Orosius: Book 7

THE SEVENTH BOOK

1. Sufficient evidence has now been gathered, I think, that these truths may be publicly submitted for the approval of my critics without my making use of any secret known only to a small number of the faithful. The One and true God, whom the Christian religion preaches, made the world and its creatures when He so willed, setting His creation in order through many separate acts, though in many of these acts His agency was not recognized. He established it for one purpose, when He was revealed by one event, and at one time He manifested and proved His power and patience in various ways. In this regard, indeed, I have for some time noticed that people who are narrow-minded and pessimistic resent the fact that great patience is associated with great power. If, indeed, He had the power, they say, to create the world, to establish peace therein, and to make known to it the worship and the knowledge of Himself, what need was there of so great a patience, or, as they themselves regard it, so pernicious a patience, that in the end the sins, disasters, and sufferings of mankind finally brought about conditions which could just as well have been produced in the beginning through the might of the God whom you are preaching? To these persons, indeed, I might truly answer that the human race from the beginning was so created and fashioned that, living according to the precepts of religion, in peace, and without toil, it might gain eternal life as a reward for its obedience. But having abused the goodness of the Creator, who had given it freedom, it turned His gift of liberty into stubborn disobedience and passed from the contempt of God into forgetfulness of God. In view of this, the patience of God is just in either case; for even if He is held in contempt He does not wholly destroy anyone to whom He wishes to be merciful, but by virtue of His power, as long as it is His will, He permits the man who despises Him to suffer trials. Hence it follows that it is always just for Him to guide such people in their ignorance, as He will in time, upon their repentance, mercifully restore to them the riches of their former grace.

These arguments, though advanced with great force and truth, do require, after all, a devout and willing listener. My present audience, however, whether or not they may come to believe at some future time, are certainly unbelievers now. Therefore I shall bring forward rather quickly arguments which, though my opponents may not approve, they certainly cannot disprove. Now, within the limits of our human comprehension, we and our opponents both revere religion and acknowledge and worship a higher power. The difference lies only in the nature of our belief; whereas we acknowledge that all things are from one God and through one God, they think there are as many gods as there are things. If, they say, it was in the power of the God whom you preach to make the Roman Empire so large and exalted, why then did His patience prevent it from reaching that state earlier? I shall answer them in the same vein: If it was in the power of the gods whom you preach to make the Roman Empire so large and exalted, why then did the patience of their gods prevent it from reaching that state earlier? Was it because the gods themselves did not exist? Or because Rome herself did not exist? Were the gods not worshipped at that time? Or did Rome not yet seem ready for power? If the gods were not yet in existence, their argument fails; but why discuss the delay of the gods, when I have not even discovered their nature? If, on the other hand, the gods were in existence, either their power, as my opponents really believe, or their patience was at fault; that is, either they could have acted and failed to do so, or else they wished to act but had not the power to do so. Or, if it seems more plausible to say that there were indeed gods at that time who could have aided the progress of the Romans, but that there were as yet no Romans who could rightly be assisted, I reply that we are looking for a power capable of creating suitable material to work on, not for mere workmanlike skill in shaping material already there. Our concern is with those whom the heathen consider as great gods, not with base artisans whose skill is useless unless their material is at hand. If indeed it was always possible for these gods to foreknow and to ordain—their foreknowledge should rather be assumed, since, in the case of omnipotence, to foreknow and to will concerning its own works are the same—whatever was foreknown and ordained ought not to have been delayed but to have been put into effect. Especially is this so since the pagans say that their Jove was wont to amuse himself by turning anthills into tribes of men. Nor do I think that we need to consider further the performance^ rites, inasmuch as in the midst of continual sacrifices there was no end or relief from incessant disasters, except when Christ, the Saviour of the world, appeared. Although I think that it has already been sufficiently shown that the peace of the Roman Empire was prearranged for His coming, nevertheless I will endeavor to add a few more arguments to the previous ones.

2. At the beginning of the second book I touched lightly upon the period of the founding of Rome and there I consistently noted many points of similarity between the Assyrian city of Babylon, then first among the nations, and Rome, now holding the same position of primacy. I showed that Babylon was the first, Rome the last empire; that Babylon grew weak little by little, while Rome gradually waxed strong; that Babylon lost her last king at the same time that Rome crowned her first; and that Babylon was attacked and captured by Cyrus and fell dying, just as Rome, rising confidently after the expulsion of the kings, began to enjoy the freedom of ruling herself. Moreover, I pointed out that in those very days, when Rome was asserting her independence, the Jewish people, who were slaves of the king of Babylon, regained their liberty, returned to holy Jerusalem, and rebuilt the Temple of the Lord, as the prophets had foretold. Furthermore, I have said that there intervened between the Babylonian Empire which was in the East and the Roman Empire which arose in the West and was nourished by the legacy of the East, the Macedonian and African empires. These empires may be regarded as playing the role of a guardian and trustee for brief intervals in the North and in the South. To my knowledge no one has ever doubted that the Babylonian and the Roman empires are rightly called that of the East and that of the West. That the Macedonian Empire was in the North is obvious both from its geographical position and the altars of Alexander the Great which stand to this day near the Riphaean Mountains. Carthage, on the other hand, ruled over the whole of Africa and extended the boundaries of her empire not only to Sicily, Sardinia, and other adjacent islands but even to Spain, as is shown by the records of history and by the remains of cities. I have also stated that after each city had stood for the same number of years Babylon was sacked by the Medes and Rome stormed by the Goths.

To these arguments, I now add the following proofs to make it clearer that God is the sole ruler of all the ages, kingdoms, and regions. The Carthaginian Empire, from its founding to her overthrow, lasted a little more than seven hundred years; the Macedonian, from Caranus to Perses, a little less than seven hundred. Both, however, came to an end in the number seven, by which all things are decided. Rome herself endured to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with her empire unbroken. Nevertheless she too suffered somewhat when she arrived at that same number.

For in the seven hundredth year after the founding of the City a fire of unknown origin consumed fourteen districts. According to Livy, a worse conflagration never visited Rome. So great were its ravages that some years later Caesar Augustus granted a large sum of money from the public treasury for the reconstruction of the burnt areas. If I were not restrained by a consideration of the present state of affairs, I could also show that Babylon had existed for twice that length of time when, more than fourteen hundred years after her founding, she was finally captured by King Cyrus. I should like, however, to add this. Holy Abraham, to whom the promises were renewed and from whose seed Christ would come, was born in the forty-third year of the reign of Ninus. He was the first of all the Babylonian kings, though there is a doubtful report that his father, Belus, was king before him. Later, Christ was born in the time of Augustus Caesar, who was the first of all the [Roman] emperors though his father Caesar had preceded him, but more as a surveyor of the Empire than as emperor. Toward the close of the forty-second year of his imperial rule, I say, Christ was born, Who had been promised to Abraham in the time of Ninus, the first king. Since, however, He was born on the twenty-fifth of December, when all the increase of the coming year begins, the result is that, whereas Abraham was born in the forty-third year, the nativity of Christ fell at the end of the forty-second, and so, instead of His being born in some part of the third year, the third year was born in Him. The greatness, novelty, and extraordinary character of the blessings in which that year abounded must, I think, surely be well enough known without my repeating them. One peace reigned over the whole earth as a result of the fact that wars had not merely ceased but had been totally abolished. After the causes of war had been wholly removed rather than merely checked, the twin gates of Janus were closed. The first and greatest census was then made. The great nations of the whole world took an oath in the one name of Caesar and were joined into one fellowship through their participation in the census.

3. In the seven hundred and fifty-second year of the City, Christ was born and brought the religion that gives salvation to the world. He is in truth the rock, placed in the center of things. Whosoever strikes against Him shall be dashed to pieces, and whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved. He is in truth the glowing fire which illumines those who follow Him and consumes those who assail Him. He is Christ Himself, the Head of the Christians, the Saviour of the good, the Punisher of the wicked, the Judge of all. He set a pattern in word and in deed for those who were to follow Him and, in order to teach them patience in the persecutions that they would undergo for the sake of eternal life, He began His own sufferings as soon as He was brought into the world by the Virgin's travail. For no sooner had Herod, king of Judea, learned of His birth than he resolved to slay Him and, while he was seeking out this one infant, had a great many infants put to death. Hence we see the wicked suffer a just punishment for their malicious attacks; and hence, when the course of the world is peaceful, it is so because of those who believe, and when the world is vexed and disturbed, it is due to the punishments of blasphemers. Faithful Christians, however, are safe in any event, since at least they have either the assurance of rest in the life to come or the advantage of peace in this life. I shall show this more clearly by the facts themselves, as I relate them in order.

After the Lord Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, had come to earth and had been enrolled in Caesar's census as a Roman citizen, the gates of war were kept closed twelve years, as I have said, in the happy serenity of peace. In the meantime Caesar Augustus sent his grandson Gaius to govern the provinces of Egypt and Syria. As Gaius was passing by the borders of Palestine, on his way from Egypt, he disdained, as Suetonius Tranquillus tells us, to worship at Jerusalem in the Temple of God, which was at that time venerated and much frequented. When he told Augustus about his conduct, the latter had the poor judgment to praise it as wise. Then so dreadful a famine visited the Romans in the forty-eighth year of Caesar's rule that Caesar ordered the gladiatorial bands, all foreigners, and also great numbers of slaves to be expelled from the City. Physicians and teachers were excepted. Thus, when the princeps sinned against the Holy One of God and the people were seized by famine, the greatness of the offense was shown by the nature of the punishment. Let me next quote the words of Cornelius Tacitus: "Janus was opened in the old age of Augustus and remained so until the rule of Vespasian, while new tribes were sought at the ends of the earth, often with gain and sometimes with loss." So much for Cornelius, After the capture and overthrow of Jerusalem, as the prophets had foretold, and after the total destruction of the Jewish nation, Titus, who had been appointed by the decree of God to avenge the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, celebrated with his father Vespasian his victory by a triumph and closed the Temple of Janus. Now, although the Temple of Janus was opened in the last days of Caesar, nevertheless there were no alarms of war for long periods thereafter, even though the army was ready for battle. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself also had these facts in mind in the Gospels; for, when the whole world in those days was enjoying great quiet and all nations were united under the shelter of peace, He was asked by His disciples about the end of the coming times and replied in part as follows:

And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be pestilences, famines, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

Thus He taught in His divine foresight and not only strengthened the faithful by His warning but also confounded the unbelieving by His prediction.

4. In the seven hundred and sixty-seventh year of the City, after the death of Augustus Caesar, Tiberius Caesar assumed the sovereignty and held it for twenty-three years. He waged no wars in person nor did his commanders wage any important wars, except that uprisings of peoples in some localities were anticipated and quickly crushed. To be sure, in the fourth year of his reign, Germanicus, the son of Drusus and father of Caligula, celebrated a triumph over the Germans, against whom he had been sent by Augustus in the latter's old age. Tiberius himself, however, during the greater part of his reign administered the affairs of the state with so deep a sense of responsibility and so great moderation that he wrote to some governors who had advised an increase in the tribute levied upon the provinces to the effect that "it is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his flock and not to flay them."

When the Lord Christ had suffered and risen from the dead and had sent forth His disciples to preach, Pilate, the governor of the province of Palestine, made a report to the emperor Tiberius and to the Senate concerning the passion and resurrection of Christ, and also the subsequent miracles that had been publicly performed by Him or were being done by His disciples in His name. Pilate also stated that a rapidly increasing multitude believed Him to be a god. When Tiberius, amid great approval, proposed to the Senate that Christ should be considered a god, the Senate became indignant because the matter had not been referred to it earlier in accordance with the usual custom, so that it might be the first to pass upon the recognition of a new cult. The Senate therefore refused to deify Christ and issued an edict that the Christians should be banished from the City. There was also the special reason that Sejanus, the prefect of Tiberius, was inflexibly opposed to the recognition of this religion. Nevertheless in an edict Tiberius threatened denouncers of Christians with death.

Now it came about that the emperor little by little abandoned his most praiseworthy policy of moderation in order to take revenge upon the Senate for its opposition; for he took pleasure in doing whatever he wished and from the mildest of princes he became the most savage of wild beasts. He proscribed a great army of senators and drove them to death. Of the twenty noblemen whom he had selected as his counselors, he left scarcely two unharmed and destroyed the others on various pretexts. He put to death his prefect Sejanus who was trying to stir up a revolution. There were clear indications that he poisoned both Drusus, his son by birth, and Ger-manicus, his son by adoption. He also killed his grandchildren, the sons of Germanicus. To recite his deeds one by one would be too horrible and scandalous. Suffice it to say that his lust and cruel rage grew so violent that those who had scorned to be saved under the rule of Christ were punished under the rule of Caesar.

In the twelfth year of Tiberius, a strange and unbelievable disaster occurred at the city of Fidenae. While the people were watching a gladiatorial performance, the seats of the amphitheater collapsed and killed more than twenty thousand persons. In truth, the ages to come may well heed the lesson of this great catastrophe that befell those who had so eagerly assembled to witness the death of their fellow men. And this at the very time when God had been pleased to become man for the sake of securing man's salvation!

In the seventeenth year of this emperor, the Lord Jesus Christ of His own free will submitted to His passion. Nevertheless, it was through their own impiety that the Jews arrested Him and nailed Him to the cross. At that time a very severe earthquake shook the whole world. The rocks upon the mountains were rent, and many sections of the largest cities were overthrown by its unusual violence. On that day, too, at the sixth hour, the sun was also entirely obscured and a hideous darkness suddenly overshadowed the earth; in the words of the poet,

a godless age feared eternal night.  [Vergil, Georgics, i. 468]

It is, however, perfectly plain that the sun's light was not cut off either by the moon or by clouds. For we are told that the moon, being fourteen days old at the time, was in the opposite quarter of the heavens, farthest from the sun, and that the stars were shining throughout the entire sky at that hour of the daytime or rather in that awful night. These facts are attested not only by the authority of the Holy Gospels but also by several books of the Greeks.

From the time of the passion of our Lord to this day, the Jews, who had persecuted Him to the extent of their power, have complained incessantly of an unbroken succession of disasters, until finally their nation, drained of its lifeblood and scattered abroad, disappeared from history. For Tiberius dispatched the youth of the Jewish nation to provinces having an unhealthful climate, using their military obligation as a pretext. He also forced the remainder of the Jews, as well as those who practiced similar rites, to leave Rome, threatening to make them slaves for life if they failed to obey. When the earthquake mentioned above demolished many cities of Asia, he remitted their tribute and made a donation to them from his own purse as well. The circumstances of the death of Tiberius led to suspicions that he had been poisoned.

5. In the seven hundred and ninetieth year of the City, Gaius Caligula, the third emperor counting from Augustus, began his reign. He ruled barely four years. He was more wicked than all his predecessors and seemed well worthy to be an instrument of vengeance upon the blaspheming Romans and the persecuting Jews. Let me show in a word the extent of his savagery by quoting the exclamation that is attributed to him: "Would that the Roman people had but a single neck!"  Furthermore, he often complained bitterly about the state of his times because they had been marked by no public disasters.

O, blessed beginnings of Christianity! So great was your power over the affairs of men that even the cruelty of man could only wish for disaster without finding them. See how hungry savagery loudly complains of the general peace:

Within, impious rage,
Sitting on savage arms, his hands
Bound behind his back with a hundred brazen knots,
Will send forth horrible roars from bloody lips.  [Vergil, Aen. i. 294-6]

Up to this time mutinous slaves and runaway gladiators terrified Rome, overturned Italy, ruined Sicily, and were dreaded by mankind throughout almost the whole world. But in the days of salvation, that is, in Christian times, not even a hostile Caesar could break the peace. Caligula, after making almost incredible preparations, set out to find an enemy in order to give his idle troops an opportunity to fight. Traversing Germany and Gaul he stopped on the seacoast opposite Britain. There he received the submission of Minocynobelinus who had been banished by his father, the king of the Britons, and who was now wandering about accompanied by a few followers. Lacking a ground for war, Caligula returned to Rome.

