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127 [114]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

mourned, but rather haue bene glad, and haue reioyced therat, for that they haue bene counted worthy to suffer for the Lord their God. The extreme necessitye of death cannot moue vs against your maiesty, neyther yet any desperation O Emperour, which is wont in ventrous affaires to do much, shal arme vs against you. Behold here we cast down our weapons, and resist not, for that we had rather to be killed, then kil, & giltles to dye, then gilty to liue. What soeuer more ye wil cōmmaund, appoynt and inioyne vs, we are here readye to suffer, yea both fire, sword, & what soeuer other torments. We cōfesse our selues to be Christians, we cannot persecute Christians, nor wil do sacrifice to your diuelish idoles.

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MarginaliaMauritius and hys companye martyred.With which their answer the king being al together incensed and moued, commaunded the second time the tenth man of them that were left to be in like case murdered. That cruelty also being accomplished, at length when the Christian Soldiours woulde in no wyse condescend vnto his minde, he set vpō them with his whole host, both footemen and also horsmen, and charged thē to kyl them all. Who with all force set vpon them, they making no resistaunce, but throwing downe their armour, yelded their lyues to the persecutours, and offred to them their naked bodies.

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MarginaliaThe constant boldnes of Victor in refusyng to eate wyth the cruel persecutors, for the which hee was also slayne.Victor at the same time was not of that bande, nor yet than any soldiour, but one being an olde soldiour, & dismissed for his age. The which tyme he comming sodainly vpon them as they were banketing and making merye with the spoyles of the holye Martyrs, and was bydden to syt downe with them: first asking the cause of þt their so great reioycing, & vnderstanding the truth therof, detested the gesse, and refused to eate with them. And then being demaunded of them whether happylye he were a Christian or no, openly confessed and denyed not, but that he was a Christian, and euer woulde bee. MarginaliaVictor.
Martyr.
And thereupon they rushing vpon him, killed hym, and made him partner of the lyke martyrdome and honor.

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MarginaliaThe number of the Christians encreased for al this persecutiōBeda in hys hystorye writeth that this persecution being vnder Dioclesian, endured vnto the seuenth yere of Constantinus, and Eusebius. lib. 8. cap. 6. sayth that it lasted vntil the tenth yeare of Constantinus. 

Commentary  *  Close
Abdication of Diocletian to death of Maximinius

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).

It was not yet one yeare from the daye in whiche Dioclesian and Maximian ioyning them selues together, began their persecution, when that they saw the number of the christians rather to encrease then to deminish, notwithstanding all the cruelty that euer they could shew, and now was out of all hope for the vtter rooting out of them, which thing was the cause of their fyrst enterprise, and had now euen their fyll of blood, and lothed, as it were, the shedding therof, MarginaliaDioclesian and Maximinian wer tyred with persecution, & gaue vp theyr kyngdome.they ceased at the last of their owne accorde to put any mo Christians to death: But yet of a great multitude they did thrust out their right eyes, & maymed their left legs at the hamme with a searyng yron, condemning them to the mynes of Mettals, not somuch for the vse of their labour, as for the desire of afflicting them. And this was the clemencie and release of the cruelty of those Princes, which sayd that it was not mete that the cities should be defiled with the blood of Citezens, and to make the Emperours hyghnes to be destained wyth the name of cruelty, but to shew hys princely beneficence and liberalitie to al men. Eusebius. lib. 8. cap. 10.

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When Dioclesianus and Maximinianus had raigned together Emperours. xx. yeares and one (Nicephorus saith. xxij. yeares) in persecutiō, Dioclesian was put from his Imperial dignitie at Nicomedia, and liued at Salona, Maximinianus at Mediolanum, MarginaliaAn. 309.and led both of them a priuate life in the. 309. yere after Christ. This straunge and marueylous alteration gaue occasion, and so came to passe, that within short space after there were in the Romaine common wealth manye Emperours at one tyme.

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MarginaliaThe names of the Tyrantes Dioclesian, Maximiniā Emperours deposed.
Gale. Maximinus. Constātius Emperours
Maximinus Seuerus Constātius Cesars
Maxenius, Emperour.
Licinius, Cesar.
In the beginning of this persecution you heard how Dioclesian being made Emperour, tooke to him Maximinian. Also how these two gouerning as Emperours together, chose other twoo Cesars vnder them, to wyt, Galerius Maximinus, and Constantius the father of Constantine the great. Thus thē Dicolesian raigning with Maximinian, in the. xix. yeare of his raigne began his furious persecution against the Christians, whose raygne after the same cōtinued not long. For so it pleased God to put such a snafle in the tyrants mouth, that within two yeares after he caused both him and Maximinian (for what cause he knoweth) to geue ouer the imperial function, and to to remayne not as Emperours any more, but as priuate persons. So that they beyng now displaced & dispossessed, the imperial dominion remayned with Constantius and Galerius Maximinus, which two deuided the whole Monarchie betwene thē: so that Maximinus should gouern the East countries, and Constantius the west partes. But Constantius as a modest prince, onely contented with the imperiall title, refused Italye and Aphricke, contenting him selfe onely with Fraunce, Spayne, and Britaine. Wherfore Galerius Maximinus chose to him his two sōnes Maximinus and Seuerus. Likewise Constantius tooke Cōstantinus his sonne Cesar vnder him. In the meane time, while Maximinus with his twoo Cesars were in Asia, the Romane soldiours set vp for their Emperour Maxentius, the sonne of Maximian, who had before deposed himselfe. Against whom Maximinus the Emperour of the East send his sonne Seuerus, which Seuerus was slayne in the same viage of Maxentius. In whose place thē Maximinus tooke Licinius. And these were the Emperours and Cesars, which succeding after Dioclesian and Maximinian, prosecuted the rest of that persecution, which Dioclesian and Maximinian before begonne during neare the space of. 7. or. 8. yeres, which was to the yeare of our Lord. 318. Saue onelye that Constantius with his sonne Constantinus, was no great doer therein, but rather a mayntayner and a supporter of the Christians. MarginaliaThe commendation of Constantius.Which Constantius surnamed Chlorus for his palenes, was the sonne of Eutropius, a man of great nobilitie of the Romayne nacion, as Letus affirmeth. He came of the lyne of Eneas & Claudia the daughter of Claudius Augustus. This mā had not the desire of great and mighty dominion, and therfore parted he the Empyre with Galerius, & would rule but in Fraunce, Britaine, & Spaine, refusing the other kingdomes for the troublesome and difficult gouernment of the same. Otherwyse he was a Prince, as Eutropius maketh description of him, verye excellent, ciuil, meeke, gentle, liberal, and desirous to do good vnto those that had any priuate autoritie vnder him. And as Cyrus once sayd, that he gat treasure inough, when he made his frendes riche: euen so it is sayde that Constantius would often times say, MarginaliaO happye Constātiusthat it were better that his siubectes had treasure, then he to haue it in his treasure house. Also he was by nature sufficed with a lytle, in so muche that he vsed to eate and drincke in earthern vessels (which thing was counted in Agathocles the Sicillian a great commendation) and if at any time cause required to garnish his table, he would send for plate & other furniture to his frendes. To these vertues he added yet a more worthy ornamēt, that is, deuotion, loue, and affection towardes the worde of God, as Euseb. Lib. 8. cap. 13. affirmeth, after which vertues ensued great peace and tranquilitie in all his prouinces: MarginaliaConstātius gracious to the Christians.By whiche worde he beyng guided neither leauied any warres contrarie to pietie and Christian Religion, neither aided he anye other that did the same: neyther destroyed he the Churches, but commaunded that the Christians should be preserued and defended, and kept them safe from all cōtumelious iniuries. And when that in the other iuris-

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dictions