Cesar hearing of the death of Festus, sent Albinus the Lieuetenant into Iewrie, but Ananus the younger, being Bishop, & of the secte of the Saduces, trusting that he had obtayned a cōuenient time, seeing that Festus was dead, and Albinus entred on his iourney, he called a councell, and calling many vnto hym, among whom was Iames by name the brother of Iesu which is called Christ, he stoned thē, accusing thē as breakers of þe law.[Back to Top]
MarginaliaMartyrs.Whereby it appeareth þt many other besides Iames also the same time were Martyred and put to death among the Iewes, for the fayth of Christ.
The section on the first 300 years of the church was, however, just the preface to the 'First Ten Persecutions', a structured 'decade' of martyrdoms in the early church that mirrored the 'centuries' into which the Magdeburg Centuries had chosen to organize its history of the Christian church. For our examination of Foxe's (extensive) borrowings from the Magdeburg Centuries, we have made use of the online edition of this text at: http://www.mgh-bibliothek.de/digilib/centuriae.htm and, for the bibliographical complexities surrounding its publication, Ronald E. Diener, 'The Magdeburg Centuries. A Bibliothecal and Historiographical Study'. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Divinity School 1978/79). For these sections, we have undertaken a very preliminary analysis, concentrating on the following textual divisions: Introduction to first 10 persecutions (1583, p. 34; 1576, p. 34; 1570, pp. 53-4); First persecution (1583, pp. 34-5; 1576, p. 34; 1570, pp. 54-6); Second persecution (1583, pp. 35-9; 1576, pp. 35-9; 1570, pp. 56-7); Third persecution (1583, pp. 39-42; 1576, pp. 39-42; 1570, pp. 57-9); Fourth persecution (1583, pp. 42-46; 1576, pp. 42-46; 1570, pp. 59-69); Martyrs of Lyons (1583, pp. 46-50; 1576, pp. 46-50; 1570, pp. 69-74); Remainder of fourth persecution (1583, pp. 50-4; 1576, pp. 50-4; 1570, pp. 74-9); Fifth persecution (1583, pp. 54-9; 1576, pp. 54-9; 1570, pp. 79-85); Sixth persecution (1583, p. 59; 1576, pp. 59-60; 1570, pp. 85-6).[Back to Top]
In the block on the first persecutions, prepared for the 1570 edition and repeated in the later ones, Foxe cites as his source Eusebius, book 3, ch. 30. Although it is probably the case that he consulted the source, it is much more likely that, for this (as for the succeeding sections of this part of the narrative) that he drew on the published volumes of the Magdeburg Centuries, in this case, vol. 1, book 2, cols 561-4.[Back to Top]
For the second persecution, Foxe continued to use Eusebius, supplementing it (apparently) with Irenaeus' Against Heresies and the Historiae adversum paganos of Orosius. Again, although it is difficult to be certain of this at present, his direct source was likely to have been the Magdeburg Centuries. For the fourth persecution, concerned especially with the martyrdom of Polycarp, we can be clearer. Although some of the sections of Foxe's narrative (such as the Epistle to Pontus and the sayings of Polycarp to Martin the heretic, are direct translations from Eusebius, the section on the life and works of Polycarpus, which indirectly comes from Eusebius, book 5, ch. 20, is clearly lifted from the Magdeburg Centuries, II, cols 173 and 176. For the contradictory views of various authors on who were the popes at the time, Foxe clearly used the Magdeburg Centuries, I, book 2, cols 626-8 but he also consulted at least some of the other sources he mentions in order to construct an independent view. The section on the order of the popes to Eleutherius certainly is taken from the Magdeburg Centuries, II, cols 117 and 209-210.[Back to Top]
For the fourth persecution, it is evident that the Magdeburg Centuries formed the direct source for the following sections of it:- the Epistle of Pliny to Trajan and its response (p. 53 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 13-4); the martyrdoms under Emperor Hadrian (p. 54 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 15-6 and cols 231-33); the final rising of the Jews under Hadrian and subsequent slaughter, the succession of Antoninus Pius, and resumption of the fourth persecution (p. 55 of the 1570 edition) - (II, col 17); the disputed claims concerning Hyginus (p. 66 of the 1570 edition) - (II, cols 111; 141; 212-3); Eleutherius' mission to convert the British (II, cols 8-9); and the contention over the date of Easter at the time of Commodus (p. 67 of the 1570 edition) - (II, col. 118).[Back to Top]
