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From The Biographical Writings and Letters of Venerable Bede, translated from the Latin, by J. A. Giles; James Bohn, London, 1845; pp. 256-296.
The sixth age is that in which we are now living; it has no certain division of times or generations, but like the imbecility of decrepit old age, will end in universal death.
SIX AGES OF THE WORLD.
Age. THE SIXTH AGE
A.M. 3952 [A.D. 1].
of Christ. In the forty-second year of Augustus Cæsar, in the twenty-seventh from the death of Antony and Cleopatra, when Egypt became a Roman province, in the third year of the 193rd Olympiad, and in the 752nd from the building of the city, in the year when all commotions of nations were stilled throughout the whole world, and, by the appointment of God, Cæsar established real and durable tranquillity, Jesus Christ consecrated by his advent the sixth age of the world. In the forty-seventh year of the reign of Augustus, Herod died a miserable and justly merited death, Herod’s mi-
death. his body being dropsical and swarming with worms. His son Archelaus was appointed in his stead by Augustus, and reigned 9 years unto the end of Augustus’s reign. For then the Jews, no longer able to endure his ferocity, made accusation against him before Augustus; whereupon he was banished to Vienne, a town of Gaul; and with a view to lessen the greatness of the kingdom of Judæa, and to bridle the insolence of the people, his four brothers, Herod, Antipater, Lysias, and Philip, were made Tetrarchs: of whom Philip and Herod, who was before called Antipas, had been made Tetrarchs, while Archelaus was yet alive.
A.M. 3979 .
Tetrarch. Tiberius, step-son of Augustus, being the son of his wife Livia by a former husband, reigned 23 years. In the twelfth year of his reign he appointed Pilate governor of Judæa. Herod the Tetrarch, who ruled over the Jews 23 years, built Tiberius and Libias in honour of Tiberius and his mother Livia.
A.M. 3981 .
preaching. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Lord, after the baptism which John preached, announces to the world the kingdom of heaven, 4000 years from the beginning of the world, according to the Hebrews, as Eusebius says in his Chronicles; remarking that the sixteenth year of Tiberius was the commencement of the 81st Jubilee, according to the Hebrews. But why our computation gives eleven years less, will be easily seen by those who have read the former parts of this book. But according to the same Chronicles, which Eusebius himself wrote from either computation as it seemed good to him, there are 5228 years.
A.M. 3984 .
crucified. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Tiberius, the Lord by his passion redeemed the world, and the Apostles, previously to their preaching throughout the coasts of Judæa, ordain James, the brother of the Lord, to be bishop of Jerusalem; they moreover ordain seven deacons; Stephen
[A.D. 31.] and after the stoning of Stephen, the church is scattered throughout the regions of Judæa and Samaria. Agrippa, surnamed Herod, son of Aristobulus, the son of Herod the king, having gone to Rome to accuse Herod the tetrarch, is cast into prison by Tiberius, where he made many friends, and, in particular, Caius, son of Germanicus.
A.M. 3993 .
[A.D. 38.] Caius, surnamed Caligula, reigned 3 years, 10 months, and 8 days. He released his friend Herod Agrippa, from prison, and made him king of Judæa, where he reigned 7 years, until the fourth year of Claudius, when, Claudius
Age. being smitten by an angel, he was succeeded in the kingdom by his son Agrippa, who reigned 25 years, until the destruction of the Jews. Herod the Tetrarch went to 258 Rome, at the instigation of Herodias, to court the favour of Caius; but, being accused by Agrippa, he lost the tetrarchy, and, retiring to Spain with Herodias, there died of grief. Pontius
himself. Pilate, who had condemned Christ to death, was treated with such severity by Caius, that he perished by his own hand. Caius, numbering himself among the gods, profanes the holy places of the Jews with the pollutions of idols. Gospel of
thew. Matthew wrote his gospel while preaching in Judæa.
A.M. 4007 .
Claudius reigned 14 years, 7 months, and 28 days.
Rome. The apostle Peter founded the church of Antioch, and afterwards went to Rome, where he occupied the episcopal chair for twenty-five years, until the last year of Nero. Mark was sent by Peter into Egypt, where he preached the gospel which he had written at Rome. A severe famine, The Famine.
Britain. mentioned by Luke [Acts xi. 28,] took place in the fourth year of Claudius. In the same year Claudius went to Britain,6 whither no one had ventured before or since the days of Julius Cæsar; and in a very few days he reduced the greater part of the island without any fighting or bloodshed. He also added the Orkneys to the Roman empire, and returned to Rome, after an absence of six months.7 Banishes the
Rome. In the 9th year of his reign he banished the restless and seditious Jews from Rome, as Luke [Acts xviii. 2,] narrates. In the following year Rome was distressed by a most grievous famine.
A.M. 4021 .
James. Nero reigned 14  years, 7 months, and 27 days. In the second year of his reign Festus succeeded Felix as procurator of Judæa: he sent Paul bound to Rome, where he remained two years at large, though a prisoner; 259 after which he is sent to preach, the wickedness of Nero not having yet reached to such a head as history records of him. James, the brother of our Lord, after ruling the church of Jerusalem thirty years, is, in the seventh year of Nero, stoned to death by the Jews, who wreaked on him the vengeance which Paul had escaped. Festus is succeeded in office by Albinus, Albinus by Florus. Impatient of the luxury and avarices of the latter, the Jews rebelled against the Romans, Vespasian
[A.D. 65.] whereupon Vespasian was sent against them with an army, and took most of the cities of Judæa. Above all his other enormities, Nero first persecutes the Christians; of whom the most illustrious victims Peter and
Paul put to
death. were Peter and Paul, the former of whom was crucified, the latter slain with the sword. He attempted no military expedition whatever, and well nigh lost Britain;8 London
burnt. for under him two of the noblest towns there were taken and destroyed.
A.M. 4031 .
[A.D. 69.] Vespasian reigned 9 years, 11 months, and 22 days. He was saluted Emperor by the army in Judæa, and committing the war to his son Titus, he sets out for Rome by way of Alexandria. Destruc-
[A.D. 70.] In the second year Titus overthrew the kingdom of Judæa, and levelled the temple to the ground in the eighteen hundred and ninth year from the building of it. This war was brought to a close in four years, — two while Nero lived, and two after his death. Vespasian’s
Age. Vespasian, among his other exploits, while yet a subject, was sent by Claudius9 into Germany, and thence to Britain: he engaged thirty-two 260 times with an enemy: he added to the Roman empire two very potent nations, twenty cities, and the Isle of Wight, nigh to Britain. A colossal figure a hundred and seven feet high is erected to him.
A.M. 4033 .
[A.D. 79.] Titus reigned 2 years and 2 months. He was endued with such excellent virtues of every kind, that he was called the idol and delight of mankind. He builds an Amphitheatre at Rome, and slays 5000 wild beasts at its dedication.
A.M. 4049 .
ment of St.
[A.D. 95.] Domitian, younger brother of Titus, reigned 15 years and 5 months. He was the next after Nero who persecuted Christians; under him the Apostle John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, and Flavia Domitilla, grand-daughter of the sister of Flavius Clemens the consul, was exiled to the island of Pontia for her testimony to the faith. It is also said that he plunged John himself into a vessel of boiling oil, but that John escaped unhurt, inasmuch as he was ever exempt from the evils of mortality.
A.M. 4050 .
[A.D. 96.] Nerva reigned 1 years, 4 months, and 8 days. By his first edict he recalled all the exiles; and by this general indulgence the Apostle John, too, was liberated, and returned to Ephesus. And because he found the faith of the church The Gospel
[A.D. 96.] much shaken by heretics during his absence, he presently confirmed it by setting forth in his gospel the eternity of the Word of God.
A.M. 4069 .
