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Ἔτος τοῦτο ἦν ἐννεακαιδέκατον τῆς Διοκλητιανοῦ βασιλείας, Δύστρος μήν, λέγοιτο δ ̓ ἂν οὗτος Μάρτιος κατὰ ̔Ρωμαίους, ἐν ᾧ, τῆς τοῦ σωτηρίου πάθους ἑορτῆς εἰσελαυνούσης, ἥπλωτο πανταχόσε βασιλικά γράμματα, 5 τὰς μὲν ἐκκλησίας εἰς ἔδαφος φέρειν, τὰς δὲ γραφὰς ἀφανεῖς πυρὶ γενέσθαι προστάττοντα, καὶ τοὺς μὲν τιμῆς ἐπειλημμένους, ἀτίμους, τοὺς δὲ ἐν οἰκετίαις, εἰ ἐπιμέ νοιεν τῇ τοῦ Χριστιανισμοῦ προθέσει, ἐλευθερίας στερεῖσθαι προαγορεύοντα. καὶ ἡ μὲν πρώτη καθ ̓ ἡμῶν το γραφὴ τοιαύτη τις ἦν· μετ ̓ οὐ πολὺ δὲ ἑτέρων ἐπιφοιτησάντων γραμμάτων, προσετάττετο τοὺς τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν προέδρους πάντας τοὺς κατὰ πάντα τόπον πρῶτα μὲν δεσμοῖς παραδίδοσθαι, εἶθ ̓ ὕστερον πάσῃ μηχανῇ θύειν ἐξαναγκάζεσθαι.
Ibid. viii. 2.
15 'MAGUS fuit, clandestinis artibus omnia illa perfecit, Aegyptiorum ex adytis angelorum potentium nomina et remotas furatus est disciplinas.' Quid dicitis, o parvuli, incomperta vobis et nescia temerariae vocis loquacitate garrientes? Ergone illa quae gesta sunt daemonum fuere 20 praestigiae et magicarum artium ludi? Potestis aliquem nobis designare, monstrare ex omnibus illis magis, qui umquam fuere per saecula, consimile aliquid Christo millesima ex parte qui fecerit ?..
Unus fuit e nobis, qui redire in corpora iamdudum 25 animas praecipiebat efflatas, prodire ab aggeribus conditos et post dum funeris tertium pollinctorum velaminibus expediri? Unus fuit e nobis, qui quid singuli voluerint, quid sub obscuris cogitationibus continerent tacitorum in cordibus pervidebat ? . . .
Nihil ut remini magicum, nihil humanum, praestigiosum
1 Lact. de Mort. Pers. 13 'ut religionis illius homines carerent omni honore ac dignitate. . . libertatem denique ac vocem non haberent.'
The Edicts of Diocletian.
THIS year was the nineteenth of the reign of Diocletian, the month Dystrus, which is called March by the Romans, when as the feast of the Saviour's Passion was approaching, imperial edicts were published everywhere, commanding the churches to be levelled with the ground and 5 the Scriptures to be destroyed with fire, and ordering that those possessed of honour should lose their position, and that they of Caesar's household, if they held to their profession of Christianity, should be deprived of freedom. Such was the first edict against us; and before long by 10 other edicts following it was ordered that all the rulers of the Churches everywhere should first be committed to bonds, and afterwards by every art be made to sacrifice.
Our Lord's Miracles.
JESUS was a Magian; He effected all these things by secret arts. From the shrines of the Egyptians he stole 15 the names of angels of might, and the rules of a secret craft. Why, O witlings, do you speak of things which you have not examined, and which are unknown to you, prating with the garrulity of a rash tongue? Were, then, those things which were done, the freaks of demons, and the 20 tricks of magical arts? Can you specify and point out to me any one of all those magicians who have ever existed in past ages that did anything similar in the thousandth degree to Christ? ...
Was He one of us, who ordered souls once breathed 25 forth to return to the body, persons buried to come forth from the tomb, and after three days to be loosed from the swathings of the undertaker? Was He one of us, who saw clearly in the hearts of the silent what each was pondering, what each had in his secret thoughts? ... 30 There was nothing magical, as you suppose, nothing
aut subdolum, nihil fraudis delituit in Christo, derideatis licet ex more atque in lasciviam dissolvamini cachinnorum. Deus ille sublimis fuit, deus radice ab intima, deus ab incognitis regnis et ab omnium principe deo sospitator 5 est missus. ARNOBIUS, Adv. Nationes, i. 43-53.
