NPNF2-01 Eusebius 627
627 24 Nicomedia, the capital city of Bithynia, became Diocletian’s chief place of residence, and was made by him the Eastern capital of the empire.
25 The great church of Nicomedia was destroyed on Feb. 23, 303, and the First Edict was published on the following day (see (above, chap. 2, note 3).
26 Lactantius relates this account in his De mort. pers. chap. 13, and expresses disapproval of the act, while admiring the spirit of the man. He, too, is silent in regard to the name of the man, though, living as he did in Nicomedia, he can hardly have been ignorant of it. We may perhaps imagine that he did not care to perpetuate the name of a man whom he considered to have acted rashly and illegally. The old martyrologies give the man’s name as John. That he deserved death is clear enough. He was not a martyr to the faith, but a criminal, who was justly executed for treasonable conduct. The first edict contemplated no violence to the persons of the Christians. If they suffered death, it was solely in consequence of their own rashness, as in the present case. It is clear that such an incident as this would anger Diocletian and increase his suspicions of Christians as a class, and thus tend to precipitate a regular persecution. It must have seemed to the authorities that the man would hardly commit such a foolhardy act unless he was conscious of the support of a large body of the populace, and so the belief in the wide extension of the plot which had caused the movement on the part of the emperors must have been confirmed. See below, p. 398 sq.
27 i.e. Diocletian and Galerius.
28 On Dorotheus, see above, chap. 1, note 3.
29 i.e. in Nicomedia, before Diocletian and Galerius.
30 petro", “a rock.” It is clear from the account of Lactantius (chap. 15) that this man, and the others mentioned in this connection, suffered after the second conflagration in the palace and in consequence of it (see (below, p. 400). The two conflagrations led Diocletian to resort to torture in order to ascertain the guilty parties, or to obtain information in regard to the plots of the Christians. Examination by torture was the common mode of procedure under such circumstances, and hence implies no unusual cruelty in the present case. The death even of these men, therefore, cannot be looked upon as due to persecution. Their offense was purely a civil one. They were suspected of being implicated in a treasonable plot, and of twice setting fire to the palace. Their refusal to sacrifice under such circumstances, and thus evince their loyalty at so critical a time, was naturally looked upon as practically a confession of guilt,—at any rate as insubordination on a most grave occasion, and as such fitly punishable by death. Compare Pliny’s epistle to Trajan, in which he expresses the opinion that “pertinacious and inflexible obstinacy” ought at any rate to be punished, whatever might be thought of Christianity as such (see (above, Bk. III. chap. 33, note 1); and at such a time as this Diocletian must have felt that the first duty of all his subjects was to place their loyalty beyond suspicion by doing readily that which was demanded. His impatience with the Christians must have been increasing under all these provocations, and thus the regular persecution was becoming ever note imminent.
31 Gorgonius has been already mentioned in chap. 1, above. See note 4 on that chapter.
32 In a fragment preserved by the Chron. Paschale, and purporting to be a part of an epistle written from prison, shortly before his death, by the presbyter Lucian of Antioch to the church of that city, Anthimus, bishop of Nicomedia, is mentioned as having just suffered martyrdom (see (Routh’s Rel. Sac. IV. p. 5). Lucian, however, was imprisoned and put to death during the persecution of Maximinus (a.d. 311 or 312). See below, Bk. IX. chap. 6, and Jerome’s de vir. ill. chap. 77. It would seem, therefore, if the fragment given in the Chron. Paschale be genuine, and there seems no good reason to doubt it, that Anthimus suffered martyrdom not under Diocletian, but under Maximinus, in 311 or 312. In that case Eusebius is mistaken in putting his death at this early date, in connection with the members of the imperial household. Indeed, we see no reason for his execution at this time, and should find it difficult to explain if we were to accept it. In the time of Maximinus, however, it is perfectly natural, and of a piece with the execution of Peter of Alexandria and other notable prelates. Eusebius, as we have already seen, pays no attention to chronology in this Eighth Book, and hence there is no great weight to be placed upon his mention of the death of Anthimus at this particular place. Mason (p. 324) says that Hunziker (p. 281) has conclusively shown Eusebius’ mistake at this point. I have not seen Hunziker, and therefore cannot judge of the validity of his arguments, but, on the grounds already stated, have no hesitation in expressing my agreement with his conclusion. Of Anthimus himself, we know nothing beyond what has been already intimated. In chap. 13, §1, below, he is mentioned again, but nothing additional is told us in regard to him.
