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of Bologna; C12 canon lawyer [P. Landau, NCMH, vol 4:1, p. 128]

Wrote Decretum, an attempt logically to reconcile contradictory canons, which became the standard text for canon law

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 63, 68, 95, 134, 143; 1576, pp. 38-39, 45, 67, 97, 106; 1583, pp. 4, 39, 45, 67, 96, 105.

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(d. 98) [D. Wend]

Roman emperor (96 - 98)

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 65; 1576, p. 39; 1583, p. 39.

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Pliny the Younger (Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus)

(c. 63 - c. 113)

Roman lawyer, author, natural philosopher; senator; consul; imperial ambassador

Pliny wrote a letter to Trajan, urging him to stop the persecution of Christians. 1570, pp. 58, 65; 1576, p. 39; 1583, p. 39.

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Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus)

(d. 117) [H. W. Benario]

Roman emperor (98 - 117); adopted by Nerva in 97; conducted successful wars against the Dacians and Parthians

His reign is discussed by Foxe: 1570, pp. 55-57; 1576, pp. 36-39; 1583, pp. 36-39.

Trajan generally treated his subjects well and was just, but was cruel to the Christians.1570, p. 57; 1576, p. 39; 1583, p. 39.

Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to Trajan, urging him to stop the persecution of the Christians, and Trajan replied. 1570, p. 57; 1576, pp. 39-40; 1583, pp. 39-40.

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Urban II (Otho of Lagery)

(c. 1035 - 1099) [Kelly]

Archdeacon of Reims; resigned to enter Cluny c. 1068; prior of Cluny; cardinal-bishop of Ostia (c. 1080 - 88); papal legate; prominent reformer

Pope (1088 - 99); called the first crusade; set up the Roman curia

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1576, p. 39; 1583, p. 39.

62 [39]

affirmed and not doubted, but that he was a godly & vertuous Bishop.

And as I say of his miracles, the like iudgement also I haue of the ordinaunces both of him and of Euaristus MarginaliaThe ordinaunces of Euaristus.his predecessour testified in the Popes Decrees, by Gratianus, as 93. Dist. cap. Diaconi, MarginaliaDist. 93. cap. Diaconiwhere is sayd that Euaristus deuided diuers titles in the Citie of Rome to the Priestes, also ordeined in euery Citie vij. Deacons to associate and assist the bishop in his preaching, both for his defence, and for the witnes of truth. Notwithstāding, if probable coniectures might stand against the authoritie of Gratianus and his decrees, here might be doubted whether this absolute ordination of Priestes was first forbidden by Euaristus, and whether the intitulation of Priestes was first by hym brought in or not: wherein an instaunce may be geuen to the contrary, that this intitulation seemeth to take his first beginning at the Councell of Chalcedon, and of Pope Vrbane in the Councell of Placent. MarginaliaEx Dist. 70. cap. Neminem.In the which Councell of Chalcedon the wordes of the Canon (making no mention of Euaristus at all ) doe expressely forbid, that any Ecclesiasticall person eyther Priest or Deacon should be ordayned absolutely, otherwise the imposition of handes without some proper title of the party ordayned, to stād voyde and frustrate. &c. And likewise Vrbanus in the counsell of Placentia, doth decree the same, alledging no name of Euaristus, but the statutes of former Councles. MarginaliaIbidem cap. Sanctorum.

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Moreouer in the time of Euaristus the Church then being vnder terrible persecutions, was deuided in no peculiar Parishes or Cures, wherby any title might rise, but was scattered rather in corners and desertes, where they could beast hide themselues. And as the Church of Rome, in those dayes was not deuided into seuerall Parrishes or Cures (as I suppose) so neyther was then any such open or solemne preaching in Churches, that the assistaunce or testimony of vii. Deacons eyther could auayle among the multitude of the Heathen, or els needed amongst the christian secret congregations. Agayne the constitution of vii. Deacons seemeth rather to spring out of the counsell of Neocesaria long after Euaristus, MarginaliaEx Dist. 93. cap. Diaconi.where it was appoynted that in euery Citie were it neuer so small, there should be vij. Deacons after the rule. And this rule the sayd Councel taketh out of the booke of the Actes of the Apostles, making no word or mentiō of Euaristus at all Dist. 93. but these (as is said) be but onely coniectures; not denying þt which is commonly receiued, but onely shewing what may bee doubted in their Epistles Decretall.

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More vnlike it seemeth to be true that is recorded and reported of Alexander, whereof we read De consecr. Dist. 3. that he should be the first founder and finder of holy water mixt with salt, to purge and sanctifie them vpon whom it is sprinckeled. MarginaliaThe Institutions of Alexander. Holy water first inuented. De consecrat. [illegible text] Dist. 3.The wordes of the Dist. be these: Aquam sale conspersam in populis benedicimus, vt ea cuncti aspersi sanctificentur & purificentur, quod omnibus sacerdotibus faciendū esse mandamus, &c. That is, We blesse water mixt with salte among the people, that all men being sprinckled therewith may be sanctified and purified. And this we commaund all Priests to do, &c.

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The opinion is also, but how true I haue not to affirme, that by him first was ordained, water to bee mixte with wine in the chalice. MarginaliaThe mixing of water with the wine in the chalice.

Item, that by him was brought in the piece of the Masse Canon, beginning: Qui pridie, &c. MarginaliaQui predie put in the Masse Canon.And thus much of these foresayd Bishops of Rome, martired in the dayes of Traian and Hadrian.

