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Reputed martyr at Lyon during reign of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus

Alcibiades normally lived on bread and water. In prison, he was chastised by Attalus and began to eat meat. 1570, p. 74; 1576, p. 50; 1583, p. 50.

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Aristides the Athenian

(d. c. 134) Greek Christian author and apologist [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Aristides presented an oration and an apology in defence of the Christian religion to Hadrian. 1570, pp. 66, 78; 1576, pp. 41, 53; 1583, pp. 41, 53.

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Claudius Apollinaris

C2 bishop of Hierapolis [Catholic Encyclopedia sub Montanists]

Claudius Apollinaris defended the Christians in writing to Marcus Aurelius. 1570, p. 75; 1576, p. 50; 1583, p. 50.

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(d. 189) [Kelly]

Pope (c. 174 - 189)

Eleutherius sent two preachers to Britain. 1563, p. 16; 1570, p. 78, 1576, p. 53, 1583, p. 53.

Shortly after Irenæus was made minister, he was commended by the martyrs in Lyons to Pope Eleutherius. 1570, pp. 75, 80-81; 1576, pp. 50, 55; 1583, pp. 50, 55.

According to legend, Lucius, supposed king of Britain during the time of the Roman occupation, was supposed to have requested missionaries from Eleutherius, who sent Fugatius and Damian. 1570, p. 146, 1576, p. 108, 1583, p. 107.

Eleutherius wrote a letter to Lucius in response to his request for Roman laws. 1570, pp. 8, 146; 1576, pp. 7, 108; 1583, pp. 7, 107.

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Epiphanius of Salamis

(after 310 - 403) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Monk in Egypt; bishop of Constantia (Salamis) (367 - 403)

Wrote on theology, heresies and religious history

Epiphanius wrote condemning the adoration of images. 1563, p. 3.

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, pp. 62, 74; 1576, pp. 38, 50; 1583, pp. 38, 50.

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Eusebius of Caesarea

(263 - 339) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Christian scholar, presbyter at the church at Caesarea; wrote History of the Church

Eusebius said that he himself had known the martyrs in Palestine who died during Diocletian's persecution. 1570, p. 110; 1576, p. 78; 1583, p. 77.

He personally witnessed the persecutions in the Thebiade. 1570, p. 113; 1576, p. 80; 1583, p. 80.

He was present at the martyrdom of Philoromus at Alexandria. 1570, p. 128; 1576, p. 93; 1583, p. 92.

Eusebius received a letter from Constantine, instructing him to build and repair churches in Caesarea. 1570, p. 141; 1576, p. 104; 1583, p. 103.

Foxe uses Eusebius extensively as a source throughout Book 1.

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(76 - 138) [H. W. Benario]

Roman emperor (117 - 138)

Hadrian was a persecuting emperor. 1570, p. 54; 1576, p. 38; 1583, p. 38.

In a letter to Henry VIII, Philip Melancthon referred to Hadrian as an emperor who received the apologies and defences of the Christians kindly and mitigated his cruel decrees. 1570, p. 1340; 1576, p. 1144; 1583, p. 1172.

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Irenæus (St Irenæus)

(d. 201/2) [Gams]

Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (Lyons) (c. 177-201/2) Theologian, church father

Irenæus was a pupil of Polycarp of Smyrna, who sent him to Gaul. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

Shortly after Irenæus was made minister, he was commended by the martyrs in Lyons to Pope Eleutherius. 1570, p. 75; 1576, p. 50; 1583, p. 50.

Irenæus became bishop of Lyons. He worked to settle controversies and schisms in the church at large. He opposed the excommunications of Pope Victor I. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

Irenæus supported the position of Victor I in celebrating Easter on a Sunday. 1570, pp. 5, 80; 1576, pp. 4, 55; 1583, pp. 4, 55.

Victor I excommunicated the eastern churches for failing to comply with the Roman observation of Easter, but was persuaded to reinstate them by Irenæus. 1570, pp. 5, 80-82; 1576, pp. 4, 55-56; 1583, pp. 4, 55-53.

Irenæus wrote a letter to Florinus in which he related his memory of Polycarp of Smyrna. 1576, p. 56; 1583, p. 44.