Having observed Eusebius’ mistake in regard to Anthimus, we realize that there is no reason to consider him any more accurate in respect to the other martyrdoms referred to in this paragraph. In fact, it is clear enough that, in so far as his account is not merely rhetorical, it relates to events that took place not at this early date, but during a later time after the regular religious persecution had begun. No such “multitude” suffered in consequence of the conflagration as Eusebius thinks. The martyrdoms of which he has heard belong rather to the time after the Fourth Edict (see (below, Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2), or possibly to the still later time when Maximinus was at Nicomedia, and was in the midst of his bloody career of persecution).
33 Eusebius does not accuse Galerius of being the author of the conflagration, as Lactantius does. In fact, he seems to have known very little about the matter. He mentions only one fire, whereas Lactantius distinctly tells us there were two, fifteen days apart (chap. 14). Eusebius evidently has only the very vaguest information in regard to the progress of affairs at Nicomedia, and has no knowledge of the actual order and connection of events. In regard to the effects of the fire upon Diocletian’s attitude toward the Christians, see above, note 3, and below, p. 400. Constantine (Orat. ad Sanct. Coet. XXV. 2) many years afterwards referred to the fire as caused by lightning, which is clearly only a makeshift, for, as Burckhardt remarks, there could have been no doubt in that case how the fire originated. And, moreover, such an explanation at best could account for only one of the fires. The fact that Constantine feels it necessary to invent such an explanation gives the occurrence a still more auspicious look, and one not altogether favorable to the Christians. In fact, it must be acknowledged that the case against them is pretty strong.
628 34 Literally, “The executioners, having bound a large number of others on boats, threw them into the depths of the sea” (dhsante" de oi dhmioi allo ti plhqo" epi skafai", toi" qalattioi" enaperripton buqoi"). The construction is evidently a pregnant one, for it cannot be supposed that boats and all were thrown into the depths of the sea. They seem to have bound the prisoners, and carried them out to sea on boats, and then thrown them overboard. Compare the Passion of St. Theodotus (Mason, p. 362), where we are told that the “President then bade them hang stones about their necks, and embark them on a small shallop and row them out to a spot where the lake was deeper; and so they were cast into the water at the distance of four or five hundred feet from the shore.” Crusè translates, “binding another number upon planks,” but skafh will hardly bear that meaning; and even if it could, we should scarcely expect men to be bound to planks if the desire was to “cast them into the depths of the sea.” Lactantius (chap. 15), in speaking of these same general occurrences, says, “Servants, having millstones tied about their necks, were cast into the sea.”
Closs remarks that drowning was looked upon in ancient times as the most disgraceful punishment, because it implied that the criminals were not worthy to receive burial.
35 Compare Bk. IV. chap. 15, §41, above, and Lactantius, Div. Inst. V. 11. That in the present case the suspicion that the Christians would worship the remains of these so-called martyrs was not founded merely upon knowledge of the conduct of Christians in general in relation to the relics of their martyrs, but upon actual experience of their conduct in connection with these particular martyrs, is shown by the fact that the emperor first buried them, and afterward had them dug up. Evidently Christians showed them such honor, and collected in such numbers about their tombs, that he believed it was necessary to take some such step in order to prevent the growth of a spirit of rebellion, which was constantly fostered by such demonstrations. Compare the remarks of Mason on p. 135.
36 Part of the events mentioned in this chapter occurred at the beginning; others, a considerable time later. See note 5, above.
37 Melitene was the name of a district and a city in Eastern Cappadocia. Upon the outbreak there we know only what can be gathered from this passage, although Mason (p. 126 sq). connects it with a rebellion, of which an account is given in Simeon Metaphras-tes. It is possible that the account of the Metaphrast is authentic, and that the uprising referred to here is to be identified with it, but more than that cannot be said. There can be no doubt that the outbreak was one of the causes of the promulgation of the Second Edict, in which case of course it is clear that the Christians. whether rightly or wrongly, were held responsible for it. See above, chap. 2, note 7.
