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Agrippa I

(10 BCE - 44 CE)

Grandson of Herod the Great; friend of Caligula

Governor of Judea (41 - 44 CE)

1570, p. 38; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

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Caiaphas (Yhosef Bar Kayafa)

High priest of Israel (18 - 36 CE)

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 38; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

Person and Place Index  *  Close
Claudius (Claudius Nero Germanicus)

(10 BCE - 54 CE) [G. G. Fagan]

Roman emperor (41 - 54 CE)

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 38, 42, 114; 1576, pp. 30, 34, 82; 1583, pp. 30, 34, 81.

Person and Place Index  *  Close
Gaius (Caligula)

(12 - 41 CE) [G. G. Fagan]

Roman emperor (37 - 41 CE)

Caligula violated women and commanded that he be worshipped as a god. 1570, p. 38; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

Person and Place Index  *  Close
Herod Antipas

(d. c. 39 CE)

Son of Herod the Great; tetrarch of Galilee and Parea 4 BCE; constructed his capital at Tiberias; exiled 39 CE

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 38; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

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Nero (Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus)

(d. 68) [D. J. Coffta]

Roman emperor (54 - 68); deposed, committed suicide

Nero was lecherous, murderous and cruel. He burned Rome and blamed the Christians, and was forced to commit suicide. 1570, p. 38; 1576, p. 31; 1583, p. 31

The first persecution of the Christians began under Nero. 1570, p. 42-44; 1576, pp. 34-35; 1583, pp. 34-35.

Melito of Sardis, in his Apology, refers to him, along with Domitian, as the worst persecutors of Christians. 1570, p. 75; 1576, p. 51; 1583, p. 51.

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Pontius Pilate

Procurator of Roman Iudaea province (26 - 36) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 37; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

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Tiberius (Tiberius Claudius Nero)

(42 BCE - 37 CE) [G. G. Fagan]

Roman emperor (14 - 37 CE)

Tiberius began his reign in a moderate fashion, but became cruel and violent. 1570, pp. 37-38; 1576, p. 30; 1583, p. 30.

According to Gildas, Christianity came to Britain in the reign of Tiberius. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

53 [30]

The First booke conteyning the X. first persecutions, of the primitiue Churche.
¶The first booke contayning the 300. yeares next after Christ. 
Commentary  *  Close
The first 300 years of the Church

Foxe's account of the first three hundred years of the church, as it was formulated for the 1570 edition, no longer emphasised the innocent childhood and adolescence of the church as it had in the 1563 edition. Instead, it was prefaced by Foxe's exposition of two classic protestant divisions. The first, which went back to the 'Zweie Reiche', or 'Two Kingdoms' in Luther's thinking, was a clear distinction between the affairs of this world (vain and mutable, 'ruled by mans violence and wisedome') and the 'kingdome of Christ' (which was ruled by 'Gods blessing & providence'). The second distinction was between the visible and invisible church, one which Foxe might have acquired from a variety of Reformed theologians, but which he probably owed particularly to John Bale and his Image of Both Churches (Antwerp, 1545 and subsequent editions). These two distinctions then became the guiding principles to the way in which he structured the material, largely from Eusebius, on the earliest persecutions in the history of the church.

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Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

THese things before premised, hauing thus hitherto prepared þe way vnto our story, let vs nowe (by the grace and speede of Christ our Lord) enter into the matter: þtas we haue heretofore set forth in a generall descriptiō the whole state as wel of the primitiue as of the latter times of this Church of Rome: so now consequently to discourse in particular sort the Actes and doings of euery age, by it selfe, in such order as is afore prefixed.

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Marginalia1.First, to declare of the suffering time of the Church, which conteineth about the time of three hundreth yeares after Christ.

Marginalia2.Secondly, the florishing & growing time of the same: conteyning other 300. yeares.

Marginalia3.Thirdly the declining time of the Church, and of true Religion, other 300. yeares.

Marginalia4.Fourthly, of the time of Antichrist, raigning & raging in the Church, since the loosing of Sathan.

Marginalia5.Lastly, of the reforming time of Christes Church in these latter 300. yeares.