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Jerome (Eusebius Hieronomous) (St Jerome)

(c. 340/2 - 420) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Scholar; translator of the bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin; studied at Rome and Trier. Lived as an ascetic (374 -79); lived in Constantinople (380 - 81), Rome (382 - 85) and Bethlehem (386)

Jerome was called 'papas' or 'father' by Boniface I and others. 1570, p. 11; 1576, p. 8; 1583, p. 8.

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Marcus Aurelius

(121 - 180) [H. W. Benario]

Roman emperor (161 - 80), with adopted brother Lucius Verus to 169; philosopher. (born M. Annius Verus)

[Foxe refers to him as M. Antoninus Verus and Marcus Antoninus]

Marcus Aurelius was an able philosopher and civil governor, but he encouraged the persecution of Christians. 1570, p. 59, 67; 1576, p. 42; 1583, p. 42.

The prayers of the Christians brought rain, and Marcus Aurelius became gentler towards the sect. 1570, p. 75; 1576, p. 51; 1583, p. 51.

In a letter to Henry VIII, Philip Melancthon referred to Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius as emperors who received the apologies and defences of the Christians kindly. 1570, p. 1340; 1576, p. 1144; 1583, p. 1172.

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Melito of Sardis

(d. late C2) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Bishop of Sardis; Christian writer and apologist

Melito wrote an Apology to Antoninus Pius, in which he defended the Christians. 1570, pp. 67, 75, 78; 1576, pp. 41, 50, 53; 1583, pp. 41, 50, 53.

He differed with the popes over the day of the observation of Easter. 1570, p. 82; 1576, p. 56; 1583, p. 53.

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(c. 815 - 897) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Greek scholar; wrote an encyclopedia, Myrobiblion. Chief secretary of state, captain of the Life Guard.

Patriarch of Constantinople 857 after Ignatius was deposed; precipitated a schism between the Eastern and Western churches. He was deposed in 867, reinstated in 878, deposedand banished in 886

He is mentioned by Foxe: 1570, p. 74; 1576, p. 50; 1583, p. 50.

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Polycarp of Smyrna (St Polycarp)

(d. 155) [Gams; Catholic Encyclopedia]

Bishop of Smyrna (c. 106 - 117); martyr

Polycarp was visited by Ignatius of Antioch. 1570, p. 58; 1576, p. 40; 1583, p. 40.

He sent Andoclus into Gaul. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

According to Jerome and Nicephorus, Polycarp visited Rome in 157 to discuss the controversy over Easter day with Pope Anicetus. 1576, p. 44; 1583, p. 44.

A letter gives an account of Polycarp's examination by the proconsul and martyrdom. 1570, pp. 59-61; 1576, pp. 42-44; 1583, pp. 42-44.

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C2 Christian apologist; partriarch of Athens [Catholic Encyclopedia]

Quadratus produced an Apology in defence of the Christian Religion for Hadrian. 1570, pp. 66, 78; 1576, pp. 41, 53; 1583, pp. 41, 53.

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Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus)

(c. 155 - c. 230) [Catholic Encyclopedia]

of Carthage; Christian convert and writer, church leader

Tertullian was a man of learning and eloquence who defended the Christians under persecution. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

Tertullian commended Irenæus for his learning. 1570, p. 80; 1576, p. 55; 1583, p. 55.

Tertullian recorded that Christianity came to Britain in the time of Pope Eleutherius in C2. 1570, p. 145; 1576, p. 107; 1583, p. 106.

Tertullian was a married priest, according to Jerome. 1570, p. 1319; 1576, p. 1128; 1583, p. 1154.

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Pamukkale (Hierapolis)


Coordinates: 37° 55' 13.8" N, 29° 7' 15.6" E

73 [50]

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

not able to charge him with any other offence. But if he stande to his name, onely for his confession you may cast him, where indeede it were your duety rather to examine their maner of life what thing they confesse or denye, aud according to their demerites to see iustice done.