[A.D. 98.] Trajan reigned 19 years, 6 months, and 15 days. The Apostle John tranquilly expired at Ephesus in the sixty-eighth year after the Lord passion, and in the ninety-eighth 261 of his age. The Sixth
Alexander. In the persecution stirred up by Trajan against the Christians, Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, is crucified, being the same with Simon the son of Cleophas; and Ignatius, bishop of Antioch is brought to Rome, and exposed to wild beasts. Alexander, too, bishop of Rome, gains the martyr’s crown, and is buried seven miles from the city in the Numentan road, where he was beheaded. Pliny the
younger. Pliny the younger, of Novocomum, is esteemed an excellent orator and historian: many of his learned works remain. The Pantheon at Rome, which Domitian had built, was burnt by lightning: the name was given it as marking its designation to be the abode of all the gods. Jewish sedi-
The Jews are deservedly slaughtered for exciting sedition in various parts of the world. Trajan widely extended the boundaries of the Roman empire, which, since the days of Augustus, had been rather maintained than amplified.
A.M. 4090 .
[A.D. 121.] Adrian, the son of a female cousin of Trajan, reigned 21 years. Having become acquainted with some books on the Christian religion, through Quadrata, a disciple of the Apostles, and Aristides an Athenian, a man full of faith and wisdom, and Serenus Granius, one of his lieutenants, he enjoined by a letter that the Christians should not be condemned unless something criminal were laid to their charge. Persecutes
[A.D. 135.] By a further slaughter he humbled the Jews, who a second time rebelled; and even forbad them to enter Jerusalem, which he restored to its best condition, and rebuilt its walls. He was learned both in the Greek and Latin tongue, and built a library at Athens of a wonderful structure. 262 Marcus is made first Gentile bishop The Sixth
Age. of Jerusalem; fifteen Jewish bishops having presided nearly 107 years from the Lord’s passion.
A.M. 4112 .
[A.D. 139.] Antoninus, surnamed the Pious, with his sons Aurelius and Lucius, reigned 22 years and 3 months. Justin the philosopher delivered to him a book on Christianity, and brought him to regard the Christians with favour. This man, not long after, shed his blood for Christ, under Pius, bishop of Rome, when Crescens the Cynic stirred up a persecution. A pastor named Hermes wrote a book, which gives the command of an angel that Easter should be kept on the Lord’s day. Polycarp,
St. John. Polycarp, by coming to Rome, delivered from the infection of heresy many who had been latterly corrupted by the doctrines of Valentine and Cerdon.
A.M. 4131 .
Verus. Marcus Antoninus Verus, with his brother Lucius Aurelius Commodus, reigned 18 years and 1 month. These first exercised a joint administration, there having been up to this period only one Augustus at a time: they made war against the Parthians with wonderful valour and success. Martyrdom
and Pionius. Polycarp and Pionius bore their martyrdom during a persecution in Asia; in Gaul, too, very many nobly shed their blood for Christ. Not long after, in punishment of wickedness, a pestilence devastated many provinces far and wide, and especially Italy and Rome. His brother Commodus having died, Antoninus associated his son Commodus with him in the empire. Melito Asianus, bishop of Sardis, delivered to the Emperor Antoninus an Apology for the Christians. Lucius
Age. Lucius, a king of Britain, in a letter to Eleutherus, bishop of Rome, requests to be made a Christian.11 Apollinaris 263 Asianus, and Dionysius are esteemed illustrious bishops; the former of Hierapolis, the latter of Corinth.
A.M. 4144 .
Lucius Antoninus Commodus reigned 13 years after his father’s death. He warred with success against the Germans; but, a slave to luxury and obscenity, he manifested nothing of his father’s virtue and piety. Irenæus.
[A.D. 174.] Irenæus, bishop of Lyons, is a man worthy of note. Commodus ordered the head of the Colossus to be taken off, and an image of his own to be placed on it.
A.M. 4145 .
inax. Ælius Pertinax reigned 6 months. He is slain in the palace by the wickedness of Julian, a lawyer, whom, in the seventh month of his reign, Severus conquered in war, and slew at the Milvian Bridge. Victor, the thirteenth bishop of Rome, ordained, by letters widely circulated, Easter
Sunday fixed. that Easter should be kept on the Lord’s day which occurs between the fifteenth and twenty-first day of the moon of the first month, in conformity with his predecessor Eleutherus: in favour of whose decrees, Theophilus, bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, together with other bishops present at the same Council, wrote a synodical and very useful letter against such as celebrate Easter on the 14th day of the moon, like the Jews.
A.M. 4163 .
nus. Severus Pertinax reigned 18 years. Clement, a presbyter of the church at Alexandria, and Pantænus, a Stoic philosopher, are deemed most eloquent and subtle in disputation respecting our religion. Narcissus, Bishop of Jerusalem, Theophylus of Cæsarea, Polycarp and Bachylus, bishops of the churches of Asia, deserve particular notice. During a persecution of the Christians, very many in various provinces attained the crown of martyrdom, among whom was Leonides, father of Origen. Clodius Albinus, who had proclaimed himself Cæsar 264 in Gaul, The Sixth
Age. having been slain at Lyons by Severus, the latter transfers the war to Britain, and there, in order to make the provinces which he had recovered more secure from the invasions of the barbarians, he dug a great trench, The Ram-
dies at York.
[A.D. 211.] and constructed a stout rampart which he strengthened with many towers, from sea to sea, a length of 132 miles, and died at York.12 Perpetua and Felicitas were sentenced to the wild beasts for Christ’s sake, in the camp at Carthage in Africa, on the nones of March.
A.M. 4170 .
Antoninus, surnamed Caracalla, son of Severus, reigned 7 years. Alexander, a bishop of Cappadocia, having, from his love to the holy places, come to Jerusalem, while Narcissus, bishop of that city, and a very old man, was yet living, is himself there ordained bishop, the Lord having vouchsafed a revelation directing it to be done.
anus. Tertullian of Africa, the son of a centurion, is extolled in all the churches.
A.M. 4171 .
[A.D. 217.] Macrinus reigned 1 year. Abgarus, a holy man, reigned at Edessa, according to Africanus. Macrinus, with his son Diadumenus, by whose aid he usurped the purple, is slain in a tumult of the soldiers at Archilaides.
A.M. 4175 .
218.]. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus reigned 4 years. The city of Nicopolis, which before was called Emmaus, was built in Palestine; Julius Africanus, a writer of the times, engaging for it the zeal of the proconsul. This is that Emmaus, which the Lord vouchsafed to make holy by entering it after his resurrection, as St. Luke narrates. Hippolytus. Hippolytus, a bishop, and author of many small works, brought down his chronicles to this period: 265 he also found out the sedecennal cycle of Easter, The Sixth
Age. acting on which hint, Eusebius brought out the decennovenal cycle.
A.M. 4188 .
[A.D. 222.] Aurelius Alexander reigned 13 years. He was singularly dutiful to his mother Mammea, and was on that account beloved by all. Urbanus, bishop of Rome, persuaded many of the nobles to faith in Christ, and to bear their testimony. Origen. Origen of Alexandria is famous throughout the whole world; Mammea, the mother of Alexander, was anxious to hear him, and sent for him to Antioch, with signal marks of honour.
A.M. 4191 .
[A.D. 235.] Maximin reigned 3 years. He persecutes the priests and clergy, that is, the teachers of the churches, principally on account of Christiana, the wife of Alexander, his predecessor, and the family of Mammea, his mother, and especially on account of Origen, the presbyter. Pontian and Anther, bishops of Rome, were crowned with martyrdom, and buried in the tomb of Callistus.
A.M. 4197 .
Africanus. Gordian reigned 6 years. Julius Africanus is famous among ecclesiastical writers; he alleges in his Chronicles, that he hastened to Alexandria, emulous of the fame of Heraclas, a man deeply versed in divine and philosophic studies, and Grecian learning of every kind. Origen, at Cæsarea in Palestine, imbued with divine philosophy the youthful brothers, Theodorus, surnamed Gregory, and Athenodorus, who afterward were most worthy bishops of Pontus.
A.M. 4204 .
Celsus. Philip, with his son of the same name, reigned 7 years. He was the first Christian emperor; and with the third year of his reign was completed the 1000th 266 from the building of Rome: thus this natal year, the most august of all that preceded it, was celebrated by a Christian emperor, with most costly games and spectacles. Origen made a reply in eight books to a certain Celsus, an Epicurean philosopher, who had written against us: this man, I may say in a few words, was so diligent a writer, that Jerome in one place has recorded, that he had himself read 6000 of his books.
A.M. 4205 .