At this time the Jews, already harassed by misfortunes everywhere as a retribution for Christ's passion, were crushed in a riot that had broken out in Alexandria. They were driven from the city. Thereupon they commissioned a certain Philo, unquestionably a scholar of the first rank, to go as their representative to the emperor and set forth their grievances. But Caligula, who hated mankind in general, particularly detested the Jews. He therefore treated Philo's mission with contempt and commanded that all the holy places of the Jews, and especially that famous ancient sanctuary in Jerusalem, should be profaned with heathen sacrifices and filled with statues and images. He also gave orders that he himself should be worshipped there as a god. When Pilate, the governor who had pronounced the death sentence upon Christ and who had been the instigator as well as the object of many riots in Jerusalem, received this order, he was so tormented that he stabbed himself with his own hand and so quickly put an end to his miseries.

In addition to his other acts of lust, Gaius Caligula committed the crime of violating his own sisters. He then condemned them to exile and later ordered their execution and that of all other exiles. He himself, however, was murdered by his bodyguard. Among his private papers there were found two notebooks. One of these he had entitled The Dagger, the other, The Sword. Each contained the names of the most distinguished men of the two orders, senatorial and equestrian, together with marks indicating those who were to be killed. A huge chest of various poisons was also found. Claudius Caesar soon afterward ordered these poisons to be thrown into the sea, whereupon the waters became polluted and killed great numbers of fish, whose dead bodies were cast up by the waves along all the neighboring shores.

A really strong evidence of God's mercy may be seen in his manifestation of grace toward a people of whom only part were destined to become believers, and from the tempering of His wrath against them at that time when they persisted in their unbelief. How great a multitude of human beings escaped the death that had been prepared for them may be surmised and was indeed clear to all from the numbers of fish that had been poisoned. What havoc so great an amount of poison might have caused in the unfortunate city, if it had been skillfully used, is evident, since even its careless disposal polluted the sea.

6. During the seven hundred and ninety-fifth year of the City, Tiberius Claudius, the fourth in succession from Augustus, came to the throne. He occupied it for fourteen years.In the beginning of his reign, Peter, the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, came to Rome. There he taught by the true word the religion that brings salvation to all believers and attested it by mighty miracles. From that time on there began to be Christians in Rome. The City felt that this favor had been bestowed on her because of her faith. After the murder of Caligula, the Senate and the consuls passed many resolutions with a view to abolishing the empire, restoring the commonwealth to its former status, and wiping out completely the entire family of the Caesars. Soon after establishing his rule, Claudius exercised a clemency previously unknown in Rome. To prevent vengeance from venting its rage, if it should get a start, upon so many of the nobility, he consigned to oblivion the memory of those two days during which those unhappy measures and acts had been passed regarding the form of government, and decreed that all that had been done or said during that period should be pardoned and forever forgotten. This was that renowned and glorious Athenian amnesty, which the Senate, on the advice of Cicero, had tried to introduce at Rome after the death of Julius Caesar, but which at that time had come to naught because of the onslaughts made by Antony and Octavian in their efforts to avenge Caesar's murder. Yet Claudius, without being asked by anyone, assented because of his humanity, though he had serious provocation to execute those who had conspired against him.

Now at this time by the grace of God a great miracle occurred. Furius Camillus Scribonianus, the governor of Dalmatia, had been plotting a civil war and had persuaded many of the strongest legions to break their allegiance. But on the day appointed for their assembling at the side of the new emperor, they found it impossible either to adorn the eagles or to pull up and move the standards. This unique miracle so impressed the soldiers that they gave up their plan, abandoned Scribonianus, killed him four days later, and returned to their former allegiance. Now it is well known that nothing has ever brought more sorrow and destruction upon Rome than civil wars. Of a certainty God repressed this rising tyranny and threatening civil war on account of the coming of the apostle Peter and for the sake of the few Christians, who, like tender shoots springing up here and there, were just beginning to profess the holy faith. If anyone would deny this fact, let him produce a similar instance of the suppression of civil war in past ages.

In the fourth year of his reign Claudius looked about everywhere for an opportunity to engage in a successful war, for he wanted to appear as a prince who was of some service to the state. Accordingly he undertook a campaign in Britain, which was in the throes of an insurrection. This insurrection had apparently arisen because certain deserters had been barred from returning home. He crossed over to the island, which no one before had ventured to approach except Julius Caesar. There, to quote the words of Suetonius Tranquillus, "within a very few days he reduced the greater part of the island to submission without fighting or bloodshed."  He also added to the Roman Empire the Orcades Islands situated in the Ocean beyond Britain and within six months of the date of his departure he returned to Rome.

Any person of the present day who pleases may make comparisons in regard to this one island, period with period, war with war, Caesar with Caesar. I say nothing of the outcome, since in this case it was the most fortunate of victories, previously the bitterest of disasters. Thus Rome may finally come to see that the God through Whose Providence she formerly enjoyed partial success in her undertakings is the God through Whose recognition she now enjoys success in all its fullness to the extent that she does not become corrupted through the stumbling block of her blasphemies.

In the same year of this emperor's reign, as the prophets had foretold, there was a terrible famine throughout Syria. The needs of the Christians at Jerusalem, however, were bountifully supplied with grain that Helena, the queen of Adiabeni and a convert to the faith of Christ, had imported from Egypt.

In the fifth year of the reign of Claudius, an island, extending over a space of thirty stadia, suddenly appeared out of the deep sea between Thera and Therasia.

Two years later, when Cumanus was procurator of Judaea, an insurrection broke out in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover. So great was this riot that the people were crushed while stampeding through the gates. Thirty thousand Jews are said to have been trampled to death or suffocated in the congestion.

In the ninth year of his reign, Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome. Both Josephus and Suetonius record this event, but I prefer, however, the account of the latter, who speaks as follows: "Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because in their resentment against Christ they were continually creating disturbances."  As a matter of fact, however, no one can say whether the emperor ordered the Jews to be restrained and repressed because they were creating disturbances against Christ or whether he wished the Christians to be expelled at the same time on the ground that they were members of an allied religion.

Nevertheless, during the following year there was so great a famine in Rome that the emperor was taunted and insulted by the people in the middle of the Forum and shamefully pelted with pieces of bread. He barely managed to escape the fury of the excited mob by fleeing through a private entrance into the Palace.

Not long afterward, Claudius, acting upon the flimsiest pretext, put to death thirty-five senators and three hundred Roman knights at one time. In the matter of his own death, however, there were clear indications that he had been poisoned.

7. In the eight hundred and eighth year of the City, Nero Caesar, the fifth in succession from Augustus, became princeps. He held the office for almost fourteen years." In every vice and crime he followed his uncle, Gaius Caligula, and indeed he even surpassed him. There was no form of wickedness that he did not practice—wantonness, lust, extravagance, avarice, and cruelty. In the first place, his wantonness led him to visit nearly all the theatres of Italy and Greece, where he disgraced himself by wearing motley attire. Indeed he often imagined that he carried away the palm symbolizing victory from heralds, musicians, actors, and charioteers. Then the violence of his lusts became so great that he is said to have respected neither his mother's nor his sister's honour nor any blood relationship. Also he took a man to wife and was himself received as a wife by a man. His extravagance was so unbridled that he fished with nets of gold, which were drawn up by cords of purple, and he bathed in hot and cold perfumed waters. It is even said that he never travelled with less than a thousand carriages. He caused Rome to be burned in order to enjoy the spectacle and for six days and seven nights feasted his eyes on the blazing city. The warehouses, built of square stone, and the huge tenements of a bygone day, which the spreading flames could not reach, were demolished by great machines originally designed for use in foreign wars, and these buildings were then set on fire. The unfortunate plebeians were driven for shelter to monuments and tombs. The emperor himself viewed the conflagration from the lofty Tower of Maecenas. And while enjoying the beauty of the flames, it is said that he declaimed the Iliad in a tragedian's costume. The avarice of Nero was likewise so uncontrolled that, after the burning of the City, which Augustus, according to his boast, had changed from brick into marble, he would not allow anyone to approach the remains of his own property, but himself seized everything that had by any chance escaped the flames. He also ordered the Senate to appropriate ten million sesterces a year for his expenses. He deprived a great many senators of their property without cause, and in one day wiped out the entire wealth of all the merchants and inflicted torture upon them as well. His insane cruelty made him so savage that he killed the greater part of the Senate and almost annihilated the equestrian order. He did not even refrain from murdering members of his own family and without scruple destroyed his mother, brother, sister, wife, and all the rest of his blood relations and kinsmen.

All this mass of crime was crowned by Nero's daring impiety toward God. He was the first emperor to torture and put to death Christians at Rome and he ordered them to be harassed by a like persecution throughout all the provinces. In his attempt to root out their very name, he put to death Peter and Paul, the most blessed apostles of Christ, one by the cross and the other by the sword. Soon wretched Rome was engulfed by disasters pressing in upon her from every side. The following autumn so great a plague visited the City that thirty thousand funerals were entered in the register of the goddess Libitina. Britain at once suffered a disaster. Two of the principal towns were sacked and a great number of Roman citizens and their allies were slaughtered and destroyed.In the East, moreover, the important Armenian provinces were lost. Roman legions were forced to pass beneath the Parthian yoke, and Syria was retained only with great difficulty. In Asia an earthquake destroyed three cities, Laodicia, Hierapolis, and Colossae. In the meantime, Nero learned that the army in Spain had proclaimed Galba emperor. His courage and his hope utterly collapsed. In the midst of his wicked and unbelievable attempts to ruin and even to destroy the state, the Senate declared him a public enemy. He ignominiously fled and killed himself four miles from the City. With Nero the entire family of the Caesars became extinct.

8. In the eight hundred and twenty-fourth year of the City, Galba assumed the imperial title in Spain. As soon as he learned of Nero's death, he came to Rome. Here he offended everyone by his avarice, cruelty, and indolence. He adopted as his son and successor Piso, a highborn and industrious young man, but both were slain by Otho after a reign of seven months.

Thus Rome atoned for the wrongs done to the Christian religion through the slaughter of her rulers and the breaking out of civil war. When the apostle Peter came to the City, the legionary standards, you will recall, were held fast by the will of Heaven and could not be pulled up by any means whatsoever to set in motion the civil war which Scribonianus had planned. But after Peter had been killed in the City and the Christians had been mangled by every sort of punishment the standards were loosened from the ground throughout the world. Galba now raised the standard of revolt in Spain. Upon his downfall, Otho in Rome, Vitellius in Germany, and Vespasian in Syria, all assumed the imperial title and took up arms at the same time. Here truth compels those who decry the Christian era to acknowledge, even against their own will, both the power and the mercy of God. Let them but consider how suddenly the fires of war flared up and how swiftly they were quenched. Formerly slight causes stirred up great and long lasting disasters. Now the mighty peals of thunder resounding on all sides from great evils are stilled with but slight difficulty. For in spite of persecution, the Church already existed at Rome; and from there she made supplications to Christ, the Judge of all, even in behalf of her enemies and persecutors.

Otho made his way to the throne amid rioting and bloodshed after the murder of Galba and Piso at Rome. He began a civil war as soon as he learned that the legions of Germany had proclaimed as emperor Vitellius, who was in Gaul. At first Otho won three unimportant victories over the generals of Vitellius, one in the Alps, another near Placentia, and the third near a place called Castores. But when he saw in a fourth battle fought at Bedriacum  that his troops were being worsted, he took his own life. This occurred three months after he had begun his reign.

Vitellius, the victor, came to Rome. There, after much cruelty and vileness, he brought disgrace upon humanity by his unbelievable gluttony. As soon as he learned what Vespasian was doing, he tried to abdicate. Later, encouraged by certain persons, he forced the partisans of Vespasian, including the latter's brother Sabrinus, who had not suspected any trouble, to take refuge in the Capitol. He set the temple on fire and let the flames and falling walls together envelop all in a common death and a common tomb. Later he was abandoned by his army, which went over to the cause of Vespasian. In his fright at the enemy's approach, he hid himself in a small storeroom near the Palace. From this hiding place he was ignominiously dragged forth and, naked as he was, led along the Sacred Way to the Forum, while the bystanders pelted his face with dung. Eight months after he had usurped the throne, he was tortured to death at the Germonian Steps by countless tiny pricks and stabs. He was then dragged away with a hook and flung into the Tiber without even receiving the usual privilege of burial. For a number of days thereafter, amid scenes of general lawlessness, the soldiers of Vespasian vented their fury upon the Senate and people of Rome by an indiscriminate massacre.

9. During the eight hundred and twenty-fifth year of the City, after the passing of violent but brief storms in the form of illegal attempts to seize the throne, peace and calm returned under the rule of Vespasian. To go back a little in my story, the Jews, who after Christ's passion first were utterly forsaken by the grace of God and then beset on all sides by every kind of misfortune, were led astray by certain oracular responses given on Mount Carmel. These foretold that leaders would come out of Judaea and seize control of the government. Applying this prediction to themselves, the Jews broke out in rebellion. They massacred the Roman garrisons, put to flight the governor of Syria when he came with reinforcements, captured his standard, and cut his forces to pieces.

Vespasian, whom Nero sent against them, took his elder son Titus with him as one of his lieutenants. He also brought with him to Syria a number of strong legions. After taking many of the towns, he blockaded the Jews in Jerusalem, where they had gathered in large numbers because it was a feast day. On learning of Nero's death, he declared himself emperor. He was strongly urged to take this step by numerous kings and generals but most of all by the words of Joseph, a leader of the Jews. This man, when made prisoner and put in chains, had most confidently declared, as Suetonius tells us,that he would be released directly by the same person who had imprisoned him, but that that person would be the emperor. Vespasian, leaving his son Titus in camp to manage the siege of Jerusalem, set out for Rome by way of Alexandria. But when he heard that Vitellius had been killed, he stopped at Alexandria for a short time.

Titus, on his part, wore down the Jews by a long close siege. He finally made a breach in the city walls by using engines and all kinds of military apparatus, though not without the loss of many of his men. But it took more strength and a much longer time to capture the inner fortification of the Temple. A number of the priests and chief men had shut themselves up there and were maintaining its defense. When Titus had finally gained control of it, the construction and antiquity of the Temple aroused his admiration. He was for some time undecided whether he should burn it since its survival would encourage the enemy or whether he should preserve it as a memorial of his victory. But now that the Church of God had already blossomed forth richly throughout the world, it was His will that this building should be removed as an empty shell that had outlasted its usefulness. Therefore, Titus, after being acclaimed imperator by the army, set on fire and destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem, which, from the day of its founding to its final overthrow, had endured for 1102 years. All the walls of the city were leveled to the ground. According to Cornelius and Suetonius, six hundred thousand Jews were killed in this war. But Joseph the Jew, who was in command of the war at that time and who later found pardon and favor with Vespasian by predicting his accession, writes that eleven hundred thousand perished by the sword and by famine and that the remainder of the Jews were driven off in various conditions of misfortune and scattered throughout the world. These are said to have numbered about ninety thousand.

The emperors Vespasian and Titus celebrated their victory over the Jews by a magnificent triumphal entry into Rome. Of all the three hundred and twenty triumphs that had been held from the founding of the City until that time, so fair and strange a sight had not been seen by man—father and son riding in the same triumphal chariot after their glorious victory over those who had offended the Father and the Son. Now that all wars and uprisings had been put down at home and abroad, these emperors without delay proclaimed universal peace and decreed that double-faced Janus should be confined by the barring of his gates. This was the sixth time that this had occurred since the founding of the City. It was indeed right that the same honour should be paid to the avenging of the Lord's Passion as had been bestowed upon His Nativity. The Roman state then made great progress without suffering any of the tumults of war. Achaia, Lycia, Rhodes, Byzantium, Samos, Thrace, Cilicia, and Commagene were for the first time reduced to provinces and obeyed the judges and the laws of Rome.

In the ninth year of this emperor's reign, an earthquake destroyed three cities of Cyprus and at Rome there was a great plague. Vespasian died of dysentery at his country place among the Sabines in the ninth year of his principate.

