cause, but vnto the violence and iniurie done to this man. Also Iosephus hath not left this out of his history, where he speaketh of him after this maner: These things so chānced vnto the Iewes for a vengeaunce because of that iust man Iames which was the brother of Iesu, whom they called Christ, for the Iewes killed him although he was a ryghteous man.[Back to Top]
The same Iosephus declareth his death in the same book and chapter saying: Cæsar hearyng of the death of Festus, sent Albinus the Lieutenaunt into Iewrie, but Ananus the younger, beyng Byshop, and of the secte of the Saduces, trustyng that he had obtained a conuenient tyme, seyng that Festus was dead, and Albinus entred on his iourney, he called a Councell, and callyng many vnto hym, among whom was Iames by name the brother of Iesu whiche is called Christ, he stoned them, accusing them as breakers of the law.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaMartyrs. Whereby it appeareth that many other besides Iames also the same tyme were Martyred and put to death amōg the Iewes, for the fayth of Christ.
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 Unpublished doctoral dissertation.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 fyrst. x. persecutions in the primatiue Church. THese thynges beyng thus declared for the Martyrdome of the Apostles, & the persecution of the Iewes: Now let vs (by the grace of Christ our Lord) comprehend with like breuitie, the persecutions raysed by the Romaines, agaynst the Christians in the primitiue age of the Church, duryng the space of. 300. yeares, till the commyng of godly Constantine, whiche persecutions are reckoned of Eusebius, and by the most part of writers to the number of x. most speciall.[Back to Top]
Wherin marueilous it is, to see and read the numbers incredible of Christian innocentes that were slayne and tormented, some one way, some an other. As Rabanus sayth, and sayth truely. MarginaliaThe sundry tormentes of holy Martyrs in the primitiue Churche. Alij ferro perempti. Alij flammis exusti. Alij flagris verberati. Alij vectibus perforati. Alij cruciati patibulo. Alij demersi pelagi periculo. Alij viui decoriati. Alij vinculis mancipati. Alij linguis priuati. Alij lapidibus obruti. Alij frigore afflicti. Alij fame cruciati. Alij truncatis manibus, alijsué cæsis membris spectaculum contumeliæ, nudi propter nomen Domini portantes, &c. That is. Some slayne with sword. Some burnt with fire. Some with whippes scourged. Some stabbed in with forkes of yron. Some fastened to the crosse, or gibbet. Some drowned in the sea. Some their skinnes pluckt of. Some their tounges cut of. Some stoned to death. Some killed with cold. Some starued with hunger. Some their handes cut of, or otherwise dismembred haue bene so left naked to the open shame of the worlde, &c. Wherof Austen also in hys booke, De Ciuit. 22. cap. 6. MarginaliaAug. de Ciuit. Lib. 22. cap. 6. thus sayth: Ligabantur, includebantur, cædebantur, torquebantur, vrebantur, laniabantur, trucidabantur, multiplicabantur, non pugnantes pro salute, sed salutem contemnentes pro feruatore. Whose kyndes of punishmentes, although they were diuers, yet the maner of constancie in all these Martyrs was one. And yet notwithstandyng the sharpenes of these so many and sundry tormentes, and like cruelnes of the tormentours: yet such was the number of these constaunt Saintes that suffered, or rather such was the power of the Lord in hys Saintes, that as Hierome in his Epistle to Cromatius and Heliodorus sayth: MarginaliaThe number of holy Martyrs in the primitiue Church. Nullus esset dies qui non vltra quinque millium numerum Martyrum reperiti posset ascriptus excepto die Kalēdarum Ianuarij. That is. There is no day in the whole yeare, vnto whiche the number of fiue thousand Martyrs can not be ascribed, except onely the first day of Ianuary.[Back to Top]
The first persecution.
Histor. Ecclesiast. Lib. 2. co. 24. 25. 26. The first of these. x. persecutions: was styrred vp by Nero Domitius the vj. Emperour before mentioned, about the yeare of our Lorde. 67. The tyrannous rage of whiche Emperour was so fierce agaynst the Christians, (as Eusebius recordeth,) Vi adeò vt videres repletas humanis corporibus ciuitates, iacētes mortuos simul cum paruulis senes: fæminarum absq; vlla sexus reuerentia nudata in publico, reiectaque starent cadauera. That is: In somuch that a man might then see Cities lye full of mens bodyes, the old there laying together with the young, and the dead bodyes of women cast out naked without all reuerence of that sexe in the open streetes, &c. Likewise Orosius writing of the sayd Nero, sayth, MarginaliaOrosius Lib. 7. that he was the first, which in Rome did rayse vp persecution agaynst the Christians, and not onely in Rome, but also through all the prouinces therof, thinkyng to abo- lish and to destroy the whole name of Christians in all places, &c. Wherunto accordeth moreouer the testimony of Hierome vppon Daniell, saying: that many there were of the Christians in those dayes, which seyng the filthy abhominations, & intollerable crueltie of Nero, MarginaliaNero thought to be Antichrist. thought that he should be Antichrist, &c.
MarginaliaS. Peter the Apostle, crucified at Rome. In this persecution, among many other Saintes the blessed Apostle Peter was cōdēned to death, & crucified as some do write, at Rome, albeit othersome, and not without cause do doubt therof, concernyng whose lyfe & history, because it is sufficiently described in the text of the Gospel, and in the Actes, by S. Luke, Chapt. 4. 5. 12. I neede not here to make any great repetitiō therof. As touchyng the cause and maner of his death, diuers there be, which make relation, as Hierome, Egesippus, Eusebius, Abdias, and other: although they do not all precisely agree in the tyme. The wordes of Hierome be these:
MarginaliaHierom. lib. De viris illustrib. Simon Peter the sonne of Iohn, of the prouince of Galile, and of the towne of Bethsaida, the brother of Andrew, &c. After he had bene byshop of the church of Antioch, and had preached to the dispersion of them that beleued of the Circumcision in Pontus, Galacia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithinia, in the secōd yeare of Claudius the Emperour, (which was about the yeare of our Lorde. 44.) came to Rome, to withstand Simon Magus, and there kept the Priestly chayre, the space of. *xxv. yeares, vntill the last yeare of the foresayd Nero, which was the. xiiij. yeare of his reigne, of whom he was crucified, his head being downe, & his feete vpward, him selfe so requiryng, because he was (he sayd) vnworthy to be crucified after the same forme and maner, as the Lorde was, &c.
Marginalia* This report seemeth neither to come of Hierome nor to be true in Peter.
MarginaliaEgesippus Lib. 3. De excidio
Hieroso. cap. 2.
Abdias. Lib. 1. De vita Petri Egesippus prosecutyng this matter something more at large, and Abdias also, (if any authoritie is to be geuen to his booke, who followyng not onely the sense, but also the very forme of wordes of Egesippus in this history, seemeth to be extracted out of him, and of other authors) sayth: that Simon Magus beyng then a great man with Nero, and as presidēt and keeper of his lyfe, was required vpon a time to be present at the raysing vp of a certaine noble yoūg man in Rome, of Neros kyndred, lately departed. Whereas Peter also was desired to come to the reuiuyng of the sayd personage. But when Magus in the presence of Peter could not do it: Then Peter callyng vpō the name of the Lord Iesus, did rayse hym vp, and restored him to his mother, wherby the estimation of Simon Magus began greatly to decay, and to be detested in Rome. Not long after the sayd Magus threatned þe Romaines, that he would leaue the Citie and in their sight flye away from them into heauen. So the day beyng appointed Magus takyng his winges in the Mounte Capitolinus, began to flye in the ayre. But Peter by the power of the Lord Iesus brought hym downe with his wynges headlong to the grounde, by the which fall his legges and ioyntes were broken, and he thereupon dyed. Then Nero sorrowing for the death of hym, sought matier agaynst Peter to put him to death. Which when the people perceaued, they entreated Peter with much a do, that he would flee the Citie. Peter through their importunitie at length perswaded, prepared himself to auoyde. But commyng to the gate he saw the Lord Christ come to meete him, to whom he worshyppyng, sayd: Lord whether doost thou goe? To whom he aunswered and sayd, I come agayne to be crucified. By this Peter perceauyng his sufferyng to be vnderstanded, returned backe into the Citie agayne. And so was he crucified, in maner as is before declared. And this out of Egesippus
MarginaliaEusebius lib. 3. hist. eccl. c. 30. Eusebius moreouer writing of the death not onely of Peter, but also of his wife, MarginaliaPeters wife put to death for Christ. affirmeth, that Peter seyng his wife going to her Martyrdome (belike as he was yet hangyng vpon the crosse) was greatly ioyous and glad therof. MarginaliaThe wordes of Peter to his wife, goyng to death. Who crying vnto her with a loude voyce, and calling her by her name, bad her remember the Lord Iesus. Such was then (sayth Eusebius) the blessed bonde of Mariage among the Saintes of God. And thus much of Peter.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaPaule the Apostle. Paule the Apostle, which before was called Saule, after his greate trauaile and vnspeakeable labours in promotyng the Gospell of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution vnder Nero, and was beheaded. Of whom thus writeth Hierome in his booke De viris illustr. MarginaliaEx Hieronymo lib. de viris illust. Paule, otherwise called Saule, one of the Apostles, yet out of the number of. xij. was of the tribe of Beniamin, and of a towne of Iewry, called Giscalis: which towne beyng takē of the Romaines, he with his parentes fled to Tharsus a towne of Cilicia. MarginaliaSaule brought vp vnder Gamaliel. Afterward was sent vp by his parentes to Hierusalem, and there broughte vp in the knowledge of the law, at the feete of Gamaliel, and was at the death of Stephen a doer. MarginaliaSaule a persecutor. And when he had receaued letters from the hygh Priest to persecute the Christians, by the waye goyng to Damascus, was stroken downe of the Lordes glory, and of a persecu-[Back to Top]