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Evagrius Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History (AD431-594), translated by E. Walford (1846).  Book 6.




MAURICE, on succeeding to the empire, in the first place made the necessary arrangements for his nuptials, and, in accordance with the imperial ordinance, marries Augusta, named also Constantina, with magnificent ceremony, and with public banquetings and festivity in every part of the city. In attendance on the nuptials were Religion and Royalty, offering an escort most distinguished and gifts most precious. For the one supplied a father and mother, to hallow the rite with honoured locks of grey and venerable wrinkles— a circumstance strange in the story of sovereigns— as also brethren noble and blooming, to give dignity to the nuptial procession: the other, a gold embroidered robe, adorned with purple and Indian gems, and crowns most costly, with abundance of gold and the varied emblazonment of jewels; together with the attendance of all who were |284 distinguished in courtly rank or military service, lighting the nuptial flambeaux in splendid costumes and investitures, and hymning the bridal cavalcade: so that no human display was ever more majestic and happy. Damophilus, when writing on the subject of Rome, says that Plutarch the Chaeronean1 has well remarked, that in order to her greatness alone did Virtue and Fortune unite in friendly truce: but, for myself, I would say, that in respect of Maurice alone did Piety and Good Fortune so conspire; by Piety laying compulsion upon Fortune, and not permitting her to shift at all. It was henceforward the settled aim of the emperor to wear the purple and the diadem not merely on his person but also on his soul: for he alone of recent sovereigns was sovereign of himself; and, with authority most truly centred in himself, he banished from his own soul the mob-rule of the passions, and having established an aristocracy in his own reasonings, he shewed himself a living image of virtue, training his subjects to imitation. Nor have I said this by way of flattery: for how could such be my motive, since he is not acquainted with what is being written? That such was, however, the case with Maurice, will be evidenced by the gifts bestowed upon him by God, and the circumstances of various kinds that must unquestionably be referred to divine favour. |286 



BESIDES his other noble purposes, this was an especial object with the emperor, to avoid in every case the shedding of the blood of persons guilty of treason. Accordingly, he did not put to death Alamundarus, chieftain of the Scenite Arabs, who had betrayed both the commonwealth and Maurice himself, as I have already detailed; but sentenced him to deportation to an island with his wife and some of his children, and appointed Sicily as the place of his banishment. Naamanes his son, notwithstanding a unanimous sentence of death, he detained as a prisoner at large, without any further infliction; although he had filled the empire with endless mischiefs, and, by the hands of his followers, had plundered either Phoenicia and Palestine, and enslaved the inhabitants, at the time when Alamundarus was captured. He pursued the same course in innumerable other cases, which shall be severally noticed in their places. |287 



MAURICE sent out as commander of the forces of the East, first, John, a Scythian, who, after experiencing some reverses, with some alternations of success, achieved nothing worthy of mention; afterwards, Philippicus, who was allied to him by having married one of his two sisters. Having crossed the border and laid waste all before him, he amassed great booty, and killed many of the nobles of Nisibis and the other cities situated within the Tigris. He also gave battle to the Persians, and, after a severe conflict, attended with the loss of many distinguished men on the side of the enemy, he made numerous prisoners, and dismissed unharmed a battalion, which had retreated to an eminence and was fairly in his power, under a promise that they would urge their sovereign to send immediate proposals for peace. He also completed other measures during the continuance of his command, namely, in withdrawing his troops from superfluities and things tending to luxury, and in reducing them to discipline and subordination: the representation of which transactions must be fixed by writers, past or present, according as they may be or have been |288 circumstanced with respect to hearsay or opinion— writers whose narrative, stumbling and limping through ignorance, or rendered affected by partiality, or blinded by antipathy, misses the mark of truth.