38 Valesius identifies this usurpation in Syria with that of Eugenius in Antioch, of which we are told by Libanius (in his Oratio ad Theodosium post reconciliationem, and in his Oratio ad Theod. de seditione Antioch., according to Valesius). The latter was but a small affair, involving only a band of some five hundred soldiers, who compelled their commander Eugenius, to assume the purple, but were entirely destroyed by the people of the city within twenty-four hours. See the note of Valesius ad locum, Tillemont’s Hist. des Emp. IX. 73 sq., and Mason, p. 124 sq. This rebellion took place in the time of Diocletian, but there is no reason for connecting it with the uprising mentioned here by Eusebius. The words of Eusebius would seem to imply that he was thinking, not of a single rebellion, but of a number which took place in various parts of Syria. In that case, the Antiochian affair may have been one of them.
39 tou" pantacose twn ekklhsiwn proestwta". Upon this second edict, see above, chap. 2, note 7.
40 It is evident enough from this clause alone that the word proestwta", “rulers,” is to be taken in a broad sense. See the note just referred to.
41 The Third Edict of Diocletian. Eusebius evidently looks upon the edict as a sharpening of the persecution, but is mistaken in his view. The idea was not that those who refused to sacrifice should be punished by torture for not sacrificing, but that torture should be applied in order to induce them to sacrifice, and thus render it possible to release them. The end sought was their release, not their punishment. Upon the date and interpretation of this edict, see chap. 2, note 8.
42 Eusebius is probably again in error, as so often in this book, in connecting a “multitude of martyrs in every province” with this Third Edict. Wholesale persecution and persecution as such—aimed directly at the destruction of all Christians—did not begin until the issue of the Fourth Edict (see (below, Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2). These numerous martyrdoms referred to here doubtless belong to the period after the issue of that edict, although in Africa and Mauritania, which were under Maximian, considerable blood was probably shed even before that time. For it was possible, of course, for a cruel and irresponsible ruler like Maximian to fix the death penalty for refusal to deliver up the Christian books, or for other acts of obstinacy which the Christian would quite commonly commit. These cases, however, must be looked upon as exceptional at this stage of affairs, and certainly rare.
43 From the Martyrs of Palestine, chap. 8 sq. (more fully in the Syriac; Cureton’s English translation p. 26 sq)., we learn that in the sixth and following years of the persecution, many Egyptian Christians were sent to Palestine to labor in the mines there, and that they underwent the severest tortures in that country. No mention is made of such persons in the Martyrs of Palestine previous to the sixth year. Those in Tyre to whom Eusebius refers very likely suffered during the same period; not under Diocletian, but under Maximinus, when the persecution was at its height. Since in his Martyrs of Palestine Eusebius confines himself to those who suffered in that country (or were natives of it), he has nothing to say about those referred to in this chapter, who seem, from the opening of the next chapter, to have suffered, all of them, in Tyre.
629 44 No part of Christendom suffered more severely during these years than the territory of the tyrant Maximinus, who became a Caesar in 305, and who ruled in Egypt and Syria.
45 Thebais, or the territory of Thebes, was one of the three great divisions of Egypt, lying between lower Egypt on the north and Aethiopia on the south. From §4, below, we learn that Eusebius was himself an eye-witness of at least some of the martyrdoms to which he refers in the present chapter. Reasons have been given on p. 10, above, for supposing that he did not visit Egypt until the later years of the persecution, indeed not until toward the very end of it; and it is therefore to this period that the events described in this chapter are to be ascribed).
46 archn tina ou thn tucousan th" kat Alexandreian basilikh" dioikhsew" egkeceirismeno". Valesius says that Philoromus was the Rationalis, seu procurator summarum Aegypti, i.e. the general finance minister of Egypt (see (above, Bk. VII. chap. 10, note 8). But the truth is, that the use of the tina implies that Eusebius is not intending to state the particular office which he held, but simply to indicate that he held some high office, and this is all that we can claim for Philoromus. We know no more of him than is told us here, though (Ac of St. Phileas and St. Philoromus are extant, which contain an account of his martyrdom, and are printed by the Bollandists and by Ruinart (interesting extracts given by Tillemont, H. E. V. p. 486 sq., and by Mason, p. 290 sq).. Tillemont (ibid. p. 777) and others defend their genuineness, but Lardner doubts it (Credibility, chap. 60). I have examined only the extracts printed by Tillemont and Mason, and am not prepared to express an opinion in the matter.
