Historia Ecclesiastica


Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, Lake, Loeb, 1926


The Ninth Book of the Ecclesiastical History contains the follorning:

I. On the feigned relaxation.

ΙΙ. οn the change for the worse that ensued.

III. on the new-made idol at Αntiοch.

IV. On the petitions against us.

v. On the forged memoirs.

VI. On Those who were martvred at this time.

VII. On the document against us set up on tablets.

VIII. On the subsequent evcnts, the famine pestilence and wars.

IX. On the of of the tyrants᾿ lives, cxpressions they made use of before the end.

X. On the victory of the God-beloved Εmperors.

XI. On the final οn of the enemies οf godliness.



Ι. THE recantation of the imperial will set forth above 1 was promulgated broadcast throughout Αsia and in the neighbouring provinces. Αfter this had thus been done, Maximin, the tyrant of the Εast, a monster οf imriety if ever there was one, who had been the bitterest enemy οf piety toward the God of the universe, Was by no means pleased with what was written, and instead οf making known the letter set forth above gave verbal commands to the rulers under him to relax the war against us. For since he might not otherwise gainsay the judgement of his superiors, he put in a corner the law set forth above ; and, taking measures how it might never see the light of day in the districts under him, by an οral direction he commanded the rulers under him to relax the persecution against us. Αnd they intimated to each other in writing the terms of the οrder. Sabinus, for instance, whom they had honoured with the rank of most excellent prefect, made known the Εmperοr’s decision to the provincial governors in a latin epistle. The translation of the same runs as follows :

“With a most eamest and devoted Ζeal the DirivInity οf our most divine masters, the Εmperors, has for a long time determined to lead all men’s [*](1 viii. 17.)

thoughts into the holy and right path of life, so that those also who seemed to follow customs foreign to the Romans should perform the acts of worship due to the immortal gods. But the οbstinacy and most unyielding determination of some was carried to such a length, that neither could they be tumed back from their οwn purpose by just reasoning embodied in the order, nor did they fear the punishment that threatened. Since therefore it has come about that many by such conduct endanger themselves, in accordance with the noble piety that is theirs, the Divinity of our masters, the most mighty Εmperors, deeming it foreign to their divine purpose that for such a reason they should so greatly endanger these men, gave commandment through my Devotedness to write to thy Intelligence, that if any of the Christians be found following the religion of his nation, thou shouldest set him free from molestation directed ngainst him and from danger, nor shouldest thou anyone punishable οn this charge, since so long a pnssage of time has proved that they can in no wise be persuaded to to such obstinate conduct. Let it be thy Solicitude's duty, therefore, write to the curators and the duumrirs and the magistrates of the district of every city, that they may know that it is not beseeming for them to take any further notice οf that letter.”1

whereupon the rulers οf the provinces, having concluded that the purport οf what had been written [*](1 If the Greek here is a correct translation οf the Latin original, the words “that letter” must refer to some previous document ordering the persecution of Chffitians.)

to them was a genuine expression, made known by means of letters the imperial resolve to curators, dumnvirs and rural magistrates. Αnd not only did they further these measures by writing, but also much more so by action. With a view to carrying out the imperial will, as many as they kept shut up prisons for for their confession οf the Deity they brought into the light of day and set free, releasing such of these same persons as were consigned to the mines for punishment. For this, in truth, they mistakenly conceived to be the Emperor's Αnd when these things had thus been carried into effect, as though some light shined forth all at once out of a gloomy night, one might see churches thronged in every city, and crowded assemblies, and the rites perfonned thereat in the customary manner. Αnd every single one οf the unbelieving heathen was in no small degree amazed at these happenings, marvelling at the miracle of of great a change, and extolling the Christians᾿ God as God as great and of οur οwn people, those who had faithfully and bravely contended throughout the conffict οf persecutions οnee more resumed their conhdent bearing in the sight of all ; but those whoSe faith had been ffiseased and souls stonn-tost eageriy srtove for their own heahng, beseeching and begging the strong for the right hand of safety, and supplicating God to be mereiful to them. Αnd then also the noble champions οf godliness, freed from their evil plight in the mines, returned to their own homes. Ρroudly and joyously they went through every city, full οf unspeakable speakable mirth and a boldness that cannot even be expressed in words. Tea, thronging crowds of men
went οn their journey, praising God in the midst of thoroughfares and market-places with songs and psalms; and you might see those who shortly before had been prisoners undergoing the harshest punishment and driven from their native lands, now regaining with gay and joyful countenanees their own hearths so that even those who fonherly were thirsting for our blood, seeing the wondrous thing contrary to all expectation, rejoiced with us at what had happened.

