1. I think it best to pass by all the other events which occurred in the meantime: such as those which happened to the bishops of the churches, when instead of shepherds of the rational 2694 flocks of Christ, over which they presided in an unlawful manner, the divine judgment, considering them worthy of such a charge, made them keepers of camels, 2695 an irrational beast 2696 and very crooked in the structure of its body, or condemned them to have the care of the imperial horses;—and I pass by also the insults and disgraces and tortures they endured from the imperial overseers and rulers on account of the sacred vessels and treasures of the Church; and besides these the lust of power on the part of many, the disorderly and unlawful ordinations, and the schisms among the confessors themselves; also the novelties which were zealously devised against the remnants of the Church by the new and factious members, who added innovation after innovation and forced them in unsparingly among the calamities of the persecution, heaping misfortune upon misfortune. I judge it more suitable to shun and avoid the account of these things, as I said at the beginning. 2697 But such things as are sober and praiseworthy, according to the sacred word,—“and if there be any virtue and praise,” 2698 —I consider it most proper to tell and to record, and to present to believing hearers in the history of the admirable martyrs. And after this I think it best to crown the entire work with an account of the peace which has appeared unto us from heaven.
“It was a punishment among the Romans that freemen should be condemned to take care of the emperors horses or camels, and to perform other personal offices of that kind” (Valesius). For fuller particulars, see Valesius note ad locum. In the Acts of St. Marcellus (who was bishop of Rome) we are told that he was set by Maximian to groom his horses in a church which the emperor had turned into a stable.354:2696
Cf. Bk. VIII, chap. 2, §§2 and 3, and the note on that passage.354:2698
Phil. iv. 8.