NPNF2-01 Eusebius 639
639 145 A city of Palestine, lying northwest of Jerusalem, and identical with the Lydda of Ac 9,32 sq. For many centuries the seat of a bishop, and still prominent in the time of the crusades. The persons referred to in this paragraph are to be distinguished from others of the same names mentioned elsewhere.
146 To be distinguished from the Agapius mentioned earlier in the chapter, as is clear from the date of his death, given in this paragraph.
147 Dystrus was the seventh month of the Macedonian year, corresponding to our March. See the table on p. 403, below.
148 Diocletian and Maximian abdicated on May 1, 305. See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 16.
149 When Maxentius usurped the purple in Rome, in the year 306. See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 21.
150 On Maximinus and his attitude toward the Christians, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 14, note 2. He was made a Caesar at the time of the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, May 1, 305, and Egypt and Syria were placed under his supervision.
151 Apphianus is called, in the Syriac version, Epiphanius. We know him only from this account of Eusebius. For some remarks upon his martyrdom, see above, p. 8 sq.
152 The modern Beirût. A celebrated school of literature and law flourished there for a number of centuries.
153 The mss., according to Valesius, are somewhat at variance in the spelling of this name, and the place is perhaps to be identified with Araxa, a city of some importance in northwestern Lycia).
154 This was simply a republication in its fullness of Maximian’s fourth edict, which was referred to in chap. 3 (see note 2 on that chapter). Eusebius does not mean to say that this was the first time that such an edict was published, but that this was the first edict of Mxirninus, the newly appointed Caesar.
155 It is perhaps not necessary to doubt that an earthquake took place at this particular time. Nor is it surprising that under the circumstances the Christians saw a miracle in a natural phenomenon.
640 156 Xanthicus was the eighth month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our April (see (table on p. 403, below). The martyrdom of Apphianus must have taken place in 306, not 305; for according to the direct testimony of Lactantius (de Mort. pers. chap. 19; the statement is unaccountably omitted in the English translation given in the Ante-Nicene Fathers), Maximinus did not become Caesr until May 1, 305; while, according to the present chapter, Apphianus suffered martyrdom after Maximinus had been raised to that position. Eusebius himself puts the abdication of the old emperors and the appointment of the new Caesars early in April or late in March (see (above, chap. 3, §5, and the Syriac version of the Martyrs, p. 12), and with him agree other early authorities. But it is more difficult to doubt the accuracy of Lactantius’ dates than to suppose the others mistaken, and hence May 1st is commonly accepted by historians as the day of abdication. About the year there can be no question; for Lactantius’ account of Diocletian’s movements during the previous year exhibits a very exact knowledge of the course of events, and its accuracy cannot be doubted. (For a fuller discussion of the date of the abdication, see Tillemont’s Hist. des Emp.,2d ed., IV. p. 609). But even if it were admitted that the abdication took place four of five weeks earlier (according to Eusebius’ own statement, it did not at any rate occur before the twenty-fourth of March: see chap. 3, above, and the Syriac version, p. 12), it would be impossible to put Apphianus’ death on the second of April, for this would not give time for all that must intervene between the day of his appointment and the republication and execution of the persecuting edicts. In fact, it is plain enough from the present chapter that Apphianus did not suffer until some time after the accession of Maximinus, and therefore not until the following year. Eusebius, as can be seen from the first paragraph of this work on the martyrs, reckoned the beginning of the persecution in Palestine not with the issue of the first edict in Nicomedia on Feb. 24, 303, but with the month of April of that same year. Apphianus’ death therefore took place at the very close of the third year of the persecution, according to this reckoning.
157 i.e. Friday, the old Jewish term being still retained and widely used, although with the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week it had entirely lost its meaning. Upon the prevalence of the word among the Fathers as a designation of Friday, see Suicer’s Thesaurus, s.v). paraskeuh and nhsteia. The day of Christ’s crucifixion was called megalh paraskeuh, the “great preparation.”
158 The martyrdom of Ulpian is omitted in the Syriac version. It was apparently a later addition, made when the abridgment of the longer version was produced; and this perhaps accounts for the brevity of the notice and the words of explanation with which the mention of him is concluded.
159 Called Alosis in the Syriac version.
160 The month Dius was the third month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our November (see (table on p. 403, below).
161 prosabbatou hmera, i.e. on Friday, prosabbato" being sometimes used among the Jews as a designation of that day, which was more commonly called paraskeuh (Mc 15,42). Whether it was widely used in the Christian Church of Eusebius’ day I am unable to say (Suicer does not give the word); but the use of it here shows that it was familiar at least in Palestine. It is said in Kraus’ Real-Encyclop. d. christ. Alterih, s.v). Wochentage, to occur in a decree of Constantine, quoted in Eusebius’ Vita Const. IV. 18; but the text is doubtful, and at best, the use of it there proves no more as to the prevalence of the word than its use in the present case, for Eusebius simply gives, in his own language, the substance of Constantine’s edict.
162 See above, chap. 3, §1.
163 Cf. Mt 10,18).
164 i.e April 2, 307. Eusebius is inconsistent with himself in this case. In chap. 3, above, he states that Apphianus suffered on April 2, in the third year of the persecution. But as shown in the note on that passage, Apphianus suffered in April, 306, and therefore, in that case, Eusebius reckons the first year of the persecution as beginning after the second of April. But in the present case he reckons it as beginning before the second of April, and the latter date as falling early in a new year of the persecution. That the martyrdom recorded in the present case actually took place in 307, and not in 308, as it must have done if Eusebius were consistent with himself, is proved, first, by the fact that, in entering upon this new chapter, he says, “the persecution having continued to the fifth year,” implying thereby that the event which he is about to relate took place at the beginning, not at the end, of the fifth year; and secondly, by the fact that later on, in this same chapter, while still relating the events of the fifth year, he recounts martyrdoms as taking place in the month of November (Dius). This is conclusive, for November of the fifth year can be only November, 307, and hence the April mentioned in the present paragraph can be only April of the same year. Evidently Eusebius did not reckon the beginning of the persecution in Palestine from a fixed day, but rather from the month Xanthicus (April). As a consequence, the inconsistency into which he has fallen is not very strange; the second day of April might easily be reckoned either as one of the closing days of a year, or as the beginning of the ensuing year. In the present case, he evidently forgot that he had previously used the former reckoning.
165 i.e. on Easter Sunday. In the Syriac version, the events recorded in the present chapter are put on a Sunday; but that it was Easter is not stated.
166 i.e. November fifth.
641 167 On Silvanus, who afterward became bishop of Gaza, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13.
168 Or “frankness”; literally, “freedom” (eleuqeria).
169 On Parnphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40).
170 The death of Maximinus is related in Bk. IX. chap. 10. Nothing further is said in regard to Urbanus; but the fate of his successor Firmilianus is recorded in chap. 11, below. It is quite possible that Eusebius, in the present case, is referring to a more detailed statement of the fates of the various persecutors, which was to form the second part of the present work; and it is possible, still further, that the appendix printed at the close of the eighth book is a fragment of this second part, as suggested by Lightfoot (see (above, p. 29).
171 Of Firmilianus, the successor of Urbanus, we know only what is told us here and in chaps. 9 and 11, below. In the latter chapter, §31, his execution is recorded.
173 i.e. July 25 (a.d. 308). See the table on p. 403, below.
174 This is the so-called Fifth Edict, and was issued (according to the Passio S. Theodori) by Galerius and Maximinus, but was evidently inspired by Maximinus himself. Mason speaks of it as follows: “It would be inaccurate to say that this Fifth Edict (if so we may call it) was worse than any of the foregoing. But there is in it a thin bitterness, a venomous spitefulness, which may be noticed as characteristic of all the later part of the persecution. This spitefulness is due to two main facts. The first was that Paganism was becoming conscious of defeat; the Church had not yielded a single point. The second fact was that the Church had no longer to deal with the sensible, statesmanlike hostility of Diocletian,—not even with the bluff bloodiness of Maximian. Galerius himself was now, except in name, no longer persecutor-in-chief. He was content to follow the lead of a man who was in all ways even worse than himself. Galerius was indeed an Evil Beast; his nephew was more like the Crooked Serpent. The artful sour spirit of Maximin employed itself to invent, not larger measures of solid policy against his feared and hated foes, but petty tricks to annoy and sting them.” For a fuller discussion of the edict, see Mason, p. 284 sq. It must have been published in the autumn of the year 308, for the martyrdom of Paul, recorded in the previous chapter. took place in July of that year, and some little time seems to have elapsed between that event and the present. On the other hand, the martyrdoms mentioned below, in §5, took place in November of this same year, so that we can fix the date of the edict within narrow limits.
175 o tou twn stratopedwn arcein epitetagmeno". Many regard this officer as the praetorian prefect. But we should naturally expect so high an official to be mentioned before the governors (hgemone"). It seems probable, in fact, that the commander in charge of the military forces of Palestine, or possibly of Syria, is referred to in the present case. See Valesius’ note, ad locum.
176 Or “town clerks,” taboularioi.
177 Literally, “its athletes” (auth"). the antecedent of the pronoun being “the divine power.”
642 178 i.e. Nov. 13, 308.
179 Maxu" is not a Greek word. Ruinart, Acta Martt., p. 327, remarks, An a Syris repetenda, apud quos mochos est pulicanus a casas increpare? But the derivation is, to say the least, very doubtful. Cureton throws no light on the matter. The word in the Syriac version seems to be simply a reproduction of the form found in the Greek original).
180 This is a glaring instance of uncritical credulity on Eusebius’ part, and yet even Crusè can say: “Perhaps some might smile at the supposed credulity of our author, but the miracle in this account was not greater than the malignity, and if man can perform miracles of vice, we can scarcely wonder if Providence should present, at least, miracles of admonition.” Cureton more sensibly remarks: “This, which doubtless was produced by natural causes, seemed miraculous to Eusebius, more especially if he looked upon it as fulfilling a prophecy of our Lord—Lc xix. 40: ‘I tell you, that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.0’ See also Ha 2,11.”
181 i.e. Dec. 14, 308 (see (the tables on p. 403, below).
182 The majority of the codices read Promo", but as Valesius remarks, such a proper name is quite unknown in Greek, and the form probably arose from a confusion of b and m, which in ancient mss. were written alike. Two of our existing codices read Probo", and this has been adopted by Zimmermann and Heinichen, whom I have followed in the text.
183 i.e. Jan. 11, 309.
184 In the Syriac version “Absalom.”
185 Of this village we know nothing, but Eleutheropolis (originally Bethozabris) was an important place lying some forty miles southwest of Jerusalem.
186 einai dokwn. Eusebius did not wish to admit that he was a bishop in a true sense.
187 (Rm 10,2 Rm 10,
188 On Pamphilus, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 40).
643 189 On Eusebius’ Life of Pamphilus, see above, p. 28 sq.
190 i.e. Jerusalem.
191 th" AEIamnitwn polew". Jamna, or Jamnia, was a town of Judea, lying west of Jerusalem, near the sea.
192 i.e Feb. 19 (see (the table on p. 403, below). We learn from chap. 7, §§3–5, that Pamphilus was thrown into prison in the fifth year of the persecution and as late as November of that year, i.e. between November, 307, and April, 308. Since he had lain two whole years in prison (according to §5, above), the date referred to in the present passage must be February of the year 310. The martyrdom of Pamphilus is commonly, for aught I know to the contrary, uniformly put in the year 309, as the seventh year of the persecution is nearly synchronous with that year. But that the common date is a mistake is plain enough from the present chapter.
193 prohgoro", literally “advocate,” or “defender.”
194 (Ga 4,26 Ga 4,
195 (He 12,22 He 12, Eusebius’ view of the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, see above, Bk. III. chap. He 25, note He 1).
196 The reference is still to the same slave of Pamphilus whose tortures Eusebius has just been describing, as we learn from the Syriac version, where the slave’s name is given at the beginning of the account.
197 I read peri auton with Zimmermann, Heinichen, Burton, and Migne. The mss. all have peri autou", which can hardly have stood in the original.
198 The common mode of punishment inflicted on slaves).
199 Of the so-called country of Magganaia I know nothing. The Syriac version reads Batanea, which was a district of country lying to the northeast of Palestine, and it may be that Manganea was another name for the same region.
644 200 i.e. March 5, 310.
201 It was the universal custom in ancient times for a city to have its special tutelary divinity, to which it looked for protection and to which it paid especial honor. The name of the Caesarean deity is unknown to us.
203 “It was a punishment among the Romans that freemen should be condemned to take care of the emperor’s horses or camels, and to perform other personal offices of that kind” (Valesius). For fuller particulars, see Valesius’ note ad locum. In the (Ac of St. Marcellus (who was bishop of Rome) we are told that he was set by Maximian to groom his horses in a church which the emperor had turned into a stable.
204 alogou zwou.
205 Cf. Bk. VIII, chap. 2, §§2 and 3, and the note on that passage.
206 (Ph 4,8).
207 On Peleus and Nilus, see above, 0Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 8. Paleus is called Paul in the Syriac version.
208 The name of this man is given as Elias in the Syriac version; but both he and Patermuthius are called laymen.
209 On Silvanus, bishop of Gaza, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 6.
210 (2Co 3,3 2Co 3,
645 211 Ibid. 2Co 3,3.
212 The Syriac version says forty).
213 On the cessation of the persecution in the West at the accession of Maxentius, see Bk. VIII. chap. 14, note 1.
214 On the division of the empire to which Eusebius here refers; see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 17.
215 i.e. the toleration edict of Galerius, published in the spring of 311 See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 17, note 1.
216 It would seem that the edict was originally appended to this shorter recension of the martyrs (the longer recension is complete in its present form, and contains no hint of such an addition). Very likely it was dropped with the second half of the work (see above, p. 29) as unnecessary, when the first half was inserted in the History. The edict is given in full in Bk. VIII. chap. 17, above.
217 peri twn en Palaistinh marturhsantwn telo". On the title of the work, see above, p. 342, note 1).
1 On this work, see above, p. 29 sq. As remarked there, the shorter form of the work, the translation of which follows, is found in most, but not all, of the mss. of Eusebius’ Church History, in some of them at the close of the tenth book, in one of them in the middle of Bk. VIII. chap. 13, in the majority of them between Bks. VIII. and IX. It is found neither in the Syraic version of the History, nor in Rufinus. Musculus omits it in his Latin version, but; a translation of it is given both by Christophorsonus and Valesius. The Germans Stroth and Closs omit it; but Stigloher gives it at the close of his translation of the History. The English translators insert it at the close of the eighth book. The work is undoubtedly genuine, in this, its shorter, as well as in its longer form, but was in all probability attached to the History, not by Eusebius himself, but by some copyist, and therefore is not strictly entitled to a place in a translation of the History. At the same time it has seemed best in the present case to include it and to follow the majority of the editors in inserting it at this point. In all the mss. except one the work begins abruptly without a title, introduced only by the words kai tauta en tini antigrafw en tw ogdow tomw euromen: “The following also we found in a certain copy in the eighth book.” In the Codex Castellanus, however, according to Reading (in his edition of Valesius, Vol. 1P 796, col. 2), the following title is inserted immediately after the words just quoted: Eusebiou suggramma peri twn kat auton marturhsantwn en tw oktaetei Dioklhtianou kai efexh" Galeriou tou Maximinou diwgmw. Heinichen consequently prints the first part of this title (Eusebiou …marturhsantwn) at the head of the work in his edition, and is followed by Burton and Migne. This title, however, can hardly be looked upon as original, and I have preferred to employ rather the name by which the work is described at its close, where we read Eusebiou tou Pamfilou peri twn en Palaistinh marturhsantwn telo". This agrees with the title of the Syriac version, and must represent very closely the original title; and so the work is commonly known in English as the Martyrs of Palestine, in Latin as de Martyribus Palestinae. The work is much more systematic than the eighth book of the Church History; in fact, it is excellently arranged. and takes up the persecution year by year in chronological order. The ground covered, however, is very limited, and we can consequently gather from the work little idea of the state of the Church at large during these years. All the martyrs mentioned in the following pages are commemorated in the various martyrologies under particular days, but in regard to most of them we know only what Eusebius tells us. I shall not attempt to give references to the martyrologies. Further details gleaned from them and from various Ac of martydom may be found in Ruinart, Tillemont, &c. I shall endeavor to give full particulars in regard to the few martyrs about whom we have any reliable information beyond that given in the present work, but shall pass over the others without mention.
2 The Martyrs of Palestine, in all the mss. that contain it, is introduced with these words. The passage which follows, down to the beginning of Chap. 1, is a transcript, with a few slight variations, of Bk. VIII. chap. 2, §§4 and 5. For notes upon it, see that chapter.
3 The month Xanthicus was the eighth month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our April (see (the table on p. 403, below). In Bk. VIII. chap. 2, Eusebius puts the beginning of the prosecution in the seventh month, Dystrus. But the persecution really began, or at least the first edict was issued, and the destruction of the churches in Nicomedia took place, in February. See Bk. VIII. chap. 2, note 3.
4 Flavianus is not mentioned in Bk. VIII. chap. 2. In the Syriac version he is named as the judge by whom Procopius was condemned (Cureton, p. 4). Nothing further is known of him, so far as I am aware.
646 5 The account of Procopius was somewhat fuller in the longer recension of the Martyrs of Palestine, as can be seen from the Syriac version (English translation in Cureton, p. 3 sq).. There exists also a Latin translation of the Ac of St. Procopius, which was evidently made from that longer recension, and which is printed by Valesius and also by Cureton (p. 50 sq)., and in English by Crusè in loco. We are told by the Syriac version that his family was from Baishan. According to the Latin, he was a native of Aelia (Jerusalem), but resided in Scythopolis (the Greek name of Baishan). With the Latin agrees the Syriac version of these Acts, which is published by Assemani in his Acta SS. Martt. Orient. et Occident. ed. 1748, Part II. p. 169 sq. (see (Cureton, p. 52). We learn from the longer account that he was a lector, interpreter, and exorcist in the church, and that he was exceedingly ascetic in his manner of life. It is clear from this paragraph that Procopius was put to death, not because he was a Christian, but because he uttered words apparently treasonable in their import. To call him a Christian martyr is therefore a misuse of terms. We cannot be sure whether Procopius was arrested under the terms of the first or under the terms of the second edict. If in consequence of the first, it may be that he was suspected of complicity in the plot which Diocletian was endeavoring to crush out, or that he had interfered with the imperial officers when they undertook to execute the decree for the destruction of the church buildings. The fact that he was commanded by the governor to sacrifice would lead us to think of the first, rather than of the second edict (see (above, Bk. VIII. chap. 6, note 3, and chap. 2, note 8). Still, it must be admitted that very likely many irregularities occurred in the methods by which the decrees were executed in the province, and the command to sacrifice can, therefore, not be claimed as proving that he was not arrested under the terms of the second edict; and in fact, the mention of imprisonment as the punishment which he had to expect would lead us to think of the second edict as at least the immediate occasion of his arrest. In any case, there is no reason to suppose that his arrest would have resulted in his death had he not been rash in his speech).
6 ouk agaqon polukoiranih ei" koirano" estw, ei" basileu".
The sentence is from Homer’s Iliad, Bk. II. vers. 204 and 205. It was a sort of proverb, like many of Homer’s sayings, and was frequently quoted. As a consequence the use of it by Procopius does not prove at all his acquaintance with Homer or Greek literature in general.
7 The majority of the mss. read “eighth,” which according to Eusebius’ customary mode of reckoning the Macedonian months is incorrect. For, as Valesius remarks, he always synchronizes the Macedonian with the Roman months, as was commonly done in his time. But the seventh before the Ides of June is not the eighth, but the seventh of June (or Desius). In fact, a few good mss. read “seventh” instead of “eighth,” and I have followed Burton, Schwegler, and Heinichen in adopting that reading.