In the eight hundred and twenty-eighth year of the City, Titus, eighth in the succession from Augustus if we exclude Otho and Vitellius from the list of emperors, succeeded Vespasian. He reigned for two years. His reign was so quiet that it is said that he did not shed the blood of a single person during his administration of the government. At this time, however, a conflagration suddenly broke out at Rome and consumed a great number of public buildings. It is also related that the top of Mount Bebius blew off and poured forth masses of molten lava and that these torrents of fire destroyed the surrounding country with its cities and their inhabitants. Titus succumbed to disease in the same country estate where his father had died. He was deeply mourned by all.

10. In the eight hundred and thirtieth year of the City, Domitian, the ninth in succession from Augustus, succeeded his brother Titus on the throne. For fifteen years this ruler progressed through every degree of wickedness. Finally he dared to issue edicts for a general and most cruel persecution to uproot the Christian Church, which was now very firmly established throughout the world. He even fell into such a state of pride that he ordered the people to speak, to write of, and to worship him as Lord and God. Moved by envy and greed, he put to death the noblest men of the Senate; some he killed publicly, others he forced into exile and there butchered them. Whatever uncontrolled lust suggested to him he did. In Rome he erected many buildings upon the ruins of the people's property. Equally harmful to the state was the war which his legates waged against the Germans and the Dacians. While the Domitian himself at the Capitol was a scourge to the Senate and to the people, his enemies abroad were continually cutting to pieces his badly led armies. I should like to tell in detail of the great battles fought by the Dacian king Diurpaneus against the general Fuscus, as well as of the extent of the Roman losses. But Cornelius Tacitus, who wrote an exhaustive history of these events, has declared that Sallustius Crispus  and very many other authors established the practice of keeping silence about the numbers of the slain, and that he himself preferred to do likewise.

Domitian, however, who was puffed up by the lowest form of vanity, held a triumph. Nominally this triumph celebrated his victory over the enemy, but in reality it celebrated the loss of his legions. Crazed by his pride, which made him want to be worshipped as a god, he was the first emperor after Nero to order a persecution of the Christians. Also in these days the most blessed apostle John was banished to the island of Patmos. The Jews, too, were subjected to cruel tortures and to the bloodiest of inquisitions for the purpose of searching out and destroying the race of David. The emperor did this because he both hated and yet believed the holy prophets, and thought that One was still to come from the seed of David who would ascend the throne. Domitian soon was cruelly assassinated in his palace by members of his own household. The public corpse bearers carried out his body on a common bier and buried it most dishonorably.

11. In the eight hundred and forty-sixth year of the City— although Eutropius says that it was the eight hundred and fiftieth —Nerva was proclaimed emperor. He was a man advanced in years and was named emperor by the praetorian prefect Petronius and the eunuch Parthenius, the latter the murderer of Domitian. Nerva was the tenth emperor in succession from Augustus. He adopted Trajan as his own successor, revealing by this choice that a divinely inspired foresight had guided him in taking care of the sorely afflicted state. In his first edict, Nerva recalled all the exiles. This general pardon freed the apostle John who then returned to Ephesus. After a reign of one year Nerva succumbed to a disease and died.

12. In the eight hundred and forty-seventh year of the City, Trajan, a Spaniard by birth, and the eleventh emperor in succession from Augustus, took the helm of state from Nerva. He held it for nineteen years. Trajan assumed the emblems of the imperial office at Agrippina, a city in Gaul. He at once restored Germany beyond the Rhine; he subdued many tribes beyond the Danube; he formed provinces of the districts beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris; and he took possession of Seleucia, Ctesiphon, and Babylon. Trajan erred in judgment, however, in his persecution of the Christians, the third persecution from that of Nero. He ordered that Christians should be compelled, wherever found, to sacrifice to idols or be put to death if they refused. Great numbers of them were executed.

Pliny the Younger, who had been appointed persecutor with other judges, reported that the Christians were doing nothing contrary to the Roman laws apart from their profession of belief in Christ and their inoffensive meetings. Moreover, he said that none of them, sustained by their harmless belief, thought death a matter of grief or of dread. Upon receiving this information, the emperor at once modified his edict by rescripts couched in milder terms. Nevertheless the Golden House at Rome, which Nero had built with a great outlay of both private and public wealth, was suddenly burned to the ground. Thus it was made plain that, though the persecution was set in motion by another, the punishment fell most heavily upon the buildings of that man who first began the persecution and who was the real author of it.

At the same time an earthquake laid low four cities in Asia, Elaea, Myrina, Pitane, and Cyme, and in Greece, the two cities of the Opuntii and the Oriti. This same earthquake demolished three cities of Galatia. Lightning struck and burned the Pantheon at Rome, while at Antioch an earthquake laid almost the entire city in ruins. Then violent rebellions among the Jews broke out simultaneously in various parts of the world. The Jews acted as if turned into mad savages. Throughout Libya they waged pitiless war against the inhabitants and caused great desolation by killing the tillers of the soil. So merciless were they that if the emperor Hadrian had not afterward colonized the country with people from without, the land would have remained absolutely destitute and entirely without inhabitants. They disturbed all Egypt, Cyrene, and the Thebaid by sedition and bloodshed. In Alexandria, however, the Jews were defeated and crushed in a pitched battle. When they also rebelled in Mesopotamia, the emperor ordered war to be declared against them; many thousands of them were exterminated in a vast carnage. It is true that they did destroy Salamis, a city of Cyprus, after they had killed all the inhabitants. Trajan, according to some authors, died of dysentery at Seleucia, a city of Isauria.

13. In the eight hundred and sixty-seventh year of the City, Hadrian, the nephew of Trajan on his mother's side, became the twelfth emperor in succession from Augustus. He ruled for twenty-one years. Hadrian underwent instruction and came to know thoroughly the doctrines of the Christian faith through treatises written by Quadratus, a disciple of the Apostles, by Aristides  of Athens, a man full of faith and wisdom, and by Serenus Granius, the legate. He therefore gave orders in a letter to Minicius Fundanus, the proconsul of Asia, that no one should have authority to condemn the Christians without allegation and proof of a crime. In violation of a precedent, Hadrian soon received in the Senate the title Father of His Country and his wife the title Augusta. He governed the state very justly and conducted a successful war against the Sauromatae. In one final massacre he subdued the Jews who, excited by the disorders caused by their own crimes, were ravaging the province of Palestine, which had once been their own. In this way he avenged the Christians, whom the Jews, under the leadership of Cochebas, were torturing because they would not join them against the Romans. The emperor gave orders that no Jew should be permitted to enter Jerusalem and that only Christians should be permitted to occupy the city. He restored it to great prosperity by rebuilding the walls and named it Aelia, from his own first name.

14. In the eight hundred and eighty-eighth year of the City, Antoninus, surnamed Pius, was proclaimed the thirteenth emperor in succession from Augustus. Jointly with his sons Aurelius and Lucius, he governed the state for almost twenty-three years. So peaceful and so upright was his rule that he was well named the "Pius" and the "Father of His Country." It was in his time that Valentinus, the heresiarch, and Cerdo, the teacher of Marcion, came to Rome. The philosopher Justin, however, submitted to Antoninus his book in defense of the Christian religion and so disposed the emperor kindly toward the Christians. Antoninus was attacked by disease and died at a place twelve miles from the capital.

15. During the nine hundred and eleventh year of the City, Marcus Antoninus Verus, the fourteenth emperor in succession from Augustus, came to the throne with his brother Aurelius Commodus. They occupied it jointly for nineteen years and were the first to govern the state on terms of equal authority. They waged war against the Parthians with admirable bravery and success. Vologesus (III), the king of the Parthians, had invaded Armenia, Cappadocia, and Syria, and was causing frightful devastation. Annius Antoninus Verus proceeded to the battle front and there, after performing great exploits with the aid of his energetic generals, captured Seleucia, an Assyrian city of four hundred thousand inhabitants situated on the Hydaspes River. He and his brother celebrated the victory over the Parthians by a joint triumph. Shortly afterward, while sitting with his brother in a carriage, Verus choked to death during an attack of a disease that the Greeks call apoplexy.

Upon the demise of Verus, Marcus Antoninus became sole ruler of the state. During the Parthian War, however, persecutions of the Christians arose for the fourth time since Nero's reign. These persecutions were carried on by the emperor's order with great severity in Asia and in Gaul, and many of the saints received the crown of martyrdom. A plague now spread over many provinces, and a great pestilence devastated all Italy. Everywhere country houses, fields, and towns were left without a tiller of the land or an inhabitant, and nothing remained but ruins and forests. It is said that the Roman troops and all the legions stationed far and near in winter quarters were so depleted that the war against the Marcomanni, which broke out immediately, could not be carried on without a new levy of soldiers. At Carnuntium,Marcus Antoninus held the levy continuously for three years.

This war was undoubtedly directed by the Providence of God, as is clearly shown by many proofs and especially by a letter of that very grave and judicious emperor, Antoninus. Numerous barbarous and savage tribes, that is to say, the Marcomanni, the Quadi, the Vandals, the Sarmatians, the Suebi, in fact the tribes from nearly all of Germany, rose in rebellion. The Roman army advanced as far as the territories of the Quadi. There the enemy surrounded it; but on account of the scarcity of water the army was in more immediate danger from thirst than from the enemy. Publicly calling upon the name of Christ, certain of the soldiers with great constancy of faith poured forth their souls in prayer. Immediately there came so heavy a shower that the Romans were abundantly refreshed without suffering harm. The barbarians, however, became terrified by the incessant bolts of lightning, particularly after the lightning had killed many of them, and they took to their heels. Attacking from the rear, the Romans slaughtered them to the last man and thus won a most glorious victory. With a small band of raw recruits but with the all-powerful aid of Christ, they had outdone nearly all the achievements of the past. Several authors also state that a letter of the emperor Antoninus still exists in which he acknowledges that the thirst of the army was relieved and the victory won because the Christian soldiers had invoked the name of Christ.

This emperor associated his son Commodus with him in the government. He remitted the arrears of tribute in all the provinces and ordered all the accusing evidence of indebtedness to the treasury to be piled up and burned in the Forum. He also modified the severer laws by new enactments. Finally, while staying in Pannonia, he died of a sudden illness.

16. In the nine hundred and thirtieth year of the City, Lucius Antoninus Commodus, the fifteenth in succession from Augustus, succeeded his father on the throne. During his reign of thirteen years, he conducted a successful war against the Germans. However, he became thoroughly depraved as a result of scandalous excesses and obscenities; frequently he fenced in public exhibitions with the weapons of gladiators, and often he encountered wild beasts in the arena. He also put to death a great many of the senators, especially those who, he noticed, were most prominent by reason of birth and ability. The punishment for his crimes was visited upon the City; lightning struck the Capitol and started a fire which, in its devouring course, burned the library that the fathers had founded in their enthusiasm for learning, and also other buildings adjoining it. Another fire, breaking out later in Rome, leveled to the ground the Temple of Vesta, the Palace, and a large part of the city. Adjudged when alive an enemy of the human race, Commodus, who incommodedeveryone, was strangled to death, so it is said, in the house of Vestilianus.

After Commodus, the Senate proclaimed the elderly Helvius Pertinax emperor. He was the sixteenth ruler in succession from Augustus. Six months after his accession  he was slain in the Palace at the instigation of the jurist Julianus. The latter thereupon seized the imperium; but in the course of a civil war he was soon defeated by Severus at the Mulvian Bridge and killed seven months after he had begun to rule. Thus Pertinax and Julianus between them occupied the throne for only one year.

17. In the nine hundred and forty-fourth year of the City, Severus, an African from the town of Leptis in Tripolis, gained the vacant throne. He wished to be called Pertinax after the emperor whose murder he had avenged. He was the seventeenth emperor in succession from Augustus and held the throne for eighteen years. A cruel man by nature, he was continually harassed by wars, and he had to struggle hard to maintain his strong rule. At Cyzicus  he defeated and killed Pescennius Niger, who had set himself up as a usurper in Egypt and Syria. When the Jews and the Samaritans tried to rebel, he put them down with the sword. He conquered the Parthians, the Arabians, and the Adiabeni. He harassed the Christians by a severe persecution, the fifth since Nero's reign, and in various provinces many of the saints received the crown of martyrdom. Immediate vengeance from Heaven followed this wicked and presumptuous action of Severus against the Christians and the Church of God. Straightway the emperor was compelled to hasten, or rather was brought back, from Syria to Gaul for a third civil war. He had already fought one war at Rome against Julianus, and another in Syria against Pescennius, and now a third was stirred up by Clodius Albinus, who had made himself Caesar in Gaul.Albinus had been an accomplice of Julianus in the murder of Pertinax. In this war much Roman blood was shed on both sides. Albinus was overthrown at Lugdunum and lost his life. The victorious Severus was drawn to the British provinces by the revolt of almost all of his allies. Having recovered part of the island after a number of stubbornly contested battles, he determined to shut if off by a wall from the other tribes that remained unsubdued. He therefore constructed a large ditch and a very strong rampart extending from sea to sea, a distance of one hundred and thirty-two miles. These works he fortified at frequent intervals by towers. Severus died of a disease at the town of York in Britain. Two sons survived him, Bassianus and Geta. Bassianus, who assumed the name of Antoninus, took possession of the throne.

18. In the nine hundred and sixty-second year of the City, Aurelius Antoninus Bassianus, also known as Caracalla, the eighteenth emperor in succession from Augustus, obtained the principate. He held it for almost seven years. In his way of life Caracalla was harsher than his father, and the most uncontrollable of men in his lust, as is evident from his marriage to his stepmother Julia. In the course of a difficult campaign against the Parthians, he was surrounded by the enemy between Edessa and Carrhae and killed.

Following him as the nineteenth emperor in succession from Augustus, Opelius Macrinus, the praetorian prefect, seized the supreme power with the aid of his son Diadumenus. He was slain, however, a year later in a mutiny of the soldiers at Archelais.

In the nine hundred and seventieth year of the City, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the twentieth emperor in succession from Augustus, obtained the supreme power. He held it for four years. This emperor, who was priest of the Temple of Heliogabalus, was remembered for nothing but his notorious profligacy, crimes, and utter vileness. He and his mother were killed at Rome during an uprising of the soldiery.

In the nine hundred and seventy-fourth year of the City, Aurelius Alexander, the twenty-first emperor in succession from Augustus, was proclaimed emperor by the will of the Senate and the soldiers. For thirteen years he ruled with a deserved reputation for fair dealing; incidentally his mother, Mamea, who was Christian, made it her concern to receive instruction from the presbyter Origen. Immediately after his accession Alexander undertook a campaign against the Persians and in a great battle won a decisive victory over Xerxes, their king. He employed Ulpian as his legal adviser and showed the greatest self-restraint in his administration of the state. He was nevertheless killed in a mutiny of the soldiers at Mainz.

19. In the nine hundred and eighty-seventh year of the City, Maximinus, twenty-second in line from Augustus, became emperor. He was elected not by the will of the Senate but by the army, after he had waged war successfully against the Germans. He instituted a persecution against the Christians, the sixth since the time of Nero. But soon, that is, in the third year of his reign, he was killed by Pupienus at Aquileia. His death also brought the persecution to an end. His chief reason for instituting a persecution against the priests and clergy, that is, against the doctors, was the fact that his predecessor, Alexander, and the family of the latter's mother, Mamea, were Christians; another very important motive was his dislike of the presbyter Origen.

In the nine hundred and ninety-first year of the City, Gordian, the twenty-third emperor in succession from Augustus, was proclaimed emperor. He reigned for six years. Pupienus, the slayer of Maximinus, and his brother Balbinus, who with him had usurped the supreme power, were shortly afterward murdered in the Palace. According to Eutropius,Gordian, still a mere boy, opened the gates of Janus before setting out for the Parthian War in the East. I do not remember that any writer has stated whether anyone, after the time of Vespasian and Titus, closed them. Cornelius Tacitus, however, does report that they were opened a year later by Vespasian himself. After winning mighty battles against the Parthians, Gordian was treacherously killed by his own men, not far from Circessus on the Euphrates.

