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Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service
 1611434866, 9781611434866

Table of contents :
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
1. INTRODUCTION
2. JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
3. POSITIVE SOURCES
4. THE SILENT SOURCES. FROM HIM COME THE KINGS AND THE RULERS AND THE GOVERNORS
5. DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION OR TO SERVE OR NOT TO SERVE? OR BREAK OFF THE TIES THAT BIND AND ENTANGLE YOU IN THIS WORLD
6. NEGATIVE SOURCES
7. COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS IN TIMES OF PEACE SHOULD BE KEPT FROM COMMUNION
8. EPILOGUE
9. BIBLIOGRAPHY
10. APPENDIX A. OTHER POSSIBLE EPIGRAPHICAL EVIDENCE
11. APPENDIX B. A SELECTION OF THE SOURCES DISCUSSED
INDEX

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Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service

Gorgias Studies in Classical and Late Antiquity

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Gorgias Studies in Classical and Late Antiquity contains monographs and edited volumes on the Greco-Roman world and its transition into Late Antiquity, encompassing political and social structures, knowledge and educational ideals, art, architecture and literature.

Early Christian Attitudes to War, Violence and Military Service

Despina Iosif

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34 2013

Gorgias Press LLC, 954 River Road, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA www.gorgiaspress.com Copyright © 2013 by Gorgias Press LLC

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the prior written permission of Gorgias Press LLC. 2013

‫ܐ‬

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ISBN 978-1-61143-486-6

Front cover image designed by Dimitris Koumaniotis

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A Cataloging-in-Publication Record is Available from the Library of Congress. Printed in the United States of America

TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Contents ..................................................................................... v Acknowledgements ................................................................................. ix 1. Introduction .......................................................................................... 1 2. Jesus and the Evangelists or Love Your Enemies ............................. 19 3. Positive Sources .................................................................................. 61 4. The Silent Sources. From Him Come the Kings and the Rulers and the Governors ............................................................................145 5. Dilemmas for Those Who Strive for Perfection or To Serve or Not to Serve? or Break Off the Ties That Bind and Entangle You in This World ...........................................................187 6. Negative Sources ..............................................................................213 7. Councils or Those Who Throw Away Their Arms in Times of Peace Should Be Kept from Communion .......................................287 8. Epilogue .............................................................................................305 9. Bibliography ......................................................................................309 10. Appendix A. Other Possible Epigraphical Evidence ...............357 11. Appendix B. A Selection of the Sources Discussed .................363 Index .......................................................................................................387

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To my husband Georgios Mavrikas and our baby daughter Zoe Andreas Mavrika.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am particularly grateful to John A. North who has been a most inspiring supervisor during my UCL years, to Richard Alston who was always eager to read numerous versions of this manuscript and to provide invaluable erudite advice, to Dimitris J. Kyrtatas for introducing me in a magical way to the fascinating world of late antiquity and to Dimitris Koumaniotis for his constant kind support. Thanks are also due to Baggelis Balomenos, Brian Campbell, Gillian Clark, Michael Crawford, David L. d’Avray, Charalambos Dendrinos, Catherine Hall, Guy Halsall, Jonathan Harris, Ian Kelso, Felicitas Kohen, Katerina Panagopoulou, Alina Poulaki, Jonathan Prag, Charlotte Roueché, Cornelia Römer, Benet Salway, Stavros Perentidis, Isabella Sandwell and Maria Ypsilanti who offered many learned suggestions of the greatest value and to the staff of the Institute of Classical Studies Library in London for being so helpful and friendly.

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1. INTRODUCTION Dion the proconsul said to Maximilian: “Agree to serve and receive the military seal”. “I will not accept the seal”, he replied. “I already have the seal of Christ who is my God”. Dion said: “I will send you to your Christ directly”. “I only wish you would” (Maximilian) replied. “This would be my glory”. (Acta Maximiliani 2.4+5)1

Maximilian’s obstinacy in refusing to enlist cost him his life; he suffered a martyr’s death under emperor Diocletian (284–305) at Tebessa in Numidia. Did Maximilian’s Christian friends approve of such a conduct and did his Christian and non-Christian contemporaries expect it? Or were they rather taken by surprise? Service in the Roman army entailed, after all, taking oaths to the pagan emperors, obeying orders by pagan officers, consorting with pagans, participating in pagan ceremonies, being away from home and facing temptations to lead a life of doubtful morality, resorting to violence and the possibility of homicide. Questions like these form the kernel of my enquiry. My intention is to reveal early Christian attitudes to and perceptions of military service. It ought to be clarified that by the term ‘early’, I have in mind the period before the emperor Constantine (307–337) openly expressed his favourable disposition towards Christianity. Herbert Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1972, p. 244–249. 1

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Inter caetera vero bellandi artem cognoscere pulchrum est, (= it is nice to know the art of war among other things),2 Julius Africanus wrote in the beginning of the third century CE. Julius Africanus was probably born ca. 160 in Jerusalem. He regarded himself as a Christian, took part in the expedition of emperor Septimius Severus (193–211) against the Osrhoenes in 195, established a library in the Pantheon in Rome for Severus Alexander (222–235), was an ambassador of the colony of veterans at EmmausNicopolis, composed works on Christianity and works on military topics3 and still was regarded as a Christian and respected by significant Christian theologians like Origen, Eusebius and Jerome.4 The dominant view of twentieth century scholarship was that Maximilian’s and not Julius Africanus’ behaviour was typical of an early Christian, the early Church was pacifist, military service was regarded as incompatible with Christian ethics and in practice the early Christians separated themselves from the military activities of the Roman state. Historical surveys of the Christian teaching on war, violence and the military profession have conventionally employed R. H. Bainton’s position that there were three chronological stages in the history of the Church: the early Church was pacifist; then, after the conversion of Constantine, the Church compromised and embraced the theory of the just war; finally, in

Julius Africanus, Kestoi 7.1. Julius Africanus’ principal works were the Chronographiai, in five books, a synchronization of sacred and profane history from the creation to 221 CE that was the basis for Eusebius’ chronicle, and the Kestoi, in twenty-four books, a miscellany of information on questions in medicine, magic and warfare. Both works have survived in fragments. Julius Africanus also wrote a letter to Origen on the story of Susannah and another to Aristides on the genealogy of Jesus. See Francis C. R. Thee, Julius Africanus and the Early Christian View of Magic, Tübingen, 1984, p. 106, Giacomo Leopardi, Giulio Africano, Napoli, 1997, p. 149, and Martin Wallraff, ed., Julius Africanus und die christliche Weltchronistik, Berlin, 2006. 4 Thee, Julius Africanus, p. 13–16. 2 3

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the Middle Ages, the Church initiated crusades.5 As far as the early Church is concerned, modern scholars attribute the pacifist position either to the fact that the early Christians were aware of the danger of contamination by the idolatrous practices of the Roman army6 or to the aversion felt by the early Christians for killing,7 or indeed both.8

Ronald H. Bainton, “The Early Church and War”, HThR, 1946, p. 189–215 and Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace. A Historical Survey and Critical Reevaluation, Abingdon, Nashville, 1960. 6 Some scholars attribute the pacifism of the early Church to the fact that life in the Roman armies was connected to idolatry. See for example: E. J. Ryan, “The Rejection of Military Service by the Early Christians”, TS 13, 1952, p. 1–29, Geoffrey Nuttall, Christian Pacifism in History, Berkeley, California, 1958, p. 9, Jeremiah Newman, “Modern War and Pacifism”, Irish Theological Quarterly 28, 1961, p. 181–206, (p. 187–188), John Macquarrie, The Concept of Peace, London, 1973, p. 49, Michael Whitby, “Deus Nobiscum: Christianity, Warfare and Morale in Late Antiquity” in Michel Austin, Jill Harries and Christopher Smith, ed., Essays in Honour of Geoffry Rickman, University of London, London, 1998, p. 191–208, (p. 191), and Ioannis Theodorakopoulos, «Η αγιότητα και ο στρατός κατά τη βυζαντινή εποχή», in Ioannis Bassis, Marina Loukaki, Epistimi Papadopoulou, ed., Γ΄ Συνάντηση Βυζαντινολόγων Ελλάδος και Κύπρου, Rethymno, 2002, p. 39–40. 7 The idea that the early Church saw an incompatibility of love with killing is proposed by Bainton, “Early Church and War”, p. 208 and Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace, p. 77, John Helgeland, “Christians and the Roman Army, AD173–337”, Church History 43.2, 1974, p. 49–163, L. J. Swift, “War and the Christian Conscience. The Early Years” ANRW II.23.1.1979, p. 835–868, (p. 867), Jean- Michel Hornus, It is Unlawful for me to Fight. Early Christian Attitudes toward War, Violence and the State, tr. Alan Kreider and Oliver Coburn, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1980, Peter Brock, The Roots of War Resistance. Pacifism from the Early Church to Tolstoy, New York, 1981, p. 12, L. J. Swift, The Early Fathers on War and Military Service in Thomas Halton, ed., Message of the Fathers of the Church 19, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983, Robert J. Daly, “Military Service and Early Christianity: a Methodological Approach”, StPatr. XVIII, 1985, p. 1–8, (p. 4), and R. Grégoire, “Obiezione di coscienza: tra fedeltà militare e 5

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I wish to challenge the traditional view which has derived from particular weaknesses and which considerably distorts our understanding of the relations between early Christians and the military and of early Christian ethics. The view stems from overconcentration on particular ‘pacifist’ works from Origen, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Lactantius and on a few Acts of the Military Martyrs, and on the assumption that the ‘pacifist’ works voiced the common sentiments of their times, and on the failure to consider the particular political and literary contexts of these works. It has regrettably been ignored that even the pacifist Christian teachers were often inconsistent in their views and in their adherence to their views and that they assumed or implied the existence of Christian soldiers even when they found such an existence totally unacceptable. Simultaneously, the bulk of the late antique literary creations that remains silent on the issue of the legitimacy of Christian participation in warfare has been neglected. We have to examine carefully whether this silence implies an assumption of pacifism or whether it reveals that pacifism and nonparticipation in military activities was not a defining feature of early Christian identity. Furthermore, scholarship has systematically devalued as exceptional a plethora of tombstones that had belonged to early Christians in which they, or their nearest and dearest, unequivocally expressed their pride for their having military careers, and often long and successful ones. At the same time, the New Testament statements of condemnation of violence and exhortation to love enemies have greatly impressed generations of scholars who took them as conclusive evidence that Jesus and the early Church unanimously rejected the idea of the faithful pursuing military careers. However, these scholars have failed to demonstrate that fedeltà cristiana”, L’etica cristiana nei secoli III e IV: eredità e confronti, Studia Ephemeridis Augustinianum 53, Roma, 1996, p. 85–97. 8 See Cecil John Cadoux, The Early Church and the World. A History of the Christian Attitude to Pagan Society and the State Down to the Time of Constantinus, Edinburgh, 1925, p. 275 and Carol Harrison, Augustine. Christian Truth and Fractured Humanity, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2000, p. 218.

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such statements were directed towards Christians who had or desired a career in the army. One could argue that when the early Christian advocates made such general statements they had only private relations in mind and that it was customary between them to speak of love but without relating that command to public life. It appears that for some Christians the command to love one’s enemies did not have any practical value, except at a personal level. In addition, the matter of the areas from which Roman soldiers were recruited has been overlooked9 when it needs to be asked whether soldiers were recruited from areas where early Christianity was strong and widespread.10 It seems the army recruited from frontier rural areas,11 whereas, urban areas were the See: Yann Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, tr. R. Bate, London and New York, 1989, N. J. E. Austin and N. B. Rankov, Exploratio: Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World, London, 1995, A. K. Goldsworthy, The Roman Army at War 100 BC-AD 200, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996, M. J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople, Amsterdam, 1998, and D. Williams, Romans and Barbarians. Four Views from the Empire’s Edge, 1st Century AD, London, 1998. 10 It seems that the term paganus could have three meanings in late antiquity: it could signify a country dweller (Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, Middlesex, New York, Victoria, Ontario, Auckland, 1986, p. 30–31), a civilian (J. F. Gilliam, “Paganus in B.G.U. 696”, American Journal of Philology 73, 1952, p. 75–78, Hornus, It is Unlawful for me to Fight, p. 71), and a non-Christian (Carlo Tagliavini, Storia di parole pagane e cristiane attraverso il tempo, Brescia, 1963, p. 10 and James J. O’Donnel, “Paganus. Evolution and Use”, Classical Folia 31, no 2, 1977, p. 163–169). Could it be because in the first three centuries CE, Christians, who perceived themselves as the soldiers of Jesus, were only a tiny minority in rural areas? See also footnote 12. 11 As far as the recruiting grounds of the Roman army are concerned, we are tantalizingly under-informed. For a hint see Cato, De Agricultura, Preface. See also Ramsay MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian in the Later Roman Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London 1963, p. 110, A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, Oxford, 1973, 19641, vol. 1, p. 617–618 and 647, G. R. Watson, The Roman Soldier, Bristol, 1969, p. 133, and James Turner Johnson, The Quest for Peace. Three 9

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stronghold of the Church.12 Christianity did not reach the frontier rural areas until after Constantine. Their recruiting grounds did not coincide.13 Thus, the problem of Christians with military careers did not have a reason to exist, other than theoretically. Moreover, little attention has been paid to the question of the numbers of Christians in the Roman army. It has been roughly estimated14 that the population of the Roman empire was 60.000.000 people15 and the overall size of the imperial legionary and auxiliary military Moral Traditions in Western Cultural History, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, Surrey, 1987, p. 32. 12 Tertullian, Ad Scapulam 2, A. Harnack, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, tr. James Moffatt, London and New York, 1908, W. H. C. Frend, “The Winning of the Countryside”, JEC XVIII, 1967, p. 1–14, (p. 1), and “Town and Countryside in Early Christianity” in D. Baker, ed., Studies in Church History XVI, Oxford, 1979, p. 25–42, (p. 32), and “Church and State. Perspective and Problems in the Patristic Era”, StPatr. XVII, 1982, p. 38–54 (p. 44), R. A. Markus, Christianity in the Roman World, London, 1974, p. 78–79, Wayne A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians. The Social World of Apostle Paul, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1983, Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, p. 38 and 287, A. H. M. Jones, “The Social Background of the Struggle between Paganism and Christianity” in Ar. Momigliano, ed., On Pagans, Jews and Christians, Middletown, Connecticut, 1987, p. 17–37, (p. 17–18), Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity. A Sociologist Reconsiders History, Princeton University Press, Princeton and New Jersey, 1996, p. 147, A. D. Lee, Pagans and Christians in Late Antiquity, London and New York, 2000, p. 10, Ken Dowden, European Paganism. The Realities of Cult from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, London and New York, 2000, p. 3, and David A. Fiensy, “What Would You Do for a Living?” in Anthony J. Blasi, Jean Duhaime, Paul-Andrè Turcotte, ed., Handbook of Early Christianity. Social Science Approaches, Wainut Creek, Lanham, New York, Oxford, 2002, p. 555–574, (p. 564). 13 R. MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire AD 100–400, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1984, p. 44–45. 14 All numbers and percentages given are no more than estimates. Nevertheless, they provide an order of magnitude. 15 See Keith Hopkins’ ground-breaking article, “Christian Number and Its Implication”, JECS 6:2, 1998, p. 185–226, (p. 195).

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forces was around 300.000 men in the second century and 450.00016 (= 0.75% of the population)17 by the early third. At the same time, it seems that Christianity was not widespread before Constantine; Christians probably occupied no more than 0.0126% of the empire’s population in the year CE 100, 0.36% in the year 200, 1.9% in 250 and 10.5% at the time of Constantine’s conversion.18 Given that ancient populations were probably made up of 30% adult males,19 and if Christianity was recruiting evenly among the sexes, then from the approximately 216.000 Christians in the year 200, more than 60.000 were Christian adult males.20 Therefore, even if the army was recruiting evenly among Christians and non-Christians we should only expect to have been a few Christians in the Roman army, probably around 1.600 Christian soldiers in the year 200, fewer in earlier periods and gradually more as Christianity expanded. As susceptible as these figures are to error, they give us some indication of how tiny the number of early Christian soldiers was and of how impressive it is when their traces are picked up. Finally, it has been customary to take for granted that the early Christians came from the lower classes and to deduce that they Ramsay MacMullen, “How Big was the Roman Imperial Army?”, Klio 62, 1980, p. 451–460, Alan K. Bowman, Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier: Vindolanda and its People, New York, 1998, p. 34, Terence Coello, Unit Sizes in the Late Roman Army, BAR International Series 645, Oxford, 1996, and Brian Campbell, War and Society in Imperial Rome 31BC–AD284, London and New York, 2002, p. 92. 17 Peter Garnsey and Richard Saller, The Early Principate. Augustus to Trajan, Oxford Clarendon Press, Series Greece and Rome, New Surveys in the Classics no. 15, 1982, p. 25. 18 Stark, The Rise of Christianity, Hopkins, “Christian Number”, and Dominic Janes, Romans and Christians, Gloucestershire, 2002, p. 53. See also M. R. Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy. Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA/ London, 2002, and W. V. Harris, ed., The Spread of Christianity in the First Four Centuries. Essays in Explanation, Leiden, 2005. 19 Hopkins, “Christian Number”, p. 204. 20 Hopkins, “Christian Number”, p. 213. 16

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could not be conscripted even if they wished.21 However, most recruiting officers were happy to conscript whoever was available as long as they were not slaves.22 D. J. Kyrtatas’ study The Social Structure of the Early Christian Communities has shown that the idea that the early Christians came exclusively from the lower classes is not sound. Their composition reflected the composition of the Roman society in general.23 An enormous literature has been generated by the discussion of early Christian attitudes to war, violence and the military profession. This discussion has taken place mainly in periods of crisis or potential crisis, when it was vital to re-evaluate the relations between Church and state. In particular, it was mostly during the Two World Wars and the ‘Nuclear Age’ (1960s–1980s) that intellectuals showed a vivid interest in the problem and appealed to the Bible and the Christian Fathers to justify their positions. Modern scholars have claimed support for almost every conceivable position from radical pacifism to holy war. Some were of the opinion that the teachings of Jesus and the first Christian communities were essentially pacifist and so called the twentieth century audience to endorse the same ethic. They declared the need to return to the ‘primitive purity’, before the ‘fall’ which came with

Cecil John Cadoux, The Early Christian Attitude to War. A Contribution to the History of the Christian Ethics, London, 1919, p. 16 and 247 and Early Church, p. 116, Bainton, “Early Church and War”, p. 191 and Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace, p. 68, Swift, “War and Christian Conscience”, p. 843, C. Munier, L’Église dans l’Empire romain. Église et cité, Paris, 1979, p. 185–186, Brock, Roots, p. 10, David Hollenbach, Nuclear Ethics. A Christian Moral Argument, New York, Ramsey, 1983, p. 9, Manuel I. Castaños-Molllor, La secularidad en los escritores cristianos de los dos primeros siglos, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 1984, p. 141, Peter Brock, Pacifism to 1914. An Overview, Toronto, 1994, p. 3, and Charles Matson Odahl, Constantine and the Christian Empire, London and New York, 2004, p. 29. 22 See footnotes 9 and 11. 23 D. J. Kyrtatas, The Social Structure of the Early Christian Communities, London, 1987. 21

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the conversion of Constantine.24 Simultaneously, other scholars admitted Jesus and the early Christians’ stance to be unequivocally pacifist but found these messages no longer applicable. The twentieth century was regarded as too imperfect and thus demanded selective instances of violence by a legitimate power.25 Finally, a third group could not find any pacifist messages in the Bible.26 Scholars created models to fit their own moral aspirations. Their bias and presuppositions affected their perception, interpretation and determination of the significance of the data.27 Adolf Harnack’s Militia Christi. Die christliche Religion and der Soldatenstand in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten is probably the first major work on the subject.28 Harnack concluded that Christian ethics G. H. C. Macgregor, The New Testament Basis of Pacifism, London, 1936, James Turner Johnson, Just War Tradition and the Restraint of War. A Moral and Historical Inquiry, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1981, p. xxviii, and Peter Partner, God of Battles. Holy Wars of Christianity and Islam, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1997, p. 60–61. On Constantine’s conversion to Christianity see: Odahl, Constantine, p. 98–120 and H. A. Drake, “The Impact of Constantine on Christianity” in Noel Lenski, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2006, p. 111– 136, (p. 113–116). 25 W. R. Matthews, The Foundations of Peace, London, 1942. 26 Percy Dearmer, Patriotism. Papers for War Time, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1915, Peter Brock, Pacifism in Europe to 1914, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1972, p. 4, and Peter Mayhew, A Theology of Force and Violence, London, Philadelphia, 1989, p. 6. 27 Only a few scholars found the Bible as an inadequate guide for past and present attitudes to war, violence and military service. One of them is Jacque Ellul in Violence. Reflections from a Christian Perspective, New York, 1969, p. 81. 28 Adolf Harnack, Militia Christi. Die christliche Religion and der Soldatenstand in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, Tübingen, 1905. The book was translated in English in 1981 by David McInnes: Militia Christi. The Christian Religion and the Military in the First Three Centuries, Philadelphia. On Harnack’s contribution to NT and patristic studies see Adrian Hastings, “Conflict and Rapprochement. The 20th century” in Adrian Hastings, 24

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prohibited any involvement in the military but that the prohibition was not generally upheld. Cecil John Cadoux’s The Early Christian Attitude to War. A Contribution to the history of Christian Ethics was written as a reaction to Harnack’s conclusion.29 The work is very serious but sometimes Cadoux allowed his own pacifism to influence the presentation of the sources and the inferences he drew from them. In 1965 and in 1979 two important articles appeared, Jacques Fontaine’s “Christians and Military Service”30 and Louis J. Swift’s “War and the Christian Conscience. The Early Years”31 respectively, both mainly concentrating on presenting the trends of the secondary bibliography. A few years later Swift published The Early Fathers on War and Military Service32 and Enrico Pucciarelli I cristiani e il servizio militare. Testimonianze dei primi tre secoli,33 both principally concentrating on collecting the relevant passages from the early Christian sources. Other important works are by John Helgeland;34 it is a pity that they are quite brief. The latest systematic work is probably by José Fernández Ubiña,

Alistair Mason and Hugh Pyper, ed., Christian Thought. A Brief History, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2002, p. 153–176. 29 Cecil John Cadoux, The Early Christian Attitude to War. A Contribution to the history of Christian Ethics, London, 1919. 30 Jacques Fontaine, “Christians and Military Service”, Concilium 7, 1965, p. 58–64. 31 Louis J. Swift, “War and the Christian Conscience. The Early Years”, ANRW II.23.1, 1979, p. 835–868. 32 Louis J. Swift, The Early Fathers on War and Military Service, Thomas Halton, ed., Message of the Fathers of the Church, no 19, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983. 33 Enrico Pucciarelli, I cristiani e il servizio militare. Testimonianze dei primi tre secoli, Firenze, 1987. 34 John Helgeland, “Christians and the Roman Army AD 173–337”, Church History 43.2, 1974, p. 149–163 and 200, “Roman Army Religion”, ANRW II.16.2, 1978, p. 1470–1505, “Christians and the Roman Army from Marcus Aurelius to Constantine”, ANRW II.23.I.1979, p. 724–834, and with Robert J. Daly and J. Patout Burns, Christians and the Military. The Early Experience, Philadelphia, 1985.

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entitled Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la guerra;35 it is a shame it is not yet translated into English so more people could profit from it. My aim is to refute the well-established notion that all the early Christians were pacifists. The early Christians often accepted war and entered the army without having any problems with their consciences. The legitimacy of war and military service was not one of their major concerns; it was often of subordinate interest to them. And abstention from the army was never a defining component of early Christian identity. Christians in late antiquity accepted warfare simply because they were profoundly loyal to the political authorities of their time. When the empire became Christian or when Christian intellectuals envisaged the possibility of a Christian empire with a Christian emperor on the throne, then and for the first time, the declaration of wars by Christians and Christian participation in wars started to be regarded as a problem. Under these circumstances Christians started reflecting on the issue and established criteria for the determination of just and unjust wars. Did the Christian Church lose its soul once Constantine became emperor? The view that the Church after the conversion of Constantine turned from a stage of pacifism to non-pacifism ought to be challenged.36 One could argue in favour of a different development: from a stage of acceptance or toleration of wars, the José Fernández Ubiña, Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la Guerra, University of Granada, Granada, 2000. 36 The idea that the recognition of Christianity as the official religion of the empire signified the end of the early Christian anti-militarism is supported by numerous scholars. See e.g.: K. H. E. De Jong, Dienstweigering bij de oude Christenen, Leiden, 1905, p. 28, Aldous Huxley, An Encyclopaedia of Pacifism, London, 1937, p. 22, G. C. Field, Pacifism and Conscientious Objection, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1945, p. 2, John Ferguson, War and Peace in the World’s Religions, London, 1977, p. 104, Enda McDonagh, The Demands of Simple Justice, Dublin, 1980, p. 60, Rosemary Radford Ruether, “War and Peace in the Christian Tradition” in H. Kuna and Jurgen Moltman, ed., A Council of Peace, Edinburgh, 1988, p. 17–24, (p. 20), and Odahl, Constantine, p. 30–31. 35

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Church moved after the conversion of Constantine to a stage when wars became acceptable only under certain circumstances. There was a change after the conversion of Constantine, but his ascension to the throne did not terminate the pacifist period, as alleged, simply because there never was such a period. The most influential voices in Christianity continued to accept wars as a legitimate option but simultaneously started to set requirements for the appropriate conduct of wars. For Christians, it was the arrival of an era of responsibility for policy and action. An unprecedented number of thinkers started to question the morality and efficacy of wars for the first time in the fourth century. This phenomenon continued in the following centuries. Ambrose in the fourth century, Augustine in the late fourth and early fifth century, Gratian in the twelfth century, Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, Francisco de Vitoria and Francisco Suarez in the sixteenth century, Hugo Gorth in the seventeenth century, John Locke in the eighteenth century and recently other scholars engaged in determining all the more strict factors for characterizing a war as legitimate. These factors were: the declaration of the war by a competent authority, for a just cause, and with a reasonable hope of success.37 Twentieth century intellectuals, being stunned by the horror of the ‘nuclear age’, added to the list of the requirements the use of acceptable weapons. We still are adherents and defenders of the just war theory. The issue of the permissibility of enlistment and participation in warfare is part of the relations between Church and state. The early Christians’ divergence in perspective was connected to their understanding of political responsibility and their view of the authorities. Christian attitudes to war, violence and the military service were, and still are, shaped by attitudes to the political authorities. The majority of the Christian writers shared the viewpoint of the upper classes. Their works represented social conservatism and they accepted or tolerated wars and military service as a sign of conformism.

Arthur Nussbaum, “Just War- A Legal Concept?”, Michigan Law Review 42, 1943, p. 453–479. 37

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The early Christians were not of one mind.38 There was a bewildering variety of opinion as to how they understood their place in the world. They generally did not stand apart from society though; on the contrary, they were happy to integrate and conform. The modern Christian Churches are still not of one mind. However, the dominant position is that war is justified under certain conditions: either for self-defense or for the preservation of traditional standards. It is interesting that only a small number of Churches take absolute pacifism as normative (e.g. the Quakers and the Mennonites)39 and it is also noteworthy that in the 1950s and 1960s some theologians and preachers were even in favour of a limited use of nuclear weapons (e.g. Thomas E. Murray). The dominant approach of the Christian Churches to arms control and disarmament is cautious and carefully drawn. One could conclude that this attitude reflects the awareness of the complexity of an issue so central to security and the realization that no simple solutions are efficient. One could also conclude that the modern Churches provide little guidance about specific policy measures and that is due to their cowardice and to the fact that they still are by and large the auxiliaries of the state.40 One could choose between

Pagans noticed that Christians were fiercely quarrelling among each other. Ammianus Marcellinus for example recounted in his Res Gestae xxii.5.4 how the emperor Julian in an ingenious attempt to weaken Christianity called together the numerous rival sects and urged them to follow their own beliefs. 39 Brock, Roots, p. 19–62, Barbara Eggleston, ed., Christian Initiatives in Peacemaking, Birmingham, 1983, and R. John Elford, “Christianity and War” in Robin Gill, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, 2001, p. 171–172, (p. 173). 40 ‘Christianity is subversive of subversion’ according to Geoffrey F. Nuttall in Christianity and Violence, London, 1972, p. 38. See also Charles Davis Reli, The Making of History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1994, on the idea that the Christian religion historically has more often than not been a factor of social integration and only rarely fuelled revolution. 38

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these two views according to his/her political convictions. One could be conservative or provocative. The Catholic theologian G. Zahn in 1980 concluded his ‘Afterword’ with the following words: ‘Perhaps twenty years from now when some enterprising editor takes it upon himself to survey the state of the question concerning Christianity and peace, humankind will have achieved something much closer to that ideal world. If humankind survives’.41 Zahn would have been pleased to know that humanity still survives and the issue is being addressed as he hoped. When I begun my thesis in September 1999 I wrote in the introduction: ‘Nowadays working on early Christian attitudes on warfare is not very popular; probably due to the remoteness of the question as a practical issue from the lives of most European persons. The issue is no longer poignant and pressing. Perhaps, the break-up of the U.S.S.R. is responsible. It removed the terrifying prospect of the two superpowers clashing with fatal consequences. We may still believe that the human life and body has an absolute value, but there is a shift of emphasis. We prefer to engage in discussions on abortion, on capital punishment and on euthanasia. I wish to revive interest in the issue and call for a calmer investigation.’ Four years later, when I was completing my thesis, I was obliged to reconsider. The debate concerning early Christian attitudes to war, violence and military service has started once again. 11/9 has triggered it. Before I embark on my examination I ought to wonder whether the military was considered an attractive career option for a young Roman in the first three centuries after Christ. The fact that recruits were normally volunteers42 suggests an affirmative answer. Moreover, we have to consider that since the Roman economy was primarily based on land and the majority, perhaps G. Zahn, “Afterword”, in Thomas A. Shannon, ed., War or Peace? The Search for New Answers, New York, 1980, p. 230–245. 42 G. Forni, “Estrazione etnica e sociale dei soldati delle legioni nei primi tre secoli dell’impero”, ANRW II.1.1974, p. 339–391, (p. 354), Roy W. Davies, “The Daily Life of a Roman Soldier under the Principate”, ANRW II.I.1974, p. 299–338, (p. 334), and Service in the Roman Army, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1989, p. 10. 41

INTRODUCTION

15

three-quarters of the population of the empire, worked on the land,43 the army provided a way of escaping the narrow confines of rural and domestic life, encouraged literacy44 and opened up various avenues of advancement. Soldiers were well fed, their diet was rich in quantity and quality and never ran short45 and consumption of meat46 and wine47 was far from uncommon in the ranks. Soldiers were well clothed,48 and well looked after, with medical service49 and baths50 at their disposal. Special appeal must have exerted the certainty of regular employment and pay (called stipendium) in three annual installments, the opportunity to supplement pay by booty and donatives, the privileged position before the law,51 the exemption from certain taxes,52 the freedom from the potestas of the father53 and the total control of the assets acquired during service. Service did not only entail spilling blood on the battlefield; soldiers were called to perform a great range of para-military and non-military duties, like police work, representing local authority at local level, summoning, escorting, interrogating and guarding suspects, prisoners and witnesses, acting as judges, persecuting Christians (and other atheists), suppressing brigands, Garnsey and Saller, Early Principate, p. 23. Bowman, Life and Letters, p. 82 and 90. 45 Robin Birley, Vindolanda. A Roman Fortier Post on Hadrian’s Wall, London, 1977, p. 155, Alan K. Bowman, The Writing Tablets from Vindolanda, London, 1983, p. 34 and Life and Letters, p. 70–72. 46 Davies, Service in the Roman Army, p. 191 and Bowman, Life and Letters, p. 77. 47 Bowman, Life and Letters, p. 76. 48 Bowman, Life and Letters, p. 72. 49 Davies, Service in the Roman Army, p. 68, 209 and 212 and Bowman, Life and Letters, p. 79. 50 Davies, Service in the Roman Army, p. 211 and Bowman, Life and Letters, p. 79. 51 J. B. Campbell, The Emperor and Roman Army 31BC–235AD, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1984, p. 209 and R. Alston, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt: a Social History, London and New York, 1995, p. 62. 52 Campbell, Emperor and Roman Army, p. 178. 53 Campbell, Emperor and Roman Army, p. 229. 43 44

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collecting taxes, regulating traffic through cities, constructing and repairing roads, bridges and public buildings, guarding state granaries, extinguishing fires, carrying letters and escorting prominent individuals.54 Despite all these duties, it seems that Roman soldiers had a lot of free time.55 And upon completion of the twenty-five years of service legionaries received a pension worth more than ten times a year’s pay or a plot of land,56 enough to make them prosperous members of the small provincial communities where they usually settled at,57 and auxiliary soldiers were awarded with Roman citizenship.58 Although the circumstances varied according to time, place, the type of unit and the character of the commanding officers, scholars generally agree that in the first two centuries CE, soldiers were content and the overall financial and social position of the troops was superior to that of most common people.59 On the daily life of an average Roman soldier see: MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian, p. 50f, Davies, “Daily Life”, Adrian Goldsworthy, Roman Warfare, London, 20001, 2002, p. 144, and C. J. Fuhrmann, Policing the Roman Empire, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2012, ch. 6, 7 and 8. 55 Dick Whittaker, “Landlords and Warlords in the Later Roman Empire” in John Rich and Graham Shipley, ed., War and Society in the Roman World, London and New York, 1993, p. 277–302, (p. 287), Leslie S. B. MacCoull, “When Justinian was Upsetting the World: a Note on Soldiers and Religious Coercion in Egypt” in Timothy S. Miller and John Nesbitt, ed., Peace and War in Byzantium. Essays in Honor of George T. Dennis S. J., The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D. C. 1995, p. 106–113 (p. 108), and Lionel Casson, Everyday Life in Ancient Rome, Baltimore and London, 19751, 1998, p. 81. 56 Campbell, War and Society, p. 34. 57 Garnsey and Saller, Early Principate, p. 25. 58 Davies, Service in the Roman Army, p. 29. 59 Forni, “Estrazione etnica e sociale”, p. 355, Campbell, Emperor and Roman Army, p. 179, Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 210, Davies, Service in the Roman Army, p. 202–203, Alston, Soldier and Society, p. 115, and R. Knapp, Invisible Romans, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011, ch. 6. 54

INTRODUCTION

17

The fact that soldiers were normally assigned a considerable amount of police work and other local duties made many theologians (who favoured the idea of a pacifist early Church) believe that some Roman soldiers could have completed their military service without participating in a battle,60 and could choose to perform only non-violent duties, and that was exactly what Christian soldiers did.61 The fact that there was great diversity of responsibilities entrusted to troops did not exclude the possibility that they might eventually have been obliged to shed blood. Soldiers were engaged in all sorts of non-military duties, but no Christian who entered or remained in the army could have been certain that he would not have been called to shed blood in the battlefield or during his police work. They certainly could not have been ignorant of the fact that being a soldier could result in taking a man’s life (and definitely entailed participation in pagan ceremonies; performing them, if a high-ranking officer and attending them, if an ordinary soldier). Finally, no emperor or officer would allow or tolerate his soldiers to select the duties they wished to carry out and comply only when their consciences permitted them to.

Bainton, “Early Church and War”, p. 189–212. For the same conviction see also: Stephen Gero, “Miles Gloriosus: the Christians and Military Service according to Tertullian”, Church History 39, 1970, p. 285– 298, John Ferguson, The Politics of Love. The New Testament and Non-Violent Revolution, Cambridge and Surrey, p. 64, and Eileen Egan, “The Beatitudes. The Works of Mercy and Pacifism” in Thomas A. Shannon, ed., War or Peace? The Search for New Answers, New York, 1980, p. 169–187, (p. 176). 61 “War” in Sinclair B. Ferguson, David F. Wright, ed., New Dictionary of Theology, Leicester, Illinois, 1988, p. 714–716, (p. 715), Ronal G. Musto, Catholic Peacemakers. A Documentary History, volume 1, From the Bible to the Era of the Crusades, New York and London, 1993, p. 158, and R. G. Clouse, “War” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 19841, 1995, p. 1152–1155, (p. 1153). 60

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The crisis of the third century62 resulted in the gradual erosion of the privileges of soldiers and in the decline of their status. By the late fourth century the state was experiencing serious problems finding recruits63 and the orator Libanius portrayed the ordinary soldier in a state of extreme deprivation, bordering on starvation.64 No wonder that many went to great lengths to avoid service.65 Diocletian was the first Roman emperor who had to: resort to widespread conscription, render city authorities and individual landowners responsible for finding recruits annually, legally enforce hereditary entry for the sons of veterans and physically mark recruits.66 Diocletian’s reforms did not attract a sufficient number of recruits and subsequent emperors were obliged to rely even more on people from outside the empire to join the ranks. It is extremely interesting that the first Christian objections to military service coincided, as we will see, with the time when military service lost its appeal.

On the third century crisis see David Shotter, Rome and her Empire, London et al., 2003, p. 387–414. 63 Michael Whitby, “Emperors and Armies, AD 235–395” in Simon Swain and Mark Edwards, ed., Approaching Late Antiquity. The Transformation from Early to Late Empire, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2006, 20041, p. 156–186. 64 Libanius, Oratio XLVII 32. 65 P. Herm. 7. 66 P. A. Brunt, “Conscription and Volunteering in the Roman Imperial Army”, Scripta Classica Israelitica I, 1974, p. 90–115, (p. 114), Alston, Soldier and Society, p. 149–150, Brent D. Shaw, “War and Violence” in G. W. Bowersock, Peter Brown and Oleg Brabar, ed., Late Antiquity. A Guide to the Postclassical World, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1999, p. 130–169, p. 135, Brian Campbell, “The Roman Empire” in Kurt Raaflaub, Nathan Rosenstein, ed., War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe and Mesoamerica, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1999, p. 217–240, (p. 234) and War and Society, p. 31–32. 62

2. JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

INTRODUCTION Jesus’ charismatic personality proved inspirational. Quite soon after His death, His immediate followers and their circles started writing about Him,1 each having their own recollections of Him and each assessing different stories to be worth preserving for posterity. The result was a vast literature on Jesus’ deeds and teachings, diverse in origin, motives, form, and content. The multi-faced representation of Jesus was noticed very early,2 created unease and led late in the second century to the creation of the Canon,3 a list of acceptable writings on Jesus.4

Apocryphon James 2 and Lk 1.1. On the various traditions on Jesus circulating after His death see Didache 3.2, Barnabas 19.12, Ignatius, Tralliani 6, Cyprian, De Ecclessiae Catholicae Unitate 10.1 and O. Cullman, “Die Pluralität der Evangelien als theologisches Problem im Alterum”, Theol. Zeitschrift I, 1945, p. 23–42, Helmut Koester, “Γνωμαι διάφοροι. The Origin and Nature of Diversification in the History of Early Christianity”, HThR 58, 1965, p. 279–318, and Stephen J. Patterson, “Paul and the Jesus Tradition: it is Time for Another Look”, HThR 84, 1991, p. 23–41. 3 J. Stevenson, A New Eusebius. Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church up to A.D. 337, London, 1957, no.124, p. 144–147 and M. M. Mitchell and F. M. Young, ed., The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol 1: Origins to Constantine, chapter 8 and 9, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2006. It is illuminating to read Tertullian’s almost desperate efforts to defend the Canon by claiming that the works that belong to it have not been tampered with (compare Tertullian, Contra 1 2

19

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The works that were not admitted in the Canon became known as the apocrypha.5 The term apocrypha is a Greek word meaning hidden. It was originally applied to Jewish writings that were only preserved for a limited group of initiates and it was also applied to writings that did not belong to the Hebrew Canon. The works that were not included in the New Testament Canon were sometimes regarded as pseudepigrapha, falsely ascribed or claiming apostolic authority with the intention to deceive. The apocrypha and the pseudepigrapha were marginalized as writings of no importance and, at times, as containing perilous heretical (or not fully orthodox) teachings. Modern scholars inherited this reservation or, more rightly, this antipathy towards them. Until the 1970s the apocryphal writings were considered inferior literary products and judged (when read) by their relationship to the canonical writings. However, the non-canonical writings circulated widely and influenced people despite their official rejection at the end of the

Marcionem 4.5 with 4.29). One wonders how many Christian fringe groups needed convincing. 4 Bruce M. Metzger, in his book The Canon of the New Testament. Its Origin, Development and Significance, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1987, discussed the criteria early Christians used to ascertain the worthiness of certain writings so as to include them in the Canon or reject them. 5 A general bibliography on apocryphal texts can be found in James R. Mueller, The New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha: A Guide to Publications with Excurses on Apocalypses, London, 1987, James H. Charlesworth, “Research on the New Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha”, ANRW II.25.5.1988, p. 3919–3968, and J. K. Elliott, The Apocryphal New Testament. A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2005. Worth having a look are also the journals Augustinianum 23, 1983 and Apocrypha and Stephen Gero, “Apocryphal Gospels: a Survey of Textual and Literary Gospels”, ANRW II.25.5.1988, p. 3969–3996, François Bovon, “The Synoptic Gospels and the Non-Canonical Acts of Apostles”, HThR 81, 1988, p. 19–36, and James H. Charlesworth, Authentic Apocrypha. False and Genuine Christian Apocrypha, Texas, 1998.

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 21 second century.6 The Christian Fathers referred to the apocryphal writings frequently (which implies that the apocryphal writings were easily accessible), mostly attacking them as disreputable.7 Their official condemnation was not and could not have been unanimous and did not and could not have prevented every single Christian from acquiring, reading and being influenced by them. Even more than a hundred years after the formation of the Canon, the issue of acknowledging certain works as canonical and discarding others had not been settled yet. Eusebius arranged a list of the works he accepted as genuine and suitable for Christians, works whose authorship and suitability could be disputed, works which were not written by the author to whom they were attributed and heretical ones.8 Athanasius9 and Augustine10 felt the same pressing need as Eusebius to divert their congregations away from the ‘outrageous’ readings to the ‘appropriate’ ones by providing them with similar lists. Any attempt to reconstruct the history of early Christianity must treat early Christian literature in its integrity and not rely Walter Bauer, Rechtgläubigkeit und Ketzerei im ältesten Christentum, Tübingen, 1934, Robert W. Grant, “The Fragments of the Greek Apologists and Irenaeus”, in J. Neville Birdsall and Robert W. Thomson, ed., Biblical and Patristic Studies, Freiburg, Basel, Barcelona, New York, Roma, São Paolo, Wien, 1963, p. 179–218, J. Helgeland, “Christians and the Roman Army from Marcus Aurelius to Constantine”, ANRW II.23.I.1979, p. 724–834, (p. 763), and José Fernández Ubiña, Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la guerra, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2000, p. 152. 7 Some of the apocryphal writings have only been preserved because the Christian Fathers quoted from them. For example the Gospel of the Egyptians is only preserved in Clement of Alexandria, the Gospel of the Hebrews in Clement of Alexandria, Cyril and Jerome, the Gospel of the Nazoreans in Origen, Eusebius and Jerome, and the Gospel of the Ebionites in Epiphanius. Others are known to us either in the original or in translation. 8 Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica III.iii.1–6 and xxv.1–7. 9 Athanasius, Epistula ad Amunem Monachum 78–94 in PG 26, 1169– 1180. 10 Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana 2,8,13. 6

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exclusively on the canonical gospels as sole witnesses to the sayings and deeds of Jesus and the life of the early Christian communities. The aim of this chapter is to examine the messages on the issue of legitimacy of Christian involvement in the military conveyed both by canonical and by apocryphal gospels that were composed prior to the conversion of Constantine.11 I am equally interested in how later Christian generations approached and understood these messages. It is remarkable that Christians from an early stage, approximately one century before Constantine, agreed in selecting certain passages from the Scriptures as relevant to the issue— passages that contain no messages on the appropriate Christian behaviour towards war, violence and military service and seem to have originally been written with no intention of giving such guidance—and gave their own divergent interpretations. Such attempts are still made and are most interesting to follow.

OLD TESTAMENT The Lord is a warrior.12 The God of the Old Testament took great interest in human affairs. He chose the Israelites as His favourites and helped them (so it was believed) to exterminate their enemies on the battlefield. In the Book of Judges 7.2–25, for example, we find Ηim giving clear and detailed instructions to Gideon on how to proceed against the Midianites in order to ensure a military victory. And in the Book of Joshua 8, He gave military advice to Joshua to use against the king of Ai. It would be easy to multiply such examples from the Old Testament portraying God as approving of warfare and often encouraging humans to resort to violence in order to settle their differences. One of the vexing problems in the study of gospel literature is determining with any sort of precision the date of composition of the texts. Ron Cameron, in Non-Canonical Gospel Texts. The Other Gospels, Cambridge, 1982, p. 17, discussed the techniques available that permit one to reach a plausible date. 12 Exodus 15.3. See also: Psalms 79 and 143, Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon, Battles of the Bible, London and Pennsylvania, 2002, 19781, and John J. Collins, Does the Bible Justify Violence?, Minneapolis, 2004. 11

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 23 It is hard to deny the Old Testament God’s approval of violence and warfare. The author of the New Testament Acts did not try to deny it; he simply took pride in the Israelite victories won with God’s assistance.13 Similarly, the author of Hebrews extolled the faith of Old Testament figures that wielded the sword.14 Clement of Alexandria praised Moses for his excellence as a military commander15 and approved of the Jews despoiling the Egyptians on the grounds that reparation had been sought and refused.16 Eusebius appealed to the Old Testament to convey the significance of Constantine’s victory over Maxentius (306–312) at the Milvian Bridge in 312.17 Ambrose spoke with pride about the fearlessness of Old Testament figures such as Joshua, Jonathan and Judas Maccabeus.18 Not all early Christians felt comfortable with the brutal portrayal of God in the Old Testament. In the beginning of the second century, Marcion saw a radical dichotomy between God in the Old and God in the New Testament and regarded the Old Testament God as an inferior one and of doubtful morality.19 We Acts 7.45 and 13.17–20. Hebrews 11.32–34. 15 Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 1.24.162 and 1.26.168. 16 Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 1.23.157f. 17 See Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 9.9.5–8 where the author uses Exodus 15.4–5. 18 Ambrose, De Officiis 1.40.195. Apart from the reverent acceptance of the Old Testament wars, Christians generally regarded the JewishRoman war of 70 CE and the destruction of the Temple by the Romans as a just judgement inflicted by God on the Jewish nation for its fatal mistake in rejecting His Son. See Theophilus, Ad Autolycum iii.2, Tertullian, Scorpiace 3, Apologeticum 26fin and Adversus Marcionem iii.23, Origen, Commentarium in Evangelium Matthaei xvii.25, De Oratione xxxi.7 and Contra Celsum i.47, ii.8, 13fin, 34, 78, iv.22, 32, 73, v.43, vii.26, viii.42, 47, 69, Hippolytus, De Antichristo 30 and In Danielem iv.lviii.3, Minucius Felix, Octavius 33.4, Pseudo-Cyprian, De Pascha Computus 15, and Oracula Sibyllina iv.115–118 and 125–127. 19 So did the Gnostics and the Manicheans. See Helmut Koester, History and Literature of Early Christianity, vol. 2., Introduction to the New 13 14

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do not know whether the heretic Marcion was particularly disturbed by the Old Testament God’s permitting and at times supporting the use of force among humans, but we strongly suspect that this must have been one of his main objections.20 When most modern historians and theologians read the Old Testament they usually recognize its God as a divine warrior21 and, without actually admitting it, give credit to Marcion for complaining that the Old Testament is very different from the

Testament, Philadelphia, Berlin and New York, 1982, p. 8 and Philip Rousseau, The Early Christian Centuries, London et al., 2002, p. 200. 20 Marcion was born in the beginning of the second century in Sinope in Pontus. See Hendrik F. Stander, “Marcion” in Everett Ferguson, ed., Encyclopaedia of Early Christianity, New York and London, 19982 and A. von Harnack, Marcion. The Gospel of the Alien God, tr. John E. Steely and Lyle D. Bierma, Durham, 1989, J. Knox, Marcion and the New Testament, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1942, D. Balás, “Marcion Revisited: a Post-Harnack Perspective” in W. E. March, ed., Texts and Testament: Critical Essays on the Bible and Early Church Fathers, Trinity University Press, San Antonio, 1980, p. 95–108, R. M. Grant, “Marcion and the Critical Method” in P. Richardson and J. C. Hurd, ed., From Jesus to Paul, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 1984, p. 207–215, A. Orbe, “Marcionitica”, Augustinianum 31, 1991, p. 195–244, G. May, “Marcione nel suo tempo”, Cristianesimo nella storia 14, 1993, p. 205–220, Roger Ruston, “The Violent God of the Old Testament” in B. Wicker and F. van Iersel, ed., Humanitarian Intervention and the Pursuit of Justice. A Pax Christi Contribution to a Contemporary Debate, Kampen, 1995, p. 11–28, (p. 17–18), and Dimitris J. Kyrtatas, Ιερείς και προφήτες. Η παραγωγή και η διαχείριση του δόγματος στον πρώιμο Χριστιανισμό, Αthens, 2000, p. 194. 21 Peter Brock, Pacifism in Europe in 1914, Princeton University Press, Princeton and New Jersey, 1972, p. 15, Enrico Pucciarelli, I cristiani e il servizio militare. Testimonianze dei primi tre secoli, Firenze, 1987, p. 13, “War” in David J. Atkinson, David H. Field, ed., New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology, Leicester, Illinois, 1995, p. 885–888, (p. 885), and Willard M. Swartley, “War” in Ev. Ferguson, ed., Encyclopaedia, p. 1171– 1174.

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 25 New.22 Only rarely do they advance the view that the Old Testament, just as the New, declared that war and bloodshed were contrary to the will of God.23 The Old Testament was perceived by some as at odds with the New from a very early stage. Tertullian composed his work Contra Marcionem to prove that Marcion was wrong in arguing that the Old Testament was at variance with the New. The two Testaments were in perfect harmony, Tertullian argued.24 In Lactantius’ lifetime, there circulated a treatise that endeavored to show that the Scriptures contained contradictions. Lactantius was appalled at the idea.25 One of the issues on which the New Testament seemed to contradict the Old was the regular use of force: The law (= the Pentateuch) calls for reciprocal vengeance; the gospel commands us to return love for hostility, good will for hatred, prayers for curses. It enjoins us to give help to those who persecute us, to exercise patience toward those who are hungry and to give thanks for a favour rendered (Ambrose, Expositio in Lucam 5.73).

Origen proposed allegory as the solution to a contradiction that was only apparent. The Old Testament wars had a spiritual sense and therefore should not/could not be interpreted literally.26 Origen used an elegant metaphor: the Old and the New Testament are no different; they are merely two chords of the same musical

Culbert G. Rutenber, The Dagger and the Cross. An Examination of Christian Pacifism, New York, 1958, p. 80 and Jean Lasserre, War and the Gospel, tr. Oliver Coburn, London, 1962, p. 61. 23 Guy Franklin Hershberger, War, Peace and Non-Resistance, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, 1969, (especially the second chapter: “Peace and War in the Old Testament”) and G. M. Lee, New Testament Teaching on War and Society, (unpublished manuscript at the Institute of Classical Studies in London, Track Box 170). 24 See especially Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem. 4.2, 4.6, 4.17, 5.11, 5.20 and 5.21. 25 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.2. 26 Origen, Contra Celsum 7.19 and 7.22 and Homilia in Job XV.1. 22

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instrument.27 The Manichaen Faustus had contended that a violent God who made Moses slay his/His enemies was not in unison with the spirit of Jesus. Augustine advised him not to be surprised or horrified at the wars waged by Moses; Moses was following God’s orders to fight just wars.28

A. NEW TESTAMENT Did Jesus (and His Father) approve of humans resorting to violence? Enlisting in the army? And waging and participating in wars? Did the four evangelists understand His messages on war, violence and military service correctly? (If indeed He gave any). And did they write them down in their works to preserve them for posterity? Christians, theologians and (Christian) scholars have tried over the centuries to provide answers to these questions. They have not reached a consensus (far from it) and it is doubtful that they ever will. The bewildering variety of answers proposed has found legitimate support in different passages from the New Testament. The New Testament contains many different, and often contradictory, messages on war, violence and military service. Therefore almost all who appeal to it to justify their positions seem to have a case, even if they hold completely different positions. This confusing picture may indicate that these questions were neither poignant nor pressing for Jesus (and his Jewish audience who, after all, had little opportunity and little interest in joining the Roman army). Jesus may not have been interested in present realities for He was expecting the imminent end of the world.29 And His immediate followers advanced their own interpretations Origen, Commentarium in Evangelium Matthaei 2. See also: 14.4 and Origen, Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis 1.14. 28 Augustine, Contra Faustum Manichaeum 22.74. 29 C. J. Cadoux, in The Early Christian Attitude to War. A Contribution to the History of Early Christian Ethics, London, 1919, p. 45, did not believe that the mind of Jesus was dominated by the expectation of the end of the world to occur within His generation. For the opposite view see Albert Schweitzer, The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity, New York, 1968 and John G. Gager, Kingdom and Community: the Social World of Early Christianity, New Jersey, 1975. 27

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 27 of His deeds and words as they saw fit, according to their political convictions and the circumstances of their times. It might be the case that the actual words, actions, motives and ideas of Jesus can hardly be reconstructed and the quest for the historical Jesus will remain unsettled.30 The early Christians did not study the New Testament the way modern scholars do so as to reveal its pervasive spirit on war, violence, and military service. They were not preoccupied with what the New Testament as an entity had to say on the issue. They selected and quoted certain passages to justify their own views on the issue. Their audiences expected them to quote passages from Scripture when they were making a point, or else they did not take them seriously, as Tertullian had observed.31 Modern scholars studied the New Testament texts and concluded that all of them have the same attitude towards war, violence and military service: either that they did not prohibit the use of force,32 or that they

See Keith Hopkins, A World Full of Gods. Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, London, 1999, p. 323. See also: Sharyn Dowd, “Which Jesus? A Survey of the Controversy over the Historical Jesus”, Lexington Theological Quarterly 31, 1996, p. 87–186, John S. Kloppenborg, “The Sayings Gospel Q and the Quest of the Historical Jesus”, HThR 89, 1996, p. 307–344, Donald A. Hagner, “An Analysis of Recent ‘Historical Jesus’ Studies” in Dan Cohn-Sherbok and John M. Court, ed., Religious Diversity in the Graeco-Roman World. A Survey of Recent Scholarship, Sheffield, 2001, p. 81–106, and Delbert Burkett, An Introduction to the New Testament and the Origins of Christianity, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Port Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, 2002, p. 243–260. 31 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 3. See also: Tertullian, De Corona IV and Ignatius, Ad Philadelphios 8.2, and Geoffrey D. Dunn, Tertullian, London and New York, 2004, p. 19. 32 The scholars who thought that Jesus did not explicitly teach pacifism are certainly a minority: W. R. Matthews, The Moral Issues of the War, London, 1940, p. 34, Ronald H. Bainton, Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace. A Historical Survey and Critical Reevaluation, Abingdon, Nashville, 1960, p. 53, and Richard Harries, Should a Christian Support Guerillas?, Surrey, 1982, p. 1–6 and p. 10. Peter Mayhew, in A Theology of 30

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were uncompromisingly pacifist,33 or that no definite conclusion is to be derived from them,34 or that they were not concerned with the political questions of their day.35 The topic of the legitimacy of Force and Violence, London and Philadelphia, 1989, p. 6 and p. 100, even proposed that the NT was written to defend the use of force. 33 The pervasive spirit of the NT is consistently non-violent according to: Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 20 and p. 31, G. H. C. Macgregor, The New Testament Basis of Pacifism, London, 19361, p. 12 and The Relevance of the Impossible. A Reply to Reinhold Niebuhr, London, 1941, p. 28, Aldous Huxley, An Encyclopaedia of Pacifism, London, 1937, p. 21, John Ferguson, The Enthronement of Love. Christ the Peacemaker, London, 19501, 1958, p. 28, Louis J. Swift, “War and the Christian Conscience I: the Early Years”, ANRW II.23.I.1974, p. 835–868, (p. 840) and The Early Fathers on War and Military Service, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983, p. 17, Jenny Teichman, Pacifism and the Just War. A Study in Applied Philosophy, Oxford, 1986, p. 10, Williard M. Swartley, “War and Peace in the NT”, ANRW II.26.3.1996, p. 2298–2408, (p. 2386), and Lee, New Testament Teaching. 34 The NT offers conflicting guidance on the morality of war, violence and military service according to: Jacques Ellul, Violence. Reflections from a Christian Perspective, New York, 1969, p. 81 and Peter Brennan, “Military Images in Hagiography”, in Graeme Clarke, Brian Croke, Raul Mortley and Alanna Emmett Nobbs, ed., Reading the Past in Late Antiquity, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1990, p. 323–345, (p. 323). 35 There is no systematic theory of social obligation expounded in the NT because Jesus and the authors of the NT were simply not interested in providing one according to: J. Westbury-Jones, Roman and Christian Imperialism, London, 1939, p. 55, E. A. Judge, The Social Pattern of the Christian Groups in the First Century, London, 1960, p. 72, G. I. A. D. Draper, The Christian and War, London, 1962, p. 4, John C. Bennett, Christian Faith and Political Choice, Toronto, 1963, p. 3, William V. O’Brien, Nuclear War. Deterrence and Morality, Westminister, New York, Glen Rock, Amsterdam, Toronto, 1967, p. 18, Hershberger, War, p. 156, Stephen Gero, “Miles Gloriosus: the Christians and Military Service According to Tertullian”, Church History 39, 1970, p. 285–298, (p. 286), Peter Brock, Pacifism, p. 4, Swift, “War and the Christian Conscience”, p. 840, and T. S. Miller, “Introduction” in Timothy S. Miller and John

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 29 Christian participation in warfare has attracted an abundant literature. It was mostly in periods of crisis, or potential crisis, that the problem occupied a prominent place in the minds of many thinkers who reflected on the Christian responsibilities towards the state and resorted to the Bible to seek guidance or confirmation, if they had already made up their minds. The two World Wars particularly brought the question of the morality of violence as an immediate practical problem to the lives of many people.36 A few years later, when many felt that the world faced possible destruction from atomic bombs, the ethical problem of war and peace reemerged and cried urgently for re-examination.37 Nesbitt, ed., Peace and War in Byzantium. Essays in Honor of George T. Dennis S. J., The Catholic University of America Press, Washington D. C. 1995, p. 1–13, (p. 8). 36 John Knox, ed., Religion and the Present Crisis, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1942 and G. C. Field, Pacifism and Conscientious Objection, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1945, p. 1, were, for example, fully aware that it was their times that prompted their interest in investigating early Christian attitudes to war, violence and military service. See also: Martin Ceadel, “Christian Pacifism in the Era of the Two World Wars” in W. J. Sheils, ed., The Church and War. Papers Read at the 21st Summer Meeting and the 22nd Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, London, 1983, p. 391–408. 37 Bainton, Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace, p. 13, J. A. Carry, “Forward” in Bennett, Faith and Choice, O’Brien, Nuclear War, p. vii, Thomas Merton, Faith and Violence. Christian Teaching and Christian Practice, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, 1968, p. 4, Thomas Merton, On Peace, New York, 1971, p. 12 and p. 19, John S. Bray, “Biblical Peace and the Kingdom of God” in Dean C. Curry, ed., Evangelicals and the Bishops’ Pastoral Letter, Michigan, 1984, p. 23–31, (p. 23), and John Riches, “The Use of the Bible in the Nuclear Debate” in Richard J. Bauckham and R. John Elford, ed., The Nuclear Weapons Debate. Theological and Ethical Issues, London, 1989, p. 47–64, (p. 47) explicitly admitted that the threat of nuclear weapons ‘obliged’ them to concentrate on the issue. In Paul Tillich and Ronald H. Stone’s case it was both the Second World War and the nuclear threat that provoked and directed their research, (Ronald H. Stone and Paul Tillich, ed., Theology of Peace. Essays Written from 1938–1965,

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NT Gospel Passages of Ambiguous or Even Irrelevant Character The evangelists never presented Jesus as explicitly prohibiting men from pursuing military careers. They sometimes extolled peace but they also seem to extol violence just as often. They sometimes seem to challenge the authorities but they also supported them. Oὐ φονεύσεις, (Mt 5.21= thou shall not kill), μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, (Mt 5.9= blessed are the peacemakers), ὅστις σε ῥαπίσει ἐπὶ τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα, στρέψον αὐτῶ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην, (Mt 5.39, Lk 6.29= if anyone slaps you in the right cheek, turn and offer him the other also), ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, (Mt 5.44, Lk 6.27= love your enemies). There is nothing to suggest that Jesus had state relations in mind when He gave His Sermon on the Mount and He was not addressing the individual conscience in everyday conduct. Ambrose and Augustine wrestled with this speech. According to their understanding, it did not exclude the use of force; for Ambrose it merely forbade taking pleasure in revenge38 and for Augustine it did not forbid corrective punishment.39 The commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ had nothing to do with soldiers. Soldiers are mere instruments; they are commanded to slay and thus commit no sin.40 Today many scholars and politicians follow Ambrose and Augustine and understand the Sermon to have nothing to do with state relations.41 Those modern scholars who favour the idea of a pacifist early Church use the Sermon as undisputable evidence in support of their argument and clearly are in dissension with Ambrose and

From the Eve of the Second World War to the Crisis of Berlin and Nuclear Armaments in the mid 1960s, Louisville, Kentucky, 1990. 38 Ambrose, Epistula 47.5 and Epistula 138.2.13. 39 Augustine, De Sermone Domini in Monte 1.20.63–64 and Contra Faustum 22.76. 40 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 1.21 and 1.26. 41 Klaus Wengst, Pax Romana and the Peace of Jesus Christ, London, 1987, p. 69 and Gerd Theissen, Social Reality and the Early Christians. Theology, Ethics and the World of the New Testament, tr. Margaret Kohl, Edinburgh, 1993, p. 139.