HE is succeeded in the command by Priscus, a person difficult of access, and not readily approached without necessary occasion, who expected the successful accomplishment of all his measures if he should maintain an almost entire seclusion; from a notion, that, through the awe thence resulting, the soldiery also would be more obedient to orders. Accordingly, on his arrival at the camp with stern and haughty look and in imposing costume, he issued certain orders, relating to the hardihood of the soldiery in the field, to strictness in respect of their arms and to their allowances. Having received previous intimation of the proceeding, they then gave unrestrained vent to their rage; and advancing in a body to the general's quarters, they pillage, in barbarian fashion, all his magnificence and the most valuable of his treasures, and would inevitably have despatched Priscus himself, had he not mounted one of the led horses, and escaped to Edessa : to which place they laid siege, demanding his surrender. |289 



ON the refusal of their demands by the citizens, they leave Priscus there, and seizing Germanus, who at that time held the command in Phoenicia Libanensis, they elect him their own general and emperor, while he resisted and they were the more urgent; and a struggle thus arose, on the part of the one to escape compulsion, of the others to enforce their object. After they had menaced him with death unless he would embrace the offered charge, and he, on his part, eagerly embraced the alternative, disclaiming all fear and consternation, they proceeded to certain severities and methods of cruelty, which they thought he would not be able to bear; for they did not suppose that he would manifest greater endurance than the strength of nature and his time of life would warrant. By putting him to the trial at first cautiously and sparingly, they succeed in forcing him to accede to their demands, and solemnly to swear that he would be true to them. Thus they compelled him to be their ruler under rule, their subject sovereign, their master in thraldom. Then chasing from them the officers of every grade, they elect others in their place, openly reviling the imperial government. They treated provincials on the whole less harshly |290 than the barbarians did, but in a manner very unlike allies or servants of the commonwealth: for they levied their provisions not according to stated measures or weight, and were not contented with the quarters assigned to them: but the will of each individual was a rule, and his caprice an established measure.



THE emperor despatches Philippicus to settle this ferment: they, however, not only denied him reception, but perilled the lives of all whom they supposed to be connected with him.



WHILE matters were in this situation, Gregory, bishop of Theopolis, returns from the imperial city, after having been victorious in the struggle which I now proceed to detail.

At the time when Asterius held the government of the East, a quarrel had arisen between him and Gregory : the higher ranks of the city sided entirely with the former, and were supported by the populace, and |291 by those who were engaged in trades; for each class declared that they had been injured by Gregory; until at last license was given to the rabble to vent their abuse against him. Thus both the other classes accorded with the populace, and they clamoured forth their insults against the prelate in the streets and the theatre; and even the actors indulged in them. Asterius is removed from his government, and John is invested with it, with orders from the emperor to make inquiry into the stir; a man incompetent to the management of the most trifling matters, much less a business so important. Having, in consequence, filled the city with confusion and uproar, and given public license to any one that chose, to accuse the bishop, he receives a formal charge against him from a certain banker, to the effect that he had had criminal intercourse with his own sister, married to another man. He also receives accusations from other persons of the same stamp against Gregory, as having repeatedly disturbed the peace of the city. On the latter charge he declared his readiness to make his defence: with respect to the others, he appealed to the emperor and a synod. Accordingly, he repaired to the imperial city, to make answer to these charges, accompanied by myself as his adviser, and is victorious after a prolonged struggle during an investigation of the matter before the patriarchs from every quarter, who appeared either in person or by deputy, as well as the |292 sacred senate, and many most religious metropolitans: and the result was that the accuser, after having been scourged and paraded round the city, was sent into exile. Gregory thence returns to his see, at the time when the troops were in a state of mutiny, and Philippicus was remaining in the neighbourhood of Beroea and Chalcis.