II. This the tyrant could no longer endure, hater as he was of that which is good, and plotter against every virtuous man (he was the ruler, as we said, of the eastern parts) ; nor did he suffer matters thus to be carried on for six entire months. Sumerous, therefore, were his derivlees to overturn the peaee : at first he attempted on some pretext to shut us out from assembling in the cemeteries, 2 then through the medium of certain evil men he sent embassies to himself against us, having urged the citizens of Antioch to ask that they might obtain from him, as a very great boon, that he should in no wise permit any οf the Christians to inhabit their land, and to contrive that others should make the same suggestion. The originator of all this sprang up at Antioch itself in the person of Theotecnus, a clever cheat and an evil man, and quite unlike his name. 3 Ηe was accounted to hold the post of curator 4 in the city.

III. This man, then, many times took the field against us ; and, having been at pains by every method to hunt our people out of hiding-plaeeS as if they were unholy thieves, having employed every [*](1 1. 1. 2 Cf. vii. 11. 10, note. 3 Theotecnus means Child οf God. 4 The chief finance officer οf a municipality.)

device to slander and accuSe uS, having been the cause even of death to countless numbers, he ended by erecting a statue of Zeus the Befriender with certain juggleries and soreeries, and having devised unhallowed rites for it and ill-omened initiations abominable purifications, 1 he exhibited his wonderworking by what oraeles he pleased, even in the Emperor's presence. Αnd moreover this fellow, in order to flatter and please him who was ruling, stirred up the demon against the Christians, and said that the god, forsooth, had given orders that the Christians should be driven away beyond the borderS of the city and country round about, since they were his enemies.

IV. This man was the first to act thus of set purpose, and all the other offieials who lived in the cities under the same rule hastened to make a like decision, the provincial governors having seen at a glance that it was pleasing to the Emperor, and having suggested to their subjects to do the very same thing. Αnd when the tyrant had given a most willing assent to their petitions 2 by a reseript, onee more the persecution against us was rekindled.

Marimin himself appointed as priests of the images in each city and, moreover, as high priests, those who were especially distinguished in the public services and had made their mark in the entire course thereof. These persons brought great zeal to bear on the worship of the gods whom they served. Certainly, the outlandish superstition of the ruler was inducing, in a word, all under him, both governors and governed, [*](1 Eusebius here borrows some phrases from Dion. Αlex. (vii. 10. 4 above). 2 We have thus translated ψηφίσματα (“decisions”) and wherever it occurs in this book, inasmuch as these “decisions ” were “ petitions” )

to do everything against us in order to secure his favour ; in return for the benents which they thought to secure from him, they bestowed upon him this greatest of boons, namely, to thirst for our blood and to display some more novel tokens of malice toward us.

V. Having forged, to be sure, Memoirs of Pilate and our Saviour, full of every kind of blasphemy against Christ, with the approval of their chief they sent them round to every part οf his dominions, with edicts that they should be exhibited openly for everyone to see in every plaee, both town country, and that the primary teachers should give them to the children, instead οf lessons, for study and committal to memory.

While this was thus being carried οut, another person, a commander, whom the Romans style dux, 1 caused certain infamous women to be abducted from the market-place at Damascus in Phoenicia, and, by continually threatening them with the infliction of tortures, compelled them to state in writing that they were once actually Christians, and privy to their unhallowed deeds, and that the Christians practised in the very churches lewdness and everything else that he wished these women to say in defamation of our faith. Ηe also made a memorandum of their words and communicated it to the Emperor, and moreover at his command published this docmnent also in every place and city.

VI. But not long afterwards he, that is to say, the commander, died by his own hand, and thus paid the penalty for his wickedness.

But as for us, banishments and severe persecutions were again renewed, and the rulers in every province

once more rose up cruelly against us, with the result that some of those eminent in the divine Word were taken, and received the sentence of death without mercy.

Of these, three in Emesa, a city of Phoenicia, were consigned to wild beasts as food, having declared themselves Christians. Among them was a bishop, Silvanus, exceedingly advanced in age, who had exercised his ministry for forty entire years.

Αt the same time Ρeter also, who presided with the greatest distinction over the communities at Alexandria—a truly divine example of a bishop on account of his virtuous life and his earnest study of the holy Scriptures—was seized for no reason at all quite unexpectedly ; and then immediately and unaccountably beheaded, as if by the command of Maximin. Αnd along with him many others οf the Egyptian bishops endured the same penalty.

Lucian, a most excellent man in every respect, οf temperate life and well versed in sacred learning, a presbyter of the community at Antioch, was brought to the city or Nicomedia, where the Emperor was then staying ; and, having made his defence before the ruler on behalf οf the doctrine which he professed, he was committed to prison and put to death.

so mightily, indeed, did that hater of the good, Maximin, contrive against us in a short space, that this persecution which he had stirred up seemed to us much more severe than the former one.

VII. In fact, in the midst of the cities—a thing that never happened before—petitions presented us by cities, and rescripts containing imperial ordinances

in reply, were set up, engraved on brazen tablets ; while the children in the schools had every day on their lips the names of Jesus and Pilate and the Memoirs forged to insult us.

