Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History (AD431-594), translated by E. Walford (1846). Book 3.
CHARACTER OF THE EMPEROR ZENO.
ZENO, on becoming, by the death of his son, sole emperor, as if entertaining an idea that his power was incomplete without an unrestrained pursuit of every pleasure that presented itself, so far abandoned himself from the first to the solicitations of desire, as to hesitate at nothing of ail that is unseemly and illicit; but so thorough was his habitude in such things, that he esteemed it grovelling to practise them in concealment and privacy ; but to do it openly, and as it were, in a conspicuous spot, truly royal and suited to none but an emperor : a notion base and servile ; for the emperor is known, not by the circumstances of ordinary sway over others, but by those wherein he rules and sways himself, in guarding against the admission in his own person of whatever is indecorous; and being thus unconquered by loose indulgence, so as to be a living image of virtue for imitation and the instruction of his subjects. But he who lays himself open to the pleasures of sense, is unwittingly becoming a base |120 slave, an unransomed captive, continually passing, like worthless slaves, from the hands of one master to another; inasmuch as pleasures are an unnumbered train of mistresses, linked in endless succession; while the present enjoyment, so far from being lasting, is only the kindler and prelude to another, until a man either banishes the rabble rule of pleasures, becoming thus a sovereign instead of a victim of tyranny ; or, continuing a slave to the last, receives the portion of the infernal world.
INCURSIONS OF THE BARBARIANS.
IN such a manner, then, had Zeno, from the commencement of his reign, depraved his course of life : while, however, his subjects, both in the East and the West, were greatly distressed; in the one quarter, by the general devastations of the Scenite barbarians; and in Thrace, by the inroads of the Huns, formerly known by the name of Massagetae, who crossed the Ister without opposition : while Zeno himself, in barbarian fashion, was making violent seizure on whatever escaped them. |121
INSURRECTION OF BASILISCUS. FLIGHT OF ZENO.1
BUT on the insurrection of Basiliscus, the brother of Verina----for the disposition of his nearest connexions was hostile, from the universal disgust at his most disgraceful life----he was utterly wanting in courage : for vice is craven and desponding, sufficiently indicating its unmanly spirit by submission to pleasures. Zeno fled with precipitation, and surrendered so great a sovereignty to Basiliscus without a struggle. He was also blockaded in his native district, Isauria, having with him his wife Ariadne, who had subsequently fled from her mother, and those parties who still continued loyal to him. Basiliscus, having thus acquired the Roman diadem, and bestowed on his son Marcus the title of Caesar, adopted measures opposed to those of Zeno and his predecessors.
CIRCULAR OF BASILISCUS.
AT the instigation of an embassy of certain Alexandrians, Basiliscus summons Timotheus Aelurus from his exile, in the eighteenth year of his banishment; at which time Acacius held the episcopate of |122 Constantinople. On his arrival at the imperial city, Timotheus persuades Basiliscus to address circular letters to the bishops in every quarter, and to anathematise the transactions at Chalcedon and the tome of Leo. They were to this effect.
THE CIRCULAR LETTER OF BASILISCUS.
"The emperor Caesar Basiliscus, pious, victorious, triumphant, supreme, ever-worshipful Augustus, and Marcus, the most illustrious Caesar, to Timotheus, archbishop of the great city of the Alexandrians, most reverent and beloved of God. It has ever been our pleasure, that whatever laws have been decreed in behalf of the true and apostolic faith, by those our pious predecessors who have maintained the true service of the blessed and undecaying and life-giving Trinity, should never be inoperative; but we are rather disposed to enounce them as of our own enactment. We, preferring piety and zeal in the cause of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ who created and has made us glorious, before all diligence in human affairs, and being further convinced that unity among the flocks of Christ is the preservation of ourselves and our subjects, the stout foundation and unshaken bulwark of our empire; being by these considerations moved with godly zeal, and offering to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ the unity of the Holy Church as the first fruits of our reign, ordain that the basis |123 and settlement of human felicity, namely, the symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers who were assembled, in concert with the Holy Spirit, at Nicaea, into which both ourselves and all our believing predecessors were baptised; that this alone should have reception and authority with the orthodox people in all the most holy churches of God, as the only formulary of the right faith, and sufficient for the utter destruction of every heresy, and for the complete unity of the holy churches of God ; without prejudice, notwithstanding, to the force of the acts of the hundred and fifty holy fathers assembled in this imperial city, in confirmation of the sacred symbol itself, and in condemnation of those who blasphemed against the Holy Ghost; as well as of all that were passed in the metropolitan city of the Ephesians against the impious Nestorius and those who subsequently favoured his opinions. But the proceedings which have disturbed the unity and order of the holy churches of God, and the peace of the whole world, that is to say, the so-called tome of Leo, and all things said and done at Chalcedon in innovation upon the before-mentioned holy symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers, whether by way of definition of faith, or setting forth of symbols, or of interpretation, or instruction, or discourse; we ordain that these shall be anathematised both here and every where by the most holy bishops in every church, and |124 shall be committed to the flames whenever they shall be found, inasmuch as it was so enjoined respecting all heretical doctrines by our predecessors, of pious and blessed memory, Constantine, and Theodosius the younger; and that, having thus been rendered null, they shall be utterly expelled from the one and only catholic and apostolic orthodox church, as superseding the everlasting and saving definitions of the three hundred and eighteen fathers, and those of the blessed fathers who, by the Holy Spirit, made their decision at Ephesus; that no one, in short, either of the priesthood or laity, shall be allowed to deviate from that most sacred constitution of the holy symbol; and that, together with all the innovations upon the sacred symbol which were enacted at Chalcedon, there be also anathematised the heresy of those who do not confess, that the only begotten Son of God was truly incarnate, and made man of the Holy Spirit and of the holy and ever-virgin Mary, Mother of God, but, according to their strange conceit, either from heaven, or in mere phantasy and seeming: and, in short, every heresy, and whatever other innovation, in respect either of thought or language, has been devised in violation of the sacred symbol in any manner or at any time or place. And, inasmuch as it is the special task of kingly providence to furnish to their subjects, with forecasting deliberation, abundant means of security, not only for the present but for future time, |125 we ordain that the most holy bishops in every place shall subscribe to this our sacred circular epistle when exhibited to them, as a distinct declaration that they are indeed ruled by the sacred symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers alone----which the hundred and fifty holy fathers confirmed; as it was also defined by the most holy fathers, who, subsequently, assembled in the metropolitan city of the Ephesians, that the sacred symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers ought to be the only rule---- while they anathematise every stumbling-block enacted at Chalcedon to the faith of the orthodox people, and utterly eject them from the churches, as an impediment to the general happiness and our own. Those, moreover, who, after the issuing of these our sacred letters, which we trust to have been uttered in accordance with the will of God, in an endeavour to accomplish that unity which all desire for the holy churches of God, shall attempt to bring forward or so much as to name the innovation upon the faith which was enacted at Chalcedon, either in discourse or instruction or writing, in whatever manner, place, or time ; with respect to those persons, as being the cause of confusion and tumult in the churches of God and among the whole of our subjects, and enemies to God and our safety, we command (in accordance with the laws ordained by our predecessor, Theodosius, of blessed and sacred memory, against such sort of evil designs, |126 which laws are subjoined to this our sacred circular) that, if bishops or clergy, they be deposed ; if monks or laics, that they be subjected to banishment and every mode of confiscation, and the severest penalties: for so the holy and homoousian Trinity, the Creator and Vivifier of the universe, which has ever been adored by our piety, receiving at the present time service at our hands in the destruction of the before-mentioned tares and the confirmation of the true and apostolic traditions of the holy symbol, find being thereby rendered favourable and gracious to our souls and to all our subjects, shall ever aid us in the exercise of our sway, and preserve the peace of the world."
DECEPTION OF THE CIRCULAR.
ACCORDING to Zacharias, the rhetorician, Timotheus, who, as I said, was just returned from banishment, agrees to these circular letters ; as does also Peter, president of the church of Antioch, surnamed the Fuller, who also attended Timotheus at the imperial city. After these proceedings, they also determined that Paul should occupy the archiepiscopal throne of the church of Ephesus. This author also says, that Anastasius, the successor of Juvenalis as president of Jerusalem, subscribes the circular, and very many |127 others ; so that those who repudiated the tome of Leo and the synod of Chalcedon, amounted to about five hundred: and also that a written petition was addressed to Basiliscus by the Asiatic bishops, assembled at Ephesus, a part of which is couched in the following terms : "To our entirely pious and Christ-loving lords, Basiliscus and Marcus, ever victorious emperors." Presently it proceeds : "Whenever the faith has been hated and assailed, you, all pious and Christ-loving sovereigns, have made it manifest throughout that you were equally assailed." And further on: "A certain fearful retribution of judgment and fury of divine fire and the just wrath of your serenity shall suddenly involve the adversaries, those who endeavour with vauntful assault to battle down the mighty God and your sovereignty fortified by the faith ; who also in various ways have not spared our humble selves, but have continually slandered and belied us, as having subscribed to your sacred and apostolic circular letters by compulsion and violence, which we, in fact, subscribed with all joy and readiness." And further on : "Let it therefore be your pleasure, that nothing be put forward otherwise than as accords with your sacred circular, being assured that, as we have before said, the whole world will be turned upside down, and the evils which have proceeded from the synod at Chalcedon will be found trifling in comparison, notwithstanding |128 the innumerable slaughters which they have caused, and the blood of the orthodox which they have unjustly and lawlessly shed." And further on: "We conjure your piety, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, to maintain the just and canonical and ecclesiastical condemnation and deposition which has been inflicted on them, and especially on him who has been on many points convicted of having unduly exercised the episcopate of the imperial city." The same Zacharias also writes as follows: "On the issuing of the imperial circulars, those in the capital who were infected with the phantasy of Eutyches, and followed the monastic rule, believing themselves to have chanced on a prize in the person of Timotheus, and hoping by the circulars to catch their own profit, flock to him with all speed, and again retire, as if convinced by Timotheus that the "Word of God is consubstantial with ourselves as to flesh, and consubstantial with the Father as respects the Godhead."
