Historia Ecclesiastica


Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, Lake, Loeb, 1926


The Eighth Book of the Ecclesiastical History contains the following:

I. on the events before the persecution in our day.

II. On the destruetion of the churches.

III. On the nature of the conflicts endured in the persecution.

Iv. On the famed martyrs of God, how they filled every place with their memory, being wreathed with varied crowns for piety.

v. On those in Nicomedia.

VI. On those in the imperial palaces.

VII. On the Egyptians in Phoenicia.

VIII. On those in Εgypt.

IX. Οn those in the Thebais.

X. Accounts in writing of Ρhileas the martyr concerning what had taken place at Alexandria.

XI. On the martyrs in Ρhrygia.

XII. Οn very many others, both men and women, who endured various conflicts.


XIII. On the presedents of the Church who displaye in their own blood the genuineness of the piety of which they were ambassadors.

XIV. On the character of the enemies of piety. On the events which happened to those without [the Church].

VI. On the change of affairs for the better.

II. On the recantation of the rulers.



Having concluded the succession from the apostles in seven entire books, in this eighth treatise we regard it as one of our most urgent duties to hand down, for the knowledge of those that come after us, the events of our own day, which are worthy of no casual record ; and from this point our account will take its beginning.

I. It is beyond our powers to describe in a worthy manner the measure and nature of that honour as well as freedom which was accorded by all men, both Greeks and barbarians, before the persecution in our day, to that word of piety toward the God of the universe which had been proclaimed through Christ to the world. Yet proofs might be forthcoming in the favours granted by the rulers to our people : to whom they would even entrust the government of the provinces, freeing them from agony of mind as regards sacrificing, because οf the great friendliness that they used to entertain for their doctrine. Why need one speak of those in the imperial palaces and of the supreme rulers, who allowed the members of their households — wives, children and servants — to practise openly to their face the divine word and conduct, and — one might say — permitted them even to of the freedom accorded to the faith ? Αnd these they used to regard with especial esteem and more

favourably than their fellow-servants. such a one was the famous Dorotheus, who surpassed all in his devotion and faithfulness to them, and for this reason was more highly honoured than men who held positions as rulers or governors. With him was the celebrated Gorgonius and all those who, like them, had been deemed worthy of the same honour because of the word of God. With what favour one might note that the rulers in every church were honoured by all procurators and governors! Αnd how could οne fully describe those assemblies thronged with countless men, and the multitudes that gathered together in every city, and the famed concourses in the places of prayer ; by reason οf which they were no longer satisfied with the buildings of οlden time, and would erect from the foundations churches of spacious dimensions throughout all the cities ? Αnd as these things went forward with the times, and day by day increasingly grew mightier, no envy could stop them, nor was any evil spirit able to cast its spell or hinder them by human devices, so long as the divine and heavenly hand was sheltering and guarding, as a worthy object, its own people.

But when, as the result of greater freedom, a change to pride and sloth came οver our affairs, we fell to envy and fierce railing against one another, warring upon ourselves, so to speak, as occasion offered, with weapons and spears formed of words ; and rulers attacked rulers and laity formed factions against laity, while unspeakable hypoerisy and pretence pursued their evil course to the furthest end : until the divine judgement with a sparing hand, as is its wont (for the asseblies were still crowded),

quietly and moderately began to exercise its overingt, the persecution commencing with the brethren the army. But when in our blindness we took not e least care to secure the goodwill and vour of the Deity, but, like some kind of atheists, agained that our affairs escaped all heed and oversight, we went οn adding one wickedness to another ; and those accounted our pastors, easting aside the sanctions of the fear of God, were enflamed with mutual contentions, and did nothing else but add to strifes and threats, the jealousy, enmity and tred that they used one to another, claiming with all vehemence the objects of their ambition as if they were a despot's spoils ; then indeed, then according the word spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord hath kened the daughter of Zion in his anger, and hath cast down from heaven the glory of Israel ; he hath not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger ; but the Lord hath also swallowed up all the beauty οf Israel and hath broken down all his hedges. Αnd according to what has been foretold in the Psalms, e hath overtumed the covenant οf his servant and th profaned to the ground, through the destruction of the churches, his sanctuary and hath broken down all his hedges, he hath made his strongholds cowardice. All that pass by the way have spoiled the multitudes of the people, yea more, he hath become a reproach to his neighbours. For he hath exalted the right hand of his adversaries, hath turned back the help of his sword and hath not taken his part in the battle. But he hath also made his purification to cease, and hath cast his throne down to the ground, and hath
shortened the days of his time and, last of all, he hath covered him with shame.

II. Αll things in truth were fulfilled in our day, when we saw with our very eyes the houses of prayer cast down to their foundations from top to bottom, and the inspired and sacred seriptureS committed to the flames in the midst of the market-places, and the pastors οf the churches, some shamefully hiding themselves here and there, while others were ignominiously captured and made a mockery by their enemies ; when also, according to another prophetic word, He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the waste, where there is no way.

But as to these, it is not our part to deseribe their melancholy misfortunes in the issue, even as we do not think it proper to hand down to memory their dissensions and unnatural conduct to one another before the persecution. Thererore we resolved to place on record nothing more about them than what would justify the divine judgement. Accordingly, we determined not even to mention those who have been tried by the persecution, or have made utter shipwreck of their salvation, and of their own free will were plunged in the depths of the billows ; but we shall add to the general history only such things as may be profitable, first to ourselves, and then to those that com after us. Let us proceed, therefore from this point to give a summary deseription of the sacred conflicts of the martyrs or the divine Word. lt was the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, 1 and the month Dystrus, 2 or March, as the Romans would call it, in which, as the festival of the [*](3 The Seventh month of the Macedonian year, which began in september.)

Saviour's Ρassion 1 was coming on, an imperial letter as everywhere promulgated, ordering the razing οf e churches to the ground and the destruction by οf the Scriptures, and proclaiming that those who ld high posiuons would lose all civil rights, while οse in households, if they persisted in their profeson on of Christianity, would be deprived of their liberty. uch was the first document against us. But not ng afterwards we were further visited with other ers, and in them the order was given that the presidents of the churches should all, in every place, first committed to prison, and then afterwards mpelled by every kind of device to sacrifice.

