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The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. II by Edward Gibbon

Part 9 out of 16

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prelates till they should all be united in the same opinion; and
his efforts were supported by the power of banishing fifteen of
the most refractory, and a promise of the consulship if he
achieved so difficult an adventure. His prayers and threats, the
authority of the sovereign, the sophistry of Valens and Ursacius,
the distress of cold and hunger, and the tedious melancholy of a
hopeless exile, at length extorted the reluctant consent of the
bishops of Rimini. The deputies of the East and of the West
attended the emperor in the palace of Constantinople, and he
enjoyed the satisfaction of imposing on the world a profession of
faith which established the likeness, without expressing the
consubstantiality, of the Son of God. ^95 But the triumph of
Arianism had been preceded by the removal of the orthodox clergy,
whom it was impossible either to intimidate or to corrupt; and
the reign of Constantius was disgraced by the unjust and
ineffectual persecution of the great Athanasius.
[Footnote 91: So curious a passage well deserves to be
transcribed. Christianam religionem absolutam et simplicem, anili
superstitione confundens; in qua scrutanda perplexius, quam
componenda gravius excitaret discidia plurima; quae progressa
fusius aluit concertatione verborum, ut catervis antistium
jumentis publicis ultro citroque discarrentibus, per synodos
(quas appellant) dum ritum omnem ad suum sahere conantur
(Valesius reads conatur) rei vehiculariae concideret servos.
Ammianus, xxi. 16.]

[Footnote 92: Athanas. tom. i. p. 870.]

[Footnote 93: Socrates, l. ii. c. 35-47. Sozomen, l. iv. c.
12-30. Theodore li. c. 18-32. Philostorg. l. iv. c. 4 - 12, l.
v. c. 1-4, l. vi. c. 1-5]
[Footnote 94: Sozomen, l. iv. c. 23. Athanas. tom. i. p. 831.
Tillemont (Mem Eccles. tom. vii. p. 947) has collected several
instances of the haughty fanaticism of Constantius from the
detached treatises of Lucifer of Cagliari. The very titles of
these treaties inspire zeal and terror; "Moriendum pro Dei
Filio." "De Regibus Apostaticis." "De non conveniendo cum
Haeretico." "De non parcendo in Deum delinquentibus."]

[Footnote 95: Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra, l. ii. p. 418-430. The
Greek historians were very ignorant of the affairs of the West.]
We have seldom an opportunity of observing, either in active
or speculative life, what effect may be produced, or what
obstacles may be surmounted, by the force of a single mind, when
it is inflexibly applied to the pursuit of a single object. The
immortal name of Athanasius ^96 will never be separated from the
Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, to whose defence he consecrated
every moment and every faculty of his being. Educated in the
family of Alexander, he had vigorously opposed the early progress
of the Arian heresy: he exercised the important functions of
secretary under the aged prelate; and the fathers of the Nicene
council beheld with surprise and respect the rising virtues of
the young deacon. In a time of public danger, the dull claims of
age and of rank are sometimes superseded; and within five months
after his return from Nice, the deacon Athanasius was seated on
the archiepiscopal throne of Egypt. He filled that eminent
station above forty-six years, and his long administration was
spent in a perpetual combat against the powers of Arianism. Five
times was Athanasius expelled from his throne; twenty years he
passed as an exile or a fugitive: and almost every province of
the Roman empire was successively witness to his merit, and his
sufferings in the cause of the Homoousion, which he considered as
the sole pleasure and business, as the duty, and as the glory of
his life. Amidst the storms of persecution, the archbishop of
Alexandria was patient of labor, jealous of fame, careless of
safety; and although his mind was tainted by the contagion of
fanaticism, Athanasius displayed a superiority of character and
abilities, which would have qualified him, far better than the
degenerate sons of Constantine, for the government of a great
monarchy. His learning was much less profound and extensive than
that of Eusebius of Caesarea, and his rude eloquence could not be
compared with the polished oratory of Gregory of Basil; but
whenever the primate of Egypt was called upon to justify his
sentiments, or his conduct, his unpremeditated style, either of
speaking or writing, was clear, forcible, and persuasive. He has
always been revered, in the orthodox school, as one of the most
accurate masters of the Christian theology; and he was supposed
to possess two profane sciences, less adapted to the episcopal
character, the knowledge of jurisprudence, ^97 and that of
divination. ^98 Some fortunate conjectures of future events,
which impartial reasoners might ascribe to the experience and
judgment of Athanasius, were attributed by his friends to
heavenly inspiration, and imputed by his enemies to infernal
[Footnote 96: We may regret that Gregory Nazianzen composed a
panegyric instead of a life of Athanasius; but we should enjoy
and improve the advantage of drawing our most authentic materials
from the rich fund of his own epistles and apologies, (tom. i. p.
670-951.) I shall not imitate the example of Socrates, (l. ii. c.
l.) who published the first edition of the history, without
giving himself the trouble to consult the writings of Athanasius.

Yet even Socrates, the more curious Sozomen, and the learned
Theodoret, connect the life of Athanasius with the series of
ecclesiastical history. The diligence of Tillemont, (tom. viii,)
and of the Benedictine editors, has collected every fact, and
examined every difficulty]

[Footnote 97: Sulpicius Severus (Hist. Sacra, l. ii. p. 396)
calls him a lawyer, a jurisconsult. This character cannot now be
discovered either in the life or writings of Athanasius.]

[Footnote 98: Dicebatur enim fatidicarum sortium fidem, quaeve
augurales portenderent alites scientissime callens aliquoties
praedixisse futura. Ammianus, xv. 7. A prophecy, or rather a
joke, is related by Sozomen, (l. iv c. 10,) which evidently
proves (if the crows speak Latin) that Athanasius understood the
language of the crows.]

But as Athanasius was continually engaged with the
prejudices and passions of every order of men, from the monk to
the emperor, the knowledge of human nature was his first and most
important science. He preserved a distinct and unbroken view of
a scene which was incessantly shifting; and never failed to
improve those decisive moments which are irrecoverably past
before they are perceived by a common eye. The archbishop of
Alexandria was capable of distinguishing how far he might boldly
command, and where he must dexterously insinuate; how long he
might contend with power, and when he must withdraw from
persecution; and while he directed the thunders of the church
against heresy and rebellion, he could assume, in the bosom of
his own party, the flexible and indulgent temper of a prudent
leader. The election of Athanasius has not escaped the reproach
of irregularity and precipitation; ^99 but the propriety of his
behavior conciliated the affections both of the clergy and of the
people. The Alexandrians were impatient to rise in arms for the
defence of an eloquent and liberal pastor. In his distress he
always derived support, or at least consolation, from the
faithful attachment of his parochial clergy; and the hundred
bishops of Egypt adhered, with unshaken zeal, to the cause of
Athanasius. In the modest equipage which pride and policy would
affect, he frequently performed the episcopal visitation of his
provinces, from the mouth of the Nile to the confines of
Aethiopia; familiarly conversing with the meanest of the
populace, and humbly saluting the saints and hermits of the
desert. ^100 Nor was it only in ecclesiastical assemblies, among
men whose education and manners were similar to his own, that
Athanasius displayed the ascendancy of his genius. He appeared
with easy and respectful firmness in the courts of princes; and
in the various turns of his prosperous and adverse fortune he
never lost the confidence of his friends, or the esteem of his

[Footnote 99: The irregular ordination of Athanasius was slightly
mentioned in the councils which were held against him. See
Philostorg. l. ii. c. 11, and Godefroy, p. 71; but it can
scarcely be supposed that the assembly of the bishops of Egypt
would solemnly attest a public falsehood. Athanas. tom. i. p.

[Footnote 100: See the history of the Fathers of the Desert,
published by Rosweide; and Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vii., in
the lives of Antony, Pachomius, &c. Athanasius himself, who did
not disdain to compose the life of his friend Antony, has
carefully observed how often the holy monk deplored and
prophesied the mischiefs of the Arian heresy Athanas. tom. ii. p.
492, 498, &c.]

In his youth, the primate of Egypt resisted the great
Constantine, who had repeatedly signified his will, that Arius
should be restored to the Catholic communion. ^101 The emperor
respected, and might forgive, this inflexible resolution; and the
faction who considered Athanasius as their most formidable enemy,
was constrained to dissemble their hatred, and silently to
prepare an indirect and distant assault. They scattered rumors
and suspicions, represented the archbishop as a proud and
oppressive tyrant, and boldly accused him of violating the treaty
which had been ratified in the Nicene council, with the
schismatic followers of Meletius. ^102 Athanasius had openly
disapproved that ignominious peace, and the emperor was disposed
to believe that he had abused his ecclesiastical and civil power,
to prosecute those odious sectaries: that he had sacrilegiously
broken a chalice in one of their churches of Mareotis; that he
had whipped or imprisoned six of their bishops; and that
Arsenius, a seventh bishop of the same party, had been murdered,
or at least mutilated, by the cruel hand of the primate. ^103
These charges, which affected his honor and his life, were
referred by Constantine to his brother Dalmatius the censor, who
resided at Antioch; the synods of Caesarea and Tyre were
successively convened; and the bishops of the East were
instructed to judge the cause of Athanasius, before they
proceeded to consecrate the new church of the Resurrection at
Jerusalem. The primate might be conscious of his innocence; but
he was sensible that the same implacable spirit which had
dictated the accusation, would direct the proceeding, and
pronounce the sentence. He prudently declined the tribunal of
his enemies; despised the summons of the synod of Caesarea; and,
after a long and artful delay, submitted to the peremptory
commands of the emperor, who threatened to punish his criminal
disobedience if he refused to appear in the council of Tyre. ^104
Before Athanasius, at the head of fifty Egyptian prelates, sailed
from Alexandria, he had wisely secured the alliance of the
Meletians; and Arsenius himself, his imaginary victim, and his
secret friend, was privately concealed in his train. The synod
of Tyre was conducted by Eusebius of Caesarea, with more passion,
and with less art, than his learning and experience might
promise; his numerous faction repeated the names of homicide and
tyrant; and their clamors were encouraged by the seeming patience
of Athanasius, who expected the decisive moment to produce
Arsenius alive and unhurt in the midst of the assembly. The
nature of the other charges did not admit of such clear and
satisfactory replies; yet the archbishop was able to prove, that
in the village, where he was accused of breaking a consecrated
chalice, neither church nor altar nor chalice could really exist.

The Arians, who had secretly determined the guilt and
condemnation of their enemy, attempted, however, to disguise
their injustice by the imitation of judicial forms: the synod
appointed an episcopal commission of six delegates to collect
evidence on the spot; and this measure which was vigorously
opposed by the Egyptian bishops, opened new scenes of violence
and perjury. ^105 After the return of the deputies from
Alexandria, the majority of the council pronounced the final
sentence of degradation and exile against the primate of Egypt.
The decree, expressed in the fiercest language of malice and
revenge, was communicated to the emperor and the Catholic church;
and the bishops immediately resumed a mild and devout aspect,
such as became their holy pilgrimage to the Sepulchre of Christ.

[Footnote 101: At first Constantine threatened in speaking, but
requested in writing. His letters gradually assumed a menacing
tone; by while he required that the entrance of the church should
be open to all, he avoided the odious name of Arius. Athanasius,
like a skilful politician, has accurately marked these
distinctions, (tom. i. p. 788.) which allowed him some scope for
excuse and delay]

[Footnote 102: The Meletians in Egypt, like the Donatists in
Africa, were produced by an episcopal quarrel which arose from
the persecution. I have not leisure to pursue the obscure
controversy, which seems to have been misrepresented by the
partiality of Athanasius and the ignorance of Epiphanius. See
Mosheim's General History of the Church, vol. i. p. 201.]
[Footnote 103: The treatment of the six bishops is specified by
Sozomen, (l. ii. c. 25;) but Athanasius himself, so copious on
the subject of Arsenius and the chalice, leaves this grave
accusation without a reply.
Note: This grave charge, if made, (and it rests entirely on
the authority of Soz omen,) seems to have been silently dropped
by the parties themselves: it is never alluded to in the
subsequent investigations. From Sozomen himself, who gives the
unfavorable report of the commission of inquiry sent to Egypt
concerning the cup. it does not appear that they noticed this
accusation of personal violence. - M]

[Footnote 104: Athanas, tom. i. p. 788. Socrates, l. i.c. 28.
Sozomen, l. ii. c 25. The emperor, in his Epistle of
Convocation, (Euseb. in Vit. Constant. l. iv. c. 42,) seems to
prejudge some members of the clergy and it was more than probable
that the synod would apply those reproaches to Athanasius.]