8 Desius was the tenth month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded to our June (see (the table on p. 403, below).
9 On the Roman method of reckoning the days of the month, see below, p. 402.
10 We may gather from §5, below, that the sufferings to which Eusebius refers in such general terms in this and the following paragraphs took place late in the year 303. In fact, from the Syriac version of the longer recension (Cureton, p. 4) we learn that the tortures inflicted upon Alphaeus and Zacchaeus were, in consequence of the third edict, issued at the approach of the emperor’s vicennalia, and intended rather as a step toward amnesty than as a sharpening of the persecution (see (above, Bk. VIII. chap. 5, note 8). This leads us to conclude that all the tortures mentioned in these paragraphs had the same occasion, and this explains the eagerness of the judges to set the prisoners free, even if they had not sacrificed, so long as they might be made to appear to have done so, and thus the law not be openly violated. Alphaeus and Zacchaeus alone suffered death, as we are told in §5, and they evidently on purely political grounds (see (note 10).
11 We learn from the Syriac version that Zacchaeus was a deacon of the church of Gadara, and that Alphaeus belonged to a noble family of the city of Eleutheropolis, and was a reader and exorcist in the church of Caesarea.
12 See above, Bk. IV. chap. 16, note 9.
13 The month Dius was the third month of the Macedonian year, and corresponded with our November (see (below, p. 403).
14 monon ena Qeon kai ceiston basilea AElhsoun omologhsante"). Basileu" was the technical term for emperor, and it is plain enough from this passage that these two men, like Procopius, were beheaded because they were regarded as guilty of treason, not because of their religious faith. The instances given in this chapter are very significant, for they reveal the nature of the persecution during its earlier months, and throw a clear light back upon the motives which had led Diocletian to take the step against the Christians which he did.
647 15 We learn from the Syriac version that the death of Romanus occurred on the same day as that of Alphaeus and Zacchaeus. His arrest, therefore, must have taken place some time before, according to §4, below. In fact, we see from the present paragraph that his arrest took place in connection with the destruction of the churches; that is, at the time of the execution of the first edict in Antioch. We should naturally think that the edict would be speedily published in so important a city, and hence can hardly suppose the arrest of Romanus to have occurred later than the spring of 303. He therefore lay in prison a number of months (according to §4, below, a “very long time,” pleiston cronon). Mason is clearly in error in putting his arrest in November, and his death at the time of the vicennalia, in December. It is evident from the Syriac version that the order for the release of prisoners, to which the so-called third edict was appended, preceded the vicennalia by some weeks, although issued in view of the great anniversary which was so near at hand. It is quite possible that the decree was sent out some weeks beforehand, in order that time might be given to induce, the Christians to sacrifice, and thus enjoy release at the same time with the others.
16 There is no implication here that these persons were commanded, or even asked, to sacrifice. They seem, in their dread of what might come upon them, when they saw the churches demolished, to have hastened of their own accord to sacrifice to the idols, and thus disarm all possible suspicion.
17 As Mason remarks, to punish Romanus with death for dissuad-ing the Christians from sacrificing was entirely illegal, as no imperial edict requiring them to sacrifice had yet been issued, and therefore no law was broken in exhorting them not to do so. At the same time, that he should be arrested as a church officer was, under the terms of the second edict, legal, and, in fact, necessary; and that the judge should incline to be very severe in the present case, with the emperor so near at hand, was quite natural. That death, however, was not yet made the penalty of Christian confession is plain enough from the fact that, when the emperor was appealed to, as we learn from the Syriac version, he remanded Romanus to prison, thus inflicting upon him the legal punishment, according to the terms of the second edict. Upon the case of Romanus, see Mason, p. 188 sq.
18 Valesius assumes that this was Galerius, and Mason does the same. In the Syriac version, however, he is directly called Diocletian; but on the other hand, in the Syriac acts published by Asse-mani (according to Cureton, p. 55), he is called “Maximinus, the son-in-law of Diocletian”; i.e. Galerius, who was known as Maximianus (of which Maximinus, in the present case, is evidently only a variant form). The emperor’s conduct in the present case is much more in accord with Galerius’ character, as known to us, than with the character of Diocletian; and moreover, it is easier to suppose that the name of Maximinus was later changed into that of Diocletian, by whose name the whole persecution was known, than that the greater name was changed into the less. I am therefore convinced that the reference in the present case is to Galerius, not to Diocletian.
19 See above, Bk. VIII. chap. 2, note 8.
20 See above, Bk. IV. chap. 16, note 9, and Bk. VIII. chap. 10, note 5.
21 Of Urbanus governor of Palestine, we know only what is told us in the present work (he is mentioned in this passage and in chaps. 4, 7, and 8, below) and in the Syriac version. From the latter we learn that he succeeded Flavianus in the second year of the persecution (304), and that he was deposed by Maximinus in the fifth year (see (also chap. 8, §7, below), and miserably executed.
22 This is the famous fourth edict of Diocletian, which was issued in the year 304. It marks a stupendous change of method; in fact, Christianity as such is made, for the first time since the toleration edict of Gallienus, a religio illicita, whose profession is punishable by death. The general persecution, in the full sense, begins with the publication of this edict. Hitherto persecution had been directed only against supposed political offenders and church officers. The edict is a complete stultification of Diocletian’s principles as revealed in the first three edicts, and shows a lamentable lack of the wisdom which had dictated those measures. Mason has performed an immense service in proving (to my opinion conclusively) that this brutal edict, senseless in its very severity, was not issued by Diocletian, but by Maximian, while Diocletian was quite incapacitated by illness for the performance of any public duties. Mason’s arguments cannot be reproduced here; they are given at length on p. 212 sq. of his work. He remarks at the close of the discussion: “Diocletian, though he might have wished Christianity safely abolished, feared the growing power of the Church, and dared not persecute (till he was forced), lest he should rouse her from her passivity. But this Fourth Edict was nothing more nor less than a loud alarum to muster the army of the Church: as the centurions called over their lists, it taught her the statistics of her numbers, down to the last child: it proved to her that her troops could endure all the hardships of the campaign: it ranged her generals in the exact order of merit. Diocletian, by an exquisite refinement of thought, while he did not neglect the salutary fear which strong penalties might inspire in the Christians, knew well enough that though he might torture every believer in the world into sacrificing, yet Christianity was not killed: he knew that men were Christians again afterwards as well as before: could he have seen deeper yet, he would have known that the utter humiliation of a fall before men and angels converted many a hard and worldly prelate into a broken.hearted saint: and so he rested his hopes, not merely on the punishment of individuals, but on his three great measures for crushing the corporate life,—the destruction of the churches, the Scriptures, and the clergy. But this Fourth Edict evidently returns with crass dullness and brutal complacency to the thought that if half the church were racked till they poured the libations, and the other half burned or butchered, Paganism would reign alone forever more, and that the means were as eminently desirable as the end. Lastly, Diocletian had anxiously avoided all that could rouse fanatic zeal. The first result of the Fourth Edict was to rouse it.”
According to the Passio S. Sabini, which Mason accepts as in the main reliable, and which forms the strongest support for his theory, the edict was published in April, 304. Diocletian, meanwhile, as we know from Lactantius (de Mort. pers. 17) did not recover sufficiently to take any part in the government until early in, the year 305, so that Maximian and Galerius had matters all their own way during the entire year, and could persecute as severely as they chose. As a result, the Christians, both east and west, suffered greatly during this period.
23 Agapius, as we learn from chap. 6, below, survived his contest with the wild beasts at this time, and was thrown into prison, where he remained until the fourth year of the persecution, when he was again brought into the arena in the presence of the tyrant Maximinus, and was finally thrown into the sea.
24 h kaq hma" Qekla. Thecla seems to be thus designated to distinguish her from her more famous namesake, whom tradition connected with Paul and who has played so large a part in romantic legend (see (the (Ac of Paul and Thecla in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, VIII. 487 sq., and the Dict. of Christ, Biog., s.v.). She is referred to again in chap. 6, below, but we are not told whether she actually suffered or not).
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