I. Then indeed, then very many rulers of the urches contended with a stout heart under terrible rments, and displayed spectacles of mighty conflicts ; ile countless others, whose souls cowardice had numbed beforehand, readily proved weak at the first ult ; while οf the rest, each underwent a serues varried forms of torture : one would have his body treated by scourgings ; another would be punished ith the rack and torn to an unbearable degree, hereat some met a miserable end to their life. But ers, again, emerged from the connict otherwise : e man was brought to the abominable and unholy ifices by the violence of others who pressed round him, and dismissed as if he had sacrificed, even though e had not ; another who did not so much as approach touch any accursed thing, when others had said t he had sacrfficed, went away bearing the false accusation in silence. Α third was taken up half- ad and cast aside as if he were a corpse already ; and, again, a certain person lying on the ground was agged a long distance by the feet, haring been

reckoned among those who had voluntarily sacrificed. e cried out and with a loud voice attested his al to sacrifice, and another shouted aloud that was a Christian, glorying in his confession of the ving Name. Another stoutly maintained that he not sacrificed, and never would. ese also were struck on the mouth and silenced by large band of soldiers drawn up for that purpose, with blows on their face and cheeks driven ibly away. so great store ffid the enemies of ess set on seemingly by any means to have omplished their purpose.

But even such methods did not avail them against holy martyrs. what word of ours could suffice an accurate description of these ?

IV. For ht tell of countless numbers who displayed a ellous zeal for piety to the God of the universe; only from what time the persecution was stirred against all, but long before, during the period en peace was still firmly established. For when who had receivcd the authority 1 was just now akening, as it were, from profound torpor, though was in a secret and hidden manner aheady making pts against the churches during the time that e after Decius and valerian, and did not get him- in readiness for the war against us all at once, as yet made an artempt οnly upon those in the ps (for in this way he thought that the rest also could easily be taken, if first of all he were to get the r in the conflict with thess): then one could see t numbers of those in the army most gladly bracing civil life, so that they might not prove [*](profound torpor ’’ the forty years' peace—the een the phersecutions οf valerian and Diocletian.)

renegades in their piety toward the creator οf the universe. For when the supreme commander, 1 whoever he was, was just making his first attempt at persecuting the soldiers — separating into elasses and thoroughly sifting out those serving in the camps, giving them a choice whether they would οbey and enjoy the rank they held, or else be deprived of it, if they continued to disobey the commandment — a great many soldiers of Christ's kingdom, without hesitation, unquestionably preferred to confess Ηim than retain the seeming glory and prosperity that they possessed. Αnd already in rare cases one οr two of these were receiving not only loss of honour but even death in exchange for their godly stedfastness, for as yet the instigator of the plot was working with a certrisln moderation and daring to proceed unto blood only in some instances ; fearing, presumably, the multitude of believers, and hesitating to plunge into the war against us all at οnce. But when he prepared himself still further for battle, it is quite impossible to recount the number or the splendour of God's martyrs that it was given to the inhabitants throughout all the cities and country parts to see.

V. To begin with, the moment that the decree against the churches was published at Nicomedia, a ertain person 2 by no means obscure, but most highly onoured as the world counts pre-eminence, moved y zeal toward God and carried away by his burning aith, seized and tore it to pieces, when posted up in n open and public place, as an unholy and profane [*](chronicle. The words “ whoever he was ’’ are probably ntemptuous — he was not worth naming. 2 Probably Euethius, who suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia February 24, the day on which the ediet was published. radition, however, identified him with St. George of England. )

thing ; [and this he did] while two emperors were present in the same city, the senior of them all,1 he who held the fourth place in the government after him. 2 But this man was the first of those at that time who thus distinguished himself ; and, at the same time, in his endurance of such resultS as naturally followed a daring act of this kind, he maintained an untroubled and unffisturbed demeanour to his very last breath.

VI. But among all those whose praises have ever yet been sung as worthy of admiration and famed for courage, whether by Greeks or barbarians, this occasion produced those divine and outStanffing martyrs Dorotheus and the imperial servants that were with him. These persons had been deemed worthy of the highest honour by their masters, who loved them no less than their own children ; but they accounted the reproaches and sufferings for piety and the many forms of death that were newly devised against them, as truly greater riches than the fair fame and luxury of this life. We shall mention the kind of death that οne of them met, and leave our readers to gather from that instance what happened to the οthers.

Α certain man was publicly brought forward in the city of which we have spoken above, under the rulers we have mentioned. Ηe was ordered to sacrifice ; and, as he refused, the command was given that he should be raised on high naked, and have his whole body torn with scourges, until he should give in, and even against his will do what was bidden him. But when he remained unmoved even under these sufferings, they proceeded to mix vinegar and salt together and pour them into the mangled parts of his body, where the bones were already showing. Αnd as he

despised these pains also, a gridiron and fire were then produced, and the remnants of his body, just as if it were flesh for eating, were consumed by the fire, not all at once, in case he might find immediate release, but tittle by little ; nor were those who placed him on the pyre allowed to desist, until, after such sufferings, he should signify his assent to what was commanded. But he clung fixedly to his purpose, and triumphantly gave up the ghost in the midst of his tortures. Such was the martyrdom of one of the imperial servants, who truly was worthy of his name. For he was called Ρeter.

But we shall pass by the martyrdoms of the rest, though they were not inferior, having regard to the due proportions of the book ; only Ρlacing it on record that Dorotheus and Gorgonius, together with many others of the household, after conflicts οf various kinds, departed this life by strangling, and so carried off the prizes οf the Good-given victory.