AT an interval of four months from the return of Gregory, in the six hundred and thirty-seventh year of the era of Theopolis, sixty-one years after the former earthquake, a crash and concussion shook the entire city, about the third hour of the night, on the last day of the month Hyperberetaeus, at the time when I was celebrating my marriage with a young maiden, and the whole city was making rejoicings and holding a festival at the public cost, in honour of the nuptial ceremony. This convulsion levelled by far the greater part of the buildings, their very foundations being cast up by it, and all the portions of the most holy church were thrown to the ground, with the exception of the hemisphere, which, after its injury by the earthquake in the time of Justin, had been secured by Ephraemius with timbers from |293 Daphne. By the subsequent shocks, it received an inclination in a northerly direction; so that the timbers were thrown by it into a leaning position, and fell, when the hemisphere had returned, by the force of the shock, exactly into its original situation, as if it had been adjusted by a rule. Nearly the entire quarter named Ostracine was ruined, and Psephium, of which I have made previous mention, as well as all the parts called Brysia, and the buildings of the venerable sanctuary of the Mother of God, with the sole exception of the central colonnade, which was singularly preserved. All the towers of the plain were also damaged, though the other buildings in that quarter escaped, with the exception of the battlements, of which some stones were thrown backwards, though they did not fall. Other churches also suffered injury, and one of the public baths, namely, that which had separate divisions according to the seasons. An incalculable number of persons were involved in the destruction, and, according to an estimate which some persons drew from the supply of bread, about sixty thousand perished. The bishop experienced a most unexpected preservation in the midst of the fall of the entire habitation where he then was, and the destruction of every individual except those who were near his person. These took up the bishop in their arms, and lowered him by a cord, after a second shock had rent an opening, and thus they removed him beyond |294 the reach of danger. Another preservation was also granted to the city, our compassionate God having mitigated the keenness of His threatened vengeance, and corrected our sin with the branch of pity and mercy: for no conflagration followed, though so many fires were spread about the place, in hearths, public and private lamps, kitchens, furnaces, baths, and innumerable other forms. Very many persons of distinction, and among them Asterius himself, became the victims of the calamity. The emperor endeavoured to alleviate this visitation by grants of money.



IN the army, matters continued in the same state; and, in consequence, the barbarians made an inroad, in the expectation that there would be no one to check them in the exercise of barbarian practices. Germanus, however, encounters them with his forces, and inflicted a defeat so destructive, that not a man was left to convey to the Persians tidings of the misfortune. |295 



ACCORDINGLY, the emperor remunerates the troops with largesses of money; and, withdrawing Germanus and others, brings them to trial. They were all condemned to death: but the emperor would not permit any infliction whatever; on the contrary, he bestowed rewards on them.

During the course of these transactions, the Avars twice made an inroad as far as the Long Wall, and captured Anchialus, Singidunum, and many towns and fortresses throughout the whole of Greece, enslaving the inhabitants, and laying every thing waste with fire and sword; in consequence of the greater part of the forces being engaged in the East. Accordingly, the emperor sends Andrew, the first of the imperial guards, on an attempt to induce the troops to receive their former officers.



SINCE, however, the troops would not endure the bare mention of the proposal, the business is |296 transferred to Gregory, not only as being a person competent to the execution of the most important measures, but because he had earned the highest regard from the soldiery; since some of them had received presents from him in money, others in clothing, provisions, and other things, when they were passing his neighbourhood at the time of their enlistment. Accordingly, he assembles, by summons despatched to every quarter, the principal persons of the army at Litarba, a place distant from Theopolis about three hundred stadia; and, though confined to his couch, addressed them in person, in the following words.



"I HAVE been expecting, O Romans—Romans both in name and deeds—that your visit to me would have been made long ago, for the purpose of communicating to me your present circumstances, and of receiving that friendly counsel of which you have an assurance in my kindliness towards you, so unequivocally evinced by past occurrences, at the time when I relieved, by a supply of necessaries, your tempest-struck and wave-tost plight. Since, however, this course has not hitherto been taken—it may be that Providence has not permitted it, in order that the Persians, having |297 been utterly defeated by men without a leader, might be thereby thoroughly taught the prowess of the Romans, and that your pure loyalty might be completely proved, in having been tested by the juncture and testified by your deeds; for you shewed that, notwithstanding your quarrel with your officers, you do not regard any thing as more important than the good of the commonwealth—let us accordingly now deliberate what ought to be your conduct. Your sovereign invites you with a promise of an amnesty of all past transactions, receiving the display of your loyalty to the commonwealth and your prowess in the field as emblems of supplication. While bestowing upon you these most certain pledges of pardon the emperor thus speaks: 'Since God has given victory to their loyalty, and, on the abandonment of their errors, a signal display has been granted to their prowess as a clear intimation of forgiveness, how can I do otherwise than follow the judgment of heaven? A king's heart is in the hand of God, and He sways it whithersoever He will.' Yield, therefore, to me at once, O Romans. Let us not wilfully forfeit the present opportunity, nor allow it to elude our grasp: for opportunity, when it has once slipped from us, is most unwilling to be seized, and, as if it were indignant at having been neglected, is ever after intolerant of capture. Shew yourselves the heirs of the obedience of your fathers, as ye are of their courage; in |298 order that ye may appear altogether Romans, and no taunt may touch you or point at you as degenerate. Your fathers, under the command of consuls and emperors, by obedience and courage became masters of the whole world. Manlius Torquatus, though he crowned, yet also put to death his son, who had placed a valiant part but in disobedience of orders. For by skill on the part of the leaders, combined with obedience in those whom they lead, great successes are ordinarily achieved; but either, when bereaved of the other, is lame and unsteady, and is utterly overthrown by the separation of the excellent pair. Be not, therefore, tardy, but at once obey my call, while the priestly office mediates between the emperor and the army; and shew that your proceedings were not the establishment of a rival sovereign, but a transient display of just indignation against commanders who had wronged you: for unless you immediately embrace the offer, I shall at once consider myself as quit of the service laid upon me in this matter by my duty to the commonwealth and my regard for you. Consider too yourselves, what has been the fate of pretenders to the sovereignty. What too will be the termination of your present position? To continue concentrated is impossible: for whence will you derive your provision of ordinary fruits, or those supplies which the sea furnishes to the land, except by war between Christians, and the mutual infliction of the most |299 disgraceful treatment? What too will be the final result? You will live in dispersion, and haunted by Justice, who will henceforward disdain to bestow forgiveness. Let us therefore give pledges of amity, and consider what course will be for the benefit of ourselves and the state, at a time too when we shall have the days of the saving Passion and of the most holy Resurrection conspiring with the deed."



HAVING thus addressed them, accompanying his speech with many tears, he wrought an instantaneous change in the minds of all, as it had been by some divine impulse. They immediately requested permission to retire from the meeting, and to deliberate among themselves respecting the course to be pursued. After a short interval they returned, and placed themselves at the disposal of the bishop. However, on his naming Philippicus to them, in order that they might themselves request him for a commander, they declared that the whole army had on this point bound themselves with fearful oaths: but the bishop, undeterred by this, without the least delay said, that he was a bishop by divine permission, and had authority to loose and bind both upon earth and in heaven, and at |300 the same time he quoted the sacred oracle. On their yielding upon this point also, he propitiated the Deity with supplication and prayers, at the same time administering to them, the communion of the immaculate body; for it happened to be the second day of the holy passion week. After he had feasted them all, to the number of two thousand, upon couches hastily constructed on the turf, he returned home the following day. It was also agreed that the soldiers should assemble wherever they might choose. Gregory in consequence sends for Philippicus, who at that time was at Tarsus in Cilicia, intending to proceed immediately to the imperial city; and he also reports these proceedings to the government, communicating at the same time the prayer of the soldiery respecting Philippicus. Accordingly, they meet Philippicus at Theopolis, and employing those who had been admitted to partake in the divine regeneration, to entreat for them, they bend in supplication before him, and, on receiving a solemn promise of amnesty, they return to their duty with him. Such was the progress of these events.



A CERTAIN Sittas, one of the petty officers stationed at Martyropolis, considering himself aggrieved by the |301 commanders in that place, betrays the city, by watching the withdrawal of the troops which occupied it, and introducing a Persian battalion under colour of being Romans. He thus obtained possession of a place which was most important to the Romans; and, retaining most of the younger females, expelled all the other inhabitants, except a few domestic slaves.

Philippicus in consequence marched thither, and beleaguered the city, without being provided with things necessary for the siege. Nevertheless, he maintained his operations with such means as he possessed, and, having run several mines, threw down one of the towers. He was unable, however, to make himself master of the place, because the Persians continued their exertions through the night, and secured the breach. When the Romans, repeatedly assaulting, were as often repulsed, for the missiles were hurled upon them from vantage ground with unerring aim, and since they were suffering greater loss than they inflicted, they at last raised the siege, and encamped at a short distance, with the sole object of preventing the Persians from reinforcing the garrison. By the order of Maurice, Gregory visits the camp, and induces them to resume the siege. They were, however, unable to accomplish any thing, from their utter want of engines for sieges. In consequence, the army breaks up for winter quarters, and numerous garrisons are left in the neighbouring forts, to prevent the |302 Persians from secretly introducing succours into the place.

In the succeeding summer, on the re-assembling of the army, and the advance of the Persians, a severely contested battle is fought before Martyropolis. Though the advantage was on the side of Philippicus, and many Persians had fallen, with the loss of one distinguished chieftain, a considerable body of the enemy made their way into the city: which was in fact their main object. Thenceforward the Romans gave up the siege in despair, as being unable to encounter this force, and they erect a rival city at the distance of seven stadia, in a stronger situation on the mountains, in order to the carrying on of counter operations. Such were the proceedings of the army during the summer; it broke up on the approach of winter.



COMENTIOLUS, a Thracian by birth, is sent out as a successor in the command to Philippicus. He engaged the Persians with great spirit, and would have lost his life by being thrown to the ground together with his horse, had not one of the guards mounted him upon a led horse, and conveyed him out of the battle. In consequence, the enemy fly with |303 precipitation, with the loss of all their commanders, and retire to Nisibis; and, fearing to return to their king, since he had threatened them with death unless they should bring off their commanders in safety, they there enter into the insurrection against Hormisdas, now that Varamus, the Persian general, had already entertained that design with his party on his return from his encounter with the Turks. In the meantime, Comentiolus, having commenced the siege of Martyropolls, leaves there the greater part of his army, and himself makes an excursion with a chosen body of troops to Ocbas, a very strong fortress, situated on a precipice on the bank opposite to Martyropolis, and commanding a view of the whole of that city. Having employed every effort in the siege, and thrown down some portion of the wall by catapults, he takes the place by storming the breach. In consequence, the Persians thenceforward despaired of keeping possession of Martyropolis.



WHILE such was the course of these events, the Persians despatched Hormisdas, the most unjust of all monarchs, in as far as he inflicted upon his subjects not only pecuniary exactions, but also various modes of death. |304 



THEY establish as his successor his son Chosroes, against whom Varamus advanced with his troops. Chosroes encounters him with an inconsiderable force, and takes to flight on seeing his own men deserting him. He arrives at Circesium, having, according to his own account, vowed to the God of the Christians, that he would allow his horse to take its course wherever it should be guided by Him. He was accompanied by his wives and two newly-born children, and certain Persian nobles who voluntarily followed him. Thence he sends an embassy to the emperor Maurice; who, manifesting on this occasion too the soundest judgment, and deriving from the very circumstances an estimate of the instability and mutability of life, and the sudden fluctuations of human affairs, admits his suit, and treats him as a guest instead of an exile, and as a son instead of a fugitive, welcoming him with royal gifts, which were sent not only by the emperor himself, but, in similar style, by the empress to the consorts of Chosroes, and also by their children to the children. |305 



THE emperor also despatches the whole of his body guards and the entire Roman army with their commander, with orders to attend Chosroes wherever he might choose to proceed: and by way of still greater distinction, he also sends Domitian, bishop of Melitene, his own kinsman, a man of sense and ability, most capable both in word and deed, and most efficient for the despatch of the highest transactions. He sends Gregory too: who on all points filled Chosroes with amazement, by his conversation, by his munificence, and by his suggestion of seasonable measures.



CHOSROES, having proceeded as far as Hierapolis, the capital of Euphratensis, immediately returned: and this was done with the consent of Maurice, who favoured the interest of his suppliant more than his own glory. He also presents Chosroes with a large sum of money, a circumstance never before recorded; and having raised a body of Persians, and supplied |306 the cost from his own means, he sends him across the border with a combined force of Romans and Persians, after Martyropolis had been previously surrendered, together with the traitor Sittas; whom the inhabitants stoned and impaled. Daras was also recovered on its evacuation by the Persian garrison, and Chosroes was restored to his kingdom in consequence of the utter overthrow of Varamus, in a single engagement with the Roman troops only, and his inglorious and solitary flight.



AT that time there was living in our country Golanduch, a female martyr, who maintained her testimony through a course of severe sufferings when tortured by the Persian Magi, and was a worker of extraordinary miracles. Her life was written by Stephen, the former bishop of Hierapolis.



