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the two Antonines, we saw good proofs of his knowledge of the Christians and their principles, and his dislike of a them.
THE DEMOLITION OF THE TEMPLE OF SERAPIS AT ALEXANDRIA, AND OTHER TEMPLES
IN ÆGYPT IN THE YEAR 391, AND SOME OTHER TEMPLES ELSEWHERE.
I. The history of the demolition of the temple of Serapis. II. Learned men concerned in the
defence, or in the demolition of the temple of Serapis: Olympius, Helladius, Ammonius, heathens : Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria. III. Other temples destroyed in Syria and Phænicia.
I. That the temple of Serapis at Alexandria was demolished by order of Theodosius the first, is allowed. But learned men are not entirely agreed about the time when it was done; some placing it in the year 389, others in the year 391. Tillemont is for the year 389: but he acknowledgeth that the opinion is not without difficulties. Pagi - after o Gothofred, argues strongly for the year 391, with whom Basnage ' agrees. Frederick Spanheim : likewise is for the year 391.
Accounts of this transaction may be seen in our ecclesiastical historians. And some notice is taken of it by 'Eunapius, who expresseth himself with great dislike and resentment.
A large description of the temple of Serapis at Alexandria may be seen in * Rufinus, which I need not transcribe. Ammianus Marcellimus, who wrote whilst it was yet standing, says was inferior to none, except the capitol at Rome. And in " Macrobius, another heathen writer, may be seen a description of the image of Serapis. Rufinus says, it was monstrously large, • its arms reaching from one wall of the temple to the other: and says it was composed of all - sorts of metals and woods. The opinions of the Pagans concerning the origin of this image, • he says, were various. Some said it represented Jupiter, and were of opinion that the bushel • upon its head denoted that he governed all things in weight and measure; or it signified the * plenty of the fruits of the earth by which mortals are nourished. Others said it denoted the • river Nile, by the waters of which Ægypt is enriched. Some there were who said that the • image was so formed in honour of our Joseph, by whose wise distribution of corn the land of • Ægypt had been provided for in time of a famine. Others gave different accounts.'
The occasion of the demolition of the temple of Serapis is related in this manner: There ' was ° a large old building which had been a temple of ? Bacchus: it was now much neglected . and almost in ruins: it is said to have been given by Constantius to some Arian bishops. This • bụilding Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, begged of the emperor, with a design to erect a • church there for the accommodation of Christians, whose number had been greatly inereased. • In clearing the rubbish, and opening the vaults under ground, were found some obscene
a See p. 107, 108.
ex omnibus generibus metallorum lignorumque compositum b Baron. ann. 369. num. 76, &c. Ancient Univ. History, ferebatur,
ferebatur-De cujus origine diversa fertur opinio PaganVol. xvi. p. 427, &c.
orum. Alii Jovem putant, cujus capiti modius superpositus; L'Emp. Theodos. art. li. lii. &c.
vel quia cum mensurå modoque cuncta indicet moderari, vel Pagi ann. 389. num. xii. xiii.
vitam mortalibus frugum largitate præberi. Alii virtutem • Cod. Theod. de Paganis. Tom. vi. p. 273.
Nili fluminis, cujus Ægyptus opibus et fecunditate pascatur. Basnag. ann. 391. num. ix.
Quidam in honorem nostri Joseph formatum perhibent simu. 8 Spanhem. Hist. Christ. sec. iv. p. 950.
lacrum, ob divisionem frumenti, quâ famis tempore subvenit h Rutin. H. E. 1. 2. c. 22- -30. Socrat. I. 5. cap. 16, 1.7. Ægyptiis. Alii, &c. Rufin. ib. cap. 23. Sozom. 1. 7. cap. xv. Theod. 1. 5. c. 21, 22.