Αt that time Αnthimus, who then prerided over the church at Nicomedia, was beheaded for his witness to Christ. Αnd with him was associated a large number ofmartyrs all together; for, I know not how, in the Ρalace at Nicomedia a fire broke οut in those very days, and through a false suspicion the rumour went around that it was the work οf our people : and by the imperial command the God-fearing persons there, whole families and in heaps, were in some cases butchered with the sword ; while others were perfacted by fire, when it is recorded that men and women leaped upon the pyre with a divine and unspeakable eagerness. The executioners bound a multitude ofothers, and [placing them] on boats threw them into the depths οf the sea. Αs to the imperial

servants, whose bodies after death had been committed to the ground with fitting honours, their reputed masters, starting afresh, deemed it necessary to exhume them and cast them also into the sea, lest any, regarding them as actually gods (so at least they imagined), should worship them as they lay in their tombs.

such were the things that were done in Νieomedia at the beginning of the persecution. But not long afterwards, when some in the district known as Melitene,1 and again οn the other hand when in syria, had attempted to take possession of the Empire,2 an imperial command Went forth that presidents οf the churches everywhere should be thrown into prison and bonds. Αnd the spectacle οf what followed surpasses all description; for in every place a countless number were shut up, and everywhere the prisons, that long ago had been prepared for murderers and grave-robbers, were then filled with bishops and presbyters and deacons, readers and exorcists, so that there was no longer any room left there for those condemned for wrongdoing.

Moreover, the first letter was followed by others, wherein the οrder had been given that those in prison should be allowed to go in liberty if they sacrfficed, but if they refused, should be mutilated by countless tortures. Αnd then, once more, how could one here number the multitude of the martyrs in each province, and especially of those in Αfriea and ³ and in Thebais and Εgypt ? From this last country also some departed into other [*](2 It is quite uncertain to what rising Eusebius here refers. 3 Lit. “the province (ἔθνος) οf the Μοοrs.’’ )

cities and proninces and were distinguished in their martyrdoms.

VII. We know at any rate those of them who were conspicuous in Palestine, and we know aho those at Tyre in Phoenicia. who that saw them was not struck with amazwment at the numberless lashes and the stedfastness displayed under them by these truly marvellous champions of godliness; at the conflict with man-eating wild beasts that followed immendiately on the lashes; the attacks that then took place ofleopards and different kinds of bears, οf wild boars and bulls goaded with hot iron ; and the marvellous endurance οf these noble persons when opposed to each οf the wild beasts ? We ourselves were present when these things were happening, what time we beheld the present, divine power of our sariour, Jesus christ Himself, the Object of their wintness, and the clear manifestation of that power to the martyrs. The man-eating beasts for a considerable time did not dare to touch or even approach the bodies οf those who were dear to God, but made their attacks on the others who presumably were provoking and urging them οn from the outside; while the holy champions were the only persons they did not reach at all, though they stood naked, waving their hands to drawa them οn to themselves (for this they were commanded to do) ; and sometimes, when the beasts would make a rush at them, they would be checked by, as it were, some divine power and once again retreat to the rear. Αnd when this happened for a long time, it occasioned no small astonishment among the spectators, so that, as the first beast did nothing, a second and a third were let loose against one and the same martyr.


One might be astounded at the fearless and valiant bearing of those holy persons in the face of these trials, and the steady, inflexible enduranee to be found in young bodies. For example, you might have seen a youth, not twenty years old in all, standing unbound, his hands spread in the form of a cross, and, with a mind undismayed and unmoved, most leisurely engaged in earnest prayer to the Deity ; never a with changing his ground or retreating from the plaee where he had taken his stand, while bears and leopards, breathing anger and death, almost touched his very flesh. Αnd yet, by a divine and mysterious power I cannot explain, their mouths were muxxled, so to speak, and they ran baek again to the rear. Such a one was he. Again you might have seen others (for they were five in all) thrown to a maddened bull, who, when others approached from the outside, tossed them into the air with his horns and mangled them, leaving them to be taken up half-dead ; but when he rushed in threatening anger at the holy martyrs as they stood unprotected, he was unable even to approach them, though he pawed with his feet and pushed with his horns this way and that ; and though the goading irons provoked him to breathe anger and threatening he was dragged away backwards by Divine Prividence ; so that other wild beasts were let loose against them, since the bull in no way did them the shghtest injury. Then at last, after the terrible and varied assaults of these beasts, they were all butehered with the sword, and instead of being buried in the earth were committed to the waves of the Sea.

VIII. Such was the contest of the Egyptians who at Tyre displayed their conffiets on behalf of piety.


But one must admire those of them also that were martyred in their own land, Where countless numbers, men, women and children, despising this passing life, endured various forms of death for the sake of οur Saniour's teaching. Some of them were committed to the flames after being torn and racked and grievously seourged, and suffering other mainfold torments terrible to hear, while some were engulfed in the sea ; others with a good courage stretched forth their heads to them that cut them off, or died in the midst of their tortures, or perished of hunger ; and others again were crucified, some as malefactors usually are, and some, even more brutally, were nailed in the opposite manner, head-downwards, and kept alive until they should perish of hunger on the gibbet.

IX. But it surpasses all description what the martyrs in the Thebais endured as regards both outrages and agonies. They had the entire body torn to pieees with sharp sherds instead of claws, even until life was extinct. Women Were fastened by one foot and swung aloft through the air, head-downwards, to a height by certain machines, their bodies completely naked with not even a covering ; and thus they presented this most disgraeerul, cruel and inhuman of all spectacles to the whole company of onlookers. Others, again, were fastened to trees and trunks, and so died. For they drew together by certain machines the very strongest of the branches, to eaeh of which they fastened one of the martyr's legs, and then released the branches to take up their

natural position : thus contriving the rending asunder all at once of the limbs of those who were the objects of this deviee. Αnd indeed all these thing were done, not for a few days or for some brief space, but for a long period extending over whole years—sometimes more than ten, at other times above twenty persons being put to death ; and at others not less than thirty, now nearer sixty, and again at other times a hundred men would be slain in a single (lay, along with quite young children and women, being condemned to manifold punishments which followed one on the other.