PROCEEDINGS OF TIMOTHY AELURUS.
THE same author says, that Timotheus, setting out from the imperial city, visited Ephesus, and there enthroned Paul as archpriest; who had already been ordained, according to the more ancient custom, by |129 the bishops of the province, but had been ejected from his see : and he also restored to Ephesus the dignity of the patriarchate, of which the synod at Chalcedon had deprived it, as I have already mentioned. Proceeding thence, he arrives at Alexandria, and uniformly required all who approached him to anathematise the synod at Chalcedon. Accordingly, there abandon him, as has been recorded by the same Zacharius, many of his party, and among them Theodotus, one of the bishops ordained at Joppa by Theodosius, who had, by means of certain persons, become bishop of Jerusalem, at the time when Juvenalis betook himself to Byzantium.
COUNTER CIRCULAR OF BASILISCUS.
THIS author also says, that Acacius, president of the church of Constantinople, in consequence of these proceedings, stirred up the monastic body and the populace of the imperial city, on the plea that Basiliscus was a heretic : and that the latter repudiated the circular, and issued a constitution to the effect, that transactions precipitated by overbearing influence were utterly null; and also sent forth a counter circular in recommendation of the synod at Chalcedon. This counter circular, as he terms it, he has, however, |130 omitted, having written the whole work under passionate feelings. It is as follows: ----
THE COUNTER CIRCULAR OF BASILISCUS.
"We, the emperors, Caesars, Basiliscus and Marcus, thus ordain: that the apostolic and orthodox faith, which has held sway in the catholic churches from the very first, both until the beginning and during the continuance of our reign, and ought to sway in all coming time, into which also we were baptised, and in which we believe; that this alone continue to sway uninjured and unshaken, and ever prevail throughout the catholic and apostolic churches of the orthodox; and that no question tending otherwise be a subject of debate. On this account we also enjoin, that all acts during our reign, whether circular letters or others, or any thing whatever relating to faith or ecclesiastical constitution, be null; while we at the same time anathematise Nestorius, Eutyches, and every other heresy, with all who hold like sentiments; and that no synod or other debate be held on this subject, but that the present form remain unimpaired and unshaken. Also, that the provinces, the ordination to which was possessed by the see of this imperial and glorious city, be restored to the most reverent and holy patriarch and archbishop Acacius, the present bishops, highly beloved of God, retaining their respective sees; provided |131 that no prejudice thence arise after their demise to the right of ordination belonging to the illustrious see of this imperial and glorious city. That this our sacred ordinance has the force of a sacred constitution is a matter of doubt to none."
Such was the course of these transactions.
RESTORATION OF ZENO.2
BUT Zeno, having seen in a vision the holy and much tried proto-martyr Thecla encouraging him and promising him restoration to power, after winning over the besiegers by bribes, marches on Byzantium and expels Basiliscus, who had now held the supreme power for two years, and, on his taking refuge in a holy precinct, surrenders him to his enemies. Zeno, in consequence, dedicated to the proto-martyr Thecla a very extensive sanctuary, of singular stateliness and beauty, at Seleucia, which is situated near the borders of Isauria, and embellished it with very many and royal offerings, which have been preserved to our times. Basiliscus is, accordingly, conveyed to Cappadocia, in order to his death, and is slain with his wife and children at the station named Acusus. Zeno enacts a law in abrogation of what Basiliscus the tyrant had constituted by his circulars, and Peter, surnamed the Fuller, is ejected from the church of the Antiochenes, and Paul from that of the Ephesians. |132
EPISTLE OF THE ASIATIC BISHOPS TO ACACIUS.
THE bishops of Asia, to sooth Acacius, address to him a deprecatory plea, and implore his pardon in a repentant memorial, wherein they alleged, that they had subscribed the circular by compulsion and not voluntarily; and they affirmed with an oath that the case was really thus, and that they had settled their faith, and still maintained it in accordance with the synod at Chalcedon. The purport of the document is as follows.
An epistle or petition sent from the bishops of Asia, to Acacius, bishop of Constantinople. "To Acacius, the most holy and pious patriarch of the church in the imperial city of Constantine, the New Rome." And it afterwards proceeds: "We have been duly visited by the person who will also act as our representative." And shortly after: "By these letters we acquaint you that we subscribed, not designedly but of necessity, having agreed to these matters with letters and words, not with the heart. For, by your acceptable prayers and the will of the higher Power, we hold the faith as we have received it from the three hundred and eighteen lights of the world, and the hundred and fifty holy fathers; and, moreover, we assent to the terms which were piously and rightly framed at Chalcedon by the holy fathers there assembled." |133
Whether Zacharias has slandered these persons, or they themselves lied in asserting that they were unwilling to subscribe, I am not able to say.
SUCCESSION OF BISHOPS AT ANTIOCH.
NEXT to Peter, Stephen succeeds to the see of Antioch, whom the sons of the Antiochenes dispatched with reeds sharpened like lances, as is recorded by John the Rhetorician. After Stephen, Calandion is entrusted with the helm of that see, and he wrought upon those who approached him, to anathematise Timotheus, and, at the same time, the circular of Basiliscus.
SUCCESSION OF BISHOPS AT ALEXANDRIA.
IT was the intention of Zeno to eject Timotheus from the church of Alexandria ; but, on being informed by certain persons that he was already aged, and had almost reached the common resting-place of all men, he abandoned his purpose. And, in fact, Timotheus shortly after paid the debt of nature. Upon this the Alexandrian bishops elect, on their own authority, |134 Peter, surnamed Mongus; the announcement of which proceeding exasperated Zeno, who judged him to have incurred the penalty of death, and he recalls Timotheus, the successor of Proterius, while residing, on account of a popular tumult, at Canopus. Thus Timotheus obtained, by the commands of the emperor, possession of his rightful see.
ECCLESIASTICAL MEASURES OF ZENO.
BY the advice of certain persons, John, a presbyter, who held the office of steward of the venerable temple of the holy forerunner and baptist John, visits the imperial city, in order to negotiate permission for the inhabitants of Alexandria to elect as president of their church a person of their own choice, if it should happen that their bishop should depart out of the world. According to Zacharias, he was detected by the emperor in the endeavour to compass his own appointment to the bishopric, and was allowed to return home, under an oath that he would never aspire to the see of Alexandria. The emperor too issues a precept, to the effect that, after the death of Timotheus, that person should be bishop whom the clergy and people might elect. On the death of Timotheus, which took place shortly after, John, by the employment of money, as the same |135 Zacharias writes, and in disregard of his sworn pledge to the emperor, procures his own nomination as bishop of the Alexandrians. The emperor, on being informed of these circumstances, commands his expulsion, and, at the suggestion of certain persons, addresses an allocution to the Alexandrians, which he named Henoticon, directing, at the same time, that the see of Alexandria should be restored to Peter, with a stipulation, that he should subscribe this document and admit to communion the party of Proterius.
PUBLICATION OF THE HENOTICON OF ZENO.3
OF this measure of arrangement, framed according to the advice of Acacius, bishop of the imperial city, Pergainius is the bearer, who had been appointed procurator of Egypt. Finding, on his arrival at Alexandria, that John had fled, he addresses himself to Peter, and urges him to receive the allocution of Zeno, and also to admit the separatists. He, accordingly, receives and subscribes the before-mentioned allocution, with a promise also to admit to communion the members of the opposite party. Accordingly, on occasion of a general festival at Alexandria and the universal acceptance of the so-called Henoticon of Zeno, Peter admits the partizans of Proterius; and, on delivering in the church an address to the people, he reads the allocution of Zeno, as follows. |136
THE HENOTICON (INSTRUMENT OF UNION).