[A.D. 248.] Decius reigned 1 year and 3 months. Having slain the Philips, father and son, through his hatred of them, he excites a persecution of the Christians, in which Fabian was crowned with martyrdom at Rome, and left his bishopric to Cornelius, who also attained the martyr’s crown. Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, and Babylas are slain, the one at Cæsarea in Palestine, the other at Antioch. But this persecution, according to Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, had not its origin from the emperor’s command; but for a whole year, says he, a ministering demon, whom our state alleged to be from the gods, anticipated the principal edicts, and stirred up the superstitious vulgar against us.
A.M. 4207 .
[A.D. 251.] Gallus, with his son Volusianus, reigned 2 years and 4 months. Dionysius, prelate of Alexandria, thus speaks of his reign: — “Now Gallus could neither discern nor avoid the misfortune of Decius, but stumbled over the same stone of offence; for when his reign was prosperous in the beginning, and a clear course was open before him, he persecuted the holy men who prayed to God, the Most High, for the peace of his kingdom, and with them departed both his prosperity and quiet. Origen
dies. Origen died, and was buried in the city of Tyre, not having fully completed his seventieth year. Cornelius, bishop of Rome, at the request of a certain matron named Lucina, disinterred in the night-time the bodies of the apostles Paul and 267 Peter, The Sixth
ment of St.
St. Peter who had been buried, the one in the Via Hostiensis, where he was beheaded, and the other near the spot where he was crucified, and placed them among the bodies of the holy bishops in the temple of Apollo, in the Golden Mount, on the Vatican Hill of Nero’s Palace, on the 3d of the calends of July.
A.M. 4222 .
[A.D. 253.] Valerian, with his son Gallienus, reigned 15 years. Having stirred up a persecution of the Christians, he was immediately thereupon made captive by Sapor, king of the Persians, and there, with his eyes put out, he spent his days in miserable slavery. Gallienus. Whereupon Gallienus, frightened at so manifest a judgment of God, granted us rest; but notwithstanding, either as a punishment for his own lust, or his father’s impiety, he sustained many calamities from the barbarians who assailed the Roman dominions. In this persecution, St. Cyprian
tius. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, whose very learned works still remain, obtains the martyr’s crown: his deacon Pontius, who was with him in exile unto the day of his death, has left an admirable account of his life and suffering. Gregorius
gus. Theodorus, surnamed Gregory, bishop of Neocæsarea in Pontus, of whom we have spoken before, is renowned for his wonderful heavenly endowments; as an instance of which, he by his prayers removed a mountain to make room for the site of a church. Stephen and Xistus, bishops of Rome, suffered martyrdom.
A.M. 4224 .
[A.D. 268.] Claudius reigned 1 year and 9 months: he conquers the Goths, who had now wasted Illyricum and Macedonia for fifteen years; in memory of which a shield of gold was hung up in the senate house, and his image of gold was placed in the Capitol. Malchion. Malchion, a very eloquent presbyter of the church of Antioch, and who had taught rhetoric in the same city, disputed with Paul 268 of Samosata, The Sixth
Age. bishop of Antioch, who taught that Christ was a mere man partaking of our common nature only: the Dialogue, which was taken down by notaries, remains to this day.
A.M. 4229 .
[A.D. 270.] Aurelian reigned 5 years and 6 months. Having stirred up a persecution against us, a thunderbolt fell at his feet, to the great terror of the bystanders, and not long after he was slain by the soldiers, in the midst of a march between Constantinople and Heraclea, near the ruins of an old town named Cœnofrurium. Eutychian, bishop of Rome, obtained the martyr’s crown, and was buried in the cemetery of Callistus, having himself buried 313 martyrs with his own hands.
A.M. 4230 .
Anatolius. Tacitus reigned 6 months. Having been slain at Pontus, Florian possessed the empire 88 days, and was then slain at Tharsus. Anatolius, by birth an Alexandrian, bishop of Laodicea in Syria, and versed in philosophic learning, is celebrated in the writings of many; a proof of the vastness of his intellect may be found in his book on Easter, and his ten books on arithmetic.
A.M. 4236 .
chæans. Probus reigned 6 years and 4 months. He conquered the barbarians in many severe engagements, and wholly freed the Gallic provinces which they had for a long while occupied. The foolish heresy of the Manichæans sprung up to the general misfortune of mankind in the second year of his reign, being, as we read in the Chronicles of Eusebius, the 325th year according to the reckoning of Antioch, the 402nd according to that of Tyre, the 324th according to that of Laodicea, the 588th according to that of Edessa, the 380th according to that of Ascalon, the beginning of the 86th Jubilee, 268 or the year 4250, The Sixth
Age. according to that of the Hebrews. Archelaus, a bishop of Mesopotamia, wrote in the Syriac tongue a book containing his disputation with a Manichæan who came out of Persia, though some think it a translation by some Greeks.
A.M. 4238 .
[A.D. 282.] Carus, with his sons Carinus and Numerianus, reigned 2 years. Gaius, bishop of the Roman church, who suffered martyrdom under Dioclesian, is eminent at this period. Pierius, a presbyter of Alexandria, most ably taught the people under Theon the bishop, and such was the elegance that he exhibited both in his sermons and in the many tracts of his which remain to this day, that he was styled the younger Origen; he was a man who denied himself to a wonderful degree, and of his own accord embraced poverty; after the persecution he passed the rest of his life at Rome.
A.M. 4258 .
covered. Dioclesian, with Herculius Maximian, reigned 20 years. Carausius assumed the purple, and seized on Britain.13 Narseus, king of the Persians, made war in the East. The Quinquegentiani ravaged Africa. Achilleus seized on Egypt. On which account Constantius and Galerius Maximian were associated in the administration, with the title of Cæsars. Constantius married Theodora, daughter of the wife of Herculius, and by her he had six children, brothers of Constantine; Galerius married Valeria daughter of Dioclesian. After ten years the Britannic provinces were recovered to the Empire by the præfect Asclepiodotus. In the nineteenth year of his reign, Dioclesian in the East, and Maximian Herculius in the West, directed that the churches should be wasted, and the Christians persecuted and put to death. But in the second year of their persecution, Dioclesian 270 laid aside the purple at Nicomedia, The Sixth
tius dies at
York. and Maximian at Milan; the persecution, however, once begun, did not cease to rage till the seventh year of Constantine. Constantius,14 a man of remarkable mildness and humanity, died in Britain at York, in the sixteenth year of his administration. Such was the flagrant cruelty and continuance of this persecution, that in one month 17,000 suffered martyrdom for Christ; passing the limits of the ocean, it extended itself to Britain, and there condemned to a happy death Albanus,15 British
[A.D. 305.] Aaron, and Julius, with many others, both men and women. By it suffered the presbyter Pamphilus, friend of Eusebius bishop of Cæsarea, whose life he wrote in three books.
A.M. 4259 .
[A.D. 304.] In the third year of the persecution, the same in which Constantius died, Maximin and Severus were made Cæsars by Galerius Maximian. To his persecutions of the Christians, Maximin added his rapes and other flagitious acts. In that storm, Peter of Alexander suffered with many other bishops of Egypt; Lucian too, a presbyter of Antioch, a man remarkable for his morality, his moderation, and learning. Timothy also suffered at Rome on the 10th of the calends of July. S
A.M. 4290 .
[A.D. 306.] Constantine16 son of Constantius by Helena his concubine, was made emperor in Britain, and reigned 30 years and 10 months. From the fourth year of the persecution, Maxentius, son of Herculius Maximian, is styled Augustus. Licinius.
churches. Licinius, husband of Constantia, Constantine’s sister, is made emperor at Carnuntum. From a persecutor Constantine becomes a Christian. 271 In the council at Nice, the Catholic faith is set forth, during the consulate of Paulinus and Julian, being the 636th year after Alexander, on the 19th day of the month Desius, according to the Greeks, which is the 13th day of the calends of July. Constantine built at Rome, where he was baptized, a church to the blessed John the Baptist, which was named the church of Constantine; also a church to the blessed Peter in the temple of Apollo, and another to the blessed Paul, and encased each with Cyprian brass to the height of five feet; he built another in the Sessorian Palace, which he named the Jerusalem church, and where he put a fragment of our Lord’s cross; also a church to the holy martyr Agnes, at the request of his daughter, and a baptistery in the same place, where his sister Constantia was baptized together with his daughter Augusta; also a church to the blessed martyr Laurence in the Via Tiburtina in the field of Verus; also one in the Via Lavicana, between two laurels, to the blessed martyrs Peter and Marcellinus; and a mausoleum, in which he laid his mother in a purple sarcophagus; also a church to the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and John the Baptist, in the town of Hostia, nigh to the port of the city of Rome; also a church to St. John the Baptist in the town of Alba; also a church in the city of Neapolis; he also rebuilt the town of Drepana in Bithynia, in honour of the martyr Lucian, who was buried there, and called it Helenopolis after his mother’s name; he also built a city in Thrace, Constantino-
[A.D. 331.] which he called after his own name, purposing that it should be the seat of the Roman empire, and the capital of the whole East; he also ordered the pagan temples to be closed, which was effected without any bloodshed.