Αnd we ourselves also beheld, when we were at these places, many all at once in a single day, some of whom suffered decapitation, others, the punishment of fire ; so that the murderous axe was dulled and, worn out, was broken in pieces, while the executioners themselves grew utterly weary and took it in turns to succeed one another. Ιt was then that we observed a most marvellous eagerness and a truly divine power and zeal in those who had placed their faith in the Christ of God. Thus, as soon as sentence was given against the first, some from one quarter and others from another Would leap up to the tribunal before the judge and confess themselves Christians ; paying no heed when faced with terrors and the varied forms of tortures, but undismayedly and boldly speaking of the piety towards the God of the universe, and with joy and laughter and gladness receiving the rinal sentence of death ; so that they sang and sent up hymns and thanksgivings to the God of the universe even to the very last breath. Αnd while these indeed were marvellous, those especially were marvellous who were distinguished

for wealth, birth and reputation, as also for learning and philosophy, and yet put everything second to true piety and faith in our Saniour and Lord Jesus Christ. Such was Philoromus ; who had been entrusted with an office of no small importance in the imperial administration at Alexandria, and who, in connexion with the dignity and rank that he had from the Romans, used to conduct judicia inquiries every day, attended by a bodyguard of soldiers. Such also was Phileas, bishop of the church of the Thmuites,1 a man who was distinguished for the services he rendered to his country in public positions, and also for his skill in philosophy. Αnd though great numbers of relatives and other friends besought them, as well as many officials of high rank, and though the judge himself exhorted them to take pity on themselves and spare their children and wives, they could in no wise be induced by this strong pressure to decide in favour of love of life and despise the ordinances of our Saviour as to confessing and denying ; but with a brave and philosophic resolution, nay rather, with a pious and godly soul, they stood firm against all the threats and insults of the judge, and both were beheaded.

X. But since we said 2 that Phileas deserved a high reputation for his secular learning as well, let him appear as his own witness, to show us who he was, and at the same time to relate, more accurately than we could, the martyrdoms that took place at Alexandria.

[*](1 Thmuis was a town in Lower Egypt. Ηere are his words : 2 9. 7, above.)

From the Writings of Phileas to the Thmuites.

“ Since all these examples and patterns and goodly tokens are placed before us in the divine and sacred Scriptures, the blessed martyrs with us did not hesitate, but directed the eye of the soul sincerely toward the God who is over all, and with a mind resolved on death for piety they clung fast to their calling, finding that our Lord Jesus Christ became man for our sakes, that Ηe might destroy every kind of sin, and provide us with the means of entering into eternal life. For Ηe counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied Ηimself, taking the form of a servant ; and being found in fashion as a man, Ηe humbled Himself unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also, desiring earnestly the greater gifts, the Christbearing martyrs endured every kind of suffering and all manner of devices of torture, not once, but even a second time in some cases ; and though their guards vied in all kinds of threats against them, not only in word but also in deed, they refused to give up their resolution, because perfeet love casteth out fear. What account would suffice to reckon up their bravery and courage under eaeh torture ? For when all who wished were given a free hand to insult them, some smote with cudgels, others with rods, others with scourges ; others, again, with straps, and others with ropes. Αnd the spectacle of their tortures was a varied one with no lack of wickedness therein. Some with both hands bound behind them were suspended upon the gibbet, and with the aid οf certain

machines stretched out in every limb ; then, as they lay in this plight, the torturers acting on οrders began to lay on οver their whole body, not only, as in the case murderers, punishing their sides with the instruments οf torture, but also their belly, legs and cheeks. Others were suspended from the porch hy one hand and raised aloft ; and in the tension of their joints and limbs experienced unequalled agony. Others were bound with their face towards pillars, their feet not touching the ground, and thus their bonds were drawn tight by the pressure upon them of the weight οf the body. Αnd this they would endure, not while the governor conversed or was engaged with them, but almost throughout the entire day. For when he went away to others, he would leave the agents of his authority to watch the first, if perchance anyone should be overcome by the tortures and seem to give in ; and he bade them approach mercilessly with bonds also,1 and, when they were at the last gasp after all this, take them down to the ground and drag them off. For [he said] that they were not to have the least particle of regard for us, but to be so disposed and act as if we were no longer of any account. Such was the second torture that our enemies devised in addition to the stripes. Αnd some, even after the tortures, were placed in the stocks, and had both feet stretched οut to the fourth hole, so that they were compelled to lie on their back therein, being unable [to sit upright] because of the recent wounds they had from the stripes over the whole body. Others were thrown to the ground and lay there, by reason οf the whole [*](1 The text gives no good sense : perhaps we should read προστιθέναι for προσιέναι : “ he bade them actually add to their bonds without mercy.” )
sale application οf the tortures ; presenting to those who saw them a sight more terrible than did the actual punishment, in that they bore on their bodies marks οf the manifold and varied tortures that were deVised. In this condition of affairs, some died under their tortures, having shamed the adversary by their endurance ; while others were shut up half dead in prison, and after not many days perfected by reason of their agonies ; the remainder recovered under treatment, and as the result of time and their stay in prison gained confidence. So then, when the order was given and the choice held out, either to touch the abominable sacrifice and be unmolested, receiving from them the accursed freedom ; or not to sacrifice and be punished with death : without hesitation they gladly went to their death. For they knew what had been prescribed for us by the sacred Scriptures. For he says, ‘ He that sacrificeth unto other gods shall be utterly destroyed᾿ ; ‘ Thou shalt have none other gods but me.᾿

Such are the words of the martyr, true lover both οf wisdom and of God, which he sent to the brethren in his community before the final sentence, when he was still in a state of imprisonment, at one and the same time showing the conditions in which he was living, and also stirring them up to hold fast to the fear of God in Christ, even after his death who was just about to be perfeeted. But Why need one make a long story and add fresh instance upon instance of the conflicts of the godly martyrs throughout the world, especially of those who were assailed no longer by the common law, but as if they were enemies ?


XI. For instance, at this time armed soldiers surrounded a little town in Phrygia, of which the inhabitants were all Christians, every man of them, and setting fire to it burnt them, along with young children and women as they were calling upon the God who is over all. The reason of this was, that all the inhabitants of the town to a man, the curator himself and the duumvirs with an the officials and the whole assembly, confessed themselves Christians and refused to give the least heed to those who bade them commit idolatry.

Αnd there was a certain other person who had attained to a high position under the Romans, Adauctus by name, a man of illustrious Italian birth; who had advanced through every grade of honour under the emperors, so as to pass blamelessly through the general administration οf what they call the magistracy and ministry of finance. Αnd besides all having dostinguished himself by his noble deeds οf godliness and his confessions οf the Christ οf God, he was adorned with the crown of martyrodom, enduring the conflict for piety while actually engaged as finance minister.