In the tractation of all which things our chiefe purpose and indeuor shalbe (so neare as the Lord will giue vs grace) not so much to intermedle with outward affaires of Princes, or matters ciuile, )except somtime for example of life) as specially minding (by the helpe of the Lorde) to prosecute such thinges, which to the Ecclesiasticall state of the Church are appertaining: as first to entreat of the stablishing of Christian faith, then of the persecutions of tyraunts, the constancy and patience of Gods Saintes, the first conuersion of Christen Realmes to the faith of Christ namely of this Realme of England & Scotland: first beginning with king Lucius, and so forwarde following the order of our English kings here in this land, to declare the maintenaunce of true doctrine, the false practise of Prelates, the creping in of superstition, and hipocrisie, the manifold assaultes, warres and tumults of the princes of this world, against the people of God. Wherein may appeare the wonderfull operation of Christes mightie hand, euer working in his church, & neuer ceasing to defend the same against his enimies, according to the verity of his owne word, promising to be with his Church while the worlde shal stand, so as by the proces of this story may wel be proued, and be testified in the sequell thereof.

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In the traction of all which things 2. especiall pointes I chiefly commend to the reader, MarginaliaTwo thinges in this history chiefly to be most requisite and nenessary of euery Christen man to obserue & to note for his owne experience and profite, as first the disposition & nature of this worlde: MarginaliaThe world.secondly the nature & condition of the kingdome of Christ, MarginaliaThe kingdome of Christ in this world.the vanitie of the one, and stablshment of the other: The vnprosperous and vnquiet state of the one, ruled by mans violence & wisdome: And the happy successe of the other euer ruled by Gods blessing & prouidence. The wrath and reuenging hand of god in the one and his mercy vpon the other. The world I call al such as be without or against Christ, eyther by ignoraunce not knowing him, or by heathenish life not following him, or by violence resisting him. On the other side the kingdome of Christ in this world I take to be all them which belong to the faith of Christ, & here take his part in this world against the world. The nūber of whom although it be much smaller then the other and alwaies lightly is hated & molested of the world, yet it is the number, which the Lorde peculiarly doth blesse and prosper, and euer will. And this number of Christes subiects is it, which we cal the visible Church here in earth. MarginaliaThe visible Church.Which visible Church hauing in it selfe a difference of 2 sorts of people, MarginaliaThe Church of Christ deuided in two sortes of is it to be deuided in two parts, of which the one standeth of such as be of outward profession only, the other which by election inwardly are ioyned to Christ, the first in words & lips seemeth to honor Christ, and are in the visible Church onely, but not in the Church inuisible, & partaketh the outward Sacraments of Christ, but not the inward blessing of Christ: the other are both in the visible & also in the inuisible Church of Christ, which not in wordes onely and outward profession, but also in hart doe truely serue & honour Christ, partaking not onely the Sacramentes, but also the heauenly blessings and grace of Christ.

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And many times it happeneth, that as betweene the world, and the kingdome of Christ there is a continual repugnaunce: so betweene these two partes of this visibleChurch aforesaid, oft times groweth great variaunce and mortal persecution, insomuch that sometime þe true church of Christ hath no greater enimes, than of their owne profession and company, as happened not onely in the time of Christ, and his Apostles, but also from time to time almost continually, Euseb. Lib. 8. cap. 1. MarginaliaEuseb. Lib. 1. cap. 1.But especially in these latter daies of the Church vnder the persecution of Antichrist and his retinue, as bu the reading of this volume more manifestly hereafter may appeare.

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At the first preaching of Christ, and comming of the Gospel: who should rather haue knowen & receaued him, then the Phariseis and Scribes of that people, which had his law? And yet who persecuted and reiected him more, then they themselues? What followed? They in refusing Christ to be their king, and chosing rather to be subiect vnto Cæsar, were by the sayde their owne Cæsar at length destroyed: MarginaliaGods punishment for refusing the Gospel.when as Christes subiectes the same time escaped the daunger. Whereby it is to be learned, what a dangerous thing it is to refuse the Gospell of God, when it is so gently offered.

