Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Domitian. * And in the same year (that is, when Domitian and Flavius Clement were con• suls, or the year of Christ 95] Domitian put to death, beside many others, Flavius Clement • the consul, although he was his cousin, and had for his wife Flavia Domitilla, who also was • his relation. They were both accused of the crime of impiety (or atheism.] Upon which same account many others likewise, who had embraced the Jewish customs, were condemned: some of whom were put to death, others suffered the confiscation of their goods. Domitilla was only banished into Pandateria. Glabrio, who had been consul with Trajan [in the year 91,] • accused also, beside other matters, of the same crime with the rest, and because he had fought * with wild beasts, he put to death ; against whom he was particularly incensed from a principle • of envy. For having sent for him in his consulship to Albanum, at the time of the Juvenalia, • he made him enter the lists with a great lion: but he was so far from being hurt in the com• bat, that with wonderful dexterity he killed the lion.'

Who Flavius Clement was, and how he was related to Domitian, was shewn before, in our chapter of Suetonius. Domitilla we suppose to have been daughter of Domitilla, Domitian's sister; she therefore was Domitian's niece. Undoubtedly, she and her mother were so named from Flavia Domitilla wife of the emperor Vespasian, and mother of Titus and Domitian, and of their sister Domitilla, just mentioned.

Some difficulties there are, arising from a comparison of this account of Dion with that of Suetonius, formerly quoted. But they were then considered, and need not be again stated a here.

Here are three persons named, as accused of impiety, and suffering upon that account. Two of them were put to death, and one was banished.

Domitilla we conclude to have been a Christian. It is probable, that · Clement also was a Christian, or favourer of them. Glabrio's christianity is not so evident. However, some learned men' have been willing to allow them all three the character of Christians, and martyrs : but 3 Tillemont does not put Glabrio in that number. I likewise think it may be questioned, whether he was a Christian, though accused of that, or Judaism. It is not unlikely, that some designing and malicious people took the opportunity to accuse Glabrio of what would, at that time especially, render him obnoxious to Domitian. And the emperor made no scruple of laying hold of this pretence to destroy a man, against whom he had a grudge of three or four years standing, ever since the year 92. Nor is this the first instance we have met with of men unfairly charged with Christianity by their enemies. Pliny's letter to Trajan affords some such instances, and there may have been many more.

According to Dion's account, Glabrio was a man who had indulged himself in the hazardous and unreputable diversion of fighting with wild beasts : which can by no means agree with the character of a Christian. For skill in that exercise he was much celebrated : and Domitian sent for him to Albanum, at the feast of the Juvenalia, even in the time of his consulship, to add to the splendor of the shows: and perhaps hoping to have destroyed him that way. But Glabrio was victorious, though the lion was very formidable ; and Domitian, in

* Και τω αυτω ελει αλλες τε πολλές και τον Φλαζιον torio judicio pronuntiatam-Ex hac liberos tulit, Titum, Κλημενια υπαλευονία, καιπερ ανεψιον ονλα, και γυναικα, και αυτην et Domitianum, et Domitillam. Sueton. Vespas. cap. 3. συύγενη εαυθα, φλαζιαν Δομίλιλλαν εχονία, καλεσφαξεν ο d See Vol. iii. p.621, 622. Δομιλιανος. Επηνεχθη δε αμφοιν είκλημα αθεοζηλος, εφ' ής και e Vere autem Martyrem fuisse Clementem Consulem conαλλοι ες τα των Ιεδαιων ηθη εξοκελλονlες πολλοι κατεδικάσθησαν. . stat ex Dione. Pearson. Opp. Post. p. 215. sect. 22. Και οι μεν απεθανον οι δε των γεν εσιων ευερηθησαν· η δε Vero igitur proximum est, fidei causâ Clementem, DoAquiliana utspwpoon Honov Els llavidaleplay. Toy CE on mitillam, Glabrionemque damnatos fuisse. Basnag. ann. 95. Γλαριωνα τον μετα το Τραιανε αρξανία, καλη ορηθενία τα num. 5. τε αλλά, και οία οι πολλοι, και ότι και θηριοις εμαχείο, Nec alios sub eo quam exules habemus in probis Ecclesiæ απεκλεινεν εφ' ω σε και τα μαλισα ορίην αυτω υπο φθoνο εσχεν, monumentis, Flaviam illam Domitillam, et S. Joannem και υπαλευονία αυτον ες τον Αλβανον επι τα Νεανισκευμαία Apostolum. Αntipas in Asia populi furore passus est. Nisi ονομασμενα καλεσας, λεονία αποκλειναι μελαν ηναγκασε και forte Glabrionem, quem Judaïsmi, et Flavium Coss. quem ός 8 μονον εδεν ελυμανθη, αλλα και ευτυχωλαλα αυίον atheismi nomine interfectos testis est Dio. Christianismi καθειρίασατο. L. 67. p. 766. al. p. 1112.