The third Persecution. 
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The first ten persecutions

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: 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).

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield

BEtwene the second Romain persecution and the third, was but one yeare, vnder the Emperour Nerua. After whom succeeded Traianus. And after him followed the third persecution. MarginaliaThe third persecution of the Church. An. 100.So the second and the third, are noted of some to be both one, hauing no more difference but one yere betwene them. This Traianus if we looke well vpon his politike and ciuill gauernance, might seeme in comparison of other, a right worthy and commendable Prince. Much familiar with inferiors, and so behauing himself toward his subiectes, as he himselfe would haue þe Prince to beto him, if he himself were a subiect. Also he was noted to be a great obseruer of iustice, in so much that when he ordained any Pretour, geuing to him the sword, he would bid him vse the sword against his enemies in iust causes, and if he himselfe did otherwise then iustice, to vse then his power against him also. But for all these vertues, toward christian Religion, he was impious and cruel, who caused the third persecution of the Church. In the which persecution Plinie the second, MarginaliaPlinius secundus. wrote to Traian to stop the persecutiō.a man learned and famous, seyng the lamentable slaughter of Christians, and mooued therwith to pitie,wrote to Traianus of the pitifull persecution: certifiyng him that there were many thousāds of them daily put to death, of which none did any thing contrary to the Romaine lawes worthy persecution, sauing that they vsed to gather together in the morning before day, and sing Hymnes to a certaine God, whom they worshipped, called Christ. In all other their ordinaunces they were godly and honest. Wherby the persecution by commaundement of the Emperour, was greatly stayd and diminished. The forme and copy of which Epistle of Plinie I thought here not inconuenient to set downe as followeth.

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The Epistle of Plinie an Heathen Philosopher to Traiane the Emperour.

MarginaliaThe Epistle of Plinie to Traianus.IT is my propertie and maner (my soueraigne,) to make relation of all those thinges vnto you wherein I doubt. For who can better, either correct my slackenesse, or instruct mine ignoraunce, then you? I was neuer yet present my selfe, at the examination and execution of these Christians. And therfore what punishment is to be administred, and how farre, or how to proceede in such Inquisitions, I am plaine ignoraunt, not able to resolue in the matter, whether any difference is to bee had in age and person, whether the young and tender ought to be with like crueltie intreated as the elder and stronger, whether repentance may haue any pardon, or whether it may profite him or not, to denie which hath bene a Christiā, whether the name onely of Christians without other offences, or whether the offences ioyned with the name of a Christian ought to be punished. In the meane season, as touching such Christians as haue bene presented vnto me, I haue kept this order, I haue inquired the second and third time of them, whether they were Christians, manacing them with feare of punishmeut, and suche as did perseuere, I commaunded to execution. For thus I thought, that what so euer their profession was, yet their stubburnenesse and obstinacie ought to be punished. Whether they were also of the same madnesse, whom because they were Citizens of Rome, I thought to send them backe againe to the Citie. Afterward, in further processe & handling of this matter, as the sect did further spread, so the more cases did thereof ensue.

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There was a libell offred to me bearing no name, wherein was contained the names of many which denied themselues to be Christians, contented to doe sacrifice with incense, and wine to the Gods and to your Image (whiche Image I for that purpose caused to be brought) and to blaspheme Christ: whereunto none such as were true Christians in deede could be compelled, and those I did discharge and let goe. Other some confessed that they had bene Christians, but afterward denied the same, &c. Affirming vnto me the whole summe of that sect or errour, to consist in this, MarginaliaThe vse of Christians in the primitiue Churche.that they were woont at certain times appointed, to conuent before day, and to sing certaine Hymnes to one Christ their God, and to confederate among themselues to abstaine from all theft, murther, and adulterie, to keepe their faith and to defraude no man: which done, then to departe for that time, and afterward to resort againe to take meate in companies together both men and women, one with an other, & yet without any acte of euils. MarginaliaThe testimony of the Heathen of the Christians.

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In the truth whereof to be further certified whether it were so or not, I caused two maidens to bee laied on the Racke, MarginaliaTwo maydens racked for Christ.and with tormentes to bee examined of the same. But finding no other thing in them, but onely lewde and immoderate superstition, I thought to surcease of further inquirie, til tyme that I might be further aduertised in the matter from you, for so the matter seemed vnto me worthy and needefull of aduisement, especially, for the great number of those that were in daunger of your statute. For very many there were of all ages and states, both men & women which then were & more are like hereafter to incurre the same perill of condemnation. For that infection hath crepte not onely in Cities, but Villages also and Boroughs about, which seemeth that it may be staied and reformed. For as much as we see in many places that the Temples of our Gods whiche were woont to be desolate, beginne now againe to be frequented, and that they bring sacrifices from euerie parte to be solde, which before verye fewe were founde willing to buie them. Whereby it may easilie be coniectured, what multitudes of men may bee amended, if space and tyme bee giuen them, wherein they may be reclaimed.

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The Epistle of Traianus to Plinie.

MarginaliaThe aunswer of Traian to Plinies letter.[illegible text]THe Acte and Statute my Secundus, concernyng the causes of the Christians whiche ye ought to followe, ye haue rightlye executed. For no suche generall lawe can be enacted, wherin all speciall cases particularly can be comprehended. Let them not be sought for, but if they be brought and conuicted, then let them suffer execution: So notwithstanding that whosoeuer shall

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