"THE emperor Caesar Zeno, pious, victorious, triumphant, supreme, ever worshipful Augustus, to the most reverent bishops and clergy, and to the monks and laity throughout Alexandria, Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis. Being assured that the origin and constitution, the might and invincible defence of our sovereignty is the only right and true faith, which, through divine inspiration, the three hundred holy fathers assembled at Nicaea set forth, and the hundred and fifty holy fathers, who in like manner met at Constantinople, confirmed; we night and day employ every means of prayer, of zealous pains and of laws, that the holy Catholic and apostolic church in every place may be multiplied, the uncorruptible and immortal mother of our sceptre; and that the pious laity, continuing in peace and unanimity with respect to God, may, together with the bishops, highly beloved of God, the most pious clergy, the archimandrites and monks, offer up acceptably their supplications in behalf of our sovereignty. So long as our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who was incarnate and born of Mary, the Holy Virgin, and Mother of God, approves and readily accepts our concordant glorification and service, the power of our enemies will be crushed and swept away, and peace |137 with its blessings, kindly temperature, abundant produce, and whatever is beneficial to man, will be liberally bestowed. Since, then, the irreprehensible faith is the preserver both of ourselves and the Roman weal, petitions have been offered to us from pious archimandrites and hermits, and other venerable persons, imploring us with tears that unity should be procured for the churches, and the limbs should be knit together, which the enemy of all good has of old time been eagerly bent upon severing, under a consciousness that defeat will befall him whenever he assails the body while in an entire condition. For since it happens, that of the unnumbered generations which during the lapse of so many years time has withdrawn from life, some have departed, deprived of the laver of regeneration, and others have been borne away on the inevitable journey of man, without having partaken in the divine communion; and innumerable murders have also been perpetrated; and not only the earth, but the very air has been defiled by a multitude of blood-sheddings; that this state of things might be transformed into good, who would not pray? For this reason, we were anxious that you should be informed, that we and the churches in every quarter neither have held, nor do we or shall we hold, nor are we aware of persons who hold, any other symbol or lesson or definition of faith or creed than the before-mentioned holy symbol of the three hundred and |138 eighteen holy fathers, which the aforesaid hundred and fifty holy fathers confirmed; and if any person does hold such, we deem him an alien: for we are confident that this symbol alone is, as we said, the preserver of our sovereignty, and on their reception of this alone are all the people baptised when desirous of the saving illumination: which symbol all the holy fathers assembled at Ephesus also followed; who further passed sentence of deposition on the impious Nestorius and those who subsequently held his sentiments: which Nestorius we also anathematise, together with Eutyches and all who entertain opinions contrary to those above-mentioned, receiving at the same time the twelve chapters of Cyril, of holy memory, formerly archbishop of the holy Catholic church of the Alexandrians. We moreover confess, that the only begotten Son of God, himself God, who truly assumed manhood, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is con-substantial with the Father in respect of the Godhead, and con-substantial with ourselves as respects the manhood; that He, having descended, and become incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary, the Virgin and Mother of God, is one and not two; for we affirm that both his miracles, and the sufferings which he voluntarily endured in the flesh, are those of a single person: for we do in no degree admit those who either make a division or a confusion, or introduce a phantom; inasmuch as his truly sinless incarnation from the Mother of God did not |139 produce an addition of a son, because the Trinity continued a Trinity even when one member of the Trinity, the God Word, became incarnate. Knowing, then, that neither the holy orthodox churches of God in all parts, nor the priests, highly beloved of God, who are at their head, nor our own sovereignty, have allowed or do allow any other symbol or definition of faith than the before-mentioned holy lesson, we have united ourselves thereto without hesitation. And these things we write not as setting forth a new form of faith, but for your assurance : and every one who has held or holds any other opinion, either at the present or another time, whether at Chalcedon or in any synod whatever, we anathematise; and specially the before-mentioned Nestorius and Eutyches, and those who maintain their doctrines. Link yourselves, therefore, to the spiritual mother, the church, and in her enjoy the same communion with us, according to the aforesaid one and only definition of the faith, namely, that of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers. For your all holy mother, the church, waits to embrace you as true children, and longs to hear your loved voice, so long withheld. Speed yourselves, therefore, for by so doing you will both draw towards yourselves the favor of our Master and Saviour and God, Jesus Christ, and be commended by our sovereignty."
When this had been read, all the Alexandrians united themselves to the holy catholic and apostolic church. |140
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN SIMPLICIUS AND ZENO.
JOHN, however, of whom we have made mention before, having fled from Alexandria, arrives at the ancient Rome, and there causes great stir, by saying that he had been banished from his rightful see for upholding the doctrines of Leo and the council at Chalcedon, and had been superseded by another person, who was their opponent. Upon this Simplicius, bishop of the elder Rome, writes in alarm to Zeno; who in reply charges John with perjury, and alleges that for this reason and no other he had been ejected from his bishopric.
DEPOSITION OF CALANDION AND RESTORATION OF PETEE THE FULLER.
CALANDION, president of Antioch, writing to the emperor Zeno, and to Acacius, president of Constantinople, terms Peter an adulterer, saying that, when he was at Alexandria, he had anathematised the council at Chalcedon. He is afterwards condemned to exile at Oasis, on a supposition of having supported Illus, Leontius, and Pamprepius, in their usurpation against |141 Zeno; and Peter the Fuller, the predecessor of Calandion and Stephen, as I have mentioned, recovered his own see. The latter also subscribed the Henoticon of Zeno, and addressed synodical letters to Peter, bishop of Alexandria. Acacius, president of Constantinople, also entered into communion with him. Martyrius, too, bishop of Jerusalem, addressed synodical letters to Peter. Subsequently, certain persons withdrew from communion with Peter, who, in consequence, thenceforward openly anathematised the synod at Chalcedon. The news of this circumstance greatly troubled Acacius, and induced him to send persons to gain information on the subject; when Peter, to convince them that he had not so acted, drew up memorials, in which certain persons said, from their own knowledge, that Peter had not done any thing of the kind.
LETTER FROM PETER TO ACACIUS.
THIS Peter never abided by one opinion, being a double dealer, a waverer, and a time-server, now anathematising the synod at Chalcedon, at another time recanting, and admitting it with entire assent. Accordingly, the same Peter wrote an epistle to Acacius, president of Constantinople, in the following words: "The most high God will repay your holiness for the |142 many labours and toils wherewith, during the lapse of time, you have guarded the form of faith of the holy fathers, which you have confirmed by unceasingly proclaiming it; in which form when we found the symbol of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers to be embraced, we were disposed to accord with it; that symbol in which we believed at baptism, and still believe ; which also the hundred and fifty holy fathers, who assembled at Constantinople, confirmed. Accordingly, while increasing in your endeavours to guide all aright, you have united the holy church of God, by convincing us by the most powerful proofs that nothing at variance with this was enacted in the holy and general synod held at Chalcedon, but that it accorded with the acts of the holy fathers at Nicaea, and confirmed them. Thus, having discovered no novelty therein, we have of our own free motion accorded our assent and belief. But we are informed that certain monks, envying our brotherly union, have conveyed certain slanders to your holy ears, which have with some difficulty succeeded in embittering the feelings of your holiness. And, in the first place, it is alleged that we have removed to another place the remains of our sainted father, the blessed archbishop Timotheus, a thing abhorrent to religion and law: and they have further shifted their ground to another charge, in itself incoherent and worse than the former; for how could we possibly have anathematised the synod at Chalcedon, |143 which we had previously confirmed by according to it our belief? But the malignant temper and fickleness of our people are notorious, and cannot but be known to your piety, as well as of those monks who are disposed to innovation ; who, in conspiracy with certain ill-designing persons that have broken loose from the church, are endeavouring to draw away the people. Through your prayers we have also devised a discourse of a directly healing tendency, and in no way impugning the synod at Chalcedon, well knowing that its transactions contain no novelty; and, further, for the satisfaction of guileless persons, we have procured those who had united themselves to us, to affirm this point. This mischief, then, by much exertion, I have readily checked: but I make known to your holiness, that even still the monks who are ever sowing the tares, are not at rest, associating also with themselves, as instruments, persons who were never the inmates of monasteries; but they travel about disseminating various rumours to our disadvantage, and, while they do not allow that we act canonically and in a manner suitable to the holy catholic church of God, but are habituating our people to govern rather than obey us, they are bent on doing whatever is unbecoming the service of God. We doubt not, however, that your holiness will inform the most sacred master of the world of all these circumstances, and provide that a formulary shall be put forth by his serenity, embracing |144 the necessary matters relating to such a peace of the church as becomes both God and the emperor; so as to lead all to repose on its provisions."
FELIX ISSUES A SENTENCE OF DEPOSITION AGAINST ACACIUS.
JOHN, who had fled to Rome, was urgent on Felix, the successor of Simplicius in that see, respecting the proceedings of Peter, and recommends, according to Zacharias, that an instrument of deposition should be sent to Acacius from Felix, on the ground of his communion with Peter: which, however, as being un-canonical, Acacius did not admit, as the same Zacharias writes, on its presentation by certain members of the monastery of the Acoemets, as they are called. Such is the account given by Zacharias; but he appears to me to have been altogether ignorant of the real transactions, and to have reported merely an imperfect hearsay. I now proceed to give a precise account of the proceedings. On the presentation of libels to Felix by John against Acacius, on the score of irregular communion with Peter, and other uncanonical proceedings, the bishops Vitalis and Misenus are sent by Felix to the emperor Zeno, with a requisition that the authority of the synod at Chalcedon should be |145 maintained, that Peter should be ejected as a heretic, and that Acacius should be sent to Felix to answer for himself to the charges brought against him by John, of whom we have made frequent mention.
INTERFERENCE OF CYRIL THE MONK.