nomine interfectos intelligamus. Dodw. Diss. Cypr. xi. b See Vol. iii. p. 621.

sect. 16. * Inter hæc Flaviam Domitillam duxit uxorem, Latinæque & Vid. Domitien, art. xiv. et Note i, sur la persécution de conditionis, sed mox ingenuam et civem Romanam recupera- Domitien. M. E. T. ii. p 523.

с

stead of being well pleased therewith, was provoked. However, he let him escape at that time : but now he laid hold of the pretence of irreligion to put him to death.

*Dion Cassius calls Domitilla • wife of Clement.' Eusebius * from Bruttius calls her niece of Clement.' Hence some have argued, that there were two of this name, who suffered for Christianity in the time of Domitian, one a virgin, the other a married woman, and banished into different places, one to the island Pontia, the other to Pandateria. I rather think, that there was but one Domitilla, who suffered at this time, the wife of the consul Clement, and niece of Domitian. Eusebius and Jerom have not mentioned more than one; which surely they must have done, if there had been two. Domitilla was banished into Pontia, as Bruttius says. It was easy for Dion to mistake Pandateria for Pontia. Jerom “has particularly men. tioned the confinement of Domitilla in the island Pontia : nor does he call her virgin, as he would have done, if he had supposed that to have been her condition.

Jerom tells us, that Paula, in her voyage from Rome to Jerusalem near the end of the fourth century, saw the place of her habitation in that island : where, as he says, she ' suffered

a long martyrdom.' Possibly, when other exiles were recalled, Domitilla was not. Her near relation to Domitian, whose memory was infamous, might some way or other be an obstacle.

What we have principally to observe, is the attestation here given by this noble and diligent historian to the progress of Christianity, and the sufferings of its professors. It had now got footing in the imperial family. Clement suffered death tipon account of it; and his wife Domitilla was banished to a remote and unwholesome island, where persons were wont to be sent for state-crimes, or other like offences.

It is generally allowed, that Clement was a Christian, as well as Domitilla : some have supposed, that' his whole family was Christian. That, I think, is more than we can say: but it is very likely, that some of their servants were Christians. Many were accused and condemned upon the same account: some suffered death, others confiscation of goods ; others were banished, as Domitilla. This is at least the fourth heathen author, who has afforded us a testimony to the persecution of the Christians in the reign of the emperor Domitian: and though it was but short, it seems to have been felt by many persons.

IV. In the month of September, in the year 96, Domitian was succeeded by Nerva : of whom Dion says: "He "published a pardon for those who were condemned for impiety, and * recalled those who were banished.' And after the mention of a law of the same emperor concerning slaves, he adds : • And besides, he forbade the accusing of any men upon account • of impiety, or Judaism.'

: It has been a question among learned men, whether Domitian, by any edict, put an end to the persecution of the Christians before his death. This è passage of Dion has been thought sufficient by some to determine the question, and to assure us, that the persecution did not cease till after the beginning of Nerva's reign.

We may be satisfied of this passage likewise, that it is not Xiphilinus's, but Dion's, in his own words, though perhaps contracted. The style is the style of a heathen, and not of a Christian : and this passage may be supposed to confirm the supposition of the severity of Domitian's persecution, though it was not long. Beside those put to death, or banished by him, there were others under accusation, or under a sentence of condemnation, who now escaped by the lenity or good. ness of Nerva.

