Chapter VI.—Those who suffered Martyrdom at this Time.
1. Not long afterward, however, this military commander became his own murderer and paid the penalty for his wickedness. But we were obliged again to endure exile and severe persecutions, and the governors in every province were once more terribly stirred up against us; so that even some of those illustrious in the Divine Word were seized and had sentence of death pronounced upon them without mercy. Three of them in the city of Emesa 2734 in Phœnicia, having confessed that they were Christians, were thrown as food to the wild beasts. Among them was a bishop Silvanus, 2735 a very old man, who had filled his office full forty years.
2. At about the same time Peter 2736 also, who presided most illustriously over the parishes in Alexandria, a divine example of a bishop on account of the excellence of his life and his study of the sacred Scriptures, being seized for no cause and quite unexpectedly, was, as if by command of Maximinus, immediately and without explanation, beheaded. With him also many other bishops of Egypt suffered the same fate.
3. And Lucian, 2737 a presbyter of the parish at Antioch, and a most excellent man in every respect, temperate in life and famed for his learning in sacred things, was brought to the city of Nicomedia, where at that time the emperor happened to be staying, and after delivering before the ruler an apology for the doctrine which he professed, was committed to prison and put to death.
4. Such trials were brought upon us in a brief time by Maximinus, the enemy of virtue, so that this persecution which was stirred up against us seemed far more cruel than the former.
Emesa was an important city in Northern Phœnicia, the birthplace of the Emperor Elagabalus, and chiefly famous for its great temple of the Sun.360:2735
On Silvanus, bishop of Emesa, see above, Bk. VIII. chap. 13, note 4.360:2736
On Peter, bishop of Alexandria, see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 54. According to that chapter he suffered in the ninth year of the persecution; that is, at least as early as April, 312.360:2737
The presbyter Lucian, who is mentioned also in Bk. VIII. chap. 13, above, was one of the greatest scholars of the early Church, and with Dorotheus (see above, Bk. VII. chap. 32, note 9) at the head of the famous theological school at Antioch. He produced a revised version of the LXX, which enjoyed a wide circulation (see Jeromes de vir. ill. 77, and Westcotts Hist. of the N. T. Canon, p. 392 sq.); and also wrote some books on Faith (see Jerome, ibid.), some epistles (see ibid., and Suidas, s.v.), and a commentary on Job, of which a Latin fragment has been preserved and is given by Routh, Rel. Sacræ, IV. p. 7–10. His works have perished, with the exception of a brief fragment of an epistle, the fragment from his commentary on Job just referred to, and a part of his defense before Maximinus (referred to in the present chapter) which is preserved by Rufinus, H. E. IX. 6, and is probably genuine (cf. Westcott, ibid. p. 393). These extant fragments are given, with annotations, by Routh, ibid. p. 5 sq. Lucians chief historical significance lies in his relation to Arianism. On this subject, see above, p. 11 sq.