« Prev Those in Phrygia. Next »

Chapter XI.—Those in Phrygia.

1. A small town25472547    I read πολίχνην with the majority of mss. and editors. A number of mss. read πόλιν, 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. 25482548    Lactantius (Dio inst. V. 11), in speaking of persecutions in general, says, “Some were swift to slaughter, as an individual in Phyrgia who burnt an entire people, together with their place of meeting (universum populum cum ipso pariter conventiculo).” This apparently refers to the same incident which Eusebius records in this chapter. Gibbon contends that not the city, but only the church with the people in it was burned; and so Fletcher, the translator of Lactantius in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, understands the passage (“who burnt a whole assembly of people, together with their place of meeting”). Mason, on the other hand, contends that the population of the entire city is meant. The Latin would seem, however, to support Gibbon’s interpretation rather than Mason’s; but in view of the account in Eusebius, the latter has perhaps most in its favor. If the two passages be interpreted differently, we can hardly determine which is the true version of the incident. Mason has “no hesitation” in referring this episode to the period immediately following the First Edict of Diocletian, at the time when the rebellions in Melitene and Syria were taking place. It may have occurred at that time, but I should myself have considerable hesitation in referring it definitely to any particular period of the persecution. If Eusebius’ statement at the close of this paragraph could be relied upon, we should be obliged to put the event after the issue of the fourth edict, for not until that time were Christians in general called upon to offer sacrifices. But the statement may be merely a conclusion of Eusebius’ own; and since he does not draw a clear distinction between the various steps in the persecution, little weight can be laid upon it. of Phrygia, inhabited solely by Christians, was completely sur332rounded by soldiers while the men were in it. Throwing fire into it, they consumed them with the women and children while they were calling upon Christ. This they did because all the inhabitants of the city, and the curator himself, and the governor, with all who held office, and the entire populace, confessed themselves Christians, and would not in the least obey those who commanded them to worship idols.

2. There was another man of Roman dignity named Adauctus,25492549    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. of a noble Italian family, who had advanced through every honor under the emperors, so that he had blamelessly filled even the general offices of magistrate, as they call it, and of finance minister.25502550    τὰς καθόλου διοικήσεις τῆς ταρ᾽ αὐτοῖς καλουμένης μαγιστρότητος τε καὶ καθολικότητος. The second office (καθολικότης) 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. Besides all this he excelled in deeds of piety and in the confession of the Christ of God, and was adorned with the diadem of martyrdom. He endured the conflict for religion while still holding the office of finance minister.

« Prev Those in Phrygia. Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection