SELECTIONS FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITERS: ILLUSTRATIVE OF CHURCH HISTORY TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE by Henry Melvill Gwatkin, M.A. First Edition, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., 1893. Reprinted with additions and corrections, 1897, 1902, 1905. Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2013.
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XLVI. EUSEBIUS, Hist.Eccles.viii.2.


The Edicts of Diocletian


Ἔτος τοῦτο ἦν ἐννεακαιδέκατον τῆς Διοκλητιανοῦ βασιλείας, Δύστρος μήν, λέγοιτο δ᾿ ἂν οὗτος Μάρτιος κατὰ Ῥωμαίους, ἐν ᾧ τῆς τοῦ σωτηρίου πάθους ἑορτῆς ἐπελαυνούσης, ἥπλωτο πανταχόσε βασιλικὰ γράμματα, τὰς μὲν ἐκκλησίας εἰς ἔδαφος φέρειν, τὰς δὲ γραφὰς ἀφανεῖς πυρὶ γενέσθαι προστάττοντα, καὶ τοὺς μὲν τιμῆς ἐπειλημμένους, ἀτίμους, τοὺς δ᾿ ἐν οἰκετίαις, εἰ ἐπιμένοιεν τῇ τοῦ Χριστιανισμοῦ προθέσει, ἐλευθερίας στερεῖσθαι προαγορεύοντα. καὶ ἡ μὲν πρώτη καθ᾿ ἡμῶν γραφὴ τοιαύτη τις ἦν· μετ᾿ οὐ πολὺ δὲ ἑτέρων ἐπιφοιτησάντων γραμμάτων, προσετάττετο τοὺς τῶν ἐκκλη- σιῶν προέδρους πάντας τοὺς κατὰ πάντα τόπον πρῶτα μὲν δεσμοῖς παραδίδοσθαι, εἶθ᾿ ὕστερον πάσῃ μηχανῇ θύειν ἐξαναγκάζεσθαι.

This year was the nineteenth of the reign of Diocletian, the month Dystrus, which is called March by the Romans, when as the feast of the Saviour's Passion was approaching, imperial edicts were published everywhere, commanding the churches to be levelled with the ground and the Scriptures to be destroyed with fire, and ordering that those possessed of honour should lose their position, and that they of Caesar's household, if they held to their profession of Christianity, should be deprived of freedom. Such was the first edict against us; and before long by other edicts following it was ordered that all the rulers of the Churches everywhere should first be committed to bonds, and afterwards by every art be made to sacrifice.


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