[Footnote 105: See, in particular, the second Apology of
Athanasius, (tom. i. p. 763-808,) and his Epistles to the Monks,
(p. 808-866.) They are justified by original and authentic
documents; but they would inspire more confidence if he appeared
less innocent, and his enemies less absurd.]

[Footnote 106: Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. l. iv. c. 41-47.]

Chapter XXI: Persecution Of Heresy, State Of The Church.

Part V.

But the injustice of these ecclesiastical judges had not
been countenanced by the submission, or even by the presence, of
Athanasius. He resolved to make a bold and dangerous experiment,
whether the throne was inaccessible to the voice of truth; and
before the final sentence could be pronounced at Tyre, the
intrepid primate threw himself into a bark which was ready to
hoist sail for the Imperial city. The request of a formal
audience might have been opposed or eluded; but Athanasius
concealed his arrival, watched the moment of Constantine's return
from an adjacent villa, and boldly encountered his angry
sovereign as he passed on horseback through the principal street
of Constantinople. So strange an apparition excited his surprise
and indignation; and the guards were ordered to remove the
importunate suitor; but his resentment was subdued by involuntary
respect; and the haughty spirit of the emperor was awed by the
courage and eloquence of a bishop, who implored his justice and
awakened his conscience. ^107 Constantine listened to the
complaints of Athanasius with impartial and even gracious
attention; the members of the synod of Tyre were summoned to
justify their proceedings; and the arts of the Eusebian faction
would have been confounded, if they had not aggravated the guilt
of the primate, by the dexterous supposition of an unpardonable
offence; a criminal design to intercept and detain the corn-fleet
of Alexandria, which supplied the subsistence of the new capital.
^108 The emperor was satisfied that the peace of Egypt would be
secured by the absence of a popular leader; but he refused to
fill the vacancy of the archiepiscopal throne; and the sentence,
which, after long hesitation, he pronounced, was that of a
jealous ostracism, rather than of an ignominious exile. In the
remote province of Gaul, but in the hospitable court of Treves,
Athanasius passed about twenty eight months. The death of the
emperor changed the face of public affairs and, amidst the
general indulgence of a young reign, the primate was restored to
his country by an honorable edict of the younger Constantine, who
expressed a deep sense of the innocence and merit of his
venerable guest. ^109

[Footnote 107: Athanas. tom. i. p. 804. In a church dedicated to
St. Athanasius this situation would afford a better subject for a
picture, than most of the stories of miracles and martyrdoms.]

[Footnote 108: Athanas. tom. i. p. 729. Eunapius has related (in
Vit. Sophist. p. 36, 37, edit. Commelin) a strange example of the
cruelty and credulity of Constantine on a similar occasion. The
eloquent Sopater, a Syrian philosopher, enjoyed his friendship,
and provoked the resentment of Ablavius, his Praetorian praefect.

The corn-fleet was detained for want of a south wind; the people
of Constantinople were discontented; and Sopater was beheaded, on
a charge that he had bound the winds by the power of magic.
Suidas adds, that Constantine wished to prove, by this execution,
that he had absolutely renounced the superstition of the

[Footnote 109: In his return he saw Constantius twice, at
Viminiacum, and at Caesarea in Cappadocia, (Athanas. tom. i. p.
676.) Tillemont supposes that Constantine introduced him to the
meeting of the three royal brothers in Pannonia, (Memoires
Eccles. tom. viii. p. 69.)]

The death of that prince exposed Athanasius to a second
persecution; and the feeble Constantius, the sovereign of the
East, soon became the secret accomplice of the Eusebians. Ninety
bishops of that sect or faction assembled at Antioch, under the
specious pretence of dedicating the cathedral. They composed an
ambiguous creed, which is faintly tinged with the colors of
Semi-Arianism, and twenty-five canons, which still regulate the
discipline of the orthodox Greeks. ^110 It was decided, with some
appearance of equity, that a bishop, deprived by a synod, should
not resume his episcopal functions till he had been absolved by
the judgment of an equal synod; the law was immediately applied
to the case of Athanasius; the council of Antioch pronounced, or
rather confirmed, his degradation: a stranger, named Gregory, was
seated on his throne; and Philagrius, ^111 the praefect of Egypt,
was instructed to support the new primate with the civil and
military powers of the province. Oppressed by the conspiracy of
the Asiatic prelates, Athanasius withdrew from Alexandria, and
passed three years ^112 as an exile and a suppliant on the holy
threshold of the Vatican. ^113 By the assiduous study of the
Latin language, he soon qualified himself to negotiate with the
western clergy; his decent flattery swayed and directed the
haughty Julius; the Roman pontiff was persuaded to consider his
appeal as the peculiar interest of the Apostolic see: and his
innocence was unanimously declared in a council of fifty bishops
of Italy. At the end of three years, the primate was summoned to
the court of Milan by the emperor Constans, who, in the
indulgence of unlawful pleasures, still professed a lively regard
for the orthodox faith. The cause of truth and justice was
promoted by the influence of gold, ^114 and the ministers of
Constans advised their sovereign to require the convocation of an
ecclesiastical assembly, which might act as the representatives
of the Catholic church. Ninety-four bishops of the West,
seventy-six bishops of the East, encountered each other at
Sardica, on the verge of the two empires, but in the dominions of
the protector of Athanasius. Their debates soon degenerated into
hostile altercations; the Asiatics, apprehensive for their
personal safety, retired to Philippopolis in Thrace; and the
rival synods reciprocally hurled their spiritual thunders against
their enemies, whom they piously condemned as the enemies of the
true God. Their decrees were published and ratified in their
respective provinces: and Athanasius, who in the West was revered
as a saint, was exposed as a criminal to the abhorrence of the
East. ^115 The council of Sardica reveals the first symptoms of
discord and schism between the Greek and Latin churches which
were separated by the accidental difference of faith, and the
permanent distinction of language.
[Footnote 110: See Beveridge, Pandect. tom. i. p. 429-452, and
tom. ii. Annotation. p. 182. Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p.
310-324. St. Hilary of Poitiers has mentioned this synod of
Antioch with too much favor and respect. He reckons ninety-seven

[Footnote 111: This magistrate, so odious to Athanasius, is
praised by Gregory Nazianzen, tom. i. Orat. xxi. p. 390, 391.

Saepe premente Deo fert Deus alter opem.

For the credit of human nature, I am always pleased to discover
some good qualities in those men whom party has represented as
tyrants and monsters.]
[Footnote 112: The chronological difficulties which perplex the
residence of Athanasius at Rome, are strenuously agitated by
Valesius (Observat ad Calcem, tom. ii. Hist. Eccles. l. i. c.
1-5) and Tillemont, (Men: Eccles. tom. viii. p. 674, &c.) I have
followed the simple hypothesis of Valesius, who allows only one
journey, after the intrusion Gregory.]

[Footnote 113: I cannot forbear transcribing a judicious
observation of Wetstein, (Prolegomen. N.S. p. 19: ) Si tamen
Historiam Ecclesiasticam velimus consulere, patebit jam inde a
seculo quarto, cum, ortis controversiis, ecclesiae Graeciae
doctores in duas partes scinderentur, ingenio, eloquentia,
numero, tantum non aequales, eam partem quae vincere cupiebat
Romam confugisse, majestatemque pontificis comiter coluisse,
eoque pacto oppressis per pontificem et episcopos Latinos
adversariis praevaluisse, atque orthodoxiam in conciliis
stabilivisse. Eam ob causam Athanasius, non sine comitatu, Roman
petiit, pluresque annos ibi haesit.]

[Footnote 114: Philostorgius, l. iii. c. 12. If any corruption
was used to promote the interest of religion, an advocate of
Athanasius might justify or excuse this questionable conduct, by
the example of Cato and Sidney; the former of whom is said to
have given, and the latter to have received, a bribe in the cause
of liberty.]

[Footnote 115: The canon which allows appeals to the Roman
pontiffs, has almost raised the council of Sardica to the dignity
of a general council; and its acts have been ignorantly or
artfully confounded with those of the Nicene synod. See
Tillemont, tom. vii. p. 689, and Geddos's Tracts, vol. ii. p.

During his second exile in the West, Athanasius was
frequently admitted to the Imperial presence; at Capua, Lodi,
Milan, Verona, Padua, Aquileia, and Treves. The bishop of the
diocese usually assisted at these interviews; the master of the
offices stood before the veil or curtain of the sacred apartment;
and the uniform moderation of the primate might be attested by
these respectable witnesses, to whose evidence he solemnly
appeals. ^116 Prudence would undoubtedly suggest the mild and
respectful tone that became a subject and a bishop. In these
familiar conferences with the sovereign of the West, Athanasius
might lament the error of Constantius, but he boldly arraigned
the guilt of his eunuchs and his Arian prelates; deplored the
distress and danger of the Catholic church; and excited Constans
to emulate the zeal and glory of his father. The emperor
declared his resolution of employing the troops and treasures of
Europe in the orthodox cause; and signified, by a concise and
peremptory epistle to his brother Constantius, that unless he
consented to the immediate restoration of Athanasius, he himself,
with a fleet and army, would seat the archbishop on the throne of
Alexandria. ^117 But this religious war, so horrible to nature,
was prevented by the timely compliance of Constantius; and the
emperor of the East condescended to solicit a reconciliation with
a subject whom he had injured. Athanasius waited with decent
pride, till he had received three successive epistles full of the
strongest assurances of the protection, the favor, and the esteem
of his sovereign; who invited him to resume his episcopal seat,
and who added the humiliating precaution of engaging his
principal ministers to attest the sincerity of his intentions.
They were manifested in a still more public manner, by the strict
orders which were despatched into Egypt to recall the adherents
of Athanasius, to restore their privileges, to proclaim their
innocence, and to erase from the public registers the illegal
proceedings which had been obtained during the prevalence of the
Eusebian faction. After every satisfaction and security had been
given, which justice or even delicacy could require, the primate
proceeded, by slow journeys, through the provinces of Thrace,
Asia, and Syria; and his progress was marked by the abject homage
of the Oriental bishops, who excited his contempt without
deceiving his penetration. ^118 At Antioch he saw the emperor
Constantius; sustained, with modest firmness, the embraces and
protestations of his master, and eluded the proposal of allowing
the Arians a single church at Alexandria, by claiming, in the
other cities of the empire, a similar toleration for his own
party; a reply which might have appeared just and moderate in the
mouth of an independent prince. The entrance of the archbishop
into his capital was a triumphal procession; absence and
persecution had endeared him to the Alexandrians; his authority,
which he exercised with rigor, was more firmly established; and
his fame was diffused from Aethiopia to Britain, over the whole
extent of the Christian world. ^119

[Footnote 116: As Athanasius dispersed secret invectives against
Constantius, (see the Epistle to the Monks,) at the same time
that he assured him of his profound respect, we might distrust
the professions of the archbishop. Tom. i. p. 677.]

[Footnote 117: Notwithstanding the discreet silence of
Athanasius, and the manifest forgery of a letter inserted by
Socrates, these menaces are proved by the unquestionable evidence
of Lucifer of Cagliari, and even of Constantius himself. See
Tillemont, tom. viii. p. 693]

[Footnote 118: I have always entertained some doubts concerning
the retraction of Ursacius and Valens, (Athanas. tom. i. p. 776.)
Their epistles to Julius, bishop of Rome, and to Athanasius
himself, are of so different a cast from each other, that they
cannot both be genuine. The one speaks the language of criminals
who confess their guilt and infamy; the other of enemies, who
solicit on equal terms an honorable reconciliation.

Note: I cannot quite comprehend the ground of Gibbon's
doubts. Athanasius distinctly asserts the fact of their
retractation. (Athan. Op. i. p. 124, edit. Benedict.) The
epistles are apparently translations from the Latin, if, in fact,
more than the substance of the epistles. That to Athanasius is
brief, almost abrupt. Their retractation is likewise mentioned
in the address of the orthodox bishops of Rimini to Constantius.
Athan. de Synodis, Op t. i. p 723-M.]

[Footnote 119: The circumstances of his second return may be
collected from Athanasius himself, tom. i. p. 769, and 822, 843.
Socrates, l. ii. c. 18, Sozomen, l. iii. c. 19. Theodoret, l. ii.
c. 11, 12. Philostorgius, l. iii. c. 12.]