20. In the nine hundred and ninety-seventh year of the City, Philip, the twenty-fourth emperor in succession from Augustus, was proclaimed emperor and shared his throne with his son Philip. He occupied it for seven years, the first of all the emperors who was a Christian. The third year of his reign was the occasion of the thousandth anniversary of the founding of Rome. This anniversary year, more memorable than any that had gone before, the Christian emperor celebrated with magnificent games. There is no doubt that Philip gave this devout thanksgiving and honour to Christ and to the Church, since no author mentions any procession up to the Capitol nor any sacrifice of victims according to the usual custom. The father and the son died in different places, one in the course of a mutiny of the soldiers, the other as a result of the treachery of Decius.

21. In the one thousand and fourth year of the City, Decius, who had instigated and quelled a civil war, after the murder of the two Philips seized the supreme power as the twenty-fifth emperor in succession from Augustus. He held it for three years. His motives for murdering Philip soon became obvious when he published merciless edicts authorizing the persecution and slaughter of Christians. He sent a great many of the saints from their crosses to receive their crowns from Christ. This was the seventh persecution since the time of Nero. This emperor appointed his own son Caesar. Both were not long after killed in the midst of the barbarians.

In the one thousand and seventh year of the City, Gallus Hostilianus, the twenty-sixth emperor in succession from Augustus, came to the throne. He and his son Volusianus together occupied it barely two years. A plague, which brought in its train unbelievable diseases and extended to all the regions where the edicts of Decius for the destruction of the churches had been promulgated, now avenged the wrong done to Christianity. Hardly a Roman province, city, or house escaped being smitten and desolated by that widespread pestilence. Gallus and Volusianus, whose reign was distinguished by this calamity alone, were killed while they were undertaking a civil war against the pretender Aemilianus. The latter, however, perished in the third month of his usurpation.

22. In the one thousand and tenth year of the City, the twenty-seventh place in the Augustan succession was filled by two emperors: Valerian, who was hailed as Augustus by the army in Raetia, and Gallienus, who was proclaimed Caesar by the Senate at Rome. Gallienus had an unhappy reign lasting fifteen years. During this time the human race had little respite from unusually severe and continuous pestilences. Wickedness, easily forgetful, provokes its own punishment; for impiety, though it feels the scourge when beaten, is too callous to perceive the one scourging it. Leaving out of consideration the earlier persecutions of the Christians, the one inflicted by Decius caused the whole Roman Empire to be harassed by a great plague. But injustice, cheated by poor judgment to its own ruin, deceived itself. For the wicked thought that the plague was a matter of ordinary chance and that death resulting from disease was a natural end and not a punishment.

Within a short time, therefore, their wicked actions again so provoked the anger of God that they received a blow which they long were forced to remember. As soon as Valerian had seized the throne, he began the eighth persecution since Nero's time. He ordered that the Christians be forced by torture into idolatry and that they be killed if they should refuse to worship the Roman gods. As a result, the blood of the saints was shed throughout the length and breadth of the Roman Empire. Immediately, Valerian, the author of this abominable edict, was captured by Sapor, king of the Persians. He who had been emperor of the Roman people grew old among the Persians and suffered the supreme humiliation of slavery. For he was condemned for the term of his life to perform the menial service of helping the king mount his horse, not by giving him his hand, but by bending to the ground and offering his back.

Gallienus became terrified by such an unmistakable judgment of God and was alarmed by the wretched fate of his colleague. He therefore made quick amends by restoring peace to the churches. But, when so many thousands of the saints had been tortured, the captivity of one impious man, even though his punishment lasted throughout his life and was of an exceedingly abhorrent kind, could not atone for the wrong nor satisfy vengeance. The blood of the just cried out to God and demanded to be avenged in the same land where it had been shed. Not only did a righteous judgment exact the penalty upon the one who issued the order, but also upon the agents, informers, accusers, spectators, judges, and finally upon all who had favored the unjust and cruel persecution, even by their silent wish—for God knows all secrets. Most of these men were scattered through the provinces, and the same avenging blow justly smote them all. By God's will the nations stationed on the boundaries of the empire and left there for this purpose were suddenly loosed on every side, and no sooner did the reins of control release them than they invaded all the Roman territories. The Germans made their way through the Alps, Raetia, and the whole of Italy as far west as Ravenna. The Alemanni roamed through the Gallic provinces and even crossed into Italy. An invasion of the Goths ruined Greece, Pontus, and Asia; Dacia beyond the Danube was lost forever. The Quadi and the Sarmatians ravaged the Pannonian provinces. The Further Germans stripped Spain and took possession of it. The Parthians seized Mesopotamia and completely devastated Syria. Throughout the various provinces, there exist today poor and insignificant settlements situated in the ruins of great cities which still bear evidences of their names and tokens of their misfortunes. Our own city Tarraco in Spain is one of these, and we can point to it to console ourselves over our recent misery. Furthermore, lest any part of the Roman body politic should escape being mangled, there were internal conspiracies formed by usurpers. Civil wars arose, and everywhere streams of Roman blood flowed while Romans and barbarians vented their fury. But soon the wrath of God was turned to mercy, and the mere beginning of a punishment rather than an actual penalty was reckoned to be a sufficient satisfaction.

First of all, Ingenuus, who had assumed the imperial purple, was slain at Mursa. Next Postumus usurped the sovereignty in Gaul, but this usurpation brought good fortune to the state. For in the course of ten years he drove out the enemy and restored the lost provinces to their former condition, conquering by the exercise of great bravery and self-restraint. He was killed, however, in a mutiny of the soldiers. Aelianus, while attempting a revolution, was overcome at Mainz. After the death of Postumus, Marius seized the supreme power at that city, but he was killed immediately afterward. The Gauls, acting on their own initiative, then proclaimed Victorinus  emperor. It was not long before Victorinus was murdered, and Tetricus, who at the time held the office of governor of the province of Aquitania, succeeded him. This ruler had to put up with many mutinies. In the East, in the meantime, a certain Odenathus gathered together a band of Syrian peasants. They defeated and drove back the Persians, defended Syria, recovered Mesopotamia, and as a result of conquest advanced with their leader as far as Ctesiphon. Gallienus abandoned the state to its fate and was slain while indulging his lust at Milan.

23. In the one thousand and twenty-fifth year of the City, Claudius, the twenty-eighth emperor, assumed the sovereignty by the will of the Senate. He at once attacked the Goths, who for fifteen years had been devastating Illyria and Macedonia, and destroyed them with frightful carnage. The Senate voted that a golden shield be placed in the Senate House in his honour, and ordered that a statue, likewise of gold, be placed in the Capitol. But before he had been two full years in power, a disease overtook him and he died at Sirmium.

After the death of Claudius, his brother Quintillus  was chosen emperor by the army. He was a man of singular self-restraint and the only Roman emperor superior to Claudius; he was killed on the seventeenth day of his reign.

During the one thousand and twenty-seventh year of the City, Aurelian, the twenty-ninth emperor, gained the sovereignty which he held for five years and six months. He was a man of consummate ability in war. In a campaign on the Danube he crushed the Goths in decisive battles and established the Roman rule within its former boundaries. Then he turned to the East against Zenobia, who, after her husband Odenathus had been murdered, was appropriating the recently recovered province of Syria. Aurelian brought her under his power more by threat of battle than by actual combat. In Gaul, Aurelian overcame Tetricus, who was altogether unable to control the mutinies of his soldiers, and who even wrote to Aurelian,

Snatch me, unconquered one, from these woes.

Hence Aurelian won an easy victory over Tetricus who betrayed his own army. Thus, as the reconqueror of the East and of the North, he celebrated a triumph in great glory. Aurelian surrounded the city of Rome with stronger walls. Finally, when he was giving orders for a persecution of the Christians, the ninth in succession from Nero's, a thunderbolt struck in front of him, causing great terror among the bystanders. Shortly afterward he was slain while on a journey.

24. In the one thousand and thirty-second year of the City, Tacitus, the thirtieth emperor, gained the sovereignty, but he was slain in Pontus within six months. After him Florian suffered a similar fate during his reign; within three months  he was killed at Tarsus.

In the one thousand and thirty-third year of the City, Probus, the thirty-first emperor, secured the throne. He held it for six years and four months. He finally destroyed the enemy in a number of bitterly contested battles and completely freed the Gallic provinces that had so long been occupied by the barbarians. He then waged two very bloody civil wars; one in the East where he overthrew and captured the usurper Saturninus, and the other at Agrippina where he defeated

Proculus and Bonosus in a series of great battles and killed them. While in an iron-covered tower at Sirmium, Probus himself was killed by mutinous soldiers.

In the one thousand and thirty-ninth year of the City, Carus of Narbo, the thirty-second emperor, came to the throne. He reigned for two years. After establishing his sons Carinus and Numerian as co-rulers, Carus made war upon the Parthians and captured two of their most famous cities, Coche and Ctesiphon. Afterward, while in his camp on the Tigris, he was struck by lightning and killed. Numerian, who had accompanied his father, was treacherously killed, as he was retreating, by his father-in-law Aper.

25. In the one thousand and forty-first year, Diocletian was chosen by the army as the thirty-third emperor. He reigned for twenty years. Upon assuming full command, he at once killed with his own hand Aper, the murderer of Numerian. He next defeated Carinus in a stubbornly contested battle. This man had been leading a dissolute life in Dalmatia, where Carus had left him as Caesar. Later Amandus and Aelianus in Gaul gathered together a band of farmers, who were called Bacaudae, and stirred up destructive insurrections. Diocletian appointed Maximianus, surnamed Herculius, Caesar and sent him into the Gallic provinces. Here, by his military prowess, he easily put down the inexperienced and disorderly company of peasants.

At this time a certain Carausius, a man of lowly birth to be sure, but quick in thought and action, was in charge of the defense of the coasts of the Ocean, which were infested by the Franks and Saxons. He did more to injure than to help the government, for he did not restore to its true owners any of the booty recovered from the pirates but claimed it for himself alone. In this way he aroused the suspicion that it was his deliberate neglect that had allowed the enemy to make raids. For this reason Maximianus ordered his execution.

Carausius at once assumed the purple and seized control of the British provinces.

Thus the thunders of strife suddenly reverberated throughout the territories of the Roman Empire. Carausius was leading a rebellion in Britain, and Achilleus one in Egypt; the Quinquegentiani were attacking Africa, and Narseus, king of the Persians, was waging destructive wars in the East. In view of this dangerous situation, Diocletian advanced Maximianus Herculius from the rank of Caesar to that of Augustus  and appointed Constantius and Galerius Maximianus Caesars. Constantius now married Theodora, the stepdaughter of Herculius Maximianus, and by her had six sons, the brothers of Constantine. Carausius, after laying claim to Britain, held it firmly in his grasp for seven years. Finally, however, he was treacherously killed by his comrade Allectus. The latter held for three years the island that he had taken away from his friend. The praetorian prefect Asclepiodotus then overthrew him and regained Britain, ten years after it had been lost. In Gaul, in the first encounter, the Alemanni routed Constantius Caesar's army. He himself barely managed to escape. In the second battle, however, he won a complete victory. It is said that sixty thousand of the Alemanni were slain in the course of a few hours. Maximianus Augustus subdued the Quinquegentiani in Africa. Then Diocletian besieged Achilleus at Alexandria for eight months. He finally captured and killed him; but, far from showing moderation in his victory, he gave Alexandria over to pillage, and made life in all Egypt hideous with proscriptions and massacres.

Galerius Maximianus fought two battles against Narseus. In a third engagement, which took place somewhere between the cities of Callinicus and Carrhae, Narseus defeated him. After losing his troops, Galerius took refuge with Diocletian, who received him with extreme arrogance. The story goes that though clad in scarlet robes he was forced to run before the emperor's carriage for several miles. Nevertheless Galerius made this insult serve as a whetstone to his valor. Spurred on by this treatment, when the rust of kingly pride was rubbed off, he was able to sharpen his mind to a keen edge. He at once made a general levy of troops throughout Illyricum and Moesia, and hurriedly returning to meet the enemy, he overwhelmed Narseus by skillful strategy and superior forces. After annihilating the Persian army and putting Narseus himself to flight, he seized the latter's camp, made prisoners of his wives, sisters, and children, appropriated an immense amount of Persian treasure, and led away many of the Persian nobles into captivity. On his return to Mesopotamia he was welcomed by Diocletian and given the highest honors. Later these same generals fought vigorously against the Carpi and the Basternae. They then conquered the Sarmatians and distributed a great number of captives from this people among the garrisons of the Roman frontiers.

In the meantime Diocletian in the East and Maximianus Herculius in the West ordered the churches to be destroyed and the Christians persecuted and put to death. This persecution, the tenth in succession from Nero's, was longer and more cruel than any other that had preceded it. For ten years it was carried on without interruption; churches were burned, the innocent were proscribed, and martyrs were slaughtered. Then followed an earthquake in Syria. Thousands of people throughout Tyre and Sidon were crushed by falling buildings. In the second year of the persecution, Diocletian suggested to the unwilling Maximianus that both of them should at the same time lay aside the purple and the imperial power and, after substituting younger men for themselves in the government, pass their declining years in the leisure of private life. Accordingly on the day agreed they laid aside the power and trappings of empire—Diocletian at Nicomedia, and Maximianus at Milan.

The Augusti, Galerius and Constantius, were the first to divide the Roman Empire in two: the former took Illyricum,

Asia, and the East; the latter took Italy, Africa, and the Gallic provinces. Constantius, however, who was of an extremely mild disposition, was satisfied with Gaul [and Spain] alone and permitted Galerius to take the other districts. Galerius chose two Caesars: Maximinus, whom he stationed in the East, and Severus, to whom he entrusted Italy. He himself established his government in Illyricum. Constantius Augustus, a mild-tempered man and one skilled in the conduct of government, died in Britain, leaving Constantine, a son by his concubine Helena, emperor of the Gallic provinces.

26. In the one thousand and sixty-first year of the City, Constantine, the thirty-fourth emperor, received the helm of state from his father Constantius. He held it for thirty-one years to the good fortune of everyone.

At this point somebody suddenly runs up to me and dancing with joy taunts me, saying: "Aha! we have long waited for you and at last you have fallen into our trap. Here we were lying in wait for you to overrun your mark, here we caught you when you fell down, here we held you fast then you became confused. Until now we have borne with you while with a certain skill and ingenuity you fitted together the accidental vicissitudes of history with the vengeances exacted in behalf of the Christians. At times, indeed, we men, in our ignorance of the secrets of Heaven, were disturbed by the apparent truth of the parallel. We turned pale with fear. But now our Maximianus has cleared away the entire stage setting of your play and has himself become conspicuous as the unshakable pillar and prop of our ancient religion. For ten years your churches were overthrown, as you yourself admit; the Christians throughout the world were racked with torture and their ranks depleted by slaughter. We have your plain testimony that no previous persecution was either so severe or so long continued. Yet see, amid the quiet and prosperity of those days, the unusual good fortune of the very emperors who accomplished the deeds. At home there was no famine, no pestilence; abroad there was no war except by their own choice, and that only to exercise their strength and not to endanger their forces. There was also a condition of affairs previously unknown to mankind—the lasting association of a number of rulers at the same time, their remarkable harmony, and a joint sovereignty directed to the common good, now as never before. Finally—and this was an act never known before the time of these great emperors—these very persecutors laid aside their office and found rest as private citizens, a lot that men consider the greatest blessing and highest good of a life well lived. And this came, as it were, as a reward to the authors of the persecution at the very time when its fires were still raging in the middle of their course throughout the world. Or do you maintain that even this happiness which befell that generation was a punishment, and do you try to frighten us on this ground also ?"

