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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

EIGHTY pious individuals of the clerical order, among whom Urbanus, Theodore, and Mendemus were the principal, proceeded to Nicomedia, and there presented to the emperor a supplicatory petition, complaining of the ill-usage to which they had been subjected. Valens dissembling his displeasure in their presence, gave Modestus the præfect a secret order to apprehend these persons, and put them to death. The manner in which they were destroyed being unusual, deserves to be recorded. The præfect fearing that he should excite the populace to a seditious movement against himself, if he attempted the public execution of so many, pretended to send them away into exile. Accordingly these men, who received the intelligence of their destiny with great firmness of mind, were embarked as if to be conveyed to their several places of banishment: but the sailors were commanded to set the vessel on fire, as soon as they reached the mid sea, that their victims being so destroyed, might even be deprived of burial. This injunction was obeyed; for when they arrived at the middle of the Astacian Gulf, the crew set fire to the ship, and then took refuge in a small barque which followed them, and so escaped. Meanwhile the burning ship was fiercely driven by a strong easterly wind which then blew, until it reached a port named Decidizus, where it was utterly consumed together with the men who were shut up in it. Many have asserted that this impious deed was not suffered to go unpunished: for there immediately after arose so great a famine throughout all Phrygia, that a large proportion of the inhabitants were obliged to abandon their country for a time, and betake themselves some to Constantinople and some to other provinces. For the former place, notwithstanding the vast population it supplies, yet always abounds with the necessaries of life, all manner of provisions being imported into it by sea from various regions; and the Euxine which lies near it, furnishes it with bread-corn to any extent it may require.








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