47 Phileas, bishop of Thmuis (an important town in lower Egypt, situated between the Tanite and Mendeaian branches of the Nile), occupies an important place among the Diocletian martyrs. The extant Acts of his martyrdom have been referred to in the previous note. He is mentioned again by Eusebius in chaps. 10 and 13, and in the former a considerable part of his epistle to the people of his diocese is quoted. Jerome mentions him in his de vir. ill. chap. 78, where he says: elegantissimum iibrum de martyrum laude composuit, et disputatione actorum habita adversum judicem, qui eum sacrificare cogebat, pro Christo capite truncatur. The book referred to by Jerome seems to be identical with the epistle quoted by Eusebius in the next chapter, for we have no record of another work on this subject written by him. There is extant, however, the Latin version of an epistle purporting to have been written by the imprisoned bishops Hesychius, Pachymius, Theodorus, and Phileas, to Meletius, author of the Meletian schism. There seems to be nothing in the epistle to disprove its genuineness, and it is accepted by Routh and others. The authorship of the epistle is commonly ascribed to Phileas, both because he is known to us as a writer, and also because his name stands last in the opening of the epistle. Eusebius says nothing of such an epistle (though the names of all four of the bishops are mentioned in chap. 13, below). Jerome’s silence in regard to it signifies nothing, for he only follows Eusebius. This epistle, and also the fragment of the one quoted in the next chapter by Eusebius, are given by Routh, Rel. Sac. IV. p. 87 sq., and an English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VI. p. 161 sq.
Phileas’ learning is praised very highly by Eusebius and Jerome, and his scholarly character is emphasized in his Acts. The date of his death cannot be determined with exactness, but we may be confident that it did not, at any rate, take place before 306, and very likely not before 307. The epistle quoted in the next chapter was written shortly before his martyrdom, as we learn from §11 of that chapter.
48 On this epistle, see the previous chapter, note 3).
49 (Ph 2,6–8.
50 (1Jn 4,18 1Jn 4,
51 toi" amunthrioi". The word amunthrion means literally a weapon of defense, but the word seems to indicate in the present case some kind of a sharp instrument with claws or hooks. Rufinus translates ungulae, the technical term for an instrument of torture of the kind just described. Valesius remarks, however, that these amunthria seem to have been something more than ungulae, for Hesychius interprets amunthrion as xifo" distomon, i.e. a “two-edged sword.”
52 The majority of the mss., followed by Laemmer and Heinichen, omit tessarwn, “four.” The word, however, is found in a few good mss., and is adopted by all the other editors and translators, and seems necessary in the present case. Upon the instrument referred to here, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 16, note 9. It would seem that “four holes” constituted in ordinary cases the extreme limit. But in two cases (Bk. V. chap. 1, §27, and Mart. Pal. chap. 2) we are told of a “fifth hole.” It is possible that the instruments varied in respect to the number of the holes, for the way in which the “four” is used here and elsewhere seems to indicate that the extreme of torture is thought of.
53 fhsi: “He says,” or “the Scripture saith.”
630 54 (Ex 22,20 Ex 22,
55 (Ex 20,3 Ex 20,
56 I read policnhn with the majority of mss. and editors. A number of mss. read polin, which is supported by Rufinus (urbem quandam) and Nicephorus, and is adopted by Laemmer and Heinichen; but it would certainty be more natural for a copyist to exaggerate than to understate his original.
57 Rufinus connects this man with the town of Phrygia just referred to, and makes him one of the victims of that catastrophe. But Eusebius does not intimate any such connection, and indeed seems to separate him from the inhabitants of that city by the special mention of him as a martyr. Moreover, the official titles given to him are hardly such as we should expect the citizen of an insignificant Phrygian town to bear. He is said, in fact, to have held the highest imperial—not merely municipal—offices. We know nothing more about the man than is told us here; nor do we know when and where he suffered.
58 ta" kafolou dioikhsei" th" tar autoi" kaloumen" magistrothto" te kai kafolikothto". The second office (kafolikoth") is apparently to be identified with that mentioned in Bk. VII. chap. 10, §5 (see (note 8 on that chapter). We can hardly believe, however, that Adauctus (of whom we hear nowhere else) can have held so high a position as is meant there, and therefore are forced to conclude that he was but one of a number of such finance ministers, and had the administration of the funds only of a particular district in his hands.
59 The barbarous mutilation of the Christians which is spoken of here and farther on in the chapter, began, as we learn from the Martyrs of Palestine, in the sixth year of the persecution (a.d. 308). The tyrant Maximin seems to have become alarmed at the number of deaths which the persecution was causing, and to have hit upon this atrocious expedient as a no less effectual means of punishment. It was practiced apparently throughout Maximin’s dominions; we are told of numbers who were treated in this way, both in Egypt and Palestine (see (Mart. Pal. chap. 8 sq)..
60 This abominable treatment of female Christians formed a feature of the persecutions both of Maximian and Maximin, who were alike monsters of licentiousness. It was entirely foreign to all the principles of Diocletian’s government, and could never have been allowed by him. It began apparently in Italy under Maximian, after the publication by him of the Fourth Edict (see (Mart. Pal. chap. 3, note 2), and was continued in the East by Maximin, when he came into power. We have a great many instances given of this kind of treatment, and in many cases, as in the present, suicide relieved the victims of the proposed indignity).
61 Eusebius evidently approved of these women’s suicide, and it must be confessed that they had great provocation. The views of the early Church on the subject of suicide were in ordinary cases very decided. They condemned it unhesitatingly as a crime, and thus made a decided advance upon the position held by many eminent Pagans of that age, especially among the Stoics. In two cases, however, their opinion of suicide was somewhat uncertain. There existed in many quarters a feeling of admiration for those who voluntarily rushed to martyrdom and needlessly sacrificed their lives. The wiser and steadier minds, however, condemned this practice unhesitatingly (cf. p. 8, above). The second case in connection with which the opinions of the Fathers were divided, was that which meets us in the present passage. The majority of them evidently not only justified but commended suicide in such an extremity. The first Father distinctly to condemn the practice was Augustine (De civ. Dei. I. 22–27). He takes strong ground on the subject, and while admiring the bravery and chastity of the many famous women that had rescued themselves by taking their own lives, he denounces their act as sinful under all circumstances, maintaining that suicide is never anything else than a crime against the law of God. The view of Augustine has very generally prevailed since his time. Cf. Leckey’s History of European Morals, 3d edition (Appleton, New York), Vol. II. p. 43 sq.
62 On Anthimus, see above, chap. 6, note 5.
63 On Lucian of Antioch, see below, Bk. IX. chap. 6, note 4.
64 Of Tyrannion and Zenobius, we know only what is told us here and in the next paragraph. All of the martyrs of whom Eusebius tells us in this and the following books are commemorated in the Martyrologies, and accounts of the passions of many of them are given in various Acts, usually of doubtful authority. I shall not attempt to mention such documents in my notes, nor to give references to the Martyrologies, unless there be some special reason for it in connection with a case of particular interest. Wherever we have farther information in regard to any of these martyrs, in Eusebius himself or other early Fathers, I shall endeavor to give the needed references, passing other names by unnoticed. Tillemont (H. E. V). contains accounts of all these men, and all the necessary references to the Martyrologies, the Bollandist Acts, etc. To his work the curious reader is referred.
631 65 Silvanus is mentioned again in Bk. IX. chap. 6, and from that passage we learn that he was a very old man at the time of his death, and that he had been bishop forty years. It is, moreover, directly stated in that passage that Silvanus suffered martyrdom at the same period with Peter of Alexandria, namely, in the year 312 or thereabouts. This being the date also of Lucian’s martyrdom, mentioned just above, we may assume it as probable that all mentioned in this chapter suffered about the same time.
66 i.e. Tyrannion.
67 Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, is mentioned also in Mart. Pal. chaps. 7 and 13. From the former chapter we learn that he became a confessor at Phaeno in the fifth year of the persecution (a.d. 307), while still a presbyter; from the latter, that he suffered martyrdom in the seventh year, at the very close of the persecution in Palestine, and that he had been eminent in his confessions from the beginning of the persecution.
68 Phaeno was a village of Arabia Petraea, between Petra and Zoar, and contained celebrated copper mines, which were worked by condemned criminals.
69 Peleus and Nilus are mentioned in Mart. Pal. chap. 13, from which passage we learn that they, like Silvanus, died in the seventh year of the persecution. An anonymous presbyter and a man named Patermuthius, are named there as perishing with them in the flames.
70 On Pamphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40. Eusebius refers here to his Life of Pamphilus (see above, p. 28).
71 On Peter of Alexandria, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 54.
72 Faustus is probably to be identified with the deacon of the same name, mentioned above in Bk. VI. chap. 40 and in Bk. VII. chap. 11. At any rate, we learn from the latter chapter that the Faustus mentioned there lived to a great age, and died in the persecution of Diocletian, so that nothing stands in the way of identifying the two, though in the absence of all positive testimony, the identification cannot be insisted upon. Of Dius and Ammonius we know nothing.
73 On Phileas, see above, chap. 9, note 3.
74 A Latin version of an epistle purporting to have been written by these four bishops is still extant (see (above, chap. 9, note 3). We know nothing more about the last three named here. It has been customary to identify this Hesychius with the reviser of the text of the LXX and the Gospels which was widely current in Egypt in the time of Jerome, and was known as the Hesychian recension (see (Jerome, Praef. in Paralipom., Apol. adv. Ruf. II. 27, Praef in quattuor Evangelia; and cf). Comment. in Isaiam, LVIII. II). We know little about this text; but Jerome speaks of it slightingly, as does also the Decretal of Gelasius, VI. §15 (according to Westcott’s Hist. of the Canon, 5th ed. p. 392, note 5). The identification of the two men is quite possible, for the recension referred to belonged no doubt to this period; but no positive arguments beyond agreement in hame and country can be urged in support of it. Fabricius proposed to identify our Hesychius with the author of the famous Greek Lexicon, which is still extant. But this identification is now commonly rejected; and the author of the lexicon is regarded as a pagan, who lived in Alexandria during the latter part of the fourth century. See Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Biography and Smith and Wace’s Dict. of Christ. Biog. s.v.
75 Eusebius refers here to his Martyrs of Palestine. See above, p. 29 sq.
632 76 kata ton paronya logon. Eusebius seems to refer here to the eighth book of his History; for he uses logo" frequently in referring to the separate books of his work, but nowhere else, so far as I am aware, in referring to the work as a whole. This would seem to indicate that he was thinking at this time of writing only eight books, and of bringing his History to an end with the toleration edict of Galerius, which he gives in chap. 17, below. Might it be supposed that the present passage was written immediately after the publication of the edict of Galerius, and before the renewal of the persecution by Maximin? If that were so, we might assume that after the close of that persecution, in consequence of the victory of Constantine and Licinius, the historian felt it necessary to add yet a ninth book to his work, not contemplated at the time he was writing his eighth; as he seems still later, after the victory of Constantine over Licinius, to have found it necessary to add a tenth book, in order that his work might cover the entire period of persecution and include the final triumph of the Church. His motive, indeed, in adding the tenth book seems not to have been to bring the history down to the latest date possible, for be made no additions during his later years, in spite of the interesting and exciting events which took place after 325 a.d., but to bring it down to the final triumph of the Church over her pagan enemies. Had there been another persecution and another toleration edict between 325 and 338, we can hardly doubt that Eusebius would have added an account of it to his History. In view of these considerations, it is possible that some time may have elapsed between the composition of the eighth and ninth books, as well as between the composition of the ninth and tenth.