XII. why need I now mention the rest by name, οr number the multitude of the men, or picture the varied tortures inflicted upon the wonderful martyrs? Sometimes they were slain with the axe, as was the case with those in Arabia; at other times they had their legs broken, as happened to those in Cappadocia; on some occasions they were suspended on high by the feet, head-downwards, while a slow fire was kindled beneath, so that when the wood was alight they were choked by the rising smoke—a

treatment meted οut to those in Mesopotamia; on others, the noses, ears and hands were mutilated, and the remaining limbs and parts οf the body cut up, as was done at Alexandria.

Why need one rekindle the memory of those at Antioch, who were roasted οn heated gridirons, not unto death, but with a view to lengthy torture; and οf others who put their right hand into the very fire sooner than touch the aecursed sacrifice? Some of them, to escape such trials, before they were caught and fell into the hands of those that plotted against them, threw themselves down from the tops οf lofty houses, regarding death as a prize snatched from the wickedness of evil men.

Αnd a certain holy person,1 admirable for of soul yet in body a woman, and famed as well by all that were at Antioch for Wealth, birth and sound judgement, had brought up in the precepts of piety her two unmarried daughters, distinguished for the full bloom of their youthful beauty. Much envy was stirred up on their account, and busied itself in tracing in every manner possible where they lay concealed; and when it discovered that they were staying in a foreign country, of set purpose it recalled them to Antioch. Thus they fell into the soldiers’ toils. When, therefore, the woman that herself and her daughters were in desperate straits, she placed before them in conversation the terrible things that awaited them from human hands, and the most intolerable thing of all these terrors—the threat of fornication. she exhorted both herself and her giris that they ought not to submit to listen to even the least whisper of such a thing, and said that to surrender their souls to the

slavery of demons was worse than all kinds or death and every form οf destruction. So she submitted that to flee to the Lord was the only way of eseape from it all. And when they had both agreed to her opinion, and had arranged their gannents suitably around them, on coming to the middle of their journey they quietly requested the guards to allow them a little time for retirement, and threw themselves into the river that flowed by.

thus were these their own executioners. But another pair of maidens, also at Antioch, godly in every respect and true sisters, famous by birth, distinguished for their manner of life, young in years, in the bloom of beauty, grave οf soul, pious in their deportment, admirable in their zeal, the worshippers of demons commanded to be cast into the sea, as if the earth could not endure to bear such excellence.

Thus it happened with these martyrs. Αnd others in Ρontus suffered things terrible to hear: sharp reeds were driven through their fingers under the tips of the nails; in the case of others, lead was melted down by fire, and the boiling, burning stuff poured down their backs, roasting the most essential parts of their body; others endured in their privy parts and bowels sufferings that were disgraceful, pitiless, unmentionable, which the noble and lawabiding judges devised with more than usual eagerness, displaying their cruelty as if it were some great stroke of wisdom ; striving to οutdo one another by ever inventing novel tortures, as if contending for prizes in a contest.


But the end οf these calamities came when they were now worn out with their excessive wickedness, and were utterly weary of killing and surfeited and sated with shedding blood, and so tumed to what they considered merciful and humane conduct; so that they no longer thought that they were doing any harm to us. For it was not fitting, they said, to pollute the cities with the blood of their own people, or to involve in a charge of cruelty the supreme government of the rulers, a govemment that was well-disposed and mild towards all; but rather that the beneficence of the humane and imperial authority should be extended to all, and the death penalty no longer innicted. For [they declared] that this their punishment of us had been stopped, thanks to the humanity of the rulers. Then orders were given that their eyes should be gouged out and one of their legs maimed. For this was in their opinion humanity and the lightest of punishments inflicted upon us. Hence, because of this humanity on the part of gomess men, it is now no longer possible to tell the incalculable number οf those who had their right eye first cut out with a sword and then cauterized with fire, and the left foot rcndered useless by the further application οf branding irons to the joints, and who after this were condemned to the provincial copper mines, not so much for serrice as for ill-usage and hardship, and withal fell in with various other trials, which it is not possible even to recount; their brave and good deeds surpass all reckoning.

In these conflicts verily the magnificent martyrs οf Christ were conspicuous throughout all the world,

and, as was natural, everywhere filled with amazement the eye-witnesses οf their bravery; while in their own persons they furnished a clear proof that the power of our Saviour is truly dirine and inexpressible. To mention, indeed, each by name would be a long task, to to say an impossibility.

XIII. Of those rulers of the churches who were martyred in well-known cities, the first name that we must record on the monuments to holy men, as a martyr or the kingdom οf Christ, is that of Anthimus, bishop of the city οf the Nicomedians, who was beheaded. Of the martyrs at Antioch the best in his entire life was Lucian, a presbyter of that community; the same who in Nicomedia, where the emperor was, proclaimed the heavenly kingdom of Christ, nrst by word οf mouth in an Apology, and afterwards also by deeds. Of the martyrs in Phoenicia the most famous would be the pastors of the spiritual flocks of Christ, beloved of God in all things, Tyrannion, bishop of the church at Tyre, and Ζenοbius, presbyter of the church at Sidon, and, moreover, Silvanus, bishop οf the churches about Εmesa. The last-named became food for wild beasts, along with others, at Emesa itself, and so was received up into the choirs of martyrs; the other two glorified the word οf God at Αntiοch by their endurance unto death; one of them, the bishop, being committed to the depths of the sea, while that best of physicians, Ζenobius, died bravely under the tortures that were applied to his sides. Of the martyrs in Palestine, Silvanus, bishop οf the churches about Gaza, was beheaded at the copper mines at Phaeno,

with others, in number forty save οne; and Εgyptians there, Ρeleus and Nilus, bishops, together with others, endured death by fire. Αnd mnong these we must mention the great glory of the community of Caesarea, Pamphilus, a presbyter, the most marvellous man of οur day; the merit of whose brave and good deeds we shall record at the proper time. Of those at Alexandria and throughout all Εgypt and the Thebais who were perfected gloriously, the first that must be recorded is Ρeter, bishop of Αlexandria itself, a divine example of the teachers οf godlines in Christ; and of the presbyters with him Faustus, Dius and Ammonius, perfect martyrs of Christ; and Ρhileas, Hesychius, Pachymius and Theodore, bishops of the churches in Egypt; and countless other famous persons as well, who are commemorated by the communities in their own district and locality. It is not οur part to commit to writing the conflicts of those who fought throughout the world οn behalf οf piety toward the Deity, and to record in detail each οf their happenings; but that would be the especial task of those who witnessed the events. Yet I shall make known to posterity in another work1 those with whom I was personally conversant. In this present book, however, I shall subjoin to what has been said the recantation2 of the things that were wrought us, and au that befell sinee the beginning οf the persecution, most profitable as they are to my readers.