• Basilica quædam publici operis, vetusta atque admodum Eunap. in vita Ædes. p. 60, 62, 63.
negiecta fuit, quam Constantius imperator donâsse episcopis k Ruf. ib. cap. 23.
perfidiam suam prædicantibus ferebatur. Quæ longå incuria 1 His accedunt altis sublata fastigiis templa, inter quæ emi- nihil validum præter parietes habebat. Visum episcopo, qui net Serapeum, quod licet minuatur exilitate verborum, atriis per idem tempus gubernabat ecclesiam, hanc ab Imperatore tamen columnariis amplissimis, et spirantibus signorum fig- deposcere, ut crescentibus fidelium populis, orationum quoque mentis, et reliquâ operum multitudine ita est exornatum, ut crescerent loca. Rufin. c. 22.
p Sozom. p. ; 23. C. post Capitolium, quo se venerabilis Roma in æternum attollit, 9 Τα δε το Σεραπιδος και των αλλων, γελωτος
E DEIXYU pesa, nihil orbis terrarum ambitiosius cernat. Ammian. I. 22. c. της φαλλες φερεσθαι κελευσας δια μέσης της αγορας. . Ταυτα xvi. p. 373.
8τω γενομενα όρωντες οι κατα την Αλεξανδρειας Ελληνες, και m Macrob. Saturn. I. i. cap. 20. p. 298, 299.
μαλισα οι φιλοσοφειν επαγγελλομενοι, την λυπην εκ ήνεγκαν. * In hâc simulacrum Serapis ita erat vastum, ut dextrâ Socrat. l. 5. c. 16. p. 274. D. Conf. Sozom. 1. 7. C. XV. p. unum parietem, alterum lævâ perstringeret. Quod monstrum
figures, which the bishop, the more to disparage the Gentile superstition, ordered to be brought • forth and exposed to public view; at which the Gentile people, and especially the philosophers, • were greatly offended; and from angry and reproachful words they proceeded to take up arms. • The Christians were then obliged to return blow for blow. They were the more numerous. • Nevertheless few Gentiles were killed, of the Christians a great number, and many were * wounded: after which the Gentiles retreated to the temple of Serapis, as to a fortress, taking • along with them, as captives, some Christians, whom they compelled by various tortures to • sacrifice. The contention continued very sharp for some while. At length the Gentiles
chose for their leader Olympius, who had taught philosophy at Alexandria, and now told them • that they ought not to neglect the religion of their country, but be willing to die for it if • needful. At that time Euagrius was præfect of Egypt, and Romanus general of the soldiery. • They exhorted the Gentiles to be peaceable, and put them in mind of the laws, and at length
sent an account to the emperor of what had happened. Who extolling the virtue, and envying the happiness of those who had died in defence of their religion, considered them as martyrs, • and would not allow that vengeance should be taken of those who had put them to death. • However, he sent orders that the temples at Alexandria, should be demolished, putting the • execution of those orders into the hands of Theophilus, who was to be assisted therein by the præ• fect Euazrius, and the count Romanus. When the emperor's rescript was received the Gentiles • were filled with consternation. They then abandoned the temple and dispersed; some retiring
privately to their own houses, others withdrawing from the city, and either concealing them• selves in neighbouring places, or flying into distant countries. Olympius, o deserting his friends, withdrew secretly, taking the opportunity of a ship which was sailing to Italy. Among those who retired from Alexandria, Socrates particularly mentions two grammarians, Helladius • and Ammonius, under whom, says he, I studied when very young at Constantinople. Hella• dius was priest of Jupiter, Ammonius of the Ape. He adds: “ And Helladius was wont to • boast in the company of such with whom he could be free, that in the late contention he had • slain nine men with his own hands."
• The tumultuous part of the Gentiles being withdrawn, ' Theophilus, with the assistance of • the people and the soldiery, soon accomplished his design. It was a prevailing opinion among • the Gentiles, that if any man should offer to touch the image of Serapis, somewhat.very ex*traordinary would happen. Nevertheless, one of the soldiers, whose faith,' as Rufinus says, • was not at all inferior to his courage, with all his might struck it on the cheek with a halbert, • and cut off part of it. Immediately there arose a great cry of all sorts of people, both Chris• tians and Gentiles: but neither did the heavens fall, nor the earth open itself to swallow up the bold transgressor: and repeating his blows, it was all broken to pieces. The several parts of it were then carried in triumph through the streets of the city, and at length were thrown • into a huge fire, kindled for that purpose in the amphitheatre, and there consumed to • ashes. At the same time the temple was demolished, and nothing left but the foundation, as 8 Eunapius says, which was too heavy to be removed. According to Rufinus, instead • of the temple of Serapis were erected on one side of it a church, and on the other side a mar• tyrdom.