It must be admitted, however, that a serious objection to this supposition lies in the fact that in chaps. 15 and 16, below, the tenth year of the persecution is spoken of, and in the latter chapter the author is undoubtedly thinking of the Edict of Milan, which was issued in 312, after the renewal of Maximin’s persecution described in Book IX. I am, nevertheless, inclined to think that Eusebius, when he wrote the present passage, was expecting to close his work with the present book, and that the necessity for another book made itself manifest before he finished the present one. It may be that the words in chaps. 15 and 16 are a later insertion. I do not regard this as probable, but knowing the changes that were made in the ninth book in a second edition of the History, it must be admitted that such changes in the eighth book are not impossible (see (above, p. 30 and 45). At the same time I prefer the former alternative, that the necessity for another book became manifest before he finished the present one. A slight confirmation of the theory that the ninth book as a later addition, necessitated by the persecution of Maximin’s later years, may be found in the appendix to the eighth book which is found in many mss. See below, p., note 1).
77 The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, the two Augusti, took place on May 1, 305, and therefore a little more, not a little less, than two years after the publication of Diocletian’s First Edict. The causes of the abdication have been given variously by different writers, and our original authorities are themselves in no better agreement. I do not propose to enter here into a discussion of the subject, but am convinced that Burckhardt, Mason, and others are correct in looking upon the abdication, not as the result of a sudden resolve, but as a part of Diocletian’s great plan, and as such long resolved upon and regarded as one of the fundamental requirements of his system to be regularly observed by his successors, as well as by himself. The abdication of Diocletian and Maximian raised the Caesars Constantius and Galerius to the rank of Augusti, and two new Caesars, Maximinus Daza in the East, and Severus in the West, were appointed to succeed them. Diocletian himself retired to Dalmatia, his native province, where he passed the remainder of his life in rural pursuits, until his death in 313.
78 Eusebius is correct in saying that the empire had never been divided up to this time. For it had always been ruled as one whole, even when the imperial power was shared by two or more princes. And even the system of Diocletian was not meant to divide the empire into two or more independent parts. The plan was simply to vest the supreme power in two heads, who should be given lieutenants to assist them in the government, but who should jointly represent the unity of the whole while severally administering their respective territories. Imperial acts to be valid had to be joint, not individual acts, and had to bear the name of both Augusti, while the Caesars were looked upon only as the lieutenants and representatives of their respective superiors. Finally, in the last analysis, there was theoretically but the one supreme head, the first Augustus. While Diocletian was emperor, the theoretical unity was a practical thing. So long as his strong hand was on the helm, Maximian, the other Augustus, did not venture to do anything in opposition to his wishes, and thus the great system worked smoothly. But with Diocletian’s abdication, everything was changed. Theoretically Constantius was the first Augustus, but Galerius, not Constantius, had had the naming of the Caesars; and there was no intention on Galerius’ part to acknowledge in any way his inferiority to Constantius. In fact, being in the East, whence the government had been carried on for twenty years, it was natural that he should be entirely independent of Constantius, and that thus, as Eusebius says, a genuine division of the empire, not theoretical but practical, should be the result. The principle remained the same; but West and East seemed now to stand, not under one great emperor, but under two equal and independent heads.
79 Constantius Chlorus died at York, in Britain, July 25, 306. According to the system of Diocletian, the Caesar Severus should regularly have succeeded to his place, and a new Caesar should have been appointed to succeed Severus. But Constantine, the oldest son of Constantius, who was with his father at the time of his death, was at once proclaimed his successor, and hailed as Augustus by the army. This was by no means to Galerius’ taste, for he had far other plans in mind; but he was not in a position to dispute Constantine’s claims, and so made the best of the situation by recognizing Constantine not as Augustus, but as second Caesar, while he raised Severus to the rank of Augustus, and made his own Caesar Maximin first Caesar. Constantine was thus theoretically subject to Severus, but the subjection was only a fiction, for he was practically independent in his own district from that time on.
Our sources are unanimous in giving Constantius an amiable and pious character, unusually free from bigotry and cruelty. Although he was obliged to show some respect to the persecuting edicts of his superiors, Diocletian and Maximian, he seems to have been averse to persecution, and to have gone no further than was necessary in that direction, destroying some churches, but apparently subjecting none of the Christians to bodily injury. We have no hint, however, that he was a Christian, or that his generous treatment of the Christians was the result in any way of a belief in their religion. It was simply the result of his natural tolerance and humanity, combined, doubtless, with a conviction that there was nothing essentially vicious or dangerous in Christianity.
80 Not the first of Roman emperors to be so honored, but the first of the four rulers who were at that time at the head of the empire. It had been the custom from the beginning to decree divine honors to the Roman emperors upon their decease, unless their characters or their reigns had been such as to leave universal hatred behind them, in which case such honors were often denied them, and their memory publicly and officially execrated, and all their public monuments destroyed. The ascription of such honors. to Constantius, therefore, does not in itself imply that he was superior to the other three rulers, nor indeed superior to the emperors ingeneral, but only that he was not a monster, as some had been. The st emperor to receive such divine honors was Diocletian himself, with whose death the old pagan regime came finally to an end.
81 This is a mistake; for though Constantius seems to have proceeded as mildly as possible, he did destroy churches, as we are directly informed by Lactantius (de Mort. pers. 15), and as we can learn from extant Ac and other sources (see (Mason, p. 146 sq).. Eusebius, perhaps, knew nothing about the matter, and simply drew a conclusion from the known character of Constantius and his general tolerance toward the Christians.
82 The steps which led to the appointment of Licinius are omitted by Eusebius. Maxentius, son of the old Augustus Maximian, spurred on by the success of Constantine’s move in Britain, attempted to follow his example in Italy. He won the support of a considerable portion of the army and of the Roman people, and in October of the same year (306) was proclaimed emperor by soldiers and people. Severus, who marched against the usurper, was defeated and slain, and Galerius, who endeavored to revenge his fallen colleague, was obliged to retreat without accomplishing anything. This left Italy and Africa in the hands of an independent ruler, who was recognized by none of the others. Toward the end of the year 307, Licinius, an old friend and comrade-in-arms of Galerius, was appointed Augustus to succeed Severus, whose death had occurred a number of months before, but whose place had not yet been filled. The appointment of Licinius took place at Carnuntum on the Danube, where Galerius, Diocletian, and Maximian met for consultation. Inasmuch as Italy and Africa were still in the hands of Maxentius, Licinius was given the Illyrian provinces with the rank of second Augustus, and was thus nominally ruler of the entire West.
83 Early in 308 Maximinus, the first Caesar, who was naturally incensed at the promotion of a new man, Licinius, to a position above himself, was hailed as Augustus by his troops, and at once notified Galerius of the fact. The latter could not afford to quarrel with Maximinus, and therefore bestowed upon him the full dignity of an Augustus, as upon Constantine also at the same time. There were thus four independent Augusti (to say nothing of the emperor Maxentius), and the system of Diocletian was a thing of the past.
84 The reference is to the Augustus Maximian. After his abdication he retired to Lucania, but in the following year was induced by his son, Maxentius, to leave his retirement, and join him in wresting Italy and Africa from Severus. It was due in large measure to his military skill and to the prestige of his name that Severus was vanquished and Galerius repulsed. After his victories Maximian went to Gaul, to see Constantine and form an alliance with him. He bestowed upon him the title of Augustus and the hand of his daughter Fausta, and endeavored to induce him to join him in a campaign against Galerius. This, however, Constantine refused to do; and Maximian finally returned to Rome, where he found his son Maxentius entrenched in the affections of the soldiers and the people, and bent upon ruling for himself. After a bitter quarrel with him, in which he attempted, but failed, to wrest the purple from him, he left the city, attended the congress of Carnuntum, and acquiesced in the appointment of Licinius as second Augustus, which of course involved the formal renunciation of his own claims and those of his son. He then betook himself again to Constantine, but during the latter’s temporary absence treacherously had himself proclaimed Augustus by some of the troops. He was, however, easily overpowered by Constantine, but was forgiven and granted his liberty again. About two years later, unable to resist the desire to reign, he made an attempt upon Constantine’s life with the hope of once more securing the power for himself, but was detected and allowed to choose the manner of his own death, and in February, 310, strangled himself. The general facts just stated are well made out, but there is some uncertainty as to the exact order of events, in regard to which our sources are at variance. Compare especially the works of Hunziker, Burckhardt, and Mason, and the respective articles in Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Biog.
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