eusebius, when he wrote the present passage, was expecting to close his work with the present book, and that the necessity for another book made itself manifest before he finished the present one. It may be that the words in chaps. 15 and 16 are a later insertion. I do not regard this as probable, but knowing the changes that were made in the ninth book in a second edition of the History, it must be admitted that such changes in the eighth book are not impossible (see above, p. 30 and 45). At the same time I prefer the former alternative, that the necessity for another book became manifest before he finished the present one. A slight confirmation of the theory that the ninth book as a later addition, necessitated by the persecution of Maximin's later years, may be found in the appendix to the eighth book which is found in many mss. See below, p., note 1.
77 The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, the two Augusti, took place on May 1, 305, and therefore a little more, not a little less, than two years after the publication of Diocletian's First Edict. The causes of the abdication have been given variously by different writers, and our original authorities are themselves in no better agreement. I do not propose to enter here into a discussion of the subject, but am convinced that Burckhardt, Mason, and others are correct in looking upon the abdication, not as the result of a sudden resolve, but as a part of Diocletian's great plan, and as such long resolved upon and regarded as one of the fundamental requirements of his system to be regularly observed by his successors, as well as by himself. The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian raised the Caesars Constantius and Galerius to the rank of Augusti, and two new Caesars, Maximinus Daza in the East, and Severus in the West, were appointed to succeed them. Diocletian himself retired to Dalmatia, his native province, where he passed the remainder of his life in rural pursuits, until his death in 313.
78 Eusebius is correct in saying that the empire had never been divided up to this time. For it had always been ruled as one whole, even when the imperial power was shared by two or more princes. And even the system of Diocletian was not meant to divide the empire into two or more independent parts. The plan was simply to vest the supreme power in two heads, who should be given lieutenants to assist them in the government, but who should jointly represent the unity of the whole while severally administering their respective territories. Imperial acts to be valid had to be joint, not individual acts, and had to bear the name of both Augusti, while the Caesars were looked upon only as the lieutenants and representatives of their respective superiors. Finally, in the last analysis, there was theoretically but the one supreme head, the first Augustus. While Diocletian was emperor, the theoretical unity was a practical thing. So long as his strong hand was on the helm, Maximian, the other Augustus, did not venture to do anything in opposition to his wishes, and thus the great system worked smoothly. But with Diocletian's abdication, everything was changed. Theoretically Constantius was the first Augustus, but Galerius, not Constantius, had had the naming of the Caesars; and there was no intention on Galerius' part to acknowledge in any way his inferiority to Constantius. In fact, being in the East, whence the government had been carried on for twenty years, it was natural that he should be entirely independent of Constantius, and that thus, as Eusebius says, a genuine division of the empire, not theoretical but practical, should be the result. The principle remained the same; but West and East seemed now to stand, not under one great emperor, but under two equal and independent heads.
79 Constantius Chlorus died at York, in Britain, July 25, 306. According to the system of Diocletian, the Caesar Severus should regularly have succeeded to his place, and a new Caesar should have been appointed to succeed Severus. But Constantine, the oldest son of Constantius, who was with his father at the time of his death, was at once proclaimed his successor, and hailed as Augustus by the army. This was by no means to Galerius' taste, for he had far other plans in mind; but he was not in a position to dispute Constantine's claims, and so made the best of the situation by recognizing Constantine not as Augustus, but as second Caesar, while he raised Severus to the rank of Augustus, and made his own Caesar Maximin first Caesar. Constantine was thus theoretically subject to Severus, but the subjection was only a fiction, for he was practically independent in his own district from that time on.
Our sources are unanimous in giving Constantius an amiable and pious character, unusually free from bigotry and cruelty. Although he was obliged to show some respect to the persecuting edicts of his superiors, Diocletian and Maximian, he seems to have been averse to persecution, and to have gone no further than was necessary in that direction, destroying some churches, but apparently subjecting none of the Christians to bodily injury. We have no hint, however, that he was a Christian, or that his generous treatment of the Christians was the result in any way of a belief in their religion. It was simply the result of his natural tolerance and humanity, combined, doubtless, with a conviction that there was nothing essentially vicious or dangerous in Christianity.
80 Not the first of Roman emperors to be so honored, but the first of the four rulers who were at that time at the head of the empire. It had been the custom from the beginning to decree divine honors to the Roman emperors upon their decease, unless their characters or their reigns had been such as to leave universal hatred behind them, in which case such honors were often denied them, and their memory publicly and officially execrated, and all their public monuments destroyed. The ascription of such honors. to Constantius, therefore, does not in itself imply that he was superior to the other three rulers, nor indeed superior to the emperors ingeneral, but only that he was not a monster, as some had been. The st emperor to receive such divine honors was Diocletian himself, with whose death the old pagan regime came finally to an end.
81 This is a mistake; for though Constantius seems to have proceeded as mildly as possible, he did destroy churches, as we are directly informed by Lactantius (de Mort. pers. 15), and as we can learn from extant Acts and other sources (see Mason, p. 146 sq.). Eusebius, perhaps, knew nothing about the matter, and simply drew a conclusion from the known character of Constantius and his general tolerance toward the Christians.
82 The steps which led to the appointment of Licinius are omitted by Eusebius. Maxentius, son of the old Augustus Maximian, spurred on by the success of Constantine's move in Britain, attempted to follow his example in Italy. He won the support of a considerable portion of the army and of the Roman people, and in October of the same year (306) was proclaimed emperor by soldiers and people. Severus, who marched against the usurper, was defeated and slain, and Galerius, who endeavored to revenge his fallen colleague, was obliged to retreat without accomplishing anything. This left Italy and Africa in the hands of an independent ruler, who was recognized by none of the others. Toward the end of the year 307, Licinius, an old friend and comrade-in-arms of Galerius, was appointed Augustus to succeed Severus, whose death had occurred a number of months before, but whose place had not yet been filled. The appointment of Licinius took place at Carnuntum on the Danube, where Galerius, Diocletian, and Maximian met for consultation. Inasmuch as Italy and Africa were still in the hands of Maxentius, Licinius was given the Illyrian provinces with the rank of second Augustus, and was thus nominally ruler of the entire West.
83 Early in 308 Maximinus, the first Caesar, who was naturally incensed at the promotion of a new man, Licinius, to a position above himself, was hailed as Augustus by his troops, and at once notified Galerius of the fact. The latter could not afford to quarrel with Maximinus, and therefore bestowed upon him the full dignity of an Augustus, as upon Constantine also at the same time. There were thus four independent Augusti (to say nothing of the emperor Maxentius), and the system of Diocletian was a thing of the past.
84 The reference is to the Augustus Maximian. After his abdication he retired to Lucania, but in the following year was induced by his son, Maxentius, to leave his retirement, and join him in wresting Italy and Africa from Severus. It was due in large measure to his military skill and to the prestige of his name that Severus was vanquished and Galerius repulsed. After his victories Maximian went to Gaul, to see Constantine and form an alliance with him. He bestowed upon him the title of Augustus and the hand of his daughter Fausta, and endeavored to induce him to join him in a campaign against Galerius. This, however, Constantine refused to do; and Maximian finally returned to Rome, where he found his son Maxentius entrenched in the affections of the soldiers and the people, and bent upon ruling for himself. After a bitter quarrel with him, in which he attempted, but failed, to wrest the purple from him, he left the city, attended the congress of Carnuntum, and acquiesced in the appointment of Licinius as second Augustus, which of course involved the formal renunciation of his own claims and those of his son. He then betook himself again to Constantine, but during the latter's temporary absence treacherously had himself proclaimed Augustus by some of the troops. He was, however, easily overpowered by Constantine, but was forgiven and granted his liberty again. About two years later, unable to resist the desire to reign, he made an attempt upon Constantine's life with the hope of once more securing the power for himself, but was detected and allowed to choose the manner of his own death, and in February, 310, strangled himself. The general facts just stated are well made out, but there is some uncertainty as to the exact order of events, in regard to which our sources are at variance. Compare especially the works of Hunziker, Burckhardt, and Mason, and the respective articles in Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog.
Eusebius' memory plays him false in this passage; for he has notmentioned, as he states, Maximian's resumption of the imperial dignity after his abdication. A few important mss., followed by Heinichen, omit the entire clause, "whom we have mentioned as having resumed his dignity after his abdication." But the words are found in the majority of the mss. and in Rufinus, and are accepted by all the other editors. There can, in fact, be no doubt that Eusebius wrote the words, and that the omission of them in some codices is due to the fact that some scribe or scribes perceived his slip, and consequently omitted the clause.
85 Valesius understands by this (as in §12, above), the first of the four emperors. But we find in Lactantius (ibid. chap. 42) the distinct statement that Diocletian (whose statues were thrown down in Rome with those of Maximian, to which they were joined, Janus-fashion) was the first emperor that had ever suffered such an indignity, and there is no hint in the text that Eusebius means any less than that in making his statement, though we know that it is incorrect.
86 See the previous chapter, note 21.
The character which Eusebius gives to Maxentius in this chapter is borne out by all our sources, both heathen and Christian, and seems not to be greatly overdrawn. It has been sometimes disputed whether he persecuted the Christians but there is no ground to suppose that he did, though they, in common with all his subjects, had to suffer from his oppression, and therefore hated him as deeply as the others did. His failure to persecute the Christians as such, and his restoration to them of the rights which they had enjoyed before the beginning of the great persecution, can hardly be looked upon as a result of a love or respect for our religion. It was doubtless in part due to hostility to Galerius, but chiefly to political considerations. He apparently saw what Constantine later saw and profited by,-that it would be for his profit, and would tend to strengthen his government, to gain the friendship of that large body of his subjects which had been so violently handled under the reign of his father. And, no doubt, the universal toleration which he offered was one of the great sources of his strength at the beginning of his reign. Upon his final defeat by Constantine, and his death, see below, Bk. IX. chap. 9.
87 On the alliance of Maximinus with Maxentius, his war with Licinius, and his death, see below, Bk. IX. chaps. 9 and 10. Upon his accession to the Caesarship, and usurpation of the title of Augustus, see above, chap. 13, notes 16 and 22.
Maximinus Daza was a nephew of Galerius, who owed his advancement, not to his own merits, but solely to the favor of his uncle, but who, nevertheless, after acquiring power, was by no means the tool Galerius had expected him to be. Eusebius seems not to have exaggerated his wickedness in the least. He was the most abandoned and vicious of the numerous rulers of the time, and was utterly without redeeming qualities, so far as we can ascertain. Under him the Christians suffered more severely than under any of his colleagues, and even after the toleration edict and death of Galerius (a.d. 311), he continued the persecution for more than a year. His territory comprised Egypt and Syria, and consequently the greater art of the martyrdoms recorded by Eusebius in his Martyrs of Palestine took place under him. (See that work, for the details.) Upon the so-called Fifth Edict, which was issued by him in 308, see Mart. Pal. chap. 9, note 1. Upon his treatment of the Christians after the death of Galerius, and upon his final toleration edict, see Bk. IX. chap. 2 sq. and chap. 9 sq.
88 Literally, "a finger-nail" (onuxoj).
89 Compare chap. 12, note 3, above.
91 toij ektoj.
92 Diocletian's First Edict was issued on Feb. 24, 303; and the persecution was brought to a final end by Constantine and Licinius' edict of toleration, which was issued at Milan late in the year 312 (see below, Bk. IX. chap. 9, note 17). The persecution may therefore be said to have lasted altogether ten years; although of course there were many cessations during that period, and in the West it really came to an end with the usurpation of Maxentius in 306, and in the East (except in Maximin's dominions) with the edict of Galerius in 311.
93 This passage is largely rhetorical. It is true that enough plotting and warring went on after the usurpation of Maxentius in 306, and after the death of Galerius in 311, to justify pretty strong statements. Gibbon, for instance, says: "The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian was succeeded by eighteen years of discord and confusion. The empire was afflicted by five civil wars; and the remainder of the time was not so much a state of tranquillity as a suspension of arms between several hostile monarchs, who, viewing each other with an eye of fear and hatred, strove to increase their respective forces at the expense of their subjects" (chap. xiv.). At the same time, during the four years between 307 and 311, though there was not the harmony which had existed under Diocletian, and though the interests of the West and East were in the main hostile, yet the empire was practically at peace, barring the persecution of the Christians.
94 See below, Bk. IX. chap. 8.
95 The edict of Milan, issued by Constantine and Licinius toward the close of the year 312 (upon the date, see Mason, p. 333, note) put an end to the persecution in its tenth year, though complete toleration was not proclaimed by Maximin until the following spring. Very soon after the close of the eighth year, in April, 311, Galerius issued his edict of toleration which is given in the next chapter. It is, therefore, to the publication of this edict that Eusebius refers when he says that the persecution had begun to decrease after the eighth year. Maximin yielded reluctant and partial consent to this edict for a few months, but before the end of the year he began to persecute again; and during the year 312 the Christians suffered severely in his dominions (see Bk. IX. chap. 2 sq.).
96 The plural here seems a little peculiar, for the edict was issued only in the name of Galerius, Constantine, and Licinius, not in the name of Maximin. We have no record of Licinius as a persecutor before this time, and Eusebius' words of praise in the ninth book would seem to imply that he had not shown himself at all hostile to the Church. And in fact Licinius seems ruled out by §2, below, where "they" are spoken of as having "from the beginning devised more and more severe measures against us." And yet, since Constantine did not persecute, we must suppose either that Licinius is included in Eusebius' plural, or what is perhaps more probable, that Eusebius thinks of the edict as proceeding from all four emperors though bearing the names of only three of them. It is true that the latter is rather a violent supposition in view of Eusebius' own words in the first chapter of Bk. IX. I confess that I find no satisfactory explanation of the apparent inconsistency.
97 i.e. Galerius.