To these persons I reply in all humility that in my extreme regard for piety I am reminding them of the truth and not frightening them with falsehoods. Ten persecutions, from Nero to Maximianus, were suffered by the Church of Christ. Nine vengeances, as I have called them, or calamities, as my opponents themselves do not deny them to be, immediately ensued. I do not insist upon the form of expression. It makes little difference whether these vengeances be regarded as merited or as vicissitudes of chance, since at any rate they were disasters according to the admission of both sides. These poor blind people indeed think there was some difficulty with regard to the tenth vengeance; they do not see that it was all the more severe the less it was perceived. For the impious man is beaten and does not feel it. After my explanation the convincing nature of the facts will compel them to admit, even though unwillingly, that it was as a supreme punishment for Maximian's persecution that these blows have come which still cause them pain. Indeed they even cry out and provoke us to cry out in turn, so that we are now becoming anxious about the way to silence them.

27. As we set forth in the first book, according to the incomplete references of Pompeius Trogus and Cornelius Tacitus and according to the trustworthy and adequate account of our own Moses, who even my critics admit was a reliable authority, the Egyptians and their king were vexed by ten grievous plagues. In order to restrain the devotion of God's people, who were ready and eager to serve Him, the Egyptians called the Jews back to the clay and straw. Severe misfortunes later crushed the Egyptians. Then they not only urged the Jews to go in haste but even loaded them down with gold and silver vessels. Afterward they forgot the lesson of the plagues. Led by greed for property which did not belong to them and by hatred for a foreign religion, they eagerly pursued the innocent exiles but were finally overwhelmed in the Red Sea and were all destroyed. This event can be confirmed by its result even if we do not accept it on faith. I recall and mention it at this moment because these events came to pass as an example to us. In each case a people served the same God and struggled for the same cause. The synagogue of the Israelites was subject to the Egyptians; the Church of the Christians was subject to the Romans. The Egyptians inflicted persecutions; so also did the Romans. In the one case the Egyptians sent ten refusals to Moses; in the other, the Romans directed ten edicts against Christ. In the one case the Egyptians suffered various plagues; in the other, the Romans suffered various calamities.

In order to draw a parallel, between these two series of plagues, so far as their different appearance admits comparison, let me point out the following. In Egypt the first visitation caused quantities of blood to rise from the wells and to flow in the rivers. In the Empire the first slaughter in the reign of Nero filled the whole land with the blood of the dying, whether flowing from the diseased in Rome or shed in war throughout the world. In Egypt, during the second plague, frogs that croaked and hopped in the temples caused the inhabitants to starve and to go into exile. Rome likewise suffered a similar punishment. During the reign of Domitian, his retainers and soldiers, executing the orders of their bloodthirsty prince, reduced nearly all of the citizens to want and scattered them in exile. In Egypt the third affliction consisted of sciniphes, that is, very small and troublesome flies, which often in midsummer gather in dense swarms about filthy places and as they buzz around settle down and lodge in men's hair and on the hides of cattle, stinging their victims and causing acute pain. At Rome the third plague, in the reign of Trajan, stirred up the Jews, who in their general dispersion had until then been as quiet as if they had not existed, but who suddenly became enraged and vented their fury upon their fellow inhabitants everywhere. I say nothing of the great destruction numerous cities suffered when they were overthrown during these same days by the frequent earthquakes. In Egypt, during the fourth plague, there were dog flies, truly the offspring of putrefaction and breeders of worms. In the Empire, during the fourth plague, under the rule of Marcus Antoninus, a pestilence spread over a great many provinces, and the whole of Italy, including the City of Rome; it also attacked the Roman army which was scattered along the distant frontiers in its various winter camps and made its dying members at once a prey to decay and worms. In Egypt the fifth visitation came as a sudden destruction of the flocks and beasts of burden. In Rome, similarly, a fifth vengeance, under the persecutor Severus, caused the very vitals and support of the state—I mean the people of the provinces and the military legions—to be wasted by incessant civil wars. In Egypt the sixth affliction brought running sores and festering ulcers. Rome, in like manner, suffered her sixth punishment as a result of the persecution of Maximianus. He had ordered the slaughter of the bishops and priests especially, that is, the chief men of the churches, and had spared the common people. Thereupon this sacrilege was revenged by repeated outbreaks of rage and hatred—not by the slaughter of the masses, but by the wounding and death of the princes and powerful men. In Egypt the seventh plague was a shower of hail caused by condensation of the air that brought destruction to men, beasts, and crops. In Rome, similarly, during the reign of Gallus and Volusianus, who had succeeded the short-lived persecutor Decius, the seventh plague came from the poisoning of the air. This caused a pestilence which, spreading through all the regions of the Roman Empire from east to west, not only killed off almost all mankind and cattle, but also poisoned the lakes and tainted the grass. The eighth affliction in Egypt was caused by locusts that swarmed everywhere, occupying, devouring, and covering everything. The eighth in Rome, in like manner, was inflicted by nations that swarmed on every side seeking to lay waste whole provinces with fire and sword and to overthrow the Roman world. There the ninth disturbance brought a long-continued darkness so thick that it could almost be grasped with the hand; it threatened more harm than it actually inflicted. Here, in like manner, the ninth visitation occurred when, during a fearful gale, a thunderbolt, terrible and distressing in its consequences, struck at the very feet of Aurelian, who was ordering a persecution, and showed, when such a vengeance was exacted, what so great an avenger could do, were He not at the same time both merciful and patient. Even so, within six months from that time, three emperors in succession, Aurelian, Tacitus, and Florian, were killed for one reason or another. In Egypt, finally, the tenth plague, the last of all, was the slaughter of every first-born son. In Rome herself the tenth and last punishment was the destruction of all the idols, which were the first and foremost love of the Romans.

The Egyptian king experienced, tested, and learned to fear the power of God, and therefore he allowed the people of God to go free. At Rome the king experienced, tested, and learned to believe in the power of God, and therefore he also allowed the people of God to be free. In Egypt the people of God were never afterward dragged back into slavery. In Rome the people of God were never afterward forced into idolatry. There, the precious vessels of the Egyptians were handed over to the Hebrews; here, the principal pagan temples were turned into Christian churches. It is certainly my duty to indicate, as I have said, that everlasting ruin overwhelmed the Egyptians beneath the waves when, having allowed the Hebrews to leave after the ten plagues, they undertook to pursue them. So alas a persecution by the Gentiles at some future time awaits us while we are journeying in freedom, until we cross the Red Sea, that is, the fire of the judgment, with our Lord Jesus Christ Himself as our leader and judge. Those, however, who assume the role of the Egyptians, the power having temporarily been given them by the permission of God, will show their fury and persecute the Christians with the most grievous tqrtures. But all those enemies of Christ, together with their king, Antichrist, will be caught in the lake of eternal fire, which, because of the thick darkness, is entered upon without being seen; and they will receive the lot of everlasting damnation, being doomed to burn in eternal torment.

28. Now, as I have said, after the death of Constantius in Britain, Constantine was proclaimed emperor. He was the first Christian emperor with the exception of Philip, whose Christian reign of a very few years was, in my opinion, established only to the end that the thousandth anniversary of Rome should be dedicated to Christ rather than to idols. From the time of Constantine, however, all the emperors have been Christians up to the present day, with the exception of Julian, whose pernicious life, it is said, was cut off while he was plotting shameful deeds. This is the slow but inevitable punishment of pagans. This is why they rave, though in their right mind. This is why they are goaded by the stings of conscience, though they have not been hurt. This is why they groan, though they laugh. This is why they begin to fail, though they are still in sound health. This is why they are tortured in secret, though no one persecutes them. Finally, this is why there are now but few left, though they have never been punished by any persecutor. Now I shall show the sort of end that awaited those persecutors who tried to make their immunity from punishment a ground not only for boasting but even for insults.

While Constantine was most vigorously carrying out the policies of the government in Gaul, the praetorian soldiers at Rome named as Augustus, Maxentius, the son of Herculius, who was at that time living in retirement in Lucania. This Maximianus Herculius remained a public persecutor of the Christians. He was tempted by his son's opportunity and seized the tyranny. Galerius Augustus then sent Severus Caesar with an army to Rome against Maxentius, but soldiers of Severus treacherously abandoned and betrayed him while he was besieging the city. He took to flight but was killed at Ravenna. The persecutor Maximianus Herculius, once an Augustus and now a usurper, attempted to seize the garb and royal authority from his son, who held the imperial office. However, he was terrified by the open insults and rioting of the soldiery. He then proceeded to Gaul, in order to effect a union, equally treacherous, with his son-in-law Constantine, intending later to supplant him as emperor. When detected and betrayed by his daughter, he fled, but was seized and killed at Marseilles.

After the murder of Severus, Galerius made Licinius emperor. Galerius himself issued harsher edicts and thus intensified the persecution started by Diocletian and Maximian, and for ten years he drained the provinces of their population. Finally an inward rotting of the chest and a decay of vital organs attacked him so that, in addition to the ordinary hideousness of human disease, he even vomited worms. While his physicians, who were unable any longer to endure the stench, were being put to death one after another by his orders, one of them rebuked him with the courage of despair, saying that his punishment was the vengeance of God, and that he could not be cured by physicians. The emperor then sent edicts far and wide recalling the Christians from their places of exile, but still finding his torment unendurable, he took his own life.

Thus the state at that time came to be ruled by four new princes, Constantine and Maxentius, the sons of the Augusti, and Licinius and Maximianus, self-made men. When Constantine gave the churches peace after they had been harassed by persecution for ten years, a civil war broke out between him and Maxentius. The latter, exhausted by a long series of battles, was finally defeated and slain at the Mulvian Bridge. Maximianus, who had instigated and carried on the persecution of the Christians with the greatest bitterness, died at Tarsus while preparing for civil war against Licinius, who, stirred by sudden madness, had ordered all Christians to be expelled from his palace. Soon a violent war raged between this Licinius and Constantine. The latter first defeated Licinius—who was his sister's husband—in Pannonia, and then crushed him at Cibalae. After gaining possession of all Greece and thwarting the attempts of Licinius by land and sea in numerous battles, Constantine finally forced him to surrender. Being warned by the example of his own father-in-law, Maximianus Herculius, he ordered Licinius, who was now deprived of office, also to be put to death, so that he might not again assume the purple and bring ruin upon the state. Thus, although all the agents of that detestable persecution had already been destroyed, this man, who persecuted as much as he could, was overtaken by the punishment he deserved. Crispus and Constantine, the sons of Constantine, and the youthful Licinius, the son of Licinius Augustus and, on his mother's side, a nephew of Constantine, were proclaimed Caesars.

At this time Arius, a priest of the city of Alexandria, turned from the truth of the Catholic faith and set forth a dogma that was fatal to many. As soon as he became famous, or rather infamous, at Alexandria among his universally confused adherents and his opponents, he was expelled from the Church by Alexander, who at that time was bishop of that city. When Arius also incited to riot those whom he had led into error, an assembly of three hundred and eighteen bishops was convened at Nicaea, a city of Bithynia. These bishops, clearly perceiving the vile and pernicious nature of the Arian doctrine, publicly exposed and condemned it.

The emperor Constantine, without apparent cause, now turned the sword of vengeance and the punishment appointed for the impious against even his nearest and dearest. He put to death his own son Crispus and his sister's son Licinius. He also subdued many tribes in different campaigns, and was either the first or the only Roman ruler to found a city named after himself. As the only city free from idols, Constantinople was raised up within a very short time after her founding by a Christian emperor to be, in splendor and power, the only worthy rival of Rome, which had been advanced to her supremacy after many centuries and much suffering. Then for the first time Constantine reversed the situation by a just and pious order. He issued an edict that the pagan temples should be closed without the killing of a single man. Soon afterward he destroyed the valiant and populous Gothic tribes in the very heart of the barbarian territory, that is, in the region of the Sarmatians. In Cyprus he crushed a certain Calocaerus, who was plotting a revolution; and, on the thirtieth anniversary of his accession, he appointed Dalmatius Caesar. Constantine died in his official residence near Nicomedia, while he was preparing for war against the Persians. He left the state in good order for his sons.

29. In the one thousand and ninety-second year of the City, Constantius, the thirty-fifth emperor, ascended the throne.He shared it with his brothers Constantine and Constans and held it for twenty-four years. Among the successors of Constantine was Dalmatius Caesar, the son of his brother; this Caesar, however, was soon entrapped by a faction of the army.

The ever-malignant opposition of the devil to the true God from the beginning of the world until now has been confusing the minds of men with the mists of error and leading their uncertain steps astray from the undefiled path of religious faith. But it ceased to persecute the Church of Christ with the zeal of idolatry after the Christian emperors had applied the sovereign power to better ends. The devil then devised another scheme to harass the Church of Christ through these same Christian emperors. Arius, the author of the new heresy, and his disciples found ready access and an easy road to the friendship of Constantius. Arius induced the emperor to believe that there are certain gradations in God, and thus, after leaving the error of idolatry by the main door, he was led back into it through a side entrance, as it were, while seeking to find gods in God. His authority, when ridiculed, became armed with a perverted zeal, and a violent persecution was started in the name of religious devotion. An argument arose about the choice of a new name, and it was urged that: the churches should belong to the Arians rather than to the Catholics. Then followed a fearful earthquake that leveled to the ground many cities of the East.

Constantine [II], while making war upon his brother Constans, exposed himself to danger in a foolhardy fashion and was slain by his brother's generals. Constans fought nine unsuccessful campaigns against the Persians and Sapor, who had been ravaging Mesopotamia. Finally his soldiers, now out of control, mutinied and compelled him to make a night attack, and he not only lost the victory that had been almost won but was actually defeated himself. Later, when he had given himself up to excessive license and was gaining the favor of the soldiers by oppressing the provincials, he was treacherously killed by Magnentius at a town called Helena on the border of Spain.

This Magnentius assumed the imperial title at Augustodunum and immediately extended his authority over Gaul, Africa, and Italy. In Illyria the soldiers proclaimed as their emperor the aged Vetranio, a man of simplicity and kindly disposed toward all, but one who had never received even the rudiments of an education. While the aged emperor against his will was studying the alphabet and the syllables of words, he was ordered to abdicate by Constantius, who, burning to avenge his brother, was preparing war against Magnentius. Vetranio laid aside the purple along with his studies and gave up palace and school at the same time, content to lead a life of leisure as a private citizen.

Nepotian, the son of Constantine's sister, aided by a band of gladiators, then seized the imperial power at Rome. His wickedness, however, made him universally hated. He was defeated by the generals of Magnentius. Then followed that fearful battle between Constantius and Magnentius at the city of Mursa. The great losses of the Roman forces in this battle brought harm even to posterity. Magnentius, however, escaped after his defeat and not long afterward killed himself with his own hand at Lugdunum. His brother Decentius, whom he had appointed Caesar over the Gauls, hanged himself at Senones. Constantius at once chose his cousin Gallus as Caesar, but since the latter behaved in a cruel and tyrannical manner, he had him put to death soon after his appointment. The emperor also took care that Silvanus, who was eager to see a revolution in Gaul, was speedily surrounded and overcome. He then killed Silvanus, appointed his cousin Julian, the brother of Gallus, Caesar, and sent him to the Gallic provinces, which the enemy had overrun and devastated. With a great display of energy, Julian restored the provinces to their former condition, routed a vast multitude of the Alemanni with but a small force, and again pushed back the Germans beyond the Rhine. Elated by these successes, Julian usurped the dignity of Augustus. Soon afterward he made his way through Italy and Illyria, and deprived Constantius, who was occupied with the Parthian War, of a great part of his realm. When he learned of Julian's treachery, Constantius abandoned the Parthian campaign and turned back to engage in civil war, but he died on the road between Cilicia and Cappadocia. Thus the man who had rent asunder the peace and unity of the Catholic faith and had, so to speak, dismembered the Church by civil war, arming Christians against Christians, used, passed, and expended the entire period of his troubled reign and his wretched span of life in civil wars which his own kinsmen and blood relations stirred up.