Marginalia The Lord take away this spirit of fury, condemning innocentes before they be conuicted.And in the same further he saith, you examine not the causes. but incensed with rash affections as with the spur of fury, ye slay & murder them not conuicted, without any respect of iustice. And further he addeth: Some peraduenture wil say certaine of them haue bene apprehended & taken in euill doinges, as though (saith he) you vsed to enquire vpō them being brought afore you, & not commonly to condemne thē before due examination of their offence for the cause aboue mentioned. Where also in the ende of þe said Apology after this maner he reprehendeth thē. You do degenerate (quoth he) from the goodnes of your predecessours, whose exāple you followe not: for your father Adrian of famous memorye, caused to bee proclaymed that Christians accused before the iudge, should not be cōdemned, vnles they were found gilty of some notorious crime I finde that all his vehement and graue Apologie stādeth vpon most strong & firm probations: deying þt the christians ought by conscience at the will & commaundement of the Emperour & Senate to doe sacrifice to the Idols. For the which they being condemned, affirme þt they suffer open wrong: approuing moreouer that the true & only Religion, is the Religion of the Christians: whose both doctrine and conuersation hath no fault. Iustinus although with these and such like perswasions did not so preuayle with the Emperour to cause him to loue his Religion & become a christian (for that is not written) yet thus much he obtained, that Antoninus writing to his Officers in Asia in the behalfe of the Christians, required and cōmaunded them, that those Christians which onely were founde giltie of any trespasse, should suffer, and such as were not conuicted, should not therfore onely for the name be punished, because they were called Christians. By these it is apparant with what zeale and faith this Iustinus did striue against the persecutors, which (as he said) could kill onely but could not hurt.

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Marginalia Ex Euseb. lib 4. Cap 16.This Iustinus by the meanes and malice of Crescens the Philosopher as is before declared, suffered Martyrdome vnder Marcus Antoninus Verus a little after that Polycarpus was martired in Asia, as witnesseth Eusebius. Lib. 4. Here is to be gathered how Epiphanius was deceiued in the time of his death, Marginalia A place of Epiphanius found faulty. saying that he suffered vnder Rusticus the president, and Adrian the Emperour, being of xxx. yeares of age, which indeede agreeth not neither with Eusebius, nor Ierome, nor Swide, nor other moe, which manifestly declare and testifie how he exhibited his Apology vnto Antoninus Pius which came after Adrian. Thus hast thou good Reader the life of this learned & blessed martir although partly touched before, yet now more fully & amply discoursed, for the better commendatiō of his excellent & notable vertues of whose small ende thus writeth Photius saying that he suffering for Christ died cheerefully and with honor. Marginalia Cum dignitate & lætus pro Christo pertulit.

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Thus haue ye heard the whole discourse of Iustinus and of the blessed Saintes of Fraunce, Vetius, Zacharias, Sanctus, Maturus, Attalus, Blandina, Alexander, Alcibiades, with other, recorded and set foorth by the writing of certaine Christian brethren of the same Church & place of Fraunce. In the which foresaid writing of theirs moreouer appeareth the great meekenes and modest constancie of the said martirs described in these words: Marginalia The singuler modesty of the foresayd Martyrs declared. Ex Euseb. lib. 5. cap. 2. such folowers were they of christ who when he was in the forme of God thought it no robbery to be equal with god, being in þe same glory with him, that they not once nor twise, but oft times suffered martyrdome, & taken againe from the beastes & bearing wounds tearinges and skarres in their bodies, yet neither woulde counte them selues Martirs, neyther woulde they suffer vs so to cal thē: but if any of vs either by word or letter woulde call them Martirs, they did vehementlye rebuke them: saying that þe name of martirdome was to be gyuen to Christ the faithfull and true martir, the first borne of the dead, & the captaine of life, testifiyng moreouer that martirdome belongeth to such, whoby their martirdome were already passed out of this life, and whom as christ by their worthy confession hath receiued vnto him selfe and hath sealed vp their Martirdome by their ende finished: As for thē, which were not yet consūmated, they (said they) were not worthy the names of martirs, Marginalia The holy Martyrs refuse to be called Martyrs. but only were humble and worthy confessours, desiring also their brethren with teares, to praye without ceasing for their confirmation. Thus they performing in deede that whiche belonged to true Martirs, in resisting the heathen with much lybertie, aud great patience, without all feare of man, being replenished with the feare of God, refused to be named of theirbrethren for martirs. Aud after in the said writing it followeth more: they humbled themselues vnder the mightye hand of God, by which they were greatly exalted. Then they rendred to all men a reason of their faith, they accused no man, they loosed all, they bounde none. And for them which so euill did intreate them, they praied, following the example of Stephen the perfect Martir, which sayde: O Lord impute not their sinne to them. And after againe: Neither did they proudly disdaine against them which fell but of such as they had, they imparted to them that lacked bearing toward them a motherly affection, shedding their plentifull teares for them to God the Father, and prayed for their life and saluation, and as God gaue it them, they also did communicate to their neighbours. And thus they as conquerers of all thynges departed to God. They loued peace, and leauing the same to vs, they went to God, neither leauyng any molestation to their mother, nor sedition or trouble to their brethren, but ioye, peace, concorde, and loue to all.