BEFORE, however, they reached the imperial city, Cyril, the superior of the Acoemets, writes to Felix, blaming his tardiness, when so grievous offences were being committed against the right faith; and Felix writes to Misenus and his associates, that they should take no measures until they had conferred with Cyril, and learnt from him what was best to be done.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN FELIX AND ZENO.
FURTHER commonitories were also addressed to them by Felix; as also letters to Zeno, concerning both the synod at Chalcedon, and the persecution which Huneric was carrying on in Africa. He also wrote an epistle to Acacius. Zeno wrote in answer, that the concern with which John had filled him, was groundless; because, having sworn that he would in |146 no way endeavour to insinuate himself into the see of Alexandria, and having subsequently violated these terms and disregarded his oath, he had been guilty of the extreme of sacrilege: that Peter had not been appointed without being tested, but had with his own hand subscribed his reception of the faith of the three hundred and eighteen holy fathers who met at Nicaea, which the holy synod at Chalcedon also followed. Part of the epistle is in these precise words: "You ought to be assured that our piety, and the before-mentioned most holy Peter, and all the most holy churches, receive and revere the most holy synod at Chalcedon, which agreed with the faith of the Nicene synod."
In the transactions are also contained epistles from the before-mentioned Cyril, and other archimandrites of the imperial city, and from bishops and clergy of the Egyptian province, addressed to Felix against Peter, as being a heretic, and against those who communicated with him. The members of the monastery of the Acoemets who came to Felix, further averred against Misenus and his party, that before their arrival at Byzantium, the; name of Peter had been read secretly in the sacred diptychs, and since that time without any concealment, and that they had in this way communicated with him. The epistle also of the Egyptians affirmed the same things respecting Peter; and that John, being orthodox, had been rightfully ordained: that Peter was ordained by two bishops |147 only, maintainers of similar errors with himself: that since the flight of John every species of severity had been inflicted on the orthodox: that all these circumstances had been made known to Acacius by persons who had visited the imperial city; and that they were convinced that he was in all things acting in union with Peter.
ACCUSATION OF THE LEGATES BY SIMEON THE MONK, AND THEIR CONSEQUENT DEPRIVATION.
THIS stir was further increased by Simeon, an Acoemet, who had been dispatched to Rome by Cyril. He expressly charged Misenus and Vitalis with holding communion with the heretics, by distinctly uttering the name of Peter in the reading of the sacred diptychs; and affirmed that many simple persons had, on this ground, been beguiled by the heretics, who said that Peter was admitted to the communion even of the Roman see: and, further, in reply to various interrogatories, Simeon said that Misenus and his party had declined to have communication with any orthodox person, either in person or by letter, or to sift any of the presumptuous attempts upon the right faith. There was also brought forward Silvanus, a presbyter, who had been in company with Misenus and Vitalis at |148 Constantinople, and he confirmed the statement of the monks. There was read, too, a letter from Acacius to Simplicius, to the effect that Peter had been long ago deposed and had become a child of night. On these grounds Misenus and Vitalis were removed from the priesthood and severed from the holy communion, when a unanimous vote was passed by the synod, in the following terms: "The church of the Romans does not admit Peter, the heretic, who has also been long ago condemned by the holy see, excommunicated, and anathematised. To whom, if there were no other objection, this is sufficient, namely, that having been ordained by heretics, he could not have authority over the orthodox." The decree also contains what follows: "The mere circumstance shews Acacius, bishop of Constantinople, to have incurred very great responsibility, because, writing to Simplicius and having termed Peter a heretic, he has nevertheless made no such declaration to the emperor: which was his duty, if he were loyal to him. He is, however, more partial to the emperor than to the faith."
Let me now return to the order of events. There is extant an epistle from Acacius to the Egyptian bishops, the clergy, monks, and the people in general, by which he endeavours to heal the existing schism: on which subject he also wrote to Peter, bishop of Alexandria. |149
COMMOTION AT ALEXANDRIA ON ACCOUNT OF THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEDON.
WHILE the schism at Alexandria was thus at its height, Peter, having again anathematised the tome of Leo, the transactions at Chalcedon, and those who refused to admit the writings of Dioscorus and Timotheus, induced some of the bishops and archimandrites to communicate with him, and failing to prevail upon the others, ejected most of them from their monasteries. On account of these proceedings, Nephalius visited the imperial city, and reported them to Zeno; who, in great vexation, despatches Cosmas, one of his officers, charged to load Peter with menaces, for the enforcement of unity, on the score of his having caused a serious dissension by his harshness. Cosmas returns to the imperial city without accomplishing the object of his mission, having merely restored those who had been ejected, to their monasteries. Subsequently, Arsenius is sent out by the emperor as governor of Egypt and commander of the forces. Arriving at Alexandria in company with Nephalius, he negociated with a view to unity; but failing to induce persons to acquiesce in his measures, he sends some of them to the imperial city, where, accordingly, many discussions took place in the presence of Zeno: but with no |150 practical result, because the emperor altogether declined agreement with the synod at Chalcedon.
SUCCESSION OF BISHOPS AT CONSTANTINOPLE, ALEXANDRIA, AND ANTIOCH.
AT this juncture Acacius departed on the common journey of all men, and is succeeded by Fravitas. On his addressing synodical letters to Peter of Alexandria, the latter replies with a repetition of the former matters respecting the synod at Chalcedon. On the demise of Fravitas, after an episcopate of only four months, Euphemius was ordained as his successor, and is the recipient of the letters of Peter addressed to Fravitas. On discovering the anathema against the transactions at Chalcedon, his feelings were greatly roused, and he broke off from communion with Peter. Both epistles are extant, namely, from Fravitas to Peter, and from Peter to Fravitas; but I pass them over on account of their length. When, in consequence, Euphemius and Peter were upon the point of coming to open hostility, and summoning synods against each other, these proceedings were prevented by the death of the latter. He is succeeded by Athanasius, who attempted to unite the dissidents; but without success, since the parties were ranged under |151 differences of opinion. Subsequently, when dispatching synodical letters to Palladius, the successor of Peter in the bishopric of Antioch, he took a similar course respecting the synod at Chalcedon; as did also John, his successor in the see of Alexandria. On the death of Palladius, and the succession of Flavian to the see of Antioch, Solomon, a presbyter of that church, is sent to Alexandria, as the bearer of synodical letters, with the request of an answer from John to Flavian. John is succeeded in the see of Alexandria by another of the same name. Such was the progress of these events down to a certain period of the reign of Anastasius: who had himself ejected Euphemius. I have been compelled thus to detail them continuously, for the sake of perspicuity and a ready comprehension of the whole.
DEATH OF ARMATUS.
ZENO, at the instigation of Illus, puts to death Armatus, a kinsman of the empress Verina. When Armatus had been sent against him by Basiliscus, Zeno had succeeded, by bribes, in converting him from a foe into an ally, and had bestowed on his son Basiliscus the rank of Caesar at Nicaea: but on his return to Constantinople, he procures the assassination of Armatus, |152 and makes his son a priest instead of Caesar. The latter was afterwards raised to the episcopal dignity.
INSURRECTION AND DEATH OF THEODORIC.
THEODORIC also, a Scythian, raised an insurrection, and having collected his forces in Thrace, marched against Zeno. After ravaging every place in his march as far as the mouth of the Pontus, he was near taking the imperial city, when some of his most intimate companions were secretly induced to enter into a plot against his life. When, however, he had learnt the disaffection of his followers, he commenced a retreat, and was very soon afterwards numbered with the departed, by a kind of death which I will mention, and which happened thus. A spear, with its thong prepared for immediate use, had been suspended before his tent in barbaric fashion. He had ordered a horse to be brought to him for the purpose of exercise, and being in the habit of not having any one to assist him in mounting, vaulted into his seat. The horse, a mettlesome and ungovernable animal, reared before Theodoric was fairly mounted, so that, in the contest, neither daring to rein back the horse, lest it should come down upon him, nor yet having gained a firm seat, he was whirled round in all directions, and |153 dashed against the point of the spear, which thus struck him obliquely, and wounded his side. He was then conveyed to his couch, and after surviving a few days, died of the wound.
INSURRECTION OF MARCIAN.
SUBSEQUENTLY Marcian had a rupture with Zeno, and attempted to dispute the empire with him. He was the son of Anthemius who had formerly reigned at Rome, and was allied to Leo, the preceding emperor, having married his younger daughter Leontia. After a severe battle around the palace, in which many fell on both sides, Marcian repulsed his opponents, and would have become master of the palace, had he not let slip the critical moment, by putting off the operation to the morrow.
For the critical season is swift of flight: when it is close upon one, it may be secured; but should it once have escaped the grasp, it soars aloft and laughs at its pursuers, not deigning to place itself again within their reach. And hence no doubt it is, that statuaries and painters, while they figure it with a lock hanging down in front, represent the head as closely shaven behind; thus skilfully symbolising, that when it comes up from behind one, it may perhaps be held fast by the flowing |154 forelock, but fairly escapes when it has once got the start, from the absence of any thing by which the pursuer might grasp it.