30. In the one thousand one hundred and sixteenth year of the City, Julian, who had previously been Caesar, then established himself as the thirty-sixth emperor in succession from Augustus. He reigned alone for a year and eight months. Attacking the Christian religion by cunning instead of by force he sought to make men deny the faith of Christ and adopt the worship of idols by the temptation of honours rather than by the infliction of tortures. Our elders tell us that when he issued a public edict forbidding any Christian to be a professor of the liberal branches of learning, almost all Christians everywhere, in compliance with the terms of the ordinance, preferred to abandon their positions rather than their faith.

When Julian was preparing war against the Parthians and was taking Roman forces recruited from all quarters with him to certain destruction, he vowed the blood of the Christians to his Gods, intending to persecute the churches openly if he should be victorious. In fact, he ordered an amphitheatre to be constructed at Jerusalem in which upon his return from Parthia he could expose bishops, monks, and all the saints of the locality to the fury of wild beasts that had been deliberately enraged and then could watch the martyrs being torn to pieces. After he had moved his camp away from Ctesiphon, he was treacherously led into the desert by a traitor. When his army was perishing from thirst, the heat of the sun, and the fatigue of marching through the sands, the emperor, becoming anxious at so dangerous a situation, rashly ventured to wander through the desert. There he encountered one of the enemy's cavalrymen and met his death from a blow of the other's lance. Thus God in his mercy brought these evil designs to naught through the death of their evil author.

31. In the one thousand one hundred and seventeenth year of the City, when her affairs were in a most critical state, Jovian became the thirty-seventh emperor. He was proclaimed emperor by the army which had been caught in an unfavourable situation and hemmed in by the enemy without chance of escape. In these circumstances Jovian made a treaty with Sapor, king of the Persians, which, though considered quite dishonourable, was unavoidable. Sapor agreed to leave the Roman army safe and unharmed either from attack or from the dangers of the locality, provided the Romans surrendered to the Persians the town of Nisibis and a part of Upper Mesopotamia. While marching through Galatia on his way to Illyria, Jovian withdrew to sleep in a newly built bedchamber. There he was overpowered and suffocated by the fumes arising from the action of the heat of the burning coals on the dampness of the newly plastered walls. His life came to an end in the eighth month of his reign.

32. In the one thousand one hundred and eighteenth year of the City, Valentinian, the thirty-eighth emperor, was proclaimed emperor at Nicaea by agreement of the soldiers. He held office for eleven years. Though a Christian, Valentinian without violating his faith had performed military duty under the emperor Julian as tribune of the scutarii. But when he was ordered by that sacrilegious emperor either to sacrifice to idols or to leave the service, he withdrew voluntarily, knowing as a faithful man that God's judgments are severer and His promises more to be desired.

Thus it happened that soon after the killing of Julian and directly after the death of Jovian, this man, who had lost his tribuneship in defense of Christ's name, became emperor in his own persecutor's stead as his reward from Christ. Later he made his brother Valens joint emperor  and subsequently killed the usurper Procopius and many of the latter's followers. At this time an earthquake occurred throughout the world and so greatly agitated the sea, that, according to report, the plains along the coast were inundated, and many cities, situated on islands, were struck, collapsed, and perished. Valens was baptized and converted by the bishop Eudoxius, a supporter of the Arian views, and thus he fell into most terrible heresy. For a long time Valens concealed his wicked intention to persecute and did not use his power to further his desire because the authority of his brother, so long as the latter lived, restrained him; for he well knew what force Valentinian as emperor could exert in avenging the faith, when he had possessed such firmness in keeping it as a soldier.

In the third year of the reign of these brothers, Gratian, the son of Valentinian, was made emperor. In the same year, in the territory of the Atrebates, real wool, mixed with rain, fell from the clouds.

Moreover, Athanaric, king of the Goths, with the greatest cruelty persecuted the Christians living among his own people and raised many of the barbarians to the crown of martyrdom by putting them to death for their faith. There were many who, because they acknowledged Christ, had to flee to the territory of the Romans. They went, not apprehensively as if going to enemies, but with assurances as to brethren.

The Saxons, a tribe living on the shores of the Ocean in inaccessible swamps and dreaded for their bravery and rapidity of movement, undertook a dangerous raid in full force against the Roman possessions, but they were crushed by Valentinian in the land of the Franks. The Burgundians, a new enemy with a new name, numbering, it is said, more than eighty thousand armed men, settled on the bank of the Rhine. In earlier times, when the interior of Germany had been subjugated by Drusus and Tiberius, the adopted sons of Caesar, the Burgundians were stationed at different frontier posts. Later they united to form a great people. They took their name from their stations, for the dwelling places at frequent intervals along the frontier are commonly called burgi. The power and destructiveness of their tribes is manifest even today from the condition of the Gallic provinces where they have now settled, their right to do so being undisputed. Nevertheless, through the providence of God they have all recently become Christians, embracing the Catholic faith and acknowledging obedience to our clergy, so that they live mild, gentle, and harmless lives, regarding the Gauls not as their subjects but in truth as their Christian brethren.

In the eleventh year of his reign, Valentinian started to make war upon the Sarmatians who had overrun and were ravaging the Pannonian provinces. But at the town of Brigitio  he was choked to death by the sudden hemorrhage that the Greeks call apoplexy.

Valentinian was succeeded as emperor of the West by his son Gratian, while Valens, the latter's uncle, ruled in the East. The new emperor shared his throne with his brother Valentinian, who was a mere child.

33. From the one thousand one hundred and twenty-eighth year of the City, Valens, the thirty-ninth emperor, ruled for four years after the death of Valentinian, who alone had been able to make him blush for his impious deeds. Immediately, as if his shameless boldness knew no bounds, he made a law requiring military service of the monks. These men were Christians who had given up the transaction of secular business in its various forms and were devoting themselves solely to the work of the Faith. The vast solitudes of Egypt and its stretches of sand, which were unfit for human use because of their aridity, barrenness, and the extreme danger from numerous serpents, were then filled and inhabited by great numbers of monks. Thither officers and soldiers were sent on a new type of persecution to drag away to other places the saintly and true soldiers of God. Many companies of saints suffered death there. As for the measures taken against the Catholic churches and orthodox believers throughout the various provinces under these and similar orders, let my decision to remain silent be sufficient indication of their nature.

Meanwhile, in certain parts of Africa Firmus stirred up the Moorish tribes, made himself king, and laid waste Africa and Mauretania. Caesarea, the most important city of Mauretania, was captured by treachery, filled with fire and carnage, and given over to the barbarians for pillage. Thereupon Count Theodosius, the father of the Theodosius who afterwards became emperor, acting under Valentinian's orders, broke the strength of the roaming Moorish tribes in a number of engagements and compelled the discouraged and vanquished Firmus to take his own life. Later, acting with well-trained foresight, he more than restored Africa and Mauretania to their former condition, but without realizing it he aroused so much envy that he was condemned to death. Before his execution at Carthage, he resolved to be baptized in order to obtain the remission of his sins; having received the sacrament of Christ which he had desired, he offered his throat to the blow of the executioner with the assurance of eternal life to come after his glorious life in this world.

Meanwhile the emperor Gratian, who was still a youth, saw a countless multitude of enemies invade the Roman domain. Relying on the power of Christ, he met them with far inferior forces and, in a battle at the Gallic town of Argentaria, straightway by a wonderful stroke of good fortune brought to an end a most formidable war. More than thirty thousand of the Alemanni, according to report, were killed there with but slight loss on the Roman side.

In the thirteenth year of the reign of Valens, that is, in the short interval of time that followed the wrecking of the churches by Valens and his slaughtering of the saints throughout the East, that root of our miseries simultaneously sent up a very great number of shoots. The race of Huns, long shut off by inaccessible mountains, broke out in sudden rage against the Goths and drove them in widespread confusion from their old homes. The Goths fled across the Danube and were received by Valens without negotiating any treaty. They did not even surrender their arms to the Romans, an act which might have made it safer to trust the barbarians. But the general Maximus by his unbearable avarice brought famine and injuries upon the Goths and drove them to arms and rebellion. After defeating an army of Valens, they overran Thrace and swept the whole country with fire, murder, and rapine. When Valens had left Antioch and was going to his doom in that ill-fated war, he was pricked with a tardy remorse for his heinous sin and gave orders for the recall of the bishops and other dignitaries from exile.

In the fifteenth year of his reign, Valens fought that lamentable battle in Thrace against the Goths, who by that time were well prepared in the matter of military training, and who had an abundance of resources. The very first attack threw the squadrons of Roman cavalry into confusion and left the infantry forces without protection. The infantry legions were at once encircled by the enemy's cavalry. They were first overwhelmed by showers of arrows, then, mad with fear, were forced to scatter by devious paths, and finally were cut to pieces by the swords and lances of their pursuers. The emperor himself, wounded by an arrow, turned to flight and was with difficulty brought to a cottage on a small farm. While he was hiding there, the pursuing enemy came upon him. They set fire to the building, and Valens perished in the flames. In order that the punishment visited upon him—this manifestation of divine wrath—might serve all the more as a dreadful example to posterity, he was not even given a common burial.

The wretched and obstinate heathen may find comfort in this one fact alone: these great disasters in Christian times and under Christian rulers (the ruin of the provinces, the destruction of the army, and the burning of the emperor) occurred all at once and bowed down the neck of the state already sore oppressed. This indeed grieves us much and is all the more lamentable for being so unprecedented. But how does it serve to comfort the pagans who can plainly perceive that in this case a persecutor of the churches was also punished? The one God revealed one faith and spread one Church over all the world. It is She whom He beholds, whom He loves, whom He defends; and, whatever the name by which a man shields himself, he is an alien if he is not associated with Her, and an enemy if he attacks Her. Let the heathen take what comfort they may in the suffering of the Jews and the heretics, but only let them confess that there is one God and that He is no respecter of persons as is most conclusively proven by the destruction of Valens. The Goths had petitioned through ambassadors that bishops be sent to them from whom they might learn the rule of the Christian faith. In fatal perverseness the emperor Valens sent teachers of the Arian doctrine, and the Goth continued to believe what they first learned concerning the basic principles of the faith. Therefore, by the just judgment of God Himself, Valens was burned alive by the very men who, through his action, will burn hereafter for their heresy.

34. In the one thousand one hundred and thirty-second year of the City, Gratian, the fortieth emperor in succession from Augustus, became emperor. He reigned for six years following the death of Valens, although he had already reigned for some time in conjunction with his uncle Valens and his brother Valentinian. Seeing the distressed and almost ruined condition of the state, he exercised the same foresight which led Nerva, in a former time, to choose the Spaniard Trajan, who restored the state. Gratian in his turn chose Theodosius, likewise a Spaniard, invested him with the purple at Sirmium for the necessary work of reestablishing the government, and made him ruler of the East and of Thrace as well. In one respect Gratian's judgment was the better; for Theodosius, who was Trajan's equal in all the virtues of our mortal life, surpassed him beyond all comparison in his devotion to the faith and in his reverence for religion, inasmuch as the earlier emperor was a persecutor, and the latter a propagator, of the Church. Trajan was not blessed with even a single son of his own to succeed him, whereas the glorious descendants of Theodosius have ruled over the East and the West alike through successive generations to this very day.

Theodosius believed that the state, which had been brought low by the wrath of God, would be restored by His mercy. Putting all his trust in the help of Christ, he attacked without hesitation those mighty Scythian tribes, which had been the dread of all the earlier ages and had been avoided even by Alexander the Great, as Pompeius and Cornelius declare. These same tribes were equipped with Roman horses and arms, though the Roman army no longer existed. Yet he defeated these tribes, that is, the Alans, Huns, and Goths, in a series of great battles. He entered the city of Constantinople as a victor, and made a treaty with Athanaric, the king of the Goths, so that he might not exhaust the small body of Roman troops by continual campaigning. Athanaric, however, died immediately after reaching Constantinople. Upon the death of their king, all the Gothic tribes, on seeing the bravery and kindness of Theodosius, submitted to Roman rule. At the same time the Persians voluntarily sent ambassadors to Theodosius at Constantinople and humbly begged for peace. These Persians previously had killed Julian and frequently defeated other emperors. Recently they had put Valens to flight and were now venting their satisfaction over this latest victory by offering foul insults. A treaty was then made, the fruits of which the entire East has enjoyed in great tranquillity until the present day.

In the meantime, by subjugating the barbarian tribes in the East, Theodosius finally freed the Thracian provinces from the enemy. He made his son Arcadius associate emperor. The army in Britain proclaimed Maximus emperor against his will. Maximus was an energetic and able man and one worthy of the throne had he not risen to it by usurpation, contrary to his oath of allegiance. He crossed into Gaul where he treacherously killed the emperor Gratian, who, in his fright at the sudden invasion, was planning to go to Italy. He drove Gratian's brother, the emperor Valentinian, from Italy. The latter took refuge in the East with Theodosius, who received him with a father's affection and soon even restored him to his imperial dignity.

35. In the one thousand one hundred and thirty-eighth year of the City, after Gratian had been killed by Maximus, Theodosius, the forty-first emperor, became, ruler of the Roman world. He remained in office for eleven years. He had already reigned in the East for six years during Gratian's lifetime. The demands of justice and necessity persuaded him to engage in civil war, since, of the two imperial brothers, the blood of the one slain demanded vengeance and the misery of the other in exile pleaded for restoration to his former position. Theodosius therefore put his trust in God and hurled himself against the usurper Maximus with no advantage but that of faith, for he was inferior in every point of military equipment. Maximus at that time had established himself at Aquileia, to be a spectator of his own victory. Andragathius, his count, who was in charge of the general direction of the war, greatly strengthened all the approaches through the Alps and along the rivers, placing there large bodies of soldiers and employing skillful strategy that counted for even more than strength of numbers. But by the inscrutable judgment of God he abandoned of his own accord the very passes that he had closed up, intending to catch the enemy off their guard and destroy them by a naval expedition. Thus Theodosius crossed the undefended Alps without being noticed, much less opposed, by anyone, and arrived unexpectedly before Aquileia. His mighty enemy Maximus, a stern ruler who exacted taxes even from the savage German tribes by the mere terror of his name, was surrounded, captured, and put to death without recourse to treachery and without a contest. Valentinian, after receiving the imperium, attempted to gain control over Italy. On learning of the death of Maximus, Count Andragathius threw himself headlong from his ship into the sea and was drowned. Thus under God's guidance Theodosius gained a bloodless victory.

Observe how, under Christian rulers and in Christian times, civil wars are settled when they cannot be avoided. The victory was won, the city was stormed, the usurper was seized.

And this is not half the story. Look elsewhere and see a hostile army vanquished, a count in the service of that usurper— he was more violent than the usurper himself—forced to take his own life, many ambuscades broken up or evaded, countless preparations rendered useless. Yet no one planned stratagems, no one drew up a line of battle, and, lastly, no one, if I may use the expression, even unsheathed his sword. A most formidable war was brought to a victorous conclusion without bloodshed and with the death of but two persons on the occasion of the victory itself. Now, to prevent anyone from regarding this as the result of chance, let me produce testimony to God's power, which orders and judges the universe, so that its revelation may either confound the objectors or force them to believe. I mention, therefore, a circumstance unknown to all and yet known to all. After this war in which Maximus was slain, many wars, both domestic and foreign, have indeed been the lot of Theodosius and his son Honorius up to the present day, as we all recollect, and yet almost all have ended either without bloodshed or, at least, with very little, as a result of a decisive victory due to divine influence.

After the destruction of Maximus and of his son Victor,whom Maximus had left among the Gauls as their emperor, Valentinian the Younger, now restored to his realm, passed over into Gaul. While living there peacefully in a country then tranquil, so the story goes, he was treacherously strangled to death at Vienne by his count Arbogastes. Valentinian was hanged by a rope so that it might appear he had taken his own life.

Soon after the death of the Augustus Valentinian, Arbogastes ventured to set up the usurper Eugenius, choosing him as a figurehead on whom to bestow the imperial title, but intending to manage the government himself. Arbogastes was a barbarian who excelled in spirit, counsel, bravery, boldness, and power. He gathered together from all quarters enormous forces as yet unconquered, intending to seize the sovereignty. He drew partly on the Roman garrisons and partly on the barbarian auxiliaries, in the one case by virtue of his power and in the other on account of his kinship. It is not necessary to dilate in words upon events that many have seen with their own eyes and of which they as spectators have a better knowledge. In every respect the career of Arbogastes clearly shows that Theodosius was always victorious through the power of God. At the time when he was loyal to Theodosius, Arbogastes, in spite of his own slender resources, captured the strongly supported Maximus. But when he clashed with Theodosius, though aided by the united strength of the Gauls and Franks and though also relying upon his devoted worship of idols, he was nevertheless defeated with great ease. Eugenius and Arbogastes had drawn up their army in battle array in the plains and, having very craftily sent ahead ambushing parties, had occupied the narrow slopes of the Alps and the passes which had to be used, so as to win victory by strategy alone, even though they were inferior in numbers and in strength.

Theodosius took up a position on the heights of the Alps and remained there without food or sleep. Knowing that he was abandoned by his men, but unaware that he was surrounded by enemies, he prayed alone to his one and all-sufficient help, the Lord Christ, while he lay with his body stretched upon the ground but with his mind fixed upon Heaven. After passing a sleepless night in continual prayer and leaving as evidence pools of tears that he had shed as the price of Heavenly aid, he confidently took arms alone, knowing that he was truly not alone. Then with the sign of the cross he gave the signal for battle and plunged into the fight as if destined to conquer even though none should follow him. The first step to deliverance appeared in the person of Arbitio, a count of the opposing army. The latter had caught the unsuspecting emperor in an ambush laid for him, but moved to reverence in the presence of his Augustus, he not only freed him from danger but even provided him with aid.

The moment that the forces came within fighting distance, an indescribably great windstorm suddenly began to blow violently into the faces of the enemy. The darts of our men flew through the air and were carried over a great distance, farther than any man could throw, and they fell scarcely anywhere without striking their mark. Furthermore, the force of the unabating gale now dashed the shields of the enemy so heavily against their own faces and breasts as to strike them repeatedly, now pressed their shields so close as to take away their breath, now tore away their shields so violently as to leave them unprotected, now held their shields so steadily against them as to force them backward. Even the weapons that they had hurled with all their might were caught by the wind and driven back to transfix the unfortunate throwers. The terrified consciences of the men drove them to seek safety, for as soon as a small detachment of the enemy had been routed their army surrendered to the victorious Theodosius. Euge-nius was captured and killed, and Arbogastes destroyed himself by his own hand. Thus in this case too, the fires of civil war were quenched by the blood of two men, leaving out of account the ten thousand Goths, who, it is said, were sent ahead by Theodosius and destroyed to a man by Arbogastes; for the loss of these was certainly a gain and their defeat a victory. I do not taunt those who disparage us. Let them point out a single war in the history of Rome undertaken from such conscientious and compelling motives, carried out with such divine good fortune, stilled with such merciful kindness, one in which the battle did not entail heavy losses nor the victory a bloody revenge. Then perhaps I may admit that these blessed victories were not the rewards of the faith of a Christian general. Yet I am not anxious about this testimony of theirs, since one of their own number, a distinguished poet but a most obstinate pagan, has borne witness both to God and to man in these verses:

O thou much beloved of God! for whom the sky does battle,
For whom the winds in concert heed the trumpet's call.
                                  [Claudian, Panegyric on the third consulate of the Emperor Honorius, 96-8]

Thus Heaven gave judgment between the side that humbly placed its hope in God alone even without the aid of man and the side that arrogantly trusted in its own strength and in idols. After reducing the state to order and tranquillity Theodosius died at Milan.

36. In the one thousand one hundred and forty-ninth year of the City, Arcadius Augustus, whose son Theodosius now rules the East, and Honorius Augustus, his brother, by whom our state is now completely supported, occupied the forty-second place in the imperial line and began to exercise a joint sovereignty, but in different capitals. Arcadius lived for twelve years after his father's death, and, when he died, left the supreme power to his son Theodosius, who was still very young.

Meanwhile Count Gildo, who was in charge of Africa at the beginning of his brother's reign, revolted as soon as he learned that Theodosius had died. Induced by some sort of envy, according to some, he planned to add Africa to the districts of the Eastern Empire; according to another view, he was influenced by the belief that there would be little hope for the young rulers, since, except for them, hardly any young boy who inherited the throne had ever before reached full manhood. This, indeed, was almost an unparalleled instance in which youths, separated and forsaken, prospered under the guardianship of Christ on account of their own and their father's remarkable faith. Gildo, then, dared to claim for himself Africa, which had been detached from its allegiance to the state. He did this more because he found satisfaction in his heathen life of licentiousness than because he was inspired by any ambition or royal pretensions. His brother Mascezel, thoroughly detesting Gildo's revolutionary undertakings, left his two sons with the troops in Africa and went back to Italy. Gildo, becoming suspicious both of his brother's absence and of his nephews' presence, treacherously seized the youths and put them to death. When it was decided to make war upon Gildo as a public enemy, Mascezel was given the command. His fitness for the service of the state was assured by the fresh grief of his own bereavement. Recognizing, like Theodosius, how much in a desperate situation the prayer of man can gain from the mercy of God through faith in Christ, Mascezel visited the island of Capraria and took with him from that place some holy servants of God who were moved by his entreaties. He continued in prayer, fasting, and psalmody with them day and night, and was thus enabled to gain victory without war and vengeance without bloodshed.

The Ardalio is the name of a river that flows between the cities of Theveste and Ammedera. Here Mascezel encamped with a small force of five thousand soldiers, as it is said, against seventy thousand of the enemy. After some delay he laid plans to leave his position and march through the narrow passes of the valley that lay ahead. When darkness came, he dreamt that he saw the blessed Ambrose, the lately deceased bishop of Milan, making a sign with his hand, striking his staff thrice upon the ground, and saying these words, "Here, here, here." He wisely inferred that this vision indicated assurance of victory from the trustworthiness of his prophet, the place from the word spoken, and the day from the number. He therefore held his ground, and on the third day, after keeping vigil through the night with prayers and hymns, went forth from the very mysteries of the Heavenly sacraments to meet the enemy who had surrounded him.

While he was speaking pious words of peace to those whom he first encountered, one of their standard-bearers insolently withstood his entreaties and kept urging his side to begin the battle that was imminent. Thereupon Mascezel struck his arm with a sword, disabled his hand, and thus compelled him to lower the banner to the ground by the force of the blow. At this sight, the other cohorts, thinking that the front ranks were already surrendering, reversed their standards and hastened to give themselves up to Mascezel. The barbarians, of whom Gildo had brought a great number to the war, fled in all directions, after they had been left entirely alone by the desertion of the regular troops. Gildo himself tried to escape by seizing a ship and putting out to sea, but was driven back to Africa where some days later he was strangled to death.

In telling of such miracles we would run the risk of appearing deliberate and shameless liars, if the testimony of those who were eyewitnesses did not outstrip our words. Yet all this was done without the concocting of plots and the practice of corruption. Seventy thousand of the enemy were overcome almost without a battle. The vanquished rebel fled for the time being, lest the angry conqueror dare a greater deed. Gildo was carried away to a different place so that his brother might not know of the slaying whereby he himself was avenged. This Mascezel, it is true, became puffed up with the haughtiness that comes of success and neglected the society of the holy men through whom he had won the victory as a champion of God. He even dared to violate a church, not hesitating to drag from it some refugees. This sacrilege met with its due reward, for some time afterward, while the very men whom he had dragged from the church in order to punish them were still alive, he himself was punished amid their rejoicing. By his own fate he showed that the judgment of God ever watches with a double purpose, since when he trusted in it, he received help, and when he despised it, he was put to death.

37. Meanwhile the emperor Theodosius the Elder had entrusted the care of his children and the direction of his two courts, respectively, to his two most powerful subjects, Rufinus in the East and Stilicho in the West. What each man did and what he attempted to do, the fates of each made plain. Rufinus, aspiring to the royal dignity for himself, brought in the barbarians; Stilicho, desiring it for his son, gave them support so that the needs of the state in the sudden crisis might veil his wicked aim. I say nothing of King Alaric and his Goths, often defeated, often surrounded, but always allowed to escape. I say nothing of those unhappy doings at Pollentia when the chief command was entrusted to the barbarian and pagan general Saul who wickedly profaned the most solemn days and holy Eastertide and who compelled the enemy, then withdrawing on account of religious scruples, to fight. The judgment of God soon disclosed not only the power of His favor but also the demands of His vengeance, for although we  conquered in fighting we were defeated in conquering. I say nothing of the many internecine conflicts between the barbarians themselves, when two divisions of the Goths, and then the Alans and Huns, destroyed one another in mutual slaughter.

Radagaisus, by far the most savage of all our enemies, past or present, inundated all Italy by a sudden invasion with an army reported to number more than two hundred thousand Goths. Aside from the fact of his own dauntless courage and the support of the vast multitude, he was a pagan and a Scythian, who, according to the custom of the barbarous tribes, had vowed the blood of the entire Roman race as an offering to his gods. Consequently, when he threatened the defenses of Rome, all the pagans in the City flocked together, saying that the enemy was powerful, not merely because of the size of his forces, but especially because of the aid of his gods. They also said that the City was forsaken and would soon perish because it had completely abandoned its gods and its sacred rites. Great complaints were raised everywhere. The restoration and celebration of sacrifices were at once discussed. Blasphemies were rife throughout the City, and the name of Christ was publicly loaded with reproaches as if it were a curse upon the times.

Since in a mixed people the pious deserve grace and the impious punishment, according to God's inscrutable judgment, it was deemed just to allow such enemies to chastise the altogether stubborn and refractory City with a scourge of unusual severity, but not to permit them to destroy everything indiscriminately. At that time there were roaming wildly through the Roman provinces two Gothic peoples, led by two powerful kings. One of these kings was a Christian and more like a Roman, a man, who, through the fear of God, as the event showed, inclined to spare men's lives. The other was a pagan, barbarian, and true Scythian, who in his insatiable cruelty loved not so much the fame or the rewards of butchery as he did slaughter itself. And this man had already reached the heart of Italy and was causing nearby Rome to shake with fright. If, then, he had been the chosen instrument of vengeance—the Romans feared him especially because he courted the favor of the gods with sacrifices—the slaughter would have been more unrestrained without effecting any reform. Thus the last error would have been worse than the first; for had they indeed fallen into the hands of a pagan and an idolator, not only would the remaining pagans have been firmly persuaded to restore idolatry, but the Christians would to their peril have become confused—the latter terrified by the warning, the former encouraged by this precedent. Hence God, the just steward of the human race, willed that the pagan enemy should perish and allowed the Christian enemy to prevail, in order that the pagan and blaspheming Romans might be thrown into confusion by the death of the one and punished by the invasion of the other. In particular, the holy faith and continence of the emperor Honorius, remarkable in a ruler, merited no small measure of divine mercy.

Against Radagaisus, our most savage enemy, God granted that the minds of our other enemies should be disposed to help us with their forces. Uldin and Sarus, leaders of the Huns and of the Goths, came to the aid of the Romans. But God did not allow the workings of His power to appear as the valor of men, particularly when they were our enemies. He smote Radagaisus with supernatural terror, drove him into the mountains of Fiesole, bottled up his two hundred thousand men—this number is the lowest estimate cited—without food or resource on a rough and arid ridge. Weighted down with apprehension, the band that had but lately found Italy too small was crowded upon one small summit, where it hoped to lie concealed. Why delay the tale? No army was arrayed for battle; no fury or fear prolonged the uncertainties of the fight; no killings were done; no blood was shed; nor finally was there that which is usually considered a reason for congratulations, namely, a loss in battle compensated by the fruits of victory. While our men were eating, drinking, and making merry, the enemy, so numerous and so savage, were worn out by hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. All this would matter little if the Romans did not know that the man whom they feared had been captured and subdued and if they did not see that idol worshipper, whose sacrifices they pretended to dread more than his arms, defeated without a battle, sent under the yoke, and exposed to their contempt as a prisoner in chains. So King Radagaisus secretly deserted his men, hoping to escape by himself, but he fell into the hands of our soldiers. He was captured by them, held for a while, and then put to death. The Gothic captives are said to have been so numerous that droves of them were sold everywhere like the cheapest cattle for an aureus apiece.

But God did not allow anything to be left of this people; for immediately all those who had been bought died, and what the hard bargainers had shamefully saved in price was mercifully spent on their burial. Thus ungrateful Rome, which now felt the indirect mercy of her God and Judge, not for the pardoning but for the checking of her bold idolatry, was also soon to suffer the wrath of God, although not in full measure on account of the pious remembrance of the saints, both living and dead. If by some chance she should repent in her bewilderment and learn faith through experience, she would be spared for a short space of time from the invasion of Alaric, a hostile but a Christian king.

38. Meanwhile Count Stilicho, who was sprung from the Vandals, that unwarlike, greedy, treacherous, and crafty race, thought it insufficient that he had imperial power under the nominal emperor, and tried by every possible means to place upon the throne his own son Eucherius. According to common report, the latter had been planning the persecution of the Christians from the time when he was a boy and still a private citizen. Hence, when Alaric and the whole Gothic nation begged humbly and straightforwardly for peace on very favourable terms and also for some place to settle, Stilicho supported them by a secret alliance, but in the name of the state refused them the opportunity of either making war or peace, reserving them to wear down and to intimidate the state. Moreover, other nations irresistible in numbers and might who are now oppressing the provinces of Gaul and Spain (namely, the Alans, Suebi, and Vandals, as well as the Burgundians who were driven on by the same movement) were induced by Stilicho to take arms on their own initiative and were aroused when once their fear of Rome was removed. Stilicho's plan was to batter the Rhine frontier and strike against the two Gauls. This wretched man hoped that in this dangerous situation he could thereby wrest the imperial dignity from his son-in-law and give it to his son, and that it would be as easy to repress the barbarian nations as it was to arouse them. When the character of these crimes was openly revealed to the emperor Honorius and to the Roman army, the soldiers very properly mutinied and killed Stilicho, who, in order to clothe one boy with the royal purple, had imperiled the blood of the whole human race. Eucherius was also slain, who for the sake of gaining the favor of the pagans had threatened that he would celebrate the beginning of his reign by the restoration of the temples and by the overthrow of the churches. Several accomplices also were punished for their wicked plots. Thus the churches of Christ and the devout emperor were freed as well as avenged with very little trouble and with the punishment of but a few persons.

39. Therefore, after this great increase of blasphemies without any evidence of repentance, the final, long-impending doom overtook the City. Alaric appeared before trembling Rome, laid siege, spread confusion, and broke into the City. He first, however, gave orders that all those who had taken refuge in sacred places, especially in the basilicas of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, should be permitted to remain inviolate and unmolested; he allowed his men to devote themselves to plunder as much as they wished, but he gave orders that they should refrain from bloodshed. A further proof that the storming of the City was due to the wrath of God rather than to the bravery of the enemy is shown by the fact that the blessed Innocent, the bishop of Rome, who at that time was at Ravenna, through the hidden providence of God, even as Lot the Just was withdrawn from the Sodomites, did not witness the destruction of the sinful populace.

While the barbarians were roaming through the City, one of the Goths, a powerful man and a Christian, chanced to find in a church building a virgin advanced in years who had dedicated herself to God. When he respectfully asked her for gold and silver, she declared with the firmness of her faith that she had a large amount in her possession and that she would bring it forth at once. She did so. Observing that the barbarian was astonished at the size, weight, and beauty of the riches displayed, even though he did not know the nature of the vessels, the virgin of Christ then said to him: "These are the sacred plate of the Apostle Peter. Presume, if you dare! You will have to answer for the deed. As for me, since I cannot protect them, I dare not keep them." The barbarian, stirred to religious awe through the fear of God and by the virgin's faith, sent word of the incident to Alaric. He ordered that all the vessels, just as they were, should be brought back immediately to the basilica of the Apostle, and that the virgin also, together with all Christians who might join the procession, should be conducted thither under escort. The building, it is said, was at a considerable distance from the sacred places, with half the city lying between. Consequently the gold and silver vessels were distributed, each to a different person; they were carried high above the head in plain sight, to the wonder of all beholders. The pious procession was guarded by a double line of drawn swords; Romans and barbarians in concert raised a hymn to God in public. In the sacking of the City the trumpet of salvation sounded far and wide and smote the ears of all with its invitation, even those lying in hiding. From every quarter the vessels of Christ mingled with the vessels of Peter, and many pagans even joined the Christians in making profession, though not in true faith. In this way they escaped, but only for a time, that their confusion might afterward be the greater. The more densely the Roman refugees flocked together, the more eagerly their barbarian protectors surrounded them. O sacred and inscrutable discernment of the divine judgment! O holy and saving river, which begins its course at a small house and, as it flows in its blessed channel to the abode of the saints, bears wandering and imperiled souls to the harbor of salvation by its pious power of drawing them to it! O glorious trumpet of Christian warfare which, inviting by its sweet notes all without distinction to life, leaves those who, for want of obedience, cannot be roused to salvation, to meet their death for want of excuse! The celebration of this mystery with its transferring of the vessels, its singing of hymns, and its escorting of the people, resembled, in my opinion, a huge sieve, through which the congregation of the Roman people was sifted like a great pile of grain; for through all the apertures of the hiding places in the entire circuit of the City the living kernels flowed forth. It was a question whether it was the occasion or the truth that stirred them. All, however, that believed in the present salvation were received as if from the granary of the Lord's preparation, but the rest, like dung and straw, were left to be destroyed and burned, since either their unbelief or disobedience had already been judged. Who can ponder these things with sufficient wonder; who can proclaim them with befitting praise?

The third day after they had entered the City, the barbarians departed of their own accord. They had, it is true, burned a certain number of buildings, but even this fire was not so great as that which had been caused by accident in the seven hundredth year of Rome. Indeed, if I review the conflagration produced during the spectacles of Nero, her own emperor, this later fire, brought on by the anger of the conqueror, will surely bear no comparison with the former, which was kindled by the wantonness of the prince. Nor do I need in a comparison of this sort to mention the Gauls, who, after burning and sacking the City, camped upon her ashes for almost an entire year. Moreover, to remove all doubt that the enemy were permitted to act in this manner in order to chastise the proud, wanton, and blasphemous City, it may be pointed out that her most magnificent sites, which the Goths were unable to set on fire, were destroyed at this time by lightning.

40. It was in the one thousand one hundred and sixty-fourth year of the City that Alaric stormed Rome. Although the memory of the event is still fresh, anyone who saw the numbers of the Romans themselves and listened to their talk would think that "nothing had happened," as they themselves admit, unless perhaps he were to notice some charred ruins still remaining. When the City was stormed, Placidia, the daughter of the princely Theodosius and sister of the emperors Arcadius and Honorius, was captured and taken to wife by Alaric's kinsman, as if she had been a hostage given by Rome as a special pledge, according to divine decree; thus, through her alliance with the powerful barbarian king, Placidia did much to benefit the state.

Meanwhile, two years before the taking of Rome, the nations that had been stirred up by Stilicho, as I have said, that is, the Alans, Suebi, Vandals as well as many others with them, overwhelmed the Franks, crossed the Rhine, invaded Gaul, and advanced in their onward rush as far as the Pyrenees. Checked for the time being by this barrier, they poured back over the neighboring provinces. While they were roaming wildly through Gaul, Gratian, a townsman of Britain, was set up in that island as a usurper. He was later slain and in his place Constantine, a man from the lowest ranks of the soldiery, was chosen simply from confidence inspired by his name and without any other qualifications to recommend him. As soon as he had seized the imperial dignity, he crossed over into Gaul where, repeatedly tricked by the deceptive alliances of the barbarians, he did much harm to the state. He sent magistrates into Spain where they were obediently received by the provinces. Thereupon two brothers named Didymus and Verinianus, who were young, noble, and wealthy, undertook not only to seize the power of the usurper, but to protect themselves and their country for the lawful emperor against both the usurper and the barbarians. The order of events made this clear; for every usurper swiftly matures his plans for power before he secretly seizes and publicly establishes it. Success lies in being seen with the diadem and the purple before being found out. These men, on the contrary, spent a long time merely in gathering the slaves from their own estates and in supporting them out of their private incomes. Taking no pains to conceal their purpose, they proceeded to the passes of the Pyrenees without alarming anyone.

To oppose them, Constantine sent into Spain his son Constans, who, shameful to say, had been transformed from a monk into a Caesar. With him Constantine sent certain barbarians, who had at one time been received as allies and drawn into military service, and who were called Honoriaci. They were the cause of the first misfortune that befell Spain. After killing the brothers who were trying to defend the Pyrenean Alps with their private forces, these barbarians received permission to plunder the plains of Pallantia as a reward for their victory. Later, after the removal of the faithful and efficient peasant guard, they were entrusted with the defense of the mountains just mentioned and their passes. These Honoriaci, having had a taste of plunder and being allured by its abundance, planned to secure both freedom from punishment for their crimes and a wider scope for their wickedness. Therefore they betrayed their watch over the Pyrenees, left the passes open, and so loosed upon the provinces of Spain all the nations that were wandering through Gaul. They themselves even joined the latter. After engaging for some time in bloody raids and inflicting serious damage upon people and property (for which they themselves are now sorry) they cast lots, divided their holdings, and settled down where they are in possession to this day.

41. There would be ample opportunity now for me to speak about these things if it were not that, according to all men, the secret voice of conscience speaks in the soul of each and every man. Spain has been invaded and has suffered slaughter and devastation, but this is nothing new. During the last two years, while the sword of the enemy raged, she endured no harsher treatment from the barbarians than that which she had formerly suffered under the Romans for two hundred years, or than that which she experienced when ravaged for almost twelve years by the Germans in the reign of the emperor Gallienus. Nevertheless, if a man knows himself, his acts, and his own thoughts, and fears the judgments of God, would he not admit that all his sufferings are just and even insignificant? Or, if he does not know himself and does not fear God, how can he maintain that his sufferings are not just and insignificant? In the light of these truths, God's mercy brought about the result with the same compassion with which it had formerly made the prediction, for in accordance with His incessant warning in His Gospel, "When they shall persecute you in one city, flee into another," whoever wished to go out and depart, found mercenaries, helpers, and defenders in the barbarians themselves. At that time they were voluntarily offering this help; and though after killing everybody they could have carried off everything, they demanded only a trifling payment as a fee for their services and for the transportation of loads. Many persons indeed did take this course. But those who did not believe the Gospel of God, being obstinate, doubly obstinate if they had not even listened to it, did not flee the coming wrath and were justly overtaken and overwhelmed by a sudden attack of God's anger. Nevertheless, soon afterward, the barbarians came to detest their swords, betook themselves to the plough, and are affectionately treating the rest of the Romans as comrades and friends, so that now among them there may be found some Romans who, living with the barbarians, prefer freedom with poverty to tribute-paying with anxiety among their own people.

Yet if the barbarians had been let loose upon the Roman lands simply because the churches of Christ throughout the East and the West were filled with Huns, Suebi, Vandals, and Burgundians, and with believers belonging to various and innumerable races, it would seem that the mercy of God ought to be praised and glorified, in that so many nations would be receiving, even at the cost of our own weakening, a knowledge of the truth which they could never have had but for this opportunity. For how does it harm a Christian who is longing for eternal life to be withdrawn from this world at any time or by any means? On the other hand, what gain is it to a pagan who, though living among Christians, is hardened against faith, if he drag out his days a little longer, since he whose conversion is hopeless is destined at last to die?

Because the judgments of God are inscrutable and we can neither know them all nor explain those we know, let me state briefly that the rebuke of our Judge and God, in whatever form it may take, is justly undergone by those who know and likewise by those who know not.

42. In the one thousand one hundred and sixty-fifth year of the City, the emperor Honorius, seeing that nothing could be done against the barbarians when so many usurpers were opposed to him, ordered that the usurpers themselves should first be destroyed. Count Constantius was entrusted with the command of this campaign. The state then finally realized what benefit it derived from having a Roman general at last and what ruinous oppression it had been enduring for years from its subjection to barbarian counts. Count Constantius then advanced with his army into Gaul and at the city of Arles besieged, captured, and slew the emperor Constantine.

To take up at this point the succession of usurpers as briefly as possible, Constans, the son of Constantine, was killed at Vienne by Gerontius, his count, a worthless rather than an upright man, who replaced Constans by a certain Maximus. Gerontius himself, however, was killed by his own soldiers. Maximus, stripped of the purple and abandoned by the troops of Gaul, which were transferred to Africa and then recalled to Italy, is now a needy exile living among the barbarians in Spain. Later the tyranny set up by Jovinus, a man of high rank in Gaul, fell as soon as it had been established. His brother Sebastian elected to die as a usurper, for he was slain as he took office. What shall I say of the unlucky Attalus, for whom it was an honour to be slain among the usurpers, and a blessing to die? Alaric, who made, unmade, remade, and again unmade  his emperor, doing all this in almost less time than it takes to tell, laughed at the farce and looked on at the comedy of the imperium. Nor is it strange that this pomp was rightly used to mock the wretched man, when his shadowy consul Tertullus dared to say in the Senate House: "I shall speak to you, conscript fathers, as consul and pontifex, holding one of these offices and hoping for the other." But he put his hope in one who had no hope, and in any case he was surely accursed because he had placed his hope in man. Attalus, merely a figurehead of sovereignty, was taken by the Goths into Spain; and, having departed thence in a ship for some unknown destination, he was captured on the sea, brought to Count Constantius, and displayed before the emperor Honorius. His hand was cut off, but he was allowed to live.

Meanwhile Heraclian, who had been appointed count of Africa while Attalus was exercising his shadowy rule  and who had vigorously defended Africa against the magistrates sent by the latter, obtained the consulship. Puffed up with pride at this honour, he married his daughter to Sabinus, his chamberlain, a man of keen intelligence and skillful enterprise, who might have been called wise if only he had devoted his mental powers to quiet pursuits. Heraclian sided with him when Sabinus was suspected of dangerous designs. After withholding the African grain supply for some time contrary to law, Heraclian set sail in person for Rome, accompanied by a huge fleet, the size of which was unheard of, at least in our times. He is said to have had thirty-seven hundred ships, a number that was not possessed, according to the histories, even by Xerxes, the famous king of the Persians or by Alexander the Great, or by any other ruler. No sooner had he disembarked with his troops on his way to the capital than he became terrified in an encounter with Count Marinus and took to flight. Seizing a ship, he returned alone to Carthage and was immediately killed by a band of soldiers. His son-in-law Sabinus fled to Constantinople, but was brought back some time afterward and condemned to exile.

This entire series of open usurpers or disobedient generals was, as I have said, overcome by the exceptional piety and good fortune of the emperor Honorius and by the great diligence and quickness of Constantius. Their success was deserved because in those days, by the order of Honorius and the aid of Constantius, peace and unity were restored to the Catholic Church throughout Africa, and the Body of Christ, which we ourselves constitute, was healed by the closing of the schism. The execution of the blessed command was entrusted to the tribune Marcellinus, a man of exceptional common sense and diligence and an eager follower of all good studies. He was, however, put to death at Carthage by Count Marinus, the latter being incited by jealousy or bribed with gold, it is uncertain which. Marinus was at once recalled from Africa, reduced to the status of a private citizen, and turned over to punishment or to the penitence of his own conscience.

43. In the one thousand one hundred and sixty-eighth year of the City, Count Constantius, who was occupying the city of Arles in Gaul, drove the Goths from Narbonne, and by his vigorous actions forced them into Spain, especially by forbidding and completely cutting off the passage of ships and the importation of foreign merchandise. The Gothic peoples at that time were under the rule of King Athaulf, who, after the capture of Rome and the death of Alaric, had succeeded him on the throne and had taken to wife, as I said, Placidia, the captive sister of the Emperor. This ruler, an earnest seeker after peace, as was often claimed and finally shown by his death, preferred to fight loyally for the emperor Honorius and to employ the forces of the Goths for the defense of the Roman state. For I have myself, while at the town of Bethlehem in Palestine, heard a certain man of Narbo, who had served with distinction under Theodosius and who also was a pious, sensible, and serious person, tell the most blessed priest Jerome that he himself had been a very intimate friend of Athaulf at Narbo, and that he had often heard what the latter, when in good spirits, health, and temper, was accustomed to answer in reply to questions. It seems that at first he ardently desired to blot out the Roman name and to make all the Roman territory a Gothic empire in fact as well as in name, so that, to use the popular expressions, Gothia should take the place of Romania, and he, Athaulf, should become all that Caesar Augustus once had been. Having discovered from long experience that the Goths, because of their unbridled barbarism, were utterly incapable of obeying laws, and yet believing that the state ought not to be deprived of laws without which a state is not a state, he chose to seek for himself at least the glory of restoring and increasing the renown of the Roman name by the power of the Goths, wishing to be looked upon by posterity as the restorer of the Roman Empire, since he could not be its transformer. On this account he strove to refrain from war and to promote peace. He was helped especially by his wife, Placidia, who was a woman of the keenest intelligence and of exceptional piety; by her persuasion and advice he was guided in all measures leading to good government. While he was thus eagerly occupied in seeking and offering peace, he was slain at the city of Barcelona in Spain by the treachery, it is said, of his own men.

After him Segeric was proclaimed king by the Goths, and, although he likewise was inclined towards peace by the will of God, he too was nevertheless killed by his own men.

Thereupon Wallia succeeded to the kingdom, having been chosen by the Goths to break the peace, but appointed by God to establish it. He was especially terrified by God's judgment, because a large band of Goths, provided with arms and ships, had tried to cross into Africa a year before but had been caught in a storm within twelve miles of the Strait of Gades and had perished miserably. He also remembered that disaster suffered under Alaric when the Goths had attempted to cross into Sicily but were shipwrecked and drowned within sight of their comrades. These fears caused him to conclude a very favorable peace with the emperor Honorius giving hostages of the highest rank; he restored Placidia, whom he had treated with decency and respect, to her imperial brother. To insure the security of Rome he risked his own life by taking over the warfare against the other tribes that had settled in Spain and subduing them for the Romans. However, the other kings, those of the Alans, the Vandals, and the Suebi, had made a bargain with us on the same terms, sending this message to the emperor Honorius: "Do you be at peace with us all and receive hostages of all; we struggle with one another, we perish to our own loss, but we conquer for you, indeed with permanent gain to your state, if we should both perish." Who would believe these things if they were not proven by the facts? Thus it is that we are informed by frequent and trustworthy messages that warfare among the barbarian nations is now being carried on daily in Spain and that much blood is being shed on both sides; especially is it reported that Wallia, the king of the Goths, is intent upon bringing about peace. In view of these things I am ready to allow Christian times to be blamed as much as you please, if you can only point to any equally fortunate period from the foundation of the world to the present day. My description, I think, has shown not more by words than by my guiding finger, that countless wars have been stilled, many usurpers destroyed, and the most savage tribes checked, confined, incorporated, or annihilated with little bloodshed, no real struggle, and almost without loss. It remains for our detractors to repent of their endeavors, to blush on seeing the truth, and to believe, to fear, to love, and to follow the one true God, Who can do all things and all of Whose acts (even those that they have thought evil) they have found to be good.

I have set forth with the help of Christ and according to your bidding, most blessed father Augustine, the passions and the punishments of sinful men, the tribulations of the world, and the judgments of God, from the Creation to the present day, a period of five thousand six hundred and eighteen years, as briefly and as simply as I could, but separating Christian times from the former confusion of unbelief because of the more present grace of Christ. Thus I now enjoy the sure reward of my obedience, the only one that I have a right to enjoy; for the quality of my little books, you who asked for this record will be responsible. If you publish them, they must be regarded favorably by you; if you destroy them, they must be regarded unfavorably.

Comments