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 31 Augustine.42 Others think that its precepts are counsels of perfection, valid only in a perfect society and not seriously meant to be practiced under existing conditions,43 or cannot make up their minds whether the commandment applies to the annihilation of life in war or not.44 Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν. ἤ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τόν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἤ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει. οὐ δύνασθε Θεῶ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾶ, (Mt 6.24,

Lk 16.13= No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon). Jesus was clear: one cannot at the same time adore God and Satan. There is no indication that Jesus was forbidding Christians from entering or remaining in the army. A vivid imagination is required to reach such a conclusion. Tertullian was probably the first Christian who used the passage to convince Christians that they ought to avoid military service45 (because it entailed participating in sacrifices and occasionally inflicting capital punishment).46 However, Tertullian Like, for example, Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 20 and 21, Peter Brock, The Roots of War Resistance. Pacifism from the Early Church to Tolstoy, New York, 1981, p. 9, Bernard Häring, The Healing Power of Peace and Nonviolence, Worcester, 1986, p. 48, John Ferguson, “The Biblical Basis of Pacifism” in Clive Barrett, ed., Peace Together. A Vision of Christian Pacifism, Cambridge, 1987, p. 14–28, (p. 20), John Driver, How Christians Made Peace with War. Early Christian Understandings of War, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1988, p. 16, and Ronald G. Musto, Catholic Peacemakers. A Documentary History. From the Bible to the Era of the Crusades, New York and London, 1993, p. 52f, who rejected the idea that the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ refers only to private murder. 43 Like Andreas Bigelmair, Die Beteiligung der Christen am öffentlichen Leben in vorkonstantinischer Zeit, Munich, 1902, p. 165. 44 For example Giovanni Crescenti, Obiettori di coscienza e martiri militari nei primi cinque secoli del cristianesimo, Palermo, 1966, p. 19. 45 Or Tertullian was the first Christian who recorded such an interpretation. 46 Tertullian, De Idololatria 19 and De Corona I.1.4–5. See also chapter 6.1. 42

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elsewhere was faithful to the original meaning that one could not possibly worship both the Christian God and another deity.47 It is interesting that the same passage could be used for a different purpose, according to the circumstances. Tertullian’s first interpretation that the passage actually forbade Christians from having military careers prevailed in subsequent years. Jerome and Paulinus of Nola often alluded to it with the same aim: to keep Christians away from the army.48 Probably none of the early Acts of the Military Martyrs quote it in order to justify the martyr’s decision to quit his post, nor do they use Matthew 22.21 (=Mk 12.17=Lk 20.25), to which we shall return. They can only be found in post-Constantinian martyr Acts, such as the Acta Longini 3 and the Acta Montani 4. Ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῆ πόλει ταύτῃ, φεύγετε εἰς τὴν ἄλλην (Mt 10.23= when you are persecuted in one town, flee to

another), Jesus advised his disciples. Apparently, Jesus wished to avoid conflict, but did this mean He wanted to avoid upsetting the authorities and thus wanted Christians to serve in the Roman army? Or did it mean He expected people not to commit violence and thus stay out of the army? Maybe He was just addressing His disciples and advising them not to choose martyrdom in times of persecution. That is how Tertullian understood it in his work De Fuga in Persecutione 5, although he did not agree. (Tertullian thought it referred to other circumstances, no longer applicable; his contemporaries ought to face persecution, and ideally martyrdom, if persecuted.) When one of Jesus’ disciples cut off the ear of one of the soldiers who were about to arrest his master, Jesus reproached him and warned him: πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀποθανοῦνται, (Mt 26.52= all who have taken the sword, shall die by the sword). Was this an explicit condemnation of the use of violence? Maybe it was. Was it an implicit condemnation of the military profession? It is impossible to say. Some modern scholars answered to those who wondered how Peter came to be carrying a Tertullian, De Anima 16. Jerome, Epistula 14 ad Heliodorum Monachum 6.2 and Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25 ad Crispianum 3 and Epistula 25* ad Crispianum 2. 47 48

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 33 sword at all if his master discounted the use of weapons, that Peter had failed to understand his master’s condemnation of the use of force.49 The presence of the weapon, however, did not trouble the evangelist.

Probably ‘Conservative’ NT Gospel Passages The following instances from the NT show Jesus having no intention of upsetting the status quo. In Capernaum, He and Peter paid the tax.50 On another occasion, the Pharisees asked him: ἔξεστι δοῦναι κῆνσον Καίσαρι ἤ οὔ; (Mt 22.17, Mk 12.14, Lk 20.22= is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar?). They disliked Him and expected Him to provide a negative answer so they could go to the Roman authorities and accuse Him of rebellious tendencies. Jesus replied: ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῶ Θεῶ, (Mt 22.21, Mk 12.17, Lk 20.25= render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God). God and Caesar’s coexistence was perfectly possible. Tertullian at times chose this passage to show that Christians should generally obey Caesar, fulfill their civic obligations and pay the taxes, but if the authorities demanded them to venerate false idols, then Christians would have no choice but to refuse and suffer martyrdom.51 (Similarly, Ambrose understood it to mean that Christians ought to show obedience to the emperor who in turn ought to assist the Church.)52 On other occasions, Tertullian thought that it meant Christians should not enter or remain in the army.53 So did Paulinus of Nola.54 It is simply fascinating how many and often conflicting interpretations were given to the same NT passage. Eucherius, bishop of Lyon, used it in the Acts of the Theban Legion 3 to emphasize that Christians owed military service to the emperor Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 31, note 1. See also: Ubiña, Cristianos y militares, p. 149–150. See also J. Simon, Rome and the Sword: New York, 2011. 50 Mt 17.24–27. 51 Tertullian, De Fuga 12, De Idololatria 15 and Scorpiace 14. 52 Ambrose, Contra Auxentium 2.35–36. 53 Tertullian, De Corona XII.4. 54 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25 ad Crispianum 3. 49

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but the causes of war had to be known to the Church and approved by it. Finally, Augustine thought it just meant that Christians had to enlist to the army, possibly unconditionally.55 Modern scholars generally seem to prefer Tertullian’s first interpretation and do not understand the passage as specifically referring to soldiers or those considering starting a career in the army.56 When Jesus finished His Sermon on the Mount, He went to Capernaum where He met a centurion,57 a man with power,58 who asked Him to cure his paralytic slave. Jesus expressed His admiration for the centurion’s faith; He confessed He had never met such faith in all Israel. Augustine reminded Boniface of this meeting, as well as the meeting of the centurion Cornelius with Paul in Acts 10, in order to deter Boniface from leaving the army. One could please God while in service.59 It has recently been rightly observed that Jesus did not advise the centurion to leave his profession60 in the way He advised sinners to abstain from their

Augustine, Contra Faustum 22.74. Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 40, F. Dvornik, Early Christian and Byzantine Political Philosophy, Dumbarton Oaks Studies 9, Washington, 1966, v.1, p. 446, Schrage Wolfgang, Die Christen und der Staat nach dem Neuen Testament, Gütersloh, 1971, p. 34f, J. G. Davies, Christians, Politics and Violent Revolution, London, 1976, p. 45, Wengst, Pax Romana, p. 58, Swartley, “War and Peace in the NT”, p. 2322, Ubiña, Cristianos y militares, p. 154–156, and Dimitris J. Kyrtatas, “Modes and Relations of Production” in Anthony J. Blasi, Jean Duhaime and Paul-Andrè Turcotte, ed., Handbook of Early Christianity. Social Science Approaches, Walnut Creek, Lanham, New York, Oxford, 2002, p. 529–554, (p. 550). 57 Mt 8.5–13, Lk 7.1–10. 58 Mt 8.9, Lk 7.8. Christians were always proud to have admirers from the upper classes. See for example Jn 12.42 and 1 Corinthians 16.15. 59 Augustine, Epistula 189 Ad Bonifacem 4. 60 Luca da Regibus, “Milizia e cristianesimo nell’ impero romano”, Didaskaleion II, 1924, p. 41–69, (p. 45). 55 56

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 35 sins, or even if He did, the evangelists did not regard it necessary to record it.61 John the Baptist, also, had no intention of persuading soldiers to change career. When soldiers who were listening to him preach asked him what they should do to gain salvation, he did not tell them to quit their posts and find other ways of earning their living. He told them instead: Mηδένα συκοφαντήσετε, μηδὲ διασείσητε καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν, (Lk 3.14= do not slander, do not blackmail and make do with your pay). Clement of Alexandria used this passage to remind soldiers that they should be content with their wages.62 Augustine used it (at least twice)63 to dispel any doubts that Christians should refuse to enlist, pointing out that if John the Baptist wished Christians to do so, he would have told them just that. Modern scholars who do not support the idea of a pacifist Church concur with Augustine that John the Baptist had apparently recognized the activities of the military as legitimate,64 while the ones who support it tend to ignore John the Baptist’s behaviour as disquieting. After Jesus’ crucifixion, His disciples were happy to have military figures admiring Jesus. They circulated the story of a centurion who after witnessing the resurrection of Jesus admitted that He was the Son of God.65 In Matthew’s account the centurion was already a Christian.66

J. B. Campbell, in The Emperor and the Roman Army 31BC–AD235, Oxford, 1984, p. 248, had an interesting idea: a centurion was deliberately used in this story because military officers were not particularly popular at the time. Both pagan and Christian civilians disliked soldiers, and for the same reasons. 62 Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus III. XII.91,1. 63 Augustine, Contra Faustum 22.74 and Epistula 189 ad Bonifacem 4. 64 Lasserre, War and the Gospel, p. 53 and Steve Walton, “The State they Were in: Luke’s View of the Roman Empire” in Peter Oakes, ed., Rome in the Bible and the Early Church, Glasgow, 2002, p. 1–41, (p. 20). 65 Mk 15.39 and Lk 25.47. 66 Mt 27.54. 61

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Some of Jesus’ followers tried to exonerate Pilate for his role in Jesus’ execution,67 advancing the view that he found Jesus innocent.68 The decision to sentence Jesus was entirely due to the ill will of the Jews.69 Some even claimed that Pilate gave Jesus’ body to Joseph as a present and he did not demand money or request any favours in return,70 as one would normally expect from a Roman official in such a case.71 It has been convincingly shown that Jesus was arrested, accused, condemned and executed by the Roman authorities on the charge of rebellion.72 Revolutionary tendencies were associated with the Christian movement during His lifetime.73 However, in the years following Jesus’ death, the Mt 27.23, Mk 15.14 and Jn 18.28–40. Lk 23.4. 69 On the unflattering portrait early Christians prepared for Jews see: Mark Humphies, Early Christianity, London and New York, 2006, p. 106. 70 Mk 15.45. The more Christians were persecuted, the more positive they depicted the picture of Pilate. This game came to an end with the conversion of Constantine. See p. 56-59 and P. Winter, On the Trial of Jesus, Berlin, 1961, p. 60, A. N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1963, p. 25, D. R. Griffiths, New Testament and the Roman State, Swansea, 1970, p. 70– 71, Helen K. Bond, Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Oakleigh, Madrid, Cape Town, 19981, 2000, and Dominic Janes, Romans and Christians, Gloucestershire, 2002, p. 9–10. 71 Bribing the authorities was a very common way to secure one’s interests in the Roman world. See Ramsay MacMullen, Corruption and the Decline of Rome, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1988 and D. Iosif and M. Triantafyllou, Απόκρυφες Πράξεις Παύλου και Θέκλας, Athens, 2008, p. 135–136. 72 Orazio Marucchi, “The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ”, Catholic Encyclopaedia 4, New York, 1908, p. 519–520 and William Reuben Farmer, Maccabees, Zealots and Josephus, New York, 1956, p. 197. 73 The triumphal entry into Jerusalem was a symbolic seizure of the reins of government and a proclamation of the will of the people to acquire national independence from the Roman rule according to Winter, On the Trial of Jesus, p. 141 and 142. Norman A. Beck in his Anti-Roman Cryptograms in the NT. Symbolic Messages of Hope and Liberation, New York, 67 68

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 37 majority of His devotees, who finally prevailed and established themselves as the mainstream of Christianity, sought laboriously to suppress any such tendencies, as well as any rumors regarding the existence of revolutionary tendencies in the past, thus cajoling the authorities and reassuring them that Christianity was and had always been harmless.74 While the evangelists portrayed military and political officials in a positive light in an attempt to make officials sympathetic towards Christianity and to convert the upper classes, they were not equally eager to attract soldiers. Soldiers played only a peripheral role in the stories about Jesus. They arrested Him, mocked Him,75 divided His clothes to make a profit (and fulfill a prophecy),76 guarded His tomb,77 and accepted bribes in order to spread lies about His resurrection.78 Admittedly, these were distasteful actions; but that is our judgment and not that of the evangelists, for there is no explicit condemnation of the soldiers’ actions in the Gospels. Soldiers treated Jesus as they would treat any other convict; they behaved as one would expect them to. Similarly, in the NT Acts they appear to guard and accompany the Washington DC/ Baltimore, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Vienna and Paris, 1997, tried to show that Jesus had a strong desire for liberation from Roman political, economic and social oppression. Revolutionary tendencies might not have been wrongly associated with the movement. 74 NT officers were portrayed in a favourable light according to W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, London, 1984, p. 108–109, Wengst, Pax Romana, p. 91, Justin Taylor, “The Roman Empire in the Acts of the Apostles”, ANRW II.26.3.1996, p. 2436–2500, (p. 2492), and Steven J. Friesen, “Injustice or God’s Will? Early Christian Explanations of Poverty’’ in Susan R. Holman, ed., Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society, Michigan, 2008, p. 17–36, (p. 27). For the opposite view see K. Aland, “The Relation Between Church and State in Early Times: a Reinterpretation”, JThS 19, 1968, p. 115–127, (p. 122). 75 Mt 27.27–31, Mk 15.16–25, Lk 23.11, 23.36 and 23.37 and Jn 18.2–3. 76 Mt 27.35 and Lk 19.23–25. 77 Mt 27.66. 78 Mt 28.12–13.

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captive apostles with no further comment.79 In the NT Epistles soldiers are barely mentioned, as if they were irrelevant. Thus, it seems that the NT there showed no interest in converting soldiers to Christianity. Finally, we ought to keep in mind that in Luke 3.14 they were the ones to approach John the Baptist and ask for advice for their salvation.

Probably ‘Radical’ NT Gospel Passages Every time Jesus was interrogated by the Roman authorities He was not very eager to cooperate and respond.80 In the four canonical gospels the instances where Jesus appears to challenge the Roman authorities are more numerous than the ones in which He is presented as supporting them. However, when the evangelists provided their own opinions, thoughts and interpretations of Jesus’ words and actions, they tried never to upset the authorities and the political and social order of their time. On the contrary, they condemned all revolutionary tendencies. Even when they presented Roman soldiers mistreating Jesus they never condemned their actions as inappropriate. When the Jews took Jesus to Pilate they told him that He was encouraging people to refuse to pay their taxes81 and that He was opposing Caesar, and warned Pilate that if he did not arrest Jesus he was not a friend of Caesar’s either: οὐκ εἶ φίλος τοῦ Καίσαρος, (Jn 19.12). One wonders whether there was some truth in these claims. Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν. οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν, (Mt 10.34= do not think that I

have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.) Did Jesus find violence at times necessary? Or was He simply warning His disciples that they might have to displease their families and friends? Tertullian, Origen, Jerome did not believe that the passage sanctioned Christians to engage in warfare in any way. Tertullian proposed that the sword was the Acts 12.4, 12.6 and 23.23. Mt 27.12 and 14, Mk 11.33 and 15.3 and 5 and Lk 20.8. 81 Lk 23.2. 79 80

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 39 divine word as manifested itself in the two Testaments.82 Origen thought that in this case Jesus was declaring war between flesh and spirit.83 So too did Jerome.84 Pacifist modern scholars also construe the sword metaphorically: Jesus wished to prepare His disciples for the fierce antipathies that would arise against them.85 In Mark 11.15 Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple of Jerusalem. Luke also preserved the story, but in a much shorter version.86 In John’s account, Jesus drove the merchants out using a whip.87 Pacifist modern scholars observed that the whip was only mentioned in John’s gospel, ‘which is regarded by many as less trustworthy’, and claimed that even if indeed a whip was used, Jesus directed it only at cattle.88 During the Last Supper, Jesus counseled his pupils to sell their cloaks and buy swords, if they did not own some already.89 Modern scholarship provides a variety of explanations: the sword was meant metaphorically to represent the steadfast defense of the Christian teaching under the anticipated persecutions,90 the apostles were allowed to carry weapons to protect themselves against wild animals,91 violence was (and still is) occasionally unavoidable and permissible,92 or regrets the fact that an entirely satisfactory Tertullian, Contra Marcionem 3.14. Origen, Scholia in Johanem 1.36. The authorities had nothing to fear. 84 Jerome, Commentarium Evangelium secundum Matthaeum lib.iv, cap. xxvi. 85 Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 38 and Ferguson in “The Biblical Basis of Pacifism”, p. 26. 86 Lk 19.45–48. 87 Jn 2.12–16. 88 Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 34–35. Ferguson, in “The Biblical Basis of Pacifism”, p. 25, was of the same mind as Cadoux. See also: E. P. Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, London, 1987, p. 61–76 and Paul Beauchamp and Denis Vasse, La violence dans la Bible, Paris, 1991, p. 61–62. 89 Lk 22.35–38. Jesus referred to an earlier occasion (Mt 10.9–10 and Mk 6.8–9) when He had sent His disciples unarmed in the world. Now, He appeared more practical. 90 Harnack, Militia Christi, p. 4. 91 Ferguson, “The Biblical Basis of Pacifism”, p. 26. 92 Crescenti, Obiettori, p. 25. 82 83

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explanation cannot be given and definite conclusions cannot be reached.93

NT Acts The author of the Acts was in perfect agreement with the authors of the four canonical gospels for he advanced the view that the Roman authorities did not have anything against the apostles and protected (or at least tried to protect) them, just as in the gospels the Roman authorities liked and protected Jesus (or at least did their best to do so). Probably only at one point does Acts voice a potentially ‘radical’ view, when Peter said: πειθαρχεῖν δεῖ Θεῶ μᾶλλον ἤ ἀνθρώποις, (5.29= it is necessary to obey God rather than men). But he was addressing the Jews and he may never have dared to say the like in the presence of the Roman authorities; and even if he did, I suspect, the author of the Acts would not have preserved the story. The followers of Jesus, during His lifetime and immediately after His death, but not very long after, were regarded as challengers of authority.94 At least, some Jews in Thessalonica saw this as a plausible allegation.95 The author of the Acts attempted to prove those Jews wrong. The author of the Acts repeatedly portrayed the Roman authorities in a favourable light. Gallio, proconsul of Achaia, refused to pay attention to Jewish accusations against the disciples of Jesus.96 The chief officer was afraid that the Jews might kill apostle Paul97 and placed two hundred infantrymen, seventy cavalrymen and two hundred light-armed troops to guard him!98 King Agrippa would have happily freed the imprisoned Paul, if Paul had not already appealed to the emperor.99 The centurion Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 39. See footnotes 72 and 73. 95 Acts 17.7. 96 Acts 18.14–15. 97 Acts 23.10. On apostle Paul see James D. G. Dunn, The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2003 1, 2004. 98 Acts 23.23. 99 Acts 26.32. 93 94

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 41 Julius, who was entrusted to take Paul to Rome, let Paul meet friends at Sidon.100 Finally, in Rome Paul was left to teach ἀκωλύτως, (= without hindrance).101 As far as military service was concerned, the author of Acts not only abstained from condemning it, but he also extolled the faith of the two high-ranking officials of the Roman army. The governor Sergius Paulus listened to Barnabas and Paul and was converted to Christianity,102 while Cornelius, a centurion of the legio Italica, was already a pious man who admired Peter and invited him to his house.103 Tertullian chose Cornelius as an example of someone who fasted regularly and had to be imitated.104 Basil did the same.105 Augustine held him up as positive role model of someone who remained in the army and who at the same time believed in God.106 Cornelius107 was there for anyone to use as he/she wished.

NT Epistles The authors of the canonical Epistles preached conformism. However, not all Christians shared these ‘conservative’ feelings and the resulting σχίσματα (= schisms), ἔριδες, (= quarrels), αἱρέσεις (= sects), θυμοί (= angry feelings), ἐριθεῖαι (= intrigues), καταλαλιαί (= slanders), ψιθυρισμοί (= gossips), φυσιώσεις (= conceits), ἀκαταστασίαι (= disorders) and διχoστασίαι (= dissensions) were the main reasons they composed their works.108 Acts 27.3. Acts 28.30–31. 102 Acts 13.6–12. 103 Acts 10.1–48. 104 Tertullian, De Ieiunio. 105 Basil, Homilia 18, 7. 106 Augustine, Epistula 189 ad Bonifacem 4. 107 See also: M. P. Speidel, “The Roman Army in Judaea Under the Procurators: the Italian and the Augustan Cohort in the Acts of the Apostles”, AncSoc 13–14, 1982–3, p. 233–240. 108 Romans 14.21, 15.6, 16.17, 1 Corinthians 1.10, 1.11, 3.3, 8.13, 11.18, 11.19, 2 Corinthians 12.20, Galatians 1.6, Ephesians 4.1–16, and Phillipians 2.2. 100 101

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Ὑποτάγητε οὖν πάσῃ ἀνθρωπίνῃ κτίσει... εἴτε βασιλεῖ, ὡς ὑπερέχοντι, εἴτε ἡγεμόσιν, ὡς δι' αὐτοῦ πεμπομένοις, εἰς ἐκδίκησιν μὲν κακοποιῶν, ἔπαινον δὲ ἀγαθοποιῶν, ὅτι οὕτῶς ἐστὶ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, (1 Peter 2.13–2.15= submit to every human

authority…whether to the emperor as supreme or to the governors as his deputies for the punishment of the evil-doers and the praise of those who do right; for this is God’s will). We find exactly the same message in Romans 13.1: πᾶσα ψυχὴ ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις ὑποτασσέσθω. οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ἐξουσία εἰ μὴ ὑπὸ Θεοῦ. αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ἐξουσίαι ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ τεταγμέναι εἰσίν, (= every person must

submit to the authorities in power, for all power comes from God and the existing authorities are instituted by God); for the protection of good and the persecution of the criminals διὰ τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ φόρους τελεῖτε, (13.6= you should pay the taxes). The author of Titus, who was probably not apostle Paul,109 advised Titus to exhort the Christians in his congregation ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι, πειθαρχεῖν, (3.1= to submit and obey to the authorities and power). The author of the 1 Timothy, who again it is very unlikely to have been Paul,110 expected his congregation to pray ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, (= for all people), and especially ὑπὲρ βασιλέων καὶ πάντων τῶν ἐν ὑπεροχῆ ὄντων, (1 Timothy 2.1–3= for the kings and those in power). Clement of Rome could not agree more with the 1 Peter 2.13– 2.15 and Romans 13. God approved of temporal authority and Christians were left with no choice but to respect it.111 Tertullian approved of all of the above and encouraged Christians to respect the Roman authorities, but on one condition: if the authorities demanded Christians to venerate false idols then Christians ought to refuse.112 Origen used the 1 Timothy 2.1–3 to argue, to both Christians and pagans, that Christians ought to pray to God to Arland J. Hultgren, ‘The Pastoral Epistles’ in James D. G. Dunn, ed., The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid and Cape Town, 2003, p. 141–155, (p. 142–144). 110 See previous footnote. 111 Clement of Rome, Epistula I ad Corinthios 32.2. 112 Tertullian, De Idololatria 15. 109

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 43 ensure His support for the authorities; but, Christians should not enter the army; prayers would do.113 When modern scholars investigate early Christian relations with the state they usually resort to these passages and take them as indications of a positive attitude toward temporal power and of a ‘conservative’ social outlook.114 Often, a tension is discerned between Romans 13 and Apocalypse 13 that portrays Rome as a beast destined to perish miserably.115 Only rarely it is proposed that Romans 13 is a malicious interpolation, for the apostles could not have been so conservative.116 It has even been suggested that the teachings of Romans 13 and Apocalypse 13 are not essentially contradictory since the author of the Apocalypse never denied the necessity of a social and political order enforced by the state; all he meant to signify was that such power could be dismissed.117 Other conformist messages in the Epistles include the exhortation to women to obey their husbands,118 children their parents,119 slaves their masters120 and laity their clergy.121 Everyone Origen, Contra Celsum 8.73. Swift, War and Peace, p. 23–24, O. Cullman, “Dios y el César”, Estudios de Teología Bíblica, Madrid, 1973, p. 77–135, (p. 103), and W. R. Telford, The Theology of the Gospel of Mark, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2000, p. 206. Davies, in Christians, Politics and Violent Revolution, p. 46, thought that Christians are advised to adopt an attitude of obedience as long as the authorities are good; obedience is to be exercised with critical approach. 115 Gero, “Miles Gloriosus”, p. 287 and Swift, “War and the Christian Conscience”, p. 837. For the idea that Apocalypse 13 portrays the Roman state in a gloomy light and denotes its downfall see Lasserre, War and the Gospel, p. 85, Wengst, Pax Romana, p. 124, Dimitris J. Kyrtatas, Η αποκάλυψη του Ιωάννη και οι επτά εκκλησίες της Ασίας, Αthens, 1994, p. 41 and 132, and Friesen, “Injustice or God’s Will? ”, p. 21–23. 116 J. Kallas, “Romans XIII.1–7: An Interpolation”, NTS 11, 1965, p. 365–374. 117 F. Dvornik, Early Christian and Byzantine Political Philosophy vol. 2, Dumbarton Oaks Studies 9, Washington, 1966, p. 558–658. 118 1 Corinthians 14.34, Ephesians 5.22–33 and Colossians 3.18–19. 119 Ephesians 6.1–4, Colossians 3.20–21. 113 114

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was to stay as they were: ἕκαστος ἐν ὧ ἐκλήθη ἀδελφοί ἐν τούτῳ μενέτω, (1 Corinthians 7.24 and 15.23). The rich were advised to do charity,122 and not to renounce their wealth. It was such ‘conservative’ messages that could easily appeal to the slaves of Caesar.123 In Galatians 5.19–21 Paul composed a catalogue of those who should not expect to enter heaven. Those who had committed murder were among them, while they were not included in the catalogues of 1 Romans 1.29–31 and 1 Corinthians 6.9–10. One wonders whether a soldier was regarded as a murderer or whether the fact that he did not know his victim, was under orders to kill, and did not stand to gain personally from his victim’s death, made him a possible heir to the kingdom of God. Augustine certainly thought so.124 But the fact that Augustine repeatedly discussed the matter means that not all Christians shared his views, compelling him to devise ways to convince them. However, there exist a few passages like: πάντας ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ, (Ephesians 1.22= God subdued everyone under Jesus’ feet) and the rulers of this world will be destroyed,125 that oblige us to think twice before we light-heartedly label all of the authors of the Epistles as ‘conservative’. Οὐκ ἔνι Ἕλλην καὶ Ἰουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία, βάρβαρος, Σκῦθης, δοῦλος, ἐλεύθερος, ἀλλὰ τὰ πὰντα καὶ ἐν πᾶσι Χριστὸς, (Colossians 3.11= there is no such thing as Greek and

Ephesians 6.5–9, Colossians 3.22–25 and 4.1, 1 Timothy 6.1, and Titus 2.9. 121 1 Timothy 5.1–2 and 5.19, Hebrews 13.17. 122 1 Timothy 6.18. On early Christian charity see Richard Finn, Almsgiving in the Later Roman Empire. Christian Promotion and Practice 313– 450, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2006, Gillian Clark, Christianity and Roman Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2004, p. 108–111, and D. Iosif, «Φιλανθρωπία: Η χριστιανική μορφή της ευεργεσίας», in Ν. Τsironi, ed., Τιμή και Τίμημα, Αthens, 2009, p. 37–56. 123 Phillipians 4.22. 124 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 1.21 and 1.26, Contra Faustum 22.70, De libero arbitrio 1.4.9.25 and 1.5–11.32–13.41 and Epistula 47.5. 125 1 Corinthians 2.6. 120

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 45 Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman; but Christ is all and in all). If Christian leaders really meant it, and were not speaking theoretically, meaning that ‘everyone is equal in the eyes of God’, how was the advice given to women,126 children127 and slaves128 to respect their superiors and the existing social structures in this world to be explained?

Military Metaphors The fact that the NT contains numerous military metaphors requires consideration. It is not without significance that during antiquity wars were frequent.129 Moreover, early Christians were met with hostility by Jews and pagans. Military terminology was already current in the cults of other gods, like Bacchus, Venus, Isis and Mithras,130 to differentiate their members among a ‘hostile’ environment and to achieve cohesion among them. Thus, it is not surprising that Christianity followed the successful trend and developed a military imagery. Paul was probably the first Christian to introduce the custom of drawing metaphors and similes from the military world (with Colossians 3.18–19. See also footnote 118. On women and Christianity see Elizabeth A. Clark, “Ideology, History and the Construction of ‘Woman’ in Late Antique Christianity”, JECS 2:2, 1994, p. 155–184 and Bart D. Ehrman, “The Text as Window: New Testament Manuscripts and the Social History of Early Christianity”, in Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, ed., The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research. Essays on the Status Quaestionis, Eugene, 2001, p. 361– 379, (p. 367–368). 127 Colossians 3.20–21. See also footnote 119. 128 Colossians 3.22–25 and 4.1. See also footnote 120. Wayne A. Meeks attempted to provide an explanation in “The Image of the Androgyne. Some Uses of a Symbol in Earliest Christianity” in Allen R. Hilton and H. Gregory Snyder, ed., Wayne A. Meeks. In Search of the Early Christians. Selected Essays, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2002, p. 3–54. 129 Catherine Edwards, Death in Ancient Rome, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 21. 130 Gero, “Miles Gloriosus”, p. 288. 126

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which he certainly seems familiar) to emphasize that Christian life is a continuous fight against the devil.131 He thought that violence was necessary for the defeat of evil. Put on the armour of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the stratagems of the devil. For our struggle is not against human foes, but against cosmic powers, against the authorities and the powers of this dark age, against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, take up the armour of God; so you will be able to withstand them on the evil day and, after doing your utmost, to stand your ground. Stand fast, fasten on the belt of truth; for a breastplate put on justice, let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, and with all these, take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the burning arrows of the evil one. Accept salvation as your helmet, and the sword that the spirit gives you, the word of God (Ephesians 6.11–17).132

One could gather from the above that only spiritual warfare was necessary and resistance to temporal authority was not legitimate. The use of military metaphors often reveals a deep conformism.133 Paul was the only canonical writer to have called his fellow Christians συστρατιῶτες (= fellow soldiers).134 The term συστρατιώτης (or commilito) was popular with Roman commanders who wished to flatter their armies with an egalitarian and

Cadoux, Early Christian Attitude to War, p. 161, Carl Erdmann, The Origin of the Idea of Crusade, tr. Marshall W. Baldwin and Walter Goffart, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1977, p. 12, Jean-Michel Hornus, It is Unlawful for me to Fight. Early Christian Attitudes toward War, Violence and the State, tr. Alan Kreider and Oliver Coburn, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1980, p. 68, Swartley, “War and Peace in the NT”, p. 2387, Crescenti, Obiettori, p. 29, and Craig S. Wansink, Chained in Christ. The Experience and Rhetoric of Paul’s Imprisonment, Sheffield, 1996, p. 147– 174. 132 See also: 1 Thessalonikeans 5.8 and 2 Corinthians 10.4. 133 See p. 230-231. 134 Phillipians 2.25, 2 Timothy 2.3, Philemon 1.2 and Kyrtatas, Παιδαγωγός, p. 63. 131

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 47 affectionate address.135 Paul must have thought that the military institutions of the Roman empire were efficient and that Christians needed to imitate them to defeat their own enemy: the devil.136 It has been proposed that Paul deliberately used military metaphors in an attempt to present the Christian message in a form that would appeal to the martial Romans;137 but that is mere conjecture. Christian campaigners of subsequent centuries used Paul’s military metaphors consistently to remind Christians of their duty to combat evil, as we will see in due course.138 They also reminded Christians that they were the athletes of Jesus and His slaves (as Paul had already called them), but the military metaphors must have been more popular since they were used more often.

B. APOCRYPHA The writers of the gospels that did not gain admission into the Canon, just as the writers of the gospels that did, were not generally preoccupied whether Christians should enter or remain in the Roman army. Some of the apocryphal writers portrayed the Roman power positively and a few negatively. Many depicted soldiers in a negative or rather neutral light and at the same time depicted high military and political personnel in a most favourable light since they wished to end persecutions and to attract converts preferably from the upper classes. Everyone was welcome to join the Christian congregations, but people from the upper classes were more than welcome. Finally, a significant number of apocryphal works lacked any political overtones whatsoever.139 Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum, Julius 67.2, Augustus 25.1, Galba 20.1, Pliny, Epistula 10.20, 53, 101 and 103, Dio, Historia 74.1.3, and Brian Campbell, War and Society in Imperial Rome 31BC-AD284, London and New York, 2002, p. 36. 136 Gero, in “Miles Gloriosus”, p. 288, was of the opinion that using military metaphors does not follow that one admires the military institutions of his time. 137 Brock, Pacifism, p. 16. 138 See p. 173-179. 139 Like the Dialogue of the Saviour, (which probably dates from the second half of the first century= Ron Cameron, Non-Canonical Gospel 135

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Jesus as a Child Did Jesus legitimize violence as a child? After all rumor had it that He did spend most of his childhood performing violent and malicious acts: He killed a child who interrupted His game,140 He killed another child who touched Him,141 He killed His teacher,142 Texts. The Other Gospels, Cambridge, 1982, p. 39, or the first half of the second= Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 39 and H. Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels. Their History and Development, Philadelphia, 1990, p. 173–174), the Gospel of the Egyptians, preserved in fragments by Clement of Alexandria, (probably late first or early second century= Mario Erbetta, ed., Gli apocrifi del nuovo testamento, vol. I/1, 1975, p. 147 and Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 50), Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 840, (late first= Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 53, but fourth or fifth century in Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/1, p. 105), the Apocryphon of James, (second century= Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/2, 1981, p. 72 and Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 56), the Gospel of the Ebionites, (second= Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/1, p. 132, Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 104, and G. Röwekamp in Siegmar Döpp and Wilhelm Geerlings, ed., Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, New York, 2000, p. 188), the Protevangelium of James, preserved in quotations by Epiphanius, (middle second= Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/2, p. 7, Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 108, Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 310, and G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 316–318), the Secret Gospel of Mark (beginning of second= Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/2, p. 342 and Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 68), the Gospel of the Hebrews, preserved only by Clement of Alexandria, Cyril and Jerome, (probably composed some time between the middle of the first century and the middle of the second= Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/1, p. 114, Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 84, and G. Röwekamp and P. Burns in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 271) and the Gospel of the Nazoreans, preserved in fragments by Origen and Eusebius (composed in the second century= Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 98 and R. Hanig in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 430–431). 140 Evangelium Thomae Graecae A 3, Evangelium Thomae Graecae B 2, Evangelium Thomae Latinae 4, Evangelium Thomae Arabicum 46 and Evangelium Matthaei 26 and 28. 141 Ev Thom Gr A 4, Ev Thom Gr B 4, Ev Thom Lat 5 and Ev Thom Arab 47. 142 Ev Thom Gr A 14, Ev Thom Lat 12, Ev Thom Arab 49 and Ev Mat 38.

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 49 and He blinded those He disliked.143 Under these circumstances it is understandable that people were terrified of Him in case He might put a curse on them.144 Jesus was not all evil; He also carried out some good deeds, like raising children145 and men from the dead,146 giving wheat to the poor, widows and orphans,147 helping His Father in carpentry148 and saving His brother James from the bite of a serpent.149 The apocryphal tradition perceived Jesus blessed with divine power but not yet fully adept in managing it. He was a mixture of child and God, an omnipotent creature, responsible for both good and evil, unlike the Manichaean God who was only capable of good.150 It is important to keep in mind that while extreme violence was a valid option for young Jesus, for He was God’s Son, people were not encouraged by the apocryphal texts to imitate such an anti-social behaviour in their everyday life. The Evangelium Infantiae Thomae Graecae151 was probably composed in the middle or the end of the second century,152 most Ev Thom Gr A 5. Ev Thom Gr A 8. 145 Ev Thom Gr A 9 and 17, Ev Thom Gr B 8, Ev Thom Lat 7 and 15, Ev Thom Arab 44 and Ev Mat 29 and 32. 146 Ev Thom Gr A 10 and 18 and Ev Mat 40. In Ev Thom Gr B 9 the man was not dead yet, but critically ill and in Ev Thom Lat 8 a child was critically ill. 147 Only preserved in Ev Thom Lat 10. 148 Ev Thom Gr A 13 and Ev Thom Gr B 11 and Ev Thom Lat 11. 149 Ev Thom Lat 14 and Ev Mat 41. 150 Find more in Yuri Stoyanov, The Other God: Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy, New Haven, 2000, p. 107–112 and in Donald A. Nielsen, “Civilization Encounters in the Development of Early Christianity” in Blasi, Duhaime and Turcotte, ed., Handbook, p. 267–290, (p. 289). 151 Edition of the Greek texts: Constantin Tischendirf, Evangelia Apocrypha, Leipzig, 1876, p. 140–157 and p. 158–163, Latin text: p. 164– 180, Syriac text: W. Wright, Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the NT, London, 1865, p. 6–17. Discussion: Stephen Gero, “The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: a Study of the Textual and Literary Problems”, Novum Testamentum 13, 1971, p. 46–80. 143 144

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likely in eastern Syria.153 It is hard to reconcile its picture of an extremely violent child with the one we have in our minds of the adult Jesus who preached love and forgiveness. In the postConstantinian versions of the story of the infancy of Jesus,154 He was also presented as a serial killer but His victims were not at all innocent; some of them, if not all, actually deserved to meet their fate.155 Furthermore, the post-Constantinian accounts equally stressed the importance of the incidents in which Jesus was benefiting people by curing, for example, those possessed by the devil.156 It seems that all stories on Jesus’ childhood that circulated in late antiquity had Him perform horrifying acts of violence. The authors of the canonical gospels made no effort to preserve details on that stage of Jesus’ life or to reverse this highly curious picture, supposing they were aware of it. Jesus’ sacrifice, His death and His resurrection to save humans from their sins is what really mattered most for them and their target audience.

W. Michaelis, Die Apokryphen Schriften zum Neuen Testament, Bremen, 19582, p. 96–111, P. Vielhauer, Geschichte der urchristlichen Literatur, New York, 1975, p. 673, Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/2, p. 78, Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 124, Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 311, and Ronald F. Hock, ed., The Infancy Gospels of James and Thomas, Santa Rosa, California, 1995, p. 91 and 104–143. 153 Situating is difficult. Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 122 and Hock, Infancy Gospels, p. 92. 154 The Ev Thom Arab was probably composed in the sixth or seventh century (Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol.I/2, p. 102). It is very hard to know the date of the Ev Mat. Several dates have been proposed: the fifth century (G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 414), the seventh or eighth (Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/2, p. 44), and even the ninth (Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 414). 155 They clearly were under the spell of the devil. See Ev Mat 26 and 28. 156 Especially the first part of the Ev Thom Arab. See also D. Iosif, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Illness as Demon Possession in the World of the First Christian Ascetics and Monks”, Mental Health, Religion and Culture 14.4, 2011, p. 323-340, (available also online). 152

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 51

Jesus as an Adult The Coptic version of the Epistula Apostolorum 5157 (which was probably composed in the third quarter of the second century158 in Asia Minor or Egypt159) preserves the same story as Matthew 17.24–27 embellished with the same impressive detail:160 the disciples of Jesus were in distress that they did not have money to pay the tax collectors and Jesus did not advise them not to pay but worked a miracle and told them they would find the sum required inside a fish. The author of the Acta Joannis,161 composed in the second century,162 may have had a different approach to present reality. He preached that God was higher than all authority and all power.163

Edition of the Coptic text: Carl Schmidt, Gespräche Jesu mit seiner Jüngern nach Auferstehung, Texte und Untersuchungen 43, Leipzig, 1919 and Hildesheim, 1967, p. 1–26, Ethiopic text: Louis Guerrier, “Le Testament en Galilée de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ”, PO 9.3, 1913, p. 177–232. Discussion: Walter Bauer, “One Jesus and Four Primitive Gospels”, HThR 61, 1968, p. 203–247 and Julian Hills, “Proverbs as Sayings of Jesus in the Epistula Apostolorum” in Ron Cameron, ed., The Apocryphal Jesus and Christian Origins, Atlanta, 1990, p. 7–34. 158 Elliott, Apocryphal NT, p. 556, Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 133, Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 312, and Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. III, p. 37. 159 Most scholars show a clear preference for Egypt as the most likely place of composition. Charles E. Hill in “The Epistula Apostolorum: an Asian Tract from the Time of Polycarp”, JECS 7:1, 1999, p. 1–53, suggested Asia Minor following Carl Schmidt. 160 On the issue of influence of the apocryphal gospels on the canonical and vice versa see: James Keith Elliott, “The Influence of the Apocrypha on Manuscripts of the NT”, Apocrypha 8, 1997, p. 265–271, where he advances the view that the apocryphal gospels are significantly independent. However, if an influence it to be detected, it is most of the cases from the canonical towards the apocryphal. 161 Edition: Richard Adelbert Lipsius and Maximilian Bonnet, “Acta Ioannis”, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha, 2 vols in 3 parts, Leipzig, 1893 reprinted in Hildesheim 1959, p. 193–203. Discussion: J. N. Bremmer, The 157

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The Evangelium Thomae164 is a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus, many of which can be found in the canonical gospels. The compiler of the text, who probably lived in the first or second century,165 did not provide a context for the sayings nor his own interpretations of them. Under these circumstances we have no way of knowing what the following saying meant for him or for his audience. Jesus was presented as saying that He did not come to bring peace upon the world but rather war,166 like in Matthew 10.34. He claimed that it was impossible for a man to mount two horses or stretch two bows, or for a servant to serve two masters,167 like in Matthew 6.24 and Luke 16.13. Finally, when His disciples asked Him for guidance as to whether they ought to pay Apocryphal Acts of John, Kampen, 1995 and Pieter J. Lalleman, The Acts of John. A Two-Stage Initiation into Johannine Gnosticism, Leuven, 1998. 162 Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 88, dated it in the early second century, Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol.2, 1966, p. 29 in ca. 150 and G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 324–325, in the end of the second or beginning of the third century. 163 Acta Joannis 104. 164 Editions: M. Fieger, Das Thomasevangelium: Einleitung, Kommentar und Systematik, Münster, 1991 and April D. DeConick, “The Original Gospel of Thomas”, VChr 56, no. 2, 2002, p. 167–199. Discussion: Ron Cameron, “The Gospel of Thomas and Christian Origins” in Birger A. Pearson, ed., The Future of Early Christianity, Minneapolis, 1991, p. 381–392 and “Myth and History in the Gospel of Thomas”, Apocrypha 8, 1997, p. 193–205, R. Valantasis, The Gospel of Thomas, London, 1997, and Alexei Siverstev, “The Gospel of Thomas and Early Stages in the Development of the Christian Wisdom Literature”, JECS 8:3, 2000, p. 319–340. 165 P. Burns in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 574–576, thought that some sayings may well date back to the first century, while the composition occurred in the middle of the second. Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 24, thought that the earliest composition may be in the middle of the first and the latest at the end of the second, and R. Mcl. Wilson in “Thomas and the Growth of the Gospels”, HThR 53, 1960, p. 231–250, p. 232, argued that the original nucleus may be dated with some confidence in the second century. 166 Ev Thom 35.16. 167 Ev Thom 41.47.

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 53 the taxes or not, Jesus gave the same reply as in Matthew 22.21, Mark 12.17 and Luke 20.25. Similarly, the fragmentary state of Papyrus Egerton 2,168 written sometime in the middle of the first century and the beginning of the second,169 does not permit one to know what its author thought of the Christian responsibilities towards the state. The recto of the second surviving fragment of the papyrus preserves the question put to Jesus whether it is admissible to pay taxes to the kings appertaining to the rule. It is frustrating that Jesus’ reply is only partly preserved and the most crucial part is missing. Jesus was angry that the persons asking Him addressed Him as master; He knew they were trying to trap Him. At this point the text abruptly ends and we remain wondering whether Jesus gave the same answer as in Matthew 22.21, Mark 12.17 and Luke 20.25, or rather advised them not to pay for the authorities of this world deserved no respect. The fragmentary nature of many of the apocryphal gospels does not permit us to acquire a full understanding of their views on the authorities. However, the general sense they convey is not different from the canonical gospels; it is that of conformism and only rarely their authors got carried away and condemned Roman rule.170

After Jesus’ Death The Acta Andrei171 were probably penned before Constantine ascended the throne172 by some presbyters and deacons of Achaia Edition and discussion: Goro Mayeda, Das Leben-Jesu-Fragment Papyrus Egerton 2 und seiner Stellung in der urchistlichen Literaturgeschichte, Bern, 1946, p. 7–11. 169 Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol.I/1, p. 102 dated it before 150, Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 72–73, in the middle of the first or early second, and Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 206, in ca. 200. 170 As a grim cruel adult, Jesus appears probably only in the Vision of Dorotheus, a text dated to the second half of the fourth century. See Jan N. Bremmer, The Rise and Fall of the Afterlife, London and New York, 2002, p. 129. 171 Edition: Dennis Ronald MacDonald, The Acts of Andrew and the Acts of Andrew and Matthias in the City of the Cannibals, Atlanta, Georgia, 1990. 168

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and sent to other Churches. The authors repeated the widespread tale that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus. Furthermore, interestingly enough, when the apostle Andreas was being kept in prison, a multitude of people wanted to kill the proconsul Aegeates whom they considered responsible for the unfair imprisonment of Andreas. Andreas was not in favour of the idea and actually tried (and managed) to prevent the crowd from going ahead with their plan. It was Andreas’ intervention that eventually saved the proconsul’s life. The author of the Acta Petri173 must have shared the same ideological beliefs towards temporal power as his contemporary author of the Acta Andrei. It has convincingly been shown that the Acta Petri have an accommodating position towards the authorities.174 There is no direct confrontation of the apostle with the political authorities, no trial and no apologetic speech.175 On the contrary, the Acta Pauli,176 Discussion: Dennis Ronald MacDonald, Christianizing Homer: the Odyssey, Plato and the Acts of Andrew, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1994. 172 G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 5–6, dated it in 150–200 and Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol.2, p. 393, in 250–300. The place of composition cannot de determined. 173 G. Röwekamp in Döpp, p. 476–479 and W. Schneemelcher and E. Hennecke, ed., NT Apocrypha, 2 vols, London, 1965, p. 275, dated the Acta Petri shortly before 200 in Asia Minor. Editions: L. Vouaux, Les actes de Pierre. Introduction, texts traduction et commentaire, Paris, 1922 and J. N. Bremmer, The Apocryphal Acts of Peter. Magic, Miracles and Gnosticism, Leuven, 1998. Discussion: S. J. Patterson, “Sources, Redaction and Tendenz”, VChr 45, 1991, p. 1–17. 174 Ann Graham Brock, “Political Authority and Cultural Accommodation: Social Diversity in the Acts of Paul and the Acts of Peter”, in François Bovon, Ann Graham Brock and Christopher R. Matthews, ed., The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1999, p. 145–169. 175 Brock, “Political Authority”, p. 149. Furthermore, the work exhibits a significant lack of autonomous actions on the part of women (p. 155) and contains a significant number of references to ecclesiastical designations and titles (p. 164).

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 55 composed at the same time as the Acta Petri,177 carry anti-imperial sentiments.178 There is definitely a discernible contrast in the underlying attitude towards the authorities in power in the two Acts. The author of the Acta Pauli, according to Tertullian,179 was a presbyter in Asia Minor who was deposed from office when he produced this work. We can certainly see why. Interestingly when someone took the two texts, the Acta Petri and the Acta Pauli,180 and decided to put them together (that must have happened at the latest in the fourth century),181 he/she did not try to reconcile the different approaches the two texts exhibit towards temporal authority, and as a result we find in the edition produced startlingly conflicting messages. For example, we are told, in passing, that the teaching of Paul made many despise the military profession and become unwilling to return to their posts in the army or the palace: As a result of the teaching of Paul many came to despise military service and adhere to God, and even some from the family of Caesar came to him and as they became Christians they did not want to return to military service or to the palace any longer (Acts of Paul 31).

Edition: L. Vouaux, Les Actes de Paul et ses letters apocryphes, Paris, 1913. Discussion: P. Devos, “Actes de Thomas et Actes de Paul”, AB 69, 1951, p. 119–130, A. F. J. Klijn, “The Apocryphal Correspondence”, VChr 17, 1963, p. 2–23, and C. M. Thomas, “The Acts of Paul as a Source for the Life of Paul” in Thomas Drew-Bear, Mehmet Taşlialan and Christine M. Thomas, ed., Actes du Ier Congres International sur Antioche de Pisidie, Lyon, Paris, 2002, p. 85–92. 177 Hennecke, New Testament Apocrypha, p. 351. 178 Brock, “Political Authority”, p. 147, 153 and 168 and János Bolyki, “Events after the Martyrdom: Missionary Transformation of an Apocalyptic Metaphor in Martyrium Pauli” in Jan N. Bremmer, ed., The Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla, Kampen, 1996, p. 92–106. 179 Tertullian, De Baptismo 17.5. 180 Edition: R. A. Lipsius, Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha 1, Darmstadt, 1959, 1891,1 p. 178–222. Discussion: Vouaux, Les Actes de Pierre, p. 160– 178. 181 G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 476–479. 176

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At the same time, Peter reads a letter to the emperor Nero (54–68) in which Pilate claimed that the Jews crucified Jesus out of mere envy and gave money to the guards to say that His disciples stole the dead body. Nero was not impressed, but the propraetor Agrippa was. Finally, when the multitude wished to kill Nero, Peter restrained them. The Acta Philippi,182 written in the beginning of the fourth century,183 did not have much advice to give to Christians on how they should behave towards the authorities. Its author stated that Christians should avoid violence and presented Jesus being so angry with Philip, who had forsaken his command not to reciprocate evil, that he shut him outside of paradise for forty whole days. And in another version of the story, in the Acts of Philip the apostle in upper Hellas, Philip was debarred for forty years for his unfortunate mistake. Unfortunately, it is not clear whether the author(s) of the two texts wished their audiences to regard violence in warfare as an acceptable exception and to deem only violence among civilians as totally repulsive.

Pilate It was a very popular idea among early Christians that Pilate was innocent of the death of Jesus and that the Jews were the only ones to blame for His death. It can be found both in the canonical gospels184 and in the apocryphal ones. The apocryphal gospel Evangelium Nicodemi,185 which was composed in the second186 or

Edition: François Bovon, Bertrand Bouvier, Frédéric Amler, Acta Philippi, Tourhoult, Brepols, 1999. Discussion: F. Bovon, “Les Actes de Philip”, ANRW II.25.6.1988, p. 4431–4527. 183 Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol.2, p. 451, dated it in 300–330. 184 See p. 36-38. 185 Edition of the Greek texts: C. V. Tischendorf, Evangelia Apocrypha, Hidelsheim, 1987, p. 210–286 and p. 287–332, Coptic text: M. Vandoni and T. Orlandi, Vangelo di Nicodemo, Milano, 1966, Latin text: G. Philippart, “Les fragments palimpsests de l’Évangile de Nicodème”, AB 107, 1989, p. 171–188, and Syriac text: I. E. Rahmani, Studia Syriaca 2, 1908. Discussion: Rémi Gounelle Zbigniew Izydorczyk, “Thematic 182

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 57 third century,187 promoted forcefully this idea. Pilate repeatedly stated that Jesus was innocent and did not deserve to be crucified.188 The Jews persisted and Pilate accused them of being γένος στασιαστὸν καὶ τοῖς εὐεργέταις ὑμῶν ἀντιλέγετε, (Evangelium Nicodemi Gesta Pilati Graecae A 9.2= a rebellious race which contradicts its benefactors) and διαβολικὴ γενεά καὶ ἄπιστος, (Evangelium Nicodemi Gesta Pilati Graecae B= a diabolic and infidel generation). Pilate was afraid of the Jews,189 especially when they accused him of not being a friend of Caesar’s.190 He was left with no choice but to consent, although unwillingly, to Jesus’ unfair death. While a conscious and consistent effort on the part of the author of the work is made to have his audience release Pilate from any responsibility for Jesus’ blood and even feel sorry for him, there is no such effort for any of the soldiers appearing in the narrative. Soldiers behaved as one would expect them to, just as they do in the canonical gospels. They arrested Jesus when they were ordered to, they divided His garments among themselves as to make a profit, they mocked Him and they happily received a bribe from the Jews to silence the fact of His resurrection but finally did not keep their part of the deal, as it became known that He was resurrected. Their actions were completely irrelevant to yet another Christian author and his/her audience. The Evangelium Petri,191 composed sometime between the middle of the first century and the second half of the second Biography of the Acts of Pilate: Agenda and Corrigenda”, Apocrypha 11, 2000, p. 259–292. 186 F. C. Conybeare, “Acta Pilati”, Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica 4, 1896, p. 59–130 and Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol.I/2, p. 237. 187 Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 164. Identifying the province is difficult. 188 Evangelium Nicodemi Gesta Pilati Graecae 4.1 and 4.4, Evangelium Nicodemi Decensus Christi ad Inferno 3 and 4. Pilate’s wife allegedly also recognized Jesus’ innocence (2.1). 189 Ev Nic Gesta Pilati Graecae 9.4 and Ev Nic Decensus Christi ad Inferno 2. 190 Ev Nic Decensus Christi ad Inferno 9. 191 Edition: O. V. Gebhardt, Das Evangelium u. die Apokalypse des Petri, Leipzig, 1893. Discussion: T. Zahn, Das Evangelium des Petrus, Leipzig,

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century,192 in western Syria,193 follows the same tradition as the Gesta Pilati and the canonical texts. Pilate declared Jesus innocent194 and he did not hesitate to beg Herod for Jesus’ body when Joseph requested it.195 Once again the behaviour of the soldiers is indifferent; they do what a soldier would normally do and they are not accused because of it.196 The author was really interested only in high officials and that is the reason why he was proud to announce that after the resurrection, someone from the company of the centurion recognized that Jesus was righteous.197 Finally, the author of the Epistle of Abgar198 addressed to Jesus, who probably lived in the third century199 (but claimed to be Abgar, the governor of Edessa from 4 to 7 and 13 to 50 CE), reassured Jesus that Pilate 1893, A. Harnack, Bruchstücke des Evangeliums und der Apokalypse des Petrus, Leipzig, 1893, A. Harnack and H. V. Schubert, “Das Petrusevangelium”, Theologische Literaturzeitung 19, 1894, p. 9–18, J. D. Crossan, “The Gospel of Peter and the Canonical Gospels”, Forum 1, 1998, p. 7–51, and A. J. Dewey, “The Passion Narrative of the Gospel of Peter”, Forum 1, 1998, p. 53–69. 192 Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 77, G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 476–479, Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels, p. 216 and Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/1, p. 137. 193 Cameron, Other Gospels, p. 78 and G. Röwekamp in Döpp and Geerlings, Dictionary, p. 476–479. 194 Evangelium Petri 11.46. 195 Ev Petri 2.3. 196 Ev Petri 4, 5, 8, 8.31, 9.35 and 10.38. 197 Ev Petri 11.45. 198 Edition of the Syriac text: G. Philipps, Doctrina Addai, London, 1876, Greek text: R. A. Lipsius, M. Bonnet, Acta Apostolorum 1, Leipzig, 1891, p. 273–283, Coptic text: H. P. Blok, “Kopt. Abgar-briefe”, AcOr 5, 1927, p. 238–251, Armenian text: R. W. Thomson, History of the Armenians, New York, 1981, p. 95f and p. 142–162, Slavonic text: E. N. Mescherskaya, “Slavonic Versions”, PalSb 23, 1971, p. 168–172 and 26, 1978, p. 102–106. Discussion: E. Cerulli, L’oriente cristiano, Roma, 1964, p. 9–43 and A. Desreumaux, “Témoins syriaques et grecs”, Augustinianum 23, 1983, p. 181–186. 199 Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. 3, 1969, p. 77.

JESUS AND THE EVANGELISTS OR LOVE YOUR ENEMIES 59 wished, more than anything, to release Him, but, unfortunately, failed despite his sincere intentions. In the post-Constantinian era, there was no reason to paint a nice picture of the pagan authorities, simply because they no longer constituted a threat. Gradually, as time went by, Pilate started receiving his own share of the blame for Jesus’ death. It was only rarely that he was declared innocent.200 More often Pilate was charged of his crime and suffered its terrible consequences.201

CONCLUSIONS It seems that the early Christian gospels were unconcerned about the issue of legitimacy of Christian participation in warfare and in the army. Only in the apocryphal Acta Petri et Pauli we find a brief reference, with no further comment,202 to soldiers who after listening to Paul preaching began to despise their profession and refused to return to their posts. The authors of the canonical and non-canonical writings were equally generally indifferent to the salvation of the individual soldier. On the contrary, they were interested in approaching and gaining the trust of people from the upper classes, regardless as to how they earned their living, in the palace or in the army. And that is the reason they were extremely careful not to annoy them, but only to please them. In the late third century, when the problem of legitimacy of Christian involvement in the military started to occupy the minds of many Christians, the Christian Fathers resorted to the Bible to find the answers they needed. During the Two World Wars and later under the threat of nuclear destruction and today under the threat of Islamic terrorism the same anxiety arose. Once more the Bible was regarded as suitable for providing guidance and justification. It is a pity that it has been used more for justification See the Anaphora Pilati, composed in the seventh century according to Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. 3, p. 119, and Mors Pilati, also composed in the Middle Ages (Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. I/2, p. 402). 201 Read for example the Paradosis Pilati, that was composed in the seventh century according to Erbetta, Apocrifi, vol. 2, p. 122. 202 It might well be a later interpolation since it does not seem to fit in the narration. 200

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than guidance. But again it contains far too many contradictory messages that may be unsuitable for providing any guidance. Under these circumstances, in the present chapter I concentrated my attention mostly on how the New Testament was read by those early Christians interested in war and peace issues.

3. POSITIVE SOURCES 3.1. LITERARY EVIDENCE OR WE GO TO WAR Introduction The earliest evidence of Christians serving in the Roman army comes from ca. 172. Christian soldiers serving under Marcus Aurelius (161–180) helped their emperor ensure an unexpected and spectacular military victory in Germany. The incident was narrated by a contemporary, Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis, in 176. Apolinarius’ account has survived through Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica, which was composed early in the fourth century.1 The incident was also narrated in a letter allegedly addressed to the Roman Senate by Marcus Aurelius himself and has survived as an appendix to Justin’s Apologia prima,2 which was composed in 197. Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica V.v. 1–6. Eusebius was born ca. 260 in Caesarea of Palestine; he became the city’s bishop in ca. 314 and died in 339. His life spanned the transition from the pagan to the Christian empire and his works chronicle the main stages by which this transition was accomplished. For more information concerning his life and his works see R. M. Grant, Eusebius as Church Historian, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1980, T. D. Barnes, Constantine and Eusebius, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1981, and Kofsky Aryeh, Eusebius of Caesarea Against Paganism, Leiden, Boston and Köln, 2000. 2 Justin, Apologia prima 71. Paucity of evidence renders a full biography of Justin impossible. In Apologia prima 1.1 Justin identified himself as the son of Priscus and grandson of Baccius of Flavia Neapolis in Syrian Palestine, a city established by Vespasian (69–79) as a Roman colony in the region of Samaria. Justin underwent instruction at the hands of a Stoic teacher, a Peripatetic, a Pythagorean and the Platonists. However, his 1

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Other Christian writers that mentioned either the incident or the letter were Tertullian3 in 197 and again in 211, and Cyprian4 in 252. Marcus Aurelius was fighting in Germany. The water supply was exhausted, putting the Roman army in serious danger. The emperor prayed to the traditional gods for their intervention, but search for truth was satisfied only when he read the Bible. Justin spent most of his life in Rome teaching. He martyred at the end of the second century, (see The Martyrdom of Justin and Companions in H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1972, p. 42–61). His works mainly concentrated on reassuring pagans as at the innocence of Christianity. 3 Tertullian, Apologeticum 5.6 and Ad Scapulam 4.6. Tertullian was the first significant Christian author to write in Latin. He was born ca. 160 in Africa. His later writings, from ca. 205, reveal a growing commitment to Montanism. However, Tertullian may have never formally been separated from the Church. See Eusebius, H.E. II. ii, Jerome, De Viris Illustribus 53, T. D. Barnes, Tertullian: a Historical and Literary Study, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985, Eric Osborn, Tertullian. First Theologian of the West, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1997, David Wright, “Tertullian”, in Philip F. Esler, ed., The Early Christian World, London and New York, 2000, p. 1027–1047, and Geoffrey D. Dunn, Tertullian, London and New York, 2004. 4 Cyprian, Ad Demetrianum 20. Cyprian was born in Carthage in ca. 200 into a pagan family of some social standing and wealth. With his conversion to Christianity he took to a life of celibacy, sold his considerable estate and gave the money to the poor members of the Christian community. Astonishingly quickly, he became bishop of Carthage in 248. His sudden promotion annoyed some Christians, but satisfied his congregation completely according to his biographer deacon Pontius. On the 14th of September 258, under Decius, Cyprian suffered a martyr’s death. Cyprian was a prolific writer and his work is a valuable testimony of the turbulent times of persecutions. See: Pontius, Vita Cypriani, J. P. Burns, Cyprian the Bishop, London and New York, 2002, Ronald E. Heine, ‘‘Cyprian and Novatian’’ in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2008, 2004 1, p. 152–160, and Allen Brent, Cyprian and Roman Carthage, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2010.

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they did not respond, either because they were unwilling, unable or nonexistent. Then, the frustrated emperor turned to the Christians in his ranks and ordered them to pray to their God. They happily complied and without any delay rain saved the day. The incident of the rainstorm, which later became known as ‘the story of the legio fulminata’ (or thundering legion), is a fascinating tale,5 preserved by both pagan and Christian sources, each appropriating it and attributing the victory to its own god of preference. In late antiquity it was strongly believed by both pagans and Christians that divine power could, and often did, in fact, manifest itself in the daily events of history. Pagans and Christians agreed in attributing success in the battlefield to divine intervention.6 The miraculous victory of Marcus Aurelius was commemorated in imperial coins issued in 173 and in 174 which recognized the intervening rescuing deity to have been Mercury.7 It also appeared in the sixteenth scene of Marcus Aurelius’ column, erected in 176 and finished before 193,8 and was attributed to an unspecified deity.9 Cassius Dio in his Historia Romanorum, written in 220, For a detailed bibliography on the story see M. Marcovich, ed., Justini Martyris, Apologiae Pro Christianis, Berlin, New York, 1994, p. 165. See also D. Iosif, “Caesar the Warrior versus Jesus the Peacemaker?”, Eulimene 4, Mediterranean Archaeological Society, University of Crete, 2003, p. 167– 180 and Helen Rhee, Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries, London and New York, 2005, p. 168–169. 6 Martin Hengel, Earliest Christianity, London, 1986, p. 50 and G. Fowden, “Pagan Versions of the Rain Miracle of A.D. 172”, Historia 36, 1987, p. 83–95. 7 E. J. Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World, London, 1969, p. 772 and Marta Sordi, “Le monete di Marco Aurelio e la pioggia miracolosa”, Annali dell’Instituto Italiano di Numismatica 5–6, 1958/9, p. 41–55. 8 E. Petersen, A. Domaszewski, G. Galderini, Die Marcus-Säule auf Piazza Colonna in Rom, Monaci, 1896, tables 17 and 22 and John Morris, “The Dating of the Column of Marcus Aurelius”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 15, 1952, p. 37–40. 9 Ido Israelowich, “The Rain Miracle of Marcus Aurelius: (Re-) Construction of Consensus”, Greece and Rome 55.1, 2008, p. 83–102, proposed, without though any real proof, that the Aurelian Column 5

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narrated the incident but thought that rain and salvation came as a result of the Egyptian magician Arnuphis invoking Mercury and other pagan deities.10 The story was extremely popular and circulated in many versions; some believed that Marcus Aurelius’ own prayers brought the desired result;11 others preferred a version with Antoninus Pius,12 or even the philosopher-astrologer Julius Chaldeus.13 Marcus Aurelius was not the only Roman emperor who had been saved by a miraculous rain. Trajan’s column depicts Jupiter providing the much longed for rain that enabled the emperor to win Decapolis.14 Marcus Aurelius in ‘his’ letter acknowledged the failure of the traditional gods and expressed his immense gratitude to the numerous Christian soldiers he found serving in his troops, without, though, consenting to carrying arms, for their indispensable help in invoking their God to deliver them from the real danger they have been facing; and concluded with the proposition that persecutions cease and future persecutors be burnt alive. Marcus Aurelius could not have written to the Senate to extol Christians. The letter in its present form paints such an ideal picture of Christianity and is far too kind towards Christians not to deliberately refrained from depicting a specific deity from the Roman pantheon and identifying it as solely responsible for the military victory so as to allow various groups and faiths to see their gods as the saviours of Rome. Personally, I find the suggestion quite far-fetched. 10 Cassius Dio, Historia Romanorum 71.8.1–10.5. For the relationship between Marcus Aurelius and Arnuphis see J. Guey, “Encore la pluie miraculeuse”, Revue de Philologie 22, 1948, p. 16–62. 11 Oracula Sibyllina 12.194–200 and Historia Augusta, Marcus Antoninus 24.4. 12 Themistius, Oratio xv.191b–c. 13 Claudius Claudianus, Panegyricus de sexto consulatu Honorii xxviii.340– 350. Julius Chaldeus is famous for composing or editing, under Marcus Aurelius, the Chaldaean Oracles, a collection of divine revelations in Greek hexameter verse. The later Neoplatonists regarded it as a sacred book. 14 L. Rossi, Trajan’s Column and the Dacian Wars, London, 1970, Ian Richmond, Trajan’s Army on Trajan’s Column, London, 1982, and Frank A. Lepper, Trajan’s Column, Gloucester, 1988.