A.M. 4314 .
sius. Constantius, with his brothers Constantine and Constans, reigned 24 years, 5 months, and 13 days. James 272 is made bishop of Nisibis, and in answer to his prayers the city was often saved in time of danger. The Arian impiety, strengthened by the countenance of Constantine, inflicted first on Athanasius, and then on all the bishops who were not of its own party, exile, imprisonment, and afflictions of every kind. Maximin of Treves is an illustrious bishop; he nobly sheltered Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, when he was in danger from the vindictiveness of Constantius. Hilary. Hilary, bishop of Poictiers, who was banished into Phrygia by the Arians, presented a book in his defence to Constantine at Constantinople, and received permission to return to Gaul.
A.M. 4316 .
Apostate. Julian reigned 2 years and 8 months. He returned to the worship of idols, and persecuted the Christians. The pagans at Sebaste, a city of Palestine, attack the sepulchre of John the Baptist, and scatter his bones; they again collect and burn them, and scatter them again; but by the providence of God there were there some monks from Jerusalem, who, mixing with those who were collecting them, brought as many as they could carry away to their father Philip; who straightway, The Relics
of St. John. not thinking himself worthy to be the guardian of so great a treasure, sent them by Julian, his deacon to Athanasius the archbishop, who received them in the presence of a few witnesses, and shut them up in a hole of the wall of a chapel, declaring by the spirit of prophecy that they should be a blessing to a succeeding generation; which came to pass in the reign of Theodosius by the instrumentality of Theophilus bishop of that city, who, when the temple of Serapis was destroyed, consecrated on the same spot a church to St. John.
A.M. 4317 .
Creed of St.
Athanasius. At a synod held at Antioch by Miletius and his clergy, 273 the terms homousion and anomion were rejected, and homoiousion was adopted as a mean between the two, agreeably to the Macedonian tenets. Profiting by the error of his predecessor Constantius, Jovian courts Athanasius with flattering letters, and receives from him a formulary of faith and a scheme of church government.
A.M. 4328 .
and Valens. Valentinian, with his brother Valens, reigned 10 years. Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, composed a number of books on our religion, but subsequently erred from the faith, and was the author of a heresy which has been named after him. Damasus, bishop of Rome, built a church to St. Laurence near the theatre, and another over against the catacombs, where lay the holy bodies of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in which place he adorned with verses the Platonia, where the holy bodies lay. Valens, having been baptized by Eudoxius, an Arian bishop, persecutes our people. Gratian.
All Italy re-
turns to the
367.] Gratian, son of Valentinian, was made emperor at Amiens, in the third year of his age. The martyrdom of the apostles is celebrated at Constantinople. On Ambrose being made bishop of Milan, on the death of Auxentius, at an advanced age, the whole of Italy returns to the true faith. Bishop Hilary dies at Poictiers.
A.M. 4332 .
Valens, with Gratian and Valentinian, sons of his brother Valentinian, reigned 4 years.
monks. Valens ordered that the monks should serve in the armies, and that such as refused should be beaten to death. The nation of the Huns, for ages shut up by inaccessible mountains, The Huns
[A.D. 376.] moved by a sudden fury, burst forth upon the Goths, and drove them in consternation from their ancient seats. The fugitives, crossing the Danube, were received by Valens without being required to lay down their arms; they were afterwards driven to rebellion by the avarice of 274 Maximus, The Sixth
Thrace. the Roman general, and having beaten the army of Valens, they poured themselves over Thrace, desolating all with fire, sword, and rapine.
A.M. 4338 .
peror by the
Valentinian. Gratian, with his brother Valentinian, reigned 6 years. Theodosius, made emperor by Gratian, overthrew in many and important battles the Scythian nations, the Alans, Huns and Goths; the Arians, rather than conform to him, vacate after forty years the churches of which they had violently possessed themselves. A synod of 150 fathers is held in the city of Augusta under Damasus, Bishop of Rome, against the Macedonian heresy. Theodosius associates his son Arcadius with him in the empire. From the second year of Gratian, in his fifth consulate with Theodosius, Theophilus composes his calculation of Easter. Maximus, in other respects a brave and upright man, and worthy of the purple if he had not attained it by the violation of his oath, having been made emperor against his will by the army in Britain,17 passed over into Gaul, and there slew the Emperor Gratian, circumvented by treachery at Lyons, and drove his brother Valentinian out of Italy; who nevertheless, together with his mother Justina, justly merited exile, because he was both himself infected with the Arian heresy, and had perfidiously and vexatiously besieged Ambrose, the most distinguished bulwark of the Catholic faith, and did not cease from his wicked attempt till the remains of the blessed martyrs Gervase and Protasius were exposed to view, fresh and uncorrupted, God himself having revealed the spot where they lay.
A.M. 4349 .
Theodosius, who had now ruled the East for 6 years
in the lifetime of Gratian,
Maximus. reigned 11 years more after his death. Himself and Valentinian, whom he had hospitably entertained on his expulsion from Italy, slay the tyrant Maximus at the third milestone from Aquileia. As Maximus had spoiled Britain of almost all its armed youth and military power, which had followed him into Gaul, and never more returned home, the barbarous transmarine nations, The Pics
Death of Theodosius.
[A.D. 395.] the Scots from the West, and the Picts from the North, seeing the island denuded of its strength, invade and miserably ravage it for many years.18 Jerome, the expositor of sacred history, writes a book on the worthies of the church, and brought it down to the fourteenth year of the reign of Theodosius.
A.M. 4362 .
and Micha. Arcadius, son of Theodosius, reigned with his brother Honorius 13 years.19 The bodies of the Holy Prophets Abacue and Micha are brought to light by divine revelation. The Goths invade Italy, the Vandals and Alans Gaul. Innocent, bishop of Rome, consecrated the church of the most blessed martyrs Gervase and Protasius, built by the testamentary bounty Pelagian
[A.D. 405.] of a devout and noble lady named Vestina. Pelagius, a Briton, impugns the grace of God.
A.M. 4377 .
Honorius, with Theodosius the younger, his brother’s son, reigned 15 years.
of the Goths.
Age. Alaric, king of the Goths, attacked Rome, and burned part of it with fire, on the 276 ninth of the calends of September, in the 1164th year from the building of it; the sack of the city lasted six days, at the end of which he quitted it. Lucian, a presbyter, to whom in the seventh year of Honorius, God revealed the spot where were interred the remains of the first blessed martyr Stephen, The relics of
&c. and of Gamaliel and Nicodemus, of whom we read in the Gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, wrote an account of that revelation in Greek, and sent it to the head of each of the churches; the presbyter Avitus, a Spaniard by birth, turned it into Latin, and by the presbyter Orosius transmitted it to the western churches; Orosius. this same Orosius was sent to the Holy Land by Augustine, to Jerome, to enquire of his soul’s welfare, and there he obtained the relics of the blessed Stephen and brought them home with him to the west.