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Out of the same writyng moreouer concernyng these Martyrs of Fraunce afore mentioned, is recorded also an other history, not vnworthy to be noted, taken out of the same booke of Eusebius. cap. 3. which history is this.

There was among these constaunt and blessed Martirs, one Alcibiades, Marginalia Ex Euseb. Lib. 5. ca. 3. Alcibiades. as is aboue specified: which Alcibiades euer vsed a very straight died, receiuing for his foode and sustenaunce nothing els but only bread and water: when this Alcibiades now being cast into prison, went about to accustome the same straightnes of diet, Marginalia The straite fasting of Alcibiades corrected by the holy Ghost. after his vsual maner before it was reueiled by God to Attalus afore mentioned, one of the said company, being also the same time imprisoned after his first conflict vpon the scaffolde that Alcibiades did not well in that hee refused to vse and take the creatures of God: & also thereby ministred to other a pernicious occasion of offensiue example. Whereupon Alcibiades being aduertised, & reformed, began to take al thinges boldly and with giuing thankes, whereby may appeare to all scrupulous consciences, Marginalia A lesson for scripulous consciences. not only a wholesome instrucion of the holy Ghost, but also here is to be noted how in those dayes they were not destytute of the grace of God: but had the holy spirite of God to be their instructor, Hæc Euseb.

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The foresaide martirs of Fraunce also the same tyme, commended Irenæus newly then made minister, with their letters vnto Eleutherus Bishop of Rome: Marginalia Irenæus newely made minister, and cōmended to Eleutherius. as witnesseth Euseb. in the x. chap. of the same booke; which Irenæus fyrst was the hearer of Polycarpus, then made minister (as is sayde) vnder these Martyrs. And after their death, made Byshop afterward of Lyons in Fraunce and succeded after Photinus. 

Commentary  *  Close
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

Besides this Iustinus there was also the same time in Asia, Claudius Apolinaris, or Apolinarius Byshop of Hierapolis, And also Melito Bishop of Sardis an eloquent & learned man, much commended of Tertullian, who succeeding after the time of the apostles, in the reigne of this Antoninus Verus, exhibited vnto him, learned and eloquent Apologies, in defence of Christes Religion, Marginalia Appollinaris and Melito exhibited. Apologies to the Emperour for the Christians. like as Quadratus and Aristides aboue mentioned, did vnto the Emperour Hadrian whereby they mooued him somewhat to stay the rage of his persecution. In like maner did this Apolinaris and Melito (stirred vp by God) aduenture to defende in writing the cause of the christians vnto this Antoninus. Of this Melito, Eusebius in his fourth booke making mention, excerpeth certaine places of his Apologie, in these wordes as followeth. Marginalia Ex Euseb. Lib. 4. cap. 26. The summe of the Apologye of Melito. Nowe saith he which was neuer seene before, the godly suffereth persecution by occasion of certaine Proclamations & Edictes proclaimed throughout Asia, for vilanous Sichophantes, robbers & spoylers of other mens goods grounding them selmes vpon those Proclamations, and taking occasion of them, robbe openlye night and daye, and spoyle those which doe no harme: And it followeth after: which if it be done by your commaundement, be it so well done. For a good Prince wyll neuer commaund but good things. And so we wil be contented to sustaine the honor of his death. This onely wee most humblye beseech your Maiestie, that callyng before you and examining the authors of this tumult and cōtention, then your grace would iustly iudge whether we are worthy of cruell death or quiet life. And then if it be not your pleasure, and that it proceedeth not by your occasion (which indeede against your barbarous enimies were to badde) the more a great deale we are petitioners to your hyghnes, that hereafter you wyll vouchsafe to heare vs thus so vexed and oppressed with these kinde of vylanous robberies. And verily our Philosophy & doctryne did first among the barbarous take place, which doctrine fyrst in the daies of Augustus your predecessor, Marginalia The Christians Religion began with the Empire of Rome. when it did raygne and florish, thereby your Empire became most famous &

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