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be spurious. According to its composer, Christians should refuse to carry weapons, even if they have military careers, but should, without hesitation, consent to pray for the well-being of the emperor, his army and the empire. The letter could not have been produced by Justin either, as he had died approximately ten years before the incident was supposed to have occurred.15 It seems that the letter owes its inspiration to Galerius’ edict of 311.16 Tertullian, in his Apologeticum, written in 197, claimed that he was aware of such a letter with the same content as the one that has survived in Justin. Mentioning the letter was part of Tertullian’s endeavor to show that the persecutions of Christians were totally unjust and that they were incited only by bad emperors; the good ones, like Marcus Aurelius, fully recognized Christianity’s potential and supported it. A few years later, in his Ad Scapulam, written in 211, Tertullian alluded to the same incident for a similar purpose: he claimed his contemporaries were wrong to recognize Jupiter as the God who intervened and saved the Roman army in Germany; it was actually the Christian God obliging the Christian soldiers. Tertullian wanted to show that Christians did not constitute a threat to pagans and provided no reason for persecution since they devoted themselves wholeheartedly to the affairs of their communities. Tertullian could not have been more explicit: C. H. Dodd, “Chronology of the Danubian Wars of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus”, Numismatic Chronicle, 4th series, 13, 1913, p. 161–199 and 276–321, Wilhelm Zwikker, Studien zur Marcussäule, Amsterdam, 1941, p. 206–226, J. Guey, “La date de la pluie miraculeuse et la colonne Aurelienne”, Mélanges d’Archeologie et d’Historie 60, 1948, p. 105–27 and 61, 1949, p. 93–118, and H. Z. Rubin, “Weather Miracles under Marcus Aurelius”, Athenaum 57, 1979, p. 357–380, placed the event in 172 CE. John Helgeland, in “Christians and the Roman Army from Marcus Aurelius to Constantine”, ANRW II.23.I.1979, p. 724–834, (p. 772), argued in favour of the summer of 173, while Morris, in “The Dating of the Column”, and Sordi, in “Monete”, preferred 174. 16 Adolf Harnack, “Die Quelle der Berichte über das Regenwunder im Feldzuge Marc Aurel’s gegen die Quaden”, Sitzungsberichte der Königlich Preuβischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 36, 1894, p. 835–882, p. 865. 15

66

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR A Christian is enemy to none, least of all to the emperor whom he knows to be appointed by his God and so cannot but love and honour and desire his well-being as well as the well-being of the Roman empire for as long as the world shall stand, they stand together (Ad Scapulam 2.6).

Bishop Eusebius after having read presbyter Tertullian’s and bishop Apolinarius’ accounts,17 repeated the story in the same terms and with the same conclusions: the unexpected rain came as a divine gift to Marcus Aurelius, Christians were eager citizens, the Christian God was powerful and prayers towards Him were effective. Similarly, approximately fifty years before Eusebius, bishop Cyprian, in his work Ad Demetrianum, composed in 252, claimed that the emperor deserved to benefit from the Christian God’s favour in answer to the requests of the Christian soldiers, in his attempt to show that Christians were not the cause of national disasters as it was wrongly claimed; quite the opposite was evidently true. It is rather peculiar that none of the surviving Christian versions of the story provides an explanation or a justification of the fact that there were Christians serving in the Roman army. Apparently, Christian writers, who often happened to hold important ecclesiastical offices and claimed to know what Christianity was about or was supposed to be about, were not surprised by the presence of Christians in the ranks nor did they think their congregations and their readers would be. Only pride colours their accounts that it was due to Christian soldiers and their God that a pagan emperor was saved and managed to achieve such a crucial military victory. It is equally interesting that later Christian teachers continued to remember and exploit the incident even when there was no obvious reason to, i.e. even when Christian emperors were in the throne and the idea that Christianity was a disturbing social phenomenon had long been dead. They referred

Tertullian’s and Apolinarius’ testimonies were completely independent of each other according to Harnack, “Die Quelle”, p. 842, but not according to M. M. Sage, “Eusebius and the Rain Miracle: Some Observations”, Historia 36, 1987, p. 96–113. 17

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to it, nevertheless, to show that Christians had a long-standing tradition of benefiting the state.18 The story of the thundering legion is a clear case of the Christian literary sources assuming without discussion that there would be Christian soldiers in the legions. At other times, as in the case of Tertullian’s works, we get quite elaborate discussions that only make sense if both the writer and his readers knew that there were at least some Christians serving amongst pagans in the legions, and these cannot be given a symbolic interpretation. Tertullian may not have approved of Christians entering or remaining in service but it was a fact of life that some of his contemporaries did and Tertullian did not try to deny it or pretend it did not happen. He had observed it and explicitly recognized it twice in his Apologeticum, in 37.4: We (the Christians) have filled everything, cities, islands, forts, towns, exchanges, and indeed camps, tribes, decuries (= town councils), palace, Senate, forum; we have only left to you the temples.

and in 42.2–3: So not without your forum, not without your meat market, not without your baths, shops, factories, inns and market days and the rest of life of buying and selling we live with you in this world. We sail ships, we as well as you and along with you and we go to war, to the country and to the market. Our arts and yours work together; our labor is openly at your service. In what way can we seem unprofitable to your business when we live with you and our living depends on you, I do not know.

Tertullian leaves us in no doubt that Christian legionaries existed. De Corona Militum, written in 211 by Tertullian, provides equally valuable information concerning early Christian practices. The work is a treatise against the practice of wearing crowns.19 Gregory of Nyssa, In Quadraginta martyres, Orosius, Historiarum adversus paganos vii.15, Joannis Zonaras, Annalium lib. 12.2.40, and Xiphilinus in Dio’s Historia Romanorum 72.9. 19 Tertullian was not the only Christian to oppose the practice of wearing crowns. See also: Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus II. VIII.43,4, 18

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Tertullian discussed an incident, that happened a short time before or near the place he composed or circulated his work,20 of a Christian soldier who refused to wear the customary crown at a distribution of the donativum (= imperial bounty) to the troops.21 The soldier turned up to receive his gift with a bare head, holding the crown in hand. Once his shockingly peculiar behaviour was noticed he was asked to put the crown in place, but he obstinately refused. The name and fate of the soldier is not recorded. The episode occupies only the first paragraph of the treatise; in the

Justin, Apologia prima 1.9, Minucius Felix, Octavius 12.6 and 38.2–3, Cyprian, De Lapsis 2, and Council of Elvira, Canon 55. 20 The first word of the work is proxime which can and has been taken to mean both recently and near. P. Monceaux, Histoire littéraire de l’Afrique chrétienne depuis les origines jusqu’à l’invasion arabe, 7 vols, 1901–1923, 1st volume, p. 269, placed the incident at Lambaesis, P. Franchi de’ Cavalieri, “Sopra alcuni passi del De Corona di Tertulliano”, Note Agiografiche 8, Studi e Testi 65, p. 355–386, (p. 361f) and Jacques Fontaine, ed., De Corona, Paris, 1966, p. 42, at Carthage, and Y. Le Bohec, “Tertullien, De Corona 1: Carthage ou Lambèse?”, Revue des Études Augustiniennes 38, 1992, p. 6–18, (p. 6f), at Rome. The incident is generally considered to be historical; only A. von Domaszewski, “Die Religion des römischen Heeres”, Westdeutsche Zeitscrift für Geschichte und Kunst 14, 1895, p. 1–124, (p. 95), regarded it as fictional, but his claim did not find many followers. 21 It has been suggested by John Helgeland, in “Christians and the Roman Army AD 173–337”, Church History 43, 1974, p. 149–163, (p. 152 and footnote 19) that the soldier in De Corona was receiving a prize for meritorious combat. However, Tertullian says in the beginning of his work that the emperors’ liberalitas (= generosity, bounty) was being dispensed to the camp. A few years later, Helgeland, in “Christians and the Roman Army”, p. 741, rightly understood the occasion to have been a distribution of imperial bounty. Most scholars assume the occasion to be Caracalla’s (198–217) and Geta’s (209–211) accession to the throne, (see Fontaine, De Corona, p. 41–42, Louis Swift, The Early Fathers on War and Military Service, ed. Thomas Halton, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983, p. 43, and José Fernández Ubiña, Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la guerra, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2000, p. 258).

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remainder Tertullian concerned himself with a detailed argument intended to prove the wrongness of wearing crowns. What is significant in De Corona is that Tertullian stated that contrary to his wishes, Christians were known to participate in the Roman army and admitted he was sorry that they moreover did not feel compelled to refuse the military crown. They believed it was possible to serve two masters: duobus dominis servire posse praesumpserant.22 His hero, Tertullian was proud to say, had differentiated himself from common practice and that was the reason Tertullian was inspired to write about him. He alone had realized the incompatibility of the Christian faith with a military profession, he alone refused to wear the military crown: solus libero capite,23 he was the only strong Christian among all the other Christian soldiers: solus scilicet fortis inter tot fraters commilitiones, solus Christianus.24 His behaviour was totally unexpected to both Christians and pagans alike; cur tam diversus habitus?, the tribune asked him.25 The answer was that he was the only noble Christian, an exception to the norm. Tertullian probably did not know of any other Christian soldiers who felt uncomfortable with their professions and with having to wear the military crown. Both practices were equally unacceptable for Tertullian, and his hero, but apparently not every Christian shared this discomfort.26 Tertullian regretted having to admit that he represented a Christian minority Tertullian, De Corona I.1.4–5. See also p. 31-32. Tertullian, De Corona I.1.5. 24 Tertullian, De Corona I.4.23–24. 25 Tertullian, De Corona I.2.9–10. 26 The text is also discussed in p. 231-232. See also: Rudolf Freudenberger, “Der Anlaβ zu Tertullians Schrift De corona militis”, Historia 19, 1970, p. 579–592 and Angelo Di Berardino, “Obiezione di coscienza e servizio militare nella chiesa preconstantiana”, in Enrico dal Covolo and Renato Uglione, ed., Cristianesimo e istituzioni politiche. Da Augusto a Constantino, Roma, 1995, p. 137–165, (p. 144–145). On Tertullian’s stern ideas about the ideal Christian behaviour see D. Iosif, «Semen est sanguis christianorum. H διαφωνία Τερτυλλιανού-Κυπριανού για την ενδεδειγμένη αντιμετώπιση των διωγμών από τους χριστιανούς», Ariadni 14, 2008, p. 99– 124. 22 23

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since his vision of the Church was that of a club of saints, not of sinners. All this evidence unavoidably points to the existence of Christians in the Roman army from at least the end of the second century and to the fact that most contemporary Christians were aware of, and indeed untroubled by, such an existence. Furthermore, we could argue that Tertullian’s, as well as Hippolytus’, Origen’s and Lactantius’ advice27 to Christians to exclude the military profession from their career options was part of an effort to dissuade them from pursuing military careers that would have had little point if Christians abstaining had already been an established practice. The need to advise is felt only when present reality is different from what we would have liked it to be. If the consensus among early Christians had been to avoid or abandon military posts, then Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen and Lactantius would have given them congratulations, not recommendations. Clement of Alexandria’s28 works also contain powerful evidence that military service was not necessarily problematic for all the early Christians. Protrepticus was composed late in the second century with a pagan audience in mind. Its aim was to show that pagan religious beliefs were false and consequently pagans ought to leave the error of their ways behind and embrace Christianity. In cap. X Clement invited pagans to adopt the Christian religious beliefs and added that Christian adherents were not expected to Discussed in chapter 6.1. We have little information concerning Clement of Alexandria’s life. In Stromata 1.1.11, he described himself as a Christian who travelled extensively around the Mediterranean late in the second century in order to study. He finally settled in Egypt under an unnamed master. See also: Eusebius, H.E. VI. vi, VI. xi.6 and VI. xiii-xiiii, Ronald E. Heine, “The Alexandrians’’ in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, ed., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et. al, 2008, 20041, p. 117–130, (p. 121–127), and Annewies van den Hoek, “Widening the Eye of the Needle. Wealth and Poverty in the Works of Clement of Alexandria’’ in Susan R. Holman, ed., Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society, Michigan, 2008, p. 67–75, (p. 69). 27 28

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change their professions. Christianity could be followed by everyone regardless occupation. According to Clement’s rhetorical structure, man is a divine animal, φυτὸν οὐράνιον,29 whose nature is to turn to God and everyone should obey this inner inclination and try to reach God. What is important and what Clement repeatedly emphasized was that this route to the higher knowledge did not require a man to change his everyday schedule or to sacrifice his career. Everyday routines were of no relevance and could, therefore, remain unchanged: Continue to be a farmer if you were a farmer (before your conversion) but know (or acknowledge) God while farming; continue to be a shipping enthusiast but (at the same time) call on your heavenly steersman. In case the revelation of the truth (= γνῶσις) comes to you while you are on campaign, then pay attention to the general who orders what is right (Protrepticus X.100,4).

Christian farmers, sailors and soldiers could remain in their posts. Clement picked a few professions at random and used them as examples to show that the social condition of a person was extraneous to his endeavor to acquire γνῶσις (= knowledge of God). Clement did not expect Christian soldiers to abandon their careers any more than he expected farmers and sailors to do so, or ‘horses to plough and bulls to hunt’, as he stated in the preceding sentence.30 The military profession and the Christian faith were not mutually exclusive. It seems as if no profession was an obstacle to slavation.31 Clement continued his syllogism along the same lines in X.105 and in XI. It did not matter, he explicitly stated, whether one was engaged in politics (εἰ πολιτευτέον), or was married (εἰ γαμητέον), or had children (εἰ παιδοποιητέον), or whether one suffered from the lack of money and estates (πενία, ἀκτημοσύνη), education (ἀπαιδευσία), or fame (ἀδοξία); what was of vital importance was whether one exhibited piety towards the right God. God could save everyone: ὁ χρηστός ἐστί πανταχοῦ σωτήριος. Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus X.100,3.12–13. Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus X.100,3.10–11. 31 I wonder what Clement of Alexandria had to say about actors, prostitutes or procurers interested in Christianity. 29 30

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No profession, or indeed anything else for that matter, was an obstacle towards reaching God.32 The numerical growth of Christians in the Roman army, before emperor Constantine’s conversion, is also attested by the fact that they were the targets of persecution. Eusebius, in his Historia Ecclesiastica VI. xli.16–22, informs us that around 249 CE Christian soldiers at Alexandria were executed during an outbreak of violence against the Church.33 In 299 while Diocletian and Galerius (305–311) were on a visit to their troops stationed in Syria, they engaged in a rite of sacrifice and divination when suddenly the haruspices (= official pagan diviners) announced they were unable to read the marks on the innards of the animals due to Christian soldiers present making the sign of the cross and upsetting the gods. The incident triggered a number of relentless persecutions.34 A few years later, Licinius (308–324) ordered that members of the army were to be demoted from ranks if they would not agree to sacrifice to the traditional gods.35 When Constantine rose to power he offered compensation to those stripped of military ranks because of their religious convictions.36 Licinius and Constantine must have had Christian soldiers in mind; it is a pity we do not have more information on the two decrees. What we should keep in mind is that historical sources from the late third century and the first decade of the fourth clearly show that by that time there were enough Christian soldiers for that to be a factor in a) planning antiChristian sanctions and b) managing the legionaries. It was in the army that the Christian God firstly manifested His power and it was in the army that a Roman emperor firstly displayed his overt preference for Him. The Christian God helped Monks and ascetics would have been aghast at the idea. See also Eusebius, H.E. VI. v.1–5 and VII. xv.1–5. 34 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 10, Eusebius, H.E. VIII. i.7 and VIII. iv.2–4, P. S. Davies, “The Origin and Purpose of the Persecution of AD 303”, JThS 40, 1989, p. 66–94, Michael Grant, The Emperor Constantine, London, 1993, p. 127, and R. Rees, Diocletian and the Tetrarchy, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2004, chapter 5. 35 Eusebius, H.E. X. viii.10 and Vita Constantini I.54.1. 36 Eusebius, Vita Constantini II.20.4 and II.33. See also p. 294-296. 32 33

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Constantine ensure a victory at the Milvian Bridge. Simultaneously and/or in return, the emperor took several measures to promote Christianity37 and to restrain paganism38 among the ranks: he advertised his wars against Maxentius and Licinius as struggles between Christianity and paganism,39 he inscribed Christian symbols on his soldiers’ shields,40 he took Christian military standards41 and priests42 to the battlefield, he expected nonChristian soldiers to join a common prayer every Sunday43 and he used soldiers to demolish pagan temples.44 All these measures would not have been possible unless Constantine took it for granted that there were Christians in the army who would welcome and applaud his choice of deity or unless he knew that soldiers would not object to such a choice. And we know that Constantine was popular in the army.45 Constantine’s measures made many imitate him in religious matters, in the palace46 and in the army,47 and a century later led to the army being predominately Christian and to the emperor Theodosius II being fully aware of that

Eusebius, Vita Constantini IV.23. Eusebius, Vita Constantini II.44–61.1. 39 One of the purposes of Eusebius’ Vita Constantini was to establish this very idea. Years later after the death of Constantine, soldiers, allegedly, still remembered the emperor’s harangues in which he presented the wars he waged as supported by the only real God and directed against false gods, (Theodoret, H. E. 4.1.4). Licinius was also fully aware that the wars with Constantine would eventually demonstrate whose God was the real one, as a witness to a speech made by Licinius told Eusebius, (Vita Constantini II.5.2–5). 40 Eusebius, Vita Constantini IV.21 and Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 44. 41 Eusebius, V Const I.40.1 and 2 and II.7 and 8. 42 Eusebius, V Const I.42.1, II.4.2 and IV.56.2. 43 Eusebius, V Const IV.19–20.2. 44 Eusebius, V Const III.56.2. 45 Eusebius, V Const IV.65.2, 66.1, 67.1 and 70.1. 46 Eusebius, V Const IV.18.1. 47 Grant, Constantine, p. 155. 37 38

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change.48 Zonaras, in the twelfth century, thought that virtually all soldiers were Christians as early as Julian’s time (361–363).49 Finally, as we shall see, ecclesiastical synods took for granted that Christian legionaries existed (and advised them how to behave in the army and in their spare time).50 The Acts of the Military Martyrs similarly acknowledged such an existence (and were proud that their heroes had decided to differentiate themselves from the norm).51 Most of the early Christian literary creations lack any discussion on the issue of the legitimacy of war and military service. This silence has traditionally been interpreted as confirming the pacifism of the Church. Under the light of the evidence discussed above, the fact that the issue was not discussed must have been because no special problems or difficulties were seen in having Christians in the legions. During the first centuries after Christ, Christianity was in the process of creating an identity and nothing was taken unanimously for granted. Christian teachers did not discuss the issue of Christians with military careers simply because it was not obscure for them. Paedagogus by Clement of Alexandria is yet another example that military service was unproblematic for the majority of the early Christians. The work, which consists of three books, was probably composed at the end of the second century. The first book discussed Jesus and portrayed Him as the instructor of men. The second and the third book laid down rules for the regulation of Christians in all their relations and circumstances. Clement discussed roughly every single detail of the Christian doctrine and nearly every single detail of the appropriate behaviour the faithful should adopt. He was very careful to provide clear instructions about almost every aspect of the recommended Christian conduct. Clement did not treat the issue of Christians with military careers as a problem. Nowhere did he condemn Christians who had or desired a career in the army, nor advise future converts to avoid CTh 16.10.21. See also p. 303. Zonaras, Epitome 13.11.B. 50 See ch. 7. 51 See ch. 6.2. 48 49

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such a career, although he had specific advice to give on how a Christian ought to eat, drink, sleep, dress and do his/her hair. Clement knew of the existence of Christian legionaries. He unintentionally broke his silence in Paedagogus II. XI.117,2 where he was concerned with the right shoes a Christian was to wear. Clement thought men should not wear shoes. However, he allowed one exception: if they were in military service they could wear shoes: ἀνδρὶ δὲ εὖ μάλα ἁρμόδιον ἀνυποδησία, πλὴν εἰ μὴ στρατεύοιτο, (= it is appropriate for a man not to wear shoes, except if he is in the army). If service in the army was problematic for Clement, or if he knew or suspected his audience regarded it as unacceptable and in practice avoided it, then he would not have mentioned soldiers’ shoes or he would have justified his ‘radical’ view. Furthermore, in the epilogue of the same work, where Clement gave brief advice to Christians and appealed to the Bible to justify his positions, he referred to Luke 3.4 and he stated without any further comment that soldiers ought to be content with their wages as Jesus commanded through John the Baptist.52 Clement was not that silent after all. The Barnabae Epistula and Didache are both late first or early second manuals of Church instruction. Didache is divided in two parts. The first part is a statement of the principles of Christian conduct that is required by catechumens before their baptism. The second part is a series of instructions as to the practice of Christian worship. The Barnabae Epistula consulted Christians on the appropriate Christian behaviour (and warned them against a Judaistic conception of the Old Testament). The authors of the Barnabae Epistula and Didache53 were equally unconcerned about Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus III. XII.91,1. The Barnabae Epistula and Didache are closely connected. Scholars have been sharply divided concerning whether Didache influenced Barnabae Epistula or Barnabae Epistula copied Didache or both derive from a common source. However, they agree that the author of the Barnabae Epistula is not the same Barnabas that appears in the New Testament. See Kenneth J. Harder and Clayton N. Jefford, “A Bibliography of Literature on the Didache” in Clayton N. Jeffoerd, ed., The Didache in Context. Essays on Its Texts, History and Transmission, Brill, Leiden, New York, Köln, 1995, 52 53

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Christians entering the Roman army or remaining in it. Their main anxieties were whether Christians should be allowed to be circumcised or to eat meat from the pagan sacrifices. They were also worried that the proclaimed end of the world was delayed and that several Christian sects were emerging promoting different interpretations of the teaching of Jesus. Finally, they could not decide whether to transmit the Christian truth to the pagans or to keep it among Jews. We come across the same indifference regarding the military in Hermas’ late first or early second century54 Pastor, Polycarp’s bishop of Smyrna55 middle or end of second century Epistle to the Philippians, and Irenaeus’ bishop of Lyons56 late second century p. 368–382 and Marcello Del Verme, “Didache e origini cristiane. Una bibliografia per lo studio della Didache nel contesto del giudaismo cristiano”, Vetera Christianorum 38, 2001, p. 5–39, who provide an updated bibliography for Didache. See also: P. Prigent, Les Testimonia dans le cristianisme primitif: L’Epître de Barnabé I-XVI et ses sources, Paris, 1961 and L. W. Barnard, “The ‘Epistle of Barnabas’ and its Contemporary Setting”, ANRW 2.27.1, 1993, p. 159–207. 54 Hermas was a slave, bought in Rome, who was eventually freed and embraced Christianity. He was married, had children but later decided to practice sexual continence. See D. E. Aune, Prophesy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World, Grand Rapids, 1983, p. 299–310. 55 Very little is known of Polycarp’s life; more is known of his death. See his Acts, written in the middle of the second century, shortly after the event, in Musurillo, Acts, p. 2–21 and William R. Schoedel, “Polycarp of Smyrna and Ignatius of Antioch”, ANRW II.27.1, 1993, p. 273–285 and p. 349–358. 56 According to Mary T. Clarck, in “Irenaeus” in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, p. 587–589, Irenaeus was born in 115 CE, while R. M. Grant, in Irenaeus of Lyons, London and New York, 1997, p. 2, proposes a much later date: 140, (for this wide disagreement among scholars see Eric Osborn, Irenaeus of Lyons, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Oakleigh, Madrid, Cape Town, 2001, p. 2). Irenaeus studied and taught at Rome. He became bishop of Lyons at the invitation of its first bishop Pothinus. Irenaeus died in ca. 202. His work Ἔλεγχος καὶ ἀνατροπὴ τῆς ψευδονύμου γνώσεως or Adversus Haereses, composed around 189, is an analytical refutation of Gnosticism. The original Greek text has

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Adversus Haereses. Hermas was primarily concerned about the possibility of penance for post-baptismal sins, Polycarp about the proper use of wealth, the existence of heresies, the establishment of bishops and the end of the world, and Irenaeus about the propagation of Gnosticism, Christian consumption of meat that came from pagan sacrifices, and Christian participation in pagan festivals and gladiatorial games. Irenaeus, Polycarp, Hermas, the authors of the Barnabae Epistula and Didache and Clement of Alexandria did not list entering in the army and participating in warfare among the forbidden or threatening things. This silence was an acknowledgement of the existence of Christian legionaries and a confirmation of the general absence of unease such an existence involved.

Conclusions Literary sources leave us in no doubt that Christian legionaries actually existed before the conversion (or turn) of Constantine; they clearly stated, implied or assumed so. There is no evidence, though, as to how Christian soldiers coped during service. Most probably they behaved as pagan soldiers did, having no problem with their consciences. Christian soldiers attended pagan sacrifices with the rest of the troops. And if they felt particularly uncomfortable, they could make the sign of the cross that was considered so powerful that it could easily eliminate demons, as the Christian soldiers did to protect themselves when Diocletian and Galerius were sacrificing.57 Only those who held high offices and had to perform pagan ceremonies might have experienced some trouble with their consciences. Tertullian in De Corona XI. 7. 54–55 advised Christians who served in the army to avoid offices in order to avoid being directly exposed to idolatry. The second choice left to them, which Tertullian much favoured, was to abandon their been missing since the sixth century and only a fragment has survived. A Latin translation made in ca. 200 is fortunately available. 57 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 10. See also: Traditio Apostolica III.38.1 where it is highly recommended to Christians to make the sign of the cross as the most effective precaution they could take against the devil.

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posts and ideally face martyrdom. Pagan gods did not prevent Christians from entering the army and/or remaining in it; the violence and licentiousness the military profession entailed did not deter them either. Apart from the literary sources, inscriptional, papyrological and other archaeological material attests to that.

3.2. INSCRIPTIONS

OR HAVING SERVED WITH DISTINCTION

Introduction Hollywood films, popular literature and preaching tend to paint an ideal picture of the early Christians. They imagine them as extremely pious, free from worldly entanglements, carefully observing the holy commandments and constantly calling into question the traditional patterns of behaviour that contradicted the will of God as revealed in the Gospels. However, it seems that was not usually the case; early Christians did not stand apart from pagan society. On the contrary, they were happy to integrate and conform. In the first half of the third century the future of Christianity was still precarious. Only extremely optimistic Christians and extremely pessimistic pagans could have envisaged the possibility of Christian emperors ascending the throne and declaring Christianity as the official religion of the state. It was then58 that Marcus died and was buried by his father Alexander in Rome.59 According to his tombstone, Alexander was a member of the familia Caesaris and Marcus attended the Paedagogium ad Caput Africae, (= the senior administrative centre for the young of the imperial familia). It is likely that Alexander was a Christian, as the inscription’s monotheistic invocation per unum deum (= to the one God) to his fellow fratres (= brothers) strongly suggests.60 It looks G. W. Clarke, “Two Christians in the Familia Caesaris”, HThR 64, 1971, p. 121–124. 59 Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum VI, 8987 and Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres 3872. 60 Clarke, in “Two Christians”, was convinced that Alexander was a Christian. 58

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as if Alexander felt no shame in obeying orders by pagan emperors and consorting with pagans and in considering himself a Christian. One did not conradict the other. Literary sources, sometimes casually and sometimes deliberately, mention Christians working in Caesar’s employ, like for example Irenaeus in Adversus Haereses IV.30.1.23–26: ‘those faithful who are in the royal palace, do they not derive the utensils they employ from Caesar? And to those who do not receive (from Caesar), does not each (Christian) give according to his virtue?’ and Dionysius of Alexandria in Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica 7.10.3: ‘all his (the emperor Valerian’s) house had been filled with the faithful and was a Church of God’ and, as we saw, Tertullian in Apologeticum 37.4.61 Both literary62 and inscriptional evidence63 attest to the fact that Christians used to work in Caesar’s employ long before there was any sign that the empire might turn Christian. Christians were found in Caesar’s palace and in his army from a surprisingly early date. This chapter will examine tombstones that were erected in memory of Christians who had military careers, and tombstones that were commissioned by Christians with military careers for themselves or for their departed loved ones, and a few tombstones that were prepared with pride by Christians in memory of their loved ones who had military careers. Such evidence Tertullian, Apologeticus 37.4 is discussed in p. 67. See also: Recension B of the Martyrdom of the Holy Martyrs Justin, Chariton, Charito, Evelpistus, Hierax, Paeon, Liberian and their community 4.3, Philippians 4.22, the apocryphal Martyrium Pauli 1 and Martyrium Petri e Pauli 10, Henry Chadwick, The Church in Ancient Society. From Galilee to Gregory the Great, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2001, p. 1, and Philip A. Harland, “Connections with Elites in the World of the Early Christians” in Anthony J. Blasi, Jean Duhaime, Paul-Andrè Turcotte, ed., Handbook of Early Christianity. Social Science Approaches, Wainut Creek, Lanham, New York, Oxford, 2002, p. 385–408, (p. 396f). 62 The literary evidence is discussed extensively in ch. 3.1. 63 J. Hornus, in Évangile et Labarum. Étude sur l’attitude du Christianisme primitif devant des problèmes de l’état, de la guerre et de la violence, Geneve, 1960, p. 95–96, was clearly wrong to think that there are no inscriptions that belonged to Christian soldiers in the first three centuries after Christ. 61

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enriches our understanding of how Christians in the Roman army regarded their position in the world and of how Christians viewed those in the Roman army. It helps us complete the early Christian profile and avoid idealizations. It seems that being a Christian and being in the army was not thought contradictory in late antiquity. It did not cause general preoccupation, disappointment or disapproval. The majority of early Christians were entangled in sexual bondage (by forming marriages) and economic bondage (by having careers) and ensured the continuity of the social system, just like pagans did, and, apparently, had no problem with that. When we examine inscriptions we ought to keep in mind that they were meant to be public exhibits.64 The text to be inscribed on a tombstone might prove to be the last piece of information that circulated concerning the deceased. The person who paid for the burial was also the one responsible for erecting a tombstone and deciding what kind of information was to be mentioned in the text of the tombstone and what would be preferable to omit. Usually that was left to a member of the family.65 The text inscribed depended largely on what the family’s recollection about the past of the deceased was and on how the family wanted other people to remember the deceased.66 Exceptional deeds, if any, and high Epitaphs were public announcements. See Jon Davies, Death, Burial and Rebirth in the Religions of Antiquity, London and New York, 1999, p. 173 and Valerie Hope, “Inscriptions and Sculpture: the Construction of Identity in the Military Tombstones of Roman Mainz” in G. J. Oliver, ed., The Epigraphy of Death. Studies in the History and Society of Greece and Rome, Liverpool, 2000, p. 155–185, (p. 155 and 181). 65 Putting up a tombstone was considered a family obligation; however, many military tombstones were prepared by soldiers for their comrades who met their deaths away from home. See Brent D. Shaw, “Latin Funerary Epigraphy and Family Life in the Later Roman Empire”, Historia 33, 1984, p. 457–497 and Richard P. Saller and Brent D. Shaw, “Tombstones and Roman Family Relations in the Principate: Civilians, Soldiers and Slaves”, JRS 74, 1984, p. 124–156. 66 It could also be the case that inscriptions were already prepared by professional engravers and only the name of the deceased was added upon request. However, even if that was the most widespread practice in 64

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offices, when available, were proudly enumerated; disgraceful deeds omitted and shocking rumours silenced. A tombstone was meant to honour the deceased, keep his/her memory alive and comfort his/her loved ones, and not to provoke the living. A tombstone usually presented what an average person would find admirable or acceptable. Under these circumstances, the existence of tombstones in which both the Christian faith and a military career were displayed openly side by side is of the utmost importance in order for us to challenge the dominant notion that the early Christians felt rather uncomfortable about enlistment and warfare. This chapter does not claim to discuss all of the relevant edited inscriptions. It would be futile to make such a claim since inscriptions are constantly discovered and edited. It would also be arrogant since there is no such thing as an exhaustive search. The presentation of a number of such inscriptions is sufficient to show that not all the early Christians shared later anxieties about the legitimacy of warfare and Christian participation in it. The epigraphical material is probably more telling about family attitudes to military service than any other evidence for the existence of Christian legionaries. It supports entirely the picture we get from the unbiased literary material and it is astonishingly large if we take into account the fact that before the official recognition of Christianity, Christians were not inclined to record their religious beliefs overtly on their graves and, generally, very few ostensibly Christian inscriptions survive from the pre-Constantinian period anyway.67 One wonders whether it ever crossed the military figures’ minds during their years in service that their profession’s violence and idolatry contradicted the will of God. Even if the thought did the Roman society and the family had little, or no say, in what was to be inscribed, engravers would most certainly have known what kind of text would please potential customers and conformed to general taste. See also: Richmond Lattimore, Themes in Greek and Latin Epitaphs, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, Illinois, 1942, p. 18–19. 67 On the relatively late coming out of Christians see P. Lampe, Die stadtroemische Christen in den ersten beiden Jahrhunderten, Tübingen, 1989, p. 13ff.

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cross their minds, it did not preoccupy them to such an extent as to make them renounce their posts and earn their living in another way. If they had indeed been Christians, then how could they reconcile their religious beliefs with having to work closely with pagans and having to engage in violent activities? Did they hide either their Christianity from their pagan environment and/or their military engagements from their Christian one? Even if they did keep secrets when they were alive, they, along with their families and friends, did not try to keep those secrets when they were dead. Most of the inscriptions that I managed to collect belonged to important persons with high offices in the army, prominent in their communities. Their tombstones were likely not to go unnoticed and their families and friends must have been aware of the fact that the tombs they prepared for them would attract attention and their inscriptions would be read and remarked upon. Are we then to assume that when someone died, Christians were likely to forgive his involvement in the military and pagans his uncommon religious beliefs? Since there is no evidence to support such a bizarre theory, we could infer as highly likely that some individuals favoured Christianity and at the same time happily continued their military affairs having no trouble with their consciences, and their circles knew about it and accepted it. In most of the cases presented here, the deceased had military posts and were buried by their family or friends as Christians: their tombstones having Christian formulas, being adorned with Christian symbols or their corpses placed in predominately Christian burial places. It is often impossible to tell whether the deceased shared the same religious beliefs as the persons who buried them. However, it is rather hard to imagine that close relatives and cherished friends took the initiative to bury nonChristians as Christians without showing regard for their religious beliefs, especially if the deceased had been the head of the family, the pater familias, who was such a powerful figure in Roman society and the one wholly responsible for selecting the god(s) his familia was to worship. Even if they did, and the deceased were in fact indifferent or hostile towards Christianity, what is extremely important is that their circles, that were undeniably Christian, did not mind having relatives or friends with military careers. They made this information publicly known by inscribing it on tombstones and, sometimes, they expressed approval or even

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enthusiasm for such a choice of career. They did not express regret or any feelings of disgrace. It is equally hard to imagine that military personnel would be buried among Christians if the ones who buried them were aware that Christians would be offended by such an action. It is not legitimate to think that it was deliberately decided to inscribe the military profession in order to shock Christians and attract attention. Tombstones in antiquity were not meant to make provocative statements or convey political messages. It is not important whether the deceased military figures were Christians or pagans. What is important is that those who buried them did not hesitate to advertise their professions in tombstones in Christian contexts. They did not worry, for example, that the Christian visitors of the catacombs might find it scandalous to know that among their dead rested some who followed careers in the Roman army. One might think that they have been foolish enough, or ignorant of the Christian aversion to warfare, or simply deliberately provocative. Or perhaps the answer is simpler: service in the Roman army was not as problematic for the early Christians as it is often assumed. This chapter is divided in three sections. Section A is a selection of seven tombstones for which it can be said with reasonable certainty that either the deceased or the dedicant (or indeed both) were Christians and that one of them had a military career in the period before the events of October 312 conferred respectability upon the Church. The other two sections consist of problematic inscriptions and arguments not quite so conclusive. Section B comprises pre-Constantinian soldiers but for whom there is some doubt as to their Christian faith. The inscriptions might, for example, have belonged to Jews. (It is often virtually impossible to discern a Jewish from a Christian tombstone.) Section C consists of ten inscriptions that seem to belong to the first three centuries after Christ. One more section, section D, appears as an appendix with three inscriptions that seem both Christian and early, but nothing can be said with confidence about them. The correct dating of the inscriptions is crucial. The elements that enable us to reach a date are: the prosopography, the offices and corps mentioned, the formulas used and the symbols engraved. Comparison with already dated inscriptions and information

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concerning the place where the inscription was found are very helpful. Other characteristics to be taken into account are the nature of the engraving, orthography, grammatical formation and the interrelation of the words. In the present examination, I have accepted the dating provided by the editors of the inscriptions, tried to check if it is right (where possible) and noted if there was a significant difference of opinion among the editors.68 The persons who created the tombstones did not always show regard for future historians and did not care to state religious affiliations in a clear and explicit way.69 Scholars are forced to do detective work and look for clues that betray religious beliefs. Burial in a predominately Christian place, like a catacomb,70 the existence of monotheistic invocations, like in deo vivas (or vivat),71 invocations of the Holy Trinity,72 invocations of the wrath of God towards possible violators of the tomb,73 formulas that reveal the expectation of the second coming of Jesus,74 like hic quiescit,75 depositus est,76 depositio,77 hic dormit,78 postus est,79 posuit80 and κοιμητήριον,81 in pace82 or benemerenti in pace83 or bene pausanti in pace,84 See James C. Egbert, Introduction to the Study of Latin Inscriptions, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, 1896 and Lawrence Keppie, Understanding Roman Inscriptions, London, 2001, 19911, p. 25–29. 69 Inscriptions in p. 87–103 are exceptions. 70 Note, however, that catacombs were predominately Christian places but not exclusively. 71 Inscription in p. 104–105. 72 Inscription in p. 120. 73 Known as the Eumeneian formula; inscriptions in p. 111–112 and p. 118–120. 74 See footnote 192 and 227. 75 Inscription in p. 96–97. See footnote 130. 76 Inscription in p. 113–114. See footnote 206. 77 Inscriptions in p. 114–115. See footnote 206. 78 Inscription in p. 115–117. See footnote 227. 79 Inscription in p. 112–113. See footnote 206. 80 Inscription in p. 104–106. See footnote 206. 81 Inscription in p. 118–119. See footnote 227. 82 Inscriptions in p. 98–103, p. 114–115 and p. 122–123. 68

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providing the age of the deceased in maximum detail (in years, months and days),85 addressing passers-by as fratres,86 the existence of names that allude to the Lord, like Cyriaceti,87 and the existence of characteristic symbols engraved, like the christogramma,88 the dove89 or the olive tree,90 are commonly held among scholars to be Christian in character, especially when they appear in conjunction. Unfortunately, many Christian inscriptions were brief, consisting of the bare minimum: the name of the deceased and sometimes his profession. That was especially the case with the earliest inscriptions.91 From the end of the second and the third century onwards, more information was provided: the name of the deceased, the age of death, the place of origin, profession and The benemerenti in pace was ‘an expression of affectionate and grateful remembrance’, ‘of constant recurrence’ in Roman times, according to The Atlantic Monthly 2.9, 1858, p. 1–136, (p. 5). 84 Inscription in p. 98–100. See footnote 135. 85 Inscriptions in p. 104–106, p. 110–113, p. 115–117 and p. 122–123. Early Christians had this peculiar habit of recording with absolute precision the age their beloved ones met their deaths. The habit was not exclusively Christian, so great care is advised, especially if no other Christian elements appear in the inscription. See footnote 192. 86 Inscription in p. 109–110. The fratres by itself does not always betray Christian beliefs. See footnotes 189 and 259. 87 Inscription in p. 115–117. See footnote 218. 88 Inscription in p. 117. 89 Inscription in p. 96–97. See footnote 129. 90 Inscription in p. 96–97. See footnote 129. 91 W. H. Withrow, The Catacombs of Rome, London, 1845, p. 458, Ed. Le Blant, Manuel d’epigraphie chrétienne d’après le marbres de la Gaule, Paris, 1869, p. 9, F. Grossi Gondi, Trattato di epigrafia cristiana latina e greca del mondo romano occidentale, Roma, 1920, p. 106, Carlo Carletti, “Epigrafia dei cristiani a Roma nell’ età postcostantiana: prassi e ideologia” in XI Congresso internazionale di epigrafia greca e latina, Roma 18–24 Set. 1997, Roma, 1999, p. 591–602, (p. 596), Carlo Carletti, “L’epigrafia dei cristiani: prassi e ideologia tra tradizione e innovazione” in Serena Ensoli and Eugenio La Rocca, ed; Aurea Roma. Dalla città pagana alla città cristiana, Roma, 2000, p. 323–329 (p. 325), and Keppie, Understanding Roman Inscriptions, p. 121. 83

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career moves, the name and profession of the person who erected the tombstone, his/her relation with the deceased, an invocation to the Christian God and a message to the readers of the tombstone. Flavius Pacius was a veteran, according to the brief text inscribed on his humble tombstone.92 When did Flavius Pacius live? Was he a Christian? Did he know of the existence of a sect that claimed to be following the teaching of Jesus and waiting for His triumphal return? Was he a (committed) pagan? Did he believe in tradition?93 The person responsible for Flavius Pacius’ burial did not choose to provide more data to satisfy the curiosity of future historians. A lot of inscriptions on tombstones are as brief as Flavius Pacius’, or even worse, they only consist of the name of the deceased. Under these circumstances, we must consider ourselves fortunate that some inscriptions preserve more information that allows us to reconstruct early Christian attitudes to, and perceptions of, enlistment and warfare.

Section A. Pre-Constantinian Christian Soldiers ‘In the sacred bodyguard of our lords Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Maximus, there are soldiers who are Christians and they serve’,94 Dion the proconsul reminded, or informed in 295 a young man called Maximilian, in Tebessa in Numidia, in order to persuade him to enlist despite his reservations which were a result of his Christian faith. Dion was telling the truth; there were Christian soldiers among the ranks at that time. Aurelius Gaius, who came from the village of Pessinus in Galatia, was one of them; he was a Christian who enjoyed a long military career under the tetrarchy, scholars agree. There has survived a funerary inscription

S. L. Agnello, Silloge di iscrizioni paleocristiane della Sicilia, Roma, 1953, p. 41, no. 76. 93 And, finally, was the scholar Agnello right in considering Flavius Pacius a Christian and including him in his edition of early Christian inscriptions? Unfortunately, Agnello did not provide reasons for his decision. 94 Acts of Maximilian 2.9. 92

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Aurelius Gaius prepared, with his daughter Makedonia,95 for his wife Areskousa, and, possibly, their son Julius,96 in Kotiaeon in Phrygia. The formula ἕως τῆς ἀναστάσεως (= until the resurrection, in lines 28–29)97 adorned with an inscribed wreath containing a crown leave no doubt of his, and possibly his family’s, belief in Jesus: Aurelius Gaius having served in the legio I Italica of the Mysiatiki, having been elected in the legio VIII Augusta Germanica in the province of Scythia and Pannonia Iovia Scythica, tiro, having served as a discens equitum and then as an eques lanciarius, optio (centurionis) triarius, optio (centurionis) ordinatus, optio (centurionis) princeps, optio comitatensis of the emperor of the legio I Iovia Scythica, rotating between the commands of Asia, Caria, …, Lydia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, …, Phoenike, Syria, Arabia, Palestina, Aegyptus, Alexandria, India, …, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, …, Galatia, Bithynia, Thracia, …, Moesia, Carpia, …, Sarmatae four times, Viminacium, …, Gothia twice, Germania, …, Dardania, Dalmatia, Pannonia, …, Gallia, Hispania, Mauretania, … having been promoted (= postea profecit) and these … came to his country, the land of Pessinus where he was bought up, in the village of Kotiaeon lying nearby … Makedonia he has put Iul… Areskousa his dearest wife he has erected this stele from his labour to honour her memory until the time of resurrection. All rejoice. 98

Aurelius Gaius did not have to concentrate on (or even mention) his profession and his faith on his wife’s (and son’s) tombstone; however, he did. Aurelius Gaius spent many years in the army and held numerous posts and was clearly exceedingly See line 24 and Thomas Drew-Bear informative article “Les voyages d’Aurélius Gaius, soldat de Dioclétien”, La geógraphie administrative et politique d’Alexandre à Mahomet: Actes du Colloque de Strasbourg, 14–16 Juin 1979, Strasbourg, 1981, p. 93–141, (p. 123). 96 It is not entirely clear whether Aurelius Gaius buried a son called Julius along with his wife. However, it is very likely. See line 25 and DrewBear “Les voyages d’Aurélius Gaius”, p. 123. 97 For other Christian inscriptions that preserve the same formula see Drew-Bear “Les voyages d’Aurélius Gaius”, p. 137–138. 98 AE 1981, 777. 95

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proud of it. He used the word προκόψας (= excelled, line 20) that denotes advancement to describe his career. When he constructed the tombstone, he chose to focus exclusively on his military career, as if that was more important than the death of his wife (and son). He provided three lengthy lists of, possibly all of, the legions in which he had served: legio I Italica,99 VIII Augusta 100 and Iovia Scythica,101 the military offices he had acquired: tiro (= conscript),102 discens equitum (= trainee to become an eques),103 eques lanciarius,104 optio (= helper of a centurion), triarius,105 optio ordinatus,106 princeps optio and optio comitum,107 and the places he had visited during

The legion was stationed at Nova on the Danube in Moesia Inferior since 69 CE. See Notitia Dignitatum XL 30 and Drew-Bear “Les voyages d’Aurélius Gaius”, p. 100. 100 The legion was established in Argentorate (modern Strasbourg) in the beginning of the reign of Vespasian and remained there until the fourth century. See Drew-Bear “Les voyages d’Aurélius Gaius”, p. 100, note 21. 101 The legion was created by Diocletian; its base was in Noviodunum, Notitia Dignitatum XXXIX 32–4 and Drew-Bear “Les voyages d’Aurélius Gaius”, p. 101–102. 102 On joining the army a young man was first seen by a recruiting board (probatio), if satisfactory (probates), he became a conscript (tiro) for a period a four months, then he took the oath and served as a combatant. See Sergio Daris, Il lessico latino nel greco d’Egitto, Barcelona, 1991, p. 111, Warren Treadgold, Byzantium and its Army 284–1081, Stanford, California, 1995, p. 90, and Yann Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, London and New York, 2000, 19941, p. 47. 103 A. von Domaszewski, Die Rangordnung des römischen Heeres, Köln, 19672, p. 49–50. 104 See footnote 144. 105 Vegetius, De Re Militari III, 14 and II, 15–16 and II, 8. 106 Ernest Stein, “Ordinarii et campidoctores”, Byzantion 8, 1933, p. 379–387 and J. F. Gilliam, “The ordinarii and ordinati of the Roman Army”, Transactions of the American Philological Association 71, 1940, p. 127– 148. 107 At least since the time of Diocletian, someone serving in the comitatus was someone who accompanied the emperor, (Drew-Bear “Les 99

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service: twenty-three provinces and four villages of the Roman empire.108 The inscription has thirty lines; the first twenty-three are about his military career. In the last seven, merely the name(s) of the deceased and a Christian formula are given; no mention of the age of the deceased, no mention of any ethical qualities and no mention of any pain felt from the loss. Only the words γλυκυτάτῃ γυναικὶ (= sweetest wife, line 26) in the very end convey some emotion that seems, after all his long lists, forced by convention. Eugenius prepared his tomb during his lifetime; he was the one to order what was engraved on the side of his sarcophagus: Marcus Iulius Eugenius, son of Cyrillus Celer of Kouessos, a member of the senate, having served in the officium of the governor of Pisidia and having married Flavia Iulia Flaviana, daughter of Gaius Nestorianus, a man of senatorial rank and having served with distinction and when a command had meanwhile gone forth in the time of Maximinus that Christians should offer sacrifice and not quit the service, having endured very many tortures under Diogenes governor and having contrived to quit the service, maintaining the faith of Christians; and having spent a short time in the city of the Laodiceans and having been made bishop by the will of the Almighty God and having administered the episcopate for twentyfive full years with great distinction and having rebuilt from its foundations the entire church and all the adornment around it consisting of galleries (stoai) and galleries with four rows of columns (tetrastoai) and paintings and mosaics and fountain and outer gateway and having furnished it with all the construction in masonry and in a word with everything and being about to leave the life of this world I made for myself a plinth and a sarcophagus on which I caused the above to be engraved for the distinction of the church and my family.109

voyages d’Aurélius Gaius”, p. 113). The office of comes was created later by Constantine, (see footnote 151). 108 One wonders whether the names of the places Aurelius Gauis visited were given in chronological order since it is stated he visited Sarmatae four times (line 16) and Gothia twice (line 17). 109 W. M. Calder, “Studies in Early Christian Epigraphy”, JRS 10, 1920, p. 41–92, (p. 44–45). See also: W. M. Ramsay, “The Church in Lycaonia in the fourth century” in Luke the Physician and Other Studies in the

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Eugenius chose to provide a concise autobiography in his sarcophagus, giving special emphasis to the highlights of his career and his contribution to his Christian congregation. His personal life seems to be of little interest; a brief mention of the woman he married and her noble father was regarded as sufficient. Eugenius led an extraordinary life. He was serving as a soldier in the officium of the governor in the province of Pisidia when the emperor Maximin issued an edict ordering Christian soldiers to offer sacrifice without the option of retiring from service.110 The governor of Pisidia Diogenes exercised pressure, or even inflicted tortures upon Eugenius,111 to make him comply; however, History of Religion, London, 1908, p. 339ff, W. M. Calder, “ A Journey Round the Proseilemmene”, Klio 10, 1910, p. 232–242, (p. 233), Adolf Wilhelm, “Zur Grabschrift des Bischofs Eugenios von Laodikeia Katakekaumene”, Klio 11, 1911, p. 388–390, (p. 388), Gary J. Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs from Anatolia, Atlanta, Georgia, 1995, p. 88–89, W. Tabbernee, Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources Illustrating the History of Montanism, Patristic Monograph Series 16, Macon, 1997, p. 426–436, no.69, and W. Tabbernee, “Keeping the Faith: Montanism and Military Service” in Thomas Drew-Bear, Mehmet Taşlialan and Christine M. Thomas, ed., Actes du Ier Congres International sur Antioche de Pisidie, Lyon, Paris, 2002, p. 123–136, (p. 124). 110 Maximin was an ardent pagan who in 306, 308 and 311, ordered all in his dominions to sacrifice and punished any recusants with death, mutilation or work in the mines, (see W. H. C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, London, 1984, p. 474–478 and 480–481). This inscription is our only surviving source that the emperor provided specifically for Christian soldiers, which implies the recognition of the existence of Christians in the Roman army. It is certainly most peculiar that this provision was not mentioned neither by Eusebius in his Historia Ecclesiastica and De Martyribus Palaestinae nor by Lactantius in his De Mortibus Persecutorum. 111 William Mitchell Ramsay, in Luke the Physician, p. 339ff and W. M. Calder, in “Studies’’, p. 45–47, assumed that Eugenius was physically tortured during the persecution. However, πλείστας δὲ ὅσας βασάνους ὑπομείνας (line 7) could also mean that he was greatly inconvenienced or under psychological pressure.

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Eugenius managed to escape.112 He retired to Laodicea and, after a short stay there, he was ordained bishop. He labored for the episcopate for twenty-five years and he even built a beautiful church for his congregation. When the emperor Maximin, who held imperial office between 308/9–313 CE, issued his decree Eugenius was already in the army. Eugenius must have entered the army during the end of the third century or the beginning of the fourth. The other person mentioned in the inscription is Valerius Diogenes. Fortunately, he is known from other inscriptions;113 it seems he governed Pisidia in 311–312.114 If we assume that Eugenius ended his military career at that time and adding the twenty-five years when he was bishop of Laodicea, we can legitimately deduce that the monument was created around 336. Eugenius started feeling uncomfortable with his military profession under a pagan emperor115 and constructed his tombstone declaring his past unease under a Christian emperor.116 He was able to operate in the army until Maximin’s order though. He felt awkward only when he was called to offer sacrifices to the traditional gods. It seems that if Eugenius had not been called to sacrifice he would have been happy to continue his military career in the army, a career that entailed resorting to violence and the possibility of taking a man’s life. Eugenius’ only objection was army religion. We should not be misled and conclude that all Christians held the military profession in disdain. Eugenius’ dream was a personal one. The inscription did not present it as the ideal route that every Christian should follow. Not all Christians were expected to quit their offices in the army and embrace new ecclesiastical 112

It is not clear whether Eugenius completed his military service or

not. See for example CIL III 6807 and 13661. A. H. M. Jones, J. R. Martindale, J. Morris, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1971, p. 257. 115 Lines 8 and 9. 116 Eugenius may have left his post (or retired) under a pagan emperor or under a Christian emperor. 113 114

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ones. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that there is nothing to suggest that Eugenius’ initial decision to have a military career was a strange and unexpected one for a young Christian of the end of the third century to make. Eugenius did not deviate from the norm by embracing the military. However, he did deviate from the norm when he decided to quit his military office and substitute it with an ecclesiastical one. That was the reason he was proud; that was the most important deed in his life and that was how he wanted to be remembered. It is highly significant that Eugenius declared openly that he was proud to have served both in the army and in the church μετ’ ἐπιτειμίας (= with honour, line 4 and again in line 13). Christians very often had a tendency to appear perfect. Eugenius did his best in the army as well as during his episcopate. One could argue that μετ’ ἐπιτειμίας is a cliché, a formula that frequently appears alongside the term service,117 and consequently has no significance. I believe that if military service were a disgraceful thing for a Christian to do, Christians would have avoided using any formulas that signified that they did it with distinction and they would certainly not have simultaneously used the same term for describing ecclesiastical careers. Eugenius may at some point in his life have felt an aversion to military service but the grandchildren of Domnos, mentioned in the next inscription, probably never did. On the contrary, a glorious military career constituted a reason for genuine enthusiasm: Here the earth holds Domnos the great soldier, of great virtue and illustrious among men who performed such great deeds and was a great and very famous soldier. Sixty years old I died having lived very honourably. Kyrilla was my wife with whom I lived very honourably. I had a child Kyrillos, an artistic illustrious great man. Thirty years old I died making everyone sad. The children of Kyrillos who died before their time, whose names I will tell: Chrysos and Alexandros. The sister of Domnos, See for example: Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 16, no. 1.7 and Elsa Gibson, The “Christians for Christians” Inscriptions of Phrygia, Missoula, Montana, 1978, p. 80–84, no. 29. 117

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Kyrilla, lies here. The sons of Domnos, Christian presbyters, leaders of the people, administering justice under law, virtuous men, bighearted. Here are Chrysos son of Domnos and his wife Tatianes and their children Kyrillos and Zotikos and Patrikis and Domna and Marcella. Alexandros and his wife Appe and their children Alexandros and Trophimos and Domnos and Domna and Kyrilla and Nonna and Antiochis and Sophronis and Alexandria and Trophimiane and daughter-in-law Marcella and their grandchildren (all) still alive to their dearest parents Christians for Christians (all) still alive, made (this tomb). By God do not abuse (it)….made it. 118

On the right moulding some more names appear: Here lies Ariston, nephew, and Alexandros and Trophimiane and Marcella daughter and Alexandria, here lie. The daughter-in-law of Kyriake and daughter of Chrysos.

In Aykirikçi in Phrygia, Domnos’ grandchildren, and their children, one of whom already married,119 created a monument to house the relics of their ancestors, their parents and grandparents, with the above inscribed.120 A symbol, a leaf in line 23, distinguished the dead121 from the living.122 The inscription and the family tree began with Domnos.123 The living relatives expressed twice their unrestrained pride to have had such an illustrious ancestor, a great military figure: μέγαν ἰστρατιώτην (lines 1 and 2) and ἐνδοξότατον μέγαν ἰστρατιώτην (lines 3 and 4).124 The text is Gibson, Christians for Christians, p. 80–84, no.29. See also: J. Pargoire, “Epitaphe chrétienne de Bennisoa”, Echos d’Orient 8, 1905, p. 329ff and Tabbernee, “Keeping the Faith”, p. 129–130. 119 Lines 23–32. 120 The inscription is now preserved at Bursa museum. 121 Lines 1–23. 122 Lines 23–32. 123 For the history of the name Domnos see Iiro Kajanto, “Onomastic Studies in the Early Christian Inscriptions of Rome and Carthage”, Acta Instituti Romani Filandiae, vol. II:I, Helsinki, 1963, p. 104–105. 124 W. M. Calder, in “Philadelphia and Montanism”, Bulletin of the John Ryland Library 7, 1922/3, p. 309–353, (p. 321 and 324), expressed the view 118

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lengthy; thirty-four lines in total. The most important pieces of information are placed in the beginning, where it is stated that the pater familias was a great military figure that made the family really proud, and in the end, where it is stated that the dedicators of the inscription and the deseased were Christians. In between the names of the deceased members of the family and the names of the living members who ordered the tombstone were placed. The inscription includes twenty-six names, thirteen dead and thirteen living. In total, twelve males are mentioned: eight of them having died, four still living at the time of the construction. One wonders why the professions of all the fourteen males or at least the eight dead males were not inscribed and only a soldier, some presbyters (line 16), and a man with an artistic nature, πάνμουσον ἄνδρα (lines 8– 10) are mentioned. All the other professions were not considered worthy of mention. The dedicators were full of pride to be the descendants of a soldier, an artistic man and presbyters. The fact that the family memory preserved the profession of the presbyters is telling about the dedicators’ own Christianity. They were devout Christians (as they explicitly admitted so in line 31: Χριστιανοί Χριστιανοῖς), proud to have ancestors highly involved in Christianity, but most of all, proud to have an ancestor who excelled on the battlefield. The inscription has the formula Χριστιανοί Χριστιανοῖς, (= Christians prepared this for Christians), that is commonly held among scholars to appear only in pre-Constantinian inscriptions.125 Some scholars are of the opinion that this formula was of a Montanist character.126 Montanism is very often pictured as a rigorist Christian movement and there is a tendency, especially that Domnos, since he was a Montanist, was not an actual soldier but only conducted spiritual warfare. 125 Gibson, Christians for Christians, p. 4. 126 W. M. Calder, “The Epigraphy of the Anatolian Heresies” in W. H. Buckler, W. M. Calder et al, ed., Anatolian Studies Presented to Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, London, 1923, p. 59–91, (p. 62–63), idem, “The New Jerusalem of the Montanists”, Byzantion 6, 1931, p. 421–425 (p. 422), idem, “Early Christian Epitaphs from Phrygia”, Anatolian Studies 5, 1955, p. 25–38, (p. 27–31), and Gibson, Christians for Christians, p. 133.

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among Italian scholars, to connect anti-militaristic ideas with it.127 This inscription could trouble such scholars. Whatever the doctrine of the persons who erected the tombstone, what we ought to keep in mind is that these were Christians who lived before the emperor Constantine ascended the throne. If we assume that the erection of the tombstone occurred at the latest possible date, just before Constantine ascended the throne, and simultaneously take into account the fact that at least four generations are mentioned in the tombstone, then Domnos must have served under pagan emperors, in the middle of the second century. It is of secondary importance whether Domnos had in fact been attracted by Christianity. What is of the utmost importance is that his Christian descendants, who lived and erected the tombstone before Constantine’s reign, believed that the head of their family had been a Christian with a distinguished military career, and they were truly and deeply pleased about it. This inscription is a clear example of military service being regarded as anything but disgraceful among early Christians. Domnos’ success in the battlefield aroused pride to his Christian descendants.

