Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
69 [56]

Actes and Monumentes of the Church.

Abdias reporteth, MarginaliaA legende miracle.that as his heade mas stricken of, in stede of blood issued out white milke, and that at laying downe his head, he signed him selfe with the signe of a crosse in his forehead: but this being founde in no other history, Abdias semeth either to adde of his owne, or els to borow out of the Legende, as he doth manye other thinges beside, wherof more shalbe said (Christ willing) hereafter. Although the same miracle of milke flowing out of his necke, is referred also vnto Ambrose, who in his sermon. 68. (if it be not counterfaited) semeth to affirme the same. Of the time and yeare when these blessed Apostles did suffer, histories do not all agree. MarginaliaHistories do vary about the time of their Martirdome.They that follow the common opiniō, and the Popes decrees say, that both Peter and Paule suffred both in one day and in in yeare, which opinion semeth to be taken out of Dyonisius, bishop of Corinth. Heriome in his booke De viris illustr. affirmeth that they suffered both in one day, but he expresseth not the yeare. So doth Isidorus & Eusebius. Symeō Metaphrastes bringeth in the opinion of some, which thinke that Paule suffered not wyth Peter, but after Peter. Prudentius in his Peristephano, noteth that they both were put to death vpon the same day, but not in the same yeare, and saith the Paule folowed Peter a yeare after.

[Back to Top]

Abdias aboue mencioned, recordeth Paule suffered. 2. yeres after Peter. Moreouer, if it be true which Abdias saith, that after the crucifieng of Peter, Paule remained in his free custodye at Rome, mencioned in in the Actes of the Apostles, which was as Hierom witnesseth, the. 3. or. 4. yeare of Nero: then must it be. x. yere betwixt the martyrdome of Peter and of Paule, for as much as it is by al writers confessed, that Paule suffered the. 14. yeare, which was the last yeare of Nero. And so Abdias seemeth neither to agree with other autours, nor with him self. And thus much of the first persecutiō.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe second persecution
An. 96.
THe second persecution 

Commentary  *  Close
The first ten persecutions

The section on the first 300 years of the church was, however, just the preface to the 'First Ten Persecutions', a structured 'decade' of martyrdoms in the early church that mirrored the 'centuries' into which the Magdeburg Centuries had chosen to organize its history of the Christian church. For our examination of Foxe's (extensive) borrowings from the Magdeburg Centuries, we have made use of the online edition of this text at: http://www.mgh-bibliothek.de/digilib/centuriae.htm and, for the bibliographical complexities surrounding its publication, Ronald E. Diener, 'The Magdeburg Centuries. A Bibliothecal and Historiographical Study'. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Divinity School 1978/79). For these sections, we have undertaken a very preliminary analysis, concentrating on the following textual divisions: Introduction to first 10 persecutions (1583, p. 34; 1576, p. 34; 1570, pp. 53-4); First persecution (1583, pp. 34-5; 1576, p. 34; 1570, pp. 54-6); Second persecution (1583, pp. 35-9; 1576, pp. 35-9; 1570, pp. 56-7); Third persecution (1583, pp. 39-42; 1576, pp. 39-42; 1570, pp. 57-9); Fourth persecution (1583, pp. 42-46; 1576, pp. 42-46; 1570, pp. 59-69); Martyrs of Lyons (1583, pp. 46-50; 1576, pp. 46-50; 1570, pp. 69-74); Remainder of fourth persecution (1583, pp. 50-4; 1576, pp. 50-4; 1570, pp. 74-9); Fifth persecution (1583, pp. 54-9; 1576, pp. 54-9; 1570, pp. 79-85); Sixth persecution (1583, p. 59; 1576, pp. 59-60; 1570, pp. 85-6).

[Back to Top]

In the block on the first persecutions, prepared for the 1570 edition and repeated in the later ones, Foxe cites as his source Eusebius, book 3, ch. 30. Although it is probably the case that he consulted the source, it is much more likely that, for this (as for the succeeding sections of this part of the narrative) that he drew on the published volumes of the Magdeburg Centuries, in this case, vol. 1, book 2, cols 561-4.