Αt this point I think it necessary to insert this same doeument of Maximin that was set up on tablets, so as to make manifest at once the boastful, overweening arrogance of this hater of God, and the divine Justice that followed close upon his heels with its sleepless hatred of the evil in wicked men. Ιt was this which smote him ; and not long afterwards he reversed his policy with regard to us, and made a decree by laws in writing.

Copy of a Translation of the Rescript of Maximin in answer to Petitions against us, taken from the Tablet at Tyre.

“ Νow at length, the feeble boldness of the human mind has shaken off and dispersed all blinding mists of error, that error which hitherto was attacking the senses of men not so much wicked as wretched, and was wrapping them in the baneful darkness of ignorance; and it has been enabled to recognize that it is governed and established by the benevolent providence of the immortal gods. Ιt passes belief to say how grateful, how exceeding pleasant and agreeable, it has proved to us that you have given a very great proof of your godly disposition ; since even before this none could be ignorant what regard and piety you were displaying towards the immortal gods, in

whom is manifested a faith, not of bare and empty words, but constant and admirable in its noble deeds. Wherefore your city might worthily be called a temple and —place οf the immortal gods. Certainly, by many signs it appears that it flourishes bccause there the immortal gods sojourn. Behold therefore, your city put away all thought for its own private advantage and neglected former requests for its own affairs, when once again it perceived that the followers οf that accursed folly were beginning to spread, as a neglected and smouldering pyre which, when its fires are rekindled into flame, forms οnce more a mighty conflagration. Then immediately and without any delay it had recourse to our piety, as to a metropolis of all religious feeling, requesting some healing and help. It is evident that the gods have placed in your heart this saving thought οn account οf your frialth and godly fear. Accordingly it was he, the most exalted and mighty, even Zeus, he who presides οver your far-famed city, he who protects your ancestral gods and women and children and hearth and home from all destruction, who inspired your hearts with this saving purpose ; it was he who plainly showed how excellent and splendid and saving a thing it is to draw night to the worship and sacred rites οf the immortal gods with due reverence. For who can be found so senseless or bereft of all intelligence as not to perceive that it is by the benevolent care of the gods that the earth does not refuse the seeds committed to it, and thus disappoint the hus- [*](3 This word is evidently corrupt. Schwartz suggests ἄφθορον. )
bandmen οf their hope with vain expectation? Or, again, that the spectre of unholy war does not plant itself without opposition upon the earth, so that squalid bodies are dragged off to death, while the wholesome air of heaven is polluted? Οr, indeed, that the sea does not toss and swell under the blasts of immoderate winds? Or that hurricanes do not burst without warning and stir up a death-dealing tempest? Or, still further, that the earth, the nurse and mother of all, does not sink from its deepest hollows with fearful tremor, and the mountains that lie upon it crash into the resulting chasms? For all these evils, and evils even more terrible, have happened many a time before this, as everyone knows. Αnd all these things happened at once because of the baneful error and vain folly those unhahoVed men, when that error took possession of their souls, and, οne might almost say, oppressed the whole world everywhere with its deeds of shame."

After other remarks he adds: “Let them behold in the broad plains the crops already ripe with waving ears of corn, the meadows, thanks to opportune rains, brilliant with plants and flowers, and the weather that has been granted us temperate and very mild; further, let all rejoice since through our piety, through the sacrifices and veneration we have rendered, the most powerful and intractable air has been propitiated, and Ιet them take pleasure in that they therefore enjoy the most serene peace securely and in quiet. Αnd let as many as have been wholly rescued from that blind folly and error and returned to a right and goodly frame of mind rejoice indeed the [*](1 The text οf this clause is hopelessly corrupt. )

more, as if they were delievered from an unexpected hurricane or severe illness and were reaping life's sweet enjoyment for the future. But if they persist in their accursed folly, let them be separated and driven far away from your city and neighbourhood, even as you requested; that so, in accordance with your praiseworthy zeal in this respect, your city may be separated from all pollution and impiety, and, following its natural desire, may respond with due reverenee to the worship of the immortal gods.

“Αnd that you may know how pleasing this your request has been to us, and how fully disposed to benevolence our soul is, of its own accord apart from petitioins and entreaties: we permit your Devotedness to ask whatsoever bounty you wish, return for this your godly intent. Αnd now let it be your resolve so to do and receive. For you will obtain your bounty without delay, the granting of which to your city will furnish a testimony for evermore of our godly piety towards the immortal gods, and a proof to your sons and descendants that you have met with the due meed οf reward from our benevolence on account of these your principles of conduct."