And this was what befel Marcian, when he had lost the moment favourable to his success, and was unable to find it afterwards. For the next day he was betrayed by his own followers, and being completely deserted, fled to the sacred precinct of the divine Apostles; whence he was dragged away by force, and transported to Caesarea in Cappadocia. Having there joined the society of certain monks, he was afterwards detected in meditating an escape; and being removed by the emperor to Tarsus in Cilicia, he was shorn, and ordained a presbyter: of all which particulars an elegant narrative has been given by Eustathius the Syrian.
INSURRECTION OF ILLUS AND LEONTIUS.
THE same writer states that Zeno also devised innumerable machinations against his mother-in-law Verina, and afterwards sent her away to Cilicia; and that subsequently, on the assumption of sovereign power by Illus, she removed to what is called the castle of Papirius; where she died.
Eustathius also narrates with great ability the story of Illus: how he escaped Zeno's plots against him, and |155 how Zeno gave up to capital punishment the man who had been commissioned to murder Illus, rewarding him with the loss of his head for his failure in the attempt. He also appointed Illus commander of the forces of the East, thinking thus to conceal his real designs: but he, having gained over as partizans Leontius, Marstis, a man of reputaion, and Pamprepius, proceeded to the east.
The same Eustathius then mentions the proclamation of Leontius as emperor, which took place at Tarsus in Cilicia; and how these persons reaped the fruits of their assumption of power, when Theodoric, a man of Gothic extraction, but illustrious among the Romans, had been sent out against them, with a force composed both of native and foreign troops.
The same author ably depicts the fate of those who were miserably put to death by Zeno in return for their loyalty to him; and how Theodoric, becoming aware of the evil designs of Zeno, withdrew to the elder Rome. Some, however, say that this was done at the suggestion of Zeno. Having there defeated Odoacer, he made himself master of Rome, and assumed the title of king.
ACCOUNT OF MAMMIANUS AND HIS STRUCTURES.
JOHN the rhetorician writes, that in the time of Zeno, Mammianus from an artizan became a person of |156 note and a member of the senate; and that he built in the suburb of Daphne what is called the Antiphorus, on a site previously planted with vines and suitable for cultivation, directly opposite the public baths; where there is also the brazen statue inscribed, "Mammianus the friend of the city." He also states that he built within the city, two basilicas, singularly beautiful in their design, and embellished with brilliant stone-work; and that, as an intervening structure to the two, he raised a Tetrapylum, exquisitely finished both in its columns and its brazen work. The basilicas I have identified, retaining, together with their name, some trace of their former beauty, in the stones from Procomiesus, which form the pavement, but nothing remarkable in their architecture: for, in consequence of the calamities which had befallen them, they had lately been rebuilt, without receiving any thing in the way of ornament. Of the Tetrapylum I was not able to detect the slightest vestige.
DEATH OF ZENO.----SUCCESSION OF ANASTASIUS.4
ON the decease of Zeno, by epilepsy, without issue, after a reign of seventeen years, Longinus his brother, having raised himself to considerable power, hoped to secure the sovereignty, but was, notwithstanding, |157 disappointed of his expectation. For Ariadne bestows the diadem on Anastasius, a person who had not yet attained senatorian rank, but belonged to the corps of the Silentiaries.
Eustathius writes, that two hundred and seven years elapsed from the beginning of the reign of Diocletian to the death of Zeno and the nomination of Anastasius: five hundred and fifty-two years and seven months from the time that Augustus obtained the supreme power; eight hundred and thirty-two years and seven months from the reign of Alexander the Macedonian; one thousand and fifty-two years and seven months from the reign of Romulus; one thousand six hundred and eighty-six years and seven months from the taking of Troy.
This Anastasius, being a native of Epidamnus, now called Dyrrachium, both succeeds to the sovereignty of Zeno and espouses his wife Ariadne. In the first place, he dismisses to his native country Longinus, the brother of Zeno, who held the post of Master of the Offices, formerly termed commander of the household troops; and afterwards, many other Isaurians at their own request.
DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCH.
THIS Anastasius, being of a peaceful disposition, was altogether averse to the introduction of changes, |158 especially in the state of the church, but endeavoured by every means, that the most holy churches should continue undisturbed, and the whole body of his subjects enjoy profound tranquillity, by the removal of all strife and contention from matters both ecclesiastical and civil. During these times, accordingly, the synod of Chalcedon was neither openly proclaimed in the most holy churches, nor yet was repudiated by all: but the bishops acted each according to his individual opinion. Thus, some very resolutely maintained what had been put forth by that synod, and would not yield to the extent of one word of its determinations, nor admit even the change of a single letter, but firmly declined all contact and communion with those who refused to admit the matters there set forth. Others, again, not only did not submit to the synod of Chalcedon and its determinations, but even anathematised both it and the tome of Leo. Others, however, firmly adhered to the Henoticon of Zeno, and that too although mutually at variance on the point of the single and double nature; some being caught by the artful composition of that document; and others influenced by an inclination for peace. Thus the churches in general were divided into distinct factions, and their presidents did not even admit each other to communion.
Numerous divisions, hence arising, existed in the East, in the West, and in Africa; while the eastern |159 bishops had no friendly intercourse with those of the West and Africa, nor the latter with those of the East. The evil too became still more monstrous, for neither did the presidents of the eastern churches allow communion among themselves, nor yet those who held the sees of Europe and Africa, much less with those of remote parts.
In consideration of these circumstances, the Emperor Anastasius removed those bishops who were promoters of change, wherever he detected any one either proclaiming or anathematising the synod of Chalcedon in opposition to the practice of the neighbourhood. Accordingly, he rejected from the see of the imperial city, first, Euphemius, as has been already mentioned, and afterwards Macedonius, who was succeeded by Timotheus; and Flavian from the see of Antioch.
LETTER TO ALCISON FROM THE MONKS OF PALESTINE.
THE monastic body in Palestine, writing to Alcison concerning Macedonius and Flavian, express themselves thus: "On the death of Peter, they were again separated, but Alexandria, Egypt, and Africa remained at unity among themselves; as, on the other hand, did the rest of the East; while the churches of the West refused to communicate with them on any other terms |160 than the anathematising of Nestorius, Eutyches, and Dioscorus, including also Peter, surnamed Mongus, and Acacius. Such, then, being the situation of the churches throughout the world, the genuine followers of Dioscorus and Eutyches were reduced to a very small number; and when they were upon the point of disappearing altogether from the earth, Xenaias, who was truly a stranger to God, with what object we know not, or pursuing what enmity towards Flavian, but under colour of defending the faith, as is generally said, begins to raise a stir against him, and to calumniate him as being a Nestorian. When, however, he had anathematised Nestorius and his notion, Xenaias transferred his attacks from him to Dioscorus and Theodore, Theodoret, Ibas, Cyrus, Eleutherius, and John; and we know not whom, besides and whence he mustered them: some of whom really maintained the opinions of Nestorius, but others, having been suspected, anathematised him, and departed in the communion of the church. 'Unless,' said he, 'thou shalt anathematise all these, as holding the opinions of Nestorius, thou art thyself a Nestorian, though thou shouldest ten thousand times anathematise him and his notion.' He also endeavoured by letters to induce the advocates of Dioscorus and Eutyches to take arms with him against Flavian, not however with a view of exacting from him an anathema upon the synod, but merely on the before-mentioned persons. But when |161 the bishop Flavian had maintained a prolonged resistance to them, and other persons had united with Xenaias against him, namely, Eleusinus, a bishop of Cappadocia Secunda, Nicias, of Laodicea in Syria, and others from other quarters, the motive of whose spite against Flavian it is the province of others, not of ourselves, to detail; at last, in hope of peace, he yielded to their contentious spirit, and having in writing anathematised the before-mentioned persons, he despatched the instrument to the emperor, for they had stirred up him also against Flavian as a maintainer of the opinions of Nestorius. Xenaias, not contented with this, again demands of Flavian that he should anathematise the synod itself, and those who maintained two natures in the person of the Lord, namely, the flesh and the Godhead; and on his refusal, again accused him of being a Nestorian. After much stir upon this subject, and after the patriarch had put forth an exposition of faith, in which he confessed that he admitted the synod as far as regards the deposition of Nestorius and Eutyches, not however as defining and teaching the faith; they again impugn him as secretly holding the opinions of Nestorius, unless he would further anathematise the synod itself, and those who maintained two natures in the person of the Lord, the flesh and the Godhead. They also win over to their side the Isaurians, by various deceitful expressions, and having drawn up a formulary of faith, in which they anathematise the |162 synod together with those who maintained the two natures or persons, they separate themselves from Flavian and Macedonius, but unite with others on their subscribing the formulary. At the same time they also demanded of the bishop of Jerusalem a written statement of faith; which he put forth, and sent to the emperor by the hands of the party of Dioscorus. This they present, containing ari anathema upon those who maintained the two natures. But the bishop of Jerusalem himself, affirming that it had been forged by them, puts forth another without such anathema. And no wonder. For they have often forged discourses of the fathers, and to many writings of Apollinaris they have attached titles assigning them to Athanasius, Gregory Thaumaturgus, and Julius; their principal object in so doing being to draw over the multitude to their own impieties. They also demanded of Macedonius a written statement of faith; who put one forth, affirming that he recognised only the creed of the three hundred and eighteen, and of the one hundred and fifty fathers, anathematising at the same time Nestorius, Eutyches, and those who held the doctrine of two sons or two Christs, or divided the natures; making, however, no mention of the synod of Ephesus, which deposed Nestorius, nor that of Chalcedon, which deposed Eutyches. Indignant at this, the monastic bodies about Constantinople separate from their bishop Macedonius. In the mean time |163 Xenaias and Dioscorus, associating with them many of the bishops, became insufferable, from the stir which they raised against those who refused to anathematise; and, by various devices, they endeavoured to procure the banishment of those who persisted in their refusal. In this way, accordingly, they banish both Macedonius, find John, bishop of Paltus, and Flavian." Such are the contents of the letter.
EJECTION OF MACEDONIUS AND FLAVIAN FROM THEIR SEES.
THERE were other things which caused secret vexation to Anastasius. For when Ariadne was desirous of investing him with the purple, Euphemius, who held the archiepiscopal see, withheld his approval, until Anastasius had presented to him an agreement, written with his own hand, and secured with fearful oaths, that he would maintain the faith inviolate, and introduce no innovation into the holy church of God, in case he should obtain the sceptre: which document he also deposited with Macedonius, the keeper of the sacred treasures. This measure he adopted, because Anastasius had generally the reputation of holding the Manichaean doctrine. When, however, Macedonius ascended the episcopal throne, Anastasius was desirous |164 that the agreement should be returned to him, affirming it to be an insult to the imperial dignity, if the before-mentioned document, in his own hand-writing, should be preserved : and when Macedonius resolutely opposed the demand, and firmly protested that he would not betray the faith, the emperor pursued every insidious device for the purpose of ejecting him from his see. Accordingly, even boys were brought forward as informers, who falsely accused both themselves and Macedonius of infamous practices. But when Macedonius was found to be emasculate, they had recourse to other contrivances; until, by the advice of Celer, commander of the household troops, he secretly retired from his see.
With the ejection of Flavian, other circumstances are associated. For we have met with some very aged men who remembered all the events of this time. These say, that the monks of the district called Cynegica, and of the whole of Syria Prima, having been wrought upon by Xenaias, who was bishop of the neighbouring city of Hierapolis, and who was named in Greek Philoxenus, rushed into the city in a body with great noise and tumult, endeavouring to compel Flavian to anathematise the synod of Chalcedon and the tome of Leo. Roused at the indignation manifested by Flavian, and the violent urgency of the monks, the people of the city made a great slaughter of them, so that a very large number found a grave in the Orontes, |165 where the waves performed their only funeral rites. There happened also another circumstance of scarcely less magnitude than the former. For the monks of Caele Syria, now called Syria Secunda, from sympathy with Flavian, since he had led a monastic life in a monastery of the district called Tilmognon, advanced to Antioch, with the intention of defending him. From which circumstance, also, no inconsiderable mischief arose. Accordingly, on the ground either of the former or latter occurrence, or both, Flavian is ejected, and condemned to reside at Petra, on the extreme verge of Palestine.
SEVERUS BISHOP OF ANTIOCH.
FLAVIAN having been thus ejected, Severus ascends the episcopal throne of Antioch, in the five hundred and sixty-first year of the era of that city, in the month Dius, the sixth year of the Indiction; the year in which I am now writing being the six hundred and forty-first of that era. He was a native of Sozopolis, a city of Pisidia, and had applied himself to the profession of a pleader at Berytus; but immediately on his abandoning the practice of the law, having participated in holy baptism in the sacred precinct of the divine martyr Leontius, who is revered at Tripolis, a city of Phoenicia |166 Maritima, he assumed the monastic life in a certain monastery situated between the city of Gaza and the town called Majumas; in which latter place Peter the Iberian, who had been bishop of the same Gaza, and had been banished with Timotheus Aelurus, passed through the same discipline, and left behind him a famous memory. Severus there engages in a discussion with Nephalius, who had formerly sided with him on the question of the single nature, but had subsequently been one of the synod at Chalcedon and among those who held the opinion of two natures in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ; and he is, in consequence, expelled from his own monastery by Nephalius and his party, together with many others who held similar doctrines. Thence he proceeds to the imperial city, to plead the cause of himself and those who had been expelled with him, and thus obtains the notice of the emperor Anastasius, as is narrated by the author of the life of Severus.
Accordingly, Severus, in issuing synodical letters, expressly anathematised the synod at Chalcedon; on which point the letters addressed to Alcison speak as follows. "The synodical letters of Timotheus of Constantinople were admitted here in Palestine, but the deposition of Macedonius and Flavian was not admitted, nor yet the synodical letters of Severus; but the bearers were put to flight, with the ignominy and insult which they deserved, by the people and monks of the |167 city, who rose upon them. Such was the situation of matters in Palestine. But of the bishops subject to Antioch, some were carried away into compliance, among whom was Marinus, bishop of Berytus; others by force and compulsion concurred in the synodical letters of Severus, which included an anathema, both on the synod and all others who affirmed two natures or persons in the Lord, namely, the flesh and the Godhead; and others, after having concurred by compulsion, recalled their assent, and among them the bishops subject to Apamea; others, again, altogether refused concurrence, among whom were Julian, bishop of Bostra, Epiphanius of Tyre, and some others, as is said. But the Isaurian bishops, having returned to their sober senses, are now condemning themselves for the error into which they had been beguiled, and are anathematising Severus and his party. Others of the bishops and clergy subject to Severus have abandoned their churches, and among them Julian of Bostra, and Peter of Damascus, who are now living in these parts, as also Manias. This latter is one of those two who seemed to be the chiefs of the followers of Dioscorus, by whose means also Severus obtained his dignity: but he now condemns the arrogance of that party." And presently the letter proceeds. "The monasteries in these parts and Jerusalem itself are, with the aid of God, unanimous respecting the right faith, and very many cities besides, together with their bishops, for all of whom, |168 and for ourselves, pray thou that we may not enter into temptation, our most holy lord and honoured father."
ACT OF DEPOSITION AGAINST SEVERUS.
SINCE, then, these letters state, that the priests subject to Apamea had separated from Severus, let me now add a circumstance transmitted to us from our fathers, although it has not hitherto found a place in history. Cosmas, bishop of my native place, Epiphanea, which stands on the Orontes, and Severian, bishop of the neighbouring city of Arethusa, being troubled at the synodical letters of Severus, and having withdrawn from his communion, despatched an instrument of deposition to him, while still bishop of Antioch. They entrust the document to Aurelian, chief of the deacons at Epiphanea, and he, through dread of Severus and the majesty of so great a bishopric, on his arrival at Antioch puts on a female dress, and approaches Severus with delicate carriage and the entire assumption of a woman's appearance. Letting his vail fall down to his breast, with wailing and deep drawn lamentation he presents to Severus, as he advanced, the instruments of deposition in the guise of a petition : he then passes unobserved from among the attendant crowd and |169 purchased safety by flight, before Severus had learned the purport of the document. Severus, having received the document and learned its contents, continued, nevertheless, in his see, until the death of Anastasius.
On being informed of these transactions, for I must record the benevolent measure of Anastasius, he directs Asiaticus, who was commander in Phoenicia Libanensis, to eject Cosmas and Severian from their sees, because they had sent the instrument of deposition to Severus. Finding, on his arrival in the East, that many adhered to the opinions of those bishops, and that their cities resolutely upheld them, he reported to Anastasius that he could not eject them without bloodshed. So great then was the humanity of Anastasius, that he wrote in express terms to Asiaticus, that he did not desire the accomplishment of any object, however important and illustrious, if one drop of blood was to be shed.
Such, then, was the situation of the churches throughout the world down to the reign of Anastasius; whom some, treating him as an enemy to the synod at Chalcedon, erased from the sacred diptychs; and he was also anathematised at Jerusalem even during his life-time. |170
SUPPRESSION OF THE ISAURIAN INSURRECTION.
IT will not be inconsistent, if, in accordance with the promise which I originally made, I insert in my narrative the other circumstances worthy of mention which occurred in the time of Anastasius.
Longinus, the kinsman of Zeno, on his arrival at his native country, as has been already detailed, openly commences war against the emperor: and after a numerous army had been raised from different quarters, in which Conon, formerly bishop of Apamea in Syria, was also present, who, as being an Isaurian, aided the Isaurians, an end was put to the war by the utter destruction of the Isaurian troops of Longinus. The heads of Longinus and Theodore were sent to the imperial city by John the Scythian; which the emperor displayed on poles at the place called Sycae, opposite Constantinople, an agreeable spectacle to the Byzantines, who had been hardly treated by Zeno and the Isaurians. The other Longinus, surnamed of Selinus, the main stay of the insurgent faction, and Indes, are sent alive to Anastasius by John, surnamed Hunchback ; a circumstance which especially gladdened the emperor and the Byzantines, by the display of the prisoners led in triumph along the streets and the hippodrome, with iron chains about their necks and |171 hands. Thenceforward, also, the payment called Isaurica accrued to the imperial treasury, being gold previously paid to the Barbarians annually, to the amount of five thousand pounds.
