Clement sent to vs before. &c. Euseb. ibid. Where also mention is made of keeping the Sunday holy. Wherof we finde no mention els made in auncient authors, before this time, except onely in Iustinus Martyr, who in his description declareth two tymes most especially vsed, for Christen men to congregate together: first when any conuert was to be Baptised. The second was vpon the Sonday, which was wont for ij. causes then to be halowed. First, because (sayth he) vpon that day God first made the worlde: secondly, because that Christ vpon that day first shewed him selfe after his resurrection to his Disciples. &c.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaClemens Alexandrinus. Ouer and beside these aboue named, about the dayes of Commodus, wrote also Clemens Alexandrinus, a mā of notable and singular learning, whose bookes, although for a great part be lost, yet certaine of them yet remaine, wherin is declared among other thynges, the order and number of the bookes and Gospels of the new Testament. &c.[Back to Top]
The same tyme moreouer lyued Pantenus, whch was the first in Alexandria that professed in open schole to read, of whom is thought first to proceede the order and maner among the Christians to read and professe in Vniuersities. This Pantenus for his excellencie of learnyng was sent by Demetrius Bishop of Alexandria to preach to the Indeans, MarginaliaThe Gospell of saint Mathew in Hebrew. where he founde the Gospell of S. Mathewe written in Hebrewe, left there by S. Bartelmewe, whiche booke afterward he brought with hym from thence, to the Librarie of Alexandria.[Back to Top]
Duryng all the raigne of Commodus, God graunted rest and tranquility, although not without some bloudshed of certaine holy Martyrs, as is aboue declared, vnto hys Church. In the which tyme of tranquillity the Christians hauyng now some laysure from the foraine enemy, began to haue a litle contention among them selues, about the ceremonie of Easter: MarginaliaDifference about the ceremonie of Easter. whiche contention albeit of long tyme before had bene styrryng in the Church as is before mencioned of Polycarpus, and Anicetus yet the variaunce and difference of that ceremonie brought no breach of Christian cōcorde and societie among them: Neither as yet did the matter exceede so farre, but that the band of loue, and communiō of brotherly life continued, although they differed in the ceremonie of the day. For they of the west Churche, pretendyng the tradition of Paule and Peter, but in deede beyng the tradition of Hermes and of Pius kept one day, whiche was vpon the Sōday after the. xiiij. day of the first moneth. The Church of Asia folowyng the ordinaunce of Iohn the Apostle, obserued an other, as more shalbe declared (the Lord willyng) when we come to the time of Victor Byshop of Rome. In the meane tyme as concernyng the fourth persecution let this hetherto 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
An. 195. AFter the death of Commodus raigned Partinax, but few monethes, after whom succeded Seuerus. Vnder whom was raysed the fift persecution agaynst the Christian Saintes: who raygnyng the terme of 18. yeares, the first. x. yeares of the same, was very fauorable and curteous to the Christiās. Afterward through sinister suggestions and malicious accusations of the malignaūt, was so incensed agaynst thē, that by Proclamations he cōmaunded no Christians any more to be suffered. MarginaliaThe fift persecution.
Ex Euseb Lib. 6. cap. 2
An. 205. Thus the rage of the Emperour beyng inflamed agaynst them, great persecutiō was styrred vp on euery syde, whereby an infinite nūber of martyrs were slayne, as Eusebius in his sixt booke recordeth, which was about the yeare of our Lord. 205. MarginaliaThe false accusations agaynst the Christians. The crimes and false accusations obiected agaynst the Christians, are partly touched before, pag. 37. as sedition and rebellion agaynst the Emperour, sacrilege, murtheryng of infantes, incestuous polution, eatyng raw flesh, libidinous commixture, wherof certaine in deede, called then Gnostici, were infamed. Item, it was obiected agaynst them, for worshyppyng the head of an Asse, whiche wherof it should rise, I finde no certaine cause, except it were perhaps by the Iewes. Also they were charged for worshipping the sunne, for that peraduenture before the sunne rise they conuented together, syngyng their mornyng Hymnes vnto the lord, or els because they prayed toward the East: but especially for that they would not with them worshyp their Idolatrous Gods, and were counted as enemies to all men. &c.
MarginaliaThe captaines and ministers of this persecution.
Ex Tertul. ad Scapulam. The Captaines and Presidentes of this persecution vnder the Emperour were Hilarianus, Vigellius, Claudius, Hermianus ruler of Capadocia, Cecilius, Capella, Vespronius, also Demetrius mentioned of Cyprian. 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, Alexandria, Cappadocia, and Carthage.
The number of them that suffered in this persecution, by the report of the Ecclesiasticall story was innumerable.