But the subject who has reduced his prince to the necessity
of dissembling, can never expect a sincere and lasting
forgiveness; and the tragic fate of Constans soon deprived
Athanasius of a powerful and generous protector. The civil war
between the assassin and the only surviving brother of Constans,
which afflicted the empire above three years, secured an interval
of repose to the Catholic church; and the two contending parties
were desirous to conciliate the friendship of a bishop, who, by
the weight of his personal authority, might determine the
fluctuating resolutions of an important province. He gave
audience to the ambassadors of the tyrant, with whom he was
afterwards accused of holding a secret correspondence; ^120 and
the emperor Constantius repeatedly assured his dearest father,
the most reverend Athanasius, that, notwithstanding the malicious
rumors which were circulated by their common enemies, he had
inherited the sentiments, as well as the throne, of his deceased
brother. ^121 Gratitude and humanity would have disposed the
primate of Egypt to deplore the untimely fate of Constans, and to
abhor the guilt of Magnentius; but as he clearly understood that
the apprehensions of Constantius were his only safeguard, the
fervor of his prayers for the success of the righteous cause
might perhaps be somewhat abated. The ruin of Athanasius was no
longer contrived by the obscure malice of a few bigoted or angry
bishops, who abused the authority of a credulous monarch. The
monarch himself avowed the resolution, which he had so long
suppressed, of avenging his private injuries; ^122 and the first
winter after his victory, which he passed at Arles, was employed
against an enemy more odious to him than the vanquished tyrant of

[Footnote 120: Athanasius (tom. i. p. 677, 678) defends his
innocence by pathetic complaints, solemn assertions, and specious
arguments. He admits that letters had been forged in his name,
but he requests that his own secretaries and those of the tyrant
might be examined, whether those letters had been written by the
former, or received by the latter.]
[Footnote 121: Athanas. tom. i. p. 825-844.]

[Footnote 122: Athanas. tom. i. p. 861. Theodoret, l. ii. c. 16.

The emperor declared that he was more desirous to subdue
Athanasius, than he had been to vanquish Magnentius or Sylvanus.]

If the emperor had capriciously decreed the death of the
most eminent and virtuous citizen of the republic, the cruel
order would have been executed without hesitation, by the
ministers of open violence or of specious injustice. The
caution, the delay, the difficulty with which he proceeded in the
condemnation and punishment of a popular bishop, discovered to
the world that the privileges of the church had already revived a
sense of order and freedom in the Roman government. The sentence
which was pronounced in the synod of Tyre, and subscribed by a
large majority of the Eastern bishops, had never been expressly
repealed; and as Athanasius had been once degraded from his
episcopal dignity by the judgment of his brethren, every
subsequent act might be considered as irregular, and even
criminal. But the memory of the firm and effectual support which
the primate of Egypt had derived from the attachment of the
Western church, engaged Constantius to suspend the execution of
the sentence till he had obtained the concurrence of the Latin
bishops. Two years were consumed in ecclesiastical negotiations;
and the important cause between the emperor and one of his
subjects was solemnly debated, first in the synod of Arles, and
afterwards in the great council of Milan, ^123 which consisted of
above three hundred bishops. Their integrity was gradually
undermined by the arguments of the Arians, the dexterity of the
eunuchs, and the pressing solicitations of a prince who gratified
his revenge at the expense of his dignity, and exposed his own
passions, whilst he influenced those of the clergy. Corruption,
the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty, was
successfully practised; honors, gifts, and immunities were
offered and accepted as the price of an episcopal vote; ^124 and
the condemnation of the Alexandrian primate was artfully
represented as the only measure which could restore the peace and
union of the Catholic church. The friends of Athanasius were
not, however, wanting to their leader, or to their cause. With a
manly spirit, which the sanctity of their character rendered less
dangerous, they maintained, in public debate, and in private
conference with the emperor, the eternal obligation of religion
and justice. They declared, that neither the hope of his favor,
nor the fear of his displeasure, should prevail on them to join
in the condemnation of an absent, an innocent, a respectable
brother. ^125 They affirmed, with apparent reason, that the
illegal and obsolete decrees of the council of Tyre had long
since been tacitly abolished by the Imperial edicts, the
honorable reestablishment of the archbishop of Alexandria, and
the silence or recantation of his most clamorous adversaries.
They alleged, that his innocence had been attested by the
unanimous bishops of Egypt, and had been acknowledged in the
councils of Rome and Sardica, ^126 by the impartial judgment of
the Latin church. They deplored the hard condition of
Athanasius, who, after enjoying so many years his seat, his
reputation, and the seeming confidence of his sovereign, was
again called upon to confute the most groundless and extravagant
accusations. Their language was specious; their conduct was
honorable: but in this long and obstinate contest, which fixed
the eyes of the whole empire on a single bishop, the
ecclesiastical factions were prepared to sacrifice truth and
justice to the more interesting object of defending or removing
the intrepid champion of the Nicene faith. The Arians still
thought it prudent to disguise, in ambiguous language, their real
sentiments and designs; but the orthodox bishops, armed with the
favor of the people, and the decrees of a general council,
insisted on every occasion, and particularly at Milan, that their
adversaries should purge themselves from the suspicion of heresy,
before they presumed to arraign the conduct of the great
Athanasius. ^127
[Footnote 123: The affairs of the council of Milan are so
imperfectly and erroneously related by the Greek writers, that we
must rejoice in the supply of some letters of Eusebius, extracted
by Baronius from the archives of the church of Vercellae, and of
an old life of Dionysius of Milan, published by Bollandus. See
Baronius, A.D. 355, and Tillemont, tom. vii. p. 1415.]
[Footnote 124: The honors, presents, feasts, which seduced so
many bishops, are mentioned with indignation by those who were
too pure or too proud to accept them. "We combat (says Hilary of
Poitiers) against Constantius the Antichrist; who strokes the
belly instead of scourging the back;" qui non dorsa caedit; sed
ventrem palpat. Hilarius contra Constant c. 5, p. 1240.]
[Footnote 125: Something of this opposition is mentioned by
Ammianus (x. 7,) who had a very dark and superficial knowledge of
ecclesiastical history. Liberius . . . perseveranter renitebatur,
nec visum hominem, nec auditum damnare, nefas ultimum saepe
exclamans; aperte scilicet recalcitrans Imperatoris arbitrio. Id
enim ille Athanasio semper infestus, &c.]
[Footnote 126: More properly by the orthodox part of the council
of Sardica. If the bishops of both parties had fairly voted, the
division would have been 94 to 76. M. de Tillemont (see tom.
viii. p. 1147-1158) is justly surprised that so small a majority
should have proceeded as vigorously against their adversaries,
the principal of whom they immediately deposed.]
[Footnote 127: Sulp. Severus in Hist. Sacra, l. ii. p. 412.]
But the voice of reason (if reason was indeed on the side of
Athanasius) was silenced by the clamors of a factious or venal
majority; and the councils of Arles and Milan were not dissolved,
till the archbishop of Alexandria had been solemnly condemned and
deposed by the judgment of the Western, as well as of the
Eastern, church. The bishops who had opposed, were required to
subscribe, the sentence, and to unite in religious communion with
the suspected leaders of the adverse party. A formulary of
consent was transmitted by the messengers of state to the absent
bishops: and all those who refused to submit their private
opinion to the public and inspired wisdom of the councils of
Arles and Milan, were immediately banished by the emperor, who
affected to execute the decrees of the Catholic church. Among
those prelates who led the honorable band of confessors and
exiles, Liberius of Rome, Osius of Cordova, Paulinus of Treves,
Dionysius of Milan, Eusebius of Vercellae, Lucifer of Cagliari
and Hilary of Poitiers, may deserve to be particularly
distinguished. The eminent station of Liberius, who governed the
capital of the empire; the personal merit and long experience of
the venerable Osius, who was revered as the favorite of the great
Constantine, and the father of the Nicene faith, placed those
prelates at the head of the Latin church: and their example,
either of submission or resistance, would probable be imitated by
the episcopal crowd. But the repeated attempts of the emperor to
seduce or to intimidate the bishops of Rome and Cordova, were for
some time ineffectual. The Spaniard declared himself ready to
suffer under Constantius, as he had suffered threescore years
before under his grandfather Maximian. The Roman, in the presence
of his sovereign, asserted the innocence of Athanasius and his
own freedom. When he was banished to Beraea in Thrace, he sent
back a large sum which had been offered for the accommodation of
his journey; and insulted the court of Milan by the haughty
remark, that the emperor and his eunuchs might want that gold to
pay their soldiers and their bishops. ^128 The resolution of
Liberius and Osius was at length subdued by the hardships of
exile and confinement. The Roman pontiff purchased his return by
some criminal compliances; and afterwards expiated his guilt by a
seasonable repentance. Persuasion and violence were employed to
extort the reluctant signature of the decrepit bishop of Cordova,
whose strength was broken, and whose faculties were perhaps
impaired by the weight of a hundred years; and the insolent
triumph of the Arians provoked some of the orthodox party to
treat with inhuman severity the character, or rather the memory,
of an unfortunate old man, to whose former services Christianity
itself was so deeply indebted. ^129

[Footnote 128: The exile of Liberius is mentioned by Ammianus,
xv. 7. See Theodoret, l. ii. c. 16. Athanas. tom. i. p.
834-837. Hilar. Fragment l.]
[Footnote 129: The life of Osius is collected by Tillemont, (tom.
vii. p. 524-561,) who in the most extravagant terms first
admires, and then reprobates, the bishop of Cordova. In the
midst of their lamentations on his fall, the prudence of
Athanasius may be distinguished from the blind and intemperate
zeal of Hilary.]

The fall of Liberius and Osius reflected a brighter lustre
on the firmness of those bishops who still adhered, with unshaken
fidelity, to the cause of Athanasius and religious truth. The
ingenious malice of their enemies had deprived them of the
benefit of mutual comfort and advice, separated those illustrious
exiles into distant provinces, and carefully selected the most
inhospitable spots of a great empire. ^130 Yet they soon
experienced that the deserts of Libya, and the most barbarous
tracts of Cappadocia, were less inhospitable than the residence
of those cities in which an Arian bishop could satiate, without
restraint, the exquisite rancor of theological hatred. ^131 Their
consolation was derived from the consciousness of rectitude and
independence, from the applause, the visits, the letters, and the
liberal alms of their adherents, ^132 and from the satisfaction
which they soon enjoyed of observing the intestine divisions of
the adversaries of the Nicene faith. Such was the nice and
capricious taste of the emperor Constantius; and so easily was he
offended by the slightest deviation from his imaginary standard
of Christian truth, that he persecuted, with equal zeal, those
who defended the consubstantiality, those who asserted the
similar substance, and those who denied the likeness of the Son
of God. Three bishops, degraded and banished for those adverse
opinions, might possibly meet in the same place of exile; and,
according to the difference of their temper, might either pity or
insult the blind enthusiasm of their antagonists, whose present
sufferings would never be compensated by future happiness.
[Footnote 130: The confessors of the West were successively
banished to the deserts of Arabia or Thebais, the lonely places
of Mount Taurus, the wildest parts of Phrygia, which were in the
possession of the impious Montanists, &c. When the heretic Aetius
was too favorably entertained at Mopsuestia in Cilicia, the place
of his exile was changed, by the advice of Acacius, to Amblada, a
district inhabited by savages and infested by war and pestilence.
Philostorg. l. v. c. 2.]

[Footnote 131: See the cruel treatment and strange obstinacy of
Eusebius, in his own letters, published by Baronius, A.D. 356,
No. 92-102.]
[Footnote 132: Caeterum exules satis constat, totius orbis
studiis celebratos pecuniasque eis in sumptum affatim congestas,
legationibus quoque plebis Catholicae ex omnibus fere provinciis
frequentatos. Sulp. Sever Hist. Sacra, p. 414. Athanas. tom. i.
p. 836, 840.]