Verum hæc per dies singulos primo cum metu, deinde torem. Persuasio tamen quædam ab ipsis Gentilibus fuerat cum fiduciâ et desperatione gerere, atque intra templum dispersa, quod, si humana manus simulacrum illud conticlausi, rapto et prædå vivere. Ad postremum grassantes in san- gisset, terra dehiscens illico solveretur in chaos, cælumque guine civium ducem sceleris audaciæ suæ deligunt Olympium rueret in præceps. Quæ res paullulum stuporem quemdam quemdam, nomine et habitu philosophum, quo antesignano populis dabat: cum ecce unus ex militibus, fide magis quam arcem defenderent, et tyrannidem tenerent. Rufin.
armis munitus, correptam bipennem insurgens omni nisu b Sozom. p. 724. B.
maxillæ veteratoris illidit. Clamor attollitur utrorumqve po- res gesta ad Imperatorem refertur. Ille, qui inge- pulorum. Neque tamen aut cælum aut terra descendit. nitâ mentis clementia errantes mallet emendare quam per- İnde iterum atque iterum repetens putris ligni fumosum genu dere, rescribit, illorum quidem vindictam, quos ante aras cædit, quo ejecto, igni adhibito tam facile quam lignum arisanguis effusus martyres effecit, non esse poscendam, in qui- dum conflagravit. Post hoc revulsum cervicibus et depresso bus dolorem interitûs superaverit gloria meritorum. Rufin. modio trahitur caput, tunc pedes aliaque membra cæsa securi
4 Και λαθων σαντας, εξεισε το Σεραπεια, και πλοια τυχων, bus, et rapta funibus detrahuntur, ac per singula loca memεις Ιταλιας ανηχθη. Soc. p. 725. Α.
bratim in conspectu cultricis Alexandriæ senex veternosus • Πολλοι δε και εκ της Αλεξανδρειας εφυγον, κατα τας πόλεις exuritur. Ad ultimum truncus, qui superfuerat, in ampbiμεριζομενοι' ων ησαν οι δυο γραμματικοι, Ελλαδιος και Αμμο- theatro concrematur. Vanæque superstitionis et erroris antiνιος, παρ' οίς εγω κομιδη νεος ων εν τη Κωνσταντινα πολει εφοι- qui Serapis hic finis fuit. Rufin. c. 23. Conf. Theodoret. τησα. Ελλαδιος μεν εν Ιερευς το Διος ειναι ελεγετο, Αμμωνιος 1. 5. c. 22.
8 Vit. Ædes. p. 64. de IiAnxe. n. 2. Socrat. 1. 5. c. 16. p. 275.
h Nam et Serapis sepulcro profanis ædibus complanatis, ex ! Verum, ut dicere cæperam, rescripto' recitato, parati qui- uno latere martyrium, ex altero consurgit ecclesia. Rufin. dem erant nostrorum populi ad •subvertendum erroris auc
• The whole city of Alexandria was full of busts and small images of Serapis, which were * set up in niches or other places in every house: but they were now all destroyed without • leaving any."
Sophronius, Jerom's friend, wrote a distinct account of the demolition of the temple of Serapis; but that work has not reached us. However, it may have been read by Rufinus, or some other of our ecclesiastical historians. Indeed Rufinus may be reckoned a contemporary; for which reason I have made the more use of him: though I have not thought it needful or safe to take every thing without examination.
The cubit by which the rising of the Nile in Ægypt was measured, had been usually lodged in the temple of Serapis. His statue and temple having been demolished, it was given out by the Gentile people, that the Nile would no longer overflow. Nevertheless it rose the following year to an uncommon height. Constantine had before removed that cubit into a church of the Alexandrians; but by Julian's order it had been replaced in the temple of Serapis : now it was. again restored to the Christians.
