Early Church Fathers
1 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.
2 The assembly referred to was the Council of Nicaea. Constantine's vicennial celebration was held at Nicomedia during the session of the Council at Nicaea (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.
3 This oration is the one appended by Eusebius to this Life of Canstantine, and given in this translation (cf. V. C. 4. 46).
4 [In the text it is o logoj, "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.
5 Constantine II., Constantius, and Constans proved on the whole sorry reflectors of glory.
6 The first had been Caesar more than twenty years; the second, ten; and the third, less than five.
7 Referring to special honors paid after death, as mentioned in Bk. 4.
8 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.
9 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.
10 Compare Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum, which doubtless the author had in mind.
11 [Khroxutou grafhd, 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.
12 Kubeij, at first used of triangular tablets of wood, brass, or stone, but afterwards of any inscribed "pillars or tablets." Cf. Lexicons.
13 Whether deciwz is read or decioj, with Valesius, "present to aid," covers the idea better than "graciously present" (Molz).
14 Compare discussion of length of reign and life under Life in Prolegomena, p. 411.
15 !Gigantwn. 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 Aeschylus uses it of Capaneus (Theb. 424), who defied Zeus in declaring that even his thunderbolts should not keep him out of Thebes.
16 Compare the various wars against Franks, Bructerians, Goths, Sarmatians and others mentioned in Life in Prolegomena. Compare also chapter 8 of this book.
17 [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 1ook and find that this." The key to the idea is found in the remark near the end of chapter II. Cf. also note.
18 This is the account of Diodorus, who says he was taken prisoner and crucified by the queen of the "Scythians" (3. II, ed. 1531, f. 80b). 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).
19 A malarial fever, but made fatal by drinking at a banquet (cf. Plut. chaps. 75 and 76, Arrian, Bk. 7).
20 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).
21 Toparchs or prefects.
23 "The pillars of heaven."-Molz (?).
24 The Bagster translation, following Valesius, divides the tenth chapter, making the eleventh begin at this point.
25 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.
26 [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 7.
27 The persecuting emperors. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
28 He was brought up with Diocletian and Galerius. Compare Prolegomena, Life.
29 Constantius Chlorus, Neo-Platonist and philanthropist. Compare following description.
30 The author of the chapter heading means of course Galerius. Maxentius was not emperor until after the death of Constantius.
31 [Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius.-Bag.]
32 For account of these persecutions, see Church History, Bk. 8, and notes of McGiffert.
33 Compare the Church History, 8. 13, and Lactantius, De mort. pers. 15. The latter says he allowed buddings to be destroyed, but spared human life.
34 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.