See: Giovanni Crescenti, Obiettori di coscienza e martiri militari nei primi cinque secoli del cristianesimo, Palermo, 1966, p. 77, O. Cullman, “Dio e Cesare”, Studi di Teologia Biblica, Roma, 1969, p. 120–152, (p. 266), Emilio Gabba, Per la storia dell’ esercito romano in età imperiale, Bologna, 1974, p. 79, Carlo Tibiletti, “L’antimilitarismo di due martiri militari”, in Salvatore Constanza, ed., Studi Tardoantichi VII, Messina, 1989, p. 257–274, (p. 266), Alberto Barzianò, “Il cristianesimo delle origini di fronte al problema del servizio militare e della guerra: considerazioni sul metodo della ricerca”, Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia 44, 1990, p. 440–450, (p. 444), and R. Grégoire, “Obiezione di coscienza: tra fedeltà militare e fedeltà cristiana” in L’etica cristiana nei secoli III e IV: eredità e confronti, Roma, 1996, p. 85–97. For the contrary position see: Paolo Siniscalco, Massimiliano: un obiettore di coscienza del tardo impero. Studi sulla ‘Passio S. Maximiliani’, Torino et al., 1974, p. 147–148, José Fernández Ubiña, Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la guerra, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2000, p. 397, and Tabbernee, “Keeping the Faith”, p. 123–136. 127

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A sarcophagus with the following text inscribed in its interior was found in 1844–5 in the cemetery of Saint-Mathias in Trier in Germany: Here rests Vitalis who lived for eighty-five years and served among the Ioviniani seniores for forty years. His dearest wife placed this inscription.128

Vitalis lived for eighty-five years. He had served the Joviani seniores for forty years. When he died his wife, who chose (or was forced by convention) not to include her name, ordered the construction of his sarcophagus. At the bottom of the sarcophagus appear three Christian symbols: an olive tree between two doves.129 Vitalis’, or at least his wife’s, Christian faith was also stressed in the text of the inscription by the formula hic quiescit (= here rests, line 1). The body, (or bodies) were placed temporarily in the tomb to await resurrection.130 The Joviani were an élite force formed under the tetrarchy in honour of Jupiter.131 The separation of the unit in Joviani seniores CIL XIII, 3687, ILCV 552, Nancy Gauthier, Recueil des inscriptions chretiennes de la Gaule antérieures a la renaissance carolingienne, Paris, 1975, p. 238–240, no. I,71, F. Hettner, Die römischen Steindenkmaler des Provinzial Museums zu Trier: mit Ausschluss der Neumagener Monumente, Trier, 1893, no. 346, and S. Loeschcke, “Frühchristliche Denkmäler aus Trier” in Rheinischer Verein F. Denkmalpflege und Heimatscutz 29, 1936, p. 91–145, (p. 129). 129 Orazio Marucchi, in Christian Epigraphy. An Elementary Treatise with a Collection of Ancient Christian Inscriptions Mainly of Roman Origin, tr. J. Armine Willis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1912, p. 58–70, argued that the doves represented the soul freed from the trammels of the body. See also: Graydon Snyder, Ante Pacem. Archaeological Evidence of Church Life Before Constantine, Mercer University Press, Michigan, 1985, p. 16–18 and p. 19, for various interpretations of the meaning of the olive tree. 130 Jos Janssens, Vita e morte del cristiano negli epitaffi di Roma anteriori al sec vii, Roma, 1981, p. 94. 131 E. Ritterling, Legio. Bestand, Verteilung und kriegerische Beteiligung der Legionen von Augustus bis Diocletian, Stuttgart, 1924, p. 1370, 1597–8 and PLRE, p. 595. 128

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and Joviani iuniores probably occurred in the second half of the fourth century.132 Vitalis may have started his military career before the separation of the unit and even before the first public manifestations that the emperor Constantine favoured Christianity, the attribution of the emperor’s victory in the battle of the Milvian Bridge to the Christian God in 312 and the restoration of Christian property by the edict of Milan in 313.133 On the other hand if we assume that Vitalis started his career shortly after these events, then his death and the construction of his sarcophagus could have occurred, at the earliest, in the beginning or in the middle of the fifth century, at a time when it was not perilous to convert to Christianity and publicly admit it. Why then did his wife choose to place the inscription in the interior of the sarcophagus, making it virtually impossible for others to read and receive the information that Vitalis who was given a Christian burial had a military career? Vitalis’ wife might, unlike Domnos’ descendants, have been embarrassed about his serving in the army and being a Christian, or having a Christian wife. The inscription’s location might, of course, be accidental and not signify anything. Flavius Memorius was another soldier of the corps of Joviani who was buried by his wife as a Christian: Here rests in peace Flavius Memorius, an excellent man (= viro perfectissimo indicates equestrian rank) who was in service among the Joviani for twenty-eight years, protector domesticus for six years, praefectus lanciariis senioribus and junioribus for three years, comes ripae for one year and comes of Mauretania Tingitana for four years. He lived for seventy-five years. Praesidia his wife to her sweetest husband.134

The first piece of information one receives upon reading the inscription is that the person commemorated was a Christian. The first sentence bene pausanti in pace Flavio Memorio leaves no doubt. 132

A. H. M. Jones, Later Roman Empire, Oxford, 1964, volume III,

p. 356. A. H. M. Jones, Constantine and the Conversion in Europe, London, 1948, p. 92. 134 ILCV 295 and ILS 2788 and M. Edmond Le Blant, Catalogue des monuments chretiens du musee de Marseille, Paris, 1844, p. 49–52, no. 14. 133

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Flavius Memorius was a Christian or at least the persons who buried him decided to present him as one by choosing this unmistakably Christian formula that designates belief in the second coming of Jesus and in the final judgment.135 Flavius Memorius was a Christian with a brilliant career. He started his service among the corps of Joviani, where he remained for twenty-eight years. Afterwards, he was a protector domesticus for six years, then praefectus lanciariis for the (next?) three, then comes ripae for one year and finally comes for four years in Mauretania Tingitana. Flavius Memorius enjoyed by ancient standards a long life; he died at the age of seventy-five years old. His wife Praesidia constructed a sarcophagus for him. We can roughly date Flavius Memorius’ career. It seems that he entered the army around 286 CE.136 His military career, if it was continuous and if he did not hold more than one office at the same time, lasted for forty-two years. His first post was as a soldier of the corps Joviani.137 The protectores domestici (= imperial bodyguards) were also formed under Diocletian.138 The praefecti lanciariis were members of a police force created by Augustus (27–14) in 13 BCE.139 The office of comes ripae is not otherwise known.140 The final office Flavius Memorius held was that of a comes. The comitiva was created by Constantine and was a position without a specific function but which placed one in the immediate entourage of the emperor forming a sort of court.141 Janssens, Vita e morte, p. 94 and p. 258f. According to Le Blant, Catalogue, p. 50. 137 See footnotes 131 and 132. 138 A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 284–602. A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey, Oxford, 1973, p. 104–105, 526 and 643 and Pat Southern and Karen R. Dixon, The Late Roman Army, London, 1996, p. 14–15. 139 Jaako Suolanti, The Junior Officers of the Roman Army in the Republican Period, Helsinki, 1955, p. 198–295 and Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, p. 22. 140 According to PLRE the office suggests service in the West and possibly in Gallia Ripensis. 141 Southern and Dixon, Late Roman Army, p. 186. 135 136

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What is of great interest is that Flavius Memorius’ wife, the person who ordered or approved what was to be written in Flavius Memorius’ tombstone was pleased both of Flavius Memorius’ career and their, or at least her, religious beliefs. His career moves were proudly enumerated and formed the major part of the tombstone. The fact that Flavius Memorius had a brilliant career in the Roman army did not constitute a problem and did not contradict Christian faith. Was Flavius Memorius a typical Christian? Was he a pious one? Was he already a Christian when he began his military career in 286 under a pagan emperor, when there was no prospect of the empire having a Christian emperor? Did he exhibit his religious beliefs? Was he annoyed by the paganism of his fellow soldiers? The fact that he remained in service for forty-two years, under pagan and under Christian emperors, must imply that he managed to have kept his religious concerns separate from his career, not letting one hinder the other. It is hard to imagine that Flavius Memorius was not a Christian; not even at least attracted by Christianity. It is hard to imagine his wife disrespectfully taking the initiative to present him as a Christian knowing that he would not have approved. Or it may be the case that Flavius Memorius wished to appear Christian, or indeed converted to Christianity, only late in his life, away from the battlefield, influenced by the Christian court or as a deed of flattery to it. Martinus may have been another protector who was buried as a Christian by his wife: Marcella made (this tomb) to her most deserving husband Martinus who lived for thirty-eight years and served in the prima Minerbes for five years, in the eleventh for four years, in lanciaria for five years, in pr[… for five years and lived with his wife for four years. Most deservingly in peace.142

CIL VI, 32943, ILS 2782, Ivan di Stefano Manzella, Le iscrizioni dei cristiani in Vaticano, Vaticano, 1997, p. 313–4, no. 3.10.6, J. B. de Rossi, Inscriptiones Christianae Urbis Romae Septimo Saeculo Antiquiores VII, Roma, 1857–1861, no. 20651, and ILCV 532. 142

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Martinus entered the army when he was fifteen years old. His career began as a soldier in the legion prima Minerbes (line 2) or Minervia created by Domitian (81–96) in 83 CE and stationed in lower Germany.143 Martinus spent five years there. Then he spent four years in another unnamed legion before becoming a lanciarius,144 a member of the Roman lancers, for the next five. Martinus spent the last five years of his career in pr[ (line 4). Unfortunately, the inscription is at this point damaged and it is impossible to discern the rest of the word. Mommsen and Diehl suggested the reconstruction in pr[otectoribus.145 The protectores were the imperial guardsmen.146 Ferrua suggested a second reading: in pr[aetorio.147 The praetoriani formed an élite force entrusted with the safety of the emperor.148 They were dissolved and replaced by the

Ritterling, Legio, p. 1370 and 1420f, Giovanni Forni, Il reclutamento delle legioni da Augusto a Diocleziano, Milano, Roma, 1953, p. 85 and 216– 217, H. M. D. Parker, The Roman Legions, Cambridge, 1958, p. 108–109 and 150, Graham Webster, The Roman Imperial Army, London and New York, 1985, 19691, p. 26 and 205, Michael Grant, Army of Caesars, London, 1974, p. 291, Lawrence Keppie, The Making of the Roman Army, London, 1984, p. 213, and Robert F. Evans, Soldiers of Rome. Praetorians and Legionaries, Washington DC, 1986, p. 124–125 and p. 148. 144 Marcel Durry, Les cohorts pretoriennes, Paris, 1938, p. 38 and Karen R. Dixon and Pat Southern, The Roman Cavalry from the First to the Third Century, London, 1992, p. 50–51. 145 Mommsen in Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 314 and Ernestus Diehl, Inscriptiones Latinae Christianae Veteres, Berlin, 1961, no. 532. 146 Durry, Cohorts, p. 37, Grant, Army of Caesars, p. 275, M. P. Speidel, “Maxentius’ Praetorians” in Roman Army Papers, Verlag, Stuttgart, 1992, p. 385–389, (p. 388), Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 198, Treadgold, Byzantium and its Army, p. 92, and Southern and Dixon, Late Roman Army, p. 188. 147 Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 314. 148 Grant, Army of Caesars, p. 87–90, Keppie, Making of the Roman Army, p. 153–154, J. B. Campbell, The Emperor and the Roman Army, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1984, p. 109–120, and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 21–22. 143

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protectores by the emperor Constantine.149 In pr[ could also be read as prima signifying another legion in which Martinus may have served. Whichever reading we accept as true and whether we think of Martinus as having an elevated position as a member of the protectores or the praetoriani or just being another soldier of another legion, what is certain is that Martinus was involved in the Roman army for nineteen years. His military career was over when he was thirty-four years old. He then got married to Marcella and spent four years with her before his death and burial in the Via Tiburtina in Rome.150 We have no means of knowing whether Martinus believed in Jesus or not. Perhaps only his wife Marcella did and consequently ordered the formula in pace to be inscribed in her husband’s tombstone. The formula conveys a wish for the dead to rest in peace until the realization of the Parousia and is distinctively Christian. The early Christians used it consciously to display openly their Christianity and distinguish themselves from pagans. It is also probable that Martinus, at some point in his life, either during or after his military career, converted to Christianity and Marcella, whatever her feelings towards Christianity were, inserted the formula as an acknowledgment of her husband’s religious beliefs. Marcella exhibited openly her husband’s military career and alongside her, or their or just his, Christian faith. Martinus’ career is exposed in detail. Every legion in which he served is mentioned in chronological order, as well as the years he spent in it; just like people today are proud to enumerate their achievements in a curriculum vitae. Apparently, some early Christians were not ashamed of themselves or of their nearest and dearest having military careers and announcing them publicly. Otherwise, they would either have suppressed any information N. J. E. Austin and N. B. Rankov, Exploratio. Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople, London and New York, 1995, p. 3 and p. 222. 150 G. Reggi argued that the tombstone was found in 1768 in a cemetery in front of the Basilica di S. Lorenzo while Martini argued that it was found in situ a year later in the cemetery of Ciriaca. See Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 313–314. 149

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concerning their Christianity, or they would not have provided detailed chronological charts of their military offices in the tombstones they prepared without tepidity. There are a few available indications that enable us to approximately date Martinus’ career, death and construction of tombstone. We know that the legio I Minerva was raised in 83 CE by Domitian and that Constantine replaced the lanciarii with the cometes151 and the praetoriani with the protectores.152 Consequently, the terminus post quem when Martinus began his military career is the end of the first century while the terminus ante quem is the beginning of the fourth. In addition, we know that the cemetery of S. Lorenzo or Ciriaca in the Via Tiburtina in Rome where Martinus was buried was probably created in the third century CE,153 while the last mention of the legio I Minerva probably belongs to the middle of the fourth century.154 Thus the dating in the third or fourth century suggested by the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire seems reasonable.155 Martinus may have served as a praetorianus; Licineus who appears in the following inscription, certainly did. As we have seen, the praetoriani were dissolved by Constantine and replaced with the protectores in 312 CE.156 Thus, Licineus was in the Roman army prior to 312. Licinius miles praetorianus of the sixth cohort to his wife Aurelia Price who rests in peace.157

One cannot help wondering why the catacomb of S. Agnese in the Via Nomentana in Rome158 was chosen for Licineus’ wife Aurelia Price to be buried there. Maybe it was because most of the Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 314. See footnote 146. 153 Philippe Pergola and Palmira Maria Barbini, Le catacombe romane. Storia e topografia, Roma, 1999, 19971, p. 148. 154 Ritterling, Legio, p. 1430. 155PLRE I, p. 565. 156 See footnote 149. 157 CIL VI, 32691. 158 Pergola and Barbini, Catacombe romane, p. 141–143. 151 152

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persons buried there were Christians and Aurelia Price and her family shared the same religious feelings as the majority. The formula in pace (in line 3) forcefully suggests that the choice of the particular burial place was not accidental. Aurelia Price was a Christian and her husband, a military figure, if not himself a Christian, knew and approved. Licineus could have avoided mentioning his profession in his wife’s tombstone; it was her death and her tombstone after all.159 Similarly, Vitalis’ wife, Flavius Memorius’ wife Praesidia and Martinus’ wife Marcella, could have avoided exhibiting their Christian faith in their husbands’ tombstones. Their decision shows yet again that for some Christians service in the Roman army was not out of the question and did not create conscience problems.

Section B. Pre-Constantinian Christian(?) Soldiers The catacomb of S. Agnese in Rome was a place where most of the persons buried there ended their lives as Christians or had relatives and friends who themselves were Christians and thought they would not insult their dead by burying them among Christians.160 When Caelius Placidus, a military figure, died sometime in the second century161 his daughter Placida and his manumitted slave Peculius took the decision to bury him in the catacomb of S. Agnese. Is it legitimate to surmise that Caelius Placidus was a Christian? Or did his daughter and manumitted slave bury him among Christians without showing any regard for his religious beliefs? And no concern that Christians that might feel offended to have a military figure among their dead? To Caelius Placidus evocatus, his daughter Placida and his libertus Peculius to his most sweet patron.162

Licineus mentioned his profession in his wife’s tombstone because it was typical for a Roman wife to be under the shadow of her spouse; his profession was part of her identity, just as their religious beliefs were. 160 See footnote 158. 161 According to Diehl, ILCV, volume 1, p. 89, no. 407A. 162 ILCV 407A and CIL VI, 37267. 159

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Caelius Placidus was an evocatus. Scholars have not reached a consensus as to what precisely an evocatus was. They all agree that an evocatus was a soldier who had completed his allotted time in military service. However, some argue that it was customary for soldiers to be retained in service for a couple more years after their discharge, forming a separate troop with its own commander, enjoying exemption from routine duties and being only employed in case of emergency.163 Other scholars prefer to understand the evocati as former soldiers who had been summoned after their discharge to return to their posts on occasions of sudden danger.164 The next tombstone also comes from the same catacomb. Florentinus was buried there by his wife Eufrosine. The letters in d v (in the fifth line), which stand for in deo vivas (= lives in God) or vivat (= may live), create the impression that the couple worshiped Jesus: To C. Iulius Florentinus, soldier of the cohort VI praetoria, Eufrosine, his wife, to a most deserving husband with whom she lived for nine years, three months and thirteen days. May he live in God.165

It seems that Florentinus was not the only Christian in the cohort VI praetoria. A centurion of the cohort, Claudius Ingenuus, had a son called Tib. Claudius Claudianus who also served in the army and who died when he was thirty-four years, nine months and nine days old, and was buried in the Via Appia near S. Sebastiano. Two clues suggest that father and son were probably Christians, the verb posuit (= placed, line 6), which shows a regard of death as a situation only temporary,166 while pagans preferred to think that corpses were irrevocably dead and used situs or defunctus, and the

Grant, Army of Caesars, p. 81 and 356, Webster, Roman Imperial Army, p. 309, and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 48. 164 Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, Oxford, 1958, 18791 and Roy W. Davies, Service in the Roman Army, Edinburgh University Press and University of Durham, Edinburgh and Oxford, 1989, p. 327. 165 CIL VI, 2610 and CIL VI, 32654. 166 See footnotes 192 and 206. 163

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care to provide with maximum accuracy the age of death, valuable for the time of the resurrection:167 To Tib. Claudius Claudianus of the equestrian class, recruiting officer in the army (if we read it as militi petitori, or most deserving soldier if we read it as petito), a wise and innocent youth who lived thirty-four years, nine months and nine days, his father Claud. Ingenuus, centurion of the cohort VI praetoria, put his corpse in a sarcophagus.168

We know that the praetoriani (= an élite force intimately linked to the emperor and entrusted with guarding and escorting him) were dissolved by Constantine.169 One wonders whether Florentinus, Claudius Ingenuus and Tib. Claudius Claudianus were the only Christians in their cohort. And if the cohort had a considerable number of personnel who shared the same religious anxieties as the three men, was such a phenomenon an exception in the Roman world before the conversion of Constantine? Cossutius Eutyches, mentioned in the next inscription, died under the consulship of Fabianus and Mucianus in 201 CE170 and was also buried in a distinctively Christian resting place, the catacomb of Domitilla in the Via Ardeatina in Rome:171 There are two hippocampi (= sea horses) engraved on either side of the second line of the slab. The hippocampi were considered appropriate decoration for mosaics in Roman thermae, as at Aquae Sulis (modern Bath) and the Neptune Bath in Ostia (Rome). However, they also appear as decorative elements in Christian objects, like the Projecta casket, a 380s wedding silver casket with the unmistakable inscription: ‘Secundus and Projecta live in Christ’, now kept at the British Museum, (M&M 1866, 12–29,1). 168 CIL VI, 2606. 169 See footnote 149. 170 According to ILCV, p. 90. 171 The catacomb of Domitilla in the Via Ardeatina in Rome was originally a hypogeum of the Flavii, reserved only for the burial of members the family of Flavia Domitilla, granddaughter of Vespasian (69– 79) and niece of Domitian (81-96), until the middle of the second century when it opened to the public and progressively attracted a considerable number of Christian burials. Flavia Domitilla was accused of atheism and 167

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EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR To the spirits of the departed. Cossutius Eutyches made (this tomb) to his beloved and most deserving wife Aurelia Romana with whom he lived for twenty-eight years. He served in the legio secunda Parthica Severiana. Under the consulship of Fabianus and Mucianus, three days before the ides of April.172

For twenty-eight years, Aurelia Romana was the wife of Cοssutius Eutyches, a soldier of the legio secunda Parthica Severiana. This was the first legion stationed in Italy. It was created in ca. 197 by Septimius Severus and was stationed at Albanum, approximately twenty miles south of Rome.173 Cοssutius Eutyches could have begun his military career as early as the middle of the second century. The text of the inscription does not carry any uniquely Christian elements. Cossutius Eutyches might have expressed his wish to be buried in the catacomb of Domitilla because he was a Christian and it was widespread among Christians to choose the particular catacomb as their burial place, or his wife Aurelia Romana found it convenient to bury him there, regardless of the couple’s religious identity. The couple might not have been Christian; it is equally possible that it was not entirely clear to them what their religious allegiance was, since a traditionally pagan formula, the d m, which stands for dis manibus (= to the spirits of the departed), appears in the beginning of the tombstone. It is Jewish practices and was exiled to Pandateria, according to Cassius Dio (Historia Romana 67.14), while Eusebius regarded her as a Christian (H.E. III. xviii). See L. Hertling and E. Kirschbaum, The Roman Catacombs, London, 1956, p. 33, Pasquale Testini, Le catacombe e gli antichi cimiteri cristiani in Roma, Bologna, 1966, p. 52–55, and Pergola and Barbini, Catacombe romane, p. 211–216. 172 ILCV 413. See also CIL VI, 32877 and ILS 9086. 173 Ritterling, Legio, p. 1476f, Durry, Cohorts, p. 34–36, Forni, Reclutamento, p. 219, Grant, Army of Caesars, p. 292, Keppie, Making of the Roman Army, p. 85, Webster, Roman Imperial Army, p. 93, Evans, Soldiers of Rome, p. 149, Austin and Rankov, Exploratio, p. 212, M. J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 35, and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 26.

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noteworthy, however, that there survive examples of undeniably Christian inscriptions that they also include the formula dis manibus.174 Such cases probably reveal a confused religious orientation. Conversion is rarely complete from the outset. A more complex process is involved during which old beliefs and practices coexist with new ones.175 —]oc suo fecit —]ri suo memoria posui —]misicio176

This poorly preserved inscription honouring the death of a misicius177 or honouring the death of someone buried by a misicius (no names have survived),178 was found at the catacomb of Bassilla at S. Hermes in the Via Salaria Vetus in Rome, a necropolis in use mainly by Christians from the middle of the second century until the beginning of the fourth.179 The inscription was edited for the first time in 1976 by C. Carletti who regarded it as Christian. There is great confusion among scholars as to what a missicius was. Almost every work on the Roman army provides a different explanation. A. von Domaszewski thought that a Roman soldier did not acquire the name veteranus immediately after his discharge but only after a period of four years. In the meantime, he was

See Lattimore, Themes, p. 90–95, R. G. Collingwood and R. P. Wright, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1965, p. 318, and Ramsay MacMullen, The Second Church. Popular Christianity A.D. 200–400, Atlanta, 2009, p. 76. 175 Nicholas H. Taylor, “Conflicting Bases of Identity in Early Christianity: the Example of Paul” in Handbook, p. 577–597, (p. 587). 176 Carlo Carletti, Iscrizioni cristiane inedite del cimitero di Bassilla ad S. Hermetem, Vaticano, 1976, p. 105, no. 130. 177 The correct spelling of the word is with double -s. In the inscription it is misspelled. See M. Leumann, “Die Adjektiva auf-icius”, Glotta IX, 1918, p. 129–168, (p. 147). 178 See E. Todisco, I veterani in Italia in età imperiale, Documenti e studi 22, Bari, 1999. 179 Pergola and Barbini, Catacombe romane, p. 115–119. 174

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called missicius.180 L. Keppie was of the same mind. A missicius was a man who had completed the basic sixteen years of service and was retained for a final four under a special standard (sub vexillo).181 A. Passerini maintained that the term was only used by the praetoriani who continued to serve after their discharge.182 G. Webster argued that it referred only to discharged auxiliaries.183 C. Carletti and Yann Le Bohec claimed that the missicii had broken off all links with active service and had full citizen rights. Other equivalent titles for discharged soldiers were veterani or emeriti.184 However, Elisabatta Todisco noticed that there exists a number of inscriptions in which missicii appear to have died at a very young age,185 posing the problem of how it was possible for them to have completed their military service so early.186 If we accept that Carletti is right in considering the inscription Christian and in attributing it to the middle of the fourth century, then the Christian commemorated here could have started his military career as early as the beginning of the fourth century. Aelius Verinus, mentioned in the next inscription, was an evocatus, like Caelius Placidus, who was responsible for the construction of his friend’s, Aelius Martinus, tomb: To Aelius Martinus, centurion of the first praetorian cohort, and Statia Moschianis his wife, and Statia Martina their daughter, Aelius Verinus,

Domazewski, Die Rangordnung des römischen Heeres, p. 79. Keppie, Making of the Roman Army, p. 150. 182 A. Passerini, Le coorti pretorie, Roma, 1939, p. 126. P. Le Roux, in L’armee romaine et l’organization des provinces iberiques d’Auguste à l’invasion de 409, Paris, 1982, p. 62, agrees with Domaszewski and Passerini that there were three stages in the military career. Firstly one was in service, then sub vexillo, and then dismissed. 183 Webster, Roman Imperial Army, p. 310. 184 Veteranus, emeritus and missicius had no distinction in meaning according to Carletti, Iscrizioni cristiane inedite, p. 105 and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 224. 185 See for example CIL III, 2037. 186 Todisco, Veterani, p. 255–259. 180 181

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an evocatus, of/for our Augusti, made (this tomb), for most deserving brothers. Olympius constructed it.187

Aelius Martinus was a resident of Rome in the middle of the third century CE. He was married to Statia Moschianis and they had a daughter together called Statia Martina. He earned his living as a centurion of the cohort I praetoria of the emperor Philip the Arab (244–249), which was stationed in Rome.188 Rome was also the place where he probably met his death. Aelius Martinus and Aelius Verinus may have been Christians as the fratri, (instead of fratribus), in line 7 suggests. (Or they may have been close friends or even real brothers).189 They may have managed to worship Jesus and at the same time consort with pagans190 and engage in warfare. And they were not the only ones. The following tombstone was created by Victor, a biarcus, to his son, also named Victor, who died at the age of five in 337 CE http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/bin/user/~f56/suchen.pl. Also in AE 1939, 171. 188 See footnote 148. 189 For the early Christian custom to address pagans and Christians as brothers and sisters see Eva Marie Lassen, “The Roman Family Metaphor”, p. 103–120, Lone Fatum, “Brotherhood in Christ. A Gender Hermeneutical Reading of 1 Thessalonians”, p. 183–197, Karl Olav Sandness, “Equality Within Patriarchal Structures: Some New Testament Perspectives on the Christian Fellowship a Brother- or Sisterhood and a Family”, p. 150–165 in Halvor Moxnes, ed., Constructing Early Christian Families. Family as Social Reality and Metaphor, London and New York, 1997, Frederick Bird, “Early Christianity as an Unorganized Religious Movement” in Handbook, p. 225–246, (p. 233), and Andrew T. Crislip, From Monastery to Hospital. Christian Monasticism and the Transformation of Health Care in Late Antiquity, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 20051, 2008, p. 51. 190 The Roman army was a predominantly pagan place before the fourth century CE. See E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, London, 2 volumes, London, 1906–1908, 1st volume, p. 346, Jones, Constantine and the Conversion of Europe, p. 79–80, G. R. Watson, The Roman Soldier, Bristol, 1969, p. 133, and Emilio Gabba, “Il cristianesimo dei militari”, Mondo classico e cristianesimo, Roma, 1982, p. 45–49, (p. 48). 187

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in Mauretania.191 The tombstone is concise, full of information and emotion. The profession of the father, the exact age of the deceased son,192 the date of the tragic event and the devastation of the father are all expressed in a few lines, just as in case of Claudius Ingenuus and his son Tib. Claudius Claudianus: Victor a biarcus, father of Victor, to his sweetest son with piety and sorrow, who lived five years, five months and thirteen days. Thirteen days before the kalends of October in the year of the province 298.193

Jerome, in Contra Hierosolymitanum episcopum 19, listed the ranks for a cavalry regiment. The office of biarcus held the fourth place, while other four followed. Victor could have entered the army as early as the end of the third century.194 The inscription bears neither mention nor any indication of a certain deity in which Victor hoped to find comfort for himself and salvation for his son’s soul. Nevertheless, Ernestus Diehl included it in his edition of Christian inscriptions probably due to the concern shown for providing the age of death with maximum accuracy. Not all men expressed their love for their families in their tombstones the way Victor and Claudius Ingenuus did: Aurelios Neikeros the younger constructed this shrine for himself and for his wife and children. I also put a friend. Here has been buried Aurelios Mannos, a soldier, a mounted archer standard-bearer in the officium of the

According to Diehl, ILCV, volume 1, p. 107, no. 519. Christians showed great care in recording the precise time when their loved ones died since it marked the beginning of the ‘real life’, the life after death, and consequently was a cause for celebration. For an interesting analysis on this peculiar Christian practice and generally on the Christian ideology of death see Brent D. Shaw, “Seasons of death: Aspects of Mortality in Imperial Rome”, JRS 86, 1996, p. 100–138, (p. 102–105). 193 ILCV 519. See also: CIL VIII, 8491. 194 Terence Coello, Unit Sizes in the Late Roman Army, BAR International Series 645, Oxford, 1996, p. 47. 191 192

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most illustrious governor Castrius Constans. Whoever should try (to include) another, will reckon with God.195

Aurelios Neikeros the Younger constructed this funerary monument for himself and for his wife and children in Eumeneia in Anatolia. He also authorized a friend, a mounted archer and bearer of the dragon standard, (lines 7–9)196 in the officium of the governor Castrius Constans,197 called Aurelius Mannos, to be buried with them. The bond between the dedicant and his friend could have been military service. Aurelios Neikeros was a Christian, as the Eumeneian formula, the warning against possible violators, in the end of his tombstone reveals,198 who may have started his military career before Constantine’s reign.199 What strikes a modern reader as particularly odd is that Aurelios Neikeros did not bother to cite the names of his wife and children but did cite the name of his friend and his military profession, as if he was more proud of his friend than of his family.

Section C. Pre-Constantinian(?) Christian Soldiers There is a strong possibility that the inscriptions gathered in this section belonged to Christians who served in the Roman army or Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 98–9, no. 3.9. See also: W. M. Ramsay, The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2nd vol., p. 529, no. 373 and Louis Robert, Noms indigènes dans l’Asie-mineure Greco-romaine, Bibliothèque Archéologique et Historique de l’Institut Francais d’Archéologie d’Instabul 13, Paris, 1963, p. 361ff. 196 Dixon and Southern, Roman Cavalry, p. 61 and 77 and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 97. 197 Castrius Constans was governor of Phrygia and Caria in 324/335 CE. See CIL III, 7207= AE 1940, 187= MAMA VI 35, n. 94, ILS 8881= Inscriptiones Graecae ed Res Romanas Pertinentes IV, 731, PLRE, p. 219, and Stephen Mitchell, Anatolia. Land, Men and Gods in Asia Minor, 2 vols., Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993, II, p. 40, note 243. 198 Only the first six letters of the formula survive but they are enough to provide confidence about how the inscription ends. 199 Because of the existence of the Eumeneian formula. 195

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Christians who had friends (or relatives) with military careers, prior to emperor Constantine’s conversion. Flavius Maximinus, a member of the scutarii, the imperial bodyguards who were armed with a scutum, a heavy shield,200 and a senator, a non-commissioned officer in the scholae, constructed the following bilingual tombstone in Nicomedia in Bithynia in memory of his son, who died at the age of five years and fifteen days, after unsuccessful surgery:201 Flavius Maximinus, a member of the scutarii and a sinator set up this stele for my son, Oktimos who lived five years and fifteen days. Maimed by a doctor he became a martyr (text in Greek) and he was placed next to the martyrs (text in Latin).202

The editors of PLRE placed the inscription in the fourth century203 and Johnson specifically in the mid-to-late fourth century.204 Consequently, Flavius Maximinus could have started his military career at the beginning of the fourth century. The grief of Flavius Maximinus for the unfair loss of his son made him describe his death as martyrdom. The young age of the child renders the allusion to martyrdom obviously metaphorical. Flavius Maximinus believed in Jesus as we infer from the term postus est (line 11) and from the care to record the exact time of death. When Cominius Maximus died, someone, who chose to remain unnamed, erected the following tombstone to mark Cominius Maximus’ burial place and to honour his memory. The Coello, “Unit Sizes”, p. 14, Nicasie, Twilight, p. 47, and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 29. 201 Johnson, in Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 123, note 10, argued that Flavius Maximinus could also have been a shield maker, which is the original meaning of scutarius. I have to admit, I find it rather odd that a shield-maker could also be an officer in the army and prefer rather to think Flavius Maximinus as a member of the imperial bodyguard. 202 ILCV 2180, Tituli Asiae Minoris 4.1 no. 367, and Johnson, EarlyChristian Epitaphs, p. 122–3, no. 4.4. 203 PLRE, p. 579. 204 Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 123, note 10. 200

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date, the place and the circumstances of Cominius Maximus’ death and of the discovery of the tombstone remain unknown. The tombstone is now kept at the Vatican museum: To Cominius Maximus, evocatus of the tenth urban cohort who is placed here fifteen days before the kalends of March.205

One thing is pretty certain: Cominius Maximus was a Christian, or at least the dedicator of the tombstone presented him as one by stating that Cominius Maximus depositus est (line 3 and 4). Only a Christian’s body could be placed to rest until the judgement day.206 Cominius Maximus was an evocatus, someone who had been discharged but was retained or recalled in service,207 of the cohort X Urbanae, a military force with police functions entrusted with the security of the city.208 Manzella thought that the earliest possible date for the construction of the inscription is the fourth century. Unfortunately, we are unable to give a more exact date. The following tombstone was found in 1735 in the Vigna Vidasca between the Via Appia and the Via Ardeatina in Rome. It is now preserved at the Vatican museum: Burial of Iulia Lea, seven days before the kalends of August, the husband Antoninus, a beneficiarius, made (this tomb) to his most deserving (wife). In peace.209

CIL VI, 2870 and ICUR I, 1564, and Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 312, no. 3.10.3. 206 Marucchi, in Christian Epigraphy, p. 56, observed that Christians used the term depositus or depositio to signify temporary keeping while pagans preferred situs or defunctus. See also: Shaw, “Latin Funerary Epigraphy”, p. 482 and Keppie, Understanding Roman Inscriptions, p. 123. 207 See footnotes 163 and 164. 208 H. Freis, Die Cohortes Urbanae, Köln, 1967, p. 19, Watson, Roman Soldier, p. 162, Grant, Army of Caesars, p. 95f, Keppie, Making of the Roman Army, p. 154, and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 21–22. 209 CIL VI, 32971 and ICUR IV, 12472. Also in Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 313, no. 3.10.4. 205

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Antoninus, a beneficiarius, a person working closely with a high official, like a tribune, a procurator or a prefect,210 constructed a tombstone for his late wife Iulia Lea. The couple must have been Christian as the two formulas depositio (line 1) and in pace (line 4) serve to reveal. The fact that the name of the deceased is given in Greek form with the ending –es (Iulies Lees) instead of the Latin ending –ae made Manzella detect a possible eastern origin, either hers or her husband’s or the engraver’s. The phrases depositio and in pace and the form of her name in genitive point to the fourth century.211 It is a pity we cannot be more precise and have no way of knowing whether Antoninus held his military office under a pagan or under a Christian emperor. Flavius Valens, mentioned in the next tombstone, was a protector who died at the age of forty-eight. His son Flavius Constantius wrote: Burial of Flavius Valens, protector, before the ides of August, who lived forty-eight years, citizen of Concordia. Flavius Constantius, the son, made (this tomb) to his most deserving father.212

The place and the circumstances under which this tombstone was found remain mysterious. The tombstone is now owned by the Vatican museum. In Maxinin’ rescript, preserved in Eusebius H.E. IX. ixa. 1–9, the beneficiarii were presented as the ones normally entrusted to persecute Christians for refusing to participate in pagan ceremonies (ixa. 7). This picture is consistent with the Martyr Acts. See for example: The Martyrdom of Fructuosus, Augurius, Eulogius 2 and The Martyrdom of Agape, Irene and Chione at Saloniki 3.1. For the office of beneficiarius see Watson, Roman Soldier, p. 85, Webster, Roman Imperial Army, p. 263, J. Ott, Die Beneficiarier. Untersuchungen zur ihrer Stellung innerhalb der Rangordnung des römischen Heeres und zu ihrer Funktion, Stuttgart, 1995, p. 64, Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 48, and Jocelyne Nelis-Clement, Les beneficiarii: militaires et administrateurs au service de l’empire Ier s.a.C. – VIe s.p.C., Bordeaux, 2000. 211 According to Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 313. 212 CIL VI, 32941 and ICUR I, 1620. Also in Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 315, no. 3.10.8. 210

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Flavius Valens was a Christian, or at least his son thought he would not mind to be provided with a Christian funeral and to have his corpse placed in a tomb in the Christian manner in waiting the second coming of Jesus, as the term depositio in line 1 demonstrates. Manzella and the editors of PLRE213 attributed the death of Flavius Valens and the construction of the tombstone in the fourth century. Sadly, we are unable to be more precise than that. Q. Iulius Donatianus, an optio, a helper of a centurion, dedicated the following inscription to his late wife Q. Ragonia Cyriaceti in Urbino: To Ragonia Cyriaceti, sweetest and incomparable wife, who only had known one husband, pure and good, who lived for twenty-one years, nine months and two days, Q. Iulius Donatianus, an optio of the centurion of the third cohort, with whom he lived well for eight years, nine months and twenty-four days, whom he married at the age of twelve years, eleven months and fourteen days, most deserving wife. Here sleeps.214

Q. Iulius Donatianus was extremely careful to record in years, months and days the exact age when his wife met her death,215 the time they have spent together as a couple and the age when they got married. It looks as if when Iulius Donatianus was not busy in the army, he calculated the time he spent together with his beloved wife. His diligence in providing numerous chronological details allowed Diehl to deduce that Q. Ragonia Cyriaceti was born in 325 CE, got married in 337, at the age of twelve, and died in 346, at the age of twenty-one.216 Q. Iulius Donatianus must have been older than her. It was customary for a mature soldier or ex-soldier to have a young wife.217 Thus, the earliest possible date for Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 315, and PLRE, p. 931. ILCV 404. See also CIL VI, 3604. 215 See footnote 192. 216 Diehl, ILCV, volume 1, p. 88. 217 Roman girls married at a very young age and usually the partner was much older. See: J. P. V. D. Balsdon, Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome, London, Sydney and Toronto, 1969, p. 87, Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, Middlesex, Victoria, Ontario, Auckland, 1986, p. 47–48 and 213 214

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Q. Iulius Donatianus to have started his military career is the end of the third century. It was fashionable among early Christians in Rome to name their female children Cyriace or Cyriaceti and their male ones Cyriacos. According to Iiro Kajanto the Christian sense of the name was due to a semantic shift in the original word κυριακός from ‘belonging to the master’ to ‘belonging to the Lord’.218 Heikki Solin asserted that the name Q. Ragonia Cyriaceti belonged to as early as the second or third century.219 Whether Diehl was right in dating the inscription at the middle of the fourth century, or Solin in placing her death one hundred years earlier, three things are certain: Q. Iulius Donatianus was a soldier and a Christian who loved his wife. He envisaged his wife was not irrevocably dead; she was merely sleeping until judgment day, as the formula hic dormit in line 8 reveals.220 Heraclius, son of Lupicinus, mentioned in the next tombstone, came from Raetia on the Danube. He was a praepositus militum, a military commander, in the same area.221 He met his death at the age of thirty-five, probably in Rome:

343, T. G. Parkin, Demography and Roman Society, Baltimore, 1992, p. 125, Roger S. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton University Press, Princeton, Chichester, 1996, 19931, p. 189, R. S. Bagnall and B. W. Frier, The Demography of Roman Egypt, Cambridge, 1994, p. 111–121, and Sara Elise Phang, The Marriage of Roman Soldiers (13BC–AD235). Law and Family in the Imperial Rome, Leiden, Boston, Köln, 2001, p. 164. 218 Kajanto, “Onomastic Studies”, p. 123. 219 Heikki Solin, Die Griechischen Personennamen in Rom ein Namenbuch, Berlin, New York, 1982, p. 412. 220 Janssens, Vita e morte, p. 93. 221 Dixon and Southern, Roman Cavalry, p. 31 and Late Roman Army, p. 188, Coello, “Unit Sizes”, p. 45, Nicasie, Twilight, p. 95, and Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 39.

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Here lies Heraclius, citizen of Retia Secunda, son of Lupicinus ex-praeses who was praepositus militum Fotensium and lived for thirty-five years. He was buried twelve days before the kalends of August.222

Manzella proposed as a date for the creation of the tombstone the end of the third century or the beginning of the fourth before the invasions of barbaric tribes that came from the north to the province of Raetia during the fourth century.223 Therefore, we ought to think that Heraclius was in the army in the middle of the third century. The editors of PLRE proposed a much later date: the fourth or even the fifth century.224 Details of the exact time, place and conditions under which the inscription was found are missing. It is gathered that the tombstone belonged to a Christian because it bears a christogramma. The symbol betrays the religious beliefs of the family of Heraclius. They deliberately chose it in order to allow their Christianity to be betrayed. They made no effort to conceal either Heraclius’ profession or his/their religious beliefs. There was no incongruity for the christogramma and a military office to appear together in the same inscription as there was no incongruity for a Christian to have a military post. The persons who constructed the following tombstones were Christians; the blatant warning, conventionally translated as the ‘Eumeneian formula’, to those who might attempt to deposit unauthorized corpses in the tombs that they would have to give account to God, exposes them. The stele was found in Nikea. It informs us that Flavius Italas, a member of the protectores,225 constructed a tomb for him and his family, his wife Aurelia Romula, his son Aurelius Romulus, his mother-in-law Aurelia Ursa and his brother-in-law Aurelius Senecianus. It ends with a warning to passers-by that if they dare to violate the monument, they would give account to God: ILCV 445, ILS 2786, CIL VI, 32969, and ICUR I, 1640. Also in Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 314, no. 3.10.7. 223 Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 315. 224 PLRE, p. 419. 225 See footnote 146. 222

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EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR Flavius Italas of the protectores constructed this tomb (koimeterion) for myself and my most reverent wife Aurelia Romula and my son Aurelios Romulos and my mother-in-law Aurelia Oursa and my brother-in-law Aurelios Senekianos so that after we are interred all together whoever should violate the tomb (koimeterion) will give account to God.226

The focus is on Flavius Italas; he is indubitably the centre of attention. No one else’s profession is stated apart from his. Flavius Italas must have been the head of the family. He was also the one responsible for the construction of the tombstone and the selection of the information provided in it. His name and his responsibility for the construction of the monument come first, then follow the names of the other dead and their relation with him and lastly a notice against potential violation. Flavius Italas was a Christian. He deliberately used the word κοιμητήριον to characterize his family’s resting place.227 The term implies a belief in resurrection and could not have been used by a pagan because it would not make sense to one. Flavius Italas could have avoided being a protector or/and he could have avoided mentioning his profession in his tombstone if he thought or suspected his career contradicted with what Jesus taught. Flavius Italas did neither of the above. According to the first volume of the PLRE, Flavius Italas constructed his family’s tombstone under or after Constantine.228 Johnson thought that the name Flavius may have an Italian origin and nothing to do with the dynasty of Constantine and dated the inscription in the late third century.229

Annee Epigraphique 1950, 253 and Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 100–1, no. 3.10. See also A. M. Schneider, “Die Römischen und Byzantinischen Denkmaler von Iznik—Nicea”, Istanbuler Forschungen 16, 1943, no. 59. 227 Line 3. On the use of the term κοιμητήριον and the deeply rooted Christian belief that the dead were merely sleeping, waiting for their resurrection see Shaw “Seasons of Death”, p. 102. 228 PLRE, p. 465. 229 Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 101, note 16. 226

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Among the dead commemorated in the following marble block from Ikonion in Anatolia, there was a man called Tieos who earned his living by manufacturing weapons (ὁπλοποιὸς, lines 3 and 4). It is worth noting that no one else’s profession was cited, just as in the previous tombstone. Maybe being an armourer brought prestige; it certainly was not an indecent occupation, or else it would probably have been silenced, since tombstones tend to conform to public sentiment: …Aurelios Meiros, his sons while still living finished this in memory. …Tieos, a manufacturer of weapons and Aurelia Mama, his wife set up for themselves, while still living, in memory. Whoever should insert another will give account to God.230

Unfortunately, we do not know if the persons mentioned in the tombstone lived prior to or following the conversion of Constantine. Johnson argued that the name Aurelia/Aurelios was widely adopted as a badge of Roman citizenship after the emperor Caracalla (198–217) granted citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Roman empire in 212 CE, and in Anatolia the use of the name indicates a date after 212 and presumably not much later than 400.231 Flavia Diogenia, mentioned in the next inscription, lost her son Sanbatios. He was a soldier of the numerus lanciariorum iuniorum, a spear man, (lines 7 and 8). She buried him and prepared a τίτλος, a tombstone, (line 3) for him in Laodikea Katakekaumene: Flavia Diogenia set up this inscription for my sweetest son Sanbatios of the numerus lanciariorum iuniorum in memory. If anyone puts an outsider he will give account to God.232

Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 102–3, no. 3.11. See also: W. H. Buckler, W. M. Calder and C. W. M. Cox, “Asia Minor, 1924. Monuments from Iconium, Lycaonia and Isauria”, JRS 14, 1924, p. 24–84, (p. 34–35), no.17. 231 Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 5–6. 232 MAMA 1, no.167 and Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 104–5, no. 3.12. 230

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Flavia Diogenia believed in Jesus and that was the reason why she warned possible violators that they would have to face retaliation from the one God. Johnson included in his EarlyChristian Epitaphs from Anatolia only inscriptions that he dated before the fourth century. However, that might not be the case. Flavia Maria Seleukissa could not have been more explicit. Anyone who might attempt to damage the funerary monument she set up in Laodikea Katakekaumene for her husband Paulos, an ordinarius, a non-commissioned, (line 5) campidoctor, trainer of soldiers, (line 4 and 5),233 would have to reckon with the Trinity: Flavia Maria Seleukissa set up (this monument) for my husband Paulos an ordinarius of the campidoctorum in memory and should anyone attempt (to tamper with it), he will reckon with the Trinity.234

Unfortunately, Flavia Maria Seleukissa did not provide the date of the death of her husband Paulos and of the erection of the inscription or any clues that might help future scholars determine whether Paulos started his military career before the official recognition of Christianity by Constantine and whether Paulos approved of his wife’s devotion to Jesus.

Conclusions Early Christian communities are made accessible through the tombstones of their members. One might argue that literary sources could quite easily present a distorted picture of reality that suits perfectly their authors’ agendas, and could willingly deceive their readers by maintaining, for example, that there were Christians in the Roman army, when, in fact, there were not; but, when it comes to tombstones, it is hard to believe that the persons who ordered their construction made false claims of being Christians and of having military careers if that was an embarrassing combination. Death was, and still remains, no laughing matter in human societies. Thus, it seems that the majority of the early Christians preserved the social equilibrium of their Le Bohec, Imperial Roman Army, p. 112–113. MAMA 1, no. 168 and Johnson, Early-Christian Epitaphs, p. 132–3, no. 4.11. 233 234

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time. Not only were there Christians who had military careers but also, most importantly, they were not ashamed to advertise it upon their tombstones. Generally Christians did not keep military careers in the dark. For some Christians military service even constituted a reason to feel and declare themselves proud. And it also looks as if Christians indiscriminately held various offices in the Roman army, throughout the empire and in every chronological period. A significant percentage of the inscriptions collected here belonged to Christians who held high-ranking military offices.235 We should bear in mind that high-ranking military officers were expected to participate actively in pagan ceremonies (and to inflict capital punishment), while ordinary soldiers were only expected to attend.236 If my search reflects reality, then there must have been a significant number of Christians who had been in the army for years (to receive promotion), who were happy with it (to remain), and their superiors were also happy with them (to offer promotions). Furthermore, the inscriptions that belong to the third century are far more numerous than in previous centuries. This is hardly surprising; as Christianity expanded, it gained more converts from every sector of the Roman society including the army. Being in the Roman army was merely another occupation for the majority of Christians and pagans alike. The idea that Christians waited for Constantine to ascend to the throne and then entered the army is quite dominant. As a result, scholars very often hesitate to date inscriptions of Christians with careers in the army before the ascension to the throne of the emperor Constantine. They tend, rather, to date such inscriptions after Constantine’s conversion,237 or choose to leave them undated.

Scholars of antiquity have always found more information concerning the upper classes than the lower. Upper classes had the money (and the vanity) to commission lengthy inscriptions on their tombstones. 236 See p. 17 and p. 77. 237 S. L. Agnello, in Silloge di iscrizioni paleocristiane della Sicilia, Roma, 1953, p. 91 and G. H. R. Horsley, in New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, vol. 2, Alexandria, 1982, p. 57, could not be more explicit: an 235

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Of course, we should not be unfair; there exist many cases where we lack concrete evidence in order to accurately date an inscription, and it is certainly preferable to leave it undated, than to be misled or to mislead others. If we keep these in mind and, simultaneously, take into account the existence of tombstones which: a. did in fact belong to Christians with military careers but their profession was not engraved for reasons of economy, b. belonged to Christians with military careers who preferred not to explicitly admit their Christian beliefs either because they were trying to avoid insulting pagans or simply because they wanted their tombstones as short as possible, c. had all the relevant information but were destroyed or d. remain undiscovered and wait for the archaeologists to unearth them, then the number of Christians who were in the army must have been much bigger than we imagine and can presently prove. The majority of early Christians were not radicals and did not create nor wished for an abrupt breach with the world in which they lived. The following inscription is a telling example and a suitable ending for this chapter: Leucosius bishop to his son Flavius Euentius a centurion, who lived thirty-five years and six months and served for thirteen years. A father made (this tomb) to his son who rests in Christ in peace. 238

If Marco Buonocore was right in dating the above inscription in the middle of the fourth century then it is a very important one for the perceptions of Christians who held high ecclesiastical offices towards warfare and towards those who had careers in the army. Leucosius was an episcopus (= bishop, line 1). His son Flavius Euentius was a centurion who had served for thirteen years and who died at the age of thirty-five in Taurianum in Italy. Leucosius prepared the tombstone for his son and composed the text inscribed in it according to what he saw fit.

inscription that belonged to a Christian with a military career must surely be a post-Constantinian one. 238 ILCV 399 and Marco Buonocore, Inscriptiones Christianae Italiae, 5 Regio III, Regium Iulium, Locri, Taurianum, Trapera, Vibo, Valentia, CopiaThurii, Blanda Iulia, Bari, 1987, p. 13–14, no. 8.

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Leucosius was not just an ordinary Christian; he was a bishop, a person who probably did not have second thoughts about his religious identity and whose outlook on life was, most likely, an example for his congregation. Similarly, Flavius Euentius was not just an ordinary soldier; he had a long military career and held such a high office in the army. His death interrupted his career. He would probably have remained in service if it were not for his sudden death. Leucosius’ point of view is of the utmost significance and of the greatest interest. In a brief inscription of only six lines he solemnly declared his own and his son’s Christianity (in pace positus Christo, line 2). Simultaneously, he emphasized his son’s career: Flavius Euentius was a centurion who had served for thirteen years (militavit annis XIII, line 4). Let us assume that Flavius Euentius started his military career under Christian emperors and imagine that he would not have dreamt of pursuing such a career under a pagan emperor. If we follow this scenario, then it is certainly hard to explain how a profession that entailed the use of violence and the taking of human lives was regarded as unacceptable under pagan emperors and, once Christian emperors ascended the throne, there was a sudden, dramatic change and the military profession was regarded suitable, even by pious Christians (such as bishops) for their own sons. It is sensible to suppose instead that a profession that was unproblematic under pagan emperors remained unproblematic under Christian emperors. And in case we assume that Flavius Euentius started his military career under pagan emperors, then we have yet another Christian family having no trouble with its conscience that one of its members engaged in warfare for the benefit of pagan emperors.

3.3. PAPYRI OR I PRAY THE MERCIFUL GOD Introduction The survival of private correspondence in papyri is yet another window that affords an unobstructed view of early Christian notions to war, violence and military service. It divulges the relations between the early Christians and those (Christians or pagans) who had careers in the Roman army. Christians and military personnel did not live in two separate worlds. They

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coexisted and mingled peaceably. They exchanged letters without saying anything about the inappropriateness of enlistment and participation in warfare. They were friends who shared and discussed matters of common interest, well before Constantine ascended the throne, and continued to do so after Constantine’s conversion and fostering of Christianity. Furthermore, the same person could perceive himself as a Christian and, at the same time, pursue a military career. All of the papyri presented in this section are written in Greek, belong to (or mention) military personnel and emanate from Egypt, where the special climatic conditions have preserved them for posterity. It is not always entirely clear whether the senders or/and the recipients of the letters were Christians, or whether they were converted to Christianity prior to their enlistment or if they indeed held their military posts before the conversion of Constantine. One cannot be too careful forming conclusions when reading someone else’s private correspondence; especially if that someone lived so many centuries ago. The fact that all of the papyri that reveal Christian involvement in the military, I managed to collect, come from the fourth century239 or maybe later240 and not from earlier periods, calls for explanation. Is it a mere coincidence or was Egypt different from the rest of the empire when it came to Christian attitudes to and perceptions of military service? The answer is probably negative as we (at least) know of Menas and Varus who were Christians that served in the ranks in Egypt prior to Constantine and, finally, suffered martyrdom. Their magnificent deaths are described in their Acts.241 Thus, one logical explanation might be that people had no reason to declare their religious beliefs Or at least that is when they are dated by their editors and I have here accepted the editors’ dating. 240 The last three papyri may belong to as late as the beginning of the fifth century. 241 The surviving accounts of the martyrdoms of Menas and Varus probably belong after Constantine, but that does not mean that the information they preserve, that Menas and Varus served in the Roman army before Constantine, is not accurate. 239

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along with their profession in each and every single letter they composed and some of the papyri that have survived actually belonged to Christians with military careers in the first three centuries, but it was not explicitly stated it, and we are unable to detect it.242 Finally, scholars may have something to do with it; they frequently are reluctant to place a papyrus that mentions a Christian with a military career before Constantine’s reign, exactly like some scholars who study inscriptions do.243 And the dating editors propose is often too loose.244 Nevertheless, even the material that belongs to the period soon (or a little) after Constantine is as valuable as the material dated under pagan emperors since it bears no indication that Christians being involved in military affairs was something novel, something the previous generations generally avoided or rejected. Post-Constantinian papyri are precious, as they prove that many Christians continued to remain undisturbed by those who chose a military career and, sometimes, even chose a military career for themselves. The conversion of Constantine may not have brought immediately dramatic changes in the lives and minds of Christians, as it is often assumed. Artemis was a Christian woman married to a soldier, called Theodorus, who wrote a letter to her husband, sometime in the fourth century, and entrusted another soldier to deliver it to him.245

Roger S. Bagnall, Early Christian Books in Egypt, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2009. 243 See footnote 237. 244 Editors for example sometimes place a papyrus in the fourth century CE without specifying whether they believe it is pre- or postConstantinian (something vital for my research) and without providing any reasons as to how and why they have reached their dating. 245 The letter was found in Egypt; however, the place where Artemis composed the letter, where she resided and where she was born is not known. The letter is edited by Mario Naldini, Il cristianesimo in Egitto, Fiesole, 1998, no. 56, p. 240–244, (p. 241–242) and by Giuseppe Ghedini, Lettere cristiane dai papyri greci del III e IV secolo, Milano, no. 29, p. 202–209, (p. 203–205). See also Ewa Wipszycka, “Remarques sur les letters privées 242

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The first part of the letter was addressed to Theodorus. Artemis appeared affectionate and showed concern for his health; she sent him a coat along with her love. The second part of the letter, which Theodorus was supposed to read to another soldier of the same unit,246 called Serapion, is far more exciting. Artemis was vehemently ironical, as she did not approve of Serapion tolerating his daughters having indecent relations with men. Artemis invited Serapion to take immediate action and suggested he, without any further delay, sought advice from the presbyters of their village.247 Artemis was undoubtedly a Christian as the invocations to the Christian God and the mention to the presbyters reveal. Artemis did not care that she was married to Theodorus, someone with a military career, and that their friend (or relative), Serapion, also had a military career. At least there is no indication in the letter that she might have been annoyed. And Artemis must have been a woman with a strong temperament; she does not sound like one who could easily forget or forgive. And like a truly pious Christian she could not endure single women having sexual relations with men. Theodorus must also have been a Christian, as his name implies.248 chrétiennes des IIe–IVe siècles”, The Journal of Juristic Papyrology 18, 1974, p. 203–221, (p. 207–208). 246 Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, p. 202 and John Garrett Winter, Life and Letters in the Papyri, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1933, p. 158–159. 247 The power of the presbyters must have been quite significant for them to be allowed (and sometimes even invited) to interfere in such delicate family problems. See Michel Foucault’s lecture “Pastoral Power and Political Reason” in Jeremy R. Carrette, ed., Religion and Culture. Michel Foucault, New York, 1999, p. 135–152, (p. 135–144), on how early Christianity shaped the idea of the necessity of pastoral influence continuously exerting itself on individuals. See also Roger Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton University Press, Princeton, Chichester, 1996, 19931, p. 195 and p. 287, for other telling examples of clerical intervention in family matters from Egypt. 248 Christians started giving their children characteristically Christian names from the fourth century onwards, (see Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, p. 280).

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Finally, Serapion must also have been a Christian. Otherwise, it would not make much sense for Artemis to invite him to consult the local Christian clergy. Apollon, was a ναολέκτης (or νεολέκτης= a newly enlisted)249 in the Roman army who wrote a letter250 in Thebais251 in the fourth century thanking his patron Herminus, a πρωτεύον (= someone who held a civil or military office),252 for being generous and for giving him money to survive the plague. Apollon may have been a Christian; he was grateful that the θεία πρόνοια (= the holy providence) helped him through those hard times.253 It was also in the fourth century254 when someone composed a letter255 and addressed it to someone else working in the army. The fact that the composer of the letter was a Christian can be established with reasonable certainty as the final clause of the letter is a typically Christian one: ἐν κυρίῳ (= in God). The state of the letter is too fragmentary (especially its left side) to allow a safe reconstruction and a proper understanding of its context. All that can be inferred is that a journey with a ship is discussed. It seems that in the fourth century many praepositi (= military commanders)256 in Egypt had Christian friends and relatives with G. W. H. Lampe, ed., A Patristic Greek Lexicon, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1961, p. 904. 250 Editions: Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 54, p. 234–236, (p. 234–235) and Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, no. 27, p. 193–196, (p. 193–194). 251 Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, p. 193 and Naldini, Cristianesimo, p. 234. 252 Lampe, Lexicon, p. 1199. 253 Herminus’ charitable behaviour might have been inspired by the Christian teaching. On the special emphasis Christians placed on the ideal of charity see D. Iosif, «Φιλανθρωπία: Η χριστιανική μορφή της ευεργεσίας», in Niki Tsironi, ed., Τιμή και Τίμημα, National Hellenic Research Foundation and Cultural Society Ainos, Athens, 2008, p. 37–56. 254 Naldini, Cristianesimo, p. 310. 255 Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 79, p. 310–312, (p. 311–312). 256 Karen R. Dixon and Pat Southern, The Roman Cavalry from the First to the Third Century, London, 1992, p. 31, and Late Roman Army, London, 1996, p. 188, Terence Coello, “Unit Sizes in the Late Roman Army”, BAR International Series 645, Oxford, 1996, p. 45, M. J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. 249

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whom they had contact and they exchanged letters, or were indeed Christians themselves. Marcianus was a Christian, (if line 27 of his papyrus was correctly reconstructed by the editor as an invocation to the Christian God to keep the recipient of the letter under His protection), who composed a letter257 with the intention to persuade its recipient to lend four golden coins to a person called Arthes. A praepositus and, possibly, a comrade were also mentioned, but the state of preservation, particularly of the left side of the letter, does not permit a convincing reconstruction. Thus, the relation of the military figure(s) with Christianity remains obscure. At about the same time Sion wrote a letter258 to Isidorus about problems in the latter’s fields. Eusebius had visited Isidorus’ fields and found the peasants refusing to work unless they received their pay. Sion volunteered to go to the fields and try to resolve the tension by working alongside the peasants, and asked Isidorus what he thought of his plan. Sion and Isidorus must have been Christians since Sion prayed to the Christian God (τῶ ὑψίστῳ θεῶ)259 for Isidorus’, his ‘brother’,260 health. The information that The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 95, and Yann Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, London and New York, 2000, p. 39. 257 Edited by Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 55, p. 237–239, (p. 237–238) and by Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, no. 28, p. 197–201, (p. 198–199). 258 Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, no. 30, p. 210–214, (p. 211) and Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 57, p. 245–248, (p. 246–247). 259 Please note that Ὑψιστος is also a pagan and Jewish appellation of God, (see Stephen Mitchell, “The Cult of Theos Hypsistos between Pagans, Jews and Christians” in Polymnia Athanassiadi and Michael Frede, ed., Pagan Monotheism in Late Antiquity, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1999, p. 81–148). However, Sion must have been a Christian since he additionally called Isidorus his brother. See footnote 189. 260 From the thirty-eight wooden tablets edited by Alan K. Bowman, in Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier. Vindolanda and its People, New York, 1998, and recently by David Thomas, in http://vindolanda.csad.ox. ac.uk:8080/about.shtml, twenty-two of them concern private affairs. In twelve of them, the sender addressed the recipient as his brother or sister.

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interests us the most in this case is that someone mentioned in the letter as Isidorus’ (blood) brother had been entrusted with the πραιποσιτούρα. We do not know whether that person was Christian; however, what we can gather is that it was possible for a Christian to have a close relative (or a dear friend) in the army. Ioannis was an ἄπα (= a Christian bishop or priest)261 who in the fourth century wrote a cordial letter262 to another Christian, called Paulus, in order to congratulate him for his piety and to remind him about a business concerning a third individual called Macarius.263 What we need to focus on is that Ioannis informed Paulus that he was anxiously waiting for the arrival of a praepositus to visit them (could ἡμᾶς= us, in line 19, be the local Christian congregation or monastery?). We do not know whether the praepositus Ioannis had in mind was a Christian or not. What we know is that a devout Christian was absolutely thrilled about the Since at Vindolanda there no evidence of Christianity, we infer that calling someone your brother or sister might have been something quite common in late antiquity, regardless of faith and kinship, to show affection and, certainly, was not an exclusive Christian practice, (see also Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, p. 205). 261 The title ἄπα was used in Egypt until the end of the fourth century to denote a bishop or a priest, according to Lampe, Lexicon, p. 169. See also Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Le Christ et l’abbé Ména, Paris, 1998, p. 30. 262 Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 49, p. 219–222, (p. 220) and Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, no. 41, p. 258–263, (p. 259–260). The typology of the papyrus’ letters led Naldini date it in the middle of the fourth century (p. 219). The text is written in Greek, while the final greeting and Ioannis’ signature is in Coptic. U. Wilcken and L. Mitteis, Grungzüge und Chrestomathie der papyruskunde, Berlin and Leipzig, 1912, p. 88, noted that the Coptic dialect is Sahidic, the language of the Egyptian monks in Thebais. Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, p. 258 and Winter, Life and letters, p. 161, thought that the letter was composed in ca. 400, but provide no explanation for their dating. 263 Paolo Barison, “Ricerche sui monasteri dell’Egitto Bizantino ed Arabo secondo i documenti dei papyri Greci”, Aegyptus 18, 1938, p. 29– 148, (p. 143).

