Critical Apparatus for this Page
Commentary on the Text
Names and Places on this Page
Unavailable for this Edition
72 [59]

that the Christians be vngodly and irreligious: And all to please and flatter them, which are seduced by errour,

MarginaliaCrescens a railing philosopher, & a malicious rayler.For whether he obiecteth agaynst vs the doctrine of the christians, which he hath not red, yet is he very malicious, and worse then the vnlearned idiots, who for the most part vse not to dispute or iudge of thinges they know not, and to beare witnes of the same. Or put case that he had red them, yet vnderstandeth not he the maiestie of þe matters therin conteined, or if peraduenture he vnderstādeth them, and doth it for this purpose, that he woulde not be counted as one of them: then is he so much the more wicked and malicious, and þe bondslaue of vyle and beastlye, both fame & feare. MarginaliaA slaue of fame & fear.For this I testifye of hym, geuing you trulye to vnderstande that for a truth, which I declare vnto you, how that I haue apposed him,& haue put vnto him many questions, whereby I know and perceaue, that he vnderstādeth nothing. MarginaliaCrescēs proued an vnlearned philosopher.But if so be þt this our disputatiō wt him, hath not come vnto your eares, I am ready to communicate vnto you again those questions which I demaūded of him, which thinges shall not bee vnfit for your princely honour to heare. But if ye know & vnderstand both what thinges I haue examined him of, as also what answere he hath made, it shal be aparant vnto you, that he is altogether ignoraunt of our doctrine & learning, or ells if he knoweth the same, he dare not vtter it for feare of his auditors, which thing, as I sayd before, is a profe that he is no Philosopher, but a slaue to vaine glorye, which maketh none accompt of that, which his own Maister Socrates had in so great estimacion. And thus muche of Iustine, out of Iustine himselfe.

[Back to Top]

Now to verifie that, which Iustine here of him selfe doth prophecye, that Crescens woulde and did procure his death, MarginaliaTatianus cōmended.Tacianus (a man brought vp of a childe in the institutions of the Gentiles, and obtayned in the same not a little fame, and which also left behynde hym manye good monumentes and Commentaries) writeth in his booke agaynst the Gentiles in this sort: MarginaliaThe prayse of Iustinus Martyr.And Iustine sayth he, that moste excellent learned man, full well spake and vttered his minde, that the afore recited men were lyke vnto theues or lyars by þe high way side. And in the sayd booke speaking afterwarde of certaine philosophers, the sayd Tacianus inferreth thus: Crescens therefore (sayth hee) when he came firste into that great City, passed all other in the vicious loue of children, and was very much geuen to couetousnes, & wher he taught that mē ought not to regard death, he himself so feared death, that he did all his indeuoure to oppresse Iustine with death, as wyth the most greatest euill that was, and al because that Iustine speaking truth, reproued the Philosophers to be men onely for the belly & deceauers, & this was the cause of Iustines Martirdome. Ierome in his Ecclesiasticall cataloge thus writeth: MarginaliaEx Catalo Hiero.Iustine when in the City of Rome he had his disputatiōs, & had reproued Crescens the Cinike, for a great blasphemer of the Christians, for a bellygod and a man fearing death, and also a follower of lust & lecherye: Marginalia154.
The deathe and martyrdome of Iustinus the noble philosopher and christian martyr.
at the last by his indeuoure and conspiracy was accused to be a Christian, and for Christ shed his blood in the yeare of our Lord 154. vnder Antonius Pius, as the chronicles do witnes, Abb. Vrsperg. & Eusebius in hys Chronicle in the. xiii. yeare of the Emperour Antonius.

