sat. v. yeares. Platina sayth. vj. yeares, Sabellicus geueth hym. vij. yeare, and so doth Damasus.
MarginaliaVrbanus bishoppe of Rome.
227.After Calistus folowed Vrbanus, about the yeare of our Lord. 227. who in his epistle decretal (comming out of the same forge) which he wrote in common to all byshops, making no mention of the heauy persecutions of the church, nor ministring anye exhortacion of comfort or constancie to the brethren, onely geueth many straite precepts, for not transporting or alienating the goods of the church, and to pay truly their offeringes, whych they vow: also to haue al common among the Clergie. MarginaliaConfirmation of children instituted.Moreouer, about the end of his epistle he instituteth the confirmation of Children after baptisme (which the papistes be wont to take into the number of their. vij. Sacramentes) affirmyng and denouncynge more then scripture wyll beare, that the imposition of the byshops hand bringeth the holy ghost, and that thereby they are made full Christians. &c. But of these decretall epistles inough is sayd before, more maye bee considered of the discrite Reader. Marianus Scotus, Sabellicus, Nauclerus, and other late story writers do hold as is aforesayd, MarginaliaVrbanus, Martyr.that he dyed a Martyr, in the dayes of Alexander Seuerus, after he had gouerned that seat. iiij. yeares, as Damasus and Platina doo wytnes: as Marianus sayth. viij. yeares.
Martyrs.The same Damasus and Platina do testifie of him, that he by his preaching and holynes of life conuerted diuers Ethnickes to the fayth. Among whom was Tiburtius, and Valerianus the husbād of Cecilia, which both being noble men of Rome, remayned constant in the fayth vnto the ende and martyrdome.
Ex martyrologio Adonis.Of this Cecilia thus it is written in the Martyrologe by Ado, that Cecilie the Virgine after she brought Valerian her husband espoused, and Tiburtius his brother to the knowledge and fayth of Christ, and with her exhortacions had made them constant vnto martyrdome: after the suffering of them she was also apprehended by Almachius the ruler, and brought to the Idoles to do sacrifice: which thing when she abhorred to do, she should be presēted before the iudge to haue the condemnation of death. In the meane time the Sergeants and officers which were about her, beholding her comelye beuty, and the prudent behauiour in her conuersation, began with many persuasions of words to sollicite her mynde, to fauour her selfe, and that so excellent beutye, and not to cast her selfe away. &c. But she agayne so replyed to them with reasons and godly exhortatiōs, that by the grace of almighty God their harts began to kindle, and at length to yeld to that religion, whych before they did persecute. Which thing she perceiuing, desired of the iudge Almachius a little respite. Whych being graunted, she sendeth for Vrbanus the bishop home to her house, to stablish and grounde them in the fayth of Christ. And so were they, with diuers other at the same tyme baptised, both men and wemen, to the number (as the story saith) of. 400. persons, among whom was one Gordianus a noble mā. This done, this blessed martyr was brought before the iudge, wher she was condēned: MarginaliaThe martirdome of Cecilia.then after was brought to þe house of þe Iudge, wher she was inclosed in a whote bathe, but she remainyng ther a whole daie and night without any hurt, as in a colde place, was broughte out agayne, and commaundement geuen that in the bath she should be beheaded: The executour is sayde to haue iiii. strokes at her necke, as yet her heade beynge not cut of, she (as the storye geueth) liued iii. dayes after. And so dyed thys holy virgyn martyre, whose bodye in the night season Vrbanus the Byshop tooke and buryed amonge the other byshops. Ado the compiler of thys martyrologe addeth that this was done in the tyme of Marcus Aurelius, and Comodus. But that cannot be, for so much as Vrbanus by al historyes, was longe after these Emperours, & lyued in thedayes of thys Alexander as is aboue declared. Antoninus, Bergomēsis, Equilinus with such other wryters, set foorth this historye with manye straunge miracles, wrought by the said Cecilia, in conuerting her husband Valerianus and his brother, in shewynge them the Angell which was the keeper of her virginity, and of the Angell puttyng on crownes vpon theyr heades. But as touchinge these miracles, as I doo not dispute whether they be true or fabulous: so bycause they haue no groūd vpon any auncient or graue authors, but taken out of certayne newe ledgends, I do therefore refer them thether from whence they came.
MarginaliaAgapitus, a blessed martyr.
Ex Bergomōsi lib. 8.Vnder the same Alexander, diuers other there bee whom Bergomensis mentioneth to haue suffered martyrdome, as one Agapitus, of the age of. xv. yeres, who being apprehended and condemned at Præneste in Italy, because he would not sacrifice to Idoles, was assayled with sundry torments: first with whippes scourged, then hanged vp by the feete, after hauing hoate water poured vpon him, at last cast to the wilde beastes. With all which torments when he could not be hurt, finallye with sword was beheaded. The executor of these punishments (as by Henricus Erford may be gathered) was one Antiochus, who in the executing of the foresaid tormentes, sodenly fel downe from his iudiciall seate, crying out, that al his inward bowels burned within him, and so gaue vp the breath. MarginaliaA notable example of Gods iust plage vpon a persecutour.
Ex Henr. Erfordiens. lib. 6. Henr. de Erfordia. lib. 6. cap. 29
MarginaliaCalepodius, Martyr.Also with the same Agapitus is numbred Calepodius a Minister of Rome, whose bodye firste was drawne throughe the Citie of Rome, and after cast into Tiber. Bergo. ibidem.
MarginaliaPāmachius, with hys wyfe and children Martyrs.
Xlii. Martyrs.Then followeth Pammachius a Senator of Rome, with his wyfe and chyldren, and other both men and wemen, to the number of. xlij.
MarginaliaSimplicius, Martyr.Item an other noble Senator of Rome named Simplicius, all which together in one daye had their heades smytte of, and their heades after hanged vp in diuers gates of the Citye, for a terrour of other, that none should professe the name of Christ.
Iulia his mother martirs.Beside these suffered also Quiritius a noble man of Rome, who with his mother Iulia, and a great number mo, were put likewyse to death.
brethren and Martyrs.Also Tiberius and Valerianus, Citisens of Rome and brethren suffred (as Bergom. sayth) the same time, who first being brused and broken wyth battes, after were beheaded.
a virgin and martyr.Also Vincentius, Bergomensis, & Erfordiensis make mention of Martina a Christian Virgin, which after diuers bitter punishments, being constant in her faith, suffered in lyke maner by the sword.
Albeit as touching the time of these fore named martyrs, as I finde them not in elder writers: so do I suppose them to suffer vnder Maximinus, or Decius, rather then vnder Alexander.
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
MarginaliaMaximinus emperour and persecutor.
The sixt peprsecution.
An. 237.AFter the death of Alexander þe Emperour, who with his mother Māmea (as is said) was murdred in Germany, folowed Maximinus, chosen by the wil of the soldiers, rather then by the authoritye of the senate, about the yeare of our Lord. 237: who for the hatred he had to the house of Alexander as Euseb. recordeth, raysed vp þe syxt persecutiō against the christians: especially against the teachers and leaders of the church, thinking therby the sooner to vanquishe the reste, if the captaynes and guydes of them were remoued out of othe waye. Wherby I suppose rather the martyrdom of Vrbanus the bishop, and of the rest aboue specified, to haue happened vnder the tyrannie of this Maximinus, then vnder Alexander. In the tyme of this persecution MarginaliaOrigenes De Martyrio.Origene wrote in his booke De Martyrio: which booke if it were extant it would geue vs some knowledge, I doubt not, of such as in this persecution did suffer, which nowe lye in sci-