The disgrace and exile of the orthodox bishops of the West
were designed as so many preparatory steps to the ruin of
Athanasius himself. ^133 Six-and-twenty months had elapsed,
during which the Imperial court secretly labored, by the most
insidious arts, to remove him from Alexandria, and to withdraw
the allowance which supplied his popular liberality. But when
the primate of Egypt, deserted and proscribed by the Latin
church, was left destitute of any foreign support, Constantius
despatched two of his secretaries with a verbal commission to
announce and execute the order of his banishment. As the justice
of the sentence was publicly avowed by the whole party, the only
motive which could restrain Constantius from giving his
messengers the sanction of a written mandate, must be imputed to
his doubt of the event; and to a sense of the danger to which he
might expose the second city, and the most fertile province, of
the empire, if the people should persist in the resolution of
defending, by force of arms, the innocence of their spiritual
father. Such extreme caution afforded Athanasius a specious
pretence respectfully to dispute the truth of an order, which he
could not reconcile, either with the equity, or with the former
declarations, of his gracious master. The civil powers of Egypt
found themselves inadequate to the task of persuading or
compelling the primate to abdicate his episcopal throne; and they
were obliged to conclude a treaty with the popular leaders of
Alexandria, by which it was stipulated, that all proceedings and
all hostilities should be suspended till the emperor's pleasure
had been more distinctly ascertained. By this seeming
moderation, the Catholics were deceived into a false and fatal
security; while the legions of the Upper Egypt, and of Libya,
advanced, by secret orders and hasty marches, to besiege, or
rather to surprise, a capital habituated to sedition, and
inflamed by religious zeal. ^134 The position of Alexandria,
between the sea and the Lake Mareotis, facilitated the approach
and landing of the troops; who were introduced into the heart of
the city, before any effectual measures could be taken either to
shut the gates or to occupy the important posts of defence. At
the hour of midnight, twenty-three days after the signature of
the treaty, Syrianus, duke of Egypt, at the head of five thousand
soldiers, armed and prepared for an assault, unexpectedly
invested the church of St. Theonas, where the archbishop, with a
part of his clergy and people, performed their nocturnal
devotions. The doors of the sacred edifice yielded to the
impetuosity of the attack, which was accompanied with every
horrid circumstance of tumult and bloodshed; but, as the bodies
of the slain, and the fragments of military weapons, remained the
next day an unexceptionable evidence in the possession of the
Catholics, the enterprise of Syrianus may be considered as a
successful irruption rather than as an absolute conquest. The
other churches of the city were profaned by similar outrages;
and, during at least four months, Alexandria was exposed to the
insults of a licentious army, stimulated by the ecclesiastics of
a hostile faction. Many of the faithful were killed; who may
deserve the name of martyrs, if their deaths were neither
provoked nor revenged; bishops and presbyters were treated with
cruel ignominy; consecrated virgins were stripped naked, scourged
and violated; the houses of wealthy citizens were plundered; and,
under the mask of religious zeal, lust, avarice, and private
resentment were gratified with impunity, and even with applause.
The Pagans of Alexandria, who still formed a numerous and
discontented party, were easily persuaded to desert a bishop whom
they feared and esteemed. The hopes of some peculiar favors, and
the apprehension of being involved in the general penalties of
rebellion, engaged them to promise their support to the destined
successor of Athanasius, the famous George of Cappadocia. The
usurper, after receiving the consecration of an Arian synod, was
placed on the episcopal throne by the arms of Sebastian, who had
been appointed Count of Egypt for the execution of that important
design. In the use, as well as in the acquisition, of power, the
tyrant, George disregarded the laws of religion, of justice, and
of humanity; and the same scenes of violence and scandal which
had been exhibited in the capital, were repeated in more than
ninety episcopal cities of Egypt. Encouraged by success,
Constantius ventured to approve the conduct of his minister. By
a public and passionate epistle, the emperor congratulates the
deliverance of Alexandria from a popular tyrant, who deluded his
blind votaries by the magic of his eloquence; expatiates on the
virtues and piety of the most reverend George, the elected
bishop; and aspires, as the patron and benefactor of the city to
surpass the fame of Alexander himself. But he solemnly declares
his unalterable resolution to pursue with fire and sword the
seditious adherents of the wicked Athanasius, who, by flying from
justice, has confessed his guilt, and escaped the ignominious
death which he had so often deserved. ^135
[Footnote 133: Ample materials for the history of this third
persecution of Athanasius may be found in his own works. See
particularly his very able Apology to Constantius, (tom. i. p.
673,) his first Apology for his flight (p. 701,) his prolix
Epistle to the Solitaries, (p. 808,) and the original protest of
the people of Alexandria against the violences committed by
Syrianus, (p. 866.) Sozomen (l. iv. c. 9) has thrown into the
narrative two or three luminous and important circumstances.]

[Footnote 134: Athanasius had lately sent for Antony, and some of
his chosen monks. They descended from their mountains, announced
to the Alexandrians the sanctity of Athanasius, and were
honorably conducted by the archbishop as far as the gates of the
city. Athanas tom. ii. p. 491, 492. See likewise Rufinus, iii.
164, in Vit. Patr. p. 524.]

[Footnote 135: Athanas. tom. i. p. 694. The emperor, or his
Arian secretaries while they express their resentment, betray
their fears and esteem of Athanasius.]

Chapter XXI: Persecution Of Heresy, State Of The Church.

Part VI.

Athanasius had indeed escaped from the most imminent
dangers; and the adventures of that extraordinary man deserve and
fix our attention. On the memorable night when the church of St.
Theonas was invested by the troops of Syrianus, the archbishop,
seated on his throne, expected, with calm and intrepid dignity,
the approach of death. While the public devotion was interrupted
by shouts of rage and cries of terror, he animated his trembling
congregation to express their religious confidence, by chanting
one of the psalms of David which celebrates the triumph of the
God of Israel over the haughty and impious tyrant of Egypt. The
doors were at length burst open: a cloud of arrows was discharged
among the people; the soldiers, with drawn swords, rushed
forwards into the sanctuary; and the dreadful gleam of their arms
was reflected by the holy luminaries which burnt round the altar.
^136 Athanasius still rejected the pious importunity of the monks
and presbyters, who were attached to his person; and nobly
refused to desert his episcopal station, till he had dismissed in
safety the last of the congregation. The darkness and tumult of
the night favored the retreat of the archbishop; and though he
was oppressed by the waves of an agitated multitude, though he
was thrown to the ground, and left without sense or motion, he
still recovered his undaunted courage, and eluded the eager
search of the soldiers, who were instructed by their Arian
guides, that the head of Athanasius would be the most acceptable
present to the emperor. From that moment the primate of Egypt
disappeared from the eyes of his enemies, and remained above six
years concealed in impenetrable obscurity. ^137

[Footnote 136: These minute circumstances are curious, as they
are literally transcribed from the protest, which was publicly
presented three days afterwards by the Catholics of Alexandria.
See Athanas. tom. l. n. 867]
[Footnote 137: The Jansenists have often compared Athanasius and
Arnauld, and have expatiated with pleasure on the faith and zeal,
the merit and exile, of those celebrated doctors. This concealed
parallel is very dexterously managed by the Abbe de la Bleterie,
Vie de Jovien, tom. i. p. 130.]
The despotic power of his implacable enemy filled the whole
extent of the Roman world; and the exasperated monarch had
endeavored, by a very pressing epistle to the Christian princes
of Ethiopia, ^* to exclude Athanasius from the most remote and
sequestered regions of the earth. Counts, praefects, tribunes,
whole armies, were successively employed to pursue a bishop and a
fugitive; the vigilance of the civil and military powers was
excited by the Imperial edicts; liberal rewards were promised to
the man who should produce Athanasius, either alive or dead; and
the most severe penalties were denounced against those who should
dare to protect the public enemy. ^138 But the deserts of Thebais
were now peopled by a race of wild, yet submissive fanatics, who
preferred the commands of their abbot to the laws of their
sovereign. The numerous disciples of Antony and Pachonnus
received the fugitive primate as their father, admired the
patience and humility with which he conformed to their strictest
institutions, collected every word which dropped from his lips as
the genuine effusions of inspired wisdom; and persuaded
themselves that their prayers, their fasts, and their vigils,
were less meritorious than the zeal which they expressed, and the
dangers which they braved, in the defence of truth and innocence.
^139 The monasteries of Egypt were seated in lonely and desolate
places, on the summit of mountains, or in the islands of the
Nile; and the sacred horn or trumpet of Tabenne was the
well-known signal which assembled several thousand robust and
determined monks, who, for the most part, had been the peasants
of the adjacent country. When their dark retreats were invaded by
a military force, which it was impossible to resist, they
silently stretched out their necks to the executioner; and
supported their national character, that tortures could never
wrest from an Egyptian the confession of a secret which he was
resolved not to disclose. ^140 The archbishop of Alexandria, for
whose safety they eagerly devoted their lives, was lost among a
uniform and well-disciplined multitude; and on the nearer
approach of danger, he was swiftly removed, by their officious
hands, from one place of concealment to another, till he reached
the formidable deserts, which the gloomy and credulous temper of
superstition had peopled with daemons and savage monsters. The
retirement of Athanasius, which ended only with the life of
Constantius, was spent, for the most part, in the society of the
monks, who faithfully served him as guards, as secretaries, and
as messengers; but the importance of maintaining a more intimate
connection with the Catholic party tempted him, whenever the
diligence of the pursuit was abated, to emerge from the desert,
to introduce himself into Alexandria, and to trust his person to
the discretion of his friends and adherents. His various
adventures might have furnished the subject of a very
entertaining romance. He was once secreted in a dry cistern,
which he had scarcely left before he was betrayed by the
treachery of a female slave; ^141 and he was once concealed in a
still more extraordinary asylum, the house of a virgin, only
twenty years of age, and who was celebrated in the whole city for
her exquisite beauty. At the hour of midnight, as she related
the story many years afterwards, she was surprised by the
appearance of the archbishop in a loose undress, who, advancing
with hasty steps, conjured her to afford him the protection which
he had been directed by a celestial vision to seek under her
hospitable roof. The pious maid accepted and preserved the
sacred pledge which was intrusted to her prudence and courage.
Without imparting the secret to any one, she instantly conducted
Athanasius into her most secret chamber, and watched over his
safety with the tenderness of a friend and the assiduity of a
servant. As long as the danger continued, she regularly supplied
him with books and provisions, washed his feet, managed his
correspondence, and dexterously concealed from the eye of
suspicion this familiar and solitary intercourse between a saint
whose character required the most unblemished chastity, and a
female whose charms might excite the most dangerous emotions.
^142 During the six years of persecution and exile, Athanasius
repeated his visits to his fair and faithful companion; and the
formal declaration, that he saw the councils of Rimini and
Seleucia, ^143 forces us to believe that he was secretly present
at the time and place of their convocation. The advantage of
personally negotiating with his friends, and of observing and
improving the divisions of his enemies, might justify, in a
prudent statesman, so bold and dangerous an enterprise: and
Alexandria was connected by trade and navigation with every
seaport of the Mediterranean. From the depth of his inaccessible
retreat the intrepid primate waged an incessant and offensive war
against the protector of the Arians; and his seasonable writings,
which were diligently circulated and eagerly perused, contributed
to unite and animate the orthodox party. In his public
apologies, which he addressed to the emperor himself, he
sometimes affected the praise of moderation; whilst at the same
time, in secret and vehement invectives, he exposed Constantius
as a weak and wicked prince, the executioner of his family, the
tyrant of the republic, and the Antichrist of the church. In the
height of his prosperity, the victorious monarch, who had
chastised the rashness of Gallus, and suppressed the revolt of
Sylvanus, who had taken the diadem from the head of Vetranio, and
vanquished in the field the legions of Magnentius, received from
an invisible hand a wound, which he could neither heal nor
revenge; and the son of Constantine was the first of the
Christian princes who experienced the strength of those
principles, which, in the cause of religion, could resist the
most violent exertions ^144 of the civil power.

[Footnote *: These princes were called Aeizanas and Saiazanas.
Athanasius calls them the kings of Axum. In the superscription of
his letter, Constantius gives them no title. Mr. Salt, during
his first journey in Ethiopia, (in 1806,) discovered, in the
ruins of Axum, a long and very interesting inscription relating
to these princes. It was erected to commemorate the victory of
Aeizanas over the Bougaitae, (St. Martin considers them the
Blemmyes, whose true name is Bedjah or Bodjah.) Aeizanas is
styled king of the Axumites, the Homerites, of Raeidan, of the
Ethiopians, of the Sabsuites, of Silea, of Tiamo, of the
Bougaites. and of Kaei. It appears that at this time the king
of the Ethiopians ruled over the Homerites, the inhabitants of
Yemen. He was not yet a Christian, as he calls himself son of the
invincible Mars. Another brother besides Saiazanas, named
Adephas, is mentioned, though Aeizanas seems to have been sole
king. See St. Martin, note on Le Beau, ii. 151. Salt's Travels.
De Sacy, note in Annales des Voyages, xii. p. 53. - M.]
[Footnote 138: Hinc jam toto orbe profugus Athanasius, nec ullus
ci tutus ad latendum supererat locus. Tribuni, Praefecti,
Comites, exercitus quoque ad pervestigandum cum moventur edictis
Imperialibus; praemia dela toribus proponuntur, si quis eum
vivum, si id minus, caput certe Atha casii detulisset. Rufin. l.
i. c. 16.]

[Footnote 139: Gregor. Nazianzen. tom. i. Orat. xxi. p. 384,
385. See Tillemont Mem. Eccles. tom. vii. p. 176-410, 820-830.]

