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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

IN the course of the second year, when the war was blazing more violently against us, when Urbanus had the government of the province, imperial edicts were first issued to him, in which it was ordered, by a general command, that all persons of every people and city should sacrifice and make libations to the idols. Timotheus, at Gaza, a city of Palestine, endured a multitude of tortures, and, after the rest, was condemned to be consumed by a slow and gentle fire, exhibiting in all his sufferings a most indubitable proof of his sincere devotedness to God, thus bearing away the crown of those holy wrestlers who triumphed in the cause of piety. At the same time with him were condemned to be cast to the wild beasts, Agapius, who displayed the noblest firmness in his confession, and Thecla, our contemporary. And who could help being struck with admiration and astonishment at the sight, or even at the very recital of those things that then occurred? For, as the heathen in every place were on the point of celebrating their accustomed games and festivals, it was much noised abroad, that besides the other exhibitions with which they were so greatly captivated, those that were just condemned to the wild beasts would exhibit a combat. This report being increased, and spreading among all, there were six young men, who, first binding their hands, hastened with all speed to Urbanus, to prove their great alacrity to endure martyrdom, who was then going to the amphitheatre, and declared themselves Christians. The names of these were Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysius of Tripolis in Phœnice, Romulus, a subdeacon of the church at Diospolis, Paesis and Alexander, both Egyptians; another Alexander, from Gaza. These, by their great promptness in the face of all terrors, proved that they gloried in the worship of the true God, and were not alarmed at the assaults of beasts of prey; and, indeed, both the governor and those around him were amazed. They were, however, immediately committed to prison. Not many days after, two others were added to their number, of whom one had already before sustained the conflict of confession several times, under a variety of dreadful torments; he was, also, called Agapius, but the other, who supplied them with the necessaries of life, was named Dionysius. All these, eight in number, were beheaded in one day at Cæsarea, on the twenty-third day of the month Dystrus, that is, the ninth of the Calends of April. In the mean time, a certain change took place with the emperors, the first and the second in the imperial dignity retiring to private life, and public affairs began to wear a troubled aspect. Shortly after, the Roman empire was divided, and a dreadful civil war arose among the Romans themselves; nor did the schism cease, and the consequent commotions become finally settled, before peace was proclaimed toward us throughout the whole Roman world. For as soon as this arose like a light upon all, springing up from the densest and most gloomy night, the government was again restored to firmness, tranquillity, and peace, and they resumed that benevolent disposition towards one another, which they had derived from their ancestors. But of these matters we shall give a more full account in its proper place. Now let us pursue the thread of our narrative in due order.








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