Chapter XXIV.—Of Decius, Valerian, and Aurelian, who experienced a Miserable End in consequence of their Persecution of the Church.
To thee, Decius, 3487 I now appeal, who has trampled with insult on the labors of the righteous: to thee, the hater of the Church, the punisher of those who lived a holy life: what is now thy condition after death? How hard and wretched thy present circumstances! Nay, the interval before thy death gave proof enough of thy miserable fate, when overthrown with all thine army on the plains of Scythia, thou didst expose the vaunted power of Rome to the contempt of the Goths. Thou, too, Valerian, who didst manifest the same spirit of cruelty towards the servants of God, hast afforded an example of righteous judgment. A captive in the enemies hands, led in chains while yet arrayed in the purple and imperial attire, and at last thy skin stripped from thee, and preserved by command of Sapor the Persian king, thou hast left a perpetual trophy of thy calamity. And thou, Aurelian, fierce perpetrator of every wrong, how signal was thy fall, when, in the midst of thy wild career in Thrace, thou wast slain on the public highway, and didst fill the furrows of the road with thine impious blood!
[Vide Euseb. Hist. Eccles. Bk. VI. ch. 39. Gibbon (ch. 16) notices very leniently the persecution of Decius.—Bag.]