[Footnote 140: Et nulla tormentorum vis inveneri, adhuc potuit,
quae obdurato illius tractus latroni invito elicere potuit, ut
nomen proprium dicat Ammian. xxii. 16, and Valesius ad locum.]

[Footnote 141: Rufin. l. i. c. 18. Sozomen, l. iv. c. 10. This
and the following story will be rendered impossible, if we
suppose that Athanasius always inhabited the asylum which he
accidentally or occasionally had used.]
[Footnote 142: Paladius, (Hist. Lausiac. c. 136, in Vit. Patrum,
p. 776,) the original author of this anecdote, had conversed with
the damsel, who in her old age still remembered with pleasure so
pious and honorable a connection. I cannot indulge the delicacy
of Baronius, Valesius, Tillemont, &c., who almost reject a story
so unworthy, as they deem it, of the gravity of ecclesiastical

[Footnote 143: Athanas. tom. i. p. 869. I agree with Tillemont,
(tom. iii. p. 1197,) that his expressions imply a personal,
though perhaps secret visit to the synods.]

[Footnote 144: The epistle of Athanasius to the monks is filled
with reproaches, which the public must feel to be true, (vol. i.
p. 834, 856;) and, in compliment to his readers, he has
introduced the comparisons of Pharaoh, Ahab, Belshazzar, &c. The
boldness of Hilary was attended with less danger, if he published
his invective in Gaul after the revolt of Julian; but Lucifer
sent his libels to Constantius, and almost challenged the reward
of martyrdom. See Tillemont, tom. vii. p. 905.]

The persecution of Athanasius, and of so many respectable
bishops, who suffered for the truth of their opinions, or at
least for the integrity of their conscience, was a just subject
of indignation and discontent to all Christians, except those who
were blindly devoted to the Arian faction. The people regretted
the loss of their faithful pastors, whose banishment was usually
followed by the intrusion of a stranger ^145 into the episcopal
chair; and loudly complained, that the right of election was
violated, and that they were condemned to obey a mercenary
usurper, whose person was unknown, and whose principles were
suspected. The Catholics might prove to the world, that they
were not involved in the guilt and heresy of their ecclesiastical
governor, by publicly testifying their dissent, or by totally
separating themselves from his communion. The first of these
methods was invented at Antioch, and practised with such success,
that it was soon diffused over the Christian world. The doxology
or sacred hymn, which celebrates the glory of the Trinity, is
susceptible of very nice, but material, inflections; and the
substance of an orthodox, or an heretical, creed, may be
expressed by the difference of a disjunctive, or a copulative,
particle. Alternate responses, and a more regular psalmody, ^146
were introduced into the public service by Flavianus and
Diodorus, two devout and active laymen, who were attached to the
Nicene faith. Under their conduct a swarm of monks issued from
the adjacent desert, bands of well-disciplined singers were
stationed in the cathedral of Antioch, the Glory to the Father,
And the Son, And the Holy Ghost, ^147 was triumphantly chanted by
a full chorus of voices; and the Catholics insulted, by the
purity of their doctrine, the Arian prelate, who had usurped the
throne of the venerable Eustathius. The same zeal which inspired
their songs prompted the more scrupulous members of the orthodox
party to form separate assemblies, which were governed by the
presbyters, till the death of their exiled bishop allowed the
election and consecration of a new episcopal pastor. ^148 The
revolutions of the court multiplied the number of pretenders; and
the same city was often disputed, under the reign of Constantius,
by two, or three, or even four, bishops, who exercised their
spiritual jurisdiction over their respective followers, and
alternately lost and regained the temporal possessions of the
church. The abuse of Christianity introduced into the Roman
government new causes of tyranny and sedition; the bands of civil
society were torn asunder by the fury of religious factions; and
the obscure citizen, who might calmly have surveyed the elevation
and fall of successive emperors, imagined and experienced, that
his own life and fortune were connected with the interests of a
popular ecclesiastic. The example of the two capitals, Rome and
Constantinople, may serve to represent the state of the empire,
and the temper of mankind, under the reign of the sons of
[Footnote 145: Athanasius (tom. i. p. 811) complains in general
of this practice, which he afterwards exemplifies (p. 861) in the
pretended election of Faelix. Three eunuchs represented the
Roman people, and three prelates, who followed the court, assumed
the functions of the bishops of the Suburbicarian provinces.]

[Footnote 146: Thomassin (Discipline de l'Eglise, tom. i. l. ii.
c. 72, 73, p. 966-984) has collected many curious facts
concerning the origin and progress of church singing, both in the
East and West.

Note: Arius appears to have been the first who availed
himself of this means of impressing his doctrines on the popular
ear: he composed songs for sailors, millers, and travellers, and
set them to common airs; "beguiling the ignorant, by the
sweetness of his music, into the impiety of his doctrines."
Philostorgius, ii. 2. Arian singers used to parade the streets
of Constantinople by night, till Chrysostom arrayed against them
a band of orthodox choristers. Sozomen, viii. 8. - M.]

[Footnote 147: Philostorgius, l. iii. c. 13. Godefroy has
examined this subject with singular accuracy, (p. 147, &c.) There
were three heterodox forms: "To the Father by the Son, and in the
Holy Ghost." "To the Father, and the Son in the Holy Ghost;" and
"To the Father in the Son and the Holy Ghost."]

[Footnote 148: After the exile of Eustathius, under the reign of
Constantine, the rigid party of the orthodox formed a separation
which afterwards degenerated into a schism, and lasted about
fourscore years. See Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vii. p. 35-54,
1137-1158, tom. viii. p. 537-632, 1314-1332. In many churches,
the Arians and Homoousians, who had renounced each other's
communion, continued for some time to join in prayer.
Philostorgius, l. iii. c. 14.]

I. The Roman pontiff, as long as he maintained his station
and his principles, was guarded by the warm attachment of a great
people; and could reject with scorn the prayers, the menaces, and
the oblations of an heretical prince. When the eunuchs had
secretly pronounced the exile of Liberius, the well-grounded
apprehension of a tumult engaged them to use the utmost
precautions in the execution of the sentence. The capital was
invested on every side, and the praefect was commanded to seize
the person of the bishop, either by stratagem or by open force.
The order was obeyed, and Liberius, with the greatest difficulty,
at the hour of midnight, was swiftly conveyed beyond the reach of
the Roman people, before their consternation was turned into
rage. As soon as they were informed of his banishment into
Thrace, a general assembly was convened, and the clergy of Rome
bound themselves, by a public and solemn oath, never to desert
their bishop, never to acknowledge the usurper Faelix; who, by
the influence of the eunuchs, had been irregularly chosen and
consecrated within the walls of a profane palace. At the end of
two years, their pious obstinacy subsisted entire and unshaken;
and when Constantius visited Rome, he was assailed by the
importunate solicitations of a people, who had preserved, as the
last remnant of their ancient freedom, the right of treating
their sovereign with familiar insolence. The wives of many of
the senators and most honorable citizens, after pressing their
husbands to intercede in favor of Liberius, were advised to
undertake a commission, which in their hands would be less
dangerous, and might prove more successful. The emperor received
with politeness these female deputies, whose wealth and dignity
were displayed in the magnificence of their dress and ornaments:
he admired their inflexible resolution of following their beloved
pastor to the most distant regions of the earth; and consented
that the two bishops, Liberius and Faelix, should govern in peace
their respective congregations. But the ideas of toleration were
so repugnant to the practice, and even to the sentiments, of
those times, that when the answer of Constantius was publicly
read in the Circus of Rome, so reasonable a project of
accommodation was rejected with contempt and ridicule. The eager
vehemence which animated the spectators in the decisive moment of
a horse-race, was now directed towards a different object; and
the Circus resounded with the shout of thousands, who repeatedly
exclaimed, "One God, One Christ, One Bishop!" The zeal of the
Roman people in the cause of Liberius was not confined to words
alone; and the dangerous and bloody sedition which they excited
soon after the departure of Constantius determined that prince to
accept the submission of the exiled prelate, and to restore him
to the undivided dominion of the capital. After some ineffectual
resistance, his rival was expelled from the city by the
permission of the emperor and the power of the opposite faction;
the adherents of Faelix were inhumanly murdered in the streets,
in the public places, in the baths, and even in the churches; and
the face of Rome, upon the return of a Christian bishop, renewed
the horrid image of the massacres of Marius, and the
proscriptions of Sylla. ^149

[Footnote 149: See, on this ecclesiastical revolution of Rome,
Ammianus, xv. 7 Athanas. tom. i. p. 834, 861. Sozomen, l. iv. c.
15. Theodoret, l. ii c. 17. Sulp. Sever. Hist. Sacra, l. ii. p.
413. Hieronym. Chron. Marcellin. et Faustin. Libell. p. 3, 4.
Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p.]
II. Notwithstanding the rapid increase of Christians under
the reign of the Flavian family, Rome, Alexandria, and the other
great cities of the empire, still contained a strong and powerful
faction of Infidels, who envied the prosperity, and who
ridiculed, even in their theatres, the theological disputes of
the church. Constantinople alone enjoyed the advantage of being
born and educated in the bosom of the faith. The capital of the
East had never been polluted by the worship of idols; and the
whole body of the people had deeply imbibed the opinions, the
virtues, and the passions, which distinguished the Christians of
that age from the rest of mankind. After the death of Alexander,
the episcopal throne was disputed by Paul and Macedonius. By
their zeal and abilities they both deserved the eminent station
to which they aspired; and if the moral character of Macedonius
was less exceptionable, his competitor had the advantage of a
prior election and a more orthodox doctrine. His firm attachment
to the Nicene creed, which has given Paul a place in the calendar
among saints and martyrs, exposed him to the resentment of the
Arians. In the space of fourteen years he was five times driven
from his throne; to which he was more frequently restored by the
violence of the people, than by the permission of the prince; and
the power of Macedonius could be secured only by the death of his
rival. The unfortunate Paul was dragged in chains from the sandy
deserts of Mesopotamia to the most desolate places of Mount
Taurus, ^150 confined in a dark and narrow dungeon, left six days
without food, and at length strangled, by the order of Philip,
one of the principal ministers of the emperor Constantius. ^151
The first blood which stained the new capital was spilt in this
ecclesiastical contest; and many persons were slain on both
sides, in the furious and obstinate seditions of the people. The
commission of enforcing a sentence of banishment against Paul had
been intrusted to Hermogenes, the master-general of the cavalry;
but the execution of it was fatal to himself. The Catholics rose
in the defence of their bishop; the palace of Hermogenes was
consumed; the first military officer of the empire was dragged by
the heels through the streets of Constantinople, and, after he
expired, his lifeless corpse was exposed to their wanton insults.
^152 The fate of Hermogenes instructed Philip, the Praetorian
praefect, to act with more precaution on a similar occasion. In
the most gentle and honorable terms, he required the attendance
of Paul in the baths of Xeuxippus, which had a private
communication with the palace and the sea. A vessel, which lay
ready at the garden stairs, immediately hoisted sail; and, while
the people were still ignorant of the meditated sacrilege, their
bishop was already embarked on his voyage to Thessalonica. They
soon beheld, with surprise and indignation, the gates of the
palace thrown open, and the usurper Macedonius seated by the side
of the praefect on a lofty chariot, which was surrounded by
troops of guards with drawn swords. The military procession
advanced towards the cathedral; the Arians and the Catholics
eagerly rushed to occupy that important post; and three thousand
one hundred and fifty persons lost their lives in the confusion
of the tumult. Macedonius, who was supported by a regular force,
obtained a decisive victory; but his reign was disturbed by
clamor and sedition; and the causes which appeared the least
connected with the subject of dispute, were sufficient to nourish
and to kindle the flame of civil discord. As the chapel in which
the body of the great Constantine had been deposited was in a
ruinous condition, the bishop transported those venerable remains
into the church of St. Acacius. This prudent and even pious
measure was represented as a wicked profanation by the whole
party which adhered to the Homoousian doctrine. The factions
immediately flew to arms, the consecrated ground was used as
their field of battle; and one of the ecclesiastical historians
has observed, as a real fact, not as a figure of rhetoric, that
the well before the church overflowed with a stream of blood,
which filled the porticos and the adjacent courts. The writer
who should impute these tumults solely to a religious principle,
would betray a very imperfect knowledge of human nature; yet it
must be confessed that the motive which misled the sincerity of
zeal, and the pretence which disguised the licentiousness of
passion, suppressed the remorse which, in another cause, would
have succeeded to the rage of the Christians at Constantinople.