Theophilus, and other bishops, went on to destroy all the temples of the gods at Canopus, near one of the mouths of the Nile, a few leagues below Alexandria, and in all other cities throughout Ægypt. Says Socrates : 'the temples were thus destroyed, but the images of the gods were melted down, and converted into utensils for, the church of Alexandria, the emperor having given them for the benefit of the poor.'. To this, very probably, Eunapius refers, when he says that the Roman officers at Alexandria demolished the temple of Serapis, • and laid violent' hands upon the images and sacred offerings, no man daring to withstand • them. They not only obtained a complete victory, but got also a rich booty: having among • them an order, strictly observed, to keep concealed whatever they gained by robbery.' Nor need it be doubted that there is some truth in what he says. He adds, • And now monks are • placed at Canopus, who introduced the dried bones of men called martyrs, but really the worst of criminals, to be there honoured as gods, and as ministers and ambassadors to convey the. prayers of Christians to heaven.'
Socrates says that • Theophilus broke in pieces, or melted down all the images of the gods . in Ægypt, except one only, which he preserved, and had it set up in a public place, lest, as he
said, the Gentiles should hereafter deny that they had worshipped such gods. And I know,' says Socrates, that Ammonius, the grammarian, was much offended at this. He said the • religion of the Greeks had been horribly abused; and that one image only had been preserved, • with no other view than to expose them to ridicule.'
What image that was, does not, I think, clearly appear. But it is generally supposed to have been an image of the Ape: which Lucian reckons among the gods worshipped by the Ægyptians, or, as his expression is, which were raised from Ægypt to heaven. And here Ammonius is said by Socrates to have been a priest of the Ape.
II. We should now take some farther notice of the learned heathens which have been mentioned in this history of the destruction of the temple of Serapis in Alexandria. One of these is Olympus, or Olympius; the other two are Ammonius and Helladius, to whom may be added Theophilus.
. Sed et illud apud Alexandriai gestum est, quod etiam -και ταξις ην αυτοις πολεμικη, το αφελομενον λαβειν thoraces Serapis, qui per singulos domos, in parietibus, in in- -Vit. Ædes. p. 64. gressibus, in postibus etiam, et fenestris erant, ita abscissi * Τες δε μοναχός τ8τες και εις Κανωξον καθιδρυσων, sunt omnes et abrasi, ut ne vestigium quidem usquam rema- ορεα γαρ και κεφαλας των επι πολλοις αμαρτημασιν εαλωκοneret. Rufin. cap. 29.
των συναλιζοντες, ες το πολιτικών εκολαζε δικαστηριον. –κ, λ. Sophronius, vir apprime eruditus, laudes Bethlehem, Ib. p. 65. adhuc puer, et nuper de subversione Serapis insignem ο Παντας 3ν τες θεας συντριψας ο Θεοφιλος, έν αγαλμα τεδε librum composuit. Hieron. De V. I. c. 134.
το θεα αχωνευτον τηρεισθαι κελευσας, δημοσια προ:ςησεν, ίνα, c Vid. Socrat. H. E. I. 1. cap. 18. in.
φησι, χρονα προϊόντος μη αρνησωνται οι Ελληνες τοιέτες προσ. * « Τα μεν 8ν ιερα κατεςρεφετο· τα δε αγαλματα των θεων κεκυνηκεναι θεες. Επι τετο πανυ ανιωμενον οιδα Αμμωνιον τον μετεχωνευετο εις λεβητια και εις έτερας χρειας της Αλεξαν- γραμματικόν, ός ελεγε δεινα πεπονθεναι την Ελληνων θρησδρεων εκκλησιας, το βασιλεως χαρισαμενε τες θεες εις δαπα- κειαν, ίνα μη και ο εις ανδριας εχωνευθη, αλλ' επι γελωτι της muata TWY WTWXwv. Socrat. 1. 5. c. 16. p. 275. C.
“Ελληνων θρησκειας φυλαττηται. Socrat. p. 275.
" Lucian. Deor. Conviv. p. 713. Tom. 2. Grav.