The Britons,20 dreadfully infested by the Scots and Picts, send to Rome and submissively ask for aid against the enemy: forthwith a legion is sent to them which slew a great multitude of the barbarians, and drove the rest from the British territories; before taking their departure, the Romans persuaded their allies, with a view to repel the enemy,
the Picts and
Scots. to build a wall from sea to sea across the island; which they accordingly did, but with so little skill, constructing it rather with turf than stone, that it availed them nothing. For no sooner had the Romans departed than their old foes returned in their vessels, and slaughtered, trod down, and devoured like standing corn whatever withstood them. At their entreaties 277 the Romans again fly to their aid, The Sixth
Age. and routing the enemy drive them beyond the seas; and then in conjunction with the Britons The Roman
Wall. they build a wall from sea to sea, between two towns, which had been built there from fear of the enemy, and they construct it not as before of earth and sand, but of solid stone. They also build towers at intervals along the southern coast, Final De-
[A.D. 426.] because an enemy was to be apprehended from that quarter also; after which bidding their allies farewell, they depart to return no more.
Boniface, bishop of Rome, made an Oratory in the cemetery of St. Felicitas, and beautified her sepulchre and that of St. Silvanus.
Death of St.
Jerome. Jerome, the presbyter, died in the twelfth year of Honorius, on the day before the calends of October, in the 91st year of his age.
A.M. 4403 .
nus.] Theodosius the younger, son of Arcadius, reigned 56 years. Valentinian the younger, son of Constantius, is made emperor at Ravenna. Placidia, his mother, is styled Augusta. A fierce people, composed of Vandals, Alans, and Goths, passing from Spain into Africa, desolated the whole province with fire, sword, and rapine, and moreover carried with them the infection of Arian impiety; but Saint Augustine, bishop of Hippo, Death of St.
[A.D. 430.] whose instruction had been a blessing to all the churches, did not witness the ruin of his city, for he departed to the Lord in the third month of the siege, on the 5th of the calends of September, in the 76th year of his age, having been either presbyter or bishop nearly 40 years. The Vandals21 at the same time took Carthage, [Genseric]
in vain to
Britain. and devastated Sicily: this capture is mentioned by Paschasinus, prelate of Lilybæum, in a letter which he wrote to Pope Leo on the manner of keeping Easter. The Scots having been converted to the faith, Pope 278 Clementine sent to them Palladius, and ordained him as their bishop, in the 8th year of Theodosius. The Roman army having finally retired from Britain, the Picts and Scots return and occupy the whole of the northern part of the island as far as the wall, and straightway having slain, taken, or routed its defenders, and broken through the wall itself, the cruel ravagers roam at large within it. The Britons22 address a most sorrowful letter to Ætius the Roman general, now for the third time consul in the 23rd year of Theodosius, but fail of obtaining help. Meanwhile the fugitives were visited with famine, on which some submitted to the enemy, others maintained a desperate resistance from their forests and mountain fortresses, and made great slaughter of the enemy. The Scots return home, to come back again ere long: the Picts keep possession of the north part of the island, and thenceforth permanently occupy it. The aforesaid famine was followed by an abundance of the fruits of the earth, abundance produced luxury and supineness; The plague
Vortigern. a dreadful pestilence ensued, and ere long a still more terrible plague in the arrival of new enemies, the Angles. The Britons in council with Vortigern23 their king, had unanimously invited them over to defend their country, but soon found them to be their most strenuous assailants. Xistus, bishop of Rome, consecrated the church of St. Mary the mother of the Lord, which was formerly called the Temple of Liberty. Eudoxia, wife of Theodosius, returning from Jerusalem, brought with her the relics of the most blessed Stephen the first martyr, which were with all veneration deposited in the church of St. Laurence. Attila and
Blaedla. Blaedla and Attila, brothers, and kings of many nations, devastated Illyricum and Thrace.
A.M. 4410 .
Valentinian. Martian and Valentinian reigned 7 years. A body of Angles or Saxons came to Britain in their ships of war; and on the news of their successful expedition being brought home, Second
the Saxons. a stronger band is sent forth, who, joining the former, first attacked and drove out the enemy, and then turning their arms against their allies, reduced by fire and sword nearly all the island, from east to west, on the pretext that the Britons did not give them sufficient pay for their services. John the Baptist reveals to two monks, who had come from the west to Jerusalem to worship, the spot where his head lay, near the dwelling of Herod, formerly the king of the country; they brought it to Emisa, a city of Phœnicia, where due honour was paid it. The Pelagian heresy disturbs the faith of the Britons, who implore help from the Gallic bishops, from whom they receive, as defenders of the faith, Germanus, bishop of the church of Auxerre, and Lupus, of Troyes, equally prelates of apostolical faith. These prelates confirm the Britons in the faith, by the Word of Truth and by miraculous signs; moreover, by miraculous power, they stay the war which at that time the Picts and Scots, with united forces, made against the Britons; Germanus
fall of the
Augustulus.] for Germanus himself being appointed leader, turns the fierce enemy to flight, not by the sound of the trumpets, but by the whole army, with uplifted voice, shouting “Alleluia!” Germanus, after this, went to Ravenna, where he was received with the utmost honour by Valentinian and Placidia, and then departed to Christ: his body was buried at Auxerre, with every circumstance of honour, and with the accompaniment of miracles. The Patrician Ætius, the great stay of the western empire,24 and formerly the terror of King 280 Attila, is put to death by Valentinian; with him fell the western empire, never more to rise.
A.M. 4427 .
Leo reigned 17 years. He addressed circular letters to all the orthodox bishops throughout the whole world,
Chalcedon. respecting the Decrees of the Council of Chalcedon, and requiring their opinion touching the said Decrees; their replies agreed so wonderfully as to the true incarnation of Christ, that they all might have been writing at the same time, from the mouth of one person dictating. Theodoretus. Theodoretus, bishop of a city named Cyrus, from its founder, the king of Persia, writes on the true incarnation of our Saviour and Lord, against Eutyches and Dioscorus, bishops of Alexandria, who deny that Christ took human flesh; he also wrote an Ecclesiastical History, continuing the account of Eusebius down to his own time, that is, to the reign of Leo, in which he died. Victorius
532 years. Victorius, at the command of Pope Hilary, framed a calendar of Easter for 532 years.
A.M. 4444 .25
Zeno reigned 17 years. The body of the Apostle Barnabas, and the Gospel of Matthew in his handwriting, are brought to light by revelation from himself.
[A.D. 476.] Odoacer, king of the Goths, made himself master of Rome, which from that time continued to be governed for a season by kings of that people. On the death of Theodoric, son of Triarius, Theodoric surnamed Valamer, obtained the sovereignty of the Goths, and after depopulating Macedonia and Thessaly, Theodoric
of Honoric. and burning many towns nigh to the metropolis itself, he next invaded and made himself master of Italy. Honoric, king of the 281 Vandals in Africa, an Arian, banished more than 334 catholic bishops, and closed their churches; he moreover inflicted tortures of all kinds on their people, even amputating the hands, and cutting out the tongues of multitudes, but after all he could not silence the confession of the Catholic faith. The Britons26 under Ambrose Aurelian, The Bri-
Aurelian. a man of great modesty, and perhaps the only one of Roman descent that had survived the Saxon slaughter, his noble parents having fallen victims of the same, ventured forth against the Saxons to gain a victory over that hitherto victorious people; from that time they fought with varied success, until by the arrival of more formidable numbers, the entire island was after a long season subdued.
A.M. 4472 .
[A.D. 524.] Anastasius reigned 28 years. Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, closed the Catholic churches, and banished 220 bishops into Sicily. Pope Symmachus besides numerous churches which he either built or restored, founded an hospital in honor of Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint Laurence, and for a whole year supplied the exiled bishops with money and clothing in Africa or Sardinia. Anastasius, for favouring the heresy of Eutyches, and persecuting the Catholics, was struck with lightning and died.
A.M. 4480 .
Justin the elder reigned 8 years. John, pontiff of the Roman church, visited Constantinople, and in the midst of great multitudes who came out to meet him, restored sight to a blind beggar at the Golden gate; and on his return to Ravenna, was together with his companions thrown into fetters by Theodoric, who was
at the honourable entertainment he had met with from Justin the defender of the Catholic religion; Theodoric had in the same year, in the consulship of the younger Probus, put to death Symmachus the patrician at Ravenna, and in the year following, himself died suddenly, Athalaric
king of the
Goths. leaving his grandson Athalaric, to succeed him on the throne. Hilderic, king of the Vandals, gave orders for the return of the bishops from exile, and for the restoration of the churches, after 74 years of heretical profanation. Benedict. The abbot Benedict was conspicuous for his glorious miracles; of which the blessed Pope Gregory has given an account in his book of Dialogues.
A.M. 4518 .
Belisarius. Justinian, son of Justin’s sister, reigned 38 years. Belisarius the Patrician was sent by Justin into Africa, where he overthrew the Vandals. Carthage too was recovered in the 96th year from its loss, the Vandals utterly routed, and their king Gelismer made prisoner, and sent to Constantinople. The body of St. Antony the monk is discovered by revelation, and brought to Alexandria, where it is interred in the church of Saint John the Baptist. Dionysius’
of Easter. Dionysius gives the cycles of Easter, beginning at the 532nd year from our Lord’s incarnation, which is the 248th year from Diocletian, from the consulship of Lampadius and Orestes, Promulga-
tion of the
tinianus. being the year in which the Code of Justinian was given to the world. Victor, also, bishop of Capua, in a book which he wrote on Easter, confutes the errors of Victorius.
A.M. 5529 .
of the Goths,
Justin the younger, reigned 11 years. Narsis, the Patrician, conquered and slew Totila king of the Goths, in Italy; but by the envy of the Romans, for whom he had done such great things against the Goths, being accursed before Justin and his wife Sophia, of having enslaved Italy, he retired to Naples in Campania, and 283 invited the Lombards to come and make themselves masters of Italy. John, pontiff of the Roman church, built and consecrated the church of the Apostles Philip and James, which his predecessor Pelagius had begun.
A.M. 4536 .
Tiberius Constantine reigned 7 years. Gregory who was at first the nuncio at Constantinople, and afterwards bishop of Rome, wrote an exposition of the book of Job, and in the presence of Tiberius, convicted Eutychius, bishop of Constantinople, of doctrinal error in the matter of the resurrection; insomuch that the emperor condemned to the flames that prelate’s book, as destructive of the articles of our faith. For this Eutychius taught, that in the glorious resurrection, our bodies will be impalpable, and more subtle than air; which is opposed to what our Lord said, “Touch and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
by the Lom-
595.] The Lombards, under their king Alboin, invaded Italy, spreading famine and death through the whole land, and besieged and sacked the city of Rome.
A.M. 4557 .
gild. Maurice reigned 21 years. Hirminigild, son of Levigild, king of the Goths, for his indomitable constancy in adhering to the catholic faith, was stripped of the ensigns of dignity by his father, who was an Arian, and thrown into prison laden with fetters, where at length, on the holy night of our Lord’s resurrection, he was put to death by a blow on the head with an axe, and thus entered, a king and martyr, the heavenly in exchange for an earthly kingdom. Richard,
king of the
forms to the
and the king-
dom of Kent
olitan sees. His brother Richard, who succeeded his father in the kingdom, and ruled over the whole of the Gothic nations, embraced the catholic faith at the instance of Leander, bishop of Seville, who had been the instructor of his brother. Gregory, pontiff of Rome, and a distinguished doctor of the church, in the 284 13th year of the reign of Maurice, and in the 13th indiction, summoned a council of 24 bishops to the shrine of the blessed apostle Peter, and made decrees concerning essential church matters. He also sent to Britain27 Augustine, Mellitus, and John, and with them many other godly monks, who converted the English to Christ; moreover Ethelbert, on being converted to the grace of Christ, with the kingdom of Kent which he governed, and the adjacent provinces, rewarded his instructor Augustine and the other holy prelates with an episcopal seat. The nations of the Angles to the north of the Humber, under Ella and Ethelfrid, had not yet heard the word of life. In the 19th year of Maurice, in the 4th indiction, Gregory, in a letter to Augustine, directed that the bishops of London and York should be metropolitans, on receiving a pall from the Apostolic See.28
A.M. 4565 .
Phocas reigned 8 years. In the 2nd year of his reign, in the 8th indiction, Pope Gregory departed to the Lord.
the head of
all churches. At the request of Pope Boniface, Phocas decreed that the see of the Roman and apostolic church should be the head of all the churches; whereas the church of Constantinople claimed this dignity. At the request of another Pope Boniface, he ordered that the old temple, The Pan-
theon. called the Pantheon, should be purged of its idolatrous pollutions, and be converted into a church of the ever blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; so that in the spot where all the devils were worshipped, the memory of all the saints was thenceforth venerated. 285 The Persians The Sixth
[A.D. 614.] were most formidable enemies of the empire, and took away many Roman provinces, and among the rest Jerusalem itself; moreover they destroyed the churches and profaned whatever was holy, spoiling every place of its ornaments, not sparing even the Cross of our Lord, which they took away.29
A.M. 4591 .
ius. Heraclius reigned 26 years. Anastasius, a Persian monk, nobly suffered martyrdom for Christ: born in Persia he was early instructed in the learning of the Magi by his father, but having heard the name of Christ from some Christian captives, he presently turned to him with all his heart, and leaving Persia he came to Chalcedon, and Hierapolis, and thence to Jerusalem, seeking Christ; then, after receiving the grace of baptism, he entered the monastery of the abbot Anastasius, four miles from the city, in which order he lived 7 years; after which having gone to Cæsarea in Palestine to preach, he was there taken by the Persians, and after undergoing, from the sentence of Marzabanes, a long imprisonment diversified by frequent scourgings, he was at length sent to Persia to their king Chosroes, by whose command he was scourged three times, and finally, after being suspended by one hand for three hours, was beheaded with 70 others, and thus completed his martyrdom. A certain man possessed with a devil was afterwards cured by putting on his vest. Meanwhile the emperor Heraclius, coming over with an army, overthrew the Persians, and brought back the Christian captives rejoicing. The relics of this blessed martyr Anastasius were taken first to his own monastery and thence to 286 Rome, The Sixth
Age where they are venerated in the monastery of St. Paul the apostle of Aquæ Salviæ. In the sixteenth year of the reign of Heraclius, in the fifteenth indiction, Edwin King
bria baptized. Edwin I., a most excellent king of a nation of the Angles in Briton to the north of the Humber,30 at the preaching of Bishop Paulinus, who was sent from Canterbury by the venerable Archbishop Justus, received the word of salvation with his people, in the eleventh year of his reign, and 180 years, more or less, Paulinus
York. after the coming of the Angles into Britain, and rewarded Paulinus31 with the episcopal see of York. This king, as he grew in the faith of the heavenly kingdom, so also did he increase in earthly power and dominion, insomuch that he reigned over the whole British realm, both over his own nation and the Britons likewise, which none of the Angles did before him. Pope Honorius, in an epistle, refuted the quartadeciman error respecting the observance of Easter, which had at that time sprung up among the Scots; moreover, John, who was elected to the pontificate after Severinus the successor of Honorius, Pelagian
vived in Scot-
land. wrote to them on the same subject, and on the Pelagian heresy which had begun to revive among them.
A.M. 4593 .
Heraclonas with his mother Martina reigned two years. Cyrus, Bishop of Alexandria, and Sergius and Pyrrhus, Patriarchs of Constantinople, revived the heresy of the Acephali, and taught that there was in Christ one operation and one will of the godhead and manhood. Pyrrhus afterwards, under Pope Theodore, came from Africa to Rome, and with a feigned repentance, as it afterwards appeared, presented that pontiff, in the presence of the clergy and all the people,
of the Patri-
Age with a recantation which he had subscribed, condemnatory of every thing which either himself or his predecessors had said or done against the 287 catholic faith; wherefore, he was graciously received as the pontiff of a royal city. But when Pope Theodore heard that on his return to his home, he had also returned to his domestic error, Returns to his
errors, and is
cated. he summoned all the priests and clergy to the church of the blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, and pronounced on him the sentence of excommunication.
A.M. 4594 .
Constantius, son of Heraclius, reigned 6 months. Paul succeeded Pyrrhus not only in his outrageous doctrine,
Romanists. like his predecessors, but even openly persecuted the Catholics, and threw the nuncios of the holy Roman Church who were sent for his correction, into fetters, or banished, or scourged them. Moreover he overthrew an altar of the Catholics which had been consecrated in an oratory in the house of Placidia, and forbad the performance of divine service there. Wherefore, like his predecessors, the just sentence of deposition was pronounced on him by the Catholic see.
A.M. 4622 .
Constantine, son of Constantine, reigned 28 years. He was deceived by Paul, as his grandfather, Heraclius, had been by Sergius, bishop of the same royal city, and put forth an edict against the catholic faith, declaring that neither one nor two wills or operations should be confessed to be in Christ, as it were a doctrine of faith that Christ neither willed nor operated at all. Wherefore Pope Martin assembled a council of 105 bishops at Rome, and anathematized the aforesaid Cyrus, Sergius, Pyrrhus, and Paul as heretics. After this the emperor sent the Exarch Theodore, who took Pope Martin from the church of Constantine, and brought him to Constantinople; after which he was banished to the Chersonese,
copy of the
four Gospels. where he ended his days, eminent even to this day for the many miracles which he wrought there. The aforesaid 288 council was held in the 9th year of the reign of Constantine, in the month of October, in the 8th indiction. On the ordination of Pope Vitalian, Constantine made an offering to the blessed Apostle Peter of the Gospels in gold, set with brilliants, of an extraordinary size. After some years, in the 9th indiction, he came to Rome himself, and presented on the altar of the same church a pall of gold cloth, while his whole army filled the building, holding wax tapers. Eclipse of
the Sun A.D.
murdered. In the following year was an eclipse of the sun at the 10th hour of the 5th day of the nones of May, within the memory of this generation. Theodore,32 an archbishop, and Adrian, an abbot of equal erudition, were sent by Vitalian into Britain, where they greatly improved the discipline of the church by ecclesiastical doctrine. Constantine, after many un-heard of depredations committed on the provinces, was murdered in his bath; and not long after Vitalian departed to heaven.
A.M. 4639 .
Constantine, son of the former emperor of that name, reigned 17 years.
invade Sicily. The Saracens invade Sicily, and return to Alexandria laden with immense booty. Pope Agatho, at the request of Constantine, Heraclius, and Tiberius, three most pious princes, with a view to the unity of God’s holy churches, sent his legates to the metropolis, and among them John, at that time deacon, and not long afterwards bishop of the Church of Rome. These were most graciously received by Constantine, a very devout defender of the catholic faith, and by him exhorted to lay aside philosophical disputations, and in peaceful convents to inquire touching the true faith; and for this purpose he supplied them out of the library of Constantinople with all the writings of the ancient fathers which they required. The Council
Age Moreover there were present 150 bishops, under the presidency of George, 289 patriarch of Constantinople, and Macarius, bishop of Antioch. Those who asserted that there was one will and one energy only in Christ were convicted of contradicting the catholic fathers. The result was that George acknowledged his error; but Macarius was anathematized as well as his followers, as also his predecessors, Cyrus, Sergius, Honorius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter, and Theophanius, an abbot from Sicily, made bishop of Antioch in his place; and in so great favour were the legates by whom the peace of the Church had been brought about, that the beforenamed John, who was of their number, celebrated divine service in Latin before the emperor and patriarch in the church of St. Sophia, on the Sunday before Easter. This the sixth general council was33 held at Constantinople, and recorded in the Greek tongue in the time of Agatho, under the auspices of that most pious prince, Constantine, which consisted of the legates of the apostolic see, and 150 bishops. The Council
of Nice under
the veil. The first general council was held at Nice against Arius, consisting of 318 fathers, in the time of Pope Julius, under the Emperor Constantine; the second, consisting of 150 fathers, was held at Constantinople, against Macedonius and Eudoxius, in the time of Pope Damasus and the Emperor Gratian, when Nectarius was made bishop of that city; the third, consisting of 200 fathers, was held at Ephesus, against Nestorius, bishop of the city of Augusta, under Theodosius the Great and Pope Celestine; the fourth was held at Chalcedon, consisting of 630 fathers, in the time of the Emperor Martian, against Eutyches, the head of a body of most impious monks; the fifth was held at Constantinople, in the time of Pope Vigilius, under the Emperor Justinian, against Theodore and all heresies; the sixth is that of which we have spoken above.
Etheldrida,34 a holy and ever chaste virgin in Christ, daughter of Anna, king of the Angles, given first in marriage to a great nobleman, and afterwards as wife to King Egfrid, after preserving her marriage-bed undefiled for twelve years, takes the veil, and from a queen becomes a holy virgin: then straightway, that she might become a pious mother and nurse to holy virgins, she erects a nunnery in a chosen spot, called Elge. Her undying merits were testified even by her mortal flesh, which, sixteen years after her burial, was found uncorrupted, together with the garment in which she had been wrapped.
A.M. 4649 .
Justinian, younger son of Constantine, reigned 10 years.
makes a truce
Emperor. He made a truce with the Saracens for ten years by sea and land; moreover the province of Africa was subjected to the Roman empire, whereas it was before held by the Saracens, who had even taken and destroyed Carthage itself. The Roman pontiff Sergius of blessed memory, having refused to countenance the synod which Justinian held at Constantinople, and to subscribe to its rambling35 decrees, the emperor sent his Præfect of the Law, Zachary, with orders to bring him to Constantinople; but the militia of the city of Ravenna and of the neighbouring parts withstood the impious prince, and repelled Zachary from Rome with loss and shame. The same Pope Sergius created that venerable man, Wilbrord, surnamed Clement, bishop of the Frisons, in which country, even unto this day, he labours for eternity; for being by birth a Briton, of the nation of the Angles, he has quitted his own land for ever, passing his time in combating the evil one, and advancing 291 the The Sixth
prived of his
dignity. interests of Christianity. Justinian, stripped for his perfidy of the royal dignity, returns as an exile unto Pontus.
A.M. 4652 .
Leo reigned 3 years. The Lord disclosed to Pope Sergius a silver casket, which had long lain out of sight in an obscure corner of the chapel of the blessed Apostle Peter, in which was found a cross adorned with costly and precious stones. Having taken off the four lids in which the jewels had been set, he found deposited within the recess, a portion of the healing wood of the Cross of our Lord, of extraordinary size;
covered. which from that time is lifted up every year and adored by all the people in the Church of our Saviour, called Constantiniana. The most pious Cuthbert,36 who from an anchorite, became prelate of the church of Lindisfarne, in Britain, Cuthbert’s
miracles. was from infancy to old age eminent for his miracles; after his body had remained buried for eleven years, it was found, together with the garment in which it was wrapped, as fresh as the hour of his death; as we ourselves recorded some years ago in the Book of his Life and Miracles, in prose, and more recently in hexameter verse.
A.M. 4659 .
of Aquileia. Tiberius reigned 7 years. The Synod held at Aquileia, from want of experience refuses to recognise the fifth general council; but being instructed by the salutary admonitions of the blessed Pope Sergius, it also assents to the acts of that council with all the other churches of Christ. Gisulph, chief
of the Lom-
bards. Gisulph, leader of the Lombards of Beneventum, wasted the Campania with fire and sword, and made many captives; and when there was no one to resist his violence, the apostolic Pope John sent to him 292 a host of priests with many gifts, The Sixth
Age. ransomed all the captives, and thus caused the enemy to return home. He was succeeded by another John, who, among his many celebrated deeds constructed a chapel of exquisite workmanship to the holy Mother of God, within the church of Saint Peter, the Apostle. Pope John
chapel of our
Lady in St.
King of the
Lombards. Herebert, king of the Lombards, restored to the jurisdiction of the Apostolic See, many courts and patrimonies in the Cottian Alps, which had once belonged to it, but which had been taken away at various times by the Lombards; and sent the grant hereof to Rome, written in letters of gold.
A.M. 4665 .
restored. Justinian reigned again six years with his son Tiberius. By the help of Trebellus, king of the Bulgarians, he recovered the throne, and slew those patricians who had expelled him from it, as well as Leo who had usurped his place, and Tiberius who had succeeded him, and who, at the time he was deprived of the throne, had for a season kept him in confinement. He put out the eyes of the patriarch Callinicus and sent him to Rome, and gave his see to Cyrus, an abbot of Pontus, who had supported him in his exile. Pope Constantine came to him at his request, and was both entertained and dismissed with honour; so much so that during his stay he was commanded to celebrate the mass on the Lord’s Day, the Emperor receiving the communion at his hands. Then prostrate on the earth imploring him to make intercession for his sins, Renews the
the Church. he renewed all the privileges to the Church. Contrary to the Pope’s prohibition, he sent an army into Pontus to seize Philippicus whom he had sent there; but the whole army went over to Philippicus, made him emperor there, and returning with him to Constantinople, fought a battle with Justinian at the twelfth milestone from the city, and having defeated and slain him, Death of
Justinian. Philippicus succeeded him on the throne.