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imminent arrival of someone who earned his living by resorting to violence and, possibly, to homicide. Kaor, the παπάς (= priest)264 of Hermoupolis in Faiyūm in Egypt wrote a letter265 in ca. 346266 to Abinnaeus, a praepositus in the camp of Dionysias in the same area. The letter belongs to the archive of Abinnaeus.267 Of his correspondence nearly sixty documents have been recovered, most of which were dealing with business affairs. I ought to admit we do not know whether Abinnaeus was a Christian or not. The fact that Kaor addressed him as a brother might imply that they shared the same religious beliefs, or not.268 Kaor was not the only Christian Abinnaeus had correspondence with. Abinnaeus frequently exchanged polite letters with at least another Christian, called Miôs.269 Kaor must have been very close with Abinnaeus. The tone of the letter is informal. Kaor addressed Abinnaeus as dear brother and sent his regards to his children For the fascinating history of the word παπάς see Carlo Tagliavini, Storia di parole, pagane e cristiane attraverso il tempo, Brescia, 1963, p. 296–301. 265 H. I. Bell, V. Martin, E. G. Turner, D. van Berchem, The Abinnaeus Archive. Papers of Roman Officers in the Reign of Constantius II, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1962, no. 32, p. 83–84, (p. 83). Other editions: George Milligan, Selections from the Greek Papyri, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1910, p. 123–124, A. S. Hunt and C. C. Edgar, Select Papyri, London, 1932, p. 380–382, and Naldini, Cristianesimo, no.40, p. 188–190, (p. 189). 266 Milligan, Selections, p. 123, Hunt and Edgar, Select Papyri, p. 380, and Naldini, Cristianesimo, p. 188. 267 The entire archive of Abinnaeus is edited by Bell, Martin, Turner, and van Berchem. See footnote 265. 268 E. A. Judge and S. R. Pickering, “Papyrus Documentation of Church and Community in Egypt to the mid-fourth century”, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 20, 1977, p. 47–71, (p. 58). 269 See Bell, Martin, Turner, van Berchem, ed., Abinnaeus Archive, p. 30–33 and Michael Whitby, “Deus Nobiscum: Christianity, Warfare and Morale in Late Antiquity”, in Michel Austin, Jill Harries and Christopher Smith, ed., Essays in Honour of Geoffry Rickman, London, 1998, p. 191–208, (p. 191). 264

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before stating the reason for composing his letter. He also apologized to Abinnaeus for not being able to pay him an immediate visit. It is of the utmost importance that a friendship could exist between a Church official and an army official in the middle of the fourth century. It is hard to believe that such a friendship was only possible because a Christian occupied the imperial throne. It is unlikely that drastic changes occurred in how people perceived certain professions in the years following Constantine’s conversion. If a friendship was possible in the middle of the fourth century, it may also have been possible in the beginning of the same century or even earlier. Kaor and Abinnaeus may have known and respected each other for many years before 346. The reason why Kaor composed this letter was to try and persuade Abinnaeus to pardon a soldier under his command, called Paulus,270 for deserting.271 In late antiquity desertion made a soldier liable to the death penalty.272 The circumstances of Paulus’ desertion are not stated (for the benefit of historians) but must have been known to both Abinnaeus and Kaor. It is tempting to It was not the first time Paulus created upheaval. In another occasion, he was reported to Abinnaeus to have stolen sheep and pigs, (if we are to believe Bell, Martin, Turner and van Berchem that the Paulus mentioned in letter no. 32 of the Abinnaeus archive was the same person as the one here). 271 This was not the first time Abinnaeus was pleaded to afford special treatment to a soldier. See Bell, Martin, Turner, van Berchem, ed., Abinnaeus Archive, no. 19, 31, 33 and 34, and Richard Alston, “The Ties that Bind: Soldiers and Societies” in ed. Adrian Goldsworthy and Ian Haynes, The Roman Army as a Community, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 1999, p. 175–195, (p. 193). 272 In practice, however, less extreme measures were usually taken, like corporal punishment (castigatio), deprivation of pay or monetary fine (pecuniaria multa), extra duty (munerum indictio), relegation to an inferior service (militiae mutatio), reduction in rank (gradus deiectio), or discharge with ignominy (missio ignominiosa). See C. E. Brand, Roman Military Law, University of Texas Press, Austin and London, 1968, p. 103–107 and G. R. Watson, The Roman Soldier, Bristol, 1969, p. 120f. 270

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assume that Paulus was a Christian (his name might support such an assumption) who found his profession incompatible with his faith and, eventually, left his post without the consent of his superiors. He then changed his mind (for reasons that escape us) and decided to return to his post. Kaor was aware of the soldier’s decisions and actions (and possibly thoughts) and interceded, trying to convince Abinnaeus not to inflict a hard punishment on Paulus on his return to the camp. Final action could be deferred until Paulus’ next offense, Kaor subtly suggested. One wonders why a priest would be interested in the welfare of a soldier. There are several possibilities: Paulus was a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbour, or a member of Kaor’s congregation. Paulus might have left his post for religious reasons and Kaor might have encouraged and influenced Paulus towards it. George Milligan thought that Paulus had taken refuge with Kaor and John Garrett Winter thought that Abinnaeus had asked Kaor for his advice and the letter we now possess was Kaor’s reply. 273 Whichever the case, Kaor saw fit to recommend Paulus returning to his military duties and everything going back to ‘normal’. The end of the fourth century and the beginning of the fifth evidently was a period when a military figure could write a letter mentioning his profession and at the same time expressing his true devotion to the Christian God and sending his regards to a presbyter without facing any problems with his conscience and without worrying that he might embarrass and annoy the recipients of the letter. Pserakos was a Christian. He was also an ἀγουστάλιος νουμέρου κυντανῶν (= a military officer)274 who wrote a letter275 to greet his ‘brother’ Paphnutius, his family and their common friends which included a presbyter.276 In that period having military 273 274

Milligan, Select Papyri, p. 123 and Winter, Life and Letters, p. 152. Jean Maspero, Organisation militaire de l’Égypt Byzantine, Paris, 1912,

p. 106. Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 90, p. 348–351, (p. 349–350). Naldini believes that πρεσβύτερος (in line 10) means in this case someone with a civic post and not an ecclesiastical one. Even if Pserakos did not send his regards to a Church figure, he was undoubtedly a Christian. The numerous Christian invocations, he used, secure this 275 276

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officers express their admiration to a religious figure was not out of the question.277 Two σιτολόγοι (= army tax officers),278 called Oros and Origen, sent a letter279 to a Christian hermit, called Sabinus, to pay their respect for his astonishing piety and to request a sum of money.280 A military post could, equally, inspire admiration to a Christian: Ciro was a διάκων (= diacon)281 in Thebais in the fourth or fifth century282 who wrote a letter283 to Olympiadorus and to Hermaion to congratulate the later on his appointment as a διαδότης of Syene (= an officer entrusted with the provisions of the army)284 and to invite him to start exercising his duties as soon as possible. It was a period when a military office did not go unnoticed. A Christian could even sing (or receive) praise for obtaining it.

assumption: εὔχομε τῶ πανελεήμονι θεῶ (= I pray the merciful God, 4), σὺν θεῶ (= with God, 21), μετὰ τὸ Πάσχα (= after Easter, 23), ἐὰν θέλει ὁ θεός (= if God wishes, 24). Furthermore, he addressed the recipient Paphnutius as his brother; a common Christian practice. See footnote 189. 277 Naldini, Cristianesimo, p. 335. 278 Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, p. 337. 279 Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 86, p. 335–338, (p. 336–337). 280 Henri Henne, “Documents et travaux sur l’Anachôrèsis”, in Han Gerstinger, ed., Mitteilungen aus der papyrussammlung der österreichischen nationalbibliothek, Wien, 1956, p. 59–66, (p. 66). 281 Lampe, Lexicon, p. 352–354 and Tagliavini, Storia, p. 283–286. 282 Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, p. 264 and Naldini, Cristianesimo, p. 372. 283 Naldini, Cristianesimo, no. 97, p. 372–376, (p. 373–374) and Ghedini, Lettere cristiane, no. 42, p. 264–274, (p. 266–267). 284 Friedrich Oertel, Die liturgie. Studien zur ptolemäischen verwartung Ägyptens, Leipzig, 1917, p. 223 and Allan Chester Johnson and Louis C. West, Byzantine Egypt. Economic Studies, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1949, p. 162 and 220.

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Conclusions A petition285 written in 425–450 CE286 by Appion, bishop of the legions of Syene, New Syene and Elephantine in Egypt, and addressed to the emperors Theodosius II and Valentinianus III, is presumably a suitable epilogue for this chapter. Appion emphasized the need to have the churches in his care guarded by the local garrison against the attacks of ἀλιτηρίων βαρβάρων (= vagrant barbarians),287 Blemyes and Nubians, and asked the emperors to decree to place the garrison under his authority. Appion reminded the emperors that the practice was not after all unprecedented. At the nearby island of Philae the local garrison eagerly obeyed the commands of the local bishops. This petition is an excellent example of the role of bishops in the fifth century. They could address letters to the emperors discussing military affairs. They could feel that military officers did not perform their duties effectively and urgently needed a helping hand. They could seek an active role in military affairs, assisting or even replacing military officers. They not only felt that these were possible, but had, already, in practice acquired a military role, as in the case of Philae. In fact, bishops understood that a good Christian’s duty was to be involved in political matters of this world. It is hard to believe that such a state of affairs was a sudden rift with the past and a peculiarity of the fifth century. The process must have been gradual, long and slow, and it must have taken more than one hundred years to reach such a stage. Clear traces of the process are preserved in pre-Constantinian historical and

P. Leid. Z in U. Wilcken and L. Mitteis, Grungzüge und Chrestomathie der papyruskunde, Berlin and Leipzig, 1912, vol. I,2, no. 6, p. 11–13. See also Bazalel Porten, J. Joel Farber, Cary J. Martin, Günter Vittmann, Leslie S. B. MacCoull, Sarah Clackson, Simon Hopkins, Ramon Katzoff, The Elephantine Papyri in English. Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change, Leiden, New York, Köln, 1996, p. 389. 286 Winter, Life and Letters, p. 181. 287 The epithet ἀλιτήριος was commonly used in late antiquity by Christians to describe demons. It is most interesting that sometimes Christians used it to describe barbarians as well. 285

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archaeological material, if we are only too careful and eager to detect them.

3.4. DURA EUROPOS OR THE PENETRATION OF MILITARY INTO CIVILIAN TERRITORY OR TWO CLIBANARRI AND ONE CATAPHRACTARIUS

Introduction Dura Europos in the Euphrates in Syria was founded as a Seleucid military colony, probably by Seleucos I Nicator in 312 BC. It then fell into Iranian Parthian control. From 165 CE, it was a town encampment for Roman troops guarding the eastern end of the empire.288 Dura Europos was destroyed in 253 CE,289 or, most likely, in 256290 by the Sassanians, and was never re-inhabited. The site was accidentally discovered in 1920 by British troops.291

The total number of Roman troops stationed at Dura (which was something over fifty hectares) at any given time had probably been a few thousand when the total population of the city is unlikely to have been more than ten or twenty thousand and may have been in decline under the Roman occupation. See C. B. Welles, “The Population of Roman Dura” in P. R. Coleman-Norton, ed., Studies in Roman Economic and Social History in Honor of Allen Chester Johnson, Princeton, 1951, p. 251–274, (p. 253–254), Nigel Pollard, “The Roman Army as “‘Total Institution’ in the Near East? Dura-Europos as a Case Study” in David L. Kennedy, ed., The Roman Army in the East, JRA, Sup. Series 18, Michigan, 1996, p. 211– 227, and Ramsay MacMullen, The Second Church. Popular Christianity A.D. 200–400, SBL, Atlanta, 2009, p. 1–10. 289 M. I. Rostovtzeff, “Res Gestae divi Saporis and Dura”, Berytus 8, 1943/4, p. 17–60. 290 David MacDonald, “Dating the Fall of Dura-Europos”, Historia 35, 1986, p. 45–68. 291 Clark Hopkins, The Discovery of Dura-Europos, ed. Bernard Goldman, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1979. See also Samuel Lieu, “Rome on the Euphrates. The Final Siege of Dura-Europos” in R. Alston and S. N. C. Lieu, ed., Aspects of the Roman East: Papers in Honour of Professor Fergus Millar, vol 1, Turnhout, 2007, p. 33–61. 288

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In the archaeological season of 1931–2 a house which had been used as a Christian meeting place was unearthed.292 This house had originally been built as a private residence in an area of other private residences and temples.293 It was no ordinary humble house. It could only have belonged to a citizen of some wealth and distinction.294 The house was converted to serve as a meeting place for the local Christian congregation and it is probably the earliest archaeologically known non-subterranean Church.295 Early Christians used private residences as their meeting places before the construction of purpose-built churches in the third century, just like their master Jesus did.296 D. Iosif, «Δούρα-Ευρωπός. Η πρωϊμότερη χριστιανική εκκλησία», Archaeologia 92, September 2004, p. 99–103. 293 See C. Bradford Welles, ed., The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report VIII, part II, New Haven and New York, 1967, p. 3. 294 Clark Hopkins, “The Christian Church” in M. I. Rostovtzeff, ed., The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Fifth Season, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1934, p. 238–253, (p. 245). 295 Keith Hopkins, “Christian Number and Its Implication”, JECS 6:2, 1998, p. 185–226, (p. 203, note 37). 296 Mark 14.15, Luke 23.11f, Matthew 26.17f, Traditio Apostolica xvi.1, Hopkins, “Christian Church”, p. 245–246, L. M. White, Building God’s House in the Roman World, Baltimore, 1990, esp. p. 105, Bardlex Blue, “Acts and the House Church” in David W. J. Gill and Conrad Gempf, ed., The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting. The Book of Acts in its Graeco-Roman Setting, Michigan, Carlisle, 1994, p. 119–222, Mary Beard, John North and Simon Price, Religions of Rome, 2 vols, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, 1998: vol. 1, A History, p. 267–268 and vol. 2, A Sourcebook, p. 110, and James D. G. Dunn, “Diversity in Paul” in Dan Cohn-Sherbok and John M. Court, ed., Religious Diversity in the Graeco-Roman World. A Survey of Recent Scholarship, Sheffield, 2001, p. 107–123, (p. 121). Christians were not the only ones who began their gatherings in private houses and eventually adapted them architecturally for religious use. Synagogues and Mithraea have also begun this way. See Carolyn Osiek, “Archaeological and Architectural Issues and the Question of Demographic and Urban Forms” in Anthony J. Blasi, Jean Duhaime, Paul-Andrè Turcotte, ed., Handbook of Early Christianity. 292

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The conversion of the house involved two major changes.297 First the dividing wall between the main living hall and the adjoining room on the south side of the court was demolished, creating a large hall of roughly 12x5 m. The space automatically increased from a capacity of thirty persons to one of sixty or seventy.298 Then, the small room in the northwest corner of the house was made into a baptistery and with a large brick basin was set into the floor for a font and surmounted by a vaulted baldachin.299 The walls were covered with the most interesting and earliest paintings that have come down to us from the East.300 It is

Social Science Approaches, Wainut Creek, Lanham, New York, Oxford, 2002, p. 83–103, (p. 96). 297 Ann Perkins, The Art of Dura-Europos, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973, p. 29 and Marie-Henriette Gates, “Dura-Europos. A Fortress of Syro-Mesopotamian Art”, Biblical Archaeology 47.3, 1984, p. 166–181, (p. 177). 298 Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, Middlesex, New York, Victoria, Ontario, Auckland, 1986, p. 270 and Hopkins, “Christian Number”, p. 203, note 37. The room, according to MacMullen, Second Church, p. 9–10, could not possibly have accommodated the whole Christian population of third century Dura; Dura’s Christians must have often met at some communal graveyard along the road leading out of the town, that has not been unearthed yet, as was typical all over the empire in the pre-Constantinian period. It has been estimated, for example, that in the same period at Rome the space available for worship in the city compared with the space available in cemeteries was one to ten or one to fifteen and MacMullen founds this uneven ratio valid across the empire, (MacMullen, Second Church, p. 111). 299 Archaeologists generally agree that a baptistery was created, (Hopkins, “Christian Church”, p. 249), and not a martyrium, (P. V. C. Baur, “The Christian Chapel at Dura”, American Journal of Archaeology 37, 1933, p. 377–380, p. 377). 300 P. V. C. Baur, in “The Christian Chapel”, examined the paintings and concluded that the scenes were not painted by one artist and that the types used were already firmly fixed. See also Joseph Gutmann, “Early Christian and Jewish Art” in Harold W. Attridge and Gohei Hata, ed., Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism, Leiden, New York and Köln, 1992,

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highly significant that no attempt was made to conceal the fact that the house was a Christian meeting place.301 A graffito was found on an under coat of the plaster in room 4B mentioning the year 545 of the Seleucid era (i.e. 232–3 CE). There are two alternatives: it either fixes the date of the construction of the house, or it establishes the point in time when the alterations took place and the structure was adopted for Christian use. Archaeologists are divided and some favour the first alternative,302 others the second.303 If we choose to believe M. I. Rostovtzeff that the adaptations to the requirements of the Christian cult took place in 232/3 and the house was built not before the beginning of third century,304 then there is a strong probability that the actual first owner of the house was still alive in 232/3 and gave his consent for Christians to use part of his house for religious purposes. The discovery of three scratched drawings305 on the south wall of room C, depicting two Parthian equetes sagittarii306 (= mounted archers)307 or two clibanarii308 (= heavily armored cavalryman)309 and p. 270–287, (p. 275–281). See also G. Pagoulatos, Tracing the Bridegroom in Dura, Piscataway, New Jersey, 2008. 301 Hopkins, “Christian Church”, p. 247. 302 The house was constructed in 232/3 and renovated a little later in ca. 240/1 according to: Welles, Excavations, p. 38, Fox, Pagans and Christians, p. 270, and Blue, “Acts and the House Church”, p. 166. 303 Hopkins, “Christian Church”, p. 248 and William Seston, “L’église et le baptistère de Doura-Europos”, Scripta Varia. Mélanges d’histoire romaine, de droit, d’épigraphie et d’histoire du christianisme, Paris, Roma, 1980, p, 607– 627, (p. 611). 304 M. I. Rostovtzeff, Dura-Europos and its Art, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1938, p. 130. 305 See Susan B. Matheson, Dura Europos. The Ancient City and the Yale Collection, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1982, p. 16. 306 P. V. C. Baur, M. I. Rostovtzeff and Alfred R. Bellinger, ed., The Excavations at Dura-Europos. Fourth Season, Yale University Press, New Haven and Oxford University Press, London, 1933, picture XXI. 307 Pat Southern and Karen Ramsey Dixon, The Roman Cavalry from the First to the Third Century AD, London, 1992, p. 77 and The Late Roman

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one cataphractarius (= heavily armored cavalryman),310 which go back to the time when the house was not yet transformed into a Christian church,311 tempt me to put forward a (wild?) hypothesis concerning the identity of the owner of the house. Other clues are that he was rich and could have been alive at the time when his house was renovated to accept Christians. So, let us suppose that the owner of the house had (or dreamt of) a career in the Roman army and the drawings were expressions of his career (or his dreams). He also believed in Jesus and that was the reason he agreed on sheltering the local congregation. And the Christian clergy and congregation did not have a problem to have a military figure as their host. (Of course, the owner could have abandoned his military career, or his dreams of one, and subsequently embraced Christianity and was accepted by the local Christians. Or he could have sold his house to someone else. We have no way of knowing for sure.) I admit this hypothesis may not reflect reality. However, it is a reaction against the widely made assumption that Christianity at Dura was a religion of the civilian rather than the military population.312 This hypothesis is as flimsy as mine. The evidence to support it is far too meager. It has been argued that the Roman army at Dura was a ‘total institution’, cut off from the outside world, and functioned as a society in itself ‘with distinctive Army, London, 1996, p. 90, and M. J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 62–64. 308 Rostovtzeff, Dura-Europos and its Art, p. 130 and Southern and Dixon, Roman Cavalry, p. 42–43 and figure 10. 309 Southern and Dixon, Late Roman Army, p. 90 and Nicasie, Twilight of Empire, p. 196–198. 310 See Plate 1, p. 304 and Graham Webster, The Roman Imperial Army of the First and Second Centuries AD, London, 1969, p. 151, Southern and Dixon, Late Roman Army, p. 90, Adrian Keith Goldsworthy, The Roman Army at War 100BC– AD200, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996, and Nicasie, Twilight of Empire, p. 196–198. 311 Rostovtzeff, Dura-Europos and its Art, p. 130. 312 Perkins, Art, p. 32 and Matheson, Dura Europos, p. 31.

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introspective social and cultural values’.313 However, it seems that was not the case or could hardly have been the case.314 Soldiers formed a substantial proportion of the total population315 and their camp was just beside the local residences, temples and shops.316 A quarter of Dura was occupied exclusively by the troops and much of the remainder was devoted to ministering the army in one way or another.317 Many soldiers were billeted in houses among the locals,318 so soldiers were everywhere.319 The Christian house was

The aim of Pollard’s article “Total Institution” was to highlight the separation of soldier and civilian at Dura, due to their distinctive religious practices, possible language gap, lack of evidence of cash transactions, and soldiers acting as the representatives of imperial power. However, Pollard maintained that his conclusions were tentative, admitting that soldiers and civilians at Dura lived at great proximity, sometimes shared the same ethnic origin and, occasionally, veterans settled and married there. Nonetheless, his experiment is most interesting. 314 The Roman army was not self-sufficient according to Brian Campbell, War and Society in Imperial Rome 31BC–AD284, London and New York, 2002, p. 94. Richard Alston showed in his book Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt. A Social History, London and New York, 1995, that soldiers and veterans were in continual contact with civilians in Egypt. But then again Egypt might be different. See also Roger S. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton University Press, Princeton, Chichester, 1996, 19931, p. 140 and Richard Alston, “The Ties that Bind: Soldiers and Societies” in Adrian Goldsworthy and Ian Haynes, ed., The Roman Army as a Community, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 1999, p. 175–195. 315 Pollard, “Total Institution”, p. 212. 316 On the Jewish communities of Dura-Europos see David Noy “The Jews of Roman Syria: The Synagogues of Dura-Europos and Apamea”, in Alston and Lieu, ed., Aspects of the Roman East, p. 62–80. 317 Welles, “Population”, p. 271. 318 Susan Downey, “Dura Europos and the Transformation of the Seleucid City” in Elizabeth Fentress, ed., Romanization and the City. Creation, Transformations and Failures. Proceedings of a Conference Held at the American Academy in Rome to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Excavations at Cosa, 14–16 May 1998, JRA, Sup. Series n. 38, Portsmouth, 2000, p. 155–172, (p. 164). 313

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there for soldiers to enter and experiment with the Christian beliefs. Dura had various temples dedicated to different gods. There were a great variety of religious practices320 and Christianity was one of the options. After all the Feriale Duranum did not discourage or prevent soldiers from privately pursuing other worships.321

Conclusions The Feriale Duranum was part of a cache of papyri found at Dura.322 It set out the calendar of religious rites observed by the cohors XX Palmynerorum,323 an auxiliary unit that arrived at Dura a little before 209–216 CE and was stationed there until the destruction of the city in 256.324 The Feriale encouraged reverence to the traditional deities of Rome, prescribed regular sacrifice and put emphasis on

Lucinda Dirven, Palmyrenes in Dura-Europos. A Study of Religious Interaction in Roman Syria, 1996, p. 15 and Downey, “Transformation”, p. 164. 320 Matheson, Dura Europos, p. 31. 321 A. D. Nock, in “The Roman Army and the Roman Religious Year”, HThR 45, 1952, p. 187–252, (p. 223), reprinted in Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, Oxford, 1972, 2nd vol., p. 736–790, pointed out that there was no official desire to see the gods listed in the Feriale exclusively worshipped by the soldiers, and D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West, Studies in the Ruler Cult of the Western Provinces of the Roman Empire, 2nd volume, Leiden, New York, Köln, København, 1992, p. 593–608, (p. 594), discerned a clear distinction between the practices of a soldier acting in a private capacity and the corporate rites celebrated by troops at headquarters on various occasions. 322 Edited by Robert O. Fink, Allan S. Hoey and Walter F. Snyder, Yale Classical Studies 7, 1940, p. 1–122. 323 Robert O. Fink, “The Cohors XX Palmyrenorum”, TAPA 78, 1947, p. 159–170. 324 J. F. Gilliam, “The Roman Army in Dura” in The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report, part I: The Parchments and Papyri, New Haven 1959, p. 22–27, (p. 27), reprinted in Roman Army Papers, Amsterdam, 1986, p. 207–212, (p. 212). 319

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the imperial cult.325 It was composed under Severus Alexander between ca. 224 and 235;326 with some probability in 225–227.327 The absence of any festivals of a strictly local nature suggests that this document was not specific to a particular unit but was rather the standard feriale for all the armies of the empire.328 The discovery of the Feriale Duranum triggered a debate about the religious life of the Roman army. Some scholars believed the Feriale’s purpose was to Romanize the troops, establish and retain uniformity and bonds, and provide days for relaxation and enjoyment. According, however, to Emilio Gabba and John Helgeland, the Feriale did not primarily intend to Romanize the army and regulate the private religious worship of the individual soldier. Soldiers were free to choose a deity, or perhaps more than one, to venerate and put their hopes in. The religious world of a soldier was an all-inclusive system.329 J. F. Gilliam rightly pointed out that there is a difference in original intentions and later uses. The Feriale was at first organized by Augustus in an attempt to maintain, revive and extend the Roman traditions. One of Augustus’ major considerations was to sustain and reinforce his troops’ Roman character; and traditional piety was an essential means towards this end. The retention of the Feriale did not involve similar motives in later periods. Gilliam found hard to believe that the Feriale at Dura in the time of Severus Alexander was an Beard, North and Price, Religions, vol. 1, p. 324f. J. F. Gilliam, “The Roman Military Feriale”, HThR 47, 1954, p. 183–196, (p. 183, note 1), reprinted in Roman Army Papers, Amsterdam, 1986, p. 123–136, (p. 123, note 1). 327 Nock, “The Roman Army”, p. 187. 328 Final Report V, p. 192, Robert O. Fink, Roman Military Records on Papyrus, American Philological Association, 1971, no. 117, p. 422–429, (p. 423), Fishwick, Imperial Cult, II.1, p. 593–608, Beard, North and Price, Religions, vol. 1, p. 325–326 and Ittai Gradel, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2004, 2002 1, p. 340-341. 329 Emilio Gabba, Per la storia dell’esercito romano in età imperiale, Bologna, 1974, p. 83 and John Helgeland, “Roman Military Religion”, ANRW II.16.2, 1978, p. 1470–1505, (p. 1500). 325 326

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instrument of Romanization, or indeed had much religious significance; firstly, because in the Feriale itself the imperial festivals outnumbered and predominated over the divine festivals, and secondly, because archaeological evidence abounds that soldiers were worshiping many more gods than the ones prescribed in it.330 Ramsay MacMullen, for example, showed that the Palmyrene soldiers preferred to worship their own gods off duty; gods that did not always coincide with the ones mentioned by the Feriale.331 Under these circumstances, there was no obstacle to prevent a soldier from becoming a Christian or a Christian from being a soldier. The two worlds were not separate, as the military drawings in the earliest surviving Church at Dura also unmistakably demonstrate.

At this point Gilliam, “Roman Military Feriale”, p. 186 or p. 126, followed Nock, “The Roman Army”, p. 221 and 229. 331 Ramsay MacMullen, Paganism in the Roman Empire, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1981, p. 110. However, see also Duncan Fishwick’s article “Soldier and Emperor”, The Ancient History Bulletin 6.1.1992, p. 63–72, in which he provides epigraphical material of Roman soldiers who privately and happily honoured their emperors as gods. 330

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FROM HIM COME THE KINGS AND THE RULERS AND THE GOVERNORS

INTRODUCTION Part of the scenario that imagines early Christians as being utterly pure, moral and almost perfect and without any disputes following closely Jesus’ teaching, is the idea that they were also pacifists.1 Modern scholars who find this scenario attractive generally concentrate only on the works of anti-war early Christian writers and tend to neglect the bulk of the literary creations that by and large remains silent on the issue of warfare and at times, even, appears to support Christian involvement in military matters. The purpose of the present chapter is to examine this neglected evidence. The silence of the sources (when noticed) is habitually taken as a strong indication that enlistment in the Roman army and participation in warfare were self-evidently forbidden for the early Christians.2 However, one can discard this suggestion and argue that this silence suggests that the issue was not one of the early Christian perennial concerns and did not constitute a problem for The study of Christianity has often been driven by the Christian agendas of later ages. Many seek affirmation of their own beliefs and lifestyles in the lives of early Christians. 2 See for example Jean-Michel Hornus, It is Unlawful for me to Fight. Early Christian Attitudes toward War, Violence and the State, tr. Alan Kreider and Oliver Coburn, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1980, p. 122. 1

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the early Christian conscience. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the early Christian writers remained almost, but not completely, silent about Christians with military careers. There exist brief casual references in their works from which it clearly emerges that they regarded soldiering as merely another occupation. Service in the army and fighting were not rejected as inappropriate for the faithful. Finally, my attention is attracted by the fact that these writers belonged to the upper classes and were profoundly loyal to the political authorities of their times.3 In my view, Christian attitudes to war, violence and military service were shaped (and still are) by attitudes to the political authorities. The Christian authors belonged to the elite and supported the status quo. Thus, they accepted (or would have accepted) and tolerated (or would have tolerated) wars and military service as acts of obedience and conservatism (if such a question was put to them). And the Christian lower classes, with very few exceptions, followed their religious leaders’ viewpoint, humbly acknowledged the power of the earthly authorities as legitimate and often found a military career desirable, as the evidence amply suggests. Pagans were even more silent than Christians. Christians abstaining from the army and the battlefield was not a common pagan complaint.4 If Christian teachers had preached against Christian involvement in the military activities of the state and if, as a result, a large number of Christians had refused to get involved, then that would have, eventually, alarmed pagans and Christians would have felt obliged to explain and defend their peculiar choice. The propagators of the Christian message devoted considerable time on guarding the Christian image by refuting all the charges, (both the substantiated and the unsubstantiated ones) that circulated against Christianity. The most common charge was that Christians were a threat to public order. There was a real anxiety among Christian intellectuals to reassure pagans that this On how Christian literary evidence represents mainly the upper stratum see Ramsay MacMullen, The Second Church. Popular Christianity A.D. 200–400, SBL, Atlanta, 2009, p. xi and 112. 4 Only Celsus complained; or to be more precise, only Celsus’ complaint has survived. See p. 218f. 3

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accusation was ill-founded. Statements of assurance of loyalty are so plentiful in the early Christian literature as to create the impression that pagans, for a while, viewed Christianity with suspicion or understood it as a threat. The Christian writers did not worry and did not argue about Christians refusing military service because pagans did not worry (and had no reason to worry) about them either. The Christian writers did not choose to reassure pagans about their loyalty by primarily and exclusively dwelling on the Christian practice of entering the army (although, at times, they did that as well); they, rather, called pagan attention to what great numbers of Christians did: they willingly paid the taxes and they happily prayed for the pagan authorities’ well-being. Pagan fears about the disruptive character of Christianity were not completely groundless. Christian writers sometimes addressed Christian audiences and urged them to show obedience to the pagan authorities and expressed their satisfaction when they did (by paying taxes and by offering prayers for the welfare of the emperor). Thus it seems that there were a few early Christians who were not so eager to obey and were not as loyal as the Christian Fathers and the pagan authorities would have liked them to be. It is worth noting that the Christian writers never addressed the Christians who consciously refrained from military activities trying to convince them to come to their senses and change their ways. Apparently, Christian refraining from the military was not a trend that had many followers. The early Christians who supported the established order and whose works have survived invented ingenious ways of showing their support towards the authorities. They mainly blamed the demons for everything that went wrong in society; for the unfortunate pagan choices: the abhorrence pagans felt for Christians and the persecutions they instigated against them, and for the unfortunate Christian choices: the existence of heresies and the questions about the establishment and status quo. Demons were useful for transferring responsibility and avoiding tensions; demons often are a sign of social conservatism. Christians lived with the idea that the devil and his helpers, the demons and his human representatives on earth, were constantly lurking to enslave them. Christian life was presented in Christian literature in military terms, as a constant fight against diabolic encumbrances. Military images are expressions of

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admiration for the virtues that a soldier exhibits (and a Christian ought ideally to exhibit): altruism, courage and loyalty towards superiors, both humans and non-humans, (i.e. the Trinity and the saints). Sometimes, they even betray the author’s recognition of the necessity of wars and acceptance of the conventional military institutions. In what follows, the early Christian political convictions and views on military institutions will be explored through Christian employment of demonic and military images and through Christian silence which is often more deafening than words.

REASSURING PAGANS OF THE INNOCENCE OF CHRISTIANITY Christianity, from the outset, attracted both converts and enemies. There were, of course, also those who were sympathizers or indecisive, while others were indifferent or ignorant of its existence. The preachers of Christianity had to work hard in their literary creations to portray Christianity as the ideal solution in order to secure their members and attract new ones. Under these circumstances, they could not tolerate the various charges that circulated against the Christian teaching and they felt obliged to defend their choices. The impression both Christian apologies and pagan polemics convey is that the most common accusations that circulated in late antiquity against Christians concerned their, allegedly, absurd religious beliefs, their questionable morality and their disruptive behaviour towards the state, the authorities, and their fellow citizens. The Christian Fathers seem to have been extremely annoyed by the last accusation. It was a well-established Roman belief that the traditional gods offered military victories, prosperity and grandeur to the Roman people.5 In return, and to secure the continuation of this For the widespread idea that the Roman empire was a reward from the gods for its citizens’ piety see Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.8 and De Haruspicum Responsis 9.19, and Prudentius, Peristephanon X.414. Pagan religion of the Roman army and the preservation of the Roman state were intimately connected. The Roman authorities were determined to 5

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benevolence, the Roman people carried out certain strictly defined religious rites in honour of their gods. Pagan religion was thus less a matter of personal devotion than of national significance. Christian defiance of the traditional gods and of the traditional rites insulted gravely the gods and caused the empire to experience hard times.6 In the middle of the second century more and more pagans started to feel that the benevolence of the gods was a thing of the past and decided to blame Christians for this sudden reversal of fortune. This accusation was revived again in the fourth century, after a period of numerous military defeats. Athenagoras7 was probably the first Christian to record that there circulated convictions among pagans that Christians were atheists or promoted weird ideas concerning the nature of deity maintain the armies’ Roman character, to reinforce their effectiveness and cement their loyalty by emphasizing the need for traditional religious piety, (see A. D. Nock, “The Roman Army and the Roman Religious Year”, HThR 45, 1952, p. 187–252 and J. F. Gilliam, “The Roman Military Feriale”, HThR 47, 1954, p. 183–196). Thus, the soldiers who were called to desert or deserted their posts inspired by a new religious system must have been viewed as a serious threat for the stability of the empire and must have left a profound impression upon contemporaries. J. A. North, in his seminal article “Conservatism and Change in Roman Religion”, PBSR 54, 1976, p. 1–12, discusses wonderfully the conservatism, legalism and innovation of the Romans in matters of religion. See also: J. A. North, Roman Religion, Oxford University Press, published for the Classical Association. Series Greece and Rome. New Surveys in the Classics, no. 30, Oxford, 2000 and J. Scheid, Quand faire, c’est croire. Les rites sacrificiels des Romains, Paris, 2005. 6 Christians were hated for luring people away from the ancient gods. See Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1984, p. 4 and Isabella Sandwell, Religious Identity in Late Antiquity. Greeks, Jews and Christians in Antioch, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2007, p. 154. 7 Nothing reliable is known about Athenagoras’ life. See R. M. Grant, “Athenagoras or Pseudo-Athenagoras”, HThR 47, 1954, p. 121–129, Helen Rhee, Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries, London and New York, 2005, p. 164–166, and David Rankin, Athenagoras. Philosopher and Theologian, Ashgate, Surrey, 2009.

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and, consequently, made the empire especially vulnerable. In ca. 177,8 Athenagoras addressed a letter to the emperors Marcus Aurelius (161–180) and Commodus (176–192), known as Supplicatio pro Christianis, where he expounded the Christian teaching and tried to rebut the accusations circulating against it. At the same time he provided his fellow Christians with arguments that they could use in order to defend themselves against the most common accusations. According to Athenagoras, Christians were the only ones to have discovered the true God and properly honoured Him. Pagans were misled both in their religious beliefs and in their views on Christians. We seriously lack pagan sentiments on Christianity, for various reasons: because Christians destroyed their traces,9 and equally because pagans failed to realize Christianity’s potential as a serious threat and did not bother to attack it with fervour when they had the chance. Thus, it is fortunate that we have at our disposal Origen’s10 work Contra Celsum, composed around 178, where he extensively quoted Celsus’ systematic polemic of Christianity, (and which will be discussed in ch. 6.1). Another, though less direct, glimpse is provided by Celsus’ contemporary Minucius Felix.11 Minucius Felix in Octavius attempted to gather G. Bardy, Athenagore, Paris, 1943, p. 12–16, W. R. Schoedel, Legatio and De Ressurectione, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1972, p. xi, and R. M. Grant, Greek Apologists of the Second Century, London, 1988, p. 100. 9 In the third century, for example, the neoplatonic philosopher Porthyry composed a solemn polemic entitled Contra Christianos that was condemned to flames by Christian emperors in the fourth and fifth centuries. See: Socrates, H.E. I. ix.30, Gelasius of Cyzicus, H.E. II. xxxvi, and Athanasius, Historia Arianorum ad Monachos 50. We deplore the fact that the work now survives only in fragments. See: J.-M. Demarolle, “La chretiente a la fin du iiie s. et Porphyre”, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies xii, 1971, p. 49–57 and T. D. Barnes, “Porphyry Against the Christians: Date and the Attribution of Fragments”, JThS 24, 1973, p. 424–442. 10 A biographical note on Origen can be found in p. 215 in footnote 4. 11 Minucius Felix was said to be a distinguished advocate practicing at Rome in the second century, who was disqualified from office for his adoption of the Christian faith. See Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones V.1.21. 8

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(and subsequently refute) pagan complaints against Christians. The work is purportedly a recollection of a debate that took place between a pagan, called Q. Caecilius Natalis, and a Christian, called Octavius Januarius, on the validity of pagan and Christian beliefs. The dialogue may be real or invented; knowing which is not important. What is important is the fact that it circulated in late antiquity and, thus, enriches our understanding of how Christians were (or thought they were) viewed by pagans, and the type of arguments Christians employed in order to defend themselves and draw admirers and followers. Q. Caecilius Natalis expressed the traditional certainty that the Roman gods have brought worldwide dominion and pre-eminence to the Roman people.12 Octavius replied that the grandeur of the Roman state was not a product of Roman piety; it was rather a product of their military achievements13 and he, moreover, drew his pagan audience’s attention to the fact that other nations that worshipped different gods had, nevertheless, enjoyed considerable successes.14 The third century does not provide many examples of pagans accusing Christians of atheism or veneration of the wrong gods and disregard of the true ones. We come across this accusation again in the fourth and in fifth centuries.15 Arnobius’16 response to this Minucius Felix, Octavius 25.1. Pagans had already expressed the idea that military talent had brought glory to Rome. See Cicero, Pro Murena 22ff and Livy, Ad Urbe Condita 1.16.7 and 8.7.16. 14 Minucius Felix, Octavius 25.9. 15 An unambiguous indication of the strength and the resistance of paganism against Christianity in as late as the fifth century. 16 Arnobius was a teacher of rhetoric at Sicca in N. Africa under Diocletian. Dreams led him to embrace Christianity but the bishop of Sicca hesitated to admit him to the Christian congregation. Arnobius composed a magnificent reply to pagan attacks, the Adversus Nationes and was, according to tradition, immediately admitted. Modern scholars have not reached a consensus concerning the exact date of the composition of the work. Robert L. Wilken, in “Pagan Criticism of Christianity: Greek Religion and Christian Faith” in William R. Schoedel and Robert L. Wilken, ed., Early Christian Literature and the Classical Intellectual Tradition, 12 13

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allegation, early in the fourth century, in his work Adversus Nationes, was that the Romans must share the blame for letting ancient customs fall into disuse. Arnobius refused to recognize that the empire had reached a crisis; he chose to concentrate on the past and to promote the idea that since the time of Jesus there had been spectacular military victories and the boundaries of the empire had expanded substantially.17 Similarly, a century later, Augustine, bishop of Hippo,18 devoted a large part of his work De Civitate Dei trying to render Christians, and their God, innocent of the recurrent military defeats of the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Another group of accusations which flourished in the second century, but faded soon, concerned the erotic behaviour and the eating habits of Christians.19 Christians were thought to have made peculiar sexual and eating choices that were often connected to Paris, 1979, p. 117–134, (p. 123), dated the Adversus Nationes in 311. M. Bland Simmons, in Arnobius of Sicca. Religious Conflict and Competition in the Age of Diocletian, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1995, provided sufficient evidence that it could not have been written earlier than 302 and later than 305. See also J. A. North, ‘‘Arnobius on Sacrifice’’ in John Drinkwater and Benet Salway, Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected, ICS, University of London, London, 2007, p. 27–36. 17 Arnobius, Adversos Nationes 1.14. 18 For a biography of Augustine see p. 194 footnote 27. 19 See F. J. Dölger, “Sacramentum infanticidii”, Antike u. Christentum 4, 1934, p. 188–228, Albert Henrichs, “Pagan Ritual and the Alleged Crimes of the Early Christians: a Reconsideration”, in Patrick Granfield and Josef A. Jungmann, ed., Kyriakon. Festschrift Johannes Quasten, vol. 1, Münster Westf, 1970, p. 18–35, “Werner Schafke in “Fruhchristlicher Widerstand”, ANRW II.23.1, 1979, p. 460–723, (p. 579–96), Andrew McGowan, “Eating People: Accusations of Cannibalism Against Christians in the Second Century”, JECS 2:3, 1994, p. 413–442, Mark Edwards, “The Flowering of Latin Apologetic: Lactantius and Arnobius” in Mark Edwards, Martin Goodman, Simon Price, Christopher Rowland, ed., Apologetics in the Roman Empire, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1999, p. 197–221, (p. 206–210), and Craig de Vos, “Popular Graeco-Roman Responses to Christianity”, in Philip F. Esler, ed., The Early Christian World, New York and London, 2000, p. 869–889, (p. 880).

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magical practices. Athenagoras informs us that Christians were sometimes regarded as indulging in Thyestean banquets (= sacramental feedings upon human flesh) and Oedipean intercourse (= orgies).20 Tertullian,21 Minucius Felix and Origen repeated the accusations.22 The Christian writers found these accusations completely groundless and did not spend much time and effort rejecting them. They did not even acknowledge (or only rarely and with much hesitation) the fact that they may have been true for some fringe Christian groups.23 In the second century the most serious problem both for the pagan authorities and for the Christian leaders was that Christianity was viewed as a threat to the political stability of the empire.24 This reason for antipathy against Christians resulted from the Christian occasional unwillingness to participate in everyday civic life. Certain Christians abstained from public shows, processions, banquets, games, and sacrifices,25 and a few, even, avoided offices and Athenagoras, Supplicatio 3ff. For a brief biographical note on Tertullian see p. 62 footnote 3. 22 Tertullian, Apologeticum 4 and 7, Ad Nationes 1.11, Minucius Felix, Octavius 8 and 9, and Origen, Contra Celsum VI.40. See also The Martyrs of Lyons 1.14. 23 It seems that the Phibionites, the Carpocrates, the Antitactes and the Prodiceans were early Christian fringe groups that taught licentious living, as we gather from the works of Epiphanius, Panarion 26.4–5, Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 1.25.3, Clement, Stromateis 3.2.5 and 3.4.27–35, Justin, Apologia 1.26, and Eusebius, H.E. V. i.14f. See also: S. Benko, “The Libertine Gnostic Sect of the Phibionites according to Epiphanius”, VChr 21, 1967, p. 103–119, Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1973, p. 295–350, and W. A. Lohr, “Karpokratianisches”, VChr 49, 1995, p. 23– 48. 24 S. Benko, “Pagan Criticism of Christianity during the First Two Centuries A.D.”, ANRW II.23.2, 1980, p. 1055–1118. 25 Minucius Felix, Octavius 12.7. See the forthcoming article D. Iosif, “The Present and Future Worlds are Enemies to Each Other. Early Christian Aloofness and Participation in the Pagan World”, published by Richard Alston and Onno van Nijf, in Peeters Publishers, Leuven, where I tried to 20 21

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despised titles.26 Minucius Felix admitted that pagans were right in observing that Christians abstained from public performances. However, Christians did so because such performances were not moral.27 The author skillfully implied that pagans should not regard the Christian decision to stand aloof from public life as an act of contempt towards the authorities; if public performances were moral, the Christians would have been more than happy to participate and integrate with pagans. The Ad Diognetum is an anonymous letter written at the end of the second century. Possible identifications for its addressee are a tutor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius or a magistrate in Alexandria known from papyri dated between 197 and 203. According to its author, Christians in everyday life were no different from pagans, (contrary to what Minucius Felix had claimed, and must have wished). They may contemplate about life after death, but they fulfill their civic duties. The Ad Diognetum was a reassuring work about the harmlessness of Christians for the social framework. Similarly, Tatian28 composed his Oratio adversus Graecos to convince pagans that Christians were not subversive of the established order. The only revolution that Christians had declared was against their personal wishes, needs and fears. A Christian show that the early Christians were not that anti-social in late antiquity and their lifestyle was not as distinct as it is usually imagined and proposed. 26 Minucius Felix, Octavius 8.4. 27 Minucius Felix, Octavius 37.11. 28 Tatian was born in Assyria in the beginning of the second century. He was educated under pagan teachers, but, finally, converted to Christianity. He travelled extensively, spent some time in Rome and, then, returned to the East where he founded his own school (the sect of Encratites which imposed a ban on marriage and on eating flesh) in Mesopotamia. It is obvious from Tatian’s work Oratio adversus Graecos that the sect demanded tough personal sacrifices from its members but did not advocate the subversion of the social order. According to his understanding, a Christian should try to change his/her way of life, but not the world around him/her. See Emily J. Hunt, Christianity in the Second Century: the Case of Tatian, London and New York, 2003.

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differed from a pagan only in that he could control his feelings. A Christian did not long for the things that were considered desirable by the majority of pagans,29 nor did he feel anxious about illness or death. Interestingly Tatian and the author of Ad Diognetum boasted that Christians were no different from pagans in their everyday life. Years later Tertullian made the same observation, but with contempt and disgust.30 There is little doubt that the main pagan anxiety, and the one accusation the Christian Fathers could not possibly tolerate, was that Christians defied and disturbed the public order. The fact that Athenagoras chose the following words as an epilogue for his work Supplicatio is revealing for what he perceived as apprehension from the part of his pagan contemporaries, but may, in fact, be even more revealing for his own preoccupations: But do you (= the pagan Roman authorities), who by nature and education are in every way moral, moderate, kind towards other people and worthy of your royal office, nod your heads in assent, now that I have dissolved the accusations advanced and have shown that we (= the Christians) are pious, mild and chastened in soul. Who ought more justly to receive what they request than we, who pray for your reign that the succession to the kingdom may proceed from father to son, as is most just, and that your reign may increase, so that all men may become your subjects? You also have to acknowledge (or this is also to our advantage) that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life and, at the same time, we obey all that is commanded with a good grace (Supplicatio pro Christianis 37).

The sentence τοῡτο δ’ἐστὶ καὶ πρὸς ἡμῶν presents difficulties of interpretation, as it can be translated in two ways: either ‘it is to our advantage that we (show total obedience to the authorities)’31 or ‘you also have to acknowledge that we (show total obedience)’. It is extremely important that one of the professions that were considered desirable by pagans and Christians alike was that of the general in the army. See Tatian, Oratio 11.26–31. 30 Tertullian, De corona I.1.4–5 and I.4.23–24. See also Ad Nationes i.1 and Apologia 37. 31 This reading is proposed by W. R. Schoedel in Legatio and De Resurrectione. 29

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Since, at this point, Athenagoras is addressing a pagan audience the second option seems more plausible. The Christian Fathers provided evidence in support of their case; the fact that Christians willingly paid the taxes, served the emperor, obeyed his will and prayed for his well-being, were advanced as powerful arguments that could dissolve any suspicions for the alleged Christian revolutionary tendencies. Tatian, in the beginning of his Oratio, expressed his surprise that Christians were hated by pagans. He saw no reason for this odium, since Christians acknowledged and fulfilled their civic obligations towards the authorities. They paid taxes, following the advice in Romans 13.6, and served the emperor in every way possible: Why, men of Greece (= pagans), do you wish to cause society to fight with us (= Christians)? If I refuse to participate in some people’s acknowledged activities, why should I be hated, as if I were impure? The emperor orders me to pay taxes; I am ready to pay. A master commands me to serve and to do service; I accept my obligation (Oratio 4.20–25).

Following the standard apologetic genre of the second century Justin in his Apologia prima32 tried to clear any misunderstandings and to reassure the emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161) that Christians did not constitute a threat to the political stability of the empire. Pagans have, evidently, misinterpreted the Christian eschatological beliefs about the establishment of a new kingdom: ‘and you after having heard that we are expecting the arrival of a new kingdom you concluded, without much contemplation, that we were anticipating an earthly kingdom, while we were talking about the reign of God’.33 Christians were not interested in present L. W. Barnard, in Justin martyr. His Life and Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1967 p. 19, provided sufficient proof that we cannot place the Apology earlier than 145 CE and no later than 155. R. M. Grant, in Greek Apologists p. 52–53, argued in favour of around 155–157. See also W. H. C. Frend, “Martyrdom and Political Oppression”, The Early Christian World, p. 815–839, (p. 822) and Frances Young, “Greek Apologists of the Second Century”, Apologetics in the Roman Empire, p. 81–104, (p. 82–85). 33 Justin, Apologia prima 11.1. 32

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realities: οὐκ εἰς τὸ νῦν τὰς ἐλπίδας ἔχομεν. They refused to attribute to the emperor the same honours as to the real God, but, nevertheless, they were the emperor’s servants: ‘although we only adore God, we are happy to serve you in every other way acknowledging you as the rightful kings and rulers’.34 The fact that Christians paid the taxes was sufficient proof for their obedience: ‘in every part of the empire we are trying to pay the taxes and the charges’.35 Justin’s aim is easy to detect. Justin would not have composed this work, unless there were some pagans who felt that Christianity was a disruptive and divisive social phenomenon or unless he suspected that there were pagans with such views. According to Josephus,36 Jewish resistance to the Romans, occasionally, took the form of opposition to taxation. Christian apologists must have been aware of the Jewish unwillingness to pay the taxes, and in order to differentiate themselves from the Jews and appear likeable to pagan eyes, they deliberately stressed in their works that Christians were good citizens who paid their taxes, unlike other monotheists who inhabited the empire. Christians exhibited their wholehearted support to the pagan authorities in yet another way: by praying to the real God for the authorities’ protection and affluence.37 The Christian Fathers were glad that Christians had chosen to do so.38 It is certainly interesting that, eventually, pagan emperors came to expect Christians to pray

Justin, Apologia prima 17.3. Justin, Apologia prima 17.1. See also The Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs 6, where the martyr Speratus declared his obedience to the emperor by referring to the fact that he paid the taxes. 36 Josephus, Antiquitates 18.23 and De Bello Iudaico 2.118 and 7.410. 37 Et pro pace ac salute vestra propitiantes ac placantes Deum diebus ac noctibus, iugiter adque instanter oramus, (Cyprian, Ad Demetrianum 20.400 = we pray, propitiate and appease God for your peace and salvation constantly and urgently, day and night). See also Theophilus, Ad Autolycum i.11, Justin, Apologia prima 17.3, Tertullian, Apologeticum 30, and The Martyrdom of Appolonius 6 and 9. 38 See for example Athenagoras, Supplicatio 37 and Polycarp, Epistula ad Philippenses 12.3. 34 35

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to their God for them.39 And Christians in the following centuries continued to pray for the well-being of their co-religionists who ascended the throne.40 All of the above instances serve to reveal that Christianity was viewed as a disturbing social phenomenon, but neither because Christian teachers preached against military service nor because Christian laity chose to abstain from it. The defenders of Christianity, whose works have survived, very often came from the upper classes. Thus, it is hardly surprising that they supported the political authorities and were eager to show that there were no Christians who chose to do otherwise. However, there are some instances in their works that clearly show (or imply) that they were aware that there existed among their contemporaries some Christian fringe groups with disquieting ideas. Consequently, the fact that Christian leaders strove so hard to prove the wrongness of the allegations regarding Christians with radical teachings was an intentional effort to conceal the truth and to mislead. They suppressed the information that there were Christians who challenged the authorities. They aimed at portraying an ideal and harmless picture of Christianity. The next section will be devoted to the examination of excerpts from the early Christian literature which reveal that there were in fact some Christians unwilling to show their support to the powers of this world.

PERSUADING CHRISTIANS OF THE NECESSITY OF BEING HARMLESS To the dismay of most Christian writers, not all Christians were eager to submit to the will of the earthly authorities. Shortly after the death of the emperor Domitian (81–96), Clement, bishop of Rome,41 composed Epistula i ad Corinthios, a Emperor Galerius, for example, would have preferred Christians not to abandon the traditional gods of Rome, but since he observed that ‘they persisted in their folly’, he demanded from them to pray to their God for the safety of the state. See the emperor’s edict in Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 34. 40 See for example Eusebius, Vita Constantini 56.3. 39

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letter, in the name of the Church of Rome and sent it to the Church of Corinth, in consequence of trouble in the latter community that led to the deposition of certain presbyters. Clement urged the Corinthians (as well as all the Christians all over the empire) to show their unconditional support to the ecclesiastical42 and to the political authorities. Challenging the Clement had probably been a freedman, before becoming a bishop of Rome from ca. 88 to ca. 97. Find more on his life in Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses 3.3.1, Eusebius, H.E. III. iv.9, III. xiiif, III. xxi, et al, Tertullian, De Praescriptione Haereticorum 32, and Epiphanius, Adversus Haereses 27.6. 42 Similarly, Ignatius composed his works in the initial period of Christianity when the authority of bishops and presbyters had not been established yet. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch in Syria in the beginning of the second century. Nothing is known of his early life or even his episcopate before his last journey from Antioch to Rome, (see Eusebius, H.E. III.22 and D. H. Farmer, Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1997 4). Ignatius was condemned to be sent to Rome to be killed because of his religious beliefs. During his journey to Rome he composed letters, seven of which have survived. The letters are addressed to the Churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna and to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. Ignatius composed all these letters in order to dictate to the early Christians the attitude they ought to adopt toward ecclesiastical rule. There existed voices that challenged the necessity of ecclesiastical hierarchy and Ignatius was anxious to silence them, (Smyr. 6.2, 8.1, Polyc. 3.1, Eph. 9.1, Magn. 4, Tral. 6). Total obedience to the bishops and presbyters was required, (see M. F. Wiles, “Ignatius and the Church”, StPatr. XVII,2, 1982, p. 750–55 and Harry O. Maier, The Social Setting of the Ministry as Reflected in the Writings of Hermas, Clement and Ignatius, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, Ontario, 1991, p. 147f). Their positions were invented and were of vital importance since they protected the purity of the Christian doctrine, (Ad Polycarpum 1.2). All the letters of Ignatius had the same aim. Contrary to what is generally proposed by modern scholars, (for example Kirsopp Lake, ed., The Apostolic Fathers, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1975, p. 166–167), I believe that The Letter to Rome is no exception. Ignatius, through his admitting his desire to suffer a martyr’s death, aimed at attracting attention and admiration. It was an ingenious and implicit way 41

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power of the ecclesiastical and the political authorities was a distasteful idea to the temperament of Clement of Rome. Much to his disappointment though, he had noticed that there were some Christians who dared to disagree with him in this matter.43 They have tried νεωτερισμούς (= novelties, revolutionary movements);44 they were hostile to the authorities of this world, and, therefore, they were the enemies of God: θράσος καὶ αὐθάδεια καὶ τόλμα τοῖς κατηραμένοις ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ.45 The situation could not be more serious;46 death would be the punishment sent by God,47 because God had selected and appointed the authorities on earth Himself: From Him come all the priests and the Levites who serve the altars of God, from Him comes the Lord Jesus according to the flesh, from Him come the kings and the rulers and the governors in the succession of Judah (Epistula i ad Corinthios 32.2).

Consequently, Clement of Rome urged every Christian to worship God through His human representatives on earth. The Epistula i ad Corinthios is a product of social conservatism,48 written precisely in reaction against a tendency among Christians of that time to reject

of strengthening his authority in the Church as well as the other bishops’ to follow after him. 43 Clement of Rome, Epistula i ad Corinthios 37.2 and 39.1. 44 Clement of Rome, Epistula i 30.1. Clement’s choice of the term νεωτερισμός is most interesting, since it was commonly used in political contexts to denote rebellious attempts of political change. See Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996, p. 1172. 45 Clement of Rome, Epistula i 30.8. See also Clement of Rome, Epistula i 36.6. 46 Clement of Rome, Epistula i 59.1. 47 Clement of Rome, Epistula i 41.3. 48 The Epistula ii ad Corinthios was once attributed to Clement; this idea is now commonly discarded. Epistula ii is a sermon that urged Christians to repent and live in a moral way because the end of the world was at hand. The advice was neutral and did not have any political undertones.

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and despise both their bishops and the political authorities.49 Some modern scholars claimed that the tone of the bishop’s letter is polite and conciliatory.50 This observation is far from the truth; Clement was austere and adamant, like the wrath of God would be on those who dare to neglect His will, (according to Clement).51 The author of Ad Diognetum was equally concerned about the existence of Christian extremists. However, he was not as rigid as Clement of Rome. He addressed radical minority Christian groups and proposed a solution that would keep everyone content: obedience to earthly power and participation in the social institutions, but not wholeheartedly. Those Christians who wished to alienate themselves from worldly pursuits had to compromise and conform, even if reluctantly. What mattered, in the end, was the preservation of the social order. Tatian presented a completely different picture. He stated that he was quite content that his fellow Christians did not disturb the established order.52 This piece of information is at odds to what we gather from his contemporaries, Clement of Rome and the author of Ad Diognetum, and, thus, invites us to suspect that the reason why Tatian offered such a picture (of fully obedient Christians), Christian Eggenberger, in Die Quellen der politischen Ethik des I. Klemensbriefes, Zurich, 1951, p. 171 and Jacob Speigl, in Der römische Staat und die Christen. Staat und Kirche von Domitian bis Commodus, Amsterdam, 1970, p. 14, noticed that when Clement discussed the Neronian persecutions he did not make any derogatory comment on Nero or the authorities. Klaus Wengst, in Pax Romana and the Peace of Jesus Christ, London, 1987, p. 110, noticed that Clement used quotations from the Book of Job, but never the ones that challenged the social equilibrium. Finally, Karlmann Beyschlang, in Clemens Romanus und der Fruhkatholizismus Untersuchungen zu I Clemens 1–7 in BHT 35, Tübingen, 1966, was right to describe Clement as someone loyal to the pagan Roman state to the bottom of his heart. 50 For example: Niels Hyldahl, The History of Early Christianity, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, New York, Paris, Wien, Lang, 1997, p. 278 and Graydon F. Snyder “Clement of Rome” in Ev. Ferguson, ed., Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, New York and London, 1998, p. 264. 51 Clement, Epistula i 41.3. 52 Tatian, Oratio 25.35. 49

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was either that he was unaware of the existence of Christians with subversive teachings, or because he was addressing pagans and wished to set his audience’s mind at rest and convince them that pagans had nothing to fear from Christians. The first option should probably be rejected since Tatian travelled extensively and visited many Christian communities all over the empire. He certainly spent some years in Rome53 when Clement was her bishop or near at that time, and he may have visited Alexandria where the author of Ad Diognetum is thought to have lived. By the end of the second century Clement of Alexandria did not feel the need to justify his position. He acknowledged Caesar as the authority in this world and was confident that, although he was inferior to God, he, nevertheless, deserved obedience.54 At the beginning of the second century, however, the anonymous author of Didache and the anonymous author of Barnabae Epistula, like Clement of Rome, felt that they had to convince certain Christians of the necessity of being obedient. They urged all Christians to support the social order. Apparently, it was a period when it was not yet an established idea among Christians that social order should be respected and maintained. Both these authors addressed the owners of slaves and advised them to treat slaves kindly. 55 Abolition of slavery was an entirely unthinkable idea.56 Then, they addressed slaves and recommended total submission.57 Revolt was out of the question.58 Barnabas was even stricter; he was of the In Rome Tatian became a student of Justin. See Tatian, Oratio 18 and 19 and 35.138.1. 54 Clement of Alexandria, Eclogae Propheticae 24. 1. 55 Anonymous, Barnabae Epistula 19.7 and Anonymous, Didache 4.10. 56 Christians had slaves, like anyone else. See Athenagoras, Supplicatio 35.3 and D. J. Kyrtatas, “Slavery as Progress: Pagan and Christian Views of Slavery as Moral Training”, International Sociology 10.2, 1995, p. 219–234. 57 Barnabae Epistula 19.7 and Didache 4.11. 58 The issue of slavery was also discussed by Ignatius. Ignatius never challenged the established order of his time. And, like most of his contemporaries, both pagans and Christians, he could not imagine a world that would successfully operate without the institution of slavery. Ignatius even viewed, with evident approval, the ownership of slaves by bishops, 53

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opinion that not only slaves, but everyone should subordinate to his superiors, as if they were Gods: ὑποταγήσῃ κυρίοις ὡς τύπῳ θεοῦ.59 As I hope I have shown, Christianity was viewed as a threat, mainly in the second century. The second century was a period when Christianity was in the process of its formation. Christians had not decided yet whether they should support or subvert the social and political order of this world. Revolutionary rejection of the established order may well have also included rejection of the military, but the literary sources do not record it; perhaps because it was not that common. The Christian Fathers honestly wished to support the existing order and to attract respectable converts to their religion and worked hard towards two directions. They tried to reassure pagans that Christianity was not a threatening social phenomenon and at the same time they aimed at convincing any Christians with destabilizing ideas that they in fact displeased God. Their two-fold task was not easy. So, they employed the demons as their helpers.

FINDING THE DEMONS HELPFUL Demons were particularly fashionable in late antiquity. The Christian moralists found them extremely useful in order to convey conservative messages to pagans and Christians alike. The demons and their leader, the devil, were presented as responsible for the existence of evil, pain and death on earth and for the unfortunate choices humans made, regardless of their religious affiliation. It was an ingenious way to transfer responsibility and to avoid tension. It is far from my intentions to be cynical and to claim that the preachers of Christianity did not believe in demons and the devil, and promoted the idea of their existence and interference in (Ignatius, Ad Polycarpum 4.3). Christian teachers advised moderation and respect both to slave owners and to the slaves themselves: slave owners ought to treat slaves leniently, while the slaves ought not to seek to subvert the situation, but rather endure, with joy, the fate God allotted to them. 59 Barnabae Epistula 19.7.