Now as concerns the state of the Roman government before the war against us, during all the periods [*](1 The reference is probably to the account of Pamphilus iven given in the Martyrs of Palestine. Eusebius’s Pamphilus was, apparently, already written. 2 See c. 17. 3-10.)

that the rulers were friendly and peaceably disposed toward us, no words could suffieiently deseribe how bountiful and plenteous was its harvest of good things; when also those who held the chiefest places in a world-empire completed the decennalia and vicennalia1 of their principate, and used to their days in festivals and public games, in the most joyous feasts and gaieties, possessing complete, wellestablished peace.

But as their authority thus increased without let or hindrance and day by day waxed greater, all at once they departed from their peaceful attitude towards us and stirred up a relentless war. Αnd the second year2 of this kind οf movement οn their part had not fully expired, when a sort of revolution affecting the entire principate took place and threw the whole of public life into confusion. For a disease fell upon him who stood first among those οf whom we spoke,3 which caused his mind to deranged; and, along with him who had been honoured with the second place after him,4 he resumed the ordinary life of a private citizen. Αnd this had not yet taken place, when the whole principate was rent in twain, a thing that had never even been recorded as having happened at any time in days gone by.5

But after no very great interval of time the Εmperor Constantius, who all his hfe long was most mildly and favourably disposed toward his subjects, and most friendly towards the divine word, died6 according to the common law of nature, leaving his lawful son Constantine Εmperor and Αugustus in his [*](divided ἰn respect of its treatment of Christians: persecution οntinued in the East, while it ceased in the West. 6 A.D. 306.)

stead; and was the first [of the new tetrarchy] to be proclaimed among the gods by them,1 being deemed worthy of every honour after death that might be due to an emperor, kindest and mildest of emperors that he was. Ηe indeed Was the only one of our contemporaries who passed the whole period of his principate in a manner worthy of his high office; and in other respeets displayed himself in a most favourable and beneficent light toward all; and he took no part in the war against us, but even preserved the God-fearing persons among his subjects from injury and harsh treatment; neither did he pull down the church-buildings nor employ any other new deviee against us. so he has had as his reward a happy and thrice-blessed issue of his life; for he alone enjoyed a favourable and glorious end while he was still emperor, with a lawful son, in all respects most prudent and godly, to succeed him.

Ηis son Constantine from the very hrst was proclaimed by the armies most perfect Emperor and Αugustus, and, long before them, by God Himselfe, the King supreme; and he set himself to be an emulator of his father’s piety toward our doctrine.

Sueh was he. And afterwards Licinius was declared Emperor and Augustus by a common vote of the rulers. 2 These things caused great vexation to Maximin, since up to that time he was still entitled only Caesar by all. Therefore, being above all things a tyrant, he fraudulently seized the honour for himself, and became Αugustus, appointed such by him- [*](2 The reference seems to be to the Congress of Carnuntum, Νov. 307, when Licinius, who appears to have been already Caesar, was given the tltle of Augustus. )

self. Αt this time he who had resumed offiee again after his1 abdication, as we have shown, was discovered devising a plot to secure the death of Constantine, and died a most shameful death. Ηe was the first [emperor] whose honorific inscriptions and statues and all sueh things as it has been customary to set up publicly they threw down, as belonging to an infamous and utterly godless person.

XIV. Ηis son Maxentius, Who seeured for himself the tyranny at Rome, at the beginning counterfeited our faith in order to please and fawn upon the Roman populace; and for this reason ordered his subjects to give over the persecution against Christians; for he was feigning piety and endeavouring to appear favourable and very mild above his predecessors. Yet his dees have not shown him to be such as it was hoped he would be. Οn the eontrary, he drove headlong into every form of wickedness, and there is not a single abominable and dissolute aet that he has left undone, committing adulteries and all kinds of rape. In fact he used to separate from their husbands lawfully married women, insult them with the utmost dishonour, and send them back again to their husbands; and he made it his business thus to assail persons neither undistinguished nor obseure, but the most eminent of those who had attained the highest rank in the assembly of the Roman senate were the very and especial objects of his offensive behaviour. Αll cowered before him, people and rulers, famous and obscure, and were worn out by his terrible tyranny; and even though they remained quiet and endured the bitter servitude, srill there was no escape from the tyrant’s murderous cruelty. for example, on a small pretence he gave the people

οver to his bodyguard to be slaughtered, and immense numbers οf the Roman people were killed, in the mkidst οf the city, by the spears and arms, not of Scythians nor even of barbarians, but of their fellow-citizens. of a truth it would not even be possible to reckon how many senators were slaughtered because of designs on their wealth, for countless numbers were done away with for feigned reasons, varying according to circumstances. But the finishing touch οf all the tyrant’s evil deeds when he resorted to witchcraft: bent upon magic, at one time he would rip up pregnant women, at another explore the entrails of the new-born babes, slaughter lions, and invent certain abominable actions to invoke demons, and as a sacrffice to avert war. For an his hope hy in these means of securing victory.

Indeed, οne cannot even mention the kind of things that this tyrant at Rome did to enslave his subjects; so that they were actually reduced to such extreme scarcity and lack of even necessary food, as has never been known, according to οur contemporaries, either at Rome or elsewhere.