This was emblazoned against us in every province, excluding every ray οf hope from our condition, at least as far as human help is concerned; so that, in accordance with the divine oracle itself, if possible

even the elect themselves should be caused to stumble at these things. In truth, expectation was already almost failing in very many souls, when all at οnce, while those serving the writ set forth against us were οn their way and had not yet finished their journey in some districts, the Champion οf Ηis own Church, even God, stopping, 1 as it were, the proud boasting οf the tyrant against us, displayed Ηis heavenly aid on our behalf.

VIII. The customary rains, indeed, and showers οf the then prevailing winter season were withholding their usual downpour upon the earth, and we were visited with an unexpected famine, and on top of this a plague and an outbreak οf another kind of disease. This later was an ulcer, which on account of its fiery character was called an anthrax. 2 Spreading as it did οver the entire body it used to endanger greatly its victims ; but it was the eyes that it marked οut for special attack, and so it was the means of blinding numbers οf men as well as women and children.

In addition to this, the tyrant had the further trouble οf the war against the Armenians, men who from ancient times had been friends and allies of the Romans; but as they were Christians and exceedingly eamest in their piety towards the Deity, this hater of God, by attempting to compel them to sacrifice to idols and demons, made of them foes instead οf friends, and enemies instead οf allies.

The fact that all these things came together all at οnce, at οne and the same time, served to refute utterly the tyrant's insolent boasting against the Deity ; for he used to affirm insolently that, on [*](precious stone of a dark red colour, and hence is also used οf a malignant ulcer of similar appearance.)

account of his zeal for the idols and his attack upon us, neither famine nor pestilence nor even war took place in his time. These things, then, coming upon him together and at the same time had constituted the prelude of his overthrow. He himself, therefore, was worn out along with his commanders in the Armenian war: while the rest of the inhabitants of the cities under his rule were so terribly wasted by both the famine and the pestilence, that two thousand five hundred Attic drachmas were given for a single measure of wheat. Countless was the number of those who were dying in the cities, and still larger οf those in the country parts and villages, with the result that the registers, which formerly contained the names of a numerous rural population, were now all but entirely wiped out; for one might almost say that the entire population perished all at once through lack of food and through plague. Some, indeed, did not hesitate to barter their dearest possessions for the scantiest supply of food with those better provided; others sold off their goods little by little and were driven to the last extremity of want; and others again injured their bodily health, and died from chewing small wisps of hay and recklessly eating certain pernicious herbs. Αnd as for the women, some well-born ladies in cities were driven by their want to shameless necessity, and went forth to beg in the market-plaees, displaying a proof of their noble upbringing in their shamefacedness and the decency of their apparel. Αnd some, wasted away like ghosts οf the departed, and at the last gasp, stumbled and tottered here and there from inability
to stand, and fell down; then, stretched out prone the midst of the streets they would beg for a small οrsel of bread to be handed them, and with the t breath in their body cry out that they were ungry, finding strength for this most anguished of cries alone. Others, such as were regarded as belonging to the wealthier classes, amazed at the ultitude of beggars, after giving countless doles, enceforth adopted a hard and pitiless frame of mind, since they expected that before very long they would be suffering the same misery as the beggars; so that in the midst of market-places and ad and naked bodies lay scattered here and there buried for many days, presenting a most piteous ectacle to those who saw them. Some actually came food even for dogs; and chiefly for this reason οse who were alive turned to killing dogs, for fear t they might become mad and turn to devouring en. But worst οf all, the pestilence also battened on every house, especially those whom the famine uld not completely destroy because they were well provided with food. Men, for example, in affluent cumstances, rulers and governors and numbers of cials, who had been left, as it were of set purpose y the famine for the benefit of the plague, endured a sharp and very speedy death. So every place was 11 of lamentations; in every alley and marketce and street there was nothing to be seen but eral dirges, together with the flutes and noises 1 at accompany them. Thus waging war with the oresaid two weapons, pestilence and famine, death voured whole familes in a short time, so that one ight actually see the bodies οf two or three dead [*](1 Or “beating (of breasts).”)
persons carried out for burial in a single funeral train.

Such were the wages received for the proud boasting of Maximin and for the petitions presented by the cities against us; while the proofs of Christians' zeal and piety in every respect were manifest to all the heathen. For example, they alone in such an evil state of affairs gave practical evidence of their sympathy and humanity: all day long some of them would diligently persevere in performing the last offices for the dying and burying them (for there were countless numbers, and no one to look after them); while others would gather together in a single assemblage the multitude of those who all throughout the city were wasted with the famine, and distribute bread to them all, so that their action was on all men's lips, and they glorified the God of the Christians, and, convinced by the deeds themselves, acknowledged that they ere truly pious and God-fearing.