I

may add a short passage from Orosius, a Christian writer, who says, that " Nerva, by his

a H. E. 1. iii. cap. 18. p. 89.

hominem appellat; qua notâ Christiani solent inuri. Reimar. See Tillemont sainte Flavie Domitille, Vierge et Martyre, ad Dionem. p. 1113. sect. 82. avec son oncle Clément, Consul et Martyre. Mem. Ecc.

f et totam Clementis familiam fuisse Christianam, Tom. ji. p. 124. &c.

verisimillimum est. Id. ib. sect. 83. Vid. Basnag. ann. 95. num. vii. et viii.

8 See Juvenal. vol. vii. p. 263. Suetonius. p. 270, 271. d Delata (Paola] ad insulam Pontiam, quam clarissimæ Bruttius, p. 367. and now Dion Cassius. quondam feminarum sub Domitiano principe pro confessione h Και ο Νερουας τας τε κρινομενες επ' ασεβεια αφηκε, και τες nominis Christiani, Flaviæ Domitillæ nobilitavit exilium; Osvlovias raírjale. Τοις δε δη αλλοις ετ' ασεβειας ετ' vidensque cellulas, in quibus illa longum martyrium duxerat, Ιεδαϊκο βιε καλαθιασθαι τινας συνεχώρησε. Lib. 68. sumptis fidei alis, Jerosolymam et sancta loca videre cupiebat, 1118.

i See Vol. iii. Ch. ix. sect. 6. Hieron. ep. 86. al. 27. T. iv. p. 672. fin.

k Hic primo edicto suo cunctos exules revocavit. Unde e Ipsum etiam Clementem Christianum fuisse, nonnulli et Joannes Apostolus, hâc generali indulgentia liberatus, colligunt ex Suetonio cap. 15. quia contemtissimæ inertiæ Ephesum rediit. Oros 1. vii. cap. 11. p. 185. VOL. IV.

2 B

p.769. al.

: first cdict, recalled all such as had been exiled: and the apostle John, improving this general • indulgence, then returned to Ephesus.'

v. I shall take one passage more from this author, concerning Marcia, concubine of the emperor Commodus.

• She is related to have had a great affection for the Christians, and to have . done them many good offices, she having a great ascendency over Commodus.'

What is here said may be true: for the Christians enjoyed great peace in the reign of this emperor; and Marcia, though a woman of low condition, had a great influence upon him: she sometimes gave him good advice: and the honours paid to her were little below those of an empress. I need not add any other particulars of her history.

But' this paragraph I rather think to be Xiphilinus's than Dion's: the style at least is Xiphilinus's. In the other passages before quoted, Dion speaks of impiety, or atheism, or Judaism, but never useth the word Christians. Another thing that may make us doubt, whether this observation be entirely Dion's, is the phrase, it is related.' For at the beginning of the reign of Commodus he

says: • These things, and what follows, I write not from the report of others, • but from my own knowledge and observation. However, the sense may be Dion's: but I wish we had also his style without any adulteration.

VI. Dion's account of the extraordinary shower, by which Marcus Antoninus and his army were preserved in Germany, was observed formerly, together with Xiphilinus's remarks upon it: to which, therefore, the reader is now referred.

CHAP. XXVIII.

THE PERSECUTION OF MAXIMIN THE FIRST, OR THE THRACIAN.

Maximin the first, or Lucius Maximinus the Thracian, succeeded Severus Alexander in the year 235, and died in 238. The "excessive cruelty of his disposition is acknowledged by heathen historians.

Sulpicius Severus, passing from Septimius Severus to Decius, mentions this persecution, without numbering it. He says, that` Maximin persecuted the clergy of some churches : which implies, that this persecution was local only, and not general.