[Back to Top]

For the second persecution, Foxe continued to use Eusebius, supplementing it (apparently) with Irenaeus' Against Heresies and the Historiae adversum paganos of Orosius. Again, although it is difficult to be certain of this at present, his direct source was likely to have been the Magdeburg Centuries. For the fourth persecution, concerned especially with the martyrdom of Polycarp, we can be clearer. Although some of the sections of Foxe's narrative (such as the Epistle to Pontus and the sayings of Polycarp to Martin the heretic, are direct translations from Eusebius, the section on the life and works of Polycarpus, which indirectly comes from Eusebius, book 5, ch. 20, is clearly lifted from the Magdeburg Centuries, II, cols 173 and 176. For the contradictory views of various authors on who were the popes at the time, Foxe clearly used the Magdeburg Centuries, I, book 2, cols 626-8 but he also consulted at least some of the other sources he mentions in order to construct an independent view. The section on the order of the popes to Eleutherius certainly is taken from the Magdeburg Centuries, II, cols 117 and 209-210.

[Back to Top]

For the fourth persecution, it is evident that the Magdeburg Centuries formed the direct source for the following sections of it:- the Epistle of Pliny to Trajan and its response (p. 53 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 13-4); the martyrdoms under Emperor Hadrian (p. 54 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 15-6 and cols 231-33); the final rising of the Jews under Hadrian and subsequent slaughter, the succession of Antoninus Pius, and resumption of the fourth persecution (p. 55 of the 1570 edition) - (II, col 17); the disputed claims concerning Hyginus (p. 66 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 111; 141; 212-3); Eleutherius' mission to convert the British (II, cols 8-9); and the contention over the date of Easter at the time of Commodus (p. 67 of the 1570 edition) - (II, col. 118).

[Back to Top]

For the fifth persecution, Foxe drew directly on the Magdeburg Centuries for the following passages:- the fifth persecution by Septimus Severus (p. 67 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 9-10); the martyrdom of Origen and his father - (III, cols 9-10; 150-1; 253-259); for the list of martyrs under Septimus Severus (p. 68 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 10; 251; 305); for Basilides and the miracles of Potomiena - (III, col. 305); for Alexander as bishop of Jerusalem - (III, col. 209); for the persecutions in the time of Septimus Severus - (III, cols 295-6; 211); for Tertullian as an ecclesiastical writer (p. 69 of the 1570 edition - (III, cols 236; 241; 242); for the controversy over Easter in the time of Victor (p. 70 of the 157- edition) - (II, cols 152-58); for the epistles of Zephirus - (III, cols 275-6); for the invasion of Britain - (III, col. 315); for the epistles of Calixtus (p. 72 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 276-77). Foxe clearly used other sources for this account as well, but only further research will confirm more precisely the extent to which he worked outwards from the Magdeburg Centuries to write a more independently based narrative of this section.

[Back to Top]

For the sixth persecution, we have undertaken a similar analysis of the extent of Foxe's dependence on the Magdeburg Centuries. The results are less complete. It is certainly the case that he drew somewhat on that source for the beginning of the sixth persecution under Emperor Maximus (pp. 73-4 of the 1570 edition) - (III, col. 13). He also borrowed to some degree for the description of the rule of Pontianus, bishop of Rome (p. 74 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 177; 278); for the story of Natalius he also fairly clearly derived his material from the Centuries - (IIII, cols 287-288); for Emperor Philip the same is true (III, cols 8; 254; 279).

[Back to Top]

We have not continued our analysis beyond this stage at present. It will require a more extensive and detailed examination of the full range of the sources cited by Foxe in his marginalia, and a comparison of them with what was contained in the extant volumes of the Magdeburg Centuries, which had become available to him in between the publication of the 1563 and 1570 editions, to arrive at a proper assessment of Book One.

[Back to Top]

Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

was moued against the christians, by the Emperour Domitian brother of Titus. Of whom Eusebius and Orisius so writeth, MarginaliaEx Orosio lib. 7.that he first beginning mildly and modestly, afterwarde did so far outrage in pride intollerable, that he commaunded him selfe to be called and worshipped as God, and that images of gold and siluer in his honour should be set vp in Capitolio. The chiefest nobles of the Senators, either vpon enuye, or for their goodes, he caused to be put to death, some openly, and some he sent into banishment, ther causing them to be slaine priuely.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaThe tiranny & intemperance of Domitian.And as his tyranny was vnmeasurable, so the intemperancy of his life was no lesse. He put to death all the nephewes of Iuda, called the Lordes brother, and caused to be sought out, & to be slaine al that could be found of the stock of Dauid (as Vespasian also did before him) for feare least he were yet to come of the house of Dauid, which should enioy the kingdome.

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaSimeon bishop of Hierusalem crucified.In the time of this persecutour, Symeon bishop of Hierusalem, after other torments, was crucified to death, whom Iustus afterward succeded in that bishopricke. MarginaliaIohn the Euangelist.In this persecution Iohn the Apostle and Euangelist was exiled by the saide Domitianus into Pathmos. Of whom diuers and sundry memorable actes be reported in sundrye chronicles. As fyrst how he was put in a vessell of boyling oyle, by þe proconsull of Ephesus. The legend and Perionius say, it was done at Rome. Isidorus also writing of him & comprehending many things in fewe wordes, MarginaliaIsodorus de patribus noui testamenti.declareth that he turned certayn pieces of woode into golde, and stones by the seaside into margarites, to satisfie the desire of two, whom he had before perswaded to renounce theyr riches: And afterwarde they repenting that for worldly treasure, they had loste heauen, for their sakes againe chaunged the same into their former substance. Also, how he raised vp a widow and a certaine yong man from death to life. Howe hedronke poyson, and it hurt him not, raysing also to life two which had dronke the same before. These and suche other miracles, although they may be true, & are found in Isidorus and other writers mo, yet because they are no articles of our Christian beliefe, I let them passe, & onely content my selfe with that which I read in Eusebius, MarginaliaEuseb. lib. 3. cap. 10. histor. eccl.declaring of him in this wise: Marginalia97.
Iohn banished.
That in the. 14. yere after Nero, in the second persecution in the daies of Domitian, Iohn was banished into Pathmos, for the testimony of the word, an. Do 97. MarginaliaIohn released out of banishmentAnd after the death of the foresaid Domitian being slaine, and his actes repealed by the Senate, Iohn was againe released vnder Pertinax the Emperour, and came to Ephesus, an. do. 100. wher he continued vntil the time of Traianus, and ther gouerned the churches in Asia, where also he wrote hys Gospel, and so liued til the yeare after the passion of our Lord. 68. which was the yeare of his age. 99.

[Back to Top]

Moreouer in the foresayd ecclesiasticall story of Eusebius, MarginaliaEuseb. li. 3. cap. 23.we reade that Iohn the Apostle and Euangelist, whom the Lorde did loue, was in Asia, where he being returned out of Pathmos, after the death of Domitian, gouerned the churches and congregations. Ireneus in his second booke, thus writeth: And of him all the elders do witnesse, which were with Iohn the Disciple of the Lorde in Asia, that he spake and wrote these thinges, &c, for there he continued with them vnto the time of Traianus, &c. Also the sayd Irenæus Lib. 3. Hypothes. in lyke wordes declareth, saying: MarginaliaIren. L. 3The church of the Ephesians being first founded by Paule, afterward being confyrmed of Iohn, (who continued in the same citie vnto the time of Traianus the Emperour) is a true witnesse of this Apostolicall tradition, &c. MarginaliaClemens Alexandrinus.Clemens Alexandrinus moreouer noteth both the tyme of this holy Apostle, and also addeth to the same a certayne historye of hym, not vnworthy to be remēbred of such which delite in things honest and profitable. Of the which historie Sozomenus also in his commentaries maketh mention. The words of the autor setting forth this historye, be these: MarginaliaA notable historye of Iohn the Euangelist.Heare a fable, and not a fable, but a true report which is tolde vs of Iohn the Apostle, deliuered and cōmended to our remembraunce. After the death of the tyrant, whē Iohn was returned to Ephesus from the ile of Pathmos: he was desired, to resort to the places bordering nere vnto him, partly to constitute Bishops, partlye to dispose the causes and matters of the church, partly to ordayn and set suche of the Clergye in office, whom the holy ghost shoulde electe. Whereupon, when he was come to a certaine citie not farre of, the name of which also many do yet remember, and had among other things comforted the brethren, he loking more earnestly vpon him, which was the chiefe Bishop among them, beheld a young mā mighty in body, and of a beautifull countenaunce, and of a feruent mynde. I commende this man (sayth he) to thee with great diligence, in the witnesse here of Christ and of the church.

[Back to Top]

When the Byshop had receaued of him this charge, and had promised his faythfull diligence therin, againe the second time, Iohn spake vnto him and desired hym in like manner and contestation, as before. Thys done Iohn returneth agayne to Ephesus. The Bishop receauing the young man, commended and cōmitted to hys charge, brought him home, kept him, and norished him, and at length also did illuminate, (that is) he baptised him. And in short tyme through his diligence, brought him into such order and towardnes, that he committed vnto him the ouersyght of a certayne cure in the Lords behalfe. The young man thus hauing more his libertie, it chaunsed that certayne of hys companions and familiars being idle, dissolute, and accustomed of olde tyme to wickednes, did ioyne in companye with him. Who first brought him to sumptuous and ryotous bankets. Then entised him forth with them in the night to robbe

[Back to Top]
and