INVASION OF THE ARABS.5
THE Scenite barbarians also insulted the Roman empire; not, however, to their own advantage; by plundering Mesopotamia, either Phoenicia, and Palestine. After having been everywhere chastised by the commanders, they subsequently continued quiet, and universally made peace with the Romans.
CAPTURE OF AMIDA. FOUNDING OF DARAS.
THE Persians too, having, in violation of treaties, marched beyond their own territories under their king Cabades, first attacked Armenia, and having captured a town named Theodosiopolis, reached Amida, a strong city of Mesopotamia, which they took by storm; and which the Roman emperor subsequently restored by great exertions.
If any one is inclined to learn the particulars of these |172 transactions, and to trace the whole minutely, a very able narrative, a work of great labour and elegance, has been composed by Eustathius; who, after having brought down his history to this point, was numbered with the departed; closing with the twelfth year of the reign of Anastasius.
After the close of this war, Anastasius founds a city on the spot called Daras, in Mesopotamia, situated near the limits of the Roman dominion, and, as it were, a border-point of the two empires. He surrounds it with strong fortifications, and embellishes it with various stately erections, both of churches and other sacred buildings, basilicas, public baths, and other ornaments of distinguished cities. The place is said by some to have obtained the name of Daras, because there Alexander the Macedonian, the son of Philip, utterly defeated Darius.
THE LONG WALL.6
BY the same emperor was raised a vast and memorable work called the Long Wall, in a favourable situation in Thrace, distant from Constantinople two hundred and eighty stadia. It reaches from one sea to the other, like a strait, to the extent of four hundred and twenty stadia; making the city an island, in a |173 manner, instead of a peninsula, and affording a very safe transit, to such as choose, from the Pontus to the Euxine Sea. It is a check upon the inroads of the Barbarians from the Euxine, and of the Colchians from the Palus Maeotis, and from beyond the Caucasus, as well as of those who have made irruptions from Europe.
ABOLITION OF THE CHRYSARGYRUM.
THE same emperor completed an extraordinary and divine achievement, namely, the entire abolition of the tax called chrysargyrum: which transaction I must now detail, though the task needs the eloquence of Thucydides, or something still more lofty and graceful. I will, however, myself describe it, not in reliance upon powers of language, but encouraged by the nature of the action.
There was imposed upon the Roman commonwealth, so singular in its magnitude and duration, a tax vile and hateful to God, and unworthy even of Barbarians, much more of the most Christian empire of the Romans: which, having been overlooked, from what cause I am unable to say, until the time of Anastasius, he most royally abolished. It was imposed, both on many other classes of persons who procured their livelihood by an accumulation of petty gains, and also upon women |174 who made a sale of their charms, and surrendered themselves in brothels to promiscuous fornication in the obscure parts of the city; and besides, upon those who were devoted to a prostitution which outraged not only nature but the common weal: so that this mode of revenue proclaimed, as distinctly as a direct enactment, that all who chose, might practise such wickedness in security. The impious and accursed revenue raised from this source, the collectors paid at the end of every five years into the hands of the first and most dignified of the prefects: so that it formed no unimportant part of the functions of that office, and had its separate exchequer, and accountants, men who regarded the business as a military service, suited, like the rest, to persons of some distinction.
Anastasius, being informed of the circumstance, laid the matter before the senate, and justly declaring it to be an abomination and unparallelled defilement, decreed that it should be utterly abolished; and committed to the flames the papers which were vouchers for its collection. With the desire also of making this measure a complete sacrifice to God, and of preventing any of his successors from reviving the ancient shame, he puts on the appearance of vexation, and accuses himself of inconsiderateness and excessive folly, saying, that in the too eager pursuit of novelty he had neglected the interests of the commonwealth, and had rashly and thoughtlessly abolished so important a revenue, |175 which had been established in former times and confirmed by so long a continuance, without duly weighing the impending dangers, or the expenses necessary for the maintenance of the army, that living bulwark of the empire, nor yet for the service of God. Accordingly, without betraying his secret thoughts, he proclaims his desire to restore the before-mentioned revenue; and having summoned those who had been in charge of the levy, he told them that he repented of the step, but knew not what course to take, or how to rectify his error, now that the papers had been burnt which could be vouchers for the particulars of its exaction. And while they, on their part, lamented the abolition of the levy, not in semblance but in reality, on account of the unrighteous gain which had thence accrued to them, and were professing the same perplexity as the emperor, he urged and exhorted them to employ every mode of search, in the endeavour to procure from among documents preserved in various quarters, a statement of the entire levy. Supplying each individual with money, he despatched him to collect materials, enjoining him to bring every paper which threw light upon this matter wherever it might be found; that by means of the utmost circumspection and minute attention, a statement of the business might be again put together. Accordingly, on the return of those who were engaged in the execution of these orders, Anastasius put on a pleased and gladsome appearance, and was in reality |176 rejoiced in having compassed the object on which he was bent. He also made particular enquiries, both how they were discovered and in whose possession, and whether any thing of the same kind was still remaining: and on their affirming that they had expended great pains upon the collection, and swearing by the emperor himself, that no other paper which could be a voucher was preserved throughout the whole empire, Anastasius again lighted up a great pile with the papers thus produced, and drenched the ashes with water, with the intention of removing every trace of this levy; so that there might appear neither dust, nor ashes, nor any remnant whatever of the business, through imperfect combustion.
In order, however, that, while we are thus extolling the abolition of this impost, we may not seem to be ignorant how much has been written under passionate feelings on the subject by former authors, let me produce these matters, and shew their falsehood, and that more especially from their own statements.
FALSEHOODS OF THE HISTORIAN ZOSIMUS.
ZOSIMUS, a follower of the accursed and foul religion of the Greeks, in his anger against Constantine, because he was the first emperor that had adopted Christianity, |177 abandoning the abominable superstition of the Greeks, says, that he was the person who devised the tax called Chrysargyrum, and enacted that it should be levied every five years. He has on many other grounds also reviled that pious and magnificent monarch; for he affirms that he contrived many other intolerable proceedings against every class of persons; that he miserably destroyed his son Crispus, and made away with his wife Fausta by inclosing her in an overheated bath; and that, after having in vain endeavoured to to procure purification from murders so detestable at the hands of the priests of his own religion (for they plainly declared its impossibility), he met with an Egyptian who had come from Iberia; and, having been assured by him that the faith of the Christians had the power of blotting out every sin, he embraced what the Egyptian had imparted to him, and thenceforward abandoning the faith of his fathers, he made the commencement of his impiety. The falsehood of these assertions I will forthwith shew, and in the first place treat of the matter of the Chrysargyrum.
REFUTATION OF ZOSIMUS.
THOU sayest, O evil and malignant demon, that Constantine, wishing to raise a city equal to Rome, |178 first made a commencement of so vast a place by laying strong foundations and erecting a lofty wall between Troas and Ilium; but when he had discovered in Byzantium a more suitable site, he in such fashion encircled the place with walls, so far extended the former city, and embellished it with buildings so splendid, as hardly to be surpassed by Rome itself, which had received gradual increase through so long a course of years. Thou sayest also that he made a distribution of provisions at the public cost to the people of Byzantium, and bestowed a very large sum of gold upon those who had accompanied him thither, for the erection of private houses. Again, thou writest to the following effect: that on the decease of Constantine, the imperial power came into the hands of Constantius, his only surviving son after the death of his two brothers; and that when Magnentius and Vetranio had assumed the sovereignty, he wrought upon the latter by persuasives: and when both armies had been mustered, Constantius, addressing them first, reminded the soldiers of the generosity of his father, with whom they had served through many wars, and by whom they had been distinguished with the most liberal gifts; and that the soldiers, on hearing this, stripped Vetranio of his imperial robe, and made him descend from the tribunal into a private station; and tha,t he suffered no unkindness at the hands of Constantius : who has shared with his father in so much |179 of thy calumny. How thou canst then maintain that the same person could be so liberal, so munificent, and at the same time so paltry and sordid as to impose so accursed a tax, I am utterly unable to comprehend.
In proof that Constantine did not destroy Fausta or Crispus, nor was on that account initiated by an Egyptian into our mysteries, listen to the history of Eusebius Pamphili, who was contemporary with Constantine and Crispus, and had intercourse with them. For what thou writest, so far from being truth, was not even contemporary hearsay, since thou livedst long after, in the time of Arcadius and Honorius----to which period thou hast brought down thy history----or even after their time. Eusebius, in the eighth book of his ecclesiastical history, has the following words: "After no very long interval, the emperor Constantine, having maintained a disposition remarkable for gentleness in respect to his whole life, kindliness towards his subjects, and favour towards the divine word, closes his life by the common laws of nature, leaving behind him, as emperor and Augustus in his own room, a, legitimate son, Constantius." And farther on he says: "His son Constantius, having at the very commencement of his reign been proclaimed supreme emperor and Augustus by the armies, and long before by God himself, the universal Sovereign, shewed himself an imitator of his father's piety as respects our faith." And at the end of the history he expresses himself in the following |180 terms: "The mighty, victorious Constantine, distinguished by every religious excellence, in conjunction with his son Crispus, a sovereign highly beloved of God, and resembling his father in all things, obtained his rightful possession of the East." Eusebius, who survived Constantine, would never have praised Crispus in these terms, if he had been destroyed by his father. Theodoret, in his history, says that Constantine partook in the saving baptism at Nicomedia, near the close of his life, and that he had deferred the rite till this period, from a desire that it should be performed in the river Jordan.
Thou sayest, O most detestable and polluted one, that the Roman empire from the time of the appearance of Christianity, fell away and was altogether ruined: either because thou hast not read any of the older writings, or because thou art a traitor to the truth. For, on the contrary, it clearly appears that the Roman power increased together with the spread of our faith. Consider, for instance, how, at the very time of the sojourn of Christ our God among mankind, the greater part of the Macedonians were crushed by the Romans, and Albania, Iberia, the Colchians, and Arabians were subjugated. Caius Caesar also, in the hundred and eighty-first Olympiad, subdued in great battles the Gauls, Germans, and Britons, and thereby added to the Roman empire the inhabitants of five hundred cities; as has been recorded by historians. He also |181 was the first who attained to sole sovereignty since the establishment of consuls, thereby preparing a way for the previous introduction of a reverence for monarchy, after the prevalence of polytheism and popular rule, on account of the monarchy of Christ which was immediately to appear. A further acquisition was also forthwith made of the whole of Judaea and the neighbouring territories: so that it was at this time that the first registration took place; in which Christ also was enrolled, in order that Bethlehem might fulfil the prophecy relating to it; for thus had the prophet Micah spoken respecting that place: "And thou, Bethlehem, territory of Judah, art by no means least among the princes of Judah, for from thee shall come forth a governor who shall feed my people Israel." Also after the nativity of Christ our God, Egypt was added to the Roman dominion; Augustus Caesar, in whose time Christ was born, having completely overthrown Antony and Cleopatra; who also killed themselves. Upon which Cornelius Gallus is appointed by Augustus governor of Egypt, being the first who ruled that country after the Ptolemies: as has been recorded by historians. To what extent the territories of the Persians were curtailed by Ventidius, Corbulo the general of Nero, Severus, Trajan, Carus, Cassius, Odenatus of Palmyra, Apollonius, and others; and how often Seleucia and Ctesiphon were taken, and Nisibis changed sides; and how Armenia and the |182 neighbouring countries were added to the Roman empire; these matters have been narrated by thyself, as well as by others.
I had, however, nearly forgotten to notice what thou thyself writest respecting the achievements of Constantine, how nobly and courageously he swayed the Roman empire, while professing our religion, and what befell Julian, thy hero and the votary of thy orgies, who bequeathed to the commonwealth injuries so serious. Whether, however, he has either already received a foretaste of the things which have been foretold concerning the end of the world, or will even receive their full measure, is a question relating to an economy too high for thy comprehension.
Let us, at all events, consider under what circumstances heathen and Christian emperors have respectively closed their reigns. Did not Caius Julius Caesar, the first sole sovereign, close his life by assassination? In the next place, did not some of his own officers despatch with their swords Caius, the grandson of Tiberius ? Was not Nero slain by one of his domestics ? Did not Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, who reigned in all only sixteen months, suffer a similar fate? Was not Titus, on his attaining the empire, taken off by poison by his own brother Domitian? Was not Domitian himself miserably despatched by Stephanus? What too dost thou say about Commodus ? Was not he killed by Narcissus? Pertinax and Julian, did they not meet |183 with the same treatment? Antoninus, the son of Severus, did he not murder his brother Geta, and was himself murdered by Martial ? Macrinus too, was he not dragged about Byzantium, like a captive, and then butchered by his own soldiers? And Aurelius Antoninus, the Emesene, was he not slaughtered together with his mother? And his successor Alexander, was he not, together with his mother, involved in a similar catastrophe? What should I say, too, concerning Maximin, who was slain by his own troops? or Gordian, brought to a similar end by the designs of Philip? Tell me whether Philip and his successor Decius did not perish by the hands of their enemies? And Gallus and Volusian by their own armies? Aemilian, was he not involved in the same fate? And Valerian, was he not made prisoner and carried about as a show by the Persians ? After the assassination of Gallienus and the murder of Carinus, the sovereignty came into the hands of Diocletian and those whom he chose as his partners in the empire. Of these, Herculius, Maximian, and Maxentius his son, and Licinius utterly perished. But from the time that the renowned Constantine succeeded to the empire, and had dedicated to Christ the city which bears his name, mark me, whether any of those who have reigned there, except Julian thy hierophant and monarch, have perished by the hands of either domestic or foreign foes, and whether a rival has overthrown any of them; except that Basiliscus |184 expelled Zeno, by whom, however, he was afterwards overthrown and killed. I also agree with thee in what thou sayest about Valens, who had inflicted so many evils upon the Christians: for of any other case not even thou thyself makest mention.
Let no one think that these matters are foreign to an ecclesiastical history; since they are, in fact, altogether useful, and essential, on account of wilful desertion of the cause of truth on the part of heathen writers. Let me now proceed to the rest of the acts of Anastasius.
THE before-mentioned measures Anastasius successfully carried out in a truly royal spirit; but he adopted others by no means worthy of them: both by devising what is called the gold-rate, and farming out the supplies for the army on terms most burdensome to the provincials. He also took the levying of imposts out of the hands of the councils of the respective cities, and appointed what are called Vindices, at the suggestion, as is said, of Marinus the Syrian, who held the highest prefecture, termed in former times the Prefect of the Praetorium. The result was that the revenue fell off to a great extent, and the local dignitaries sunk into |185 abeyance: for persons of high families formerly had their names inscribed in the album of each city; which regarded those who were members of its council, as a kind of senate.
INSURRECTION OF VITALIAN.7
VITALIAN, a Thracian by birth, disputes the empire with Anastasius, and having devastated Thrace and Mysia as far as Odessus and Anchialus, was advancing rapidly upon the imperial city, at the head of an innumerable force of Huns. The emperor despatched Hypatius to encounter this force; and, after he had been captured through the treachery of his own troops, and liberated at a large ransom, the conduct of the war was entrusted to Cyril.
The battle which followed, was at first indecisive, with several subsequent alternations of success; but, notwithstanding the advantage was on the side of Cyril, the enemy rallied, and he was ultimately routed through the wilful desertion of his own soldiers. In consequence, Vitalian captured Cyril in Odessus, and advanced as far as the place called Sycae, laying the whole country waste with fire and sword; meditating nothing less than the capture of the city itself and the seizure of the sovereignty. When he had encamped |186 at Sycae, Marinus the Syrian, whom we have mentioned before, is despatched by the emperor to attack him by sea. The two armaments, accordingly, encountered, the one having Sycae astern, the other Constantinople. For a time the fleets remained inactive: but, after the skirmishings and discharge of missiles had been followed by a fierce conflict in the place called Bytharia, Vitalian withdraws from the line of battle and takes to flight, with the loss of the greater portion of his fleet. The remainder then fly with such precipitation, that the next day not a single enemy was found in the channel or in the neighbourhood of the city. It is said that Vitalian then continued inactive for some time at Anchialus. There was also another inroad of Huns, who had passed the defiles of Cappadocia.
About the same time Rhodes suffered by a violent earthquake at the dead of night: this being the third time it had been visited by that calamity.
SEDITION AT CONSTANTINOPLE.8
A VERY great sedition occurred at Byzantium, arising from a wish of the emperor to add to the Trisagion the clause, "Who was crucified for our sakes:" which was regarded as subversive of the Christian religion. Its prime mover and chief was Macedonius, aided by |187 his subject clergy, as Severus says in a letter to Sotericus, which he wrote before his elevation to the episcopal throne, while residing at the imperial city, at the time when, with several others, he had been expelled from his monastery, as I have already mentioned. It was on account of this imputation, in addition to the causes before mentioned, that, in my opinion, Macedonius was ejected from his see. Amid the uncontrollable excitement of the populace which followed, persons of rank and station were brought into extreme danger, and many principal parts of the city were set on fire. The populace, having found in the house of Marinus the Syrian, a monk from the country, cut off his head, saying that the clause had been added at his instigation; and having fixed it upon a pole, jeeringly exclaimed: "See the plotter against the Trinity!"
Such was the violence of the tumult, filling every quarter with devastation, and surpassing every means of control, that the emperor was driven to appear at the Hippodrome in pitiable guise, without his crown, and despatched heralds to proclaim to the assembled people, that he was most ready to resign his sovereignty; at the same time reminding them, that it was impossible that all should be elevated to that dignity, which admitted not of a plurality of occupants, and that one individual only could be his successor.
At this the temper of the people was suddenly changed, as by some divine impulse; and they begged |188 Anastasius to resume his crown; with a promise of peaceable conduct in future.
Anastasius survived this event a very short time, and departed to the other world after a reign of twenty-seven years, three months, and three days.
THE END OF THE THIRD BOOK.
[Footnotes have been moved to the end and assigned numbers rather than the asterisks etc used in the printed volume. Footnotes in [Red] are taken from the running titles, not the bottom of the page]
1. [A.D. 475.]
3. [A.D. 482.]
5. [A.D. 500.]
6. [A.D. 507.]
7. [A.D. 514.]
This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 19th October 2002. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
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