[Back to Top]
The fourth 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

MarginaliaThe fourth persecution of the church
167.
THe fourth persecution of the Church of God, was vnder Marcus Antonius, of whome the histories gaue this cōmendation, that he was a mā of great foresight and counsel to gouern a common wealth, also not vnlerned, by whom were made certayn lawes commendable, which yet remain in the Pandectes. Notwithstanding he declared himselfe a fierce and a cruell persecutor of the Christian poople. In whose tyme a greate number of them which truely professed Christ, sufferedmost cruell tormentes and punishmentes, both in Asia & in Fraunce. MarginaliaPolicarpus the blessed martyr byshoppe of Smyrna.In the number of whom was Policarpus, the worthy bishop of Smyrna mentioned before in the history of Iustinus. Who in the great rage of this persecution in Asia, amonge manye other moste constant saintes was also martired. Of whose ende and Martirdome I thought it here not vnexpedient to cōmit to history, so much as Eusebius declareth to be taken out of a certaine letter or epistle, written by them of his owne churche, to the brethren of Pontus, the tenor of which Epistle here followeth:

[Back to Top]

MarginaliaEx Euseb. hist eccle. lib. 4. ca. 15. Hierou. in Catalogo.The congregation which is at Smirna, to the congregatiō which is at Philomiliū, & to al the congregations through out Pontus, mercy to you, peace, & the loue of God our father, and of our Lord Iesu Christe be multiplied. Amen. We haue writtē vnto you brethren of those mē which haue suffred martirdom, & of blessed Policarpus, which hath ended and appeased this persecution as it were by the shedding of his owne bloude. MarginaliaTwelue Martyrs in Asia.And in the same epistle, before they enter into farder matter of Policarpus, they discourse of other Martyrs, describing what pacience they abode and shewed in suffring theyr torments: which was so great and admirable (sayth the epistle) that the lookers on were amased, MarginaliaThe cruell and beastly handlīg of the Christiā Martyrs.seing and beholding how they were so scourged and whipped, that the inward vaines and aartaries appeared, yea euen so much that the very intrailes of their bodies, their bowels and members were sene, and after that were set vpō sharpe shels, taken out of the sea, edged and sharpe, and certaine nailes and thornes for the Martyrs to go vpon which were sharpened & poynted, called Obelisci. MarginaliaThe singular patience and constancye of the Christians.Thus suffered they all kynd of punyshment and torment that might bee deuised, and lastlye were throwne vnto the wilde beastes to be deuoured. MarginaliaGermanicus a moste constant Martyr.But especially in the foresayd epistle, mention is made of one Germanicus, howe he moste worthely perseuered and ouercame by þe grace of God, that feare of death which is ingraffed in the cōmon nature of all men, whose notable pacience and sufferaunce was so great and notable, that the whole multitude being amased, and wondryng at thys beloued Martyr of God, for thys his so bolde constancie, and also for the singular strength and vertue proceding of the whole multitude of the Christians: beganne sodenlye to crye with a loude voyce, saying: destroy the wicked mē: Let Polycarpus be sought for. And whylest a great vprour and tumult, began thus to be raysed vpon those cryes: MarginaliaQuintus a Phrigian to hardy & bold.A certain Phrygian named Quintus, lately come oute of Phrygia, who seing and abhorryng the wilde beastes, and þe fierce rage of them, of an ouer light mind betrayed his owne safetye. For so the same letter of him doth report, that he, not reuerentlye, but more malepartly then requisite was, together with others rushed into the iudgement place, and so being taken, was made a manifest example to all the beholders, that no man ought rashly, and vnreuerentlye with suche boldnes, to thrust in him selfe, and entermeddle in matters, wherwith he hath not to do.

[Back to Top]

But now we wil surcease to speake more of them, and returne to Policarpus, of whom the foresaid letter consequently declareth as followeth: Howe that in the beginning, when he heard of these thinges, was nothing at all afraide nor disquieted in minde, but purposed to haue taried still in the City, til being perswaded by the intreaty of them that wer about him (which desired him instantly that he would conuey him selfe away) MarginaliaPolicarpus flyeth persecutiō.hid him selfe in a grange or village not farre of from the Citie, and ther abiding with a few more in his company, dyd nothing els (night nor day) but abode in supplication, MarginaliaPolicarpus prayeth for the church.wherin he made his humble peticion for the obtayning of peace vnto all the Congregations throughoute the world. For that was his accustomed manner so to doo. And as he was thus making his praiers three daies be-

[Back to Top]
fore