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From The Lives of the Popes from the Time of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the Accession of Gregory VII. Written Originally in Latin by B. Platina, Native of Cremona, and translated into English (from an anonymous translation, first printed in 1685 by Sir Paul Rycaut), Edited by William Benham, Volume I, London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh, [1888, undated in text]; pp. 109-111.

The Lives of the Popes,
B. Platina

Volume I.

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A.D. 468-483.

SIMPLICIUS, son of Castinus, born at Tivoli, was bishop during the reigns of Leo the second, and Zeno.

For Leo the first falling sick, makes choice of Leo the second, son of Zeno Isauricus, and his own nephew by Ariadne, his sister, to be his successor, who, not long after being seized by a violent distemper, and apprehending himself to be at the point of death, leaves the empire to his father Zeno. In the meantime Odoacer, invading Italy with a great army of his Heruli and Turingians, conquers and takes prisoner, Orestes, a noble Roman, near Pavia, and then causes him to be put to death in the sight of his whole army at Placentia. Hereupon Zeno, pitying the calamitous state of 110 Italy, speedily sends Theodoric, king of the Goths, a man whom he had before very much esteemed, with a mighty force to oppose him, who, having in a pitched battle, not far from Aquileia, near the river Sontio, overcome Odoacer’s captains, and having oftentimes the like success against Odoacer himself, at length he besieged him three years together in Ravenna, and reduced him to that extremity, that, with the advice of John, the bishop of that city, he consented to admit Theodoric as his partner in the empire. But the day following both Odoacer and his son were contrary to promise and agreement slain, by which means Theodoric possessed himself of the government of all Italy without any opposition.

In the meantime Simplicius dedicated the churches of St Stephen the protomartyr, on Mons Cœlius, and that of St Andrew the apostle, not far from St Maries the Great, in which there appear to this day some footsteps of antiquity, which I have many a time beheld with sorrow for their neglect, to whose charge such noble piles of building now ready to fall are committed. That this church was of his founding appears by certain verses wrought in mosaic work which I have seen in it. He dedicated also another church to St Stephen, near the Licinian Palace, where the Virgin’s body had been buried. He also appointed the weekly waitings of the presbyters in their turns at the churches of St Peter, St Paul, and St Laurence the martyr, for the receiving of penitents, and baptizing of proselytes. Moreover, he divided the city among the presbyters into five precincts or regions; the first of St Peter, second, St Paul, third, St Laurence, fourth, St John Lateran, fifth, St Maria Maggiore. He also ordained that no clergyman should hold a benefice of any layman, a constitution which was afterwards confirmed by Gregory and other Popes. At this time the Bishop of Rome’s primacy was countenanced by the letters of Acacius, Bishop of Constantinople,1 and Timothy, a learned man, in which they beg him to censure Peter Mongus (“the stammered”), Bishop of Alexandria, an asserter of the Eutychian heresy. Which was accordingly done, but with proviso, that he should be received into the communion of the church again, if within a certain time prefixed he retracted his errors. Some say, that during his pontificate lived Remigius, Bishop of Reims, who (as history tells us) baptized Clodoveus, the French king. Now also Theodorus, 111 Bishop of Syria wrote largely against Eutyches, and compiled ten books of ecclesiastical history in imitation of Eusebius Cæsariensis. At this time almost all Egypt was infected with the heretical doctrine of Dioscorus, concerning whom we have already spoken; and Huneric, King of the Vandals, a zealot for the Arian faction, raised a persecution against the orthodox Christians in Africa. Upon this, Eudoxia, niece to Theodosius, a Catholic lady, and wife to Huneric, left her heretical husband upon pretence of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to perform a vow which she had made; but upon so long a journey, the effect of which proved intolerable to the tenderness of her sex she there soon died. It is said that at this time were found the bones of the prophet Elisha, which were carried into Alexandria, as also the body of St Barnabas the apostle, together with the gospel of St Matthew, written with is own hand. As for Simplicius himself, having by his constitutions and donations very much promoted the interest of the Church of Rome, and having at several ordinations made fifty-eight presbyters, eleven deacons, eighty-six bishops, he died, and was buried in St Peter’s church on the second day of March. He was in the chair fifteen years, one month, seven days, and by his death the see was vacant twenty-six days.


 1  See the next note, p. 112. — ED.

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Previous Pope:  48. Hilarius I. 49. Simplicius I. Next Pope: 50. Felix III.

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