But the tyrant in the Εast, Maximin, secretly forming a friendly alliance with the tyrant at Rome, as with a brother in wickedness, for a very long time thought that it was unknown. Αs a matter of fact, afterwards he was detected1 and paid the just It was marvellous how he acquired a family likeness and kinship with the villainy of the tyrant at Rome, nay rather, carried off the first prize for wickedness and the reward of victory over him. For it was the principal charlatans and magicians who were deemed [*](1 when Constantine entered Rome after the battle of the Milvian Bridge (ix. 9. 2-7). )

worthy by him of the highest honour; he became exceedingly frightened at every noise and superstitious, and attached great importance to error with regard to idols and demons. For instance, without divinations and oracles he could not dare to move even a nail's breadth, if I may say so. Accordingly, he applied himself to the persecution against us with more energy and persistence than those before him, ordering temples to be erected in every city and the sacred groves that had been destroyed through long lapse of time to be restored with all diligence; and he appointed idol priests in every locality and city, and over them as high priest of each province one οf those engaged in statecraft, who was the most manifestly distinguished in every branch of the public service, with an escort and bodyguard soldiers; and he recklessly bestowed governments and the greatest privileges on all charlatans, as if they were pious and dear to the gods. Henceforward he vexed and oppressed, not a single city nor even district, but the provinces under him completely and as a whole, by exactions of gold and silver and unspeakably large amounts of goods, and by the heaviest assessments and varied fines. Taking away from the wealthy the possessions they had gotten from their ancestors, he bestowed upon his train of flatterers riches and heaps of goods in a gift. In truth he carried his drunken excesses to such a point that he became mad and deranged in his cups, and when drunk would give such orders as he would repent of next day when he was sober. In debauchery and riotious living he suffered none to surpass hm, but appointed himself instructor in villainy to those around him, rulers and ruled alike. Ηe induced the
army to become enervated as a result of every kind of wanton excess; encouraging governors and commanders to proceed against their subjects with rapacity and extortion, almost as if they were his fellow-tyrants. Why need one recall the man's disgraceful deeds of passion or reckon up the multitude οf those whom he debauched ? In fact, he could not pass by a city without continually ravishing women and abducting virgins. Αnd in this he was successful with all, save only with Christians. Despising death they set at naught this his fierce tyranny. For the men endured fire and sword and nailings; wild beasts and enguffing in the sea: cutting off and burning of limbs, stabbing and digging out of eyes, and mutilation of the whole body; and, in addition to these, hunger and mines and bonds: thus showing on all occasions that they preferred to endure for the sake of piety rather than transfer to idols the honour due to God. Αnd the women, on the other hand, showed themselves no less manly than the men, inspired by the teaching of the divine Word: some, undergoing the same contests as the men, won equal rewards for their valour; and others, when they were being dragged away to dishonour, yielded up their souls to death rather than their bodies to seduction. Α certain Christian lady, 1 for example, most famous and distinguished among those at Αlexandria, alone of those whom the tyrant ravished conquered the lustful and licentious sould of Maximin by her brave spirit. Renowned though she was for wealth, birth and education, she had put everything second to modest behaviour. Μany a time he importuned [*](1 Rufinus informs us that her name was Dorothea. )
portuned her, yet was unable to put her to death though willing to die, for his lust overmastered his anger; but punishing her with exile he possessed himself of all her property. Α great number of others, unable even to listen to a threat fornication, underwent every form of the torure and racking and mortal punishment at the hands of the provincial governors.

These indeed were wonderful, yet most surpassingly wonderful was that woman at Rome, 1 truly the most noble and chaste of all those towards whom the tyrant there, Maxentius, in conduct like Maximin, attempted to act offensively. For when she learnt that at her house were those who ministered to the tyrant in such deeds (and she also was a Christian), and that her husband, and he too a prefect of the Romans, through fear had permitted them to take and lead her off, she begged to be excused for a brief space, as if forsooth to adorm her person, entered her chamber, and when alone transfixed herself with a sword. Αnd straightway dying she left her corpse to her procurers; but by deeds that themselves were more eloquent than any words she made it known to all men, both those present and those to come herearter, that a Christian's virtue is the only possession that cannot be conquered or destroyed. To such an extent, in truth, did the two tyrants, who had divided among them Εast and West, carry the wickedness that they wrought at one and the same time. But who is there, in search for the reason of such evils, who would be at a loss to find it in the persecution against us ? Especially as there was no cessation of this [*](1 Sophronia, according to Runfinus.)

great state of confusion until Christians recovered their rights of freedom.

XV. in fact, during the whole period of ten of persecution there was no respite in their plotting and warfare against each other. The seas were unnavigable, and none, no matter whence they sailed, could escape being subjected to all kinds of torments: stretched on the rack and having their sides torn, and being examined under all sorts οf tortures in case they should possibly be coming from the enemy of the contrary part, and in the end subjected to crucifixion οr punishment by fire. Moreover, every place was busy with the preparation of shields and armour, the getting ready of darts and spears and other warlike accoutrements, and of triremes and naval gear; and no one expected anything but an enemy attack all day long. Αnd subsequently the famine and pestilence broke out among them, about which we shall recount what is necessary at the proper time.

XVI. Such was the state of affairs that continued throughout the whole persecution; which came completely to an end, by the grace of God, in the tenth year, 1 though indeed it began to abate after the eighth year. For when the divine and heavenly grace showed that it watched over us with kindly and propitious regard, then indeed our rulers also, those very persons who had long time committed acts οf war against us, changed their mind in the most marvellous manner, and gave utterance to a recantation, quenching the fire of persecution that had blazed so furiously, by means of merciful edicts and the most humane ordinances. But this was not due to any human agency nor to the pity, as one [*](1 A.D. 313. )

might say, or humanity οf the rulers. Far from it. For from the beginning up to that time they were daily plotting further and severer measures against us; from time to time they were inventing fresh assaults upon us by means of still more varied devices. But it was due to the manifestation of the DIvine Providence itself, which, while it became reconciled to the people, attacked the perpetrator of thses evils, and was wroth with him as the chief author of the wickedness of the persecution as a whole. For verily, though it was destined that these things should come to pass as a divine judgement, yet the Scripture says, “Woe, through whomsoever the offence’’ 2 Α divinely-sent punishment, I say, executed vengeance upon him, beginning at his very flesh and proceeding to the soul. For all at once an abscess appeared in the midst of his privy parts, then a deeply-seated fistular ulcer; which could not be cured and ate their way into the very midst οf his entrails. Hence there sprang an innumerable multitude οf worms, and a deadly stench was given off, since the entire bulk οf his members had, through gluttony, even before the disease, been changed into an excessive quantity of soft fat, which then became putrid and presented an intolerable and most fearful sight to those that came near it. Αs for the physicians, some of them were wholly unable to endure the exceeding and unearthly stench, and were butchered; others, who could not be of any assistance since the whole mass had swollen and reached a point where there was no hope of recovery, were put to death without mercy.