MarginaliaLeonides father of Origene Martyr. Of whō the first was Leonides, the father of Origene, who was beheaded: with whō also Origene his sonne, beyng of the age thē of. xvij. yeares, should haue suffered (such a feruent desire he had to be Martyred for Christ)
MarginaliaOrigene kept from Martyrdome by his mother. had not his mother priuely in the night season conueyed away his clothes and his shyrt. Whereupon more for shame to be sene, thē for feare to dye, he was cōstrayned to remaine at home. And when he could do nothyng els, yet he writeth to his father a letter with theese wordes: Caue tibi, ne quid propter nos aliud, quam martyrij constanter faciendi propositum cogites, that is: Take heede to your selfe, that you turne not your thought and purpose for our sakes. &c.
Ex Euseb. Lib. 6. cap. 3. Such a feruency had this Origene beyng yet young, to the doctrine of Christes fayth, by the operatiō of Gods heauēly prouidence, & partly also by the diligent educatiō of his father, who brought him vp from his youth most studiously in all good literature, but especially in the readyng and exercise of holy Scripture, wherein he had such inward and misticall speculation, that many tymes he would moue questions to his father, of the meanyng of this place, or that place of the scripture. In so much that his father diuers times would vncouer his brest being a sleepe, and kisse it: geuyng thākes to God which had made him so happy a father of such a happy child. After the death of his father, and all his goods confiscated to the Emperour, he with his poore mother, and sixe brethren, beyng brought to extreme pouertie, did sustayne both him selfe and them by teachyng a schole: Till at length beyng weary of that profession, he trāsferred his study onely to the knowledge and seekyng of diuine Scriptures, & such other learnyng conducible to the same. So much he profited both in the Hebrue and other tounges, that he cōferred the Hebrue text with the translation of the. lxx. And moreouer dyd conferre and finde out the other translations which we call the common translations of Aquila, of Symmachus, and Theodotion. MarginaliaEx Euseb. Antonino. Symoneta. &c. Also he adioyned to these aforesayd other foure trāslations, wherof more is in the story of Eusebius expressed.
They that write of the lyfe of Origene, testifie of him, that he was of wyt quicke and sharpe, much pacient of labour, a great traueler in the tounges, of a spare dyet, of a straight life, a great faster, his teachyng and his liuyng were both one: his goyng was much barefoote. A straight obseruer of that saying of the Lorde, biddyng to haue but one coate. &c. He is sayd to haue written so much as seuen Notaries, and so many maydes euery daye could penne. The nūber of his bookes by the accōpt of Hierome, came to. 7000. Volumes, the copies whereof he vsed to sell for. 3. d. or a litle more, for the sustentation of his liuyng. But of hym more shal be touched hereafter. So zelous he was in the cause of Christ, and of Christes Martyrs, that he nothyng fearyng his own perill would assiste and exhort them goyng to their death, and kisse them, in so much that he was oft in ieoperdie to be stoned of the multitude. And sometimes by the prouision of Christen men had his house garded about with souldiours, for the safety of them, whiche dayly resorted to heare his readynges, & many times he was cōpelled to shift places & houses, for such as layd wayte for him in all places. But such was the prouidence of God to preserue hym in the middest of all this tempest of Seureus.
MarginaliaPlutarchus scholler of Origene, & Serenus his brother Martyred.
scholers of Origen and Martyrs. Among other which resorted vnto him, and were his hearers, Plutarchus was one, and dyed a martyr, and with him Serenus his brother, who was burned. The third after these was Heraclides. The fourth Heron, who were both beheaded. The fift was an other Serenus also beheaded. Rhais: and Potamiena, who was tormented with pitche poured vpon her, & martyred with her mother Marcella, who dyed also in the fire. This Potamiena was of a fresh and flourishyng beautie, who because she could not be remoued from her profession, was committed to Basilides one of the Captaines there in the armye, to see the execution done. Basilides receiuyng her at the Iudges hand, and leadyng her to the place, shewed to her some compassion in repressyng the rebukes and raylinges of the wicked aduersaries: for the which Potamiena, the virgine, to requite agayne his kyndnesse, bad him be of good comfort, saying that she would pray the Lord to shew mercy vpon him. And so went she to her Martyrdome, which she both strongly and quietly did sustaine.
MarginaliaBasilides of a persecutour made a martyr. Not long after it happened that Basilides was required to geue an othe in a matter concernyng his fellow souldiours: which thyng he denyed to do, playnly affirmyng that he was a Christian. For their othe then, was wont to be by the Idoles and the Emperour. At first he was thought dissimulingly to iest: but after whē he was heard constantly and in earnest to cōfirme the same, he was had before the[Back to Top]