A.M. 4667 .
Patriarch Cyrus. Philippicus reigned 16 months. He removed Cyrus from the Pontificate, and commanded him to return to Pontus, and there resume as abbot the government of his monastery. He also sent to Pope Constantine letters, with impious commands, which the latter, with the advice of the Apostolic See, returned to him with disdain, and moreover, set up in the portico of St. Peter, pictures containing the acts of the six holy general councils; for Philippicus had commanded that all such pictures, which were in the metropolis, should be removed; on which account the Roman people determined Pope Con-
in the Church
service. that they would neither have the name of an heretical emperor in their deeds, nor his statue amongst them; and accordingly neither was his statue introduced into the churches, nor his name in the celebration of divine service.
A.M. 4670 .
Anastasius reigned three years. He took Philippicus prisoner, and put out his eyes, but did not put him to death.
the Usage of
King of the
to the Scots. He sent a letter to Rome to Pope Constantine, by Scholasticus, a patrician and exarch of Italy, in which he declared himself to be favourable to the Catholic faith, and a defender of the sixth holy council. Lithbrand, King of the Lombards, admonished by the venerable Pope Gregory, confirmed the grant of the patrimony of the Cottian Alps, which King Herebert had made, but which he had sought to resume. Egbert,37 a holy man of the nation of the Angles, an ornament to the priesthood in his monastic life, quitted his own home in search of an immortal one, and by his pious preaching brought back many provinces of the Scottish people to the canonical observation of Easter, in the year of our Lord’s incarnation, 716.
A.M. 4671 .
Anastasius. Theodosius reigned 1 year. Being chosen emperor, he overthrew Anastasius, in a severe engagement near the city of Nice, and having taken the oath, he caused him to enter holy orders and to be ordained a priest. On acquiring the throne, as a good Catholic he replaced the revered painting in which the six holy councils had been depicted, and which Philippicus had removed. The river Tiber left its channel and did great damage to the city of Rome; Inundation
of Rome. insomuch that in the Via Lata it rose half as high again as the human stature, and taking a course from the door of St. Peter’s it resumed its channel at the Milvian Bridge; thus it remained for seven days, and after the offering up of many prayers by the people, it returned to its bed on the eighth.
In those days a multitude of the English nation, high and low, men and women, gentle and simple, impelled by love to God, journeyed from Britain to Rome;
to Rome. and amongst them also my most beloved Abbot Ceolfrid,38 in the seventy-fourth year of his age, (forty-seven of which he had been a priest, and thirty-five an abbot,) went as far as the Ligones, where he died, and was buried in the church of the blessed Twin Martyrs. Amongst his other offerings, he sent to our church of St. Peter a Pandect39 translated partly out of Hebrew and partly out of Greek into Latin by Saint Jerome.
A.M. 4680 .
Leo reigned 9 years. The Saracens come with an immense army and besiege Constantinople in the third year,
Age. until at the earnest prayers of the citizens to God, a vast number of the enemy perished from famine, cold, 295 and pestilence; insomuch that they abandoned the siege from exhaustion; on their return they attack the Bulgarians, a people on the other side of the Danube, by whom they were beaten and compelled to flee to their ships; though no sooner had they put out to sea, than a sudden storm arose, in which the greater part of them perished by shipwreck. Lithbrand, on hearing that the Saracens had desolated Sardinia, and were defiling the spot to which at the time of the inroad of the barbarians Reliques of
tine. the remains of St. Augustine had been conveyed, and where they had been buried, sent forthwith, and obtaining them for a large sum, transferred them to Pavia, where they were buried with all the honour due to so illustrious a father.
6 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Ch. III.
7 See Tacitus’ Life of Agricola, Ch. XIII., for a brief account of the Roman transactions in Britain, prior to Agricola.
8 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical history, B. I., Ch. III. Suetonius Paulinus, the Roman praetor, overran the island of Anglesey, and destroyed the Druidical worship. The Britons attacked London, which they reduced to ashes, and butchered the inhabitants and their allies, to the amount of 70,000, but were shortly after defeated by Suetonius, and 80,000 fell in the field of battle; and Boadicea, queen of the Iceni, poisoned herself.
9 Ibid. B. I. Ch. III.
10 This event is not noticed by Venerable Bede, but will be found, with many other curious and interesting particulars of our early history, in Chalmers’ Caledonia, book I., in which the author gives references to his various authorities.
11 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. IV.
12 “Not a wall, as some imagine, but a rampart, made of sods.” — Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. V.
13 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. VI.
14 Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. IX.
15 Ibid. B. I. Chap. VII.
16 Ibid. B. I. Chap. VIII.
17 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. IX.
18 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. I., for the origin of the Picts and Scots.
19 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. X., “The following was the division of the empire between the brothers. Honorius, in the West, ruled over Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Britain; to which were added the Provinces of Noricum, Pannonia, and Dalmatia. Arcadius, in the East, governed Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, and the country from the Lower Danube, to the confines of Persia and Æthiopia. Illyrium was divided between the two princes.” — Gibbon, Chap. XXIX.
20 The distressed state of Britain, the incursions of the Picts and Scots, the building of this new rampart of sods, “and not of stone,” its destruction by the northern tribes, the building of the Roman Wall “near the trench of Severus,” the final departure of the Romans from Britain, and miserable condition of deserted natives, are all circumstantially narrated by Bede in the 12th Chapter of the first book of his Ecclesiastical History. Gibbons picture of the state of Britain at this period, sketched with a master’s hand, in his 31st Chapter, must be familiar to every one.
21 See Procopius de Bello Vandal. Lib. I. Cap. 5.
22 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. XIII.
23 Ibid. B. I. Chap. XV.
24 Ætius defeated Attila at Chalons in the plain of Champagne. Upwards of 162,000 men were left on the field. Bellum atrox multiplex, immane, pertinax, cui simile nulla usquam narrat antiquitas, ubi talia gesta referuntur ut nihil esset quod in vita sua conspicere potuisset egregius, qui hujus miraculi privaretur aspectu.” — Jornandes de Reb. Goth.
25 Clovis I., King of France, is placed in this period. He died A.D. 511, having been converted to Christianity A.D. 497, and having defeated Alaric at Poictiers A.D. 507.
26 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. I. Chap. XVI. In this period we place, also, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, A.D. 515. The death of Prince Arthur, A.D. 542.
27 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, Book I. Chaps. 34 and 24; where will be found two of Pope Gregory’s letters on the occasion. St. Augustine arrived in the Isle of Thanet, A.D. 597. Ethelbert founded St. Paul’s Cathedral in 604, and Sibert, king of the East Saxons founded Westminster Abbey, A.D. 611.
28 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, Book I. Chap. 29.
29 The birth of Mahomet, A.D. 571. He promulgates the Koran, A.D. 612. His flight from Mecca to Medina, July 16, A.D. 622, the Hegyra; his death, A.D. 632. The Saracens took Jerusalem, A.D. 636, and retained possession of it for 463 years. They destroyed the library of Alexandria, A.D. 640.
30 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. II. Ch. XIII.
31 Ibid. B. II. Ch. XIV.
32 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. IV. Ch. I.
33 The proceedings of this Council led to the Synod of Heathfield, an account of which will be found in the 17th Chap. of Book IV. of See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History.
34 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. IV. Ch. XIX.
35 See Basnage Hist. de l’Eglise, p. 554, for an explanation of Bede’s designation of “erratica,” as applied to this Council.
36 See Bede’s Biographical Writings, Life of St. Cuthbert, p. 1.
37 See Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, B. III. Chap. IV., and B. V. Chap. XII.
38 See Bede’s Biographical Writings, p. 101.
39 “Pandect, from παν and δεχεσθαι, general receivers, a common title to Greek Miscellanies.” — Gibbon.