Says Eusebius: * The Emperor Alexander being slain, after he had reigned thirteen years, he • was succeeded by Maximin: who being filled with hatred against the family of Alexander, in · which there were many Christians, raised a persecution : appointing, that the presidents only • of the churches should be put to death, as being the men who spread abroad the doctrine of

* Ισορείται δε αυτη πολλα τε υπερ των Χριςιανων σπεδασαι, 8 Sed, occiso Alexandro, Maximinus primum e corpore miκαι πολλα αυλες ευερεθηκεναι, αλε και παρα τω Κομμοδα σαν litari, et nondum senator,

sine decreto Senatûs, Augustus ab Our auern. Lib. 72. p. 819. al. p. 1206.

exercitu appellatus est, filio sibimet in participatum dato. • Haic Marcia, generis libertini, formâ tamen meretriciisque Capitolin. Maximin. cap. 8. p. 24. Conf. Pagi ann. 238. iv. artibus pollens, cum animum ejus penitus devinxisset, egresso Basn. ann. 235, num. ii. e balneo veneni poculum dedit. Victor. Epit. cap. xvii. " Sed inter has virtutes tam crudelis fuit, ut illum alii Cy.

Επει δε την γνωμην αυτα ταυτην ανηνείκε προς Μαρκιαν, clopem, alii Busiridem, nonnulli Phalarim vocarent. Senatus ήν ειχε την παλλακιδα τιμιωλαλην, ή αδεν τι απειχε γαμείης eum tantum timuit, ut vota in templis publice privatimque γυναικος, αλλα σανία οσα σεβαση πλην τ8 συρος. Ηerodian. mulieres etiam cum suis liberis facerent, ne ille unquam ur1. i. p. 486. Sylburg.

bem Romam videret. Id. ib. d 'Hæc de Marcia Christianis favente non Dionis esse, sed Interjectis deinde annis 38, pax Christianis fuit ; nisi quod Xiphilini, suspicor; quod etiam innuit præmissa formula, medio tempore Maximinus nonnullarum ecclesiarum clericos isopailai dɛ. Neque tamen hodie scio, an apud alios scriptores vexavit. S. Sev. 1. fi. cap. 32. p. 247. Christianos merita ejus prædicata legantur. Eoque minus k “Ος δη καλα κολον τον προς τον Αλεξανδρε oικoν εκ πλειόνων Dioni id tanti poterat videri, quod commemoraret. Reimar. πισων συνερωία, διωύμον εξειρας, τες των εκκλησιων αρχονίας ad Dion. p. 1207. sect. 34.

μονες, ως αλιες της καλα το ευαίγελιoν διδασκαλιας, αναιρεισθαι Λεξω δε ταυλα τε και τα λοιπα, εκ εξ αλλοτριας ελι σαραδο- προςαιτει. Η. Ε. 1. vi. cap. 28. σεως, αλλ' εξ οικείας ηδη τηρησεως. 16. p. 818. al. p. 1205. Maximinus adversum ecclesiarum sacerdotes persecuticThis Vol. p. 100, 101,

nem facit. Chron. p. 174.

i

' the gospel. At which time Origen composed his book of martyrdom, which he inscribed to * Ambrose, and Protoctetus, preshyter of the church of Cæsarea; forasmuch as they were at that ' time in great danger of suffering death. And they gained great honour by that confession.' That book of Origen, which is an exhortation to martyrdom, is still extant: I made several valuable extracts from it . formerly. It appears hence, that Ambrose and Protoctetus were imprisoned, though the place is not now exactly known.

Orosius, not very disagreeable to Eusebius, says, “that "Maximin's persecution proceeded chiefly · from aversion to the Christian family of his predecessor Alexander, and bis mother Mammæa : . and that his persecution was intended against the clergy, and particularly against the presbyter • Origen. So Orosius. And some learned men are of opinion, that Origen, though he sent his Exhortation to Martyrdom to the two above named confessors, retired o himself, and lived privately a part of this reign.

It has been argued by Pagi," and other learned men, that this persecution did not reach to Africa.

There was at this time a persecution of the Christians in Pontus and Cappadocia, as appears from 'Firmilian's letter to Cyprian: but it is not clear, that it was occasioned by any edict of Maximin. But the president was bigotted and cruel, and the Christians were greatly molested by him. However, the neighbouring provinces being peaceable, the Christians left their own country, and went thither.

