Chapter XIV.—Account of the Eighty Pious Delegates in Nicomedia, whom Valens burned with the Vessel in Mid-Sea.
The Arians, as is customary with the prosperous, because more insolent, 1454 persecuted unmercifully all Christians whose religious sentiments were opposed to their own.
These Christians being exposed to bodily injuries, and betrayed to magistrates and prisons, and finding themselves moreover gradually impoverished by the frequent fines, were at length compelled to appeal for redress to the emperor. Although exceedingly angry, the emperor did not openly manifest any wrath, but secretly commanded the prefect to seize and slay the whole deputation. But the prefect, being apprehensive that a whole popular insurrection would be excited if he were to put so many good and religious men to death without any of the forms of justice, pretended that they were to be sent into exile, and under this pretext compelled them to embark on board a ship, to which they assented with the most perfect resignation. When they had sailed to about the center of the bay, which was called Astacius, the sailors, according to the orders they had received, set fire to the vessel and leaped into the tender. A wind arising, the ship was blown along to Dacibiza, a place on the sea-coast of Bithynia; but no sooner had it neared the shore, than it was utterly consumed with all the men on board.
Soc. iv. 16. Cf. Theodoret, H. E. iv. 24.