[Footnote 150: Cucusus was the last stage of his life and
sufferings. The situation of that lonely town, on the confines
of Cappadocia, Cilicia, and the Lesser Armenia, has occasioned
some geographical perplexity; but we are directed to the true
spot by the course of the Roman road from Caesarea to Anazarbus.
See Cellarii Geograph. tom. ii. p. 213. Wesseling ad Itinerar.
p. 179, 703.]

[Footnote 151: Athanasius (tom. i. p. 703, 813, 814) affirms, in
the most positive terms, that Paul was murdered; and appeals, not
only to common fame, but even to the unsuspicious testimony of
Philagrius, one of the Arian persecutors. Yet he acknowledges
that the heretics attributed to disease the death of the bishop
of Constantinople. Athanasius is servilely copied by Socrates,
(l. ii. c. 26;) but Sozomen, who discovers a more liberal temper.
presumes (l. iv. c. 2) to insinuate a prudent doubt.]

[Footnote 152: Ammianus (xiv. 10) refers to his own account of
this tragic event. But we no longer possess that part of his
Note: The murder of Hermogenes took place at the first
expulsion of Paul from the see of Constantinople. - M.]

[Footnote 153: See Socrates, l. ii. c. 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16, 26,
27, 38, and Sozomen, l. iii. 3, 4, 7, 9, l. iv. c. ii. 21. The
acts of St. Paul of Constantinople, of which Photius has made an
abstract, (Phot. Bibliot. p. 1419-1430,) are an indifferent copy
of these historians; but a modern Greek, who could write the life
of a saint without adding fables and miracles, is entitled to
some commendation.]

Chapter XXI: Persecution Of Heresy, State Of The Church.

Part VII.

The cruel and arbitrary disposition of Constantius, which
did not always require the provocations of guilt and resistance,
was justly exasperated by the tumults of his capital, and the
criminal behavior of a faction, which opposed the authority and
religion of their sovereign. The ordinary punishments of death,
exile, and confiscation, were inflicted with partial vigor; and
the Greeks still revere the holy memory of two clerks, a reader,
and a sub-deacon, who were accused of the murder of Hermogenes,
and beheaded at the gates of Constantinople. By an edict of
Constantius against the Catholics which has not been judged
worthy of a place in the Theodosian code, those who refused to
communicate with the Arian bishops, and particularly with
Macedonius, were deprived of the immunities of ecclesiastics, and
of the rights of Christians; they were compelled to relinquish
the possession of the churches; and were strictly prohibited from
holding their assemblies within the walls of the city. The
execution of this unjust law, in the provinces of Thrace and Asia
Minor, was committed to the zeal of Macedonius; the civil and
military powers were directed to obey his commands; and the
cruelties exercised by this Semi- Arian tyrant in the support of
the Homoiousion, exceeded the commission, and disgraced the
reign, of Constantius. The sacraments of the church were
administered to the reluctant victims, who denied the vocation,
and abhorred the principles, of Macedonius. The rites of baptism
were conferred on women and children, who, for that purpose, had
been torn from the arms of their friends and parents; the mouths
of the communicants were held open by a wooden engine, while the
consecrated bread was forced down their throat; the breasts of
tender virgins were either burnt with red-hot egg-shells, or
inhumanly compressed betweens harp and heavy boards. ^154 The
Novatians of Constantinople and the adjacent country, by their
firm attachment to the Homoousian standard, deserved to be
confounded with the Catholics themselves. Macedonius was
informed, that a large district of Paphlagonia ^155 was almost
entirely inhabited by those sectaries. He resolved either to
convert or to extirpate them; and as he distrusted, on this
occasion, the efficacy of an ecclesiastical mission, he commanded
a body of four thousand legionaries to march against the rebels,
and to reduce the territory of Mantinium under his spiritual
dominion. The Novatian peasants, animated by despair and
religious fury, boldly encountered the invaders of their country;
and though many of the Paphlagonians were slain, the Roman
legions were vanquished by an irregular multitude, armed only
with scythes and axes; and, except a few who escaped by an
ignominious flight, four thousand soldiers were left dead on the
field of battle. The successor of Constantius has expressed, in
a concise but lively manner, some of the theological calamities
which afflicted the empire, and more especially the East, in the
reign of a prince who was the slave of his own passions, and of
those of his eunuchs: "Many were imprisoned, and persecuted, and
driven into exile. Whole troops of those who are styled
heretics, were massacred, particularly at Cyzicus, and at
Samosata. In Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Galatia, and in many other
provinces, towns and villages were laid waste, and utterly
destroyed. ^156

[Footnote 154: Socrates, l. ii. c. 27, 38. Sozomen, l. iv. c.
21. The principal assistants of Macedonius, in the work of
persecution, were the two bishops of Nicomedia and Cyzicus, who
were esteemed for their virtues, and especially for their
charity. I cannot forbear reminding the reader, that the
difference between the Homoousion and Homoiousion, is almost
invisible to the nicest theological eye.]

[Footnote 155: We are ignorant of the precise situation of
Mantinium. In speaking of these four bands of legionaries,
Socrates, Sozomen, and the author of the acts of St. Paul, use
the indefinite terms of, which Nicephorus very properly
translates thousands. Vales. ad Socrat. l. ii. c. 38.]
[Footnote 156: Julian. Epist. lii. p. 436, edit. Spanheim.]
While the flames of the Arian controversy consumed the
vitals of the empire, the African provinces were infested by
their peculiar enemies, the savage fanatics, who, under the name
of Circumcellions, formed the strength and scandal of the
Donatist party. ^157 The severe execution of the laws of
Constantine had excited a spirit of discontent and resistance,
the strenuous efforts of his son Constans, to restore the unity
of the church, exasperated the sentiments of mutual hatred, which
had first occasioned the separation; and the methods of force and
corruption employed by the two Imperial commissioners, Paul and
Macarius, furnished the schismatics with a specious contrast
between the maxims of the apostles and the conduct of their
pretended successors. ^158 The peasants who inhabited the
villages of Numidia and Mauritania, were a ferocious race, who
had been imperfectly reduced under the authority of the Roman
laws; who were imperfectly converted to the Christian faith; but
who were actuated by a blind and furious enthusiasm in the cause
of their Donatist teachers. They indignantly supported the exile
of their bishops, the demolition of their churches, and the
interruption of their secret assemblies. The violence of the
officers of justice, who were usually sustained by a military
guard, was sometimes repelled with equal violence; and the blood
of some popular ecclesiastics, which had been shed in the
quarrel, inflamed their rude followers with an eager desire of
revenging the death of these holy martyrs. By their own cruelty
and rashness, the ministers of persecution sometimes provoked
their fate; and the guilt of an accidental tumult precipitated
the criminals into despair and rebellion. Driven from their
native villages, the Donatist peasants assembled in formidable
gangs on the edge of the Getulian desert; and readily exchanged
the habits of labor for a life of idleness and rapine, which was
consecrated by the name of religion, and faintly condemned by the
doctors of the sect. The leaders of the Circumcellions assumed
the title of captains of the saints; their principal weapon, as
they were indifferently provided with swords and spears, was a
huge and weighty club, which they termed an Israelite; and the
well-known sound of "Praise be to God," which they used as their
cry of war, diffused consternation over the unarmed provinces of
Africa. At first their depredations were colored by the plea of
necessity; but they soon exceeded the measure of subsistence,
indulged without control their intemperance and avarice, burnt
the villages which they had pillaged, and reigned the licentious
tyrants of the open country. The occupations of husbandry, and
the administration of justice, were interrupted; and as the
Circumcellions pretended to restore the primitive equality of
mankind, and to reform the abuses of civil society, they opened a
secure asylum for the slaves and debtors, who flocked in crowds
to their holy standard. When they were not resisted, they
usually contented themselves with plunder, but the slightest
opposition provoked them to acts of violence and murder; and some
Catholic priests, who had imprudently signalized their zeal, were
tortured by the fanatics with the most refined and wanton
barbarity. The spirit of the Circumcellions was not always
exerted against their defenceless enemies; they engaged, and
sometimes defeated, the troops of the province; and in the bloody
action of Bagai, they attacked in the open field, but with
unsuccessful valor, an advanced guard of the Imperial cavalry.
The Donatists who were taken in arms, received, and they soon
deserved, the same treatment which might have been shown to the
wild beasts of the desert. The captives died, without a murmur,
either by the sword, the axe, or the fire; and the measures of
retaliation were multiplied in a rapid proportion, which
aggravated the horrors of rebellion, and excluded the hope of
mutual forgiveness. In the beginning of the present century, the
example of the Circumcellions has been renewed in the
persecution, the boldness, the crimes, and the enthusiasm of the
Camisards; and if the fanatics of Languedoc surpassed those of
Numidia, by their military achievements, the Africans maintained
their fierce independence with more resolution and perseverance.

[Footnote 157: See Optatus Milevitanus, (particularly iii. 4,)
with the Donatis history, by M. Dupin, and the original pieces at
the end of his edition. The numerous circumstances which
Augustin has mentioned, of the fury of the Circumcellions against
others, and against themselves, have been laboriously collected
by Tillemont, Mem. Eccles. tom. vi. p. 147-165; and he has often,
though without design, exposed injuries which had provoked those

[Footnote 158: It is amusing enough to observe the language of
opposite parties, when they speak of the same men and things.
Gratus, bishop of Carthage, begins the acclamations of an
orthodox synod, "Gratias Deo omnipotenti et Christu Jesu . . .
qui imperavit religiosissimo Constanti Imperatori, ut votum
gereret unitatis, et mitteret ministros sancti operis famulos Dei
Paulum et Macarium." Monument. Vet. ad Calcem Optati, p. 313.
"Ecce subito," (says the Donatist author of the Passion of
Marculus, "de Constantis regif tyrannica domo . . pollutum
Macarianae persecutionis murmur increpuit, et duabus bestiis ad
Africam missis, eodem scilicet Macario et Paulo, execrandum
prorsus ac dirum ecclesiae certamen indictum est; ut populus
Christianus ad unionem cum traditoribus faciendam, nudatis
militum gladiis et draconum praesentibus signis, et tubarum
vocibus cogeretur. Monument. p. 304.]

[Footnote 159: The Histoire des Camisards, in 3 vols. 12mo.
Villefranche, 1760 may be recommended as accurate and impartial.
It requires some attention to discover the religion of the

Such disorders are the natural effects of religious tyranny,
but the rage of the Donatists was inflamed by a frenzy of a very
extraordinary kind; and which, if it really prevailed among them
in so extravagant a degree, cannot surely be paralleled in any
country or in any age. Many of these fanatics were possessed
with the horror of life, and the desire of martyrdom; and they
deemed it of little moment by what means, or by what hands, they
perished, if their conduct was sanctified by the intention of
devoting themselves to the glory of the true faith, and the hope
of eternal happiness. ^160 Sometimes they rudely disturbed the
festivals, and profaned the temples of Paganism, with the design
of exciting the most zealous of the idolaters to revenge the
insulted honor of their gods. They sometimes forced their way
into the courts of justice, and compelled the affrighted judge to
give orders for their immediate execution. They frequently
stopped travellers on the public highways, and obliged them to
inflict the stroke of martyrdom, by the promise of a reward, if
they consented, and by the threat of instant death, if they
refused to grant so very singular a favor. When they were
disappointed of every other resource, they announced the day on
which, in the presence of their friends and brethren, they should
east themselves headlong from some lofty rock; and many
precipices were shown, which had acquired fame by the number of
religious suicides. In the actions of these desperate
enthusiasts, who were admired by one party as the martyrs of God,
and abhorred by the other as the victims of Satan, an impartial
philosopher may discover the influence and the last abuse of that
inflexible spirit which was originally derived from the character
and principles of the Jewish nation.

[Footnote 160: The Donatist suicides alleged in their
justification the example of Razias, which is related in the 14th
chapter of the second book of the Maccabees.]

The simple narrative of the intestine divisions, which
distracted the peace, and dishonored the triumph, of the church,
will confirm the remark of a Pagan historian, and justify the
complaint of a venerable bishop. The experience of Ammianus had
convinced him, that the enmity of the Christians towards each
other, surpassed the fury of savage beasts against man; ^161 and
Gregory Nazianzen most pathetically laments, that the kingdom of
heaven was converted, by discord, into the image of chaos, of a
nocturnal tempest, and of hell itself. ^162 The fierce and
partial writers of the times, ascribing all virtue to themselves,
and imputing all guilt to their adversaries, have painted the
battle of the angels and daemons. Our calmer reason will reject
such pure and perfect monsters of vice or sanctity, and will
impute an equal, or at least an indiscriminate, measure of good
and evil to the hostile sectaries, who assumed and bestowed the
appellations of orthodox and heretics. They had been educated in
the same religion and the same civil society. Their hopes and
fears in the present, or in a future life, were balanced in the
same proportion. On either side, the error might be innocent,
the faith sincere, the practice meritorious or corrupt. Their
passions were excited by similar objects; and they might
alternately abuse the favor of the court, or of the people. The
metaphysical opinions of the Athanasians and the Arians could not
influence their moral character; and they were alike actuated by
the intolerant spirit which has been extracted from the pure and
simple maxims of the gospel.