[*](2 Luke xvii. 1 (inexact quotation). The words, “and was wroth . . . cometh’’ are omitted in several important MSS. )

XVII. Αnd wrestling with such terrible misfortunes he was conscience-stricken for the cruel deeds he had perpetrated agninst the godly. collecting, therefore, his thoughts, he first openly confessed to the God οf the universe; then he called those around him, and commanded them without delay to cause the persecution against Christians to cease, and by an imperial law and decree to urge them to build their churches and to perform their accustomed rites, offering prayers on the Εmperor’s behalf. Action immediately followed his word, and imperial ordinances were promulgated in each city, containing the recantation οf the [persecution edicts] of οur time, after this manner: “The Emperor Caesar Galerius Valerius Maximianus Invictus Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, Germanicus Maximus, Aegyptiacus Maximus, Thebaicus Maximus, Sarmaticus Maximus five times, PErsicus Maximus twice, Carpicus Maximus six times, Armeniacus Maximus, Medicus Maximus, Adiabenicus Maximus, holding the Tribunician Power for the twentieth time, Emperor for the nineteenth time, 1 Consul for the eighth, Father of his country, Proconsul: 2 . . . Αnd the Emperor Caesar Flavius Valerius Constantinus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, holding the Tribunician Power, Εmperοr for the fifth time, Consul, Father οf his country, Proconsul: [And the Εmperor Caesar Valerius Licinianus Licinius Pius Felix Invictus Augustus, Pontifex Maximus, holding the Tribunician [*](names and titles, here omitted, must have appeared in the original where the lacuna is indicated. Similarly, some mss. omit the reference to Licinius, which is here placed in brackets. Both Maximin and Licinius persecuted the Christians subsequently, and this fact may have Ied to the omission of their names.)

Ρower for the fourth time, Emperor for the third time, Consul, Father of his country, Proconsul: to the people of their provinces, greeting.]

“Among the other measures that we frame for the use and profit of the state, it had been our own wish formerly that all things should be set to rights in accordance with the ancient laws and public order of the Romans; and to make provision for this, namely, that the Christians also, such as had abandoned. the persuasion of their own ancestors, should return to a sound mind ; seeing that through some reasoning they had been possessed of such self-will and seized with such folly 2 that, instead of following the institutions of the ancients, which perchance their own forefathers had formerly established, they made for themselves, and were observing, laws merely in accordance with their own disposition and as each one wished, and were assembing various multitudes in divers places: Therefore when a command of ours soon followed to the intent that they should betake themselves to the institutions of the ancients, very many indeed were subjected to peril, while very many were harassed and endured all kinds of death; Αnd since the majority held to the same folly, and we perceived that they were neither paying the worship due to the gods of heaven nor honouring the god of the Christians; having regard to our elemene y and the invariable custom by which we are wont to accord pardon to all men, we thought it right in this [*](1 ἐπιστήμη is the usual translation of disciplina (the word in the original in this place) documents of this kind. The same word and translation occur again in § 9. 2 The words, “and . . . folly" are omitted in some important MSS of Eusebius, but are in the original Latin, given by Lactantius.)

case also to extend most willingly our indulgence: at Christians may exist again and build the houses in which they used to assemble, always provided that they do nothing contrary to order. In another letter we shall indicate to the judges how they should proceed. Wherefore, in accordanee with this our indulgence, they will be bound to beseech their οwn god for our welfare, and that of the state, and their own ; that in every way both the well being of the state may be secured, and they may be enabled to live free from care in their own homes."

such is the character of this edict in the Latin tongue, transhted into Greek as well as may be. Now it is time to consider carefully what happened subsequently.


But the author or the edict, arter such a confession, was immediately, though not for long, released from his pains, and so departed this life. It is reeorded that this same person was the prime author of the calamity of the persecution; since long before the movement of the other emperors he had used force to turn aside [from the faith] the Christians in the —and, first of all, those in his own house — degrading some from their military rank, and heaping the most shameful insults on others; and since he was already threatening others even with death, and, finally, had stirred up his partners in the principate to the general perseeution. Ιt is not possible to pass over the ends of these same emperors in silence. Four, then, had divided the supreme povwer between them. Those who were the more advanced in age and honour 2 retired from the principate not two whole years after the persecution began, as we have already stated, and passed the remainder of their existence like ordinary, private citizens. The end of their lives fell out thus. The one who had attained the chief place in honour and age 3 fell a victim to a prolonged and most painful infirmity of the body; while he who held the second place to him 4 ended his life by [*](2 Diocletian and Maximinian (viii. 13 10, 11).) [*](3 Diocletian. 4 Maximinian.)

strangling: suffering this fate, in accordance with a certain demoniacal predietion, for the numerous crimes he had perpetrated. Of those after them, he 1 who held the last Place-the same who was the orginator, as we stated, 2 οf the whole persecution — suffered the fate which we have mentioned above 2 ; but he who ranked next before him, that kindest and mildest οf emperors, Constantius, passed the whole eriod of his principate in a manner worthy of his high office, and in other respects displayed himself in a most benencent and favourable light to all; yea, and he held himself aloof from the war against us, and carefully preserved his God-fearing from injury and harsh treatment; neither did he pull down the church - buildings nor employ any οther additional new device against us at all. So he has had as his reward a truly happy and thrice-blessed issue of his life; for he alone met with a favourable and glorious end while he was still emperor, with a lawful son, in all respects most prudent and godly, to succeed him in the office. Ηe from the very first was proclaimed by the armies most perfect Εmperor and Αugustus; and he set himself to be an emulator οf his father's piety towards our doctrine. Such was the issue whieh befell, at different times, the lives of the four men of whom we have written above. Of these same persons, he of whom we spoke a little while ago alone still remained, 3 and, in conjunction with those who subsequently were admitted to the principate, οpenly placed before all the aforesaid confession in the document document was set out above.

[*](3 ἐτὶ λιπών: but we should require λειπόμενος to give the bove sense. 4 Constantine, Licinius, and Maximin. )