CHOSROES, on his restoration to his kingdom, sends to Gregory a cross, embellished with much gold and precious stones, in honour of the victorious martyr |307 Sergius; which cross Theodora, the wife of Justinian, had dedicated, and Chosroes had carried off, with the other treasures, as I have already related. He also sends another golden cross, on which was engraven the following inscription in Greek:—

"This cross I, Chosroes, king of kings, son of Hormisdas, have sent. After I had been compelled to take refuge in the Roman territory by the slanderous practices and villany of the unhappy Varamus and his cavalry, and when, because the unhappy Zadespram had come to Nisibis with an army, with a view to seduce the cavalry in that quarter to revolt and raise commotion, we also had sent a body of cavalry with a commander to Charchas; at that time, by the fortune of the venerable and renowned saint, Sergius, having heard that he granted the petitions addressed to him, we vowed, in the first year of our reign, on the seventh day of January, that if our cavalry should slay or capture Zadespram, we would send to his sanctuary a golden cross, embellished with jewels for the sake of his venerable name: and on the seventh day of February they brought to us the head of Zadespram. Having, accordingly, obtained our petition, in order that each circumstance should be placed beyond all doubt, we have sent, in honour of his venerable name, this cross, which we have caused to be made, and together with it that which was sent to his sanctuary by Justinian, emperor of the Romans, and which |308 was conveyed hither by our father Chosroes, king of kings, son of Cabades, at the time of the rupture between the two states, and has been found among our treasures."

Gregory, having received these crosses, with the approval of the emperor Maurice, dedicated them with much ceremony in the sanctuary of the martyr. Shortly after, Chosroes sent other offerings for the same temple, with a golden disc, bearing the following inscription:—

"I, Chosroes, king of kings, son of Hormisdas, have placed the inscription upon this disc, not as an object for the gaze of mankind, nor that the greatness of thy venerable name might be made known by words of mine, but on account of the truth of the matters therein recorded, and the many benefits and favours which I have received at thy hands: for, that my name should be inscribed on thy sacred vessels, is a happiness to me. At the time when I was at Beramais, I begged of thee, O holy one, that thou wouldest come to my aid, and that Sira might conceive: and inasmuch as Sira was a Christian and I a heathen, and our law forbids us to have a Christian wife, nevertheless, on account of my favourable feelings towards thee, I disregarded the law as respects her, and among my wives I have constantly esteemed, and do still esteem her as peculiarly mine. Thus I resolved to request of thy goodness, O Saint, that she might |309 conceive: and I made the request with a vow, that, if Sira should conceive, I would send the cross she wears to thy venerable sanctuary. On this account both I and Sira purposed to retain this cross in memory of thy name, O Saint, and in place of it to send five thousand staters, as its value, which does not really exceed four thousand four hundred staters. From the time that I conceived this request and these intentions, until I reached Rhosochosron, not more than ten days elapsed, when thou, O Saint, not on account of my worthiness but thy kindness, appearedst to me in a vision of the night and didst thrice tell me that Sira should conceive, while, in the same vision, thrice I replied, It is well. From that day forward Sira has not experienced the custom of women, because thou art the granter of requests; though I, had I not believed thy words, and that thou art holy and the granter of requests, should have doubted that she would not thenceforward experience the custom of women. From this circumstance I was convinced of the power of the vision and the truth of thy words, and accordingly forthwith sent the same cross and its value to thy venerable sanctuary, with directions that out of that sum should be made a disc, and a cup for the purposes of the divine mysteries, as also a cross to be fixed upon the holy table, and a censer, all of gold: also a Hunnish veil adorned with gold. Let the surplus of the sum belong to thy sanctuary, in order that by |310 virtue of thy fortune, O saint, thou mayest come to the aid of me and Sira in all matters, and especially with respect to this petition; and that what has been already procured for us by thy intercession, may be consummated according to the compassion of thy goodness, and the desire of me and Sira; so that both of us, and all persons in the world, may trust in thy power and continue to believe in thee."

Such is the language of the offerings sent by Chosroes: an instance altogether resembling the prophecy of Balaam; since our compassionate God has wisely disposed it, that the tongues of heathens should give utterance to saving words.



AT the same time Naamanes, chieftain of the Scenites, after having been a detestable and vile heathen, to such an extent as to sacrifice with his own hand human beings to his gods, approached the sacred baptism. At which time he melted down a Venus of solid gold, and divided it among the poor, and also brought over all his followers to the service of God.