Αfter these things were thus accomplished, God, he great and heavenly Champion of the Christians, hen Ηe had displayed Ηis threatening and wrath gainst all men by the aforesaid means, in return for heir exceeding great attacks against us, once again estored to us the bright and kindly radianee of His rovidential care for us. Most marvellously, as in thick darkness, Ηe caused the light of peace to hine upon us from Himself, and made it manifest o all that God Himself had been watching over our ffairs continually, at times scourging and in due eason correcting Ηis people by means of misfortunes, nd again on the other hand after sufficient chastisement

showing mercy and goodwill to those who fix their hopes on Ηim.

ΙX. Thus in truth Constantine, who, as aforesaid,1 was Emperor and sprung from an Emperor, pious and sprung from a most pious and in every respect most prudent father, and Licinius, who ranked next to him—both honoured for their and piety—were stirred up by the King of God of the universe and Saviour, two men beloved of God, against the two most impious tyrants; and when war was formally engaged, God proved their ally 2 in the most wonderful manner, and Maxentius fell at Rome at the hands of Constantine; while he 3 of the Εast did not long survive him, for he too perished by a most disgraceful death at the hands of Licinius, 4 who had not yet become mad. 4

But to resume. Constantine, the superior of the Emperors in rank and dignity, vas the first to take pity on those subjected to tyranny at Rome; and, calling in prayer upon God who is in heaven, and His Word, even Jesus Christ the Saviour of all, as his ally, he advanced in full force, seeking to secure for the Romans their ancestral liberty. Maxentius, to be sure, put his trust rather in devices of magic than in the goodwill of his subjects, and in truth did not dare to advance even beyond the ’s gates, but with an innumerable multitude of heavy-armed soldiers and countless bodies of legionaries secured every place and district and city that had been reduced to slavery by him in the environs of Rome and in all [*](shorter text of Eusebius Σ) runs as follows : “Thus in truth Constatine . . . most prudent father, was stirred up by the . . . Saviour, aganist those most impious tyrants . . . God proved his ally. ...” 3 Maximin. 4 This clause is a Ιater addition. )

Italy. The Εmperor, closely relying on the help that comes from God, attacked the first, second and third οf the tyrant's armies, and capturing them with ease advanced over a large part of Italy, actually coming very near to Rome itself. Then, that he might not be compelled because of the tyrant to fight against Romans, God Ηimself as if with chains dragged the tyrant far away from the gates; and those things which were inscribed long ago in the sacred books against wicked men—to which as myth very many gave no faith, yet were they worthy of faith to the faithful—now by their very found faith, in a word, with all, faithful and faithless, who had the miracle before their eyes. As, for example, in the days of Moses himself and the ancient and godly race of the Hebrews, “ Ρharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea, his chosen horsemen, even captains, they were sunk in the Red Sea, the deep covered them’’; in the same way also Maxentius and the armed soldiers and guards around him “went down into the depths like a stone,” he turned his back before the God-sent power that was with Constantine, and was crossing the river that lay in his path, which he himself had bridged right well by joining of boats, and so formed into an engine οf destruction against himself. Wherefore one might say: “Ηe hath made a pit, and digged it, and shall fall into the ditch which he made. Ηis work shall return upon his own head, and his wickedness shall come down upon his οwn pate.”

Thus verily, through the breaking of the bridge οver the river, the passage across collapsed, and down went the boats all at once, men and all, into the deep;

and first of all he himself, that most wicked of men, and then also the shield-bearers around him, as the divine oracles foretell, sank as lead in the mighty waters. So that suitably, if not in words, at least in deeds, like the followers of the great servant Moses, those who had won the victory by the help of God might in some sort hymn the very same words Which were uttered against the wicked tyrant οf old, and say: “Let us sing unto the Lord, for gloriously hath he been glorified: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and protector, he is become my salvation’’; and “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorified in saints, marvellous in praises, doing wonders?’’ These things, and such as are akin and similar to them, Constantine by his very deeds sang to God the Ruler of all and Αuthor οf the victory; then he entered Rome with hymns of triumph, and all the senators and other persons οf great note, together with women and quite young children and all the Roman people, received him in a body with beaming countenances to their very heart as a ransomer, saviour and benefactor, with praises and insatiable joy. But he, as one possessed οf natural piety towards God, was by no means stirred by their shouts nor uplifted by their praises, for well he knew that his help was from God; and straightway he gave orders that a memorial of the Saviour's should be set up in the hand of his own Statue; and indeed when they set him in the most public place in Rome holding the Saviour's sign in his right hand, bade them engrave this very inscription in these words in the Latin tongue: “By this salutary sign,
the true proof of bravery, I saved and delivered your city from the yoke of the tyrant; and moreover I freed and restored to their ancient fame and splendour both the senate and the people of the Romans.”

Αnd after this Constantine himself, and with him the emperor Licinius, 1 whose mind was not yet deranged by the madness into Which he afterwards fell, 1 having propitiated God as the Αuthor of all their good fortune, both with one will and purpose drew up a most perfect law2 in the fullest terms on behalf οf the Christans 3; and to Maximin, who was still ruler of the provinces of the East and playing at being their friend, they sent on an account of the marvellous things that God had done for them, as well as of their victory over the tyrant, and the law itself. Αnd he, tyrant that he was, was greatly troubled at the intelligence; but, not wishing to seem to yield to others, nor yet to suppress the command through fear of those who had enjoined it, as if of his own motion he penned perforce this first letter on behalf of the Christians to the governors under him; in which he belies himself, and feigns that he had done things he never had.

Copy of a Translation of the Epistle of the Tyrant

“Jovius Μaximinus Augustus to Sabinus. I am persuaded that it is manifest both to thy Firmness and to all men that our masters Diocletian and Maximian, our fathers, when they perceived that [*](1 This clause is a later addition. 2 The so-called Edict of Milan: see X. 5. 1-14. 3 January 313.)

almost all men had abandoned the worship of the gods and associated themselves with the nation of the Christians, rightly gave orders that all men who deserted the worship of their gods, gods, the the immortal gods, should be recalled to the worship of the gods by open correction and punishment. But when under happy auspices I came for the first time to the East, and learnt that in certain places very many persons who were able to serve the public good were being banished by the judges for the aforesaid reason, I gave orders to each of the judges that of them in future was to deal harshly with the pronincials, but rather by persuasive words and exhortations to recall them to the worship of the gods. It came to pass at that therefore, when when with my injunction the judges observed what was commanded, that no one in the eastem provinces was either banished or suffered insult, but rather was recalled to the worship the gods, because no severe measures were employed against them. But afterwards, when last year under happy auspices I had gone to Nicomedia and was staying there, there came to me citizens of the same city with images of the gods, earnestly requesting that on no account should such a nation be permitted to dwell in their city. But when I learnt that very many οf the same religion dwelt in those very parts, I thus made them reply : That I was gratified, and thanked them for their request, but I perceived that this request did not come from all. If, then, there were some that persevered in the same superstition, let each οne
keep thus his resolve according as he personally wished ; and if they so desired it, let them acknowledge the worship of the gods. Nevertheless to these same Nicomedians and the rest of the cities, who themselves have so very earnestly addressed me a similar request, namely, that no Christian should inhabit their cities, I was compelled to reply in a friendly manner, because the Emperors of old time had earefully obesrved this very thing, and it was plearing to the gods themselves, by whom 1 all men and the government itself of the state subsist, that2 I should confirm sueh a request as they were on behalf of the worship of their Deity.

“ Therefore, although special letters have been written to thy Devotedness before this time, and likewise it has been laid down by ordinances that no harsh measures should be adopted against provincials who have a mind to persevere in such a custom, but that men should deal with them in a long-suffering and adaptable spirti : nevertheless that they may not suffer insults or extortions at the hands of the beneficiarii 3 or any others whatsoever, Ι think it right by this letter also to put thy Firmness in mind that thou shouldest cause our provincials to recognize the attention they owe to the gods rather by persuasive words and exhortations. Wherefore if any should make it his resolve that the worship of the gods should be recognized, it is fitting to welcome sueh persons; but if some desire to follow their own worship, thou shouldest leave it in their own power. [*](1 δι’ οὕς : probably representing per quos in the original. 2 Omitting οὖν, as suggested by Schwartz. 3 This title was given to mibtary officers οf a high rank In this passage it seems to mean officers in the entourage of a provincial governor. )

For this reason it behoves thy Devotedness to observe carefully that which is commanded thee, and that authority be given to none to affiict our provincials with insults and extortions, since, as we wrote above, it is fitting to recall our provincials to the worship of the gods rather by exhortations and persuasive words. Αnd that this our injunction may come to the knonledge of all our provincials, it behoves thee to make known that which has been enjoined in an ordinance put forth by thyself.”

Since he issued these commands under the compulsion of necessity and not of his own free will, no one any longer regarded him as truthful or even trustworthy, because after a similar concession he had already on a former occasion showed himself to be changeable and false of disposition. Νone of our people therefore dared to convene an assembly or to present himself in public, beeause the letter did not allow him even this. This alone it laid down, that we should be kept from harsh treatment, but it gave no orders about holding meetings or erecting chureh-buildings or practising any of our customary acts. Αnd yet the adnocates of peace and piety, [Constantine had Licinius], had written to him to allow this, and had conceded it to all their subjects by means of edicts and laws. In truth, this monster of iniquity had resolved not to give in as regards this matter ; until he was smitten by the divine Justice, and at the last against his will forced to do so.

X. The following were the circumstance that hemmed him in. Ηe was unable to carry on the vast government with which he had been undeservedly entrusted ; but, lacking a prudent and

imperial mind, he managed his affairs tactlessly ; and, above all, his soul was uplifted in an absurd manner by an overweening arrogance, actually against his colleagues in the Empire, men who were in every way his superiors in birth and upbringing and education, in worth and intelligence, and — what is mort important of all — in sobriety and piety towards the true God. so he began to venture to act with insolence, and publicly to style himself first in rank. Then he pushed his madness to the length of insanity, and, breaking the treaty he had made with Licinius, raised an internecine war. Νext, in a short time he threw everything into confusion, greatly disturbed every city, and, gathering together all the anny, an innumerable multitude of men, went forth to fight him in battle-array, his soul uplifted by the hopes he placed in demons, whom, forsooth, he regarded as gods, and in his myriads of armed soldiers.

But when he joined battle, he found himself bereft of divine Providence, for, by the direction of Ηim who is the one and only God of all, the victory was given to Licinius who was then ruling. First of all, the armed soldiers in whom he had trusted were destroyed ; and when his bodyguard had left him defenceless and wholly deserted, and had gone over to him who was ruling,1 the wretched man himself with all speed of the imperial insignia that ill became him, and in a cowardly, base and unmanly way quietly slipt into the crowd. Then he ran about here and there, hiding himself in the helds and villages ; and for all his courting of safety he escaped with difficulty the hands of his enemies, his deeds themselves proclaiming how very trustworthy and true are the divine oracles, in which it has been said :

“ There is no king saved by much power, and a giant will not be saved by his great strength. Α horse is a vain thing for safety, and will not be saved by his great power. Behold, the eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy ; to deliver their souls from death.” then, did the tyrant, filled with shame, come to his own territory. Αnd first in his mad fury he put to death many priests and prophets of those gods who had formerly been his admiration, and whose oracles had incited him to begin the war, on the ground that they were charlatans and deceivers and, above all, betrayers of his safety. Νext, he gave glory to the Christians’ God, and drew up a law on behalf of their liberty in the most complete and fullest manner. Then straightway, no respite being granted him, he ended his life by a miserable death.

Νow the law issued by him was as follows :

Copy of a Translation of the Ordinance of the Tyrant οn behalf of the Christians, made from the Latin tongue into the Greek.

“ The Emperor Caesar Gaius Valerius Maximinus Germanicus, Sarmaticus, Ρius Felix Invictus Augustus. We beheve that no one is ignorant, nay that every man who has recourse to the facts knows and is conscious that it is manifest, that in every way we take unceasing thought for the good of our provincials, and desire to grant them such things as are best calculated to secure the advantage of all, and

whatsoever things are advantageous and useful to their common weal, and such as are suitable to the public advantage and agreeable to every mind Since, therefore, before this it has been evident to our knowledge that, on the plea that the most divine Diocletian and Μaximian, our fathers, had orders for the abolishment of the Christian assemblies, many extortions and robberies have been practised by the officials, and that this increased as time went on to the detriment of our provincials (for whose good it is our especial derire that there should be due thought), and that their own personal possessions were being destroyed : We addressed a letter to the governors in eaeh province last year, laying it down that if any should wish to follow such a custom or the same religious observances, such a one should adhere to his purpose without hindrance, and be hindered or prevented by no one ; and that they should have a free hand, without fear and suspicion, to do whatsoever each one pleases. But it cannot escape our notice even now that some of the judges misinterpreted our injunctions, and caused our people to have doubts with regard to our commands, and made them somewhat backward in joining in those religious observances that were pleasing to them.

“ That, therefore, for the future all suspicion or doubt arising from fear may be removed, we have decreed that this ordinance be published, so that it may be plain to all that those who desire to follow

this sect and religious observance are permitted, in accordance with this our bounty, as each one wishes οr finds it pleasing, to join in that religious observance which from choice he was wont to praetise. Αnd permission has also been granted them to build the Lord's houses. Nevertheless, that our bounty may be even greater, we have decided to decree this also : that if any houses or lands, which used formerly to belong by right to the Christians, have by the injunction of our parents into the right of the public treasury or have been sriIed by any city— whether a sale of these has taken place, or they have been handed over to anyone as a gift — we have given οrders that all these be restored to the Christians as their original right, so that in this also all may perceive οur piety and solicitude.”

These are the words of the tyrant that came less than a whole year after the ordinances against the Christians, set up by him on tablets ; and he who a short while previously looked upon us as impious and godless and the pests of society, so that we were not pennirted to dwen in, I will not say, a city, but even a spot in the counrty or a desert — this same person drew up ordinances and legislation on behalf οf the Christians ; and those who shortly before were being destroyed by fire and sword and given to wild beasts and birds for food before his eyes, and were enduring every kind of chastisement and punishment and loss of life in the most pitiable manner, as if they were godless and wicked, these he now allows both to observe their fonn worship and to build churches ; and the tyrant himself confesses that they possess certain rights !


Αnd when he had made these confessions, as if meeting with some kind of reward on this very account—that is, suffering less, to be sure, than behoved him to suffer—he was smitten all at once a stroke of God, and perished in the second οf the war. But the circumstances of his death were not such as fall to the lot of generah on a campaign, who time after time contend bravely on behalf of virtue and friends, and with a good courage meet a glorious end in battle ; but he suffered his due punishment like an impious enemy of God, skulking at home while his army was still stationed in battlearray on the neld. Αll at once he was smitten by a stroke of God over his whole body, with the result that he fell prone under the onslaught of terrible pains and agonies; he was wasted by hunger, and his flesh entirely consumed by an invisible, divinelysent fire; the form which his body once possessed wasted away and there and there remained only a form οf dry bones, like some phantom shape long since reduced to a skeleton, so that those present could not but think that his body become the tomb of his soul, which had been buried in what was now a corpse and completely wasted away. Αnd as the heat consumed him still more foerce;u in the very depths οf his marrow, his eyes projected, and falling from their sockets 1 left him blind. Yet he still breathed in this condition, and making confession to the Lord invoked death. So with his last breath he acknowledged that he suffered thus justly because of his violence against Christ ; and then gave up the ghost.

[*](1 In later Greek λῆξις sometimes means ‘place,’ ‘position’ ; Chrysostom (Hom. lvi. in Job. § 2) uses the word, as Eusebius does here, of he place occupied by the eye. )

XI. when Maximin was thus removed — he who as the only οne left οf the enemies of godliness, d showed himself the worst of al — by the grace of Almightly God the renewal of the churches from the foundation was set on foot, and the word of Christ received a due increase upon its fonner freedom, and was clearly heard to the glory of the God of the universe; ; while the impiety οf the enemies of godlness was covered with the most abject shame and dishonour. For Maximin himself was the first to be proclaimed by the rulers as a common enemy οf all, and posted in public edicts on tablets as a most impious, most hateful and God-hating tyrant. As to the portraits which were set up in every city to his honour and that of his children, some were hurled from a height to the ground and smashed to pieces, others had their faces blackened over with darkcoloured paint and so rendered useless ; the statues likewise, as many as had been set up in his honour, were cast down and broken in the same manner, and lay as an object of merriment and sport to those who wished to insult or abuse them.

Next, all the honours of the other enemies of godliness also were taken away, and all who were οf the arty of Maximin were slain, especially those in high government positions who had been honoured by him, and who indulged in violent abuse against our doctrine in order to fawn upon him. such was Peucetius, a man whom he honoured and respected above all, the truest of his friends, consul a second and a third time, and appointed by him general finance minister; such likewise was Culeianus, who had gone through every grade of offiee in the government, the same person who gloried in the murder

countless Christians in Egypt; and in addition to these not a few others, who were the chief means of confirming and increasing Maximin's tyranny.

So it was that Theotecnus also was summoned by Justice, who in no wise consigned to oblivion what he did against the Christians. For after he had set up the idol 1 at Antioch, he seemed to be prospering, and had actually been deemed worthy of a governorship by Maximin; but when Licinius came to the city οf the Antiochenes, he made a search for charlatans, and plied with tortures the the prophets and priests of the new-made idol, to find out by what contrivance they were practising this deceit. Αnd when the infliction of the tortures made concealment impossible for them, and they revealed that the whole mystery was a deceit manufactured by the art of Theotecnus, he inflicted a just punishment upon them all, putting to death, arter a long series οf tortures, first neotecnus himself, and then also the partners in his charlatanry.

To all these were added the sons οf Maximin, whom he had already caused to share the imperial dignity and to be set up in paintings and pictures.2 Αnd those who formerly boasted kinship with the tyrant and were moved by pride to lord it οver all men underwent the same sufferings, accompanied by the most abject disgrace, as those mentioned above; for they received not correction, nor did they know or understand the exhortatlon in the sacred books which says : “ Ρut not your trust ln princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no help His breath shall go forth and he shall return to his [*](1 See c. 3. 2 Cf. § 2 above. )

earth. In that day all his thoughts shall perish.” 1 Thus verily when the impious ones had been purged away, the kingdom that belonged to them was preserved stedfast and undisputed for Constantine and Licinius alone; who, when they had made it their very first action to purge the world of enmity against God, conscious of the good things that Ηe had bestowed upon them, displayed their love of virtue and of God, their piety and gratitude towards the Deity, by their enactment on behalf of the Christians.

[*](the Saviour and Redeemer of our souls, Jesus Christ, though whom we pray continually that peace from troubles without and troubles in the heart may be preserved for us stedfast and ” In Σ this sentence also begins Book X. (In Σ it is found in both places.) The text as printed is probably that οf the earlier editions οf Eusebius (see vol. i. pp. xix ff.), and was naturally omitted in the last recension, after the Damnatio memoriae of Licinius.)