Mr. Mosheim, to whom I refer, has very good observations upon this persecution. He al. lows, that " during that whole reign Christians suffered in some places. There may therefore, as I apprehend, have been more sufferers, than now we have the exact knowledge of:

CHA P. XXIX.

.

THE EMPEROR PHILIP.

-THE QUESTION CONSIDERED, WHETHER HE WAS A CHRISTIAN.

I. His time. II. Reasons for this inquiry. III. An argument, shewing, that he was not a Chris

tian, and the judgments of divers learned men concerning it.

1. The emperor Gordian was succeeded by Philip, who took his son into partnership with him. He was an Arab, son of a captain of Arabian robbers. He reigned five years and

a Vol. i. p. 530, 531.

in nostra provinciâ Præses, acerbus et dirus persecutor. In o Sed continuo, hoc est tertio quam regnabat anno, a Pu- hac autem perturbatione constitutis fidelibus, et huc atque pieno Aquileiæ interfectus, et persecutionis et vitæ finem fecit. illuc persecutionis metu fugientibus, et patrias suas relinquenQui maxime propter Christianam Alexandri, cui successerat, tibus, atque in alias partes regionum transeuntibus, (erat enim et Mammææ matris familiam, persecutionem in sacerdotes et transeundi facultas, eo quod persecutio illa non per totum clericos, et doctores, vel præcipue propter Origenem presby. mundum, sed localis fuisset) &c. Firmilian. ad Cyprian. ep. terum misorat. Oros. I. vii. cap. 19. p. 509.

75. p. 222. Oxon. p. 146. Baluz. < See Tillem. in Origène art. 21. and Moshem. p. 469. & De Reb. Christianorum, &c. p. 467—470. & Vid. Pagi ann. 235. num. iii.

h Hinc facile credimus illis, qui per totum illod, quod • Basnag. ann. 235. num. v.

Maximinus regnavit, triennium vexatos passim Christianos Ante viginti enim et duos fere annos, temporibus post fuisse censent. Ib. p. 468. Alexandruni Imperatorem, multæ istic conflictationes et pres

i Igitur Marcus Julius Philippus Arabs Thraconites, sumto suræ acciderunt, vel in commune omnibus hominibus, vel in consortium Philippo filio, Romam venere. Victor. de Cæsar. privatim Christianis. Terræ etiam motus plurimi et frequenies exstiterunt, ut per Cappadociam et per Pontum multa sub- * Marcus Julius Philippus imperavit annos quinque. Is ruerent, ut ex hoc persecutio quoque gravis adversum nos Pbilippus humillimo ortus loco fuit, patre nobilissimo latronum Christiani nominis fieret; quæ, post longam retro ætatis pacem ductore. Victor, Epit. cap. 28. Conf. Eutrop. I. ix. sect. iii. repente oborta, de inopinato et ipsuelo malo ad turbandum et Capitolin. iii. cap. 29. p. 124. populum nostrum terribilior effecta est. Screniavus tunc fuit

f

cap. 28.

.

somewhat longer. His a time is computed from March in the year of Christ 244, to July in 249.

II. Of this emperor Eusebius tells the following story. · When Gordian had reigned six whole years, he was succeeded by Philip and his son. It is reported, that this emperor, as being ' a Christian, on the last day of the vigils of Easter, desired to partake in the prayers of the church ' with the rest of the people; but that the bishop would not permit him, till he had made confes: •sion of his sins, and had placed himself in the number of the lapsed, and among the penitents. • And if he had not done that, he would never have been admitted by the bishop, because of his • many crimes. And dit is said, that he readily complied, and that he manifested a sincere fear ! of God by his deeds.'

It is obvious to observe, that Eusebius speaks only upon the ground of report, and common fame: nor does he name the bishop, nor the place where it happened. Chrysostom is supposed to supply that defect, as he ascribes a like action to Babylas bishop of Antioch: but then he does not name the emperor.

I forbear to transcribe the absurd and inaccurate account of the same thing in the Paschal Chronicle.