Gregory too, after the presentation of the crosses of Chosroes, while making, with the approbation of the government, a visitation of the solitudes on the |311 borders, where the doctrines of Severus extensively prevailed, brought into union with the Church of God many garrisons, villages, monasteries, and entire tribes.



AT this time, when the sainted Simeon was afflicted with a mortal disease, Gregory, on being informed by me of the circumstance, hastens to salute him for the last time, but was nevertheless disappointed. This Simeon far surpassed all his contemporaries in virtue, and endured the discipline of a life on the top of a column from his earliest years, since he even cast his teeth in that situation. The occasion on which he was first elevated on the column, was the following. While still very young, he was roving about, sporting and bounding along the eminences of the mountain, and meeting with a panther, he throws his girdle round its neck, and with this kind of halter led the beast, beguiled of its ferocity, to his monastery. His preceptor, who himself occupied a column, observing the circumstance, enquired what he had got; to which he replied, that it was a cat. Conjecturing from this occurrence how distinguished the child would be for virtue, he took him up upon the column; and on this |312 column, and on another, towering above the summit of the mountain, he spent sixty-eight years; earning thereby the highest gifts of grace, in respect of the ejection of demons, the healing of every disease and malady, and the foresight of future things as if they were present.

He also foretold to Gregory that the latter would not witness his death, but said that he was ignorant of the events which should follow it.

On occasion also of my ponderings on the loss of my children, when I was perplexed with the suggestion, why such things did not befall heathens who had numerous offspring; although I had not disclosed, my thoughts to any one, he wrote advising me to abandon such ideas as being displeasing to God.

In the case of the wife of one of my amanuenses, when the milk would not flow after child-birth, and the child was in extreme danger, laying his hand upon the right hand of her husband, he bid him place it upon the breasts of his wife. When this was done, immediately the milk started, as if from a fountain, so as to saturate her dress.

A child having been forgotten at dead of night by its fellow-travellers, a lion took it on its back, and conveyed it to the monastery; when, by orders of Simeon, the servants went out and brought in the child under the protection of the lion.

Many other actions he performed, surpassing every |313 thing that has been recorded; which demand of an historian elegance of language, leisure, and a separate treatise, being renowned by the tongues of mankind; for persons came to visit him from almost every part of the earth, not only Romans but barbarians, and obtained the object of their prayers. In his case, the place of food and drink was supplied by the branches of a shrub which grew upon the mountain.



SHORTLY after, Gregory also dies, after taking a draught of medicine composed of what is called Hermodactylus, administered by one of the physicians during a fit of gout; a disease with which he was much afflicted. At the time of his death, Gregory, the successor of Pelagius, was bishop of Old Rome, and John of New Rome; Eulogius, one of those whom I have already mentioned, of Alexandria; and Anastasius was restored, after three and twenty years, to the see of Theopolis. John was bishop of Jerusalem; since whose decease, which occurred shortly after, no one has hitherto been entrusted with that see.

Here let me close my history, in the twelfth year of the reign of Maurice Tiberius, leaving the task of selecting and recording succeeding events to those |314 who choose to undertake it. If any matter has been overlooked by me or has been treated without sufficient accuracy, let no one blame me, considering that I have brought together scattered materials in order to the benefit of mankind; for whose sake I have submitted to so much toil.

I have also compiled another volume, containing memorials, epistles, decrees, orations, and disputations, and some other matters. The memorials were principally composed in the name of Gregory, bishop of Theopolis; and by means of them I obtained two dignities, Tiberius Constantine having conferred upon me quaestorian rank, and Maurice Tiberius that of prefecture, in consideration of what I composed at the time when he rid the empire of reproach in becoming the father of Theodosius, an earnest of all prosperity both to himself and the commonwealth.


[Footnotes have been moved to the end and assigned numbers rather than the asterisks etc used in the printed volume.  Footnotes in [Red] are taken from the running titles, not the bottom of the page]

1.  * De Fortuna Romanorum, sub init.

2. [A.D. 589.]

3. [A.D. 587.]

4. [A.D. 589.]

5. [A.D. 590.]

6. [A.D. 590.]

7. [A.D. 590.]

8. [A.D. 591.]

9. [A.D.591.]

10. [A.D. 594.]

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This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 19th October 2002.  All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts