and at length to yeld to that Religion, whiche before they did persecute. Whiche thing she perceiuyng, desired of the iudge Almachius a little respite. Which beyng graunted, she sendeth for Vrbanus the Byshop 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 wemē, to the number (as the story sayth) of. 400. persons, among whom was one Gordianus a noble man. This done, this blessed Martyr was brought before the iudge, where she was condemned: MarginaliaThe Martyrdome of Cecilia. then after was brought to the house of the Iudge, where she was inclosed in a whote bathe, but she remainyng there a whole day & night without any hurt, as in a cold place, was brought out agayne, and commaundement geuen that in the bath she should be beheaded: The executour is sayd to haue foure strokes at her necke, & yet her heade beyng cut of, she (as the story geueth) liued three dayes after. And so dyed this holy virgyne martyr, whose body in the night season Vrbanus the byshop tooke and buryed among the other Byshops. Ado the compiler of this Martyrologe addeth that this was done in the tyme of Marcus Aurelius, and Comodus. But that cannot be, for so much as Vrbanus by all histories, was long after these Emperours, and liued in the dayes of this Alexander as is aboue declared. Antoninus, Bergomensis, Equilinus with such other writers, set forth this history with many straunge miracles, wrought by the sayd Cecilia, in conuertyng her husband Valerianus and his brother, in shewynge them the Angell whiche was the keeper of her virginitie, & of the Angell puttyng on crownes vpon their heades. But as touchyng these miracles, as I do not dispute whether they be true or fabulous: so bycause they haue no grounde vpon any auncient or graue authors, but taken out of certaine new Legendes, I do therefore referre them thether from whence they came.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaAgapitus, a blessed Martyr.
Ex Bergomōsi Lib. 8. Vnder the same Alexander, diuers other there be whom Bergomēsis mētioneth to haue suffered martyrdome, as one Agapitus, of the age of. xv. yeares, who beyng apprehended and condemned at Præneste in Italy, because he would not sacrifice to Idoles, was assayled with sundry tormentes: first with whippes scourged, thē hanged vp by the feete, after hauyng hoate water poured vpon him, at last cast to the wilde beastes. With all which torments when he could not be hurt, finally with sword was beheaded. The executor of these punishmentes (as by Henricus Erford may be gathered) was one Antiochus, who in the executyng of the foresayd tormentes, sodenly fell downe from his iudiciall seate, cryyng out, that all his inward bowels burned within hym, 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 body first was drawen throughe the Citie of Rome, & after cast into Tiber. Bergo. ibidem.
MarginaliaPammachius, with hys wife & children Martyrs.
Xlii. Martyrs. Then followeth Pammachius a Senator of Rome, with his wife and children, 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 day had their heades smyitē of, and their handes after hanged vp in diuers gates of the Citie, for a terrour of other, that none should professe the name of Christ.
MarginaliaQuiritius, Iulia his mother Martyrs. Beside these suffered also Quiritius a noble mā of Rome, who with his mother Iulia, and a great number moe, were put likewise to death.
brethren and Martyrs. Also Tiberius and Valerianus, Citizens of Rome and brethren suffered (as Bergomensis sayth) the same tyme, who first beyng brused and broken with battes, after were beheaded.
MarginaliaMartina a virgine and Martyr. Also Vincentius, Bergomensis, and Erfordiensis make mention of Martina a Christian virgine, which after diuers bitter punishmentes, beyng constaunt in her fayth, suffered in like maner by the sword.
Albeit as touchyng the time of these forenamed 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.
237. AFter the death of Alexander the Emperour, who with his mother Māmea (as is sayd) was murdred in Germany, folowed Maximinus, chosen by the will of the souldiours, rather then by the authoritie of the Senate, about the yeare of our Lord. 237: who for the hatred he had to the house of Alexāder (as Eusebius recordeth,) raysed vp the vj. persecution agaynst the Christians: especially agaynst the teachers and leaders of the Churche, thinkyng therby the sooner to vāquish the reste, if the Captaines of thē were remoued out of the way. Wherby I suppose rather the Martyrdome of Vrbanus the Byshop, and of the rest aboue specified, to haue happened vnder the tyranny of this Maximinus, then vnder Alexander. In the tyme of this persecution MarginaliaOrigenes De Martyrio. Origene wrote in his booke De Martyrio: whiche booke if it were extant would geue vs some knowledge, I doubt not, of such as in this persecution did suffer, whiche now lye in scilence vnknowen. And no doubt but a great nūber they were, and mo should haue bene, had not the prouident mercy of God shortened his dayes, and bridled his tyranny: for he raigned but three yeares. MarginaliaGordianus Emperour.
An. 240 After whom succeeded Gordianus, an. 240. a man no lesse studious for the vtilitie of the common wealth, as milde and gentle to the Christians. This Gordian after he had gouerned with much peace and tranquilitie the Monarchie of Rome the space of vi. yeares, was slayne of Philip Emperour after him.
MarginaliaPontianus Byshop of Rome. In the dayes of these Emperours aboue recited, was Pontianus Byshop of Rome, who succeeded next after Vrbanus aboue rehearsed, about the yeare of our Lord. 236. in the. xij. yeare of Alexander, as Eusebius Lib. 6. cap. 28 noteth: declaryng him to sit. vj. yeares. MarginaliaDiuersitie betwene Damasus & Eusebius. Pontianus banished. Contrary Damasus and Platina write, that he was Byshop. ix. yeares and a halfe. And that in the tyme of Alexander, he with Philippus his Priest was banished into Sardina, and there died. But it seemeth more credible that he was banished rather vnder Maximinus, and dyed in the beginnyng of the raigne of Gordianus. In his Epistles decretall (which seeme likewise to be fayned) he appeareth very deuoute, after the common example of other Byshops to vphold the dignitie of Priestes, and of Clergie men, saying: MarginaliaThis doctryne seemeth derogatory to Christ & blasphemous that God hath them so familiar with him, that by them he accepteth the offerynges and oblations of other, and forgeueth their sinnes, and recōcileth them vnto him. Also, that they do make the body of the Lord with their owne mouth, and geue it to other. &c. Whiche doctrine how it standeth with the Testament of God, and glorie of Christ, let the reader vse his owne iudgement.[Back to Top]
Other notable fathers also in the same time were raysed vp in the Churche, as Philetus Byshop of Antioche, whiche succeeded after Asclepiades afore mētioned. an. 220. and after him Zebennus Byshop of the same place. an. 231.
MarginaliaAmmonius a Christian writer To these also may be added Ammonius the scholemaister of Origene, as Suidas supposeth, also the kynsman of Porphiry the great enemy of Christ. Notwithstandyng this Ammonius endued with better grace, as he left diuers bookes in defence of Christes Religion: so he did constantly perseuere (as Eusebius reporteth) in the doctrine of Christ, whyche he had in the beginnyng receaued, who was about the dayes of Alexander.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaIulius Aphricanus writer. Iulius Aphricanus also about the tyme of Gordianus aforesayd, is numbred among the old and auncient writers, of whom Nicephorus writeth, to be scholer of Origene, and a great writer of histories of that time.
Ex Euseb. Lib. 5. cap. 28. Vnto these Doctours and Confessors may be adioyned the story of Natalius, mentioned in the fift booke of Eusebius. This Natalius had suffered persecution before like a cōstant Confessor, who beyng seduced and persuaded by Asclepiodotus and Theodorus (whiche were the Disciples of Theodocus) to take vpon him to be bishop of their sect, promising to geue hym euerye moneth an hundreth and fiftie peces of siluer, and so he ioyning himselfe to them, was admonished by vision and reuelation from the Lord. For such was the great mercy of God, and of our Lord Christ Iesu, that he would not his Martyr, whiche had suffered so much for his name before, now to perish out of his Church. MarginaliaThe Lord will not loose them whiche haue done or suffered any thyng for hym. For the which cause (sayth Eusebius) God by certaine visions did admonish him. But he not taking great heede therunto, beyng blynded partly with lucre, partly with honour, was at length all the night long scourged of the angels: In so much that he beyng made thereby very sore, and early on the morow puttyng on sackecloth, with much weepyng and lamentation went to Zephyrinus the Byshop aboue mēioned, where he fallyng downe before him, and all the Christiā Congregatiō, shewed them the stripes of his body & prayed them for the mercies of Christ, that he might be receiued into their communion agayne, from whiche he had sequestred him selfe before. And so was admitted accordyng as he desired.
MarginaliaAnterius Byshop of Rome and Martyr. After the decease of Pontianus Byshop of Rome afore mentioned, succeded next in that place Anterius, of whom Isuardus writeth that Pontianus departyng away, did substitute him in his rowme. But Eusebius writeth that he succeeded immediatly after him. Damasus> sayth that because he caused the actes and deathes of the Martyrs to be written, therefore he was put to martyrdome himselfe, by Maximinus þe Iudge. Cōcernyng the tyme of this Bishop, our writers do greatly iarre. Eusebius & Marianus Scotus affirme that[Back to Top]