Socrates, “ as we have seen, says, that when Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, exposed some obscene figures found in the heathen temples, the Gentiles, and especially the philoso• phers, were greatly provoked, and could not bear it without resentment.' By Rufinus we are assured, that when the Gentiles took up arms against the Christians, and betook themselves to the temple of Serapis, as a citadel, they chose Olympius as their leader, who had the habit and character of a philosopher. Sozomen says that · Olympius, who was there with them, and « wore the habit of a philosopher, told them, that they ought not to neglect the religion of their · country, and that they ought to be willing to die for it if there was occasion ; and when he • saw them concerned for the destruction of the images, he exhorted them not to be discouraged, • for they were made of corruptible materials, and were images only, and therefore were liable • to be destroyed. But they were inhabited by certain powers which fled away to heaven. • Thus,' says Sozomen, • he harangued to the multitude of Greeks, which were with him at the • temple of Serapis. Nevertheless, soon after the arrival of the emperor's rescript,' as the same Sozomen says, “this zealous, and courageous philosopher, withdrew from the Serapeum pri
vately, and taking shipping sailed away to Italy.! "Olympius therefore was with the other Gentiles at the temple of Serapis, when they fought with the Christians; and he acted with them and animated them as a general, and as a heathen philosopher : after which he left Alexandria, and went by ship to Italy.
I see no reason to doubt the truth of any of these things, about which there is great agreement in our ecclesiastical historians. But there is somewhat more to be added concerning Olympius from an ancient heathen writer. It is an article in Suidas, supposed to be taken by him from Damascius ; of which therefore I shall here give a literal version at length.
• Olympius, “ brother of Generosa. He came from Cilicia to Alexandria to worship Serapis. • He was in all respects an admirable person, tall, and well made, of a beautiful and liberal • countenance, affable, and agreeable to all in conversation, and of such wisdom as to be useful • to all who were disposed to hearken to his counsels. Nor could any man be of so hard and • inflexible a temper as not to be swayed by the words that proceeded out of his mouth. Indeed
the charms of his speech were such, that they might justly be reckoned rather divine than • human. For all which reasons he was appointed by the Alexandrians master of the sacred • rites, and at a time when the affairs of the state were going down like a torrent. He therefore, • as he had opportunity, inculcated to all the ancient legal institutions, and the great happiness • which all who observed them exactly might expect from the Divine Being. Such was Olym• pius, who was full of god, insomuch that he foretold to his friends that Serapis was about to • forsake his temple : which also came to pass.'
That article, as before said, is supposed to be taken by Suidas from Damascius. Indeed the name of Olympius does not appear in Photius's extracts from Damascius. Nevertheless a large part of this paragraph is there word for word: and Suidas might take this article from Damascius himself; which to me does not appear improbable. Valesius thought that' this article in Suidas was taken from Eunapius ; but the other account is more likely.
This earnest and affectionate commendation of Olympius deserves our notice. The Gentile people did all they could to uphold their religion. Their philosophers, and other learned men, encouraged them by their example and exhortations; and the people reverenced their leaders. This character of Olympius appears to me much studied, and highly finished: I have translated it as well as I can, but I refer also to the original Greek in Suidas'; for I do not think I have done it justice in my translation.
a Socrat. 1. 5. cap. 16. p. 274. D. And see here, note 8, νων εχων περι αυτον, εν τω Σεραπεια διετριζεν. Sozom. 1. 7.
• Ad postremum grassantes in sanguine civium ducem sce- c. 15. p. 724, 725. leris et audaciæ suæ deligunt Olympium quemdam, nomine
d Vide Suid. et habitu philosophum, quo antesignano arcem defenderent, et e Totus hic articulus ex Damascio sui.pius est. A tyrannidem tenerent. Ruf. 1. 20. 22.
Photium enim in Excerptis ex Damascio 10: 1036, 1037, πειτα δε και Ολυμπιος τις εν φιλοσοφο σχηματι συνων omnia ista verba— vix syllabâ vel vocula aliquâ mutatâ, leαι ταις, και πειθων χρηναι μη αμελείν των πατριων, αλλ' ει δεο, guntur. Unde facile conjicias, et reliqua, quæ Suidas bic υπερ αυτων θνησκειν καθαιρουμενων δε των ξοανων, αθυμουντας habet, ex eoderm Dainascio excerpta esse. Kuster. in Ioc. όρων, συνεβουλευε μη εξισασθαι της θρησκειας, υλην φθαρτης και f Et Suidas in voce 01"UTTIOS.
IT') ulentum affert ινδαλματα λεγων ειναι τα αγαλματα, και δια τετο αφανισμον fragmentin lioc Olympio ex E'' 1 manå Eunapii υπομενειν· δυναμεις δε τινας ενοικήσαι αυτ" , και εις ουρανον Sardi, ai, at ex stylo conjicere lice' ann, in Sozom. αποπτηναι. Και "", τoιαδε εισηγουμενος ...ι τ. θυς 'Ελλη
Besides Olympius, we have seen in Socrates mention made of two other learned men, very zealous for their religion, both whilst they were at Alexandria, and when they afterwards lived at Constantinople. At this last place, Socrates, when young, studied under them: whence it may be argued, that they also were young men when the temple of Serapis was destroyed at Alexandria in the year 391. He calls them grammarians; but they were also priests : Helladius was priest of Jupiter, Ammonius of Simias, or the Ape. We cannot forbear to observe that many heathens who were eminent for their learning, and upon other accounts, were also priests to their gods. Here we have two instances. The younger Pliny also, as we saw a formerly, was augur. It was a priesthood upon which he set a great value. Arrian, who published the Discourses of Epictetus, and was the author of many works, and a man of the first rank among the Romans, was priest of Ceres and her daughter. All the Roman emperors, as I suppose, upon seating themselves on the throne, took upon them the character of high priest, or pontifex maximus. Marcus Antoninus was introduced by Adrian into the college of the priests called Salii, at the age of eight years: and Marcus made himself complete master of all the rules of that order, so as to be able to discharge himself all the functions of that priesthood. And now, as may be supposed, he gained, in childhood, a deep tincture of superstition, which grew up with him, and was retained by him ever afterwards. And this early priesthood may be added to the d other causes and reasons of his disaffection to Christians and their principles. Olympius, as it seems, was not a priest: he was a philosopher. But he had a great zeal for the Greek religion, as most of the philosophers then had, and he was so skilful in the rites of it as to be qualified to be a teacher of them to others.
There is still one person more to be taken notice of before we leave this story. It is Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, who was a principal agent in the destruction of the temple of Serapis at Alexandria, and other temples all over Ægypt. He was a zealous and active man; but was blameable upon many accounts, as was observed formerly. Cave,' who computes his episcopacy from the year 385 to 412, says, he strenuously opposed the Gentile superstition,
and not only destroyed the temples of idols to the foundation, but also exposed the frauds of • the priests, by which they had deceived the people.' As Tillemont says, “ he - shewed a great deal of zeal against idolatry, and in building churches and erecting monasteries. But he allows that upon divers occasions he betrayed pride and ambition, and practised injustice. He h even admits the truth of the character of this bishop, which is in Isidore of Pelusium. Eunapius, as quoted above, accused some of making a rich booty, when the images of the gods were destroyed. Tillemont supposeth that ' Theophilus himself was intended in that charge. I add no more, but I refer to Tillemont's sixth and seventh articles in the history of Theophilus.
III. Other heathen temples were destroyed about this time. I shall recite here a story or two from our ecclesiastical historians; and I shall recite them in their own words. If they betray credulity and superstition, yet I shall recite them fairly as they are ; for it must be acknowledged that they have mixed error and falsehood together with the truth of the Christian religion. It cannot be denied, and we and they must take the shame of it. The emperor Theodosius, as Theodoret k says, resolved to extirpate Gentilism, and gave orders for pulling down their temples. Marcellus, an excellent man in all respects, was the first bishop who * undertook to destroy the temples of the place in which he presided, trusting more to the help • of God, than to any assistance from men. John, bishop of Apaméa, formerly mentioned, was · dead; this Marcellus had been ordained in his room, a man truly divine, and “ fervent in • spirit,” according to the direction of the apostle; (Rom. xii. 11.) There came to Apamea the præfect of the east [Cynegius], having with him two tribunes with the soldiers under their command. The people were quiet through fear of the soldiers. He endeavoured to destroy • the temple of Jupiter, which was very large and magnificent. But seeing that the structure • was very firm and solid, and that the stones were of extraordinary size, and cemented with