gate together: first whē any cōuert was to be baptised. The second was vpon the sonday, which was wont for two causes then to be halowed. First, because (saith he) vpon that day God first made the world: secondlye, because that Christ vpon that daye first shewed hym selfe after hys resurrection to his disciples. &c.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaClemens Alexādrinus.Ouer and beside these aboue named, about the daies of Cōmodus, wrote also Clemens Alexandrinus, a mā of notable and singular learning, whose bookes, although for a great part be lost, yet certayne of them yet remayne, wherin is declared among other thinges, the order and number of the bookes & Gospels of the newe Testament. &c.[Back to Top]
The same time moreouer lyued Pantenus, whyche was the first in Alexandria that professed in open schole to reade, of whom is thought first to proceede the order and maner among the Christians to reade and professe in vniuersities. This Pantenus for his excellencye of learning was sent by Demetrius bishop of Alexandria to preache to the Indeans, MarginaliaThe gospel of saint Mathew in hebrew.wher he found the Gospel of S. Mathew written in Hebrewe, left ther by S. Bartelmewe, which booke afterward he brought with hym from thence, to the library of Alexandria.[Back to Top]
During al the raygne of Cōmodus, God graunted rest and trāquilitie, although not withoute some blood shed of certayn holy Martyrs, as is aboue declared, vnto hys church. In the which time of trāquillitie the christians hauing now some laysure from the foraine enemie, beganne to haue a litle contention amonge themselues, about the ceremonie of Easter: MarginaliaDifferēce about the ceremony of Easter.which contentiō albeit of long time before had bene styrring in þe church as is before mencioned of Polycarpus, and Anicetus: yet the variance & difference of that ceremonie brought no breach of Christian concord and societie among thē: Neither as yet did the matter exceede so farre, but that the band of loue, and communion of brotherly life continued, althoughe they differed in the ceremonie of the day. For they of the west church, pretending the tradition of Paule and Peter, but in dede being the traditiō of Hermes and of Pius, kept one day, which was vpon the Sunday after the. xiiij. day of the first moneth. The church of Asia folowing the ordinance of Iohn the apostle, obserued an other, as more shalbe declared (the lord wylling) when we come to the time of Victor Bishop of Rome. In the meane tyme as cōcerning the fourth persecution let this hitherto suffice.[Back to Top]
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
195.AFter the death of Cōmodus raigned Partinax, but few monethes, after whom succeded Seuerus. Vnder whom was raysed the fift persecution against the Christian saintes: who raigning the terme of 18. yeres, the first. x. yeares of the same, was very fauourable and curteous to the Christians. Afterward through sinister suggestions and malicious accusations of the malignant, was so incensed and infested againste them, that by hys proclamations and iniunctions hee commaūded no Christians anye more to be made. MarginaliaThe fyfte persecution
Ex Euseb lib. 6. ca. 2
205.Thus the rage of the Emperour being inflamed against thē, great persecution was styrred vp on euerye syde, whereby an infinite number of Martyrs were slayne, as Eusebius in hys sixt booke recordeth, which was about the yeare of our Lord. 205. MarginaliaThe fals accusations agaynste the Christians.The crimes and false accusations obiected agaynst the Christians, are partlye touched before, pag. 64. as sedition and rebellion agaynste the Emperour, sacrilege, murthering of infantes, incestuous pollution, eating raw flesh, libidinous commixture, wherof certayne in deede, called thē Gnostici, were infamed. Item it was obiected against them, for worshipping the head of an Asse, which wherof it shoulde rise, I finde no certayne cause, except it were perhaps by the Iewes. Also they were charged for worshipping the sunne, forthat perauenture before the sunne ryse they conuented together, singing their morning hymnes vnto the lord, or els because they prayed toward the East: but especially for that they would not with them worship their Idolatrous Gods, and were counted as ennemies to all men. &c.
MarginaliaThe captaynes & ministers of thys persecutiō
Ex Tertul. ad Scapulam.The Captaines and Presidentes of thys persecution vnder the Emperour were Hilarianus, Vigellius, Claudius, Hermianus ruler of Capadocia, Cecilius, Capella, Vespronius, also Demetrius mencioned of Ciprian And Aquila iudge of Alexandria, of whom Euseb. lib. 6. cap. 5. maketh relation.
The places where the force of this persecution most raged, were Africa, Alexādria, Capadocia, & Carthage.
The number of them that suffered in this persecution, by the report of the ecclesiastical story was innumerable. MarginaliaLeonides father of Origen martyr.Of whom the first was Leonides, the father of Origen, who was beheaded: with whom also Origene his sonne, being of the age then of. xvij. yeares, shoulde haue bene (such a feruent desire he had to bee martyred for Christ) MarginaliaOrigene kept from martyrdome by hys mother.had not hys mother priuely in the night season conueyed away hys clothes and hys shyrt. Whereupon more for shame to be sene, then for feare to dye, he was constrayned to remayne at home. And when he coulde doo nothing els, yet hee writeth to hys father a letter wyth theese woordes: Caue tibi, ne quid propter nos aliud, quam martyrii constanter faciendi propositum cogites,
Caue tibi, ne quid propter nos aliud, quam martyrii constanter faciendi propositum cogites.
Take heede to your selfe, that you turne not your thought and purpose for our sakes. &c.
"Take care not to change thy mind on our account"
Eusebius, The ecclesiastical history, bk. VI, ch. 2, trs. K. Lake (London : Heinemann, 1932), 2 vols., vol. 2, pp.11-13