[Footnote 161: Nullus infestas hominibus bestias, ut sunt sibi
ferales plerique Christianorum, expertus. Ammian. xxii. 5.]

[Footnote 162: Gregor, Nazianzen, Orav. i. p. 33. See Tillemont,
tom vi. p. 501, qua to edit.]

A modern writer, who, with a just confidence, has prefixed
to his own history the honorable epithets of political and
philosophical, ^163 accuses the timid prudence of Montesquieu,
for neglecting to enumerate, among the causes of the decline of
the empire, a law of Constantine, by which the exercise of the
Pagan worship was absolutely suppressed, and a considerable part
of his subjects was left destitute of priests, of temples, and of
any public religion. The zeal of the philosophic historian for
the rights of mankind, has induced him to acquiesce in the
ambiguous testimony of those ecclesiastics, who have too lightly
ascribed to their favorite hero the merit of a general
persecution. ^164 Instead of alleging this imaginary law, which
would have blazed in the front of the Imperial codes, we may
safely appeal to the original epistle, which Constantine
addressed to the followers of the ancient religion; at a time
when he no longer disguised his conversion, nor dreaded the
rivals of his throne. He invites and exhorts, in the most
pressing terms, the subjects of the Roman empire to imitate the
example of their master; but he declares, that those who still
refuse to open their eyes to the celestial light, may freely
enjoy their temples and their fancied gods. A report, that the
ceremonies of paganism were suppressed, is formally contradicted
by the emperor himself, who wisely assigns, as the principle of
his moderation, the invincible force of habit, of prejudice, and
of superstition. ^165 Without violating the sanctity of his
promise, without alarming the fears of the Pagans, the artful
monarch advanced, by slow and cautious steps, to undermine the
irregular and decayed fabric of polytheism. The partial acts of
severity which he occasionally exercised, though they were
secretly promoted by a Christian zeal, were colored by the
fairest pretences of justice and the public good; and while
Constantine designed to ruin the foundations, he seemed to reform
the abuses, of the ancient religion. After the example of the
wisest of his predecessors, he condemned, under the most rigorous
penalties, the occult and impious arts of divination; which
excited the vain hopes, and sometimes the criminal attempts, of
those who were discontented with their present condition. An
ignominious silence was imposed on the oracles, which had been
publicly convicted of fraud and falsehood; the effeminate priests
of the Nile were abolished; and Constantine discharged the duties
of a Roman censor, when he gave orders for the demolition of
several temples of Phoenicia; in which every mode of prostitution
was devoutly practised in the face of day, and to the honor of
Venus. ^166 The Imperial city of Constantinople was, in some
measure, raised at the expense, and was adorned with the spoils,
of the opulent temples of Greece and Asia; the sacred property
was confiscated; the statues of gods and heroes were transported,
with rude familiarity, among a people who considered them as
objects, not of adoration, but of curiosity; the gold and silver
were restored to circulation; and the magistrates, the bishops,
and the eunuchs, improved the fortunate occasion of gratifying,
at once, their zeal, their avarice, and their resentment. But
these depredations were confined to a small part of the Roman
world; and the provinces had been long since accustomed to endure
the same sacrilegious rapine, from the tyranny of princes and
proconsuls, who could not be suspected of any design to subvert
the established religion. ^167
[Footnote 163: Histoire Politique et Philosophique des
Etablissemens des Europeens dans les deux Indes, tom. i. p. 9.]

[Footnote 164: According to Eusebius, (in Vit. Constantin. l. ii.
c. 45,) the emperor prohibited, both in cities and in the
country, the abominable acts or parts of idolatry. l Socrates
(l. i. c. 17) and Sozomen (l. ii. c. 4, 5) have represented the
conduct of Constantine with a just regard to truth and history;
which has been neglected by Theodoret (l. v. c. 21) and Orosius,
(vii. 28.) Tum deinde (says the latter) primus Constantinus justo
ordine et pio vicem vertit edicto; siquidem statuit citra ullam
hominum caedem, paganorum templa claudi.]

[Footnote 165: See Eusebius in Vit. Constantin. l. ii. c. 56, 60.

In the sermon to the assembly of saints, which the emperor
pronounced when he was mature in years and piety, he declares to
the idolaters (c. xii.) that they are permitted to offer
sacrifices, and to exercise every part of their religious

[Footnote 166: See Eusebius, in Vit. Constantin. l. iii. c.
54-58, and l. iv. c. 23, 25. These acts of authority may be
compared with the suppression of the Bacchanals, and the
demolition of the temple of Isis, by the magistrates of Pagan

[Footnote 167: Eusebius (in Vit. Constan. l. iii. c. 54-58) and
Libanius (Orat. pro Templis, p. 9, 10, edit. Gothofred) both
mention the pious sacrilege of Constantine, which they viewed in
very different lights. The latter expressly declares, that "he
made use of the sacred money, but made no alteration in the legal
worship; the temples indeed were impoverished, but the sacred
rites were performed there." Lardner's Jewish and Heathen
Testimonies, vol. iv. p. 140.]

The sons of Constantine trod in the footsteps of their
father, with more zeal, and with less discretion. The pretences
of rapine and oppression were insensibly multiplied; ^168 every
indulgence was shown to the illegal behavior of the Christians;
every doubt was explained to the disadvantage of Paganism; and
the demolition of the temples was celebrated as one of the
auspicious events of the reign of Constans and Constantius. ^169
The name of Constantius is prefixed to a concise law, which might
have superseded the necessity of any future prohibitions. "It is
our pleasure, that in all places, and in all cities, the temples
be immediately shut, and carefully guarded, that none may have
the power of offending. It is likewise our pleasure, that all
our subjects should abstain from sacrifices. If any one should
be guilty of such an act, let him feel the sword of vengeance,
and after his execution, let his property be confiscated to the
public use. We denounce the same penalties against the governors
of the provinces, if they neglect to punish the criminals." ^170
But there is the strongest reason to believe, that this
formidable edict was either composed without being published, or
was published without being executed. The evidence of facts, and
the monuments which are still extant of brass and marble,
continue to prove the public exercise of the Pagan worship during
the whole reign of the sons of Constantine. In the East, as well
as in the West, in cities, as well as in the country, a great
number of temples were respected, or at least were spared; and
the devout multitude still enjoyed the luxury of sacrifices, of
festivals, and of processions, by the permission, or by the
connivance, of the civil government. About four years after the
supposed date of this bloody edict, Constantius visited the
temples of Rome; and the decency of his behavior is recommended
by a pagan orator as an example worthy of the imitation of
succeeding princes. "That emperor," says Symmachus, "suffered
the privileges of the vestal virgins to remain inviolate; he
bestowed the sacerdotal dignities on the nobles of Rome, granted
the customary allowance to defray the expenses of the public
rites and sacrifices; and, though he had embraced a different
religion, he never attempted to deprive the empire of the sacred
worship of antiquity." ^171 The senate still presumed to
consecrate, by solemn decrees, the divine memory of their
sovereigns; and Constantine himself was associated, after his
death, to those gods whom he had renounced and insulted during
his life. The title, the ensigns, the prerogatives, of sovereign
pontiff, which had been instituted by Numa, and assumed by
Augustus, were accepted, without hesitation, by seven Christian
emperors; who were invested with a more absolute authority over
the religion which they had deserted, than over that which they
professed. ^172
[Footnote 168: Ammianus (xxii. 4) speaks of some court eunuchs
who were spoliis templorum pasti. Libanius says (Orat. pro
Templ. p. 23) that the emperor often gave away a temple, like a
dog, or a horse, or a slave, or a gold cup; but the devout
philosopher takes care to observe that these sacrilegious
favorites very seldom prospered.]

[Footnote 169: See Gothofred. Cod. Theodos. tom. vi. p. 262.
Liban. Orat. Parental c. x. in Fabric. Bibl. Graec. tom. vii. p.

[Footnote 170: Placuit omnibus locis atque urbibus universis
claudi protinus empla, et accessu vetitis omnibus licentiam
delinquendi perditis abnegari. Volumus etiam cunctos a
sacrificiis abstinere. Quod siquis aliquid forte hujusmodi
perpetraverit, gladio sternatur: facultates etiam perempti fisco
decernimus vindicari: et similiter adfligi rectores provinciarum
si facinora vindicare neglexerint. Cod. Theodos. l. xvi. tit. x.
leg. 4. Chronology has discovered some contradiction in the date
of this extravagant law; the only one, perhaps, by which the
negligence of magistrates is punished by death and confiscation.
M. de la Bastie (Mem. de l'Academie, tom. xv. p. 98) conjectures,
with a show of reason, that this was no more than the minutes of
a law, the heads of an intended bill, which were found in
Scriniis Memoriae among the papers of Constantius, and afterwards
inserted, as a worthy model, in the Theodosian Code.]

[Footnote 171: Symmach. Epistol. x. 54.]

[Footnote 172: The fourth Dissertation of M. de la Bastie, sur le
Souverain Pontificat des Empereurs Romains, (in the Mem. de
l'Acad. tom. xv. p. 75- 144,) is a very learned and judicious
performance, which explains the state, and prove the toleration,
of Paganism from Constantino to Gratian. The assertion of
Zosimus, that Gratian was the first who refused the pontifical
robe, is confirmed beyond a doubt; and the murmurs of bigotry on
that subject are almost silenced.]

The divisions of Christianity suspended the ruin of
Paganism; ^173 and the holy war against the infidels was less
vigorously prosecuted by princes and bishops, who were more
immediately alarmed by the guilt and danger of domestic
rebellion. The extirpation of idolatry ^174 might have been
justified by the established principles of intolerance: but the
hostile sects, which alternately reigned in the Imperial court
were mutually apprehensive of alienating, and perhaps
exasperating, the minds of a powerful, though declining faction.
Every motive of authority and fashion, of interest and reason,
now militated on the side of Christianity; but two or three
generations elapsed, before their victorious influence was
universally felt. The religion which had so long and so lately
been established in the Roman empire was still revered by a
numerous people, less attached indeed to speculative opinion,
than to ancient custom. The honors of the state and army were
indifferently bestowed on all the subjects of Constantine and
Constantius; and a considerable portion of knowledge and wealth
and valor was still engaged in the service of polytheism. The
superstition of the senator and of the peasant, of the poet and
the philosopher, was derived from very different causes, but they
met with equal devotion in the temples of the gods. Their zeal
was insensibly provoked by the insulting triumph of a proscribed
sect; and their hopes were revived by the well-grounded
confidence, that the presumptive heir of the empire, a young and
valiant hero, who had delivered Gaul from the arms of the
Barbarians, had secretly embraced the religion of his ancestors.

[Footnote 173: As I have freely anticipated the use of pagans and
paganism, I shall now trace the singular revolutions of those
celebrated words. 1. in the Doric dialect, so familiar to the
Italians, signifies a fountain; and the rural neighborhood, which
frequented the same fountain, derived the common appellation of
pagus and pagans. (Festus sub voce, and Servius ad Virgil.
Georgic. ii. 382.) 2. By an easy extension of the word, pagan and
rural became almost synonymous, (Plin. Hist. Natur. xxviii. 5;)
and the meaner rustics acquired that name, which has been
corrupted into peasants in the modern languages of Europe. 3.
The amazing increase of the military order introduced the
necessity of a correlative term, (Hume's Essays, vol. i. p. 555;)
and all the people who were not enlisted in the service of the
prince were branded with the contemptuous epithets of pagans.
(Tacit. Hist. iii. 24, 43, 77. Juvenal. Satir. 16. Tertullian de
Pallio, c. 4.) 4. The Christians were the soldiers of Christ;
their adversaries, who refused his sacrament, or military oath of
baptism might deserve the metaphorical name of pagans; and this
popular reproach was introduced as early as the reign of
Valentinian (A. D. 365) into Imperial laws (Cod. Theodos. l. xvi.
tit. ii. leg. 18) and theological writings. 5. Christianity
gradually filled the cities of the empire: the old religion, in
the time of Prudentius (advers. Symmachum, l. i. ad fin.) and
Orosius, (in Praefat. Hist.,) retired and languished in obscure
villages; and the word pagans, with its new signification,
reverted to its primitive origin. 6. Since the worship of Jupiter
and his family has expired, the vacant title of pagans has been
successively applied to all the idolaters and polytheists of the
old and new world. 7. The Latin Christians bestowed it, without
scruple, on their mortal enemies, the Mahometans; and the purest
Unitarians were branded with the unjust reproach of idolatry and
paganism. See Gerard Vossius, Etymologicon Linguae Latinae, in
his works, tom. i. p. 420; Godefroy's Commentary on the
Theodosian Code, tom. vi. p. 250; and Ducange, Mediae et Infimae
Latinitat. Glossar.]

[Footnote 174: In the pure language of Ionia and Athens were
ancient and familiar words. The former expressed a likeness, an
apparition (Homer. Odys. xi. 601,) a representation, an image,
created either by fancy or art. The latter denoted any sort of
service or slavery. The Jews of Egypt, who translated the Hebrew
Scriptures, restrained the use of these words (Exod. xx. 4, 5) to
the religious worship of an image. The peculiar idiom of the
Hellenists, or Grecian Jews, has been adopted by the sacred and
ecclesiastical writers and the reproach of idolatry has
stigmatized that visible and abject mode of superstition, which
some sects of Christianity should not hastily impute to the
polytheists of Greece and Rome.]

Chapter XXII: Julian Declared Emperor.

Part I

Julian Is Declared Emperor By The Legions Of Gaul. - His
March And Success. - The Death Of Constantius. - Civil
Administration Of Julian.
While the Romans languished under the ignominious tyranny of
eunuchs and bishops, the praises of Julian were repeated with
transport in every part of the empire, except in the palace of
Constantius. The barbarians of Germany had felt, and still
dreaded, the arms of the young Caesar; his soldiers were the
companions of his victory; the grateful provincials enjoyed the
blessings of his reign; but the favorites, who had opposed his
elevation, were offended by his virtues; and they justly
considered the friend of the people as the enemy of the court.
As long as the fame of Julian was doubtful, the buffoons of the
palace, who were skilled in the language of satire, tried the
efficacy of those arts which they had so often practised with
success. They easily discovered, that his simplicity was not
exempt from affectation: the ridiculous epithets of a hairy
savage, of an ape invested with the purple, were applied to the
dress and person of the philosophic warrior; and his modest
despatches were stigmatized as the vain and elaborate fictions of
a loquacious Greek, a speculative soldier, who had studied the
art of war amidst the groves of the academy. ^1 The voice of
malicious folly was at length silenced by the shouts of victory;
the conqueror of the Franks and Alemanni could no longer be
painted as an object of contempt; and the monarch himself was
meanly ambitious of stealing from his lieutenant the honorable
reward of his labors. In the letters crowned with laurel, which,
according to ancient custom, were addressed to the provinces, the
name of Julian was omitted. "Constantius had made his
dispositions in person; he had signalized his valor in the
foremost ranks; his military conduct had secured the victory; and
the captive king of the barbarians was presented to him on the
field of battle," from which he was at that time distant about
forty days' journey. ^2 So extravagant a fable was incapable,
however, of deceiving the public credulity, or even of satisfying
the pride of the emperor himself. Secretly conscious that the
applause and favor of the Romans accompanied the rising fortunes
of Julian, his discontented mind was prepared to receive the
subtle poison of those artful sycophants, who colored their
mischievous designs with the fairest appearances of truth and
candor. ^3 Instead of depreciating the merits of Julian, they
acknowledged, and even exaggerated, his popular fame, superior
talents, and important services. But they darkly insinuated, that
the virtues of the Caesar might instantly be converted into the
most dangerous crimes, if the inconstant multitude should prefer
their inclinations to their duty; or if the general of a
victorious army should be tempted from his allegiance by the
hopes of revenge and independent greatness. The personal fears
of Constantius were interpreted by his council as a laudable
anxiety for the public safety; whilst in private, and perhaps in
his own breast, he disguised, under the less odious appellation
of fear, the sentiments of hatred and envy, which he had secretly
conceived for the inimitable virtues of Julian.

[Footnote 1: Omnes qui plus poterant in palatio, adulandi
professores jam docti, recte consulta, prospereque completa
vertebant in deridiculum: talia sine modo strepentes insulse; in
odium venit cum victoriis suis; capella, non homo; ut hirsutum
Julianum carpentes, appellantesque loquacem talpam, et purpuratam
simiam, et litterionem Graecum: et his congruentia plurima atque
vernacula principi resonantes, audire haec taliaque gestienti,
virtutes ejus obruere verbis impudentibus conabantur, et segnem
incessentes et timidum et umbratilem, gestaque secus verbis
comptioribus exornantem. Ammianus, s. xvii. 11.

Note: The philosophers retaliated on the courtiers. Marius
(says Eunapius in a newly-discovered fragment) was wont to call
his antagonist Sylla a beast half lion and half fox. Constantius
had nothing of the lion, but was surrounded by a whole litter of
foxes. Mai. Script. Byz. Nov. Col. ii. 238. Niebuhr. Byzant.
Hist. 66. - M.]

[Footnote 2: Ammian. xvi. 12. The orator Themistius (iv. p. 56,
57) believed whatever was contained in the Imperial letters,
which were addressed to the senate of Constantinople Aurelius
Victor, who published his Abridgment in the last year of
Constantius, ascribes the German victories to the wisdom of the
emperor, and the fortune of the Caesar. Yet the historian, soon
afterwards, was indebted to the favor or esteem of Julian for the
honor of a brass statue, and the important offices of consular of
the second Pannonia, and praefect of the city, Ammian. xxi. 10.]

[Footnote 3: Callido nocendi artificio, accusatoriam diritatem
laudum titulis peragebant. . . Hae voces fuerunt ad inflammanda
odia probria omnibus potentiores. See Mamertin, in Actione
Gratiarum in Vet Panegyr. xi. 5, 6.]
The apparent tranquillity of Gaul, and the imminent danger
of the eastern provinces, offered a specious pretence for the
design which was artfully concerted by the Imperial ministers.
They resolved to disarm the Caesar; to recall those faithful
troops who guarded his person and dignity; and to employ, in a
distant war against the Persian monarch, the hardy veterans who
had vanquished, on the banks of the Rhine, the fiercest nations
of Germany. While Julian used the laborious hours of his winter
quarters at Paris in the administration of power, which, in his
hands, was the exercise of virtue, he was surprised by the hasty
arrival of a tribune and a notary, with positive orders, from the
emperor, which they were directed to execute, and he was
commanded not to oppose. Constantius signified his pleasure,
that four entire legions, the Celtae, and Petulants, the Heruli,
and the Batavians, should be separated from the standard of
Julian, under which they had acquired their fame and discipline;
that in each of the remaining bands three hundred of the bravest
youths should be selected; and that this numerous detachment, the
strength of the Gallic army, should instantly begin their march,
and exert their utmost diligence to arrive, before the opening of
the campaign, on the frontiers of Persia. ^4 The Caesar foresaw
and lamented the consequences of this fatal mandate. Most of the
auxiliaries, who engaged their voluntary service, had stipulated,
that they should never be obliged to pass the Alps. The public
faith of Rome, and the personal honor of Julian, had been pledged
for the observance of this condition. Such an act of treachery
and oppression would destroy the confidence, and excite the
resentment, of the independent warriors of Germany, who
considered truth as the noblest of their virtues, and freedom as
the most valuable of their possessions. The legionaries, who
enjoyed the title and privileges of Romans, were enlisted for the
general defence of the republic; but those mercenary troops heard
with cold indifference the antiquated names of the republic and
of Rome. Attached, either from birth or long habit, to the
climate and manners of Gaul, they loved and admired Julian; they
despised, and perhaps hated, the emperor; they dreaded the
laborious march, the Persian arrows, and the burning deserts of
Asia. They claimed as their own the country which they had
saved; and excused their want of spirit, by pleading the sacred
and more immediate duty of protecting their families and friends.

The apprehensions of the Gauls were derived from the knowledge of
the impending and inevitable danger. As soon as the provinces
were exhausted of their military strength, the Germans would
violate a treaty which had been imposed on their fears; and
notwithstanding the abilities and valor of Julian, the general of
a nominal army, to whom the public calamities would be imputed,
must find himself, after a vain resistance, either a prisoner in
the camp of the barbarians, or a criminal in the palace of
Constantius. If Julian complied with the orders which he had
received, he subscribed his own destruction, and that of a people
who deserved his affection. But a positive refusal was an act of
rebellion, and a declaration of war. The inexorable jealousy of
the emperor, the peremptory, and perhaps insidious, nature of his
commands, left not any room for a fair apology, or candid
interpretation; and the dependent station of the Caesar scarcely
allowed him to pause or to deliberate. Solitude increased the
perplexity of Julian; he could no longer apply to the faithful
counsels of Sallust, who had been removed from his office by the
judicious malice of the eunuchs: he could not even enforce his
representations by the concurrence of the ministers, who would
have been afraid or ashamed to approve the ruin of Gaul. The
moment had been chosen, when Lupicinus, ^5 the general of the
cavalry, was despatched into Britain, to repulse the inroads of
the Scots and Picts; and Florentius was occupied at Vienna by the
assessment of the tribute. The latter, a crafty and corrupt
statesman, declining to assume a responsible part on this
dangerous occasion, eluded the pressing and repeated invitations
of Julian, who represented to him, that in every important
measure, the presence of the praefect was indispensable in the
council of the prince. In the mean while the Caesar was
oppressed by the rude and importunate solicitations of the
Imperial messengers, who presumed to suggest, that if he expected
the return of his ministers, he would charge himself with the
guilt of the delay, and reserve for them the merit of the
execution. Unable to resist, unwilling to comply, Julian
expressed, in the most serious terms, his wish, and even his
intention, of resigning the purple, which he could not preserve
with honor, but which he could not abdicate with safety.
[Footnote 4: The minute interval, which may be interposed,
between the hyeme adulta and the primo vere of Ammianus, (xx. l.
4,) instead of allowing a sufficient space for a march of three
thousand miles, would render the orders of Constantius as
extravagant as they were unjust. The troops of Gaul could not
have reached Syria till the end of autumn. The memory of
Ammianus must have been inaccurate, and his language incorrect.

Note: The late editor of Ammianus attempts to vindicate his
author from the charge of inaccuracy. "It is clear, from the
whole course of the narrative, that Constantius entertained this
design of demanding his troops from Julian, immediately after the
taking of Amida, in the autumn of the preceding year, and had
transmitted his orders into Gaul, before it was known that
Lupicinus had gone into Britain with the Herulians and
Batavians." Wagner, note to Amm. xx. 4. But it seems also clear
that the troops were in winter quarters (hiemabant) when the
orders arrived. Ammianus can scarcely be acquitted of
incorrectness in his language at least. - M]

[Footnote 5: Ammianus, xx. l. The valor of Lupicinus, and his
military skill, are acknowledged by the historian, who, in his
affected language, accuses the general of exalting the horns of
his pride, bellowing in a tragic tone, and exciting a doubt
whether he was more cruel or avaricious. The danger from the
Scots and Picts was so serious that Julian himself had some
thoughts of passing over into the island.]

After a painful conflict, Julian was compelled to
acknowledge, that obedience was the virtue of the most eminent
subject, and that the sovereign alone was entitled to judge of
the public welfare. He issued the necessary orders for carrying
into execution the commands of Constantius; a part of the troops
began their march for the Alps; and the detachments from the
several garrisons moved towards their respective places of
assembly. They advanced with difficulty through the trembling and
affrighted crowds of provincials, who attempted to excite their
pity by silent despair, or loud lamentations, while the wives of
the soldiers, holding their infants in their arms, accused the
desertion of their husbands, in the mixed language of grief, of
tenderness, and of indignation. This scene of general distress
afflicted the humanity of the Caesar; he granted a sufficient
number of post-wagons to transport the wives and families of the
soldiers, ^6 endeavored to alleviate the hardships which he was
constrained to inflict, and increased, by the most laudable arts,
his own popularity, and the discontent of the exiled troops. The
grief of an armed multitude is soon converted into rage; their
licentious murmurs, which every hour were communicated from tent
to tent with more boldness and effect, prepared their minds for
the most daring acts of sedition; and by the connivance of their
tribunes, a seasonable libel was secretly dispersed, which
painted in lively colors the disgrace of the Caesar, the
oppression of the Gallic army, and the feeble vices of the tyrant
of Asia. The servants of Constantius were astonished and alarmed
by the progress of this dangerous spirit. They pressed the

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