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The like example of Gods wrathful punishment is to be noted no lesse in the Romanes also themselues. For when Tiberius Cæsar, hauing receaued by letters frō Pontius Pilate, of the doings of christ, of his miracles. Resurrection, and ascention into heauen, & how he was receiued as God of many, was himself also mooued with beliefe of the same, and did conferre thereof with the whole Senate of Rome, to haue Christ adored as god: MarginaliaTiberius Cæsar moueth the Senate to haue Christ receaued.but they not agreyng therunto refused him, MarginaliaChrist refused of the Senate of Rome.because that contrary to the law of the Romanes, he was consecrated, (said they) for God, before the Senate of Rome had so decred & approued him.&c. Tertul. Apol. cap. 5. MarginaliaThe vayne cause why the Senate of Rome refused Christ. Tertul. Apol. cap. 5. Euseb. lib. 2. cap. 3.Thus the vaine Senate following rather the law of man, then of God, & which were contented with the Emperour to reigne ouer them, were not cōtented with the meeke king of glory the sonne of God to be their king. And therfore after much like sort to þe Iewes were scourged and intrapped for their vniust refusing, by the same way which they themselues did preferre. For as they preferred the Emperour, and reiected Christ, so the iust permission of God, did stirre vp their owne Emperours against them in such sort, that both the Senatours themselues were almost all deuoured [illegible text] & the whole Citye most horrible afflicted the space almost of 300. yeares togither. MarginaliaThe Senate and Citie of Rome plagued for refusing of Christ.For first the same Tiberius, which for a great part of his reigne was a moderate and a tollerable Prince, afterward was to them a sharpe and heauy tyraunt, who neyther fauored his owne mother, nor spared his owne neuewes, nor the Princes of the City, such as were his own counselers, of whom to þe number of xx, he left not past two or three aliue, & so cruell was he to the Citye, that as the story recordeth: Nullus a pæna hominum cessabat dies, ne religiosus quidem ac sacer. 

Latin/Greek Translations  *  Close
The first 300 years of the Church: citation from Suetonius, Vita Tiberii. cap. 61.
Foxe text Latin

Nullus a pæna hominum cessabat dies, ne religiosus quidem ac sacer. Suet.

Foxe text translation

Not translated.


John Wade, University of Sheffield

There was not a day's let up from the punishment of men, not even a religious or sacred one (?).

Actual text of Suetonius

Nullus a poena hominum cessavit dies, ne religiosus quidem ac sacer;


Foxe uses the imperfect tense 'cessabat', rather than the perfect 'cessavit', but otherwise a direct quotation.

Suet MarginaliaEx Suet. in vita Tiberij.reporteth him to be so sterne of nature and tirannical, that in time of his reigne, very many were accused and condemned with their wiues & children, Maydes also first defloured, then put to death. In one day he recordeth . xx. persons to be drawen to þe to the place of execution. By whom also, through the iust punishment of God Pilate vnder whom Christ was crucified, was apprehended and accused at Rome, deposed, then banished to the towne of Lyonce, and at length did slaye himselfe. Neither did Herode and Cayphas long escape, of whome more followeth hereafter. Agrippa also by him was cast into prison, albeit afterward he was restored. In þe raigne of Tiberius the Lord Iesus the sonne of God, in the xxxiiij. yeare of his age, which was the xvij. of this Emperour by the malice of the Iewes, suffered his blessed passion for the conquering of sinne, death, and Sathan the Prince of this world, and rose againe the third day. MarginaliaChrist suffereth and riseth agayne.After whose blessed Passion & resurrertiō, MarginaliaAn. 34.this foresayde Tiberius Nero (otherwise called) Biberius Mero, liued vj. yeares, duryng which time no persecution was yet stirring in Rome against the Christians, through þe commaundemēt of the Emperour.

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In the raigne also of this Emperour, and yeare which was the next after the passion of our Sauior, or somewhat more, S. Paule was conuerted to the faith. MarginaliaSainct Paul. conuerted. An. 35.After the death of Tiberius: MarginaliaAn. 39.whē he had raigned 23. yeares, succded C. Cæsar Caligula, MarginaliaCæsar. Caligula.Claudius Nero, and Domitius Nero: which 3. were likewise such scourges to the Senate and people of Rome that the first not onely tooke other mens wiues violentlye from them, but also defloured three of his owne sisters. and afterward banished them. So wicked he was that he cōmaunded himselfe to be worshipped as God, and temples to be erected in his name, and vsed to sit in the temple among the Gods, requiring his images to be set vp in all temples, and also in the temple of Ierusalem MarginaliaCaligula commaunded hys image to be set vp in the Temple of Hierusalem.whiche caused great disturbaunce among the Iewes, and then began the abhomination of desolation to be set vp in þe holy place,

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