For the fifth persecution, Foxe drew directly on the Magdeburg Centuries for the following passages:- the fifth persecution by Septimus Severus (p. 67 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 9-10); the martyrdom of Origen and his father - (III, cols 9-10; 150-1; 253-259); for the list of martyrs under Septimus Severus (p. 68 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 10; 251; 305); for Basilides and the miracles of Potomiena - (III, col. 305); for Alexander as bishop of Jerusalem - (III, col. 209); for the persecutions in the time of Septimus Severus - (III, cols 295-6; 211); for Tertullian as an ecclesiastical writer (p. 69 of the 1570 edition - (III, cols 236; 241; 242); for the controversy over Easter in the time of Victor (p. 70 of the 157- edition) - (II, cols 152-58); for the epistles of Zephirus - (III, cols 275-6); for the invasion of Britain - (III, col. 315); for the epistles of Calixtus (p. 72 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 276-77). Foxe clearly used other sources for this account as well, but only further research will confirm more precisely the extent to which he worked outwards from the Magdeburg Centuries to write a more independently based narrative of this section.[Back to Top]
For the sixth persecution, we have undertaken a similar analysis of the extent of Foxe's dependence on the Magdeburg Centuries. The results are less complete. It is certainly the case that he drew somewhat on that source for the beginning of the sixth persecution under Emperor Maximus (pp. 73-4 of the 1570 edition) - (III, col. 13). He also borrowed to some degree for the description of the rule of Pontianus, bishop of Rome (p. 74 of the 1570 edition) - (III, cols 177; 278); for the story of Natalius he also fairly clearly derived his material from the Centuries - (IIII, cols 287-288); for Emperor Philip the same is true (III, cols 8; 254; 279).[Back to Top]
We have not continued our analysis beyond this stage at present. It will require a more extensive and detailed examination of the full range of the sources cited by Foxe in his marginalia, and a comparison of them with what was contained in the extant volumes of the Magdeburg Centuries, which had become available to him in between the publication of the 1563 and 1570 editions, to arrive at a proper assessment of Book One.[Back to Top]
Mark Greengrass and Matthew Phillpott
University of Sheffield
MarginaliaThe fyrst. x. persecutions in the primatiue church.THese thinges being thus declared for the Martyrdome of the Apostles, and þe persecution of the Iewes: Now let vs (by the grace of Christ our Lorde) comprehend with lyke breuetie, the persecutions raysed vp by the Romaines, against the christians in the primitiue age of the church, duryng the space of. 300. yeares, till the comming of godly Constantine, which persecutions are rekened, by the most part of writers (as is before mentioned) to the number of ten.[Back to Top]
Wherin, marueilous it is, to see and read the numbers incredible of Christian innocentes that haue beene slayne and tormented, some one way, some an other. As Rabanus sayeth, and sayth truelye. MarginaliaThe sundry tormentes of holy Maryrs in the primitiue church.Alij ferro perempti. Alij flammis exusti. Alij flagris verberati. Alij vectibus per forati. Alij cruciati patibulo. Alij demersi pelagi periculo. Alij viui decoriati. Alij vinculis mancipati. Alij linguis priuati. Alij lapidibus obruti. Alij frigore afflicti. Alij fame cruciati. Alij truncatis manibus, aliisue cæsis mēbris spectaculū contumeliæ, nudi propter nomē domini portātes, &c. That is. Some slayne with sworde. Some burnt with fyre. Some with whippes scourged. Some stabbed in with forkes of yron. Some fastened to the crosse, or gybbet. Some drowned in þe sea. Some their skinnes pluckt of aliue. Some their tounges cut of. Some stoned to death. Some killed with colde. Some starued with hunger. Some their hands cut of, or otherwyse dismembred haue bene so left naked to þe open shame of the world, &c. Wherof Austen also in hys booke, De ciuit. 22. cap. 6. MarginaliaAug. de ciuit. Lib. 22. cap. 6.thus sayth: Ligabantur, includebantur, cedebantur, torquebātur, vrebantur, laniabantur, trucidabantur, multiplicabātur, non pugnantes pro salute, sed salutē contēnentes pro feruatore.
Ligabantur, includebantur, cedebantur, torquebātur, vrebantur, laniabantur, trucidabantur, multiplicabātur, non pugnantes pro salute, sed salutē contēnentes pro feruatore.
"bound, imprisoned, scourged, tortured, burned, torn to pieces, slaughtered – and they multiplied! It was not given to them to fight for their salvation other than by despising earthly safety for their Saviour's sake."
Augustine, The city of God against the pagans, ed. and trs. R.W. Dyson (London: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p.1117
"bound, imprisoned, beaten, racked, burned, torn, butchered and yet multiplied. Their fight for life was the contempt of life for their Saviour"
Augustine, The City of God, trs. J. Healey (London: Dent, 1945), vol.2, p.364
Ligabantur, includebantur, caedebantur, torquebantur, urebantur, laniabantur, trucidabantur et multiplicabantur. Non erat eis pro salute pugnare nisi salutem pro Salvatore contemnere.
Vs̀ adeo vt videres repletas humanis corporibus ciuitates, iacentes mortuos simul cum paruulis senes: feminarum̀ abs̀ vlla sexus reuerentia nudata in publico, reiectà starent cadauera.
Insomuch that a man myght then see cityes laye full of mens bodyes, the olde there laying together with the younge, and the dead bodyes of women caste oute naked without all reuerence of that sexe in the open streetes, &c.
"so that the cities could be seen full of unburied bodies, thrown out dead, old men and children, and women without covering for their nakedness"
Eusebius, The ecclesiastical history, bk. II, ch. 26, trs. K. Lake (London : Heinemann, 1926), 2 vols., vol. 1, p.185.
MarginaliaS. Peter the Apostle, crucified at Rome.In this persecution, among many other Saintes the blessed Apostle Peter was condemned to death, & crucified at Rome, concerning whose lyfe & historye, because it is sufficiently described in the text of the Gospell, and in the Actes, by Saint Luke, Chapt. 4. 5. 12. I neede not here to make any great repeticion thereof. As touchyng the cause and maner of his death, diuers there be, which make relation, as Hierome, Egesippus, Eusebius, Abdias, and other: although they do not all precisely agree in the tyme. The wordes of Hierome be these: MarginaliaHierom. De viris illustrib.Simon Peter the sonne of Iohn, of the prouince of Galile, and of the towne of Bethsaida, the brother of Andrewe, &c. After he had bene Bishop of the church of Antioche, and had preached to the dispersiō of them that beleued of the circumcision in Pontus, Galacia, Cappadocia, Asia, & Bithinia, in the second yeare of Claudius þe Emperour, (which was aboute the yeare of our Lorde. 44.) came to Rome, to withstande Simon Magus, and there kept the priestly chayre, the space of. xxv. yeares, vntill the last yeare of the foresayd Nero, which was the. xiiij. yeare of his reigne, of whom he was crucified, his head being downe, and hys feete vpward, himself so requyryng, because he was (he sayd) vnworthy to be crucified after the same forme and manner, as the Lorde was, &c. MarginaliaEgesippus Lib. 3. De excidio
Hierosoly. cap. 2.
Abdias. Lib. 1. De vita PetriEgesippus prosecuting thys matter something more at large, and Abdias also, (if any autoritie is to bee geuen to his booke, who following not onely the sense, but also the very forme of wordes of Egesippus in thys historye, seemeth to bee extracted out of hym, and of other authors) sayth: that Simon Magus being then a great mā with Nero, and as president and keper of his life, was requyred vpon a tyme to be present at the raysing vp of a certayne noble younge man in Rome, of Neros kyndred, lately departed. Where as Peter also was desired to come to the reuiuing of the sayd personage. But when Magus in the presence of Peter coulde not doe it. Then Peter calling vppon the name of the Lorde Iesus, dyd rayse hym vp, and restored him to hys mother, Wherby the estimation of Simon Magus began greatly to decaye, & to be detested in Rome. Not long after the sayd Magus threatned the Romaines, þt he would leaue their citie & in their sight slye away from them into heauen. So the day being appointed Magus taking his winges in the Mounte Capitolinus, beganne to flye in the ayre. But Peter by the power of the Lord Iesus brought him downe with his winges headlong to the ground, by the which fall his legges and ioyntes were broken, and hee thereupon died. Then Nero sorrowing for the death of him, sought matter agaynst Peter to put him to death. Which when the people perceaued, they entreated Peter with much a do, that he woulde flee the citie. Peter through their importunitie at length perswaded, prepared himself to auoyde. But comming to the gate he saw the Lorde Christ come to meete him, to whom he worshipping, sayd: Lord whether doost thou goe? To whom he aunswered and sayd, I come agayne to be crucified. By this Peter perceauing his suffering to be vnderstāded, returned backe into the citie agayne. And so was he crucified, in maner as is before declared. And thys out of Egesippus.
MarginaliaEusebius lib. 3. hist. eccles. c. 30.Eusebius moreouer writing of the death not onely of Peter, but also of his wife, affyrmeth, that Peter se-