Ex iis qui mihi noti sunt Minucius Felix non ignobilis inter causidicos loci fuit. Huius liber, cui Octavio titulus est, declarat quam idoneus veritatis assertor esse potuisset, si se totum ad id studium contulisset. Septimius quoque 10 Tertullianus fuit omni genere litterarum peritus, sed in eloquendo parum facilis et mi us comptus et multum obscurus fuit. Ergo ne hic quidem satis celebritatis invenit. Unus igitur praecipuus et clarus exstitit Cyprianus, quoniam et magnam sibi gloriam ex artis oratoriae 15 professione quaesierat et admodum multa conscripsit in suo genere miranda. Erat enim ingenio facili copioso suavi et, quae sermonis maxima est virtus, aperto, ut discernere non queas, utrumne ornatior in eloquendo an felicior in explicando an potentior in persuadendo fuerit. 20 Hic tamen placere ultra verba sacramentum ignorantibus non potest, quoniam mystica sunt quae locutus est et ad id praeparata, ut a solis fidelibus audiantur: denique a doctis huius saeculi, quibus forte scripta eius innotuerunt, derideri solet.
LACTANTIUS, Div. Inst. v. 1.
DIOCLETIANUS, qui scelerum inventor et malorum machinator fuit, cum disperderet omnia, ne a deo quidem
human trickery in Christ; no deceit lurked in him, although you smile in derision, as your wont is, and though you split with roars of laughter. He was God on high, God in His inmost root, God from unknown realms, sent by the ruler of all as a Saviour.
Lactantius criticizing earlier Apologists.
Of those who are known to me, Minucius Felix was of no mean rank among pleaders. His book, which is entitled Octavius, shows how doughty a champion of the truth he could have been, if he had devoted himself entirely to that occupation. Septimius Tertullianus too 10 was skilled in every sort of literature, but in eloquence he had little readiness, with small polish and much obscurity. So neither did he find much popularity. Cyprianus therefore was the one more than others conspicuous and eminent, for he had won to himself much glory from his 15 profession of the art of oratory, and he has written a great number of things in their own sort worthy of admiration. For he was of a ready spirit, fluent, agreeable, and (what is a very great excellence of language) plain, so that you cannot decide whether he was more elegant in language, 20 or happier in explanation, or stronger in persuasion. Yet even he cannot please further than his words-those who do not know the mystery, since the words he has spoken are mystical, and shaped to the end that they may be understood of the faithful only in short, by the learned 25 of this world to whom his writings have by chance become known, he is commonly ridiculed.
Misgovernment of Diocletian.
WHEN Diocletian, that inventor of crimes and deviser of evils, was ruining all things, he could not refrain his
manus potuit abstinere. Hic orbem terrae simul et avaritia et timiditate subvertit. Tres enim participes regni sui fecit, in quatuor partes orbe diviso, et multiplicatis exercitibus, cum singuli eorum longe maiorem numerum 5 militum habere contenderunt, quam priores principes habuerant, cum soli rempublicam gererent. Adeo maior esse coeperat numerus accipientium, quam dantium, ut enormitate indictionum consumptis viribus colonorum, desererentur agri et culturae verterentur in silvam. Et ut 10 omnia terrore complerentur, provinciae quoque in frusta concisae: multi praesides et plura officia singulis regionibus ac paene iam civitatibus incubare; item rationales multi, et magistri, et vicarii praefectorum, quibus omnibus civiles actus admodum rari, sed condemnationes tantum 15 et proscriptiones frequentes, exactiones rerum innumerabilium, non dicam crebrae, sed perpetuae, et in exactionibus iniuriae non ferendae. Haec quoque tolerari possunt quae ad exhibendos milites spectant. Idem insatiabili avaritia thesauros nunquam minui volebat, sed semper 20 extraordinarias opes ac largitiones congerebat, ut ea quae recondebat, integra atque inviolata servaret. Idem cum variis iniquitatibus immensam faceret caritatem, legem pretiis rerum venalium statuere conatus est. Tunc ob exigua et vilia multus sanguis effusus, nec venale quid25 quam metu apparebat, et caritas multo deterius exarsit, donec lex necessitate ipsa post multorum exitium solveretur. Huc accedebat infinita quaedam cupiditas aedificandi, non minor provinciarum exactio in exhibendis. operariis, et artificibus, et plaustris omnibusque quaecumque