According to the Acts or Passion of the Martyr Pontius, s Philip and his son were converted by the same Pontius, and baptized by Fabian bishop of Rome. And, fabulous as those Acts may be, Huet seems to rely upon them, and believes, that " those emperors were baptized by Fabian.

In a chapter following that before quoted, Eusebius, among other proofs of Origen's great reputation at that time, says, he' wrote a letter to the emperor Philip, and another to his wife Severa. Which is also mentioned by Jerom, in his book of Illustrious Men: who likewise there calls Philip the first Christian emperor, and says, those letters were still extant. Nevertheless I think it does not appear, what was in those letters, nor that ever they were seen either by Eusebius, or Jerom.

In Jerom's Latin edition of Eusebius's Chronicle,' Philip is said to be the first Christian emperor: and in like manner speak "Orosius, and some other Christian authors.

All which has occasioned a debate among learned men of late times, whether Philip was a Christian or not: Baronius," Huet, and some others, taking the affirmative side of the question, others the negative. Tillemont' says, it is not without difficulties. And Mr. Mosheim has done his utmost to perplex this question: and the more to increase the difficulty, argues that

he might be a Christian secretly, though not openly. And upon the whole, according to him, it is a point not to be decided, whether the two Philips, father and son, were Christians or not.

III. For my own part I should think, that we might spare ourselves the trouble of inquiring into the privacies of this emperor, and may do better to determine his character by his public

b

[ocr errors]

p. 270.

* Hoc etiam anno uterque Philippus pater et Filius Impp. primusque omnium ex Romanis Imperatoribus Christianus circa mensem Juliuni occisi sunt, sexto imperii anno inchoato. fuit. Chr. p. 174. Pagi ann. 249. num. v. Conf. Basnag. ann. 244. n. iv.

in Hic primus Imperatorum omnium Christianus fuit, &c. H. E. I. vi. cap. 34.

Oros. I. vii. cap. 20. • Τaλον καλεχει λοίος-κ. λ.

n Baron. ann. 246. * Και πειθαρχησαι γε προθεμας λείεται. .

Origen. 1. i. cap. iii. n. 12. Chrys. de S. Babylâ contr. Juliani. et Gent. T. ii. p. 544, p Our writers of Universal ancient History, in the article of 545.

Roman History. B. 3. cb. xxiii. Vol. xv. p. 408, &c. note (L).

9 Hist. Emp. Tom. iii. L'Emp. Philip. note 1. g Tunc beatissimus Pontius ad episcopum urbis Romæ no

De Reb. Christianor. ante C. M. p. 471-476. mine Pabianum, qui ecclesiæ Dei præerat, convolavit, et om. * Neque desunt argumenta, quæ hos Imperatores, clam nia ei ex ordine pandit. - Aliâ vero die cum simul ad Prin- licet et secreto, ad sacra Christiana transiisse probabile redcipes venissent, et sacramenta eis divina demonstrâssent, bap- dant. Sed his rationibus quum aliæ possint opponi æque vatismi gratiam consecuti sunt. Passio S. Pontii. num. xiji. lidæ ac speciosæ, quæstio illa, quæ tot viros doctos exercuit, T. ii. p. 133. edit. Baluz.

de Philippi Arabis, ejusque filii religione, in medio relinqui " Sic igitur sentio, Christi sacris a Fabiano Papâ initiatum debet. Moshem. Insti. p. 110. fuisse Philippum. Origen. 1 i. c. 3. p. 19.

? Quæ vero signa in eo sunt Christianæ pietatis ? Nullum H. E. I. vi. cap. 36.

ejus rei vestigium apparet. Nobis vero id valde dubium est, * Quodque ad Philippum Imperatorem, qui primus de Re- quia nec ullus idoneus auctor ostendit, vel deorum templa gibus Romanis Christianus fuit, et ad matrem (uxorem] ejus clausisse, vel Christo aliud dedicâsse, vel aliud egisse, quod literas fecit, quæ usque hodie extant. De V. I. cap. 54. de Christianam vitam et professionem probaret. Cellar. Disse Origene.

Philippus Philippum filium suum consortem regni fecit;

p. 323.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »