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Constantine I

(271x273 - 337) [H. A. Pohlsander]

Roman emperor in the West (306 - 37); defeated Maxentius, rival emperor, in 312

Sole Roman emperor (324 - 37)

Constantine took three legions with him out of Britain, thereby weakening its defence. 1570, p. 148; 1576, p. 109; 1583, p. 108.

Maximian plotted to have Constantine killed; the plot was detected by Fausta, Constantine's wife and daughter of Maximian. 1570, p. 118; 1576, p. 85; 1583, p. 84.

The citizens and senators of Rome appealed to Constantine to rid them of Maxentius. 1570, p. 118; 1576, p. 85; 1583, p. 84.

Constantine, preparing for battle against Maxentius and fearing his magical powers, saw the sign of a cross in the sky. He then had a dream with a vision of the cross and of Christ. He took a cross into battle with him as a standard and defeated Maxentius at Milvian Bridge. 1570, p. 119; 1576, p. 86; 1583, p. 85.

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After the defeat of Maxentius, Constantine no longer sacrificed to the Roman gods, but he deferred baptism to his old age. He issued edicts restoring church goods and bringing Christians back from exile. 1570, pp. 139-41; 1576, pp. 103-04; 1583, pp. 101-03.

Constantine wrote to Anulinus, his proconsul in Africa, instructing him to restore goods to the Christian churches and to ensure that Christian ministers were freed from public duties. 1570, p. 141, 1576, p. 104, 1583, p. 103.

Constantine wrote to Pope Miltiades, instructing him to set up a synod to examine the cause of Cæcilian of Carthage, and sent letters to other bishops, issuing instructions and encouraging the ending of schisms. 1570, p. 141, 1576, p. 104, 1583, p. 103.

Initially Constantine and Licinius were on good terms, and Constantine gave Lucinius his sister in marriage. 1570, p. 122; 1576, p. 88; 1583, p. 87.

Licinius and Constantine issued a joint edict authorising freedom of worship for Christians. But Licinius began to turn against Constantine and the Christians, instigating a new, more surreptitious persecution. 1570, pp. 120-21, 122; 1576, pp. 86-87, 88; 1583, p. 86, 87.

Constantine defeated Licinius. 1570, p. 39; 1576, p. 31; 1583, p. 31.

He wrote to Alexander of Alexandria and Arius, urging them to end their disagreement. 1570, p. 142, 1576, p. 104, 1583, p. 103.

Constantine built churches and schools and provided books of scripture. 1570, pp. 142-43, 1576, p. 105, 1583, pp. 103-04.

Constantine wrote a letter to Shapur II, asking him to treat the Christians in Persia well. 1570, p. 137; 1576, p. 100; 1583, p. 99.

Constantine renounced the Roman gods and was baptised. 1563, p. 8.

Constantine fulfilled St Cyprian's vision of a time of peace for the church. 1570, p. 144; 1576, p. 106; 1583, p. 105.

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Flavia Maxima Fausta

(c. 293 - 326) [H. A. Pohlsander]

Daughter of emperor Maximian; married Constantine in 30

In 310 Maximian plotted to kill Constantine; Fausta revealed the plot to Constantine

Constantine ordered her execution in 326

Fausta encouraged Constantine to worship idols. 1570, pp. 118, 139; 1576, pp. 85, 103; 1583, pp. 84, 101.

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Herculius Maximianus

(d. 310) [M. Di Maio]

Soldier; Roman emperor (286 - 305); elevated by Diocletian to rule in the West; made to abdicate with Diocletian

Attempted to depose his son Maxentius in 308; proclaimed himself emperor in 310; imprisoned by his son-in-law Constantine and pardoned. Maximian plotted to have Constantine killed; Maximian died soon after, either by suicide or on the orders of Constantine.

Maximian was made emperor in the west because uprisings and unrest made it impossible for Diocletian to rule the entire empire alone. 1570, p. 109; 1576, p. 78; 1583, p. 77.

Maximian was a persecutor of Christians. He decimated the troops of Maurice twice when they refused to sacrifice to his gods and finally commanded they all be killed. 1570, pp. 113-14; 1576, p. 81; 1583, pp. 80-81.

Having abdicated with Diocletian, he attempted to regain power when his son Maxentius was set up as emperor. 1570, p. 118; 1576, p. 85; 1583, p. 84.

Maximian plotted to have Constantine, his son-in-law, killed; the plot was detected by Fausta, Constantine's wife. Maximian was killed on the return journey from Gaul. 1570, pp. 118-19; 1576, p. 85; 1583, p. 84.

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Maxentius (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius)

(c. 278 - 312) [M. Di Maio]

Son of Maximian; married the daughter of Galerius

Roman emperor (306 - 12); entered into civil war with his father Maximian and with Galerius; died at the battle of Milvian Bridge

Maxentius was set up as emperor by the praetorian guard, but was opposed by his father. 1570, p. 118; 1576, p. 85; 1583, p. 84.

He initially feigned favouring the Christians in order to ingratiate himself with the people of Rome. He then instituted persecutions. 1570, p. 119; 1576, p. 85; 1583, p. 85.

The citizens and senators of Rome appealed to Constantine to rid them of Maxentius. Constantine responded and, having received a vision and taking the cross as his standard, defeated Maxentius at Milvian Bridge.1570, pp. 118-19; 1576, pp. 85-86; 1583, pp. 84-85.

While in retreat, Maxentius fell into the Tiber and, weighted down by his armour, drowned. 1570, pp. 39, 119; 1576, pp. 31, 86; 1583, pp. 31, 85.

107 [84]

The first Booke conteyning the X. first persecutions, of the Primitiue Churche.

was the former cruell persecution, vnder Maximianus the Prince. Euseb. Lib. 9. cap. 6. &. 10. MarginaliaEuseb. Lib. 9. cap 6. 10.

MarginaliaThe worke of God agaynst the foresayd edict. And forasmuch as yee haue hearde the cruell Edict of Maximinus proclaymed against the Christians, grauen in brasse, which he thought perpetually should endure to the abolishing of Christ & his Religion: Now marke againe the great handy worke of God, which immediatly fel vpon the same, checking the proud presumption of the tyrant, prouing al to be false and contrary, that in the brasen Proclamation was contained. MarginaliaThe proud and blasphemous proclamation of the Emperour proued false and contrary. For where the foresaide Edict boasted so much of the prosperitie and plentie of all things in the time of this persecution of the Christians, sodenly befell such vnseasonable drought with famine and pestilēce among the people, besides also the warres with the Armenians, that all was founde vntrue that hee had bragged so much of before. By reason of which famine and pestilence þe people were greatly consumed, in so much that one measure of wheat was sold for two thousand and fiue hundred peeces of money in Athens coyne, by reason whereof innumberable died in the Cities, but many more in the countrey and villages, so that most part of the husbād men and countreymen died vp with the famine and pestilence. MarginaliaEx Euseb lib. 9. cap. 8. Diuers there were which bringing out their best treasure, were glad to geue it for any kinde of sustenāce, were it neuer so litle. Other selling away their possessions, fel by reason thereof to extreme pouertie and beggary. Certaine eating grasse, and feeding on other vnholsome herbes, were faine to relieue them selues with such foode as did hurt and poyson their dodies. Also a number of women in the Cities, being brought to extreeme miserie and penurie, were constrained to depart the Citie, and fal to begging through the coūtrey. MarginaliaA terrible hunger among the heathen persecutors described. Some other were weake and faint (as Images without breath) wandring vp and downe, & not able to stand for feblenesse, fel downe in the middle of þe streetes, and holding vp their handes most pitifull, cried for some scrappes or fragments of bread to be geuen them, & being at the last gaspe, ready to geue vp the Ghost, and not able to vtter any other words, yet cried out that they were hūgry. Of the richer sort diuers there were, who being weary with the number of beggers and askers, after they had bestowed largely vpon them, became hard harted, fearing least they should fall into the same miserie themselues, as they which begged. By reason wherof the market place, streetes, lanes, and alleis lay full of dead & naked bodies, being cast out and vnburied, to the pitifull & grieuous beholding of them that saw them. Wherefore many were eaten of dogges, for which cause they that liued fell to the killing of dogges, least they running mad, shoulde fall vpon them, and kill them.

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MarginaliaPestilence among the persecutors. In like maner the pestilence scattering through all houses and ages of men, did no lesse consume them, especially those which through plēty of vitail excaped famine. Wherfore the rich Princes Presidentes and other innumerable of the Magistrates, being the more apt to receiue the infection, by reason of their plēty, were quickly dispatched, and turned vp their heeles. Thus the miserable multitude being consumed with famine and with pestilence, all places was full of mourning, neither was there any thing else seene, but wailing and weeping in euery corner. So that death, what for famine and pestilence in short time brake vp and consumed whole housholdes, two or three dead bodies being borne out together from one house to one funerall,

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These were the rewards of the vaine bragges of Maximinus and his Edicts, which he did publish in all townes and Cities against vs, whē it was euident to al men, how diligent and charitable the Christians were to them all in this their miserable extremitie. For they onely in all this time of distresse, shewing compassion vpō them, trauelled euery day, some in curing the sicke, & some in burying the dead, which otherwise of their owne sort were forsaken. MarginaliaThe charity of the Christians to the enemyes. Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good works and glorifie your father which is in heauen. Other some of the Christians calling and gathering the multitude together, which were in ieopardie of famine, distributed bread to them, whereby they ministred occasion to all men to glorifie the God of the Christians, and to confesse them to be the true worshippers of God, as appeard by their workes. By the meanes and reason hereof, the great God and defender of the Christians, who before had shewed his anger and indignation against al men, for their wrongfull afflicting of vs, opened againe vnto vs the comfortable light of his prouidence, so that by meanes thereof peace fell vnto vs, as light to them that sit in darknesse, to the great admiration of all men, which easely perceiue God himselfe to be a perpetuall director of our doings, who many times chasteneth his people with calamities for a time to exercise them, but after sufficient correction, againe sheweth himselfe mercifull and fauourableto them which with trust call vpon him.

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By the narration of these things heeretofore premised, taken out of the storie of Eusebius, like as it is manifest to see, so is it wonderfull to marke and note, how those counsailes and rages of the Gentiles, atchieued against Christ and his Christians, when they seemed most sure against them, were most against them selues. And whereby they thought most to confoūd the Church & Religion of Christ, the same turned most to their owne confusion, and to the profite and praise of the Christians, (God of his marueilous wisedome so ordering & disposing the end of things.) MarginaliaThe wisedome and pollicy of man ouerthrowne in hys owne turne. Qui comprehendit sapientes in astutia. For where the brasen Edict of the Emperour promised temperate weather, God sent drought, where it promised plentie, God immediatly sent vpon them famine and penurie: where it promised health, God stroke them euen vpon the same, with grieuous pestilence, and with other moe calamities, in such sort, that the most reliefe they had, was chiefly by the Christians, to the great praise both of them, and to the honour of our God.

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MarginaliaThe promise of Christ verified. Mat. 6. the gates of hell shall not preuaile agaynst the Churche builded vpon the fayth of Christ. Thus most plainely and euidently was then verified the true promise of Christ to his Church, affirming and assuring vs, that the gates of hell shall not preuaile against his Church builded vpō his faith: as sufficiently may appeare by these x. persecutiōs aboue specified and described. Wherein as no man can deny, but that Sathan & his malignaunt world haue assayed the vttermost of their power and might to ouerthrow the Church of Iesus: so must all men needes graunt, that read these stories, that when Sathan and the gates of hell haue done their worst, yet haue they not preuailed against this mount of Sion, nor euer shall. For els what was here to be thought, where so many Emperours and tyraunts together, Dioclesian, Maximinian, Galerius, Maximinus, Seuerus, Maxentius, Licinius with their Captaines and officers, were let loose, like so many Lyons, vpon a scattered and vnarmed flocke of sheepe, intending nothing els, but the vtter subuersion of all Christianitie, and especially also when lawes were set vp in brasse against the Christians, as a thing perpetually to stand: what was here to be looked for, but a finall desolation of the name and Religion of Christians? But what folowed, partly ye haue heard, partly more is to be marked, as in the storie foloweth.

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I shewed before how Maxentius the sonne of Maximinian, was set vp at Rome by the Pretorian souldiours to be Emperour. Whereunto the Senate, although they were not consenting, yet for feare they were not resisting. Maximinian his father, who had before depriued him selfe with Dioclesian, hearing of this, tooke heart againe to him, to resume his dignitie, and so laboured to perswade Dioclesian also to do the same: but when he could not moue him therunto, he repaireth to Rome, thinking to wrast the Empire out of his sonnes hand: but when the souldiours woulde not suffer that, of a craftie purpose he flieth to Constantinus in Fraunce, vnder pretense to complaine of Maxentius his sonne, but in very deede to kill Constantinus. Notwithstāding that conspiracie being detected by Fausta the daughter of Maximinian, whom Constantinus had maryed, so was Constantinus through the grace of God preserued, & Maximinian retired backe. MarginaliaThe death and end of Maximinian. In þe which his flight by the way hee was apprehended, and so put to death. And this is the end of Maximinian.

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MarginaliaThe wickednes of Maxentius described. Now let vs returne to Maxentius againe, who all this while raigned at Rome, with tiranny and wickednes intollerable, much like to an other Pharao or Nero. 

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Maxentius, Licentius and Constantine

The Foxe Project was not able to complete the commentary on this section of text by the date by which this online edition was compiled (23 September 2008).

For hee slewe the most part of his noble men, and tooke from them their goodes. And sometime in his rage he would destroy great multitudes of the people of Rome by his souldiors, as Eusebius declareth, lib. 8. cap. 14. MarginaliaEuseb. lib. 8. Cap. 14. Also hee left no mischieuous nor lasciuious acte vnattempted, but was the vtter enemie of all womanly chastity, which vsed to send the honest wiues whome he had adulterated with shame and dishonestie vnto their husbandes (being worthy Senators) after that he had rauished them. He abstained from no adulterous acte, but was inflamed with the inquencheable lust of deflouring of women. MarginaliaA shameful act of incontinency. Letus declareth that he being at a time farre in loue with a noble & chaste gentlewoman of Rome, sent vnto her such courtiers of his, as were mete for that purpose, whome also he had in greater estimation then any others, and with such was wont to cōsult about matters for the common weale. These first fell vpon her husbande aud murdred him within his owne house, then when they coulde by no meanes neither with feare of the tyrant, nor with threatning of death pull her away from him: MarginaliaA Christian matron slayeth her selfe to auoyd the lust of Maxentius. At length she being a Christian desired leaue of them to go into her chamber, and after her prayers shee woulde accomplish that which they requested. And when she had gotten into her chamber, vnder this pretence, she killed her

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