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everyday life simply in order to release certain persons from liability. However, it is certainly more convenient to blame a malicious non-human creature instead of your contemporaries or yourself. In Christian tradition demons were portrayed as disturbing. The first time demons created upheaval was when they rebelled against God. Their rebellious actions were the starting point of every misery on earth. And demons were never idle: after their rebellion against God, they continued to cause disorder among humans. In Hippolytus, bishop of Rome,60 the devil is portrayed as being so rude that he did not have any regard for the heavenly or earthly established order. He did not show the rightful respect either to God or to the kings: (Antichrist is) insolent, … a tyrant …and one who boasted against all kings and God.61 This suffices to show that Hippolytus disliked the idea of social upheaval. Social upheaval was only fit for the devil and the demons. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, shared the same conviction that disturbing the public order was totally inappropriate, since it had always had disastrous consequences. Irenaeus was much concerned about apostates. A group of angels were the first to rebel against the will of God. This decision turned them to demons that now spend their lives harassing people.62 Judas apostatized against Jesus

Of Hippolytus’ life very little is known. He was probably born before 170 in Asia Minor or Alexandria. In ca. 189–198 he became presbyter in Rome. In 235, under the emperor Maximinus Thrax, he was exiled to Sardinia. A year later, he suffered martyrdom, (Ev. Ferguson, “Hippolytus” in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, p. 531–532, B. R. Suchla, “Hippolytus” in Siegmar Döpp and Wilhelm Geerlings, ed., Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, New York, 2000, p. 287–289, and Ronald E. Heine, “Hippolytus, Ps-Hippolytus and the Early Canons” in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2008, 20041, p. 142–151). 61 Hippolytus, In Danielem IV.49. 62 Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses liber 1: 10.1, 10.3, liber 4: 40.1, and 40.3. See also Tatian’s Oratio 8.67. 60

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and had a grizzly death.63 Finally, alternative Christian groups apostatized against the true Christian doctrine and will, inevitably, sooner or later, face a tragic end.64 These instances illustrate that ἀποστασία meant rebellion. And Irenaeus regarded rebellion as fatal and apostates as loathsome since they imitated the demons. The contemporary of Hippolytus and Irenaeus, Justin, also promoted the idea that demons were former angels who rebelled against the established order: ἀποστασία δαιμόνων65 and παραβάντες τὴν τάξιν.66 Their rebellion caused nothing but chaos and misery. The message, from all of the above instances, is clear: rebellion ought to be avoided; it is only fit for demons, not humans. Justin found the demons useful in a second way; he strove to avoid tension and blaming the demons for everything was a skilful way towards this end. The demons were responsible for spreading malicious rumours against Christians and for urging pagans to be suspicious and hostile towards Christians.67 The persecutions were a regrettable result of the intervention of these malicious creatures. The persecutors were mere instruments and, thus, not truly responsible for their actions. (One is even impelled to feel sorry for the poor persecutors.) Minucius Felix was equally convinced that as far as rumours about promiscuous intercourse and eating human flesh and other secret rites were concerned, they

Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses liber 1: 3.3. On the history of Judas see A. M. H. Saari, The Many Deaths of Judas Iscariot, London and New York, 2006. 64 Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses liber 5: 27.2. See also Hermas, Pastor vis. i.iv.2, sim. viii.vi.4 and viii.viii. 65 Justin, Dialogus cum Tryphone Judaeo 79.83–84. E. Preuschen, in “Die Echtheit von Justin Dialoge gegen Trupho” in ZNTW, 1919–20, p. 102– 126, did not attribute the Dialogue to Justin, but to an unknown author. The standard view of recent scholarship is, however, that Justin is the author of this work and that it was written around 160 CE. 66 Justin, Apologia secunda 5. See also Augustine, De Civitate Dei 11.33 and 12.2. 67 Justin, Apologia secunda 12. 63

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were circulated by demons.68 The unsubstantiated allegations resulted in creating unnecessary upheaval and hatred. Furthermore, demons were useful as reminders of the inevitability of the social stratification. It is striking that the demons, after their rebellion against God, felt the need to choose an ἀρχηγέτη (= leader) and served under his command.69 From then on, they ensure continuity of a hierarchical system by engaging themselves in making as many humans as possible their slaves and servants.70 It is equally striking that, according to Christian belief, even the angels that are still obedient to God’s will, are organized in an army.71 Humans imagine life in heaven and hell as having a remarkable resemblance with life on earth. Social organization remains everywhere the same. The characteristics Christians attribute(d) to their God present a similar interest. God was (and is) generally understood by Christians as a king;72 humans are His θεράποντες (= servants),73 who fear Him.74 The author of Ad Diognetum, for example, described God as a δεσπότης75 (= master), τροφεύς76 (= nurturer), πατέρας77 (= father), διδάσκαλος78 (= teacher), σύμβουλος79 (= Minucius Felix, Octavius 31.1. Justin, Apologia secunda 28 and Dialogus cum Tryphone Judaeo 16.92. 70 Justin, Apologia prima 14.85. See also Hermas, Pastor mandate xii.v.4. 71 Justin, Apologia secunda 52. 72 Hippolytus, In Proverbia 61 and 62, In Isaiam Prothetam II and Sermo in Sancta Theophania III. 73 Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to Endurance in G. W. Butterworth, Exhortation to the Greeks, To the Newly Baptized, The Rich Man’s Salvation, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1960, p. 223 and Hermas, Pastor simil. i.11, ii.2, ii.4. 74 The early Christian Fathers repeatedly stressed in their works how imperative it was for Christians to fear God. See for example: Hermas, Pastor mandate vii.4, x.i.6, xii.vi.3 and xii.2.4. 75 Anonymous, Ad Diognetum vii.72. See also Tatian, Oratio 5.42 and 6.56. 76 Ad Diognetum ix.80. 77 Ad Diognetum ix.80. 78 Ad Diognetum ix.80. 68 69

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adviser), and ἰατρός80 (= doctor). All these appellations entail authority and power. Humans are under His jurisdiction and mercy. It looks as if society could not operate without social hierarchy, status and recognition of clearly defined privileges and duties, both in heaven and on earth. The preachers of Christianity were very careful not to annoy those in authority and not to encourage those Christians who had radical ideas.81 It is interesting that a martyr was never characterized as an ἀποστάτης (= apostate), παραβάτης (= transgressor) or ἀναιδής (= impudent) as demons were, although martyrs did resemble demons in many ways. In reality, both martyrs and demons deviated from the norm, challenged the established order, defied the commands given by superiors and created disorder. Nevertheless, the martyrs were appraised by Christians as heroes and the demons despised as horrible foes. This is because God was regarded as holding his power rightfully and, thus, anyone who violated His will was condemned. The Christian writers also considered those in authority on earth to hold their positions rightfully. However, Christian writers were unwilling to reproach the martyrs for defying orders, because the martyrs sacrificed their lives in order to promote the Christian faith and they were far too popular and it was risky for anyone to condemn them. Under these Ad Diognetum ix.80. Ad Diognetum ix.80. 81 It seems that systematic efforts to make powerful and influential people favourably disposed towards the Christian teaching had already begun at least a century earlier. Elaine Pagels, in her book The Origin of Satan, Penguin, London, 1997, p. 13, made an exciting observation. She noticed that the New Testament gospels almost never identified Satan with the Romans but they consistently associated him with the Jews, in an attempt to depict the Romans in a less negative light as possible. For the idea that the authors of the canonical gospels portrayed the representatives of Rome as benevolent to the Christians as to achieve the dissemination of the new faith, see: Gerardo Zampaglione, The Idea of Peace in Antiquity, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame and London, 1973, p. 237, J. Taylor, “The Roman Empire in the Acts of the Apostles” in ANRW II.26.3, 1996, p. 2436–2500, and ch. 2. 79 80

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circumstances, the only plausible model, the Christian writers could think of, was that those in authority were justly holding their positions but, unfortunately, were periodically under the influence of at least one malicious creature that obliged them to misbehave and to conduct persecutions from time to time. Let us, simultaneously, consider those few of the authors of the Acts of the Military Martyrs, who found the Roman authorities intolerable, and did not hesitate to describe the martyrs as presumptuous and impertinent and the authorities as deserving such an attitude and, as a result, did not need to recourse to stories about demonic interventions to explain the occurrence of persecutions.82 The Christian writers profited immensely from the devil and the demons. The devil and the demons were those who rebelled first against God. One main lesson from this story Christians ought to bear in mind is that rebellion has fatal consequences and it is only fit for malicious non-human creatures. Then, the demons continued to cause trouble on earth by spreading rumours and distorting the truth. This has resulted in hatred and misunderstandings among humans, both pagans and Christians. Finally, demons were portrayed as being organized in social hierarchy. Apparently, this was to signify that there was not any other way to exist. The simple Christian tale of the demons reveals deeply rooted conservative convictions.

VIEWS ON MILITARY SERVICE AND WAR Clement of Alexandria believed that Christians could be in the Roman army.83 Apparently, many early Christian writers shared this view. Otherwise they would not have associated the unforeseen military victory of Marcus Aurelius in Germany with Christian soldiers and their God.84 And Christian advocates did their best to circulate the story of the emperor’s victory, known as ‘the story of the thundering legion’, as widely as possible, and to emphasize how See ch. 6.2. Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus X.100,4. The work is discussed in p. 70-72. 84 See p. 61f. 82 83

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valuable Christian soldiers had proved to be in this case; and no hint of shame, regret or discomfort colored their accounts, as we saw earlier. They, unmistakably, took advantage of the event to advertise the efficiency of Christian prayers and the power of the Christian God, and they seized the opportunity, as soon as they saw it, to express their deep satisfaction that Christian soldiers could prove helpful to the pagan Roman state. From the period when Christians were an insignificant and powerless minority struggling to establish their identity in an inhospitable environment down to the period when faithful ascended the throne, military careers were not regarded as scandalous, at least not by the majority of Christians. It was possible for Christians not only to busy themselves with the military activities of the state, but, also, to excel in the Roman army. Some Christian preachers, like Clement of Alexandria, acknowledged the possibility that Christians can be in the army; some, like those who circulated the story of the thundering legion, even admitted that Christian soldiers can prove indispensable to pagan emperors. The majority of the Christian writers, though, remained silent on the issue of the legitimacy of Christians having military careers.85 The issue was not one of their major concerns nor did it constitute part of the early Christian self-definition, so they hardly ever mentioned it. They only mentioned what was of vital importance for Christianity and what was connected with the majority of Christians in their everyday conduct. Clearly, they, and their audiences, had other priorities. Furthermore, as we have seen, Christian writers were so conservative that it is hard to believe they could ever have rejected the military institutions of the world and all Christian involvement in them. Second century Christian writers disliked wars (and as every real misery on earth, wars were understood to be inflicted by demons);86 however, they never devoted large parts of their works See p. 74-77. See for example Clement of Alexanria, Protrepticus III.42.1: ‘come then, let us add this that your gods are inhuman and misanthropic demons who, not only rejoice over the insanity of men, but they also delight in human slaughter. They provide for themselves innumerable sources of 85 86

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to the issue of legitimacy of warfare or of Christian participation in warfare. Wars were, generally, regarded as distasteful and undesirable but, apparently, did not disturb the Christian writers as much as to reflect on them, proclaim their abolition and prohibit Christians from ever getting involved in them. The Christian Fathers disliked wars just as much as their pagan contemporaries did and they never called the members of their movement to differentiate themselves from the rest of society in this matter. Some Christian Fathers supported the established order to such an extent that they even saw no incompatibility of condemning war with feeling glad that Christians had military careers and did their best to ensure military victories for pagan emperors.87 Third century Christian writers shared the previous generations’ pagan and Christian antipathy towards wars; however, this antipathy was not unconditional; under certain circumstances wars could be acceptable. Cyprian was, probably, the first Christian to state, in the middle of the third century, that he found some kinds of war perfectly acceptable. Approximately fifty years later, Lactantius88 and Eusebius repeated Cyprian’s views. According to their understanding, homicide of a citizen by a citizen was a criminal act and was condemned.89 The games of the gladiators pleasure: at one time in the armed contests of the stadium, at another in wars, so that they can indulge themselves in human slaughter’. 87 Compare for example Justin, Apologia prima 39.2–3 with Apologia prima 71 and Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus I. XII.99,1 and II. IV.42,1 with II. XI.117,2 and III. XII.91,1 and Protrepticus X.100,4. 88 Lactantius was born in N. Africa ca. 250. He was appointed by Diocletian as teacher of Latin rhetoric in Nicomedia. In 303, during the persecutions, he lost his post. He left Nicomedia and was, eventually, made tutor to Crispus, son of Constantine at Trier in Gaul. He died ca. 325. See: G. Bosio, E. dal Covolo and M. Marotano, Introduzione ai padri della chiesa. Secoli III e IV, Torino, 1993, p. 13–21, Michael McHugh, “Lactantius” in Encyclopedia of the Early Church, p. 660–661, and Oliver Nicholson, ‘Arnobius and Lactantius’ in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, ed., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et. al, 2008, 20041, p. 259–265. 89 Cyprian, De Virginibus Velandis 11.

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were also rejected as unnecessary violence. However, wars were regarded as inevitable,90 and killing in an organized state army in order to promote the interests of the state was justifiable, if certain conditions were met. Cyprian had envisaged the possibility of a Christian emperor and a Christian state. And his vision included the conduct of wars for the promotion of the interests of the Christian state. By the fourth century, Cyprian’s vision had become a reality. Christians no longer found themselves a small unimportant minority, but in positions of great social, economic and political responsibility. Under these circumstances, Christian intellectuals were forced to contemplate on issues that were integral and vital for the stability of their empire. Ambrose, bishop of Milan91 and Augustine are credited as the authors of ‘the theory of the just wars’. Their works have attracted such a considerable attention by modern scholars92 that only a brief presentation of their thoughts will be given here. Cyprian, De Mortalitate 2. Ambrose was born in Trier, probably in 333/334, and educated in Rome. His election as bishop of Milan in 374 occurred while he was governor of the province of Aemilia-Liguria in Northern Italy. In 387 he baptized Augustine. Ten years later, he died. See Paulinus, Vita Ambrosii and David G. Hunter, ‘Fourth-century Latin Writers: Hilary, Victorinus, Ambrosiaster, Ambrose’ in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, ed., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge et. al., 2008, 20041, p. 302–317, (p. 309–312). 92 For Ambrose’s views on the issue see Louis J. Swift, “St. Ambrose on Violence and War”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 101, 1970, p. 533–543, and idem, The Early Fathers on War and Military Service, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983, p. 96–110, and for Augustine’s: R. A. Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St. Augustine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1970, idem, “Saint Augustine’s Views on the ‘Just War” in W. J. Sheils, ed., The Church and War. Papers Read at the 21st Summer Meeting and the 22nd Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, London, 1983, p. 1–15, Allan Fitzgerald, Augustine Through the Ages. An Encyclopedia, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cambridge, 1999, p. 875–876, and Carol Harrison, Augustine. Christian 90 91

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Ambrose approved only of wars defensive in nature,93 or designed to punish wrongdoing,94 or undertaken to gain possession of territory promised by God.95 Once wars have commenced, Ambrose expected agreements with the enemy to be kept,96 no unfair advantage to be taken of the enemy,97 and mercy exhibited to the defeated.98 He congratulated magistrates who refused to impose the death penalty for their decision, but at the same time, he did not condemn magistrates who chose to impose it.99 He found violent self-defense as unacceptable;100 though he permitted violence if one defended someone else against aggression.101 Finally, he forbade the clergy to participate in all acts of violence.102 Augustine believed wars to be bad,103 albeit necessary,104 since they correct the human race.105 Wars have to be waged by a legitimate authority106 in order to right the enemy’s wrongs,107 and not

Truth and Fractured Humanity, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2000, p. 218–220. 93 Ambrose, De Officiis 1.35.176–177 and 1.27.129. 94 Ambrose, De Officiis 3.19.110. 95 Ambrose, De Officiis 3.8.54. 96 Ambrose, De Officiis 2.7.33. 97 Ambrose, De Officiis 1.29.139. 98 Ambrose, De Officiis 3.14.87 and Expositio Evangelii secundum Lucam 5.76. 99 Ambrose, Epistula 25. 3. 100 Ambrose, De Officiis 3.4.27. 101 Ambrose, De Officiis 1.36.178. 102 Ambrose, De Officiis 1.35.175. Ambrose followed his own advice and refused to use violence when imperial troops threatened him at the basilica at Milan, (see Ambrose, Epistula 20. 22). 103 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 3.1 and 15.4. 104 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 4.15. 105 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 7.30. 106 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 1.21, and Contra Faustum 22.75, and Quaestiones in Heptateuchum 6.10. At this point it is worth noting that Augustine felt that all earthly authority was instituted by God, (Augustine, De Civitate Dei 5.1), and disobedience to it meant disobedience to God,

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motivated by a desire for territorial expansion;108 agreements should be kept with the enemy and the allies,109 and once peace is achieved, mercy should be shown.110 Civil wars are condemned111 and ‘private’ violence, outside the state and between individuals, vehemently rejected.112 The Christian intellectuals were not the first to distinguish between just and unjust wars and to set requirements and restrictions for their conduct. Romans advertised that they only declared wars when reparation had been sought and refused, as Cicero observed: nullum bellum esse iustum nisi quod aut rebus repetitis geratur aut denunciatum ante sit et interdictum.113 Specific steps had to be strictly followed throughout; otherwise the benevolence of the gods might be at risk. Firstly, a formal demand, the repetitio rerum, was made to the foreign power to correct the injuries suffered by Rome and its people. If satisfaction was not given within thirtythree days, the fetiales (= the priestly officials) would issue, during a ritual, the formal declaration of the war. Ideally, no guile was to be exhibited, only death-defying courage during fighting and finally mercy to the defeated.114

MILITARY IMAGES It is fascinating just how soon Christians started to view themselves as soldiers who had a serious mission to fulfill. Paul was, probably, the first to introduce the custom of drawing from the military (Augustine, Contra litteras Petiliani 2.20.45) and that God also controlled the outcome of battles, (Augustine, De Civitate Dei 5.22, 7.30, 17.12, 18.2). 107 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 2.17, 3.10 and 19.7. 108 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 4.6. 109 Augustine, Epistula 189. 6. 110 Augustine, Epistula 189. 6. 111 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 2.25, 17.23, 19.7. 112 Augustine, De Civitate Dei 1.17. 113 Cicero, De Officiis I, II,36. 114 See Cicero, De Officiis III, XXII, 86–87, and I, II, 35, and I, XXIV, 82 and Frederick H. Russell, The Just War in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, New York and Melbourne, 1975, p. 4–5.

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world metaphors and similes to emphasize the idea that the Christian life was a continuous fight.115 Ephesians 6.11–17 is an illustrative example.116 Paul was explicit: the earthly authorities were not the foe; Christians ought to engage only in spiritual warfare against the devil.117 Ephesians 6.11–17 turned out to be one of the most influential NT passages in the history of Christianity. It made a profound impression on Christians; especially in the second century. Clement of Alexandria,118 Ignatius119 and Origen120 repeated (and reassured pagans) that the enemy of God was the devil and (reminded radical Christians) that they should only turn against him. Tertullian was equally influenced by Ephesians 6.11– 17, but, was of the opinion that spiritual warfare was not sufficient; Christians had also to fight against the established order that embarrassingly often was at odds with the will of God.121 It is noteworthy that in Tertullian the devil is less present. It is not without significance that during the first centuries after Christ wars were frequent. Moreover, Christians were

The idea that the followers of a religion ought to be as committed as soldiers was not firstly introduced by Christians. J. A. North, in his article “Religious Toleration in Republican Rome” in PcPhS 25, 1979, p. 85–103, draws our attention to the fact that in the Roman period the Bacchist’s oath of commitment to his religion was thought as analogous to the soldier’s oath of commitment to his commanders. Religions and armies seem to require total devotion and to have strikingly much in common. 116 See also p. 45-47. 117 Paul went out of his way, at least twice, to remind his readers that in using military metaphors, he was not referring to earthly warfare: in Ephesians 6.11–17 and in 2 Corinthians 10.3f. 118 Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus X190P. 119 Ignatius, Ad Polycarpum 6.2. 120 Origen, Contra Celsum VIII, 55.27–29. 121 See Tertullian De Corona and especially I.3. 115

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confronted with hostility by Jews and pagans. Thus, it is not surprising Christians developed military imagery.122 The use of military images may imply acceptance of the established social equilibrium and may function as an exhortation to Christians to imitate military organization and to engage themselves in spiritual warfare. On the other hand, it may signify the desire of some Christians to replace ordinary existing armies with spiritual ones. Both these interpretations entail acknowledgment of the existence of at least one enemy, and of the efficiency of warfare and admiration of the qualities soldiers exhibit. One could construe the use of military metaphors either way; one could be conservative or provocative. And who were the devil’s representatives on earth? Everyone could give a different answer, according to his/her own political convictions. It is also conceivable that some Christians, when they employed military metaphors, did not intend to convey a political message through them at all. Minucius Felix, for example, might have used military metaphors (like Christians were soldiers and God was a general), 123 simply because it was fashionable among late antique Christians to do so and not because he wished to make an ideological statement. It has been suggested that military metaphors represent a conscious attempt to present the Christian message in a form that would appeal to the martial Romans.124 One ought to remain skeptical towards this interpretation, especially since military metaphors tend to be more common in works intended for a Christian audience.

According to Raymond Hobbs, “The Language of Warfare in the NT” in Philip Esler, ed., Modelling Early Christianity. Social-scientific Studies of the NT in its Context, London and New York, 1995, p. 259–273, the early Christians suffered from the Masada syndrome, a state in which members of a group believe the rest of the world has highly negative intentions towards them. 123 Minucius Felix, Octavius 37.2. 124 Peter Brock, Pacifism in Europe to 1914, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1972, p. 16. 122

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A considerable number of military metaphors describe the persecutions of Christians.125 In the accounts of Christian martyrdoms, known as the Acts of the Christian Martyrs, military metaphors were often useful to remind Christians of the alienation, or even scorn and repulsion, they felt (or were supposed to feel) for worldly affairs. Simultaneously, almost every martyr was praised for obtaining military qualities.126 The Christians admired real soldiers for their commitment. The ὀμολογία or sacramentum (= oath) that soldiers swore on enlistment (and renewed annually) had great ideological importance.127 It is fascinating that Christian martyrs were also admired for the ὀμολογία, for boldly admitting their Christian faith and for their determination not to obey the authorities (in the case they demanded something contrary to their faith). Both pagan soldiers and Christian martyrs were expected to remain faithful to their ὀμολογία. When the persecutions ended, equivalents of martyrdom were created. Indifference, or even opposition, to worldly matters and to those who were involved in secular affairs and were preoccupied with temporal problems, was felt and expressed by monks and ascetics. In the sources of the late fourth and fifth centuries the new heroes of the day were monks

Cecil John Cadoux, in The Early Church and the World. A History of the Christian Attitude to Pagan Society and the State down to the time of Constantinus, Edinburgh, 1925, p. 568, provided numerous examples. See also Arietta Papaconstantinou, Le culte des saints en Égypte des Byzantins aux Abbassides. L’apport des inscriptions et des papyrus grecs et coptes, Paris, 2000, p. 237. 126 On the great importance of showcasing your masculinity as a martyr at the amphitheatre despite your sex, see L. Stephanie Cobb, Dying to be men. Gender and Language in Early Christian Martyr Texts, Columbia University Press, New York, Chictester, West Sussex, 2008. On Roman gladiators as emblems of masculinity see Catherine Edwards, Death in Ancient Rome, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007, p. 63–68. 127 See Justin, Apologia secunda 39 and Brian Campbell, War and Society in Imperial Rome 31BC–AD284, London and New York, 2002, p. 38. 125

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and ascetics who were presented as obtaining military qualities and called soldiers (and athletes).128 Military metaphors thrive in the works of the Christian writers. The Christian writers would not have used numerous military metaphors if they found service in the Roman army totally unacceptable. Moreover, if they knew or suspected that their audiences regarded service as inappropriate, they would have avoided military metaphors or they would have provided justification for their unusual choice. The use of military images is frequently a clear indication of the Christian writers’ intention to support the status quo. Clement of Alexandria, for example, accepted that soldiers were essential and called Christians to form their own imaginary army and fight against their own enemy, the devil.129 Moreover, he asserted that soldiers are expected to be totally committed to their work and obey unquestionably and, likewise, Christians ought to do the same under the commands of the ecclesiastical and the political authorities.130 Finally, according to his understanding, the divine order has a striking resemblance to the earthly one, as if there is no other way for things to be: a general is austere towards his soldiers in order to succeed; a teacher is advised do the same;131 and God follows the same pattern and acts as a general towards people.132 Let us serve in our army, brothers, with all earnestness, following His faultless commands. Let us show understanding for those who serve our The idea that monasticism and asceticism succeeded martyrdom is common among scholars. See: A. E. D. Van Loveren, “Once Again: ‘The Monk and the Martyr’. Saint Anthony and Saint Macrina”, StPatr. XVII, 1982, p. 528–537, Grace M. Jantzen, “Martyrdom Commuted?”, StPatr. XVIII,2, 1989, p. 223–227, (p. 223), Toshio Mikoda, “Body-concept in Early Fathers: Martyrdom as Catharsis”, StPatr. XVIII,2, 1989, p. 243– 246, (p. 246), and Philip Rousseau, The Early Christian Centuries, London et al., 2002, p. 164. 129 Clement of Alexandria, Quis Dives Salvetur 35. 130 A. Jaubert, “Les sources de la conception militaire de l’eglise en I Clément 37”, VChr 18, 1964, p. 74–84. 131 Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus I. VII.54,2. 132 Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus I. VIII.65,3. 128

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It is clear from the passage quoted here that Clement of Rome regarded the obedience and the ordered ranks of the army as patterns for the Christian congregation to follow. He made the distinction between those who commanded and those who obeyed in the Church as being just as essential among Christians as it is in the army. Apparently, societies could not operate without social division and rank. Clement did not encounter many problems with those in authority. It was those who were meant to obey that were not always so understanding and eager to cooperate. Thus, Clement was obliged to repeat: μάθετε ὑποτάσσεσθαι (57.2= learn to submit), ὑποθεῑναι τὸν τράχηλον (63.1= bow your necks). Such examples from the patristic literature, of military metaphors carrying a positive flavour toward the ecclesiastical and political authorities and a negative one towards Christians with radical ideas, could easily be multiplied. Cyprian employed military analogies probably more than any other Christian writer.133 His love for military images derived from his acceptance of some kinds of wars.134 According to his understanding, homicide and the games of the gladiators were inhuman; however, killing in an organized state army was

This has been repeatedly observed. For example see: John Helgeland in “Christians and the Roman Army from Marcus Aurelius to Constantine”, ANRW II.23.I, 1979, p. 724–834, (p. 753). Military metaphors thrive also in Commodian’s poems. 134 L. J. Swift, “War and the Christian Conscience. The Early Years”, ANRW II.23.I, 1979, p. 835–868, (p. 850), showed that Cyprian used military metaphors in a way that reveals his approval of the military profession. See for example Cyprian, Epistula 73. 10 and Ad Fortunatum or De Exhortatione Martyrii 13. 133

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justifiable.135 It is remarkable how frequent Cyprian employed military illustrations: the persecutions were battles against pagans and their commander, the devil, and Christians were called to join the fight.136 The martyrs were soldiers whose arms were fides (= faith) and devotio (= loyalty) to God.137 Those who deserted their fight and did not become martyrs were defeated.138 Fortunately, there was hope: those who renounced Jesus could once again conscript, as long as they repented.139 Christians were busy soldiers since they were called to fight endlessly. Christians had, in addition, to fight and prevail over other Christians who distorted the ‘true’ Christian doctrine. The devil was also the one who promoted heresies;140 so, in the end, the battle was against him,141 as the apostle Paul had proclaimed. In brief, it looks as if the Roman military organization was regarded by the Christian writers as successful and highly estimated and admired. Thus, Christians were urged to imitate it, in order to fight against their own enemy: the devil.

VIEWS ON VIOLENCE Christian writers frequently repeated the NT statements that Christians love their enemies and refuse to reciprocate evil,142 and made such statements as ‘Jesus ordered that we love our enemies’,143 ‘we do not fight against our enemies’,144 ‘we are not 135

The majority of modern Christians would agree with Cyprian’s

views. Cyprian, De Lapsis 13.4–7. Cyprian, De Lapsis 13.4–7. 138 Cyprian, De Lapsis 8.3–4. 139 Cyprian, De Lapsis 36.19. 140 Cyprian, De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate 3. See also Rebecca Lyman, “Heresiology: The Invention of ‘Heresy’ and ‘Schism’”, in A. Casiday and F. W. Norris, ed., The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 2: Constantine to ca. 600, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2007, p. 296– 316. 141 Cyprian, De Ecclesiae Catholicae Unitate 1. 142 See for example Arnobius, Ad Nationes I,6,1–3. See also p. 30-31. 143 Justin, Dialogus cum Tryphone Judaeo 85.7. 136 137

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trained in war but in peace’145, ‘we condemn murder’146 (= ἀνδροφονία) and ‘we use peaceful weapons’.147 This has been interpreted by modern scholars who wish to promote the idea of a pacifist early Church as irrefutably indicating that Christians abstained from the army and the battlefield.148 However, modern scholars fail to prove that these commands on love were ever related to public life. There is nothing to suggest that these commands reveal a disapproval or aversion of Christian participation in armies and wars. It could very well be the case that their authors were only speaking about Christians in their personal relations and condemning violence between individuals and that these statements were neutral and useless as far as public life and state interests were concerned. Violence changed colour depending on whether it was exercised by an individual or a legitimate authority, in a city or outside one, and whether it was vital or not for the prosperity of the authorities. It seems that the early Christian Fathers were only explicitly fervent against unnecessary violence among individuals, violence incited by private initiative and gain, or for entertainment purposes. It was a rare case where there was a unanimous agreement among the Fathers against killings of civilians by civilians and killings in the arena.149 Justin, Apologia secunda 39. Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus I. XII.99,1. 146 Justin, Dialogus 93.1. 147 Justin, Dialogus 110.3. 148 C. John Cadoux, in The Early Christian Attitude to War, London, 1919, p. 19–48 and Roland H. Bainton, in Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace. A Historical Survey and Critical Reevaluation, Abingdon, Nashville, 1960, p. 72, among many others, inferred from the fact that Christian writers preserved the NT commands on love that it was not permissible for early Christians to fight and early Christians felt bound to avoid military careers. 149 Early Christian attitudes to gladiatorial games are here discussed briefly since there is abundant original bibliography on the subject. See for example Robert Seesengood, Competing Identities: the Athlete and the Gladiator in Early Christian Literature, New York and London, 2007. 144 145

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Tatian was, probably, the first Christian Father150 to discuss the wrongness of gladiatorial games:151 ‘you buy men to provide human slaughter to the soul, feeding it with the most impious bloodshed’.152 The condemnation of gladiatorial games was so common in Christian circles that it seems that if one was a Christian he/she had to disapprove of gladiatorial games; even if for different reasons.153 I imagine there must have been some early Christians who approved of, enjoyed and attended gladiatorial games, but, to the best of my knowledge, there have not survived any early Christian works written with the purpose to support such games. Tertullian and Novatian, bishop of Rome,154 have preserved the voices of those Christians who attended gladiatorial games and justified their attendance by pleading: that it was not forbidden in Christians were not the first to reject gladiatorial games. The idea was already in circulation in certain pagan philosophical groups. See Seneca, Epistula ad Lucilium 95.33, Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.2, and Cassius Dio, Historiae Romanae 72.29.3. 151 See selected bibliography on gladiatorial performances: A. Cameron, Bread and Circuses: the Roman Emperor and his People, Oxford, 1974, Keith Hopkins, Death and Renewal, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 19831, 1985, p. 1–30, Carlin A. Barton, The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: the Gladiator and the Monster, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1993, and Mauricio Fora, I munera gladiatoria in Italia: considerazioni sulla loro documentazione epigrafica, Napoli, 1996. 152 Tatian, Oratio 23.5. 153 The rejection of gladiatorial games was a chief sign that a person has adopted the Christian faith, according to Tertullian in De Spectaculis 24. See also the forthcoming D. Iosif, “The Present and Future Worlds are Enemies to Each Other”. 154 On failing to be elected to the see of Rome in 251, Novatian had himself consecrated counter-bishop to Cornelius. His schismatic Church of καθαροί (which lasted until the seventh century) was strongly rigorist, refusing all reconciliation to those who had fallen away during persecution (the lapsi). See H. J. Vogt, Coetus sanctorum: Der Kirchenbegriff des Novatian und die Geschichte seiner Sonderkirche, Bonn, 1968 and Geoffrey D. Dunn, “Roman and North African Christianity” in D. Jeffrey Bingham, ed., The Routledge Companion to Early Christian Thought, London and New York, 2010, p. 227–240. 150

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the New Testament, that the New Testament described the Christian struggle with wickedness, that all things made by God are good, and that no place can of itself defile.155 Irenaeus condemned gladiatorial games primarily because Christians were obliged to mingle with pagans for the occasion. Irenaeus regarded eating meat that came from pagan sacrifices, participating in pagan festivals and watching gladiatorial games as completely unacceptable.156 The common element between these prohibitions was contact with pagans. Clement of Alexandria claimed that gladiatorial games were inspired by demons, who generally delight in human slaughter.157 Theophilus, bishop of Antioch,158 Athenagoras, Minucius Felix, Arnobius and Lactantius objected to watching the spilling of human blood.159 Cyprian rejected gladiatorial games as inhuman and worried about the psychological effects on both gladiators and spectators.160 All of the above instances serve to indicate that gladiatorial games were condemned because Christians were compelled led to mingle with pagans and demons, and because they were obliged to

Tertullian, De Spectaculis 2f, 8, 14, 20 and Novatian, De Spectaculis 2. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses liber 1: VI.3. 157 Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus III.42.1. 158 For the life of Theophilus we are essentially dependent on the meagre information he provides in his work Ad Autolycum. He was born in Mesopotamia, converted to Christianity as an adult and became bishop of Antioch in 169. See R. M. Grant, “The Problem of Theophilus”, HThR 43, 1950, p. 179–196. 159 Theophilus, Ad Autolycum iii.15, Athenagoras, Supplicatio 35.4, Minucius Felix, Octavius 30.6, Arnobius, Adversus Nationes liber 2:XLI, and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones VI.20.8–15 and VI.20.26. 160 Please note that the Stoics regarded gladiatorial games as degrading for the spectators because they ignored the drama of the victims, (see: G. Ville, La gladiature en occident des origines à la mort de Domitien, Roma, 1982, p. 462 and p. 482). It is also noteworthy that Lactantius used the same argument to support his view against killing in wars. Lactantius was, probably, the only early Christian writer to condemn wars as inhuman. See Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones VI,18,21 and VI,20,16–17, and ch. 6.1. 155 156

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watch extreme and needless violence inside their cities.161 It is interesting that the spilling of human blood in wars was almost never thought of as pointless violence; on the contrary, it was regarded as inevitable and, at times, even necessary. Christians only objected to watching humans getting killed for amusement. Tertullian seems to have been an exception though, since he condemned all forms of homicide.162 Gladiatorial games were a substitute for warfare. The Romans re-created artificial battlefield conditions for public recreation.163 The Romans perceived a connection between gladiatorial games and warfare. Seneca, for example, observed that some of his contemporaries preferred to become gladiators rather than to have a career in the army.164 The majority of the early Christian writers often objected to the violence of the gladiatorial games,165 but, only rarely, to the violence of military service and warfare.

VIEWS ON PEACE In order to understand early Christian attitudes to war, it is vital to examine, even if briefly, Christian perceptions of peace.166 This is the scope of the present inquiry. The Oxford Dictionary of Current English, among other definitions, interprets peace, primarily, as the state of freedom from wars. To a modern mind, the establishment We can also trace among pagan thinkers the notion that violence is not fitting inside cities. For example Vitruvius, in De Architectura 1.7, thought that it was more appropriate to built temples dedicated to Mars outside cities. Mars was too violent a god to accommodate inside a city. 162 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 2 and 19. 163 Hopkins, Death and Renewal, p. 29. 164 Seneca, Controversiae 10,4.8. 165 Thomas Wiedemann, in Emperors and Gladiators, London and New York, 1992, p. 128–164, rightly observed that Christians were not wholly responsible for the abolition of gladiatorial shows. 166 It is worthwhile to compare Christian notions of peace with pagan ones. See for example: E. S. Gruen, “Augustus and the Ideology of War and Peace”, in R. Winkes, ed, The Age of Augustus, London, 1985, p. 51–72 and G. Woolf, “Roman Peace”, in J. Rich and G. Shipley, ed., War and Society in the Roman World, London and New York, 1993, p. 171–94. 161

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of peace is, first and foremost, connected with state relations. It is fascinating that the Christian writers chose rather to promote a very different understanding of the term εἰρήνη (= peace). To the best of my knowledge, the early Christian εἰρήνη had surprisingly little to do with the termination of state wars. Only rarely the early Christian Fathers discussed the issue of the establishment of peace as a result of the end of warfare. It appears as if they regarded wars as an integral part of life without which societies could not operate. Their adherence to the earthly authorities was so firm that it was impossible for them to question the idea of the necessity of wars. Moreover, we should keep in mind that their goal was to propagate Christianity and gain as many converts as possible, and, preferably, from the upper classes. Thus, they could not afford to annoy prospective converts with subversive messages, even if they wanted to. Eἰρήνη was principally understood, in Christian literature, as the end of dogmatic differences and the absence of conflict among Christians. Ignatius, for example, placed particular emphasis on εἰρήνη. He vehemently desired εἰρήνη. By εἰρήνη he meant the restoration of friendly relations between Christians.167 Christians ought to exist in harmony. Ignatius’ use of the word did not have any political implications. Likewise, the author of the Barnabae Epistula advised Christians to seek peace.168 According to his understanding, peace will prevail only when Christians cease to have dogmatic disputes. Peace was a synonym of religious concord among Christians. It had nothing to do with actual warfare in a battlefield or with state relations. It did not concern pagans. Cyprian was of the same opinion: peace will prevail only when all heresies become extinct,169 and the preachers of heresies are, in fact, rebels against Jesus, Christi rebellis.170

Ignatius, Ad Trallianos proemium. Anonymous, Barnabae Epistula 19.12. 169 Cyprian, De Ecclesiae 14.5–6. 170 Cyprian, De Ecclesiae 16.17–18. The martyrs who opposed the absurd demands of the pagan authorities were never called rebels; that is because Cyprian disapproved of rebels. 167 168

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Another notion of peace was presented by Clement of Rome and by Clement of Alexandria. Still it excluded the notion of warfare between two states. Peace was thought as the result of Christians avoiding public disturbance. According to Clement of Rome, εἰρήνη would be the desired outcome when all Christians agree to support the established order. Christians ought to refrain from civic disorder and seek amity. Similarly, Clement of Alexandria portrayed Christians as striving for peace.171 He did not mean that Christians refused to enter the army and participate in warfare. He was simply trying to persuade his contemporary pagans (and a few Christians) that Christians led a quiet life, fulfilled their obligations as citizens and never opposed the wishes of the authorities and thus, he, presumably, implied that Christians entered the army, if necessary.172

CONCLUSIONS Christians were temporarily viewed as a threat (or a potential threat) by pagans, mainly in the second century. The majority of early Christian teachers strove to reassure pagans that they have misjudged Christianity. At the same time they addressed those fellow Christians who did not feel very comfortable with the earthly powers and tried to persuade them that they were also mistaken, and urged compliance and subordination, even when the desire to disentangle from worldly affairs seemed irresistible. The Christian teachers were so truly and deeply interested in appearing pleasant to the authorities that they never would have dreamt of upsetting them by proclaiming the abolition of warfare and by inviting Christians en masse to refuse to get involved in military matters which were so crucial to the authorities and the status quo. The Christian teachers may have remained quite silent on the issue of the legitimacy of Christian involvement in the military, but their adherence to loyalty was so firm that it is impossible to imagine them having any real objection. However, not everyone remained Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus I. XII.99,1 and II. IV.42.1. For all possible late antique definitions of peace see also Augustine, De Civitate Dei 19.13. 171 172

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silent; some were proud (and advertised) the fact that there were Christians in the Roman army that helped the pagan emperors achieve their goals. The Christian teachers generally did not feel (and did not believe that other Christians should feel) a dichotomy between their response to God and their engagement in social, political and military life. They disliked wars, but never to such an extent as to proclaim their abolition or forbid Christians from participating in them, at least not without setting specific strict requirements first. They allowed themselves to condemn only the violence of gladiatorial games, since it was not vital for the stability of the authorities. When they talked about peace, they basically had in mind the disappearance of heresies and the establishment of concord among Christians. Peace had, in most cases, nothing to do with the pagan world or the battlefield for that matter.

5. DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION

OR TO SERVE OR NOT TO SERVE? OR BREAK OFF THE TIES THAT BIND

AND ENTANGLE YOU IN THIS WORLD INTRODUCTION Heliodorus, Nepotianus, Boniface, Crispianus and Victricius were real people who, at some point in their lives, were on the horns of the same dilemma. They were all contemporaries; they lived at the end of the fourth century, somewhere across the Mediterranean, as citizens of the Roman empire, and they were Christians who had careers in the army and they could not decide whether their profession was compatible with their faith or not. Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola wrote to them to release them from their torment. We are lucky that their correspondence has survived.1 Private letters offer rare and invaluable insights into society. Theoretical treatises on the issue of compatibility of Christian participation in warfare might have little or no relevance to, and influence upon, reality. What is significant in this correspondence is not the conclusion that there were Christians in the Roman army late in the fourth century. It is not very hard to prove that, after the conversion of Constantine, there were Christians in the Roman army (and that some Christian perfectionists were clearly annoyed To the best of my knowledge the three theologians’ correspondence on the legitimacy of warfare and military service has never been examined together. 1

187

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by it). Literary and epigraphical evidence abounds and, probably, no serious scholar has ever attempted to challenge their existence. What is curious is that no such correspondence has survived from previous centuries. That may be due to mere chance; there might have been such dilemmas and correspondence offering solutions, but it might simply not have survived. The fact that the first theoretical works that methodically discuss the issue belong to the middle or to the end of the third century may point to the conclusion that it was from then onwards (and not before) that the issue began to occupy the minds of more and more Christians. One of the questions I kept in mind when I was reading this correspondence was how Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola viewed the Christian past; whether they regarded the antipathy towards the military profession and Christian involvement in warfare as inherited by previous Christian generations. None of them claimed, or even implied, that Christians traditionally felt an aversion to war and systematically avoided military careers and, consequently, the recipients of their letters ought to follow the established Christian practice. That might be, yet another, indication that pre-Constantinian Christian generations were not much preoccupied by the issue and did not have a unanimous and recognizable stance when it came to military service and warfare, for the later Christian generations to employ as an example to follow (or to avoid). Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola did not all give the same advice to the troubled Christian soldiers. They had their own ideas of what was appropriate for the recipients of their letters, taking into account their individual circumstances. However, what is common is that when they composed their letters they did not have all Christians in mind. They addressed specific cases and they never claimed that all Christians ought to keep themselves away from military professions. That was restricted for the select few who maintained a higher level of purity within the community than that required of others; for the ones who competed for perfection. The three Christian theologians did not demand from ordinary Christians to abstain from the army. The idea of Christianity being incompatible with violence and war was an ideal which had to remain an ideal for the interests of the established order. Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola showed admiration for those who had managed to dissolve relations with pagans and

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 189 to disentangle themselves from worldly pursuits, but they did not expect everyone to do the same and were actually, as we will see, quite relieved that they didn’t.

NON EST TIBI EADEM CAUSA QUAE CETERIS Heliodorus was a close friend of Jerome’s. Jerome2 was glad that Heliodorus had decided to leave the Roman army and to dedicate himself to Jesus, but Jerome could not rest until his friend reached perfection: nam cum derelicta militia castrati te propter regnum caelorum, quid aliud quam perfectam sectatus es vitam?3 And according to Jerome, perfection could only be achieved if one totally renounced the world and became a monk. In 374 CE,4 Jerome wrote Epistula 14 Jerome was born into a prominent Christian family at Stridon near Aquileia in the province of Dalmatia around the year 347. From ca. 360 to 366 he studied at Rome. He was baptized some time before 366. He travelled in Gaul, Dalmatia and Italy. While at Trier, he decided to become a monk. He did so in Aquileia, until, after a quarrel, he left for Palestine. He reached Antioch in 374. There, he dreamt that he appeared before God’s judgment and he was condemned for being a Ciceronian rather than a Christian. He was impressed by the dream and, as a result, he withdrew, a few years later, to the desert in the vicinity of Chalcis, east of Antioch, towards the Euphrates. He did not remain there for long. He left for Antioch where he was ordained priest. From 380 to 382 he studied in Constantinople under Gregory of Nanzianzus. In 382 he returned to Rome, where he became the spiritual counselor of a group of noble women, gained the confidence of the bishop Damasus, and embarked on the enormous task of producing a standard Latin text of the Bible (what was later known as the Vulgate). Jerome left Rome in 385. He resolved at Bethlehem where he established a monastery and spent the rest of his life there. For more information about Jerome’s fascinating life see: J. N. D. Kelly, Jerome. His Life, Writings and Controversies, London, 1975, G. Bosio, E. dal Covolo and M. Maritano, Introduzione ai padri, p. 126–169, and Dennis Brown, “Jerome”, in Philip F. Esler, ed., The Early Christian World, London and New York, 2000, p. 1151–1174. 3 Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 4 F. A. Wright, ed., Select Letters of St. Jerome, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1980, p. 29. 2

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and sent it to Heliodorus, convinced that he knew what was best for his friend’s soul. Heliodorus ought to show complete disregard for temporal concerns and to embrace a life of prayer, poverty, toil, fasting and seclusion; a life with few or no baths, or indeed any other pleasure of the body;5 a life that might displease his parents.6 It should not even cross Heliodorus’ mind to become a priest. The clergy was highly esteemed by Jerome, as the legitimate successors of the apostles. However, Jerome strongly believed that an extreme solution was more suitable for Heliodorus. Jerome wished Heliodorus to become perfect without any further delay: tu autem perfectum te esse pollicitus es,7 and had a hard time understanding why Heliodorus should have a hesitant mind: cur timido animo Christianus es?8 Jerome did not provide much information regarding Heliodorus’ career. For example, he remained silent about Heliodorus’ office or the years he had spent in the army. Jerome did not discuss either the incompatibility of Christianity with a military career. Nowhere did he argue that Heliodorus must follow the example of earlier generations, of Christians who had military careers and decided to abandon them as no longer appropriate. Additionally, nowhere did Jerome argue that their contemporary Christians regarded the military profession as unsuitable for them and denied recruitment. Finally, nowhere did Jerome claim that all Christians should stay away from the army. Jerome’s advice was a personal one. Heliodorus ought to aim at perfection; and perfection was only accomplished when one rejected all worldly entanglements once and for all: profession,9 family wishes10 and family property;11 in other words, when one utterly rejected everything an ordinary Christian enjoyed in a regular basis. Jerome

Jerome, Epistula 14, 10. Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 7 Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 8 Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 9 Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 10 Jerome, Epistula 14, 3. 11 Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 5 6

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 191 was explicit: non est tibi eadem causa, quae ceteris (= your case is not the same as that of other men).12 Non potestis duobus dominis servire.13 It is entirely clear that Jerome would have encouraged Heliodorus to embrace monasticism even if he had a different profession. Jerome expected from his friend to be nothing less than perfect. A military career was not a hindrance to salvation, but a hindrance to perfection, and it was not even the sole hindrance to perfection; the whole world was. The military profession was only part of the world. Jerome’s endeavours did not lead to the desired result. Heliodorus did not exactly follow Jerome’s advice: he did not retire to the desert, he became a priest instead, and, before long, he was elected bishop of Altinum, his native town.14 It is highly significant that Jerome did not think that what Heliodorus did was unforgivable. Their friendship, and their correspondence, remained unbroken throughout their lives.15 Heliodorus had a nephew, called Nepotianus, who, like him, had a career in the army that he abandoned for an ecclesiastical one. Jerome had some advice to give Nepotianus too. In 394,16 Jerome composed Epistula 52, a manual intended to provide

Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. Jerome, Epistula 14, 6. 14 The most favoured view in recent scholarship is that Heliodorus became bishop of Altinum at some time before 381. See for example: J. H. D. Scourfield, Consoling Heliodorus. A Commentary on Jerome. Letter 60, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993, p. 15, note 63. 15 It ought to be noted, though, that in subsequent years, every time Jerome referred to Heliodorus, he preferred to remember him as a bishop who had the qualities of a monk, (Jerome, Epistula 60, 10.3 and Epistula 52, 7). It is perfectly clear that Jerome preferred monks over priests and was of the opinion that if one was to be a clergyman then he was to live like a monk, exactly like Nepotianus did, (Jerome, Epistula 60, 10.7), while keeping his respect for priestly authority, (Jerome, Epistula 60, 10.3 and Epistula 52, 4). 16 Wright, Select Letters, p. 188, note 2. 12 13

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guidance,17 not only to Nepotianus but also to all those who renounced service in the world’s army to become monks or priests: qui saeculi militia derelicta vel monachus coeperit esse vel clericus.18 It seems that Nepotianus was not the only Christian, late in the fourth century, who found his military profession despicable and, finally, abandoned it. It also seems that Jerome would have preferred these ex-military figures to follow the monastic vocation, rather than anything else. In most respects Epistula 52 is what we would expect. Wouldbe monks and priests are advised to lead a life of humility, poverty, sombre attire, constant Bible reading, sparse diet, alms-giving, continence in sexual matters, avoidance of gossip and obedience to bishops. However, what is telling is that Jerome never called the ex-military figures to repent for their former career choices or to feel shame for having chosen a career that Christians of earlier generations had avoided at all costs. Military careers were not something contrary to Christian custom. In fact ecclesiastical offices were not very different from military ones: ne officium clericatus genus antiquae militiae putes,19 and adjustment to the new career proved easy. Two years later, in 396,20 Nepotianus fell ill and died. Jerome wrote a letter of consolation to his uncle Heliodorus, known as Epistula 60. The issue of inappropriateness of Christian participation in warfare was not discussed here either. There was also no mention or hint that Nepotianus’ decision to abandon his post in the army was in line with early Christian tradition. Jerome only briefly mentioned Nepotianus’ decision to quit the army and change his way of life; he focused on the moral virtues of his hero instead. While Nepotianus was in service he had a different life Letters in antiquity often functioned as short treatises; see Richard A. Norris, “The Apostolic and Sub-Apostolic Writings: the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers” in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, ed., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et. al, 2008, 20041, p. 11–19, (p. 12). 18 Jerome, Epistula 52, 1. 19 Jerome, Epistula 52.5. See also Paulinus, Epistula 25*, 1. 20 Kelly, Jerome, p. 215. 17

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 193 from his fellow soldiers. He felt fascinated by the ascetic way of life and he began visiting the monasteries of Egypt21 and supporting the poor members of his community:22 ‘while he was in the uniform of one master, he was actually in the service of another, and wore his belt of office as to assist widows, orphans, the oppressed and the unfortunate’.23 At some point, Nepotianus realized the incompatibility of being a Christian with serving in the army and decided to dedicate his life wholeheartedly to Christianity. He was ordained priest and led an ascetic life. It seems that Nepotianus had followed the advice Jerome had sent him, two years before, in his Epistula 52, as best as he could. It is a pity that we do not have any information regarding Nepotianus and Heliodorus’ own thoughts, their motives and aspirations. Additionally, we have no way of knowing whether their withdrawal from the army was a silent one and to what extent they provoked the attention of the military authorities and their contemporaries. What is evident from Jerome’s letters we have at our disposal is that Nepotianus’ and Heliodorus’ choice was an optional one. Nepotianus and Heliodorus were admired and congratulated on feeling uncomfortable in the army and on, eventually, leaving their posts.24 However, that was not expected from every Christian to do. Jerome never called every Christian to follow Nepotianus’ and Heliodorus’ example. An ordinary Christian could perfectly well remain in the army and conduct wars for the interests of the emperor and have no problem with his conscience. Jerome did not detest military professions and the Roman army; he was actually sorry for the failures of the army: ‘it is because of our sins that the barbarians are strong, through our vices that the Roman army is defeated’.25

Jerome, Epistula 60, 10.2. Jerome, Epistula 60, 10.1. 23 Jerome, Letter 60, 9.2. 24 Although, according to Jerome, it would have been better if they had renounced the world completely and had retired to the desert. 25 Jerome, Epistula 60, 17.1. 21 22

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Boniface was a contemporary of Nepotianus and Heliodorus’. Boniface was a military governor of Roman Africa in 417, guarding the southern frontier of Numidia, when his wife died. Broken by sorrow, Boniface thought of abandoning his military career and embracing a monastic one.26 Augustine27 tried to dissuade Boniface from doing so. He urged him to remain in his post and serve God as a soldier. Augustine was successful; probably more successful than he originally had hoped. It was not long afterwards when Boniface was freed from his dilemma. Boniface remained in his post, but much to Augustine’s horror, married an Arian wife, kept concubines and allowed his daughter to be baptized by Arians.28 Augustine did not wish for Boniface to be perfect (by renouncing the world and his military career), as Jerome hoped for Heliodorus and Nepotianus. He, hence, did not elaborate on the rewards the ‘perfect’ Christians were to enjoy in a blissful afterlife, as Jerome did.29 Augustine was too much worried about present

Augustine, Epistula 220, 2 and 220, 12. Augustine was born in 354 at Thagaste of a pagan father and a Christian mother. In 371, he went to Carthage where he studied rhetoric. In 384, he was appointed professor of rhetoric in Milan. Two years later, he was baptized by Ambrose. After his baptism, he returned to Africa where he embraced, along with some friends, a quasi-monastic life. In 391 he was ordained priest and four years later bishop of Hippo. In May 429 the Vandals made their way into Roman Africa, Hippo was besieged, and Augustine was stricken with a fever that, on the 28th of August 430, proved fatal. See Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo. A Biography, London, 1967, A. Fürst, “Augustine” in Siegmar Döpp and Wilhelm Geerlings, ed., Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, New York, 2000, p. 319–323, H. Chadwick, “Augustine” in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, ed., The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et. al, 2008, 20041, p. 328–341, and Richard Finn, Asceticism in the Graeco-Roman World, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2009, p. 143–149. 28 Augustine, Epistula 220, 4. 29 Jerome, Epistula 14, 11. 26 27

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 195 realities.30 There was a pressing need for the nomads to be kept away from Roman Africa. Boniface had to persevere in his military obligations and to act as a protector for the local communities. Augustine could not afford to talk about (and to expect) perfection when the barbarians were so close and so visible. Under the circumstances, God and the emperor needed both soldiers and monks. It would have been catastrophic if all soldiers decided to abandon their duties and become monks. Boniface was under the inescapable obligation to defend Roman Africa contra visibiles barbaros31 and not to be troubled about the potential incompatibility of his military career with his Christian faith: noli existimare neminem deo placere posse, qui in armis bellicis militat (= do not think that none can please God while he is engaged in military service).32 Augustine referred to the New Testament33 to justify his position that Augustine’s involvement in the social and political issues of his time has attracted a lot of attention among scholars. See: Mary Emily Keenan, The Life and Times of St. Augustine as Revealed in his Letters, Washington, 1935, p. 36, Pope Hugh, Saint Augustine of Hippo. Essays Dealing with the Life and Times and some Features of his Work, London, 1937, p. 355, R. A. Markus, Saeculum: History and Society in the Theology of St. Augustine, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1970, p. 57, Sabin MacCormack, The Shadows of Poetry. Vergil in the Mind of Augustine, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1998, p. 218, Robert B. Eno, “Epistulae”, in Allan D. Fitzgerald, ed., Augustine Through the Ages. An Encyclopaedia, Gran Rapids, Michigan, Cambridge, 1999, p. 298–310, (p. 308), Carol Harrison, Augustine. Christian Truth and Fractured Humanity, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2000, p. 125, and George Lawless, “Augustine’s Decentring of Asceticism” in Robert Dorado and George Lawless, ed., Augustine and his Critics. Essays in Honour of Gerald Bonner, London and New York, 2000, p. 142–163, (p. 150). 31 Augustine, Epistula 189, 5. 32 Augustine, Epistula 189, 4. 33 Augustine reminded Boniface of Jesus’ admiration of Cornelius’ faith (Mt 8.5–13 and Lk 7.1–10), the meeting of Paul with Cornelius (Acts 10), and John the Baptist’s advice to soldiers (Lk 3.14). See also ch. 2. 30

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Christians could very well be soldiers, and soldiers could by all means become Christians.34 One could in the midst of war, inter curas bellorum et armorum, desire to know the things of God, vehementer desideras ea nosse quae dei sunt.35 War was just a necessary evil and certainly part of God’s plan: Peace should be the object of your desire and war a necessity undertaken only so that God may by means of it deliver men from necessity and preserve them in peace. For peace is not sought in order to incite war, but war is waged in order that peace may be secured (Epistula 189, 6).36

If the nomads had not constituted a serious threat for Roman Africa, then Augustine might have encouraged Boniface to follow his dream of entering a monastery (or at least he would not have discouraged him from it). Approximately thirty years before, Augustine had travelled from Thagaste to Hippo in order to persuade Evodius, a member of the imperial secret service, to withdraw from the world and to become a monk.37 Apparently, Evodius was not as indispensable to the security of the empire as Boniface was, or, perhaps, Augustine was too young at that time not to counsel perfection. Crispianus must have had the same dilemma (to remain in the army or to become a monk) as Heliodorus, Nepotianus and Boniface had at some point in their lives, or, at any rate, Paulinus of Nola38 wished Crispianus to be tormented by such a dilemma. See also p. 30-31 and p. 33-35. Augustine, Epistula 185, 1. 36 The same idea appears also in Augustine, Epistula 220, 12 and De Civitate Dei 15.4 and 19.12. 37 Augustine, De Beata Vita 3.3–5. 38 In the year 394 the senator and poet Meropius Pontius Paulinus (who was born at Bordeaux in an affluent family in ca 355) renounced his extensive property in order to become a monk. A few years later, in ca 409, he returned to the secular world to become bishop of Nola. See: W. H. C. Frend, “Paulinus of Nola and the Last Century of the Western Empire”, JRS 59, 1969, p. 1–11, idem, “Paulinus of Nola and the Conflict of Ideologies in the Fourth Century”, Kyriakon: Festschriften Johannes Quasten, Munster, 1970, p. 565–571, and Dennis E. Trout, Paulinus of Nola. 34 35

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 197 Although Paulinus had never met Crispianus in person he was convinced he knew what was best for Crispianus’ soul. Crispianus was in the army and was about to become a protector.39 In 400 CE Paulinus decided to write a letter to Crispianus, Epistula 25,40 to persuade him to abandon his military career and become a monk. Crispianus must have been a Christian or at least attracted to Christianity for Paulinus letter to make sense. Paulinus had heard of Crispianus from a common Christian friend, called Victor, who formerly had a military career.41 Victor had been a disciple of Martin of Tours, the famous ex-soldier who took up monastic life and eventually became bishop of Tours.42 When Martin died, in 397, Victor joined Sulpicius Severus’ (Martin’s biographer) monastic community at Primuliacum,43 and, between the years 400 and 406, he made four or five journeys to Nola as Paulinus’ courier.44 Paulinus exerted much pressure on Crispianus. He encouraged him neither to think about his family tradition of distinctions nor of the riches that the army could offer him nor that he was still young and he had plenty of time to complete his military service, Life, Letters and Poems, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 1999. 39 For the office of protector see A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 284–602, Oxford, 1973, 19641 , v. 1, p. 636f and p. 101 footnote 149. 40 P. G. Walsh, ed., Letters of St. Paulinus of Nola, vol. II, London, 1967, p. 316 and Joseph T. Lienhard, Paulinus of Nola and Early Western Monasticism. With a Study of the Chronology of his Works and an Annotated Bibliography 1879–1976, Köln, Bonn, 1977, p. 187 and 189. 41 We do not know whether Victor was a veteran or quitted his military career before its completion as no longer bearable. Although if he had quitted, Paulinus would probably have employed his example to persuade Crispianus to do the same. 42 Sulpicius Severus, Vita S. Martini. See also Jonathan Barlow, ‘‘The Morality of the Franks’’ in John Drinkwater and Benet Salway, Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected, ICS, University of London, London, 2007, p. 107– 114, (p. 109, note 14). 43 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 23, 3. 44 Lienhard, Paulinus of Nola, p. 182–187.

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marry, have children and afterwards serve God.45 Paulinus wished Crispianus to realize that the matter was urgent:46 shedding blood was unacceptable for a Christian;47 obtaining wealth was also highly dangerous;48 Christians could not serve two masters;49 God was the real and eternal commander.50 Therefore, Crispianus ought to break off all the ties that bind and entangle him in this world: ‘listen my son and give me your ear. Break off all ties that bind and entangle you in this world’.51 Crispianus was warned from the start that if he made the wrong decision, then that would be fatal: for he would be transported to hell after his death.52 In fact, Paulinus showed the same anxiety and uncompromising rigour as Augustine exhibited in his endeavours to prevent Boniface from leaving his military post. Crispianus did not reply to Paulinus’ letter and he remained in the service. Paulinus’ letter must have left him indifferent or in an awkward position, unable to decide whether to follow Paulinus’ advice or not.53 So, Paulinus, in 402,54 wrote to Crispianus a second time, Epistula 25*, expressing his increased concern that Crispianus was delaying his critical decision. Crispianus ought to follow Paulinus’ example immediately:

Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 5. See also Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25*, 1, where he expressed his deep anxiety (sollicitus sum) about Crispianus’ final decision. 47 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 3. 48 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 2. 49 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 3. 50 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 1. 51 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 8. See also Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25*, 1. 52 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 1. 53 Unfortunately, we have no access to Crispianus’ private thoughts. M. I. Finley, in Ancient History. Evidence and Morals, London, 1987, p. 31, spoke eloquently of the handicapped situation where a historian finds himself because of the lack of sources. 54 Walsh, Letters, p. 318 and Lienhard, Paulinus of Nola, p. 42, 187 and 189. 45 46

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 199 How else can I prove that I love you as myself, except by desiring for you what I adjudged best for myself? My decision was to renounce this world with all the pomp and empty allurements, to flee from the anger, to come and take refuge with the sole salvation of the human race, Jesus Christ… (Epistula 25*, 1).

Paulinus repeated that a Christian was not allowed to serve two masters.55 He warned Crispianus that the acquisition of wealth (which Paulinus must have suspected as the main reason why Crispianus still remained in the army) was teeming with dangers. Finally, he warned him, yet again, that hell was waiting for him if he failed to ‘recover his senses from the love of darkness and be freed from association with human error’.56 Paulinus was incredibly pressing.57 Unfortunately, we do not know whether Crispianus ultimately succumbed to Paulinus’ pressures. What is of great importance in all these letters examined here is that it is nowhere stated that it was an old Christian tradition for devout Christians to avoid military careers and neither Heliodorus nor Nepotianus, nor Boniface, nor Crispianus were called to follow an established practice. Simultaneously, it is nowhere stated that every Christian should avoid the military profession. On the contrary, Heliodorus, Nepotianus, Boniface and Crispianus were treated by the three theologians as exceptions to the rule, as Christians who had differentiated (in the case of Nepotianus) or ought to differentiate (in the case of Heliodorus and Crispianus) or ought not to differentiate (in the case of Boniface) themselves and follow solitary routes in order to reach excellence. It was perfectly all right for the rest of the faithful to be ordinary. Avoiding or abandoning military service or any other form of entanglement to the world was not compulsory for every Christian; it was necessary only for those who wished to appear faultless in Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25*, 2. Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25*, 4. 57 Paulinus must have been a terribly burdensome man, as it is also evident from his Epistula 18, 1, where he admitted, without much sign of guilt, that he greatly forced one of his guests, the deacon Paschasius, to remain in his house against his will. 55 56

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the eyes of God. Another letter of Paulinus, Epistula 18, which was composed a few years earlier, in 397–8,58 addressed to Victricius, provides some fascinating information pointing to the same conclusion. The purpose of the letter was to congratulate the bishop Victricius on his present excellent work in his parish59 and on his past confession of faith.60 Victricius at one time had a military career. He abandoned it (like Nepotianus and Heliodorus did) and embraced the Christian faith, and by 38661 he was bishop of Rouen. One day,62 Victricius stood in front of his fellow soldiers and his pagan commanding officer and ‘threw down the arms of blood to take up the arms of peace’.63 His commander was roused to fury and had Victricius tortured; the tortures proved ineffective and the death penalty was ordered. The executioner was hindered from killing Victricius for God unexpectedly intervened and blinded him. That was the first miracle; another one soon followed: the bonds that held Victricius, dropped away from his hands, ‘without human agency’. The soldiers who witnessed the two miracles were deeply impressed, so they converted to Christianity and rushed to their general professing the true God. The story was, reportedly, preserved because the general recounted it to an unnamed emperor. The account has many standardized episodes, common topoi, that we find very often in the Acts of the Christian Martyrs, especially the ones composed from the fourth century onwards,64 like the portrayal of the pagan persecutors as pure evil, the numerous cruel torments that the hero patiently endures, the exciting miracles which indisputably prove the power of the true God, the mass pagan conversions and the astounded general’s recourse to the emperor who is smart enough to acknowledge the Lienhard, Paulinus of Nola, p. 189. Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 18, 1–6. 60 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 18, 7–10. 61 Walsh, Letters, vol. I, p. 250 and Trout, Paulinus of Nola, p. 60. 62 Paulinus did not provide a date for Victricius leaving the army in a theatrical manner. 63 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 18, 7. 64 See p. 239-242. 58 59

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 201 true God. It is impossible to know what impression Paulinus’ account made on Victricius when he read it,65 and which elements he recognized as true or reasonably close to the truth or just following literary convention and whether the account left him content and flattered. What is of significance here is that Victricius’ decision to abandon his military career and publicly confess his Christian faith constituted an exemplar of perfect virtue, as Paulinus argued: formula omnibus perfectae virtutis et fidei.66 Not every Christian was expected to imitate Victricius, but only to admire his extraordinary behaviour. Paulinus of Nola had met Victricius at Vienne, approximately ten years earlier, in the late 380s,67 in the company of Martin of Tours, on the occasion of the arrival at Vienne of the relics of saint Gervasius and saint Protasius, gifts from Ambrose.68 Despite the fact that Victricius and Martin were already commanding reputations for holiness,69 Victricius was so humble that Paulinus failed to acknowledge his holiness at first sight and to feel Victricius was also a writer. Only one of his works has survived though, entitled De Laude Sanctorum, and admirably translated by Gillian Clark, “Victricius of Rouen: Praising the Saints”, JECS 7:3, 1999, p. 365– 399, (p. 376–399). It is a speech probably delivered in 396, on the occasion of the reception of relics in Rouen sent from Ambrose of Milan. In this speech Victricius frequently employed military metaphors to extol the faith of the saints, but he remained silent about his own experience of leaving his military profession as incompatible with his faith. See René Herval, Origines chrétiennes. De la IIe Lyonnaise gallo-romaine à la Normandie ducale, Rouen, Paris, without date of publication, David G. Hunter, “Vigilantius of Calagurris and Victricius of Rouen: Ascetics, Relics and Clerics in Late Roman Gaul”, JECS 7:3, 1999, p. 401–430, and Gillian Clark, “Translating Relics: Victricius of Rouen and fourth-century Debate”, Early Medieval Europe 10.2, 2001, p. 161–176. 66 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 18, 10. 67 Walsh, Letters, vol. I, p. 250 and Trout, Paulinus of Nola, p. 238. 68 P. Courcelle, “Fragments historiques de Paulin de Nole conservés par Grégoire de Tours”, Mélanges d’histoire du moyen age dédiés à la mémoire de Louis Halphen, Paris, 1951, p. 152 and Trout, Paulinus of Nola, p. 60. 69 Trout, Paulinus of Nola, p. 60. 65

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immediately duly impressed by him, as Paulinus himself later confessed with a little embarrassment.70 It was only years later, probably in 397 or 398,71 when Paulinus met Victricius’ deacon Paschasius in Rome that he appreciated through him Victricius’ accomplishments, his almost-martyrdom and his missionary efforts in northwestern Gaul, and started corresponding with Victricius. Paulinus had just completed reading Sulpicius Severus’ biography of Martin of Tours when he wrote his first letter to Victricius to congratulate him on his heroic decision to leave the army and to extol his amazing faith.72 Paulinus of Nola and Victricius kept frequent correspondence ever since.73 A second letter, Epistula 37, sent by Paulinus to Victricius in 403/4,74 survives. The purpose of the letter was to discuss the nature of Jesus. Paulinus wished to make sure Victricius, as a newly appointed bishop with a civilian background and in a world full of heresies, held and preached the right theological beliefs about certain key features of Christian doctrine. Paulinus unconsciously preserved a highly significant piece of information. He praised Victricius for abstaining from what was generally permissible (i.e. serving in the army) and from withholding from the visible advantages of military service: tua vero sanctitas non solum de abusione licitorum et abstinentia commodorum visibilium.75 The letter is full of military metaphors. Victricius may have left his post in the army, but fighting was to continue, and this time it was a real challenge, for the fight was against heresies that threatened the Christian doctrine. It is worth noting that from the three theologians surveyed here only Paulinus of Nola opposed military service strongly and provided an explanation for his opposition to it: it was aversion to Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 18, 9. Trout, Paulinus of Nola, p. 61 and Clark, “Victricius of Rouen: Praising the Saints”, p. 373. 72 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 11, 11 and Trout, Paulinus of Nola, p. 62 and 239. 73 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 37, 1. 74 Walsh, Letters, vol. II, p. 248. 75 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 37, 4. 70 71

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 203 killing that made (or ought to make) the military profession incompatible with the Christian faith. Paulinus sincerely objected to killing and was in fact proud that, when he was a magistrate, he managed to avoid shedding blood: nulla maculatam caede secure.76 He, moreover, as we saw, regarded attachment to the riches one could accumulate from military service as an equally real hazard to the soul. The advice Paulinus of Nola was giving was in accordance with his way of life. Paulinus did not wish Christians to only shun positions in the military. His ideal was a world with little or no Christian involvement in politics, public life, cares, aspirations and pleasures of this world. And this was the reason why he had also tried to discourage young Licentius from accompanying his father Romanianus to Rome to start a career in the civil service, as we learn from another letter he composed, i.e. Epistula 8.

CONCLUSIONS Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola knew each other and wrote to each other, but, perhaps, never on the issue of the legitimacy of Christians enlisting (or remaining) in the Roman army and participating in wars. We do not know whether they ever all met to discuss the issue together. We do, however, know: a) that the issue had attracted their individual attention, b) that none of them appealed to older solutions when they discussed the issue, c) that they all took the general compatibility of Christian faith and a military career for granted, and d) that they were not troubled that so many of these ex-military figures were rewarded with a bishopric soon after they changed their career. In most respects, the solutions the three theologians provided were different,77 yet consistent with each one’s way of life. It seems that according to Jerome, staying away from the army was only recommended for those who wanted to appear perfect in the eyes of God. Similarly, Paulinus of Nola, Carmen XXI, line 395–396. The solutions the three theologians proposed varied according to circumstances, which means that the issue could not be resolved with a simple answer. 76 77

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Paulinus regarded it as a means to perfection, but must have wanted more Christians striving to achieve perfection. Paulinus of Nola had indeed forsaken the world himself and was leading a life of poverty and continence,78 while Jerome retired only occasionally to the desert. It is interesting that when Jerome and Paulinus talked about perfection they always related it to the awards the ‘perfect’ would enjoy in life after death. Augustine had flirted with the idea of retiring to a monastery, but never actually alienated himself totally from society and its responsibilities. He did not believe Christians should choose the salvation of their own soul over the security and stability of the empire. Abandoning a military career (or abandoning the prospect of one) was an extreme decision, as extreme as the decision to retire from the world. And extreme decisions were not meant for every Christian, as the example of Pachomius clearly illustrates. Pachomius had once said that there are three ways one could choose from in order to approach God, by becoming: a cleric (as Athanasius had done), a hermit (as Anthony had done), or a monk (as himself).79 However, it seems there was also a fourth option available: one could be an ordinary Christian, far from perfect, but who admired and respected clerics, hermits and monks. Pachomius was no ordinary Christian; he was (or was thought to be)80 the founder of coenobitic monasticism. Prior to his retiring to the desert, he had a military career; more than fifty years before Heliodorus, Nepotianus, Boniface, Crispianus and Victricius. Pachomius’ example as someone who used to serve in the army but ended his life in a monastery and achieved holiness and great fame was not employed by any of the three theologians.81 It is equally At least that was true at the time when Paulinus of Nola sent his letters to Victricius and Crispianus. A few years after sending his letters, in ca. 409, Paulinus returned to the world and was ordained bishop. 79 Vita Prima Pachomii (hereafter cited as G1) 136 and Vita Bohairica (hereafter cited as SBo) 134. 80 See footnotes 126–129. 81 One might argue that Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola did not know that Pachomius was an ex-military figure who changed his life dramatically and, instead of continuing to fight humans on the battlefield, 78

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 205 intriguing that none of the surviving sources on Pachomius, that were composed during his lifetime or soon after his death, was particularly interested in the fact that Pachomius was an ex-military figure; to the best of my knowledge, there is absolutely no discussion on the respectability of his former profession, and no sign of embarrassment or remorse for it. Pachomius was born around 292 in Thebais in Egypt of pagan parents.82 At the age of twenty, according to Vita Prima 4, Pachomius was captured (συνελήφθη) to serve in the army. According to another strand of tradition, Pachomius was conscripted.83 The emperor under whom Pachomius served, the late antique sources agree, was Constantine.84 Modern scholarship disputes the fact that Constantine could have been the emperor under whom Pachomius served,85 since he was not in control of Egypt until 324. The only occasion for conscription that fits in with the dates is Maximin’s war against Licinius in 312–313. The sources were not interested or did not know how Pachomius spent his time in the army. The only piece of information provided is that Pachomius was quite bothered by his fellow soldiers and avoided decided to fight demons in the desert. However, that was not true, at least not in the case of Jerome, who translated into Latin a series of documents attributed to Pachomius and his disciples Theodore and Horsiesius. 82 G1 2.25. 83 SBo 7. 84 The Persians had attacked Constantine when Pachomius was conscripted, according to SBo 7. 85 Derwas J. Chitty, The Desert a City. An Introduction to the Study of Egyptian and Palestinian Monasticism Under the Christian Empire, Oxford, 1966, p. 7 and 17, note 39, Armand Veilleux, ed., Pachomian Koinonia, vol. 1, The Life of Saint Pachomius and his Disciples, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1980, p. 267, Philip Rousseau, Pachomius. The Making of a Community in Fourth-Century Egypt, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1985, p. 58, Timothy D. Barnes, “The Career of Abinnaeus”, Phoenix 39, 1985, p. 368–374, (p. 370), T. D. Barnes, “The Constantinian Settlement” in H. W. Attridge and G. Hata, ed., Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism, Leiden, New York and Köln, 1992, p. 635–657, (p. 642–643), and Graham Gould, “Pachomian Sources Revisited”, StPatr. 30, 1997, p. 202–217, (p. 205).

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their company; not because they were pagans or because they shed blood, but because they were leading a life of doubtful morality: κοσμικῶν ἡδονῶν ἕνεκεν.86 According to the Christian tradition, Pachomius came into contact with Christianity while in service. Around 312,87 he and other soldiers were imprisoned in Thebais. Local Christians supported them and Pachomius was greatly impressed by their kindness and charity.88 So, after his discharge,89 after Licinius’ defeat in 313, he went to the village of Šenesēt where he was baptized. Pachomius remained in the village and served the local people, partly by gathering wood. Eventually, he decided to apprentice himself under the hermit Palamon, who lived on the outskirts of the village.90 Pachomius stayed with Palamon for seven years, until a voice urged him to build a monastery.91 Pachomius founded his first monastery, in Tabennese, a little after 320.92 Pachomius was not immediately successful. His first attempt to establish a community of disciples with common rules and under his personal direction was a miserable failure.93 A few years later, Vita Prima 5.5 and Vita Bohairica 8. See also Charles Matson Odahl, Constantine and the Christian Empire, London and New York, 2004, p. 30. 87 James E. Goehring, “Withdrawing from the Desert. Pachomius and the Development of Village Monasticism in Upper Egypt”, HThR 89:3, 1996, p. 267–285, (p. 271). 88 G1 5, SBo 7. 89 God had helped the emperor win his enemies, according to the author of SBo 7. 90 G1 6, SBo 10. 91 G1 12, SBo 17. 92 Philip Rousseau, Ascetics, Authority and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1978, p. 22, Goehring, “Withdrawing”, p. 268, and Gould, “Pachomian Sources”, p. 206. 93 This information survives only in the Coptic tradition; the Greek Vita Prima ignored or suppressed it. See Henry Chadwick, “Pachomios and the Idea of Sanctity” in Sergei Hackel, ed., The Byzantine Saint, 14th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Birmingham, London, 1981, p. 11–24, (p. 19). 86

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 207 his experiment succeeded, his monasteries attracted many people and his fame spread.94 Pachomius died on the 9th of May 34695 or 34796 in a plague. His communities continued to grow until their decline in the latter part of the fifth century. The lifestyle of a soldier was not that different from the lifestyle Pachomius prescribed for his monks. In both cases there was a clearly defined hierarchy with specific duties for each person,97 the most fundamental requirements were discipline,98 Bishop Ammon, in his Epistula 2, claimed that the monastery of Phbow had six hundred monks. According to the Regula 2, a house had approximately forty monks and, normally, there were thirty or forty monks in a Pachomian monastery. Rufinus, in his Historia Monachorum in Aegypto 3.1, gave a total of three thousand monks, while Palladius, in his Historia Lausiaca 32.8, talked about seven thousand monks who resided in monasteries housing more than three hundred men each. 95 D. J. Chitty, “Pachomian Sources Reconsidered”, JEH 5, 1954, p. 38–77, Johannes Quasten, Patrology, vol. III, Utrecht and Antwerp, 1975, p. 154–159, (p. 154), and Chadwick, “Pachomios”, p. 16. 96 Rudolf Lorenz, “Zur Chronologie des Pachomius”, ZNTW 80, 1989, p. 280–283 and Christoph Joest, “Ein Versuch zur Chronologie Pachoms und Theodoros”, ANTW 85, 1994, p. 132–144. 97 When Pachomius established monasteries or when he took existing monasteries under his protection, the first step he took was to distribute offices and assign specific responsibilities to each and every monk (G 1 28, 42, 43, 52, 79, 81, 134, SBo 26 and 50). The monasteries had διοίκησις (= administration). Every monastery had a leader and a second in command (G1 28). All leaders of the Pachomian monasteries were answerable to God (Liber Horsiesii 10) and to Pachomius himself {(G1 78 and Regula 7); Pachomius was at a time concerned about whom he ought to select to succeed him after his death. At first he had chosen Theodore (G1 36), but later changed his mind (G1 106) and appointed Petronius. The hermit Anthony wanted to know whom Pachomius had chosen as his successor (G1 120.5). Even non-monks and non-hermits knew that Pachomian communities had leaders and hierarchy. When the general Artemius visited a Pachomian monastery he asked to see its head (G 1 137 and 138, SBo 185). In G1, Artemius asked kindly. In the Bohairic account, he threatened the monastery with destruction if the monks proved less cooperative than he expected}. Leaders had, ideally, to be generally 94

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acceptance of authority,99 and obedience to it.100 Recruits were only admitted after passing a test.101 Successful candidates were acceptable {(G1 114) When Horsiesius was selected there were some complaints that he did not deserve his post (G1 119); soon the complaints multiplied (G1 126 and 128) and led Horsiesius to resignation (G1 129). Horsiesius suggested Theodore to take over his post (G 1 129). The monks happily acknowledged Theodore as their leader (G1 129). Theodore had always been obedient to Horsiesius (G1 130 and 145.6); something even the bishop Athanasius knew (G1 150, SBo 210 and Epistula Horsiesii 2). When Theodore died, Horsiesius became again the head of the Pachomian communities (G1 149)}. Each monk had specific duties (and there were twenty-four different classes of monks, Historia Lausiaca 32.4) that he had to fulfill promptly and eagerly (Epistula Seconda Theodori, Praecepta 30, Liber Horsiesii 46, Praecepta ac Leges 3, Praecepta et Instituta 18, Ordinatio Horsiesii 40). If he neglected them, he was answerable to and punished by his superiors (Praecepta et Instituta 10 and Praecepta atque Iudicia 6). Some monks had more authority and thus more power than others, according to their age, the time they had spent in the monasteries, their office in them, their personality, and whether they were favoured by Pachomius and other superiors or not (Regula 3). 98 Pachomius had once doubts whether it was right to correct monks who did not live with discipline (Apothegmata II). And according to the Vita Prima Sahidica, fragment II.5, Pachomius did not have more power than the rest of the monks: he was their servant (fragment III.12). Some monks even made fun of him (III.14) and intentionally showed contempt for his orders just to test his reactions (IV.18). This is a strikingly different picture of Pachomius from the one we get from other sources, where Pachomius is portrayed as a strong figure who tended to control everything. On military discipline see S. Phang, Roman Military Service: Ideologies of Discipline in Late Republic and Early Principate, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2008. 99 When Theodore became the head of the Pachomian communities, he assigned leaders to each monastery (SBo 144). Apparently in order to avoid trouble, he claimed he had seen a vision in which God had named specific individuals to hold specific posts. Who would dare to question such a vision? Many of the surviving sources concerning Pachomian communities reflect the constant struggle of the leaders of the monasteries to enforce and maintain discipline among monks and to

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 209 encouraged to learn to read and write, if not already literate.102 The men had to forget their old habits, change their ways and learn to live apart from their families, their loved ones and their home towns, and to separate themselves from the world and their past.103 They had to live a communal life, share the same labors and have the same aims, follow the same rules,104 face the same punishments in case of violation of a rule,105 share the same meals,106 uniform,107 and sleeping arrangements,108 participate in common celebrations,109 behave as one,110 support each other;111 one equal with the other.112 The architecture of monasteries resembled military camps.113 Monasteries were built close to persuade them to acknowledge their authority and the authority of their chosen successors. 100 Pachomius wrote down the rules his monks (and nuns) were called to follow (G1 42 and 52). According to Historia Lausiaca 32.1 the rules were given to Pachomius by an angel in a bronze tablet, so no one could question them that easily. 101 Not everyone who expressed the desire to join the Pachomian communities was immediately accepted (Historia Lausiaca 18.13 and Praecepta 49). 102 See Praecepta 139 and Richard Finn, Asceticism in the Graeco-Roman World, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2009, p. 135. Soldiers were not made to learn to read and write. However, these skills were particularly helpful if one was seeking promotion. 103 Liber Horsiesii 42. 104 See footnote 100. 105 Sometimes even corporal punishments, (Draguet fragment 1.6). 106 G1 25, Historia Lausiaca 32.3 and 32.6, and Ordinatio Horsiesii 48. 107 G1 25, Historia Lausiaca 32.3. 108 G1 25. 109 Praecepta 141. 110 Ordinatio Horsiesii 51 and Epistula Theodorii 5. 111 Institutio Theodorii 3.42. 112 Liber Horsiesii 23. 113 Chitty, Desert, p. 22, Ramsay MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian in the Later Roman Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 1963, p. 159, and Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Le Christ et l’abbé Ména, Paris, 1998, p. 24.

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villages,114 as camps were.115 Civilian visitors were not allowed entry without special permission and normally could not spend the night inside the monastery, but in special lodgings next to it.116 Monks needed permission to leave their monasteries.117 Finally, monks were expected to show the qualities of soldiers: braveness, commitment and self-denial in their own battle against evil.118 However, there are some notable differences between a monk and a soldier. The life of a monk was tougher and required more sacrifices: a monk was not supposed to own money119 or any material possessions,120 nor desire offices121 and glory,122and, most importantly, a monk could have no sex and no hope or prospect for it.123 But again monks were more likely to go to heaven. Only in one respect Pachomian monks seem to have more freedom than Roman soldiers: they could leave their monasteries for good, if they wanted to, without facing any serious implications,124 although the heads of the monasteries tried hard to prevent such occurrences.125 Pachomius is traditionally associated with the origin of coenobitic monasticism and Anthony with anchoritic monasticism. Goehring tried to show that this attribution does not reflect 114 115

Goehring, “Withdrawing”. Averil Cameron, The Later Roman Empire, London, 1993, p. 114 and

142. G1 40 and SBo 40. Praecepta 11. 118 Liber Horsiesii 34, Fragment from Saint Pachomius 1.2, G1 17–22. Military metaphors exist but do not abound in the sources on Pachomius. 119 G1 59, Pachomius, Epistula 3.4. 120 Liber Horsiesii 27. 121 Praecepta et Instituta 18. According to G 1 27, Pachomius did not allow priests to live permanently inside his monasteries because he despised the lust of power usually associated with offices and he wished to protect his monks from it. 122 Instructions concerning a spiteful monk 17, Instructions of Theodore 3.34. 123 Abba Zanos in Draguet fragment 2 sincerely confessed his struggles against sexual thoughts; we witness a rare exposé of his soul. 124 G1 66 and SBo 62. 125 G1 68 and SBo 63. 116 117

DILEMMAS FOR THOSE WHO STRIVE FOR PERFECTION 211 reality.126 Pachomius’ and Anthony’s insights were influential but their actions did not consist of real innovations. Goehring correctly pointed out that at least three of the so-called Pachomian original monasteries were not founded by Pachomius but had an independent origin and at some point joined the Pachomian system.127 Pachomius himself admitted that there existed monasteries before him.128 The author of the Vita Prima mentioned Aotas as a predecessor of Pachomius; Aotas tried to gather monks to live together but his efforts were not met with the same success Pachomius later had.129 Furthermore, John Cassian tells us of coenobia in his day in the Delta, claiming that their way of common life was inherited without a break from the early days of the Church.130 This piece of information might be yet another warning against the idea that Pachomius was the first to have thought of putting monks under the same roof and the first to actually realize his plan. It is of secondary importance whether Pachomius was the inaugurator of coenobitic monasticism, as the late antique sources advertised, or not.131 What would rather be more interesting to know is whether Pachomius’ efforts to organize disparate monks into a community with a set of rules, duties, hierarchy and recognized authority, were the result of his experience in the army; whether Pachomius’ sojourn in the army had inspired him in a positive direction of modeling his experiment on it.132 Goehring, “The Origins of Monasticism” in Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism, p. 244–247. See also Finn, Asceticism, p. 113 and William Harmless, Desert Christians. An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2004, p. 57– 163. 127 Goehring, “Origins”, p. 245. 128 It seems that the monasteries that existed before Pachomius had less than ten monks each (G1 112.9). 129 G1 120. 130 John Cassian, Collationes Partum in Scetica Eremo XVIII.5. 131 For example Jerome in Regula 1. 132 Goehring did not think so, while other scholars did, like Chitty, Desert, p. 22 and Rousseau, Pachomius, p. 58. 126

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Unfortunately, it is impossible to give a definite answer as to what extent Pachomius was influenced by the military way of life and whether he consciously copied it in his endeavour to approach God. All that can be said is that his military experience, although brief, was part of his past.

6. NEGATIVE SOURCES 6.1. THE PACIFIST FATHERS OR THE SONS OF PEACE Introduction Early Christians felt an aversion to violence and killing, idolatry and immorality and thus regarded the military profession as unfit for them and in practice separated themselves from the military activities of the Roman state; that is what many scholars, especially in the previous century,1 tended to conclude in their studies of the early Christian world. However, this conclusion was reached because isolated quotations were only examined from the works of four ‘pacifist’ early Christian writers: Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Lactantius, and it was assumed that these writers shared and voiced the common sentiments of their communities when they rejected violence and warfare. As we have seen in the previous chapters, the question of the legitimacy of participation in warfare was not acute, divisive, paramount, and urgent for every early Christian; it did not occupy a prominent place in discussions among Christians and it did not constitute an area of profound controversy. In fact, Christians had great diversity of perspective; a wide gamut of varying views were articulated on the appropriate relation between them and the state and its institutions. Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen and Lactantius rejected the military profession. However, even for them the issue Even contemporary scholarship often takes the pacifism of the early Church for granted. See, for example, F. Young, “Christian Teaching” in F. Young, L. Ayres and A. Louth, ed., The Cambridge History of the Early Christian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2008, 20041, p. 91–104, (p. 103). 1

213

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was not constantly one of their major concerns. Furthermore, they, sometimes, appear to contradict themselves: to be indifferent (or even proud!) about the existence of Christian soldiers in the Roman army; some of their works contain messages unfavourable to the political authorities of their times, while others are demonstrations of fundamental loyalty to them and conformism. A bewildering variety of opinion characterizes the works of these four, traditionally assumed pacifists, early Christian writers. Their works and the reasons they advanced for rejecting the military profession deserve more care and attention than they have received. Inflicting the capital punishment seems to have been a serious objection to a Christian pursuing a military career, usually overlooked by scholars. The subject has been overlaid with bland consensus clichés; it is time to question standard assumptions and to open up new approaches to the texts.

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A Bewildering Variety of Opinion Tertullian,2 Hippolytus,3 Origen4 and Lactantius,5 supported the status quo and were, in the majority of their works, very careful not to provoke or displease the pagan authorities. Only a few of their works contained statements that challenged traditional ideas and could insult those in authority. However, these are no purely rebellious works. No works have survived (and no works must have been written) by these four Christians thinkers that overtly invite Christians to rebel against the authorities, expel them from their position, reorganize society and redistribute wealth and power. Tertullian’s works Ad Martyras (an exhortation to martyrdom, written between 197 and 200), Scorpiace (another For a biography of Tertullian see p. 62 footnote 3. For a biography of Hippolytus see p. 164 footnote 60. 4 Origen was born of Christian parents in Alexandria about the year 185. At an early age he succeeded Clement as the head of the catechetical school of Alexandria. His being ordained presbyter by the bishops of Caesarea and Jerusalem without the consent of bishop Demetrius of Alexandria resulted in Origen being banished from the school. The decision was later disregarded. Origen died in ca. 251, after suffering imprisonment and torture in the Decian persecution. His writings were voluminous but, unfortunately, only a small proportion has survived. In the fifth ecumenical council, Origen was anathematized by the emperor Justinian I (527–565) because he was thought to have put insufficient emphasis on the historical incarnation of Jesus and on the literal meaning of Scripture. See Eusebius H.E. VI, Robert J. Daly in Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, p. 835–37, and Fred Norris, “Origen”, The Early Christian World, p. 1005–1026. 5 Lactantius was born in N. Africa ca. 250. He was appointed by Diocletian as teacher of Latin rhetoric in Nicomedia. In 303, during the persecutions, he lost his post. He left Nicomedia and eventually was made tutor to Crispus, son of Constantine at Trier in Gaul. Lactantius died ca. 325. For a biography of Lactantius see: G. Bosio, E. dal Covolo and M. Maritano, Introduzione ai padri della chiesa. Secoli III e IV, Torino, 1993, p. 13–21 and Michael McHugh, “Lactantius” in Encyclopedia of the Early Church, p. 660–661. 2 3

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exhortation to martyrdom, written between 207 and 212), De Fuga in Persecutione (a third exhortation to martyrdom, written between 207 and 212), De Spectaculis (an attack on the shows, 200–6), De Corona (an attack on wearing crowns, ca. 211), and De Idololatria (an attack on idolatry, ca. 211), contain a considerable number of messages which challenge the political authorities of his time. All of these works, with the exception of Ad Martyras, are considered by experts to have been written after 205/7, after Tertullian turned to Montanism.6 Similarly, Hippolytus’ works In Danielem and Scholia in Danielem (two commentaries on the prophesy of Daniel, ca. 200), and De Christo et Antichristo (a treatise on the nature of God and the devil, ca. 200), contain radical messages. On the contrary, Tertullian’s early works7 De Paenitentia (a treatise on the importance of repentance, ca. 200), De Patientia For more information on Montanism see: Christine Trevett, Montanism. Gender, Authority and the New Prophesy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1996 and Dimitris J. Kyrtatas, “Christians Against Christians: the Anti-heretical Activities of the Roman Church in the Second Century”, Historein 6, 2006, p. 20–34, (p. 29) and on Tertullian’s lapse into it: T. D. Barnes, Tertullian: a Historical and Literary Study, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1985, p. 42–48 and p. 327–328. 7 Tertullian is commonly regarded by scholars to have endorsed rigorous ideas once he became a Montanist. R. F. Evans, in “On the Problem of Church and Empire in Tertullian’s Apologeticum”, StPatr. XIV, 1976, p. 21–36, tried to show that Tertullian did not change his views on the empire over the years. He explained Tertullian’s ostensible conflicts by arguing that when Tertullian addressed a pagan audience he suppressed his rigorous ideas and spoke on behalf of the Church, whereas when he addressed a Christian audience he allowed himself to appear as much of a perfectionist as he wished. Although Evans’ view is attractive, it is not entirely convincing. A change of audience and of purpose cannot possibly lead to a change of belief; at least not if one firmly believes in something. John Helgeland, Robert J. Daly and J. Patout Burns, in Christians and the Military. The Early Experience, Philadelphia, 1987, p. 21, argued that Tertullian maintained throughout his writings a consistent view of the inadvisability of Christians entering the army. John Ferguson, in The Enthronement of Love, London, 1950, p. 44, pursued the same line of thought. 6

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(an eulogy of the virtue of patience, ca. 200), De Cultu Feminarum (advice on women’s appearance and conduct, ca. 200), De Virginibus Velandis (advice on virgins’ appearance and conduct, ca. 206), Origen’s Contra Celsum (a defense of Christianity, ca. 249), Hippolytus’ Traditio Apostolica (a treatise on the requirements for Church membership, ca. 220) and Lactantius’ De Mortibus Persecutorum (which showed that all persecutors came to a tragic end, ca. 315), contain numerous conformist elements or were indeed composed with the intention of demonstrating that Christians contribute to the establishment’s well-being. Finally, Tertullian’s Apologeticum (a defense of Christianity, ca. 197), Ad Nationes (another defense of Christianity, ca. 197), De Pallio (in favour of wearing the pallium instead of the toga, ca. 200), Adversus Marcionem (on the unity of God, written between 207– 212), and Ad Scapulam (addressed to the proconsul of Carthage Scapula to reassure him that Christians did not pose a threat and should not be the subject of persecution, ca. 211), and Lactantius’ Divinae Institutiones (a defense of Christianity, written between 303– 313), pose problems (and thus are more interesting) as they promote messages that contradict each other and appear simultaneously in favour of the political and social order and against it.8 At this point it is imperative to explain which messages in their works I understand as favourable to the pagan political authorities and which as sources of concern (or potential concern) for the authorities. When the Fathers proudly advertise that Christians pray for the stability of the authorities, which are instituted by God, when they claim that pagans are not really to blame for persecuting Christians since they are under temporary demonic influence, and are certainly innocent of Jesus’ death since the Jews have sole responsibility, when they repeat that Christians engage only in spiritual warfare, that slavery is a fact of life, that God resembles a king and people should fear Him, then it is hard not to regard these statements as betraying social conservatism. The works by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Lactantius which are not mentioned here contain no indications, or contain unsafe indications, concerning their views on the earthly authorities. 8

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Simultaneously, I take the following messages as radical: the Roman empire was acquired by conducting successful wars and piety towards the traditional gods has nothing to do with prosperity; the empires succeed one another and the Roman empire is destined to perish sooner or later; the Christian God is superior to the earthly pagan authorities; the affairs of the state are foreign to Christians and Christians engage only in spiritual warfare;9 the state should let everyone worship the deity of his/her own choice; and Christians should not flee when pagans persecute them but remain and confront their persecutors. Noster est magis Caesar In ca. 178 Celsus composed his work Alethes Logos10 where he claimed that the Christian beliefs were ridiculous and expressed his concern that Christianity could constitute a serious threat to the political and social equilibrium of the empire.11 Celsus seriously The idea that Christians engage only in spiritual warfare can have two meanings: either that Christians refuse to participate in the military activities of the Roman army (obviously something frustrating for pagans) or that they have no foes to fight in this world (and thus pagan authorities have nothing to fear). Needless to say that understanding the context in which this idea appears is crucial. 10 Michael Bland Simmons, in “Graeco-Roman Philosophical Opposition” in The Early Christian World, p. 840–868, (p. 842), placed the composition of Alethes Logos in ca. 178. See also Michael Frede, “Origen’s Treatise Against Celsus” in M. Edwards, M. Goodman, S. Price and C. Rowland ed., Apologetics in the Roman Empire. Pagans, Jews and Christians, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1999, p. 131–155. 11 Robert L. Wilken, The Christians As the Romans Saw Them, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1984, p. 101 and Gerard Watson, “Celsus and the Philosophical Opposition to Christianity”, The Irish Theological Quarterly, 1992, p. 165, were of the opinion Alethes Logos was created as a reaction to Justin. On the contrary, Quintino Cataudella, in “Celso e gli apologeti cristiani”, NDid 1, 1947, p. 28–34, (p. 29–33), H. Chadwick, in Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition, Oxford, 1984, 1966,1 p. 22–24, and John Granger Cook, in The Interpretation of the New Testament in Graeco-Roman Paganism, Studien und 9

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feared that if an association of this sort attracted too many adherents it could disrupt the cohesion and stability of society.12 Approximately seventy years later, Origen felt the need to respond to Celsus’ polemical treatise and to preserve many direct quotations from it, reassuring any pagans who still shared Celsus’ anxieties that Christians did not undermine the foundations of society. Similarly, Tertullian’s works Apologeticum and Ad Nationes, written ca 197 CE, tackle the relationship between Christians and pagans. Tertullian in these two very similar works13 was genuinely preoccupied with the appropriate Christian conduct in an alien environment. The Contra Celsum, Apologeticum and Ad Nationes are political works and thus are valuable sources of information for those interested in Christian perceptions of, and attitudes to, the state and its institutions. Origen in Contra Celsum and Tertullian in Apologeticum and in Ad Nationes were particularly alarmed that Christianity was associated with rebellious ideas and was viewed as especially threatening for the safety of the emperor, the authorities and the established order. Nothing could be further from the truth, they repeatedly proclaimed. Christians were not enemies of the emperor,14 nor of the people.15 No conspiracy,16 nor revolution17 Texten zu Antike und Christentum 3, Tübingen, 2000, p. 7, thought that Celsus must have been familiar with Justin’s works but was not interested in engaging in a dialogue with him. 12 Jeffrey W. Hargis, in Against the Christians. The Rise of Early AntiChristian Polemic, New York et al., 1999, p. 3, thought that Celsus exaggerated in his view of Christians and provided only a caricature of them. 13 Tertullian’s Apologeticum and Ad Nationes have the same aim: to defend Christianity, and deal with the same issues and often in the same order. Carl Becker, in Tertullians Apologeticum, Munich, 1954, p. 278ff, understood the two works as constituting different phases in the evolution of a single work; the Ad Nationes (in which Tertullian spoke less in his own name and more on behalf of the Christian community) being the final version of the Apologeticum (which voices Tertullian’s personal beliefs). R. F. Evans, in “On the Problem of Church and Empire”, p. 22, found Becker’s observation accurate. 14 Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,68.

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has ever broken out from Christians. Christians are: υἱοὶ τῆς εἰρήνης (= sons of peace),18 who obey the laws.19 They are actually far better patriots than pagans: Χριστιανοὶ δὲ μᾶλλον εὐεργετοῦσι τὰς πατρίδας ἤ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.20 The Christian teaching has, regrettably, been greatly misunderstood. Christians may differentiate themselves from the rest of society in some respects, for example by refusing to offer sacrifice to the traditional gods21 or in some cases by refusing to serve in the Roman army,22 but nevertheless, pagans should not infer that Christians aim at subverting the existing social equilibrium, Tertullian and Origen reassured them. Christians regard themselves as part of the empire23 and sincerely care about Caesar.24 In reality, Christians offer a much greater service to the state than it is generally realized, by praying for its safety to the only God who is capable of granting this request: the one and true God; thus, Caesar is more Christian than pagan: noster est magis Caesar.25 Christian prayers affirm the Christians’ membership in the state and sympathy with its aims, since their object is the prosperity of him who reigns and the protection of those who fight.26 And Christians include everything that matters in their prayers: We (Christians) are making intercession for all the emperors; we pray for them a long life, a secure rule, a safe home, brave armies, a faithful senate,

Tertullian, Ad Nationes 1.17. Tertullian, Ad Nationes 1.17. 17 Origen, Contra Celsum III,8. 18 Origen, Contra Celsum V,33. 19 Origen, Contra Celsum III,8. 20 Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,74. 21 Tertullian, Apologeticum 30. 22 Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,73. 23 Tertullian De Pallio 2 and 5. 24 Tertullian, Apologeticum 31. 25 Tertullian, Apologeticum 33.1. See also Helen Rhee, Early Christian Literature: Christ and Culture in the Second and Third Centuries, London and New York, 2005, p. 167. 26 Origen, Contra Celsum VIII, 73. See also p. 61f, p. 147 and p. 169. 15 16

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a quiet world and everything a man and a Caesar may wish for (Tertullian, Apologeticum 30.4).

Christians show obedience and offer prayers because they firmly believe that all earthly power, whether pagan27 or Christian,28 is effected by God: A Christian is enemy to none; least of all to the emperor of Rome whom he knows to be appointed by his God and so he cannot but love and honour…regarding him as the human being next to God (Tertullian, Ad Scapulam 2.6–7).

Pagan authorities were not even accused of past crimes. In accordance with the majority of Christian intellectuals Tertullian, Origen, Hippolytus and Lactantius declared Pontius Pilate innocent of Jesus’ blood and blamed the Jews instead.29 This idea proved to be one of the most dominant in the history of Christianity.30 The only enemies Christians had were the devil and his demons, Origen explained, claiming the support of numerous quotations from the Scriptures.31 Unfortunately, the devil and his demons have filled the world and they are highly dangerous.32 Pagans would not have regarded Christians as enemies if it were not for the crude interference of these malicious creatures:33 no Tertullian, De Pallio 1. Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 1.1 and 7.26. 29 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 4.18. See also ch. 2. 30 Tertullian, Ad Nationes 1.14, Ap. 21.24, Adversus Judaeos 13, Adversus Marcionem 3.6, Hippolytus, Demonstratio Adversus Judaeos 1, and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 4.17 and De Mortibus Persecutorum 2. 31 Origen, De Principiis 3.2.4, Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis 1.36, and Homiliae in Job XV,I. Having the confirmation of the Scriptures was considered a great advantage to everyone who wanted to convince the Christian congregation. See for example: Tertullian, De Spectaculis 3 and De Corona 2, and Origen, De Principiis 3.2.4. 32 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 8. 33 Origen, De Principiis 3.2.1.85–86. For an enchanting story on the birth of malicious creatures see: Tertullian, De Cultu 2 and especially Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 2.15. Lactantius narrates how the devil enticed angels to rebel against God and to have sexual intercourse with 27 28

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Christian would be persecuted;34 there would be no pagans or heretics;35 only proper veneration of the true God; there would be no natural disasters,36 no diseases,37 or premature deaths,38 not even social upheaval.39 Demons are so successful because they form legions,40 they are organized hierarchically41 and they have established individual spheres of responsibility so as to exercise control more effectively,42 exactly like Roman officials do. Each has his own personality, (unlike angels, not everyone is the same); each has his own name43 and some are craftier than others.44 It is thrilling that under Christian emperors, Christian mentality retained the same enemies45 and the devil remained the primary source of all evil.46 The Christian writers were deeply influenced by the hierarchical system in which society was organized that they imagined both good and evil supernatural powers as operating in women. As a result, two different kinds of demons were created. This is one of the many versions concerning the origin of evil that circulated in early Christian circles. One may find out more in Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Evil, London, New York, Victoria, Ontario and Auckland, 1997. 34 Tertullian, Apologeticum 5, 27 and 28, Origen, Contra Celsum VII,43, and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.22 and De Mortibus Persecutorum 3. 35 Tertullian, Adversus Praxean 1 and Hippolytus, Contra Noetum 1. 36 Origen, Contra Celsum VII,31. 37 Tertullian, Apologeticum 22. 38 Tertullian, De Anima 57. 39 Hippolytus, In Danielem 39. 40 Tertullian, De Patientia 3 and De Fuga 2, and Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica 12. 41 Origen, Contra Celsum V,4, VII,69, VIII,26 and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 2.1. 42 Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,33 and Athanasius, Vita Antonii 22. 43 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 2.15. Tertullian was of a different opinion; demons did not have individual names, he insisted, (Tertullian, De Idololatria 15). 44 Athanasius, Vita S. Antonii 22. 45 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 2.16 and 2.17. 46 See also p. 163-168.

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the same way. The following examples could easily be multiplied:47 God is a king,48 a master,49 a father,50 a judge;51 the relationship between God and humans is, or ought to be, based on fear;52 a man is to God what is a son to a father and a pupil to a tutor;53 Jesus is a king,54 a master55 and a teacher;56 likewise, the devil is a master57 and a tyrant58 and has the demons as his servants.59 Humans have only limited choice: they are either servants of God60 or servants of the devil.61 One cannot serve two masters; but most importantly, one cannot remain without having someone to serve. The Christian Fathers were not pretending to be obedient; they, in general, were true conformists. Tertullian and Hippolytus have especially been portrayed by scholars as rebels who felt nothing but contempt for the Roman empire (or were at least See also p. 166-167. Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 1.3. 49 Tertullian, De Patientia 3 and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 4.3, 4.4, 5.1, 5.20, 7.27. 50 Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 2.13. 51 Tertullian, De Pallio 2, De Patientia 10, Adversus Marcionem 2.16, 2.27, 5.13, and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.19. 52 Tertullian, De Virginibus 1, Adversus Marcionem 1.27, 2.13, Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica VII, De Christo 57, and Lactantius, De Ira Dei 12 and Divinae Institutiones 4.4. See also Ulbaldo Pizzani, “Osservazioni sulla genesi della teologia della storia in Lattanzio”, Augustinianum 16, Roma, 1976, p. 53–60, (p. 58). 53 Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 1.23. 54 Origen, Commentarium in Johannem 1.30. 55 Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem 2.13 and Origen, Commentarium in Johannem 1.31. 56 Origen, Commentarium in Johannem 1.31. 57 Tertullian, De Anima 16. 58 Tertullian, De Baptismo 9, Hippolytus, De Christo 6, and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 7.25. 59 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 2.15. 60 Tertullian, Ad Uxorem 1.1, 1.8, De Cultu Feminarum 2.1, Adversus Marcionem 4.9, and De Patientia 4, and Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 52. 61 Tertullian, Ad Uxorem 2.4. 47 48

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skeptics).62 However, there exist works of theirs (or parts of their works) that convey a completely different impression, sometimes quite unexpectedly. For example, in Tertullian’s De Patientia, where he aimed at convincing pagans and Christians of the importance of being patient, he proclaimed that this virtue teaches the rich moderation, commends the servant to his lord and his lord to God.63 The established social patterns were not as much challenged by Tertullian and by Hippolytus as some tend to think. The acquisition of wealth and the distinction of men in social classes were acknowledged as natural and proper.64 Slavery was a fact of life and was never challenged. After all, slaves were evil by nature and they deserved their fate.65 A slave was expected to please even a pagan master.66 In practice, a slave who was attracted by Christianity was expected to have the approval of his/her master. Otherwise, he/she was not to be admitted to a Christian congregation.67 Hippolytus was of the opinion that one of the indications that the end of the world came will be the reversal of the social order: the slaves will not submit to the will of their masters as they are supposed to do.68 This instance serves to reveal that Hippolytus regarded the upset of the social order as appropriate only when the world meets its end.

Setting Limits Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Lactantius never showed real contempt to the pagan political authorities of their times. In their See for example: C. John Cadoux, The Early Christian Attitude to War. A Contribution to the History of Christian Ethics, London, 1919, p. 113, W. H. C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church. A Study of a Conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus, Oxford, 1965, p. 375, and R. A. Markus, Christianity in the Roman World, London, 1974, p. 49. 63 Tertullian, De Patientia 15. 64 See also p. 42-44. 65 Tertullian, Apologeticum 7. See also De Cultu Feminarum 10, De Paenitentia 4, and De Patientia 10. 66 Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica XVI 5. 67 Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica XVI 4. 68 Hippolytus, De Consummatione Mundi vii. 62

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works, there occur only occasional statements of mild or harsh criticism, but never of contempt.69 It was a common belief among Romans that they owed their empire to their gods. Rome had been raised, it was thought, to heights of power as a reward for exhibiting piety to her gods. Thus, accepting (or not) the gods of the empire was not a matter for the individual conscience; it affected the state of society.70 Tertullian challenged this common view in Apologeticum 25 and in Ad Nationes 2.17. The prosperity of the empire had wrongly been ascribed to the Roman gods. Rome attained her greatness by winning wars, he cynically proposed instead.71 Furthermore, Tertullian asserted that Rome had already reigned before it was announced that Roman citizens were expected to venerate the gods the Senate had selected for them.72 Additionally, other nations, like the Assyrians, the Medes, the Persians and the Egyptians had in the past possessed empires and enjoyed admirable successes without venerating the same gods as Rome.73 The pagan beliefs on Providence were

Origen allowed himself to appear rude probably only once, in his Commentarium in Mattheum 13.19, where he claimed that the acceptance of the death of Jesus, releases one from the bonds of the kings of earth and the yoke of princes of this age who were gathered together against God. 70 Pagans were indeed unable to think in terms of religion and politics as separate categories. In Bithynia, for example, Lactantius narrates how a contemporary pagan philosopher composed a work with the aim of defending traditional piety and praising the political authorities; something not uncommon in late antiquity, (Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.2). See also p. 148-149 and S. R. F. Price, Rituals and Power. The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor, Cambridge, 1984, and G. W. Bowersock, “From Emperor to Bishop: The Self-Conscious Transformation of Political Power in the Fourth Century AD”, Classical Philology 81, 1986, p. 298–307. 71 Livy had also expressed the idea that Rome’s power derived from the number and valour of her soldiers and the skills of her generals, but added that fortune had played an important part besides, (Livy, Ad Urbe Condita 9.17.3). 72 Tertullian, Apologeticum 26. 73 Tertullian, Ad Nationes 2.17. 69

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absurd, Tertullian argued. Under these circumstances, Tertullian declared the human right of the free choice of deity.74 Apart from neglecting the veneration of the traditional god, Christians also refused (or were encouraged by their teachers to refuse) to venerate the emperor.75 According to the Christian teaching only God deserved veneration; the emperor was just a man. Therefore, his majesty ought to be praised within limits: he is to be honoured as second to God and he is to be honoured only if he keeps in his own sphere.76 Tertullian frequently spoke of limits.77 In his De Idololatria 15,78 he provided a lengthy explanation of what he had in mind: he confessed that Christians were subject to magistrates, princes and powers (as Titus 3.1 commands), but he added, so long as the authorities manage to keep themselves separate from idolatry (as Mk 12.17 commands).79 If the political Tertullian, Apologeticum 24 and 28 and Ad Scapulam 2. For the idea that religion cannot be imposed by force see also Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.20. 75 Tertullian, Apologeticum 31. 76 Tertullian, Scorpiace 14. 77 Tertullian, Apologeticum 33. 78 Frend, in Martyrdom and Persecution, p. 372, argued that Tertullian in De Idololatria did not trouble to affirm his loyalty to the state which characterizes other works like the Apologeticum. 79 Mk 12.17 as well as Romans 13.1 were habitually used by early Christians in order to articulate a theory of the relation between Church and state; sometimes bolstering a quietist position, while, at other times, emphasizing the discomfort Christians feel in this world. It is fascinating that these two passages still provoke and divide modern thinkers. Francis Dvornik, Early Christian and Byzantine Practical Philosophy: Origins and Background, v. 1, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, Washington, 1966, p. 446, J. P. Gunnemann, The Moral Meaning of Revolution, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1979, and Danny Praet, “Explaining the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Older Theories and Recent Developments”, Sacris Erudiri 33, 1992/3, p. 5–119, are in favour of a quietist interpretation. Marxists historians like: B. Grim, Untersuchungen zur sozialen Stellung der fruhen Christen in der römischen Gesellschaft, Munchen, 1975, F. Belo, A Materialist Reading of the Gospel of Mark, New York, 1981, J. Cardenas Pallares, A Poor Man Called Jesus. 74

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authorities demand something contrary to the Christian faith, the Christian duty is to refuse obstinately to obey. Tertullian was even stricter in Ad Scapulam 5 and Adversus Marcionem 5.8 where he declared that the head of every man is God and His son and no one else. And what were Christians to do when emperors ordered their persecution? Tertullian composed De Fuga in Persecutione80 in order to convince Christians that persecutions were divinely appointed81 and organized by God as a contest to test the people’s faith.82 Tertullian confessed he felt uncomfortable with Matthew 10.23 where Jesus appeared to urge Christians to flee from their cities when they felt threatened. He thought that this command could not be valid any longer; it only concerned the Christians of the past. Now, times have changed and demand martyrs, he claimed. 83 Tertullian was aware of numerous Christians who bribed Roman soldiers to escape persecution and death84 and he was utterly disgusted by such practices.85 He, moreover, provided a different interpretation of Mark 12.17 (where it is written: ‘render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’) from the ones he chose in Ad Scapulam 14 and De Idololatria 15. This time he interpreted it as meaning that Caesar requires the payment of taxes from his subjects and God requires the shedding of blood in Reflections on the Gospel of Mark, New York, 1982, and C. Myers, Binding the Strong Man. A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus, New York, 1988, regard Jesus’ statements as revolutionary. See Alfredo Fierro’s summary of contemporary political interpretations of the gospels in The Militant Gospel, London and Worcester, 1997, and a more detailed discussion in p. 33 and p. 42-45. 80 Tertullian penned two more exhortations to martyrdom: the Ad Martyras and the Scorpiace. See also D. Iosif, «Semen est sanguis christianorum. H διαφωνία Τερτυλλιανού-Κυπριανού για την ενδεδειγμένη αντιμετώπιση των διωγμών από τους χριστιανούς», Αriadni 14, 2008, p. 99–124.

Tertullian, De Fuga 4. Tertullian, De Fuga 12. 83 Tertullian, De Fuga 5. 84 Tertullian, De Fuga 12. 85 Tertullian, De Fuga 6. 81 82

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martyrdom from His.86 Hippolytus was of the same mind: Christians should not be afraid of earthly power (ἐξουσία), and they should sooner choose death over disobedience to God.87 Similarly, in his Scholia In Danielem 3.16, he congratulated the martyrs for their contempt towards the impious imperial orders. Lactantius was much more understanding: it was only human (and thus acceptable) for Christians to try to save themselves when persecuted (and to regret it later and to attain the Church’s forgiveness by giving the Church money for charity. Sinners could be readmitted to communion through a penitential process which involved mostly charity work and which was closely supervised by bishops).88 Finally, Tertullian’s impression that Christians treat their emperor and their neighbour in the same manner89 and Lactantius’ idea that slaves and masters are considered equal by a Christian and only individual virtue mattered,90 could sound scandalous to a conservative pagan. Under these circumstances, it remains a mystery why Tertullian did not promote the idea of the translatio imperii, as Hippolytus91 and Lactantius92 did. There circulated among early Christians the Hebrew prophecy of Daniel according to which there had been in the past other empires that had Tertullian, De Fuga 12. Hippolytus, In Danielem 3.23. 88 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 4.18. See especially Cyprian, Epistula 51. 89 Tertullian, Apologeticum 36. 90 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.16. V. Loi, in “I valori etici e politici della Romanita negli scritti di Lattanzio”, Salesianum 27, 1965, p. 65–132, argued that Lactantius showed indifference or even opposition towards Roman political and ethical values in his Divinae Institutiones. Oliver Nicholson, in “Lactantius on Military Service”, StPatr. XXIV, 1993, p. 175–183, found Loi’s observation inaccurate. Christopher Ocker, in “Unius arbitrio mundum regi necesse est. Lactantius’ Concern for the Preservation of Roman Society”, VChr 40, 1986, p. 348–364, was right to claim that Lactantius’ view on the authorities was not consistent. 91 Hippolytus, In Danielem 2.12. 92 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 7.15. 86 87

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prospered but now have disappeared, or are in decay, and Rome would soon follow their tragic fate. Lactantius argued that the Romans have succeeded the Assyrians who had succeeded the Greeks who had succeeded the Persians who followed the Egyptians. Hippolytus provided a different list: the Romans have succeeded the Greeks, who had succeeded the Persians who came after the Babylonians. Rome was the last kingdom on earth in all lists. Pagan upper class discomfort upon hearing such stories would be perfectly understandable.

Views on Military Service As we have seen93 ‘peace’ was, at times, perceived by early Christians as a state free of persecution94 and, at other times, as the establishment of concord among Christians.95 In Origen, who was not particularly interested in social reality,96 the terms ‘war’ and ‘peace’ were mostly used to express the existence and the absence of spiritual battles respectively.97 Hippolytus98 and, mainly, Tertullian99 usually spoke of peace as the absence of warfare among nations. Lactantius employed all available meanings.100 See also p. 183-185. Tertullian, De Fuga 3.1 and Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 4. 95 Tertullian, Ad Martyras I.5 and Origen, Commentarium in Matthaeum 2. 96 The vast majority of Origen’s surviving works concentrate on clarifying the Christian doctrine and not on the relationship between Christians and pagans in everyday life. 97 Origen, De Prinipiis 3.2.4, 3.2.5, Commentarium in Joannis 1.36, and Homiliae in Job, XV,I. Only rarely did Origen speak of warfare among nations. See, for example, Contra Celsum II,30. 98 Hippolytus, In Danielem 9.9. 99 Tertullian, Apologeticum 25, De Anima 30, and Ad Nationes 2.17. 100 See Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 2.16 and 2.17 and compare with 5.5, 5.6, 6.15, 7.16 and Epitome Divinae Institutiones 63. There are cases, however, where it is not at all obvious what is meant by the term ‘peace’. For example, what did Origen mean in Homiliae in Job XV,I and what did his audience understand when he was preaching that Jesus came to bring peace? Did he have in mind the inner peace which people enjoy when they worship the true God or the end of the rivalry between flesh and 93 94

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Similarly for Christians the term ‘war’ had more than one meaning: it could signify the actual battles waged between nations or the spiritual battles waged between Christians and the devil.101 Warfare between nations was usually regarded as something deplorable by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Lactantius (and, as all misfortunes,102 it was believed to be incited by demons),103 whereas warfare between Christians and the devil was highly desirable. Military metaphors abound in the works of the four Christian ‘pacifist’ theologians. Christians were constantly encouraged to fight their treacherous enemy, the devil, and they were described as soldiers104 whose mission was to combat evil,105 with faith to the Christian God as their armor:106 plane volumus pati, verum eo more, quo et bellum miles, (= our desire is to suffer, like a soldier longs for wars).107 C. Gunton was right to argue that a metaphor is a window upon reality.108 So was James Moffatt to warn that a military analogy does not necessarily disclose what the user of it thinks

spirit and the defeat of the devil? Or did he perhaps have something more practical in mind, something that affected the everyday relations between pagans and Christians? 101 See also p. 168. 102 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.5 and Epitome Divinae Institutiones 63. 103 Hippolytus, In Danielem 9.9 and Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,73. 104 Tertullian, Scorpiace 4, De Baptismo 19, Ad Martyras 3, and De Fuga 10 and 11. 105 Tertullian, De Fuga 1 and 2, and Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones 5.11. 106 Origen, De Prinipiis 3.2.4 and 4.24. 107 Tertullian, Apologeticum 50.1. Furthermore, it was proclaimed that the universe could not have more than one god, like the army could not be governed by many generals, (Lactantius, Div. Inst.1.3 and Ep. Div. Inst. 12). Demons were believed to appear in the form of soldiers and to try to terrify people (although, their favourite, and more challenging, target was monks and ascetics, as we see for example in Athanasius, Vita Antonii 48). 108 C. Gunton, “Christus Victor Revisited. A Study in Metaphor and the Transformation of Meaning”, JRS 36, 1985, p. 129–145, (p. 132).

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about warfare.109 A cautious approach is yet again demanded. Each case ought to be examined separately, in its own merit. However, what is generally true is that the use of military metaphors shows that the existence of the Roman army was acknowledged as a fact of life and that its successful operation had deeply impressed Christians. I imagine that if the Christian teachers had found military life absolutely intolerable and detestable, they would have avoided borrowing its images. Tertullian, though, who undeniably despised the military profession, at least at some point in his life, employed, throughout his life, a plethora of military metaphors. Warfare among nations was condemned by Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Lactantius, but none of them advised the emperor to abstain from declaring wars.110 They only, at times, advised Christians to abstain from participating in them. Warfare among nations probably never outraged any Christian teacher to such an extent as to make him dedicate a whole work on this issue. Contrary to what is commonly thought, Tertulllian’s De Corona is not dedicated to the issue of the legitimacy of Christian participation in warfare.111 Only parts of the work (i.e. paragraphs 1, 11 and 12), address the issue. Tertullian was, contrary to what we James Moffatt, “The War and the Religious Life in Great Britain”, American Journal of Theology 20, 1916, p. 489. 110 M. I. Finley, in Ancient History. Evidence and Morals, London, 1987, p. 68, has rightly observed that in antiquity warfare was so frequent that it was viewed as a perfectly natural condition of human society. 111 L. J. Swift, in “War and the Christian Conscience. The Early Years”, ANRW II.23.1.19, 1979, p. 835–868, (p. 850), has noticed that Tertullian in De Corona did not appear very rigid with Christians in the Roman army and concluded that there must have been no wrestling with the issue of military service as a crucial moral problem. Also, Barnes in Tertullian, p. 131f, has rightly observed that Tertullian allotted a surprisingly limited place to the question of the legitimacy of Christian participation in warfare. For the opposite view see Adolf Harnack, Militia Christi. The Christian Religion and the Military in the First Three Centuries, tr. by David McInnes, Philadelphia, 1981, (1905), p. 78. See also p. 69 and Claude Rambaux, Tertullien face aux morales des trois premiers siècles, Paris, 1979, p. 267f. 109

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would expect, much more worried about Christians wearing crowns (because their use was contrary to Christian tradition and to human nature, and more importantly, it was connected with idolatry). Finally, warfare was not always considered an absolute evil; occasionally, good could come out of it. Tertullian attributed the progress of the Roman empire to the conduct of successful wars.112 He even thought that wars could prove beneficial to people: ‘pestilence and famine and wars and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race’.113 It is far from my intentions to challenge the view that Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen and Lactantius rejected military service; this is hardly in dispute. What I wish to challenge are the reasons which according to many scholars lay behind the four theologians’ rejection and, also, the extent of their rejection. It has been very often proposed that the issue of the legitimacy of Christian participation in warfare was one of the theologians’ major concerns and what they actually opposed was the idea of a Christian shedding blood114 or participating in idolatrous ceremonies115 or indeed both.116 I have no desire to rule; I do not wish to be rich; I do not seek to be (or I cease being) a military commander; I hate harlotry; Ι do not engage myself in shipping in order to gain a huge profit; I am not in competition for athlete’s garlands; I am free from ambition; I despise death; I rise above every kind of sickness; I do not let grief consume my soul (Tatian, Oratio adversus Graecos, 11.26–31).

This is the earliest surviving written Christian objection to the military profession, dated in ca. 165. Tatian, among other things, Tertullian, Apologeticum 25 and Ad Nationes 2.17. See also Florence Dupont, Daily Life in Ancient Rome, Oxford and Cambridge, 1992, p. 126 and Philip Sabin, “The Face of the Roman Battle”, in JRS 90, 2000, p. 1– 17, (and especially p. 16–17). 113 Tertullian, De Anima 30. 114 See p. 3 footnote 7. 115 See p. 3 footnote 6. 116 See p. 4 footnote 8. 112

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rejected generalship; however, it seems he was rejecting power, authority and ambition, all things regarded desirable by the majority of people. It is a pity that Tatian did not say more on this point. Approximately a century later, Tertullian echoed Tatian’s words in De Pallio 5.4: ‘I owe no duty to the forum, the election ground or the senate house… I am no judge, no soldier, no king. I have withdrawn from the populace’.117 Origen in Contra Celsum VIII,73 would ideally have no Christian pursuing a military career because he objected to Christians shedding blood, but he would happily have them pray to God to provide military victories for the Roman emperor: Then Celsus118 goes on to invite us to help the emperor with all our strength and cooperate with him in what is right and fight for him and be fellow-soldiers, if necessary, and fellow-generals with him… Even more do we fight on behalf of the emperor. And though we do not become fellowsoldiers with him, if necessary, we are fighting for him and composing a special army of piety through our intercessions to God.

Hippolytus, in Traditio Apostolica XVI.17–19, found having to inflict the capital punishment completely unacceptable and, thus, objected to Christians having military careers.119 So did Lactantius in Divinae Institutiones VI.20. For Tertullian, inflicting the capital punishment and participating in pagan sacrifices were the two main reasons that rendered the military profession abhorrent for Christians.120 Much to our surprise, the early Christian teachers did not primarily (or only) object to Christians shedding blood and participating in pagan ceremonies. Inflicting the capital punishment appears to them to have been one of the most dreadful things a military official might do. This has been systematically overlooked by modern scholars. Perhaps it was not considered a satisfactory or Please note that in De Pallio 1 and 5 Tertullian presented himself as part of the empire. 118 Celsus was the only pagan (or the only pagan voice that has survived) to have observed and complained that (some) Christians abstained from the army. 119 As we will see in p. 288. 120 Tertullian, De Idololatria 19 and De Spectaculis 19. 117

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serious a reason for objection enough. It seems that the Christian teachers acknowledged as normal that a soldier’s duty was to kill in battle and additionally thought a Christian soldier could very well protect himself from idolatry by making regularly the sign of the cross.121 These two aspects (killing in battle and contact with idolatry) were less often a problem for the early Christians than we tend to assume. Only in De Corona 11 Tertullian rejected the military profession and everything it involved: killing, torturing, guarding pagan temples, consorting with pagans and participating in pagan ceremonies. Tertullian left Christians who were in the Roman army prior to their conversion with three choices: to desert, to refuse obeying orders or to seek martyrdom. Finally, probably only Lactantius’ Divinae Institutiones 1.18 contains a truly pacifist message: the ascent to heaven is not open to those who have shed blood. Wars are sheer madness, they are the means of a patria to acquire as much land as possible and to expand her imperium. Soldiers destroy cities, kill and enslave people. Lactantius was genuinely surprised that so many people found the military profession desirable. Tertullian in De Spectaculis 2 and Lactantius in Epitome Divinae Institutiones122 64 admonished Christians not to kill; however it is not clear whether they forbade Christians to enter (or remain) in the army or whether they forbade civilians to commit murder or to expose infants and perform abortions. Finally, it ought to be noted that Tertullian considered soldiers as enemies of the Christians, because of their excessive addiction to money. Soldiers hate Christians, like Jews do out of rivalry, and like slaves do because their inferior nature forces them to, Tertullian claimed.123 Tertullian, Origen, and Lactantius were not always passionate against Christians pursuing military careers and participating in warfare. They were sometimes proud of the Christian soldiers who could prove helpful to their pagan emperors. Tertullian was full of pride that Marcus Aurelius confessed in a letter he addressed to the Hippolytus, Traditio Apostolica 12, XXXVII,1. The Epitome Divinae Institutiones was written in ca320; approximately ten years after the Divinae Institutiones. 123 Tertullian, Apologeticum 7. 121 122

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Senate that rain and, subsequently, victory against the Germans was obtained through the prayers of the Christians who were fighting under him.124 Origen alluded to the same incident by boasting that pagan gods were incapable of responding to humans and of bringing any desired outcome.125 Lactantius counted the loss of military discipline among the disasters of the days of Antichrist;126 when explaining the reasons for the outbreak of the Diocletian persecutions127 he did not seem at all disturbed or shocked with the presence of Christian soldiers in the emperor’s army;128 he criticized Maximin Daia as ignorant of military affairs129 while praising Constantine for the contrary;130 he cited with satisfaction the victories of Constantine and Licinius over Maxentius and Maximin;131 he mentioned how Licinius prescribed a form of prayer for his soldiers to use before battle;132 he described how Constantine in obedience to a dream had the christogramma See Tertullian, Apologeticum 5 and Ad Scapulam 4 and p. 65. Eric Osborn, in Tertullian. First Theologian of the West, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1997, p. 84, has rightly observed that Tertullian saw no incompatibility of Christians with the Roman empire. John Helgeland, in “Christians and the Roman Army AD 173–337”, Church History 43.2, 1974, p. 149–163, (p. 150), discerned in Tertullian’s works a progressive hostility toward the Roman government. 125 Origen, Contra Celsum V,33. 126 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones VII.xvii.9. 127 Paul Keresztes, in “From the Great Persecution to the Peace of Galerius”, VG 37, 1983, p. 379–99, provided a fresh view on the reasons for the outbreak of the great persecution. See also Jonathan Barlow, ‘‘The Morality of the Franks’’ in John Drinkwater and Benet Salway, Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected, ICS, University of London, London, 2007, p. 107– 114, (p. 109, note 11). 128 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 10. 129 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 19.6. Eusebius similarly, criticized Maximin for rendering the army effeminate in his H.E. VIII. xiv.11. 130 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 18.10. 131 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 94–99. 132 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 96. 124

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inscribed on his soldiers’ shields;133 he warmly congratulated Constantine for his military triumphs,134 and he admitted he was thrilled that the emperor proceeded to the battlefield under the guidance of God.135 Tertullian,136 Origen and Lactantius were loyal to their pagan, and later to their Christian, emperors to such an extent as to forgive Christians for participating in the wars that their emperors needed and declared. Hippolytus however never allowed any exceptions.137

Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 94.5f. Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones I. I.13–16 and VII. xxvi.11–17. 135 Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 10. The closing chapters of Eusebius’ H.E. and Vita Constantini also abound in fulsome eulogies of the sovereign who had overthrown the persecutors and had thereby secured peace for the Church. 136 There exist other instances where Tertullian could, but did not, condemn the military profession. For example, in De Patientia 7, Tertullian rejected the idea of following a military career out of love for money, and it appears as if pursuing this career for other reasons might be considered acceptable. It might be that in certain periods of his life, Tertullian regarded being a soldier as just another occupation. For example, in Adversus Marcionem 4.18 and De Ieiunio 8, he was not annoyed (or at least he did not say so) that the NT remains silent on whether the centurion who converted to Christianity also abandoned his post in the army as a result of his conversion. Furthermore, in De Cultu 1.8, when Tertullian enumerated the things a Christian is not allowed to do, he did not explicitly include the military profession. He only forbade Christians to attend pagan shows and to commit idolatry. Of course one could argue that for Tertullian having a military career involved committing idolatry, as he claimed in De Idololatria 19 and De Spectaculis 19. Finally, in De Anima 56, he argued that the body is necessary for some occupations and set forward as an example that of a soldier, without any further comments. 137 K. Baus argued, in Von der Urgemeinde zur fruhchristlichen Grosskirche. Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte, Band I. Freiburg, Basel and Wien, 1965, that Hippolytus’ attitude towards the state was negative, like the author’s of the Apocalypse of John was, and characterized Hippolytus as the only remaining representative of the apocalyptic tradition in the third century. 133 134

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Lactantius’ case is most interesting and deserves to be closely examined.138 Lactantius changed his mind dramatically. In his earlier works he opposed the idea of warfare, but in his later compositions he could hardly restrain his enthusiasm for the military victories of the emperor Constantine. The fact that someone who was favourably disposed towards Christianity was the emperor, was enough to change many Christians’ view of the world. It is amazing how the Christian teachers’ views of the world depended on who was in authority in this world. In his earlier works Lactantius was consistent as far as war and military service were concerned. He condemned war:139 killing as well as watching someone being killed non est secundum hominis naturam (= is contrary to the human nature).140 Lactantius was probably the first Christian to characterize wars as inhuman. He believed that Christians should not enter the army because they were already conscripted in the army of God: When God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things that are regarded lawful among men (= the shows). So, neither is it acceptable for a just man to be in the army, whose real military service is under God, nor to inflict capital punishment on anyone, because it makes no difference whether one kills with iron or instead with a word, since killing itself is forbidden. Thus, as regards this command of God, it is fitting that there should be absolutely no exception; it is always a crime in the eyes of God to kill a man, a creature that God wished to be sacrosanct (Div. Inst. VI,20,15–17).

Lactantius used the word nefas, which means a crime against God, to characterize killing. It is interesting that pagans customarily See Nicholson, “Lactantius on Military Service” and “Civitas quae adhuc sustentat omnia: Lactantius and the City of Rome” in William E. Klingshrin and Mark Vessey, ed., The Limits of Ancient Christianity. Essays on Late Antiquity Thought and Culture in Honor of R. A. Markus, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2002, 19991. 139 Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones I.18.8–17, V.8.6, V.10.10, V.17.12f, V.18.1, and VI.6.18–23. 140 Lactantius, Divinae Instistutiones VI.18.21 and VI.20.10–17. 138

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used this word to describe the actions of those who deserted their posts in the army.141 Nothing was more ignominious than to desert one’s post in the army. Lactantius promoted the exact opposite notion: a man that remained or entered the army committed a nefas! This was a provocative idea since, traditionally, the Romans took great pride in the strict military discipline through which their forefathers had established the Roman supremacy. The issue of violence inside cities concerned many more Christians.142 Tertullian addressed a work to his co-religionists, entitled De Spectaculis, wishing to persuade them that pagan shows were utterly unsuitable for them since: idolatry clings to them,143 they evoke the lust of pleasures,144 they excite the viewers145 and they are immodest,146 the actors try in vain to imitate life,147 one could hear unfavourable sayings against Christians in shows,148 and, finally, this life’s pleasures are not real pleasures.149 What is interesting is that the rejection of the shows of the circus, the theatre, the gladiatorial arena and the wrestling ground was eventually considered as the chief sign that a man has adopted the Christian faith.150 No early Christian author ever claimed that the rejection of warfare and the military profession ever became a distinct sign of the early Christian identity.

Seneca, Epistula 95.35, Philostratus, Vita Apollonii 5.35.5, and C. E. Brand, Roman Military Law, University of Texas Press, Austin and London, 1968, p. 101. 142 See p. 179-183. 143 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 13. 144 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 14. 145 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 15. 146 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 17. 147 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 23. 148 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 27. 149 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 28. See also Catherine Edwards, The Politics of Immorality in Ancient Rome, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2002, 19931, p. 98–136. 150 Tertullian, De Spectaculis 24 and Apologeticum 38. 141

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Conclusions Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and Lactantius represented a Christian strand that objected to the faithful pursuing military careers. They may not have expressed their objections in all of their works and they may not have defended their positions exhibiting always the same vigour but, nevertheless, they shared, at some point in their lives, the same unease towards the military profession. Their views on the political authorities and earthly power are highly relevant to the issue and significant to understand. Tertullian in some of his works showed his wholehearted support to the political and social establishment, while in others he seems to challenge it and, finally, in others he could not make up his mind. His attitude to military service was equally fluid. Hippolytus was not always consistent on his views on the authorities either; yet he constantly condemned Christians having military careers. Origen was striving to appear obedient to the political authorities of his time; he wished to persuade them that the Christian prayers were much more useful to them than conscription in the army. As far as Lactantius is concerned, he at first opposed to Christians enlisting and participating in wars but, later, when Constantine ascended the throne, he could not hide his genuine enthusiasm that the emperor enjoyed the protection of God in his military achievements.

6.2. THE ACTS OF THE MILITARY MARTYRS

OR DEATH WILL PRONOUNCE JUDGEMENT ON YOU151

Introduction Many modern historians despise the Acts of the Christian Martyrs on the grounds that the historical part is suppressed in favour of imaginary elements. Only those Acts that report the facts and the deeds of the martyrs as they ‘really’ occurred are characterized as ‘historical’ and gain respect. In my opinion constructed saints are just as important as the real ones. The inaccurate accounts should not be dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration; they are just as historical as the authentic ones since they provide fascinating 151

‘Mors de te pronuntiatura est ’ in Seneca, Epistula 26.6.

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revelations concerning the society within which they were composed. They may not report facts and deeds as they really occurred but they reflect the sensibilities and the expectations of their age.152 For this reason it is of the utmost importance to know (at least approximately) the date of their composition.153 Distance from the actual martyrdoms encouraged the tendency to resort to fictional literary creations to provide devotional material for the faithful. It is a great inconvenience for scholars that the majority of the authors of the late accounts did not care to state the year in which they composed their works or whether (and how much) they depended on earlier sources or primarily on their imagination. On the contrary, they often strove to present their works as contemporary and faithful to the events they described in order to gain authority and to attract admiration. Is it possible to disperse this confusion? Can we establish criteria in order to discern the Acts that were composed at a distance from the events recorded and to discover whether the events recorded have any tangible relation to the actual events as they occurred?154 J. Fontaine, in “Christians and Military Service in the Early Church”, Consilium 7, 1965, p. 58–64, (p. 62), was of the opinion that the Acts of the Martyrs are so elaborate, stylized and re-written that their historical value is much more difficult to assess than their contribution to our knowledge of Christian spirituality. 153 Claire Pilsworth, in her article “Dating the Gesta Martyrum: a Manuscript-Based Approach” in Early Medieval Europe v. 9, n. 3, 2000, p. 309–324, rightly stressed the need to date the accounts of the Christian martyrdoms. 154 Many scholars worked on establishing criteria for distinguishing historical from fictional elements in the Acts of the Martyrs, like for example: Edmond Le Blant, Les Acts des martyrs: Supplement aux Acta sincera de Rom Ruinart, Paris, 1882, Adolf Harnack, Geschichte der altechristlichen Literatur, F. Grossi-Gondi, Principi e problemi di critica agiografica, Roma, 1919, H. Delehaye, Les Passions des martyrs et les genres litteraires, Brussels, 1921, and Gary A. Bisbee, Pre-Decian Acts of Martyrs and Commentarii, Harvard Dissertations in Religion, Philadelphia, 1988. It is a pity that scholars have not devoted the same attention to establishing criteria for dating the Acts. Perhaps they simply acknowledged the fact that any 152

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It is the purpose of this chapter to establish criteria for distinguishing a: those Acts which were written during or soon after the persecutions from b: those Acts which were written long after the persecutions had ceased and the Church had established itself. My final aim is to understand early Christian attitudes to warfare; we need to understand the motives that made Christian soldiers abandon their posts in the Roman army and face martyrdom and the way their actions were perceived and presented by their contemporaries in written accounts. When trying to establish criteria for dating Martyr Acts, it is essential to bear in mind that their authors were driven by different motivations. Some of the Acts were composed by eyewitnesses who calmly described the execution of the martyr and transcribed the official records of the trial without getting too emotionally involved (like ideal modern reporters). Others supplied the lacking material about the life and death of an earlier martyr without showing the same regard for accuracy and objectivity; where history failed to supply the facts, an active imagination supplied the need. Some of the authors of the Acts wished to stimulate devotion, to provide examples of piety and moral instruction and to gain the attention and the admiration of future converts or aimed at satisfying the devout curiosity of pilgrims, at explaining the translation of relics, at promoting the cult of a saint who was the patron of a certain aristocrat and, thus, at declaring acceptance for both the saint’s and the aristocrat’s power. It is not uncommon to find accounts that fulfilled simultaneously more than one of the above needs. The composition of Martyr Acts always furthered the interests of particular groups. Therefore, it is of great importance to discern the intention(s) of the composers and the kind of audience they had in mind when they published their works and to give satisfactory answers to the following questions: Which Acts were directed to a pagan and which to a Christian audience? Were they addressed to

acceptance of criteria for dating is doomed to remain provisional and tentative.

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the whole of society? Were they read during services?155 Or were they rather meant for private religious devotion and spiritual meditation? And, finally, which were the conscious and the unconscious messages they carried? The intentions of the authors of the Acts were certainly varied; some had honest intentions and were very keen to reveal them; others wished to mislead and, unfortunately, every so often they succeed.156 The authors of the late productions wished to supplement the silence of tradition by narratives based on authentic early accounts or, more frequently, by narratives conveniently supplied by their imagination. An astonishing number of the late accounts were audacious fabrications intended to elicit belief and to appear as contemporary and precise to the events they narrated. Very often they were clumsy imitations with the most fanciful combinations. A final category consists of those Acts whose authors did not hesitate to admit that they composed their works long after (or very long after) the persecutions had ceased but were, nevertheless, eager to try to report the facts as objectively as possible. The late accounts seem to exhibit certain characteristics that rarely occur in the early ones. The Acts of the Theban Legion157 will help me illustrate my point. Compare for example G. Lazzati, Gli sviluppi della letteratura sui martiri nei primi quattro secoli, Torino, 1956, p. 529 with H. Delehaye, The Legends of the Saints. An Introduction to Hagiography, tr. by V. M. Crawford, London, 1907, p. 221. 156 ‘The critical tools of modern scholarship are not and perhaps never can be sharp enough always to root out the later elements which may still lie buried’, T. D. Barnes contended in “Pre-Decian Acta Martyrum”, JThS 19, 1968, p. 509–31, (p. 529). 157 Editions: P. Thedorici Ruinart, Acta Martyrum, Ratisbona, 1859, p. 313–320, (p. 317–320) and B. Krusch, Monumenta Germania Historica: Scriptorum Rerum Merovingicarum, t.III, Hanover, 1896, p. 32–39. Scholars have not reached a consensus as to whether this legion ever existed. For example Donald O’Reilly, “The Theban Legion of St. Maurice”, VChr 32, 1938, p. 195–207, L. Dupraz, Les Passions de S. Maurice d’Agaune. Essai sur l’historicité de la tradition et contribution à l’étude de l’armée prédioclétienne (260– 286) et des canonisations tardives de la fin du IV siècle, Friburg, 1961, and Otto 155

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In the post-Constantinian Martyr Acts Roman emperors usually figured as human monsters whose primary concern was to wipe out Christianity from the face of the earth once and for all: During the reign of Maximian, who ruled the Roman republic together with Diocletian as his colleague, a multitude of martyrs were tortured or killed throughout the provinces. Furthermore, as Maximian raged out of greed, lust, cruelty and other vices, so also in his dedication towards horrifying rites and his impiety towards the God of heaven did he arm his impiety to extinguish the name of Christianity. So if anyone dared to confess the worship of the true God, when bands of soldiers were scattered everywhere, they were taken for punishment or death, and turning his arms against religion as though giving the barbarians exemption from having to fight (Acts of the Theban Legion I).

The perfect Christian martyrs refused to comply with the emperors’ absurd demands: There was at that time in the army a legion of soldiers called Theban. The so-called legion had six thousand and six hundred men under arms. Summoned from the East to assist Maximian, these men arrived, strong in battle and renowned for their courage, although more renowned for their faith; they strove in bravery for the emperor and in devotion to Jesus. Mindful of gospel teaching even under arms, they rendered to God what was God’s and to Caesar what was Caesar’s. When they were assigned, along with other soldiers, to harass the multitude of Christians, they alone dared to refuse the cruel task and declared that they would not obey commands of this kind (II).

F. A. Meinardus, “An Examination of the Traditions of the Theban Legion”, Bulletin de la société d’archéologie copte 23, 1976, p. 5–32 defended the historicity of the legend. Luca da Regibus, “Milizia e cristianesimo nell’ impero romano”, Didaskaleion II, 1924, p. 41–69, (p. 61), D. van Berchem, Le martyre de la Légion Thébaine. Essai sur la formation d’une légende, Basel, 1956, J. Helgeland, “Christians and the Roman Army AD 173–337”, ANRW II.23.I. 1979, p. 724–834, (p. 774–777), and J. M. Hornus, It is Unlawful for me to Fight, tr. Alan Kreider and Oliver Coburn, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1980, doubted its veracity.

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Emperors got personally involved, took the matter in their own hands and found time in their busy schedules to confront those who disobeyed their commands: ...So, as I have already mentioned when Maximin was informed about the Theban legion’s reply, he burned with a fierce anger on account of their neglect of his commands and ordered every tenth person from that same legion to be executed by the sword in order that others terrified by fear might more easily yield to royal instructions (III).

Martyrs endured all the hideous tortures inflicted on them with amazing fearlessness: ...They did not shout or fight back but they laid aside their arms and presented their necks to their persecutors, offering their throat or body to their executioners. Nor were they inspired by their number or by the protection of their arms to attempt to assert the cause of justice by their sword, but remembering this alone that they were confessing Him who was led to His death without a cry and like a lamb did not open His mouth, they the Lord’s flock of sheep also allowed themselves to be torn by the strong wolves. The earth was covered by the bodies of the pious as they fell forward into death; rivers of precious blood flowed (V).

Eventually order was restored; persecutors got punished by God for their horrendous crimes: It is worth reporting the fate that later befell the savage tyrant Maximin. When he contrived the death of his son-in-law Constantine, who was then in power, by means of a waylay, his trickery was discovered, was captured at Marseilles and strangled soon afterwards. Punished in this most shameful way, he ended his wicked life with a fitting death (VII).

Another indication of a possible late composition is any information about the preservation and the adoration of the mortal remains of the martyr-saint. It is estimated that the practice of placing particular care upon martyr-relics became widespread in the Mediterranean world from the fourth century onwards.158 Acts of the Theban Legion VII. See also Henry Chadwick, “Pachomios and the Idea of Sanctity” in Sergei Hackel, ed., The Byzantine Saint, 14th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, University of Birmingham, 158

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Furthermore, the post-Constantinian public seems to have accepted the possibility of the inexplicable and the miraculous and to have showed great enthusiasm for the weird and the wonderful. Thus, the authors of the post-Constantinian Acts tended to follow the trend and overemphasized the miraculous elements so they could satisfy and impress their audiences. The post-Constantinian martyrs performed numerous exciting miracles before and after their deaths.159 It is evident the episodes in the post-Constantinian Acts were standardized.160 The Acts of the Theban Legion were written by Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, in ca. 434–5.161 The account probably was not based on an earlier one since Eucherius confessed in its epilogue that he had learned the story orally from Isaac, bishop of Geneva, who had himself learned it from Theodore, bishop of Octodurum. We know that Theodore attended the council of Aquileia in 381 and was bishop of Octodurum from 381 until 393.162 We have no reason to doubt Eucherius’ honesty and to think that he copied an earlier account which has not survived and decided to conceal the London, 1981, p. 11–24, (p. 174), Marianne Saghy, “Scinditur in Partes Populus: Pope Damasus and the Martyrs of Rome”, EME v. 9, n. 3, 2000, p. 273–283, (p. 274–5), Caroline White, Early Christian Latin Poets, London and New York, 2000, p. 13, Patricia Cox Miller, “The Little Blue Flower is Red: Relics and Poetizing of the Body”, JECS 8:2, 2000, p. 213–236, (p. 214), Gillian Clark, “Translating Relics: Victricius of Rouen and fourth-century Debate”, EME 10.2, 2001, p. 161–176, and Christianity and Roman Society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 2004, p. 54–59. 159 Acts of the Theban Legion VII. 160 See Walter Ameling, “Vorwort” in W. Ameling, ed., Märtyrer und Märtyrerakten, Stuttgart, 2002, p. 7–12. 161 Eucherius of Lyons was born around 380 of a senatorial family. He joined a community of ascetics and he later became bishop. For more information on his life see: Siegmar Döpp and Wilhelm Geerlings, ed., Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, tr. Matthew O’Connell, New York, 2000, p. 205–207. 162 David Woods, “The Origin of the Legend of Maurice and the Theban Legion”, JEC 45, 1994, p. 385–395.

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fact from his readers, taking the risk of being eventually exposed. Even if we assume that Eucherius knew of an earlier written source, the fact that he chose not to mention it might indicate that he did not approve it and made several major alterations to it and, thus, the account we now possess is basically a product of the fifth century. The early accounts exhibit quite different characteristics. Most of the early accounts tend to be simple and factual and sometimes based on the records of the trial.163 Their authors did not embellish them with extravagant miraculous elements or tedious moral instructions. The fact that a Christian died for the faith was enough to excite admiration and be a magnet for converts. Moreover, the judges did not mainly appear as ruthless and the martyrs did not proclaim their faith until forced. The Roman authorities appeared not to be concerned to stamp out the Christian faith as the personal conviction of their subjects;164 they only expected every citizen of the empire to be willing to sacrifice to the traditional gods as a tribute to them for granting Rome its prosperity165 and as an act of obedience to the earthly authorities that were chosen by the gods. Christians were put to death as a result of their refusal 166 to participate in the traditional sacrifices and not simply because they believed in Jesus.167 Finally, the early authors usually showed a The Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, ed. by William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, London, vol. 2, 1880, p. 1125, offers an interesting description as to how a Roman trial was conducted. 164 See Eusebius, De Martyribus Palaestinae i.4.5. 165 Keith Hopkins, in his book A World Full of Gods. Pagans, Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, London, 1999, p. 78, has rightly observed that it is difficult for us to recapture how very strange and offensive the Christian refusal to sacrifice to the traditional gods must have seemed to pagans. 166 It was the Christian obstinacy to conform to the Roman religious tradition, (obstinatio as the sources say) that infuriated the pagans and led to martyrdoms. 167 See: Sherwin-White A. N., “The Early Persecutions and Roman Law Again”, JThS n.s. 3, 1952, p. 199–213 and “Why Were the Early Christians Persecuted? An Amendment”, Past and Present 27, 1964, p. 23– 163

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good knowledge of the procedure of the trial, of the names of the judges that presided and of the geography of the place where the martyrdom occurred. During that time the Churches everywhere enjoyed peace. Yet at Caesarea in Palestine a man called Marinus, who had been honoured with many posts in the army and was distinguished for his good family and wealth, was beheaded for his witness to Christ for the following reason. Among the Romans the vine branch is a mark of honour and those who obtain it, it is said, become centurions. An army post fell vacant and according to the order of promotion it was Marinus who was entitled to fill it. But when he was on the point of receiving the office, another man came up before the magistrate and attacked Marinus, saying that as a Christian Marinus would not sacrifice to the emperors, and should not therefore be allowed to share in the honours that belonged to the Romans according to the ancient laws, but that instead the post should fall to himself. The magistrate (whose name was Achaeus) was moved by this and he first asked Marinus what views he held. And then, when he saw that he persistently confessed that he was a Christian, he granted him a stay of three hours to reconsider. No sooner had Marinus left the court than Theotecnus, the bishop of Caesarea, approached him and drew him aside in conversation and taking him by the hand led him to the church. Once inside, he placed Marinus right in front of the altar and drawing aside his cloak pointed to the sword attached to his side. At the same time he brought a copy of the divine Gospels and he set it before Marinus asking him to choose which he preferred. Without hesitation Marinus put out his right hand and took the divine writings. ‘So then’, said Theotecnus, ‘hold fast to God and given strength by him, may you obtain what you have chosen, now go in peace’. No sooner had Marinus returned than a herald cried out to summon him before the tribunal; for the allotted time was now over. Marinus presented himself before the judge and showed even greater loyalty to their faith and immediately, just as he was, he was led off to execution, and so found his fulfillment.

27, and G. E. M. De Ste. Croix, M. Whitby and J. Streeter, ed., Christian Persecution, Martyrdom and Orthodoxy, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2006.

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This account,168 unlike the one about the Theban Legion, is definitely not excessive. The martyr Marinus did not parade his faith and he did not confess his Christianity until he was directly challenged to choose between loyalty to the earthly authorities and the heavenly ones. Secondly, he did not perform any miracles in order to electrify his contemporaries or prove the power of his God. Thirdly, the judge Achaeus was not portrayed as a monster with the hobby of killing Christians. On the contrary, he showed patience and granted Marinus time to reconsider in his genuine effort to avoid unnecessary disturbances in his province. This account is demonstrably an early one. It is taken from Eusebius’169 Historia Ecclesiastica170 that was published successively between 303 and 325/6 CE.171 Eusebius must have heard of the incident from his close friend Theotechnus, bishop of Caesarea.172 Eusebius placed the martyrdom directly after Gallienus’ edict in 260/1. Achaeus was legatus of Syria and Palestine in ca. 260/1173

Edited by D. R. Knopf, Ausgewählte märtyrerakten, Tübingen, 1913, p. 75, D. R. Knopf, Krüger and Ruhbach, Ausgewählte märtyrerakten, Tübingen, 1965, p. 85–86, Ruinart, Acta, p. 305–306, Daniel Ruiz Bueno, Actas de los martires, Madrid, 1968, p. 856–857, and Herbert Musurillo, Acts of the Christian Martyrs, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1972, p. 240– 243. For a secondary literature see: BS VIII p. 1181–2 and Musurillo, Acts, p. lxvii, note 39. 169 For a biographical note on Eusebius see p. 61 footnote 1. 170 Eusebius, H. E. VII.15. 171 On the tendentious question of the various editions of Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica see: R. Lequer, Eusebius als Historiker seiner Zeit, Berlin and Leipzig, 1929, H. Edmonds, Zweite Auflage im Altertum, Leipzig, 1941, p. 25–45, A. Louth, “The Date of Eusebius’ Historia Ecclesiastica”, JThS N.S. 41, 1990, p. 111–123, and William Tabbernee, “Eusebius’ ‘Theology of Persecution’: as seen in the Various Editions of his Church History”, JECS 5:3, 1997, p. 319–334, (p. 319f and 334). 172 Eusebius, H. E. VII.32.24. 173 PIR2 A35, p. 5 and A. H. M. Jones, J. R. Martindale, J. Morris, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge, 1971, p. 8. 168

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and Marinus a soldier of the legio X Fretensis that was stationed in Palestine at that time.174 Dating the Acts of the Christian Martyrs is far from easy. One must bear in mind that a skilful forger could have known courtroom procedure well enough to make his account appear as though it was taken from the hand of the courtroom secretary himself. It is also possible that he could borrow from an early account the names of the judges and the geographical details as a mere trick to enhance trust or he could severely corrupt and interpolate an earlier account to suit his purposes. In addition, one must never forget that the Acts were composed according to their author’s personal taste. One author might have preferred to emphasize the miraculous events. That does not necessarily indicate that his work is a late composition. Thus, more than one elements need to be considered in conjunction in order to date Acts. We cannot be too careful. Many modern scholars are of the opinion that the majority of the Acts were composed long after the persecutions have ceased. They also believe that no purely ‘historical’ document survives since the post-Constantinian public favoured the versions that were adorned with fantastic elements and interlaced with fables. However, it is probable that there survive more Acts that record contemporary events and were respected by later readers than it is generally thought. Under these circumstances, having sound criteria for dating is of the utmost importance.

Prologue Callistratus’ biographer used an illuminating metaphor: angels resemble soldiers in that they are mere instruments who blindly and passively follow orders for which they are not in the least responsible, he said.175 This chapter will try to show that early

Emil Ritterling, Legio Bestand. Verteilung und kriegerische Beteiligung der Legionen von Augustus bis Diocletian, Stuttgart, 1924, p. 1673ff. 175 BHO 185, 10= F. C. Conybeare, The Armenian Apology and Acts of Apollonius and Other Monuments of Early Christianity, London, 1896, p. 289– 336. The Greek account can be found in PG 115, 881–900 and F. Halkin, 174

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Christians entered the Roman army, being a Christian did not necessarily exclude one from a military career, fighting in the battlefield was generally permissible, and that the vast majority of the Acts of the Military Martyrs were not written to prevent Christians from entering or remaining in the army as one would imagine. The Acts of the Military Martyrs showed the incompatibility of the Christian God with the traditional gods of Rome, exactly like the other Acts who featured martyrs with other professions. Early Christians who were tantalized by the dilemma whether they should enter or remain in the Roman army would only rarely find satisfactory guidance from the Acts of the Military Martyrs, and that was the case for both the Acts that were written during the persecutions and the much later ones. Not everyone has what it takes to become a martyr. Some Christians who aspired to become martyrs lost courage under pressure and escaped martyrdom at the last minute by meeting the pagan demands.176 Even the model martyrs themselves, who were later canonized by the Church, now and then hesitated to face death. For example, Victor fled from his guards177 and Theodore lied to the emperor Licinius saying that he would not sacrifice to the pagan gods publicly, but promised to do it privately at home!178 ‘Le passion ancienne de S. Callistrate”, Byzantion 53, 1983, p. 233–249, (p. 235–249). 176 Acts of Eustratius 28, Acts of the forty-two martyrs of Amorion 8. The fact that there were Christians who lapsed during the persecutions created upheaval even after the persecutions have ceased. See K. Gross and E. Liesering, “Decius” in RAC III, Stuttgart, 1957, p. 611–629, (p. 626–629). 177 BHL 8550, 5. Editions of the Acts of Victor: BHL 8550, “De S. Victore Martyre”, AB 17, 1898, p. 172–3, Ruinart, Acta, p. 333–339, Ambrose, Hymn 10, “De SS. Victore et Corona”, AB 2, 1883, p. 291–299, and Acta Sanctorum Jul. V, p. 135–162. 178 BHO 1168, 7. Accounts of Theodore’s martyrdom: The Greek account can be found in F. Halkin, Hagiologie Byzantines. Texts inédits publiés en grec et traduits en francais, Bruxelles, 1986, p. 70–74, the Latin account in BHL 8077= Boninus Mombritius, Santuarium seu vitae sanctorum, Paris, 1910, p. 588–589, the Coptic in E. O. Winstedt, Coptic Texts on Saint

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A martyr is a hero; he is not the norm. The account of his martyrdom described the ideal behaviour of a Christian under extremely difficult circumstances. A Christian hero, as commonly presented in the Acts of the Military Martyrs, is supposed to serve in the Roman army and eagerly obey the commands issued, even by pagan emperors and officials, and only refuse participation in pagan religious ceremonies. If that was the case with heroes, then, how did ordinary early Christian soldiers behave? Are we to assume that not only they remained in the Roman army but they also participated in pagan ceremonies, even if it was not the ideal thing to do? A martyr is someone who created a scandal and attracted attention and publicity.179 Violent deaths made excellent viewing in late antiquity.180 The composers of the Acts were proud to present the powerful stories of people who were willing to die for what Christianity stood for, being fully aware that their stories generated enthusiasm, strengthened the faith and brought converts.181 Theodore the General, Saint Theodore the Eastern, Chamoul and Justus, London, 1910, p. 73–133, the Armenian in F. C. Conybeare, Armenian Apology, p. 220–237, the encomium in “L’éloge de saint Théodore le stratélate par Euthyme Protasecretis”, AB 99, 1982, p. 221–237, the account by Nicephorus Ouranos in “Un opuscule inconnu du magistre Nicéphore Ouranos (la vie de S. Théodore le conscript)”, AB 80, 1962, p. 308–324, and by Gregory of Nyssa in PG 46, 735–748= http://www.sp.uconn.edu/ ~salomon/nyssa/thoedore.html. According to E. O. Winstedt, “Some Coptic Legends about Roman Emperors”, The Classical Quarterly 3, 1909, p. 218–222, Theodore probably never existed. See also: C. Zuckerman, “The Reign of Constantine V in the Miracles of St. Theodore the Recruit (BHG 1764)”, Revue des études Byzantines 46, 1988, p. 191–210, Christopher Walter, “Theodore, Archetype of the Warrior Saint”, Revue des études Byzantines 57, 1999, p. 163–210, and BS XII, p. 238–241. 179 Michel Foucault, “Is it Useless to Revolt?” in Jeremy R. Carrette, ed., Religion and Culture. Michel Foucault, New York, 1999, p. 131–134. 180 Donald G. Kyle, Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome, London and New York, 19981, 2001. 181 Tertullian, Apologeticum 50 and Gregory of Nyssa, De Gloria Martyrum 8.54 in PG 71, 789.

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Martyrs were not afraid to speak their minds in front of the authorities (for they had ἐλευθεροστομία and παρρησία) and, occasionally, even to laugh at them.182 They showed contempt for the tortures inflicted upon them.183 Sometimes they even undressed in front of the emperor and shouted provocatively they were Christians.184 A normal person would not dare do these highly inappropriate things. The martyrs’ behaviour must have been viewed as so absurd, radical and unusual by late antique people that martyrs were presented in the Acts as instruments of God, not fully conscious or in control of their deeds and their suffering.185 The audience of the late Acts was to try and imitate the martyrs’ outstanding example only in times of persecution.186 And if persecution did not occur, then an outstanding behaviour was unnecessary and irrelevant. The late Acts were generally much more conservative than the early ones. Their authors often made it clear that Christians owed military service to the state and should only make a fuss and create problems if veneration to the wrong gods was demanded from them; which was, in fact, such a remote possibility for the audience of the late Acts that were composed under Christian emperors! Finally, it is interesting that although martyrdom offered the chance to differentiate oneself, when a Christian soldier met another Christian soldier they acted as one.187 And they, for example, declared their Christian faith with one voice: μιᾶ φωνῆ188 BHG 1250, 4, Greek Acts of Christopher 19. BHO 746. 184 BHG 1274, 7. 185 BHL 1764, 19. Carole Straw, in “Martyrdom and Christian Identity: Gregory the Great, Augustine and Tradition” in William E. Klingshirn and Mark Vessey, ed., The Limits of Ancient Christianity. Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R. A. Markus, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1999, p. 250–266, (p. 264), asserted that Christians never acted alone; they were in continuous communication with God. 186 BHO 1168, 2. 187 BHL 1764. 188 Acts of Eustratius 18. 182 183

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or sang together.189 The soldiers of Acaunum, the forty martyrs of Sebaste190 and the sixty martyrs of Gaza191 acted as if a military unit against the preposterous pagan demands that offended their God.192

The Early Accounts or I cannot venerate false gods There were at least five Christians in the Roman army. Cyprian mentioned two (called Laurentius and Egnatius) in his Epistula 39 and Eusebius mentioned one193 (Seleucos) in his De Martyribus Palaestinae and two in his Historia Ecclesiastica (Basilides and Marinus). It is very probable that Julius, Marcellus, Dasius and Pteleme were also Christians who had military careers, or at least the accounts of their martyrdoms, that seem to have been composed during the persecutions and prior to the fourth century

BHG 1624, 14. Gregory of Nyssa, De Gloria Martyrum 96, 1.8 in PG 71, 789–9 and Encomium in PG 46, 749–772. For other accounts of the martyrdom see Gregory of Nyssa, PG 46, 773–788, Basil of Caesarea, Homilia 19 in Sanctos Quadraginta Martyres in PG 31, 507–526. The Greek Acts are published by G. N. Bonwetsch, “Das Testament der vierzig Märtyrer”, Studien zur Geschichte der Theologie und Kirche, ed. Bonwetsch and Seeberg, Leipzig, 1897, p. 75–80, Knopf, Ausgewählte, p. 101–105 and Musurillo, Acts, p. 354–361. For secondary literature see BS XI, p. 768–771. 191 BHL 5672m= H. Delehaye, “Sanctorum Sexaginta Martyrum”, AB 23, 1904, p. 289–307, (p. 300–303) and BHL 3053b= AB 23, 1904, p. 303–307. Modern bibliography: W. E. Kaegi, Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests, Cambridge, 1992, p. 95–96. 192 For the depiction of military saints in art see V. Kraehling, Saint Sébastien dans l’art, Paris, 1938 and G. Souliotis, Οι άγιοι στρατιώτες, Athens, 2006. 193 Eusebius in his De Martyribus Palaestinae described Procopius as the first victim of the persecutions of Diocletian in Palestine in 308. It ought to be noted that Eusebius did not say that Procopius had a military career, while other sources do. See for example Acta Sanctorum Jul. II, p. 551–576, (p. 576). 189 190

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CE, wished their readers to believe that they had. Finally, another Christian, called Maximilian, nearly had a military career.194 Most scholars consider the Acts of Maximilian as early and accurate (see for example: Franchi de’ Cavalieri, “Osservazioni sopra gli Atti di S. Crispina”, Nuove Note Agiografiche, Studi e Testi 9, Roma, 1902, p. 26 and Timothy D. Barnes, The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, 1982, p. 177) and use it to unveil early Christian attitudes to war, violence and military service (like Marta Sordi, Il Cristianesimo e Roma, Bologna, 1965, p. 315– 317, J. Helgeland, R. J. Daly and J. Patout Burns, Christians and the Military: the Early Experience, Philadelphia, 1985, p. 57–59, John Driver, How Christians Made Peace with War. Early Christian Understandings of War, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1988, p. 52–54, Ronald Musto, Catholic Peacemakers. A Documentary History. From the Bible to the Era of the Crusades, New York and London, 1993, p. 172f, and P. Brock, “Why did St. Maximilian Refuse to Serve in the Roman Army?”, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 45, 1994, p. 195–209) or to understand the operation of the system of military recruitment under the late empire (A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 284–602, Oxford, 1964, p. 616– 617, Yann Le Bohec, The Imperial Roman Army, London, 1994, p. 70, Brian Campbell, The Roman Army 31BC-AD337, London, 1994, p. 12 and 237, and M. J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 84). Paolo Siniscalco, in his book Massimiliano: un obiettore di coscienza nel tardo impero, Torino, et al., 1974, p. 20 and p. 149, advanced the view that the interrogation of Maximilian at the first part of the Acts was written prior to 313, whereas the second part of the text was written by a different hand at a later date. C. Zuckerman argued, in “Two Reforms of the 370s: Recruiting Soldiers and Senators in the Divided Empire”, Revue des Études Byzantines 56, 1998, p. 79–139, (p. 136–139), that the present form of the Acts belongs to the late fourth or early fifth century but was based on an earlier account. David Woods, in an article entitled “St. Maximilian and the Jizya” in P. Defosse, ed., Hommages à Carl Deroux. V. Christianisme et Moyen Âge, Néo-latin et survivance de la latinité, Collection Latomus 279, Brussels, 2003, p. 266–276, considers the Acts a late eighth century fiction for it indicates knowledge of the administration of the jizya, the poll-tax levied upon non-Muslims as it was operated from about the time of the Umayyad caliph Walid (705–715CE). Personally, I prefer not to take sides; 194

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Julius was a veteran who had served for twenty-seven years and fought bravely in seven military campaigns. It was only after he had completed his military service that his Christian religious beliefs started creating conscience problems and, finally, cost him his life.195 Seleucos was a Christian better in his strength than other Roman soldiers.196 In most cases, we do not know whether these men were Christians before they entered the army or for how long they remained in service after their conversion. Basilides was a pagan entrusted to guard a Christian martyr called Potamiaena and lead her to execution.197 He felt sympathy for her and three days after her martyrdom she appeared in his dreams and urged him to become a martyr.198 Marinus was happily serving, had held many posts in the army and was about to become a centurion while simultaneously believing in Christ, having no trouble with his principles that he was a Christian who fought for an earthly king and, apparently, having no intention of exhibiting his Christianity or quitting his job. Marinus was discovered to be a Christian. A jealous rival denounced him as a Christian, arguing that Marinus the issue is far too complicated to for anything to be ascertained with certainty. If the author of the Acts was not indeed a contemporary of Maximilian he did a fabulous job in deceiving generations of scholars. 195 H. Delehaye, “Acta Sancti Julii Veterani Martryris”, AB 10, 1891, p. 50–52= Ruinart, Acta, p. 569–570= KKR p. 105–106= Musurillo, p. 261–265= Bueno, p. 1158–1163. According to Jan den Boeft and Jan Bremmer, in “Notiunculae Martyrologicae”, VChr 36, 1982, p. 383–403, (p. 396), the Acts of Julius contains a historical kernel. See also: Pio Franci de’ Cavalieri, “Sopra alcuni atti di martiri da Settimio Severo a Massimo Daza”, Nuovo bolletino di archeologia cristiana 10, 1904, p. 22–27 and BS VI, p. 1231–1232. 196 Eusebius, De Martyribus Palaestinae XI 20–22. 197 Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica vi.5. In Palladius’ Historia Lausiaca 3, Isidore of Alexandria narrates the martyrdom of Potamiena that he heard from hermit Antony. Nothing is told about a soldier converting and subsequently facing martyrdom. See BS II, p. 904–906. 198 It seems as if Basilides was anxious to become a martyr and the issue of incompatibility of his military career with his Christian beliefs was of secondary importance or merely a pretext to face martyrdom.

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could not be promoted since he was a Christian (and Christians were generally known as refusing to sacrifice) and that he should himself receive the appointment of the centurionate instead. Marinus, Julius and Pteleme199 refused to sacrifice to the traditional gods. Basilides refused to take an oath to the traditional gods. Dasius refused to participate in the celebration of the feast of Saturn.200 Marcellus declared that he could not venerate false gods any longer: deos vestros ligneos et lapideos adorare contemno quae sunt idola surda et muta.201 Cyprian did not reveal the reasons that made The Acts of Apaioule and Pteleme are edited by E. A. E. Reymond and J. W. B. Barns, Four Martyrdoms from the Pierpont Morgan Coptic Codices, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973, p. 131–137 and 223–228. 200 Franz Cumont, “Les acts de S. Dasius”, AB 16, 1897, p. 5–16, (p. 11–16)= Knopf, Ausgewählte, p. 82–86, KKR, p. 91–95= Musurillo, Acts, p. 272–279= Renate Pillinger, Das martyrium des heiligen Dasius, Wien, 1988, p. 12–16. For this popular festival of the Roman calendar see: M. Meslin, La fête des kalendes de janvier dans l’empire romain, Brussels, 1970, p. 95f. F. Cumont in “Les actes” and M. P. Nilsson in “Saturnalia”, RE ZA 1921, p. 201–211, (p. 208), have accepted the historicity of the Acts. S. Weinstock, “Saturnalien und Neujahrsfest in den Märtyrerakten”, Mullus. Festschrift Theodor Klauser, Münster, 1964, p. 391–400 and I. Rochow, “Die Passio des heiligen Dasius (BHG 491)—Ein Zeugnis für die anti-heidnische Polemik gegen Ende der frühbyzantinischen Zeit”, J. Irmscher, P. Nagel, ed., Studia Byzantina Folge II= Berlines Byzantinische Arbeiten 44, Berlin, 1973, p. 235–247, regarded the Acts as legendary. H. Delehaye in “Saints de Thrace et de Mésie”, AB 31, 1912, p. 161–300 and in La passions des martyrs et les genres littéraires, Brussels, 1921, p. 321– 328, proposed that the Acts combine various early and accurate traditions with late and fictitious ones. José Fernández Ubiña, Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la guerra, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2000, p. 361, accepted Delehaye’s judgement. 201 Acts of Marcellus 1. There survive two recensions of the martyrdom of Marcellus (Fr. Masai, “Pour une edition critique des actes du centurion Marcel”, Byzantion 35, 1965, p. 277–290). Recension M can be found in the following editions: H. Delehaye, “Les actes de S. Marcel le centurion”, AB 41, 1923, p. 257–287, (p. 260–263)= KKR, p. 87–88= Giuseppe Lazzati, Gli sviluppi della letteratura sui martiri nei primi quattro secoli, Torino, 1956, p. 145–6= Musurillo, Acts, p. 251–255, and recension N in: 199

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Laurentius and Egnatius reject military service and become martyrs.202 From all the available surviving Acts it seems it was only Maximilian who was of the opinion that military service should not be a suitable career choice for young Christians.203 Maximilian is described in modern scholarship as the first conscientious objector in the history of Christianity, since he, reportedly, repeated time after time: non possum militare.204 It is a pity that Maximilian’s Delehaye, “Les actes”, p. 264–267= KKR, p. 88–89= Lazzati, Sviluppi, p. 143–145= Musurillo, Acts, p. 255–259. G. D. Sanctis, in “Contribuito alla storia dei martiri militari”, Rivista di filologia e di istruzione classica II, 1924, p. 65–79, (p. 65), rejected the idea that Marcellus’ main objection to serving was idolatry despite the fact that Marcellus was indeed explicit that it was. See also: B. G., “S. Marcel de Tanger ou de Léon? Évolution d’une legende”, AB 61, 1943, p. 116–139, Paul Orgels, “Note additionnelle. A propos du sens de PRINCIPIA dans les Actes de S. Marcel”, Vivarium 3, 1965, p. 108–114, Willliam Seston, “A propos de la Passio Marcelli centurionis. Remarques sur les origins de la persécution de Dioclétien”, Scripta Varia. Mélanges d’histoire du cristianisme, Roma, Paris, 1980, p. 239– 246, Carlo Tibiletti, “L’antimilitarismo di due martiri militari”, in Salvatore Constanza, ed., Studi Tardoantichi VII, 1989, p. 257–274, and BS VIII, p. 665–668. 202 Cyprian, Epistula 39, 3.1. E. W. Watson, in “An Incident of the Decian Persecution” in W. C. Davis, ed., Essays in History Presented to R. L. Poole, Oxford University Press, London et al., 1927, p. 127–135, (p. 131), favoured the identification of Laurentius and Egnatius with the hero of Tertullian’s De Corona. However, that is unpersuasive speculation according to Rudolf Freudenberger, “Der Anlaβ zu Tertullians Schrift De Corona Militis”, Historia 19, 1970, p. 579–592, (p. 592). 203 BHL 5813= Knopf, Ausgewählte, p. 76–78= Ruinart, Acta, p. 340– 342= KKR, p. 86–87= Lazzati, Sviluppi, p. 139–140= Musurillo, Acts, p. 245–249= Bueno, p. 947–951= Giulianna Lanata, Gli atti dei martiri come documenti processuali, Milano, 1973, p. 194–196= Enrico Lorenzo, Gli acta S. Maximiliani Martyris, Napoli, 1975, p. 20–26= A. A. R. Bastiaensen, Atti e passioni, Fondazione Lorenzo Valla, 1987, p. 238–244. Secondary literature: BS IX, p. 25–26 and Siniscalco, Massimiliano. 204 See Louis Swift, The Early Fathers on War and Military Service, ed. Thomas Halton, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983, p. 72, Siniscalco, Massimiliano, and Alberto Barzianò, “Il cristianesimo delle origini di fronte

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biographer did not expand on this and did not explain why Maximilian was of such a mind.205 He only presented Maximilian saying: ego tamen Christianus sum, et non possum mala facere.206 And when Maximilian was asked to be plain and to clarify what exactly do soldiers wrong, his answer was disappointingly evasive: tu enim scis, quae faciunt.207 Service in the Roman army obliged one to take oaths to the pagan emperors, to obey orders by pagan officers, to companion with pagans, to join pagan ceremonies, to be away from home and to face temptations to lead a life of debauchery, to use violence and to participate in warfare and, possibly, to commit homicide. Which of the above Maximilian felt an aversion to, I guess we will never know. It is of the utmost importance that when a reason is provided by the early Acts for Christians refusing to pursue military careers it is always aversion to the idolatrous practices of the Roman army. It seems, therefore, that the conflict between early Christians and the military largely revolved around the idolatrous army religion.208 That may distress many who prefer al problema del servizio militare e della guerra: considerazioni sul metodo della ricerca”, Rivista di storia della chiesa in Italia 44, 1990, p. 440–450, (p. 450). 205 B. Schöpf, in Das Tötungsrecht bei den frühchistlichen Schriftstellern bis zur Zeit Konstantins, Regenesburg, 1958, p. 235–236, found Maximilian’s motives inconclusive and Peter Brock, in “Why did St. Maximilian Refuse to Serve in the Roman Army?”, JEC 45, 1994, p. 195–209, (p. 196), rightly noticed that the Acts of Maximilian leave us wondering why Maximilian chose to die rather than become a soldier. 206 Acts of Maximilian 2.9. 207 Acts of Maximilian 2.10. 208 Andreas Bigelmair, Die Beteiligung der Christen am öffentilichen Leben in vorKonstantinischer Zeit, Munich, 1902, F. J. Dölger, “Sacramentum militiae: das Kennmal der Soldaten, Waffenschmiede und Wasserwächter nach Texten frühchristlicher Literatur” in Antike und Christentum: Kultur und religionsgeschichtliche Studien, ii, Münster, 1930, p. 269–70 and 274, Edward Ryan, “The Rejection of Military Service by the Early Christians”, TS 12, 1952, p. 1–32, and A. Colombo, La problematica della guerra nel pensiero politico cristiano dal I al V secolo, Milano, 1970, p. 89–90. See also p. 3 footnote 6 and p. 92.

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to have an ideal picture of the early Christians and who like to imagine them as first and foremost refusing to engage in warfare and to spill human blood. The early accounts are generally sober. When a soldier deviated from the norm and declared himself a Christian, the officers or the local authorities remained calm and tried to avoid a major disturbance. They sought to talk reason to the troublemakers and to persuade them to conform, and that is the reason why they in general granted them time to reconsider and to come to their senses.209 The authorities are presented by the early accounts as perceiving the behaviour of these soldiers as acts of disobedience to the laws and to common practice. They seemed to undermine the foundations of society and to take no interest in the welfare of the empire by disregarding orders issued by superiors and by ignoring traditional piety. In this light, Dasius was reminded that everyone is subject to the imperial decrees.210 Julius was charged with refusing to obey the imperial decrees: non vult oboedire praeceptis legalibus.211 The authorities did not care that these soldiers were Christians; they just wanted soldiers to obey their superiors and to show the respect that was due to the traditional gods.212 For a discussion on pagan efforts to dissuade Christians from their defiance see Everett Ferguson, “Early Christian Martyrdom and Civil Disobedience”, Recent Studies in Early Christianity. A Collection of Scholarly Essays. London, 1999, p. 73–83, (p. 80). 210 Acts of Dasius 9. 211 Acts of Julius 1. 212 H. Grégoire, Les persécutions dans l’empire romain, Bruxelles, 1964, p. 137–8, W. H. C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church. A Study of Conflict from the Maccabees to Donatus, Oxford, 1965, p. 485, G. Lanata, “Gli atti del processo contro il centurione Marcello”, Byzantion 42, 1972, p. 509–522, (p. 518), E. A. E. Reymond and J. W. B. Barns, Four Martyrdoms from the Pierpont Morgan Coptic Codices, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973, p. 4, Paul Keresztes, “The Imperial Roman Government and the Christian Church II. From Gallienus to the Great Persecution”, ANRW II.23.I, 1979, p. 375–386 (p. 377), and Seston, “Passio Marcelli”, p. 239–240, were certainly right to observe that in the early Acts of the 209

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The Christian heroes were tough and they did not change their minds easily. They accepted the charges and that is the reason we hear about them. They were sentenced for nothing more than violating military discipline: Julius, nolens praeceptis regalibus adquiescere, capitalem accipiat sententiam.213 Marcellus acted contra disciplinam militarem214 when he renounced his military oath (abiecto publice sacramento pollui se vixit), threw down his arms (projecit arma) and used expressions lacking completely in control (et insuper apud acta praesidialia verba furoris plena deposuit), and he was punished for his deeds in accordance with the customary military procedure (ex disciplina debeant vindicare).215 Maximilian was considered disloyal and was punished in order to prevent others getting similar ideas in their heads: quia indevoto animo militiam recusasti, congruentem accipies sententiam ad ceterorum exemplum.216 Seleucos was the only early Christian soldier who never actually reached the stage of martyrdom. Eusebius informs us that he left the army. It is a pity that it is not clear whether he left his post or whether he waited patiently for his discharge and, then, started a life of charity.217 The early accounts end with the death of the Christian soldier and generally contain no (or a few and usually discreet) miracles that manifest the power of the Christian God and generally show no (or very little) concern for the martyr’s mortal remains. A violent death was considered capable of exciting admiration and spiritual devotion. For example, we are only in passing informed about Maximilian’s relics in his Acts that they were taken by a rich

Military Martyrs the soldiers were punished because they violated military discipline and not because they were Christians. 213 Acts of Julius 3.7. 214 Acts of Marcellus 1. 215 Acts of Marcellus 5. 216 Acts of Maximilian 3.1. 217 According to the Christian teaching if a Christian ends up leaving his profession, then he/she should not remain idle but devote his/her energies to the benefit of the Christian community.

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woman and placed near St. Cyprian’s, but no miracles associated with the martyr or his relics were recorded.218 The early Acts of the Military Martyrs did not discuss what early Christians thought of the Roman army. They were not essentially composed as guides for Christians who were considering starting or quitting their military careers. There was no lengthy exposition of the (in)compatibility of Christian participation in warfare, apart, perhaps, from the Acts of Maximilian. All the rest either provided no explanation why soldiers did not want a military career (that is true for Laurentius, Egnatius and Seleucos) or they objected to Christian participation in idolatrous practices. Thus, their intended audience was not solely Christian soldiers. Their messages concerned all Christians or all potential Christians that they might at some point in their lives face the dilemma of participating (or not) in idolatrous practices.219 Participating in warfare was, simply, not a cause of general concern and anxiety.

The Late Accounts or we owe military service The late accounts had more to say. It seems that the postConstantinian public desired to know more about the martyr’s personal life, the reasons that led a Christian endure martyrdom, the specific conditions of the martyrdom, and the saint’s presence after death among the living. Simultaneously, the late accounts are more numerous than the early ones and the examples of military martyrs have multiplied. The post-Constantinian public immensely enjoyed reading martyrdom accounts and there circulated stories of

The Acts of Maximilian probably preserve the earliest known instance of burial ad sanctos. See Y. Duval, Après des Saints corps et âme, Paris, 1988, p. 52–54. 219 On Christians rejecting various occupations linked with idolatry see: Gerd Theissen, Social Reality and the Early Christians. Theology, Ethics and the World of the New Testament, tr. Margaret Kohl, Edinburgh, 1993, p. 281 and David A. Fiensy, “What Would You Do for a Living?” in Anthony J. Blasi, Jean Duhaime, Paul-Andrè Turcotte, ed, Handbook of Early Christianity. Social Science Approaches, Wainut Creek, Lanham, New York, Oxford, 2002, p. 555–574. 218

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the suffering and death of Christian martyrs of every age, sex, origin, profession and social status, to cater for every taste. The Theban Legion, according to tradition, consisted of six thousand six hundred Christian soldiers. They were exceptionally good Christians and they were exceptionally good soldiers, according to their Acts, composed by Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, and sent to another bishop, called Silvius, in the middle of the fifth century.220 Andreas was also equally happy to be an efficient general who believed in Jesus.221 Eustratius, a σκρινιάριος τῆς δουκικῆς τάξεως (ducalis ordinis scrinarius) and a Christian from his mother’s womb,222 managed to have a successful military career for twenty-seven years and, at the same time, be pious and fear God (θεοσεβής καὶ φοβούμενος τὸν θεὸν).223 Fidelis was born Christian (ab infantia, ab ineunte aetate) and, nevertheless, served.224 But Fidelis, according to his biographer, had a plan; he did not merely serve, he was in the Roman army in order to allure his fellow soldiers to Christianity and to recall them from their grave error to the way of truth: et hoc disposui ut gentiles idolis servientes de errore ad viam veritatis revocarem.225 (What an excuse, if I may add.) Fidelis’ biographer was, apparently, feeling embarrassed to deal with a Christian soldier who served a pagan emperor or he thought that his readers might feel uncomfortable.226 Victor had been a Christian since his youth and that was no obstacle in his enlisting. Georgius (or better known as saint George) was no ordinary soldier; he was a terror to his The account was written during Eucherius’ episcopate according to Kasper, Dictionary, p. 205–207. See also p. 245. 221 Acta Sanctorum Aug. III, p. 723–726= PG 115, 596–610. Recent bibliography: BS I, p. 1127–1129. 222 PG 116, 468–506, 7. Recent bibliography: BS V, p. 313–315. 223 Acts of Eustratius 4. 224 BHL 2922, 3 and 1. 225 BHL 2922, 3. 226 The Acts of Fidelis, Exantus and Carpophorus can be found in the Acta Sanctorum Oct. 12, p. 563–569 and in Mombritius, Santuarium, p. 554– 555. Petros Damianos composed a sermon dedicated to the three Christians who martyred under Maximian that can be found in PL 144, 807–811. 220

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enemies.227 Similarly, Eustathius, an ἄρχων τῶν στρατιωτικῶν (princeps militarum), strived to excel himself in battle and, at the same time, did his best to support the Christian congregation,228 since one did not contradict the other. A great soldier could easily become a great Christian and, if it came to it, even a martyr. It is also particularly interesting that most of the late accounts described the martyrdoms of Christians who held high offices in the army. Ambrose,229 Acacius,230 Theodorus, Cornelius,231 Eustratius,

BHO 320. The surviving Acts of Georgius are: BHO 310= Budge, p. 203–235, BHO 316 and 318= Budge, p. 236–274, BHO 320= Budge, p. 274–331. There also survive Ethiopic miracles: V. Arras, Miraculorum S. Georgii Megalomartyris Collectio Altera, Scriptores Aethiopici 32, Louvain, 1953, and Greek miracles: J. Aufhauser, Miracula S. Georgii, Leipzig, 1913. The earliest source for the cult of saint George is an inscription dating from the middle of the fourth century from Ezra in Syria. Early inscriptions that mention the saint can be found in M. Aviam, “Horvath Hesheq- A Unique Church in Upper Galilee: Preliminary Report”, p. 351– 378 and in L. di Segni, “Horvath Hesheq: the Inscription”, p. 379–387 in G. C. Bottini, L. di Segni, E. Alliata, ed., Christian Archaeology in the Holy Land. New Discoveries. Essays in Honour of Virgilio C. Corbo, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Collection Maior 36, Jerusalem, 1990. See also F. Trombley, Hellenic Religion and Christianization c.370–529 II, Leiden, 1995, p. 363 and Samantha Riches, St. George. Hero, Martyr and Myth, Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2000, p. 7, BS VI, p. 512–525. 228 “Acta Graeca S. Eustathii Martyris et Sociorum eius nunc prima edita ex codice Leidensi”, AB 3, 1884, p. 65–112. See also H. Delehaye, La légende de St. Eustache, Académie Royal de Belgique Bulletins, 1919 and BS V, p. 281–290. 229 Acta Sanctorum Aug. III, p. 290 and BS I, p. 943–945. 230 Acta Sanctorum Jun IV, p. 175–187. David Hugh Farmer, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1978, p. 2 and BS I, p. 134–138, date the surviving Acts of Acacius in the twelfth century. See also David Woods, “The Church of ‘St.’ Acacius at Constantinople”, VChr 55, 2001, p. 201–207. 231 Acta Sanctorum Feb. I, p. 279–295= PG 114, 1293–1312 and BS IV, p. 189–192. 227

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Andreas, Constantine, Quirinus,232 Eustathius, Gordius233 and Georgius must have spent quite a few years readily serving and that was most likely (along with the right connections) the reason they were awarded with high offices. The Roman emperors took great care to recognize and to reward accordingly these exceptionally eager and competent fighters. Mercurius was given the rank of the general by the emperor Decius (249–251) himself, after he won many victories on the battlefield.234 Theodore, in the Armenian Acts, was amazing in battle and was a friend of the emperor.235 The forty martyrs of Sebaste were presented by Basil of Caesarea as soldiers excellent in battle who received recognition from the emperor.236 Sergius and Bacchus were pious Christians who fought so vigorously in battle that the emperor Maximian (286–305) had a sincere affection for them.237 The late accounts, which were written Acta Sanctorum Mart. III, p. 811–815. The Acts of Quirinus according to Benedetto Cignitti in BS X, p. 1329–1331, cannot be dated before the sixth or seventh century. 233 Ruinart, Acta, p. 533–537. 234 BHG 1274, 5. Mercurius’ Acts were edited by H. Delehaye, Légendes Greques des saints militaries, Paris, 1909, p. 234–258. P. P., “Un miracle des SS. Serge et Théodore et la vie de S. Basile dans Fauste de Byzance”, AB 39, 1921, p. 65–88, (p. 87), showed that the cult of saint Mercurius has been established from the middle of the fifth century. See also BS IX, p. 362–367. 235 The Armenian Acts of Theodore 5. 236 Basil of Caesarea, Hom 19. In Sanctos Quadraginta Martyres 2.16 and 2.17. 237 The Latin Acts of Sergius and Bacchus BHL 7599 are edited by Mombritius, Santuarium, p. 482–489. The Greek Acts, BHG 1624, can be found in “Passio antiquior SS. Sergii et Bacchi Graecae nunc primum edita”, AB 14, 1895, p. 373–395= John Boswell, The Marriage of Likeness. Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe, London, 1994, p. 375–390= http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/scotts/ftp/wpaf2mc/serge.html. Geoffrey R. D. King, “Two Byzantine Churches in Northern Jordan and their Re-Use in the Islamic Period”, Damaszener Mitteilungen 1, 1983, p. 111–136, M. Konrad, “Flavische und spätantike Bebauung unter der Basilika B von Resafa Sergiupolis”, Damaszener Mitteilungen 6, 1992, p. 313– 404, (p. 349), and E. Key-Fowden, The Barbarian Plain. Saint Sergius Between 232

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under Christian emperors, did not aim at keeping Christians away from the army. They simply showed that it was cruel pagan emperors that had in the past forced Christians to stay away from the army. If the authorities had been venerating the right God then the Christian soldiers would have no reason to become martyrs, but they would have stayed in the army and enjoyed the privileges of their high positions and the thrills of the battlefield. Only a few late Military Acts portrayed Christians as unwilling to conscript or as fulfilling their military duties negligently. Callistratus at first did not want to conscript; however, he entered the army and he performed his duties as best as he could; later, he changed his mind. Theagenes was son of a bishop who was forced to serve.238 Martin of Tours did service, although involuntarily, and remained for two years in service after he was baptized a Christian, according to Sulpicius Severus.239 Luxurius, an apparitor, Rome and Iran, Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1999, showed that the cult of Sergius and Bacchus existed from the middle of the fifth century. However, the martyrs may have never existed according to H. Delehaye, “La légende de Saint Eustache”, Mélanges d’Hagiographie Grecque et Latine, Subsidia Hagiographica 42, 1966, p. 212–239, (p. 238), BS XI, p. 876–879 or may have martyred under Julian according to David Woods, “The Emperor Julian and the Passion of Sergius and Bacchus”, JECS 5, 1997, p. 335–367. 238 BHG 2416, 2. The martyrdom of Theagenes survives in three recensions: one Greek (BHG 2416) and two Latin (BHL 8106 and BHL 8107=Acta Sanctorum Jan. I, p. 133–135). The cult has established itself at a relatively early date, in the fourth or fifth century, although Theagenes probably never existed according to David Woods, “The Origin of the Cult of St. Theagenes of Parium”, Greek Orthodox Theological Review 44, 1999, p. 371–417. 239 BHL 5610, 2, ed. Thomas F. X. Noble and Thomas Head, tr. F. R. Hoare, Soldiers of Christ. Saints and Saints’ Lives from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1995, p. 1–29. E. C. Babut, “Saint Martin de Tours”, Revue d’histoire et de literature religieuses N.S. 1, 1910, p. 466–487 and 513–541, and N.S. 2, 1911, p. 44–78, 160–182, 255–272, 431–463 and 513–543, and N.S. 3, 1912, p. 120–159, 240–278 and 289–329, C. Stancliffe, St. Martin and his Hagiographer. History and Miracles in Sulpicius Severus, Oxford, 1983,

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was attending neglectfully (negligenter) his military service, for he could not cope with being a perfect soldier and a devout Christian, as many of his contemporaries did.240 In the late Military Acts the main problem that Christian soldiers are presented as having to face when serving in the Roman army was army religion, exactly as in the early ones. Christian soldiers refused to offer sacrifice to the traditional pagan gods and faced martyrdom. That is clearly the case in the Acts of: Acacius, Eutropius, Kleonicus and Basiliscus,241 Cornelius, Callistratus, Eustratius and Christophorus,242 Ferreolus,243 p. 341–359, and T. D. Barnes, “The Military Career of Martin of Tours”, AB 114, 1996, p. 25–32, regarded the life a fictitious composition and did not accept H. Delehaye’s view in AB 32, 1913, p. 469–472, that Sulpicius Severus is to trust. See also Christopher Donaldson, Martin of Tours. Parish Priest, Mystic and Exorcist, London, 1980, Raymond van Dam, Saints and their Miracles in Late Antique Gaul, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1993, and Martin W. Walsh, “Martin of Tours: a Patron Saint of Medieval Comedy” in ed. Sandro Sticca, Saints. Studies in Hagiography, Binghamton, New York, 1996, p. 283–315. 240 BHL 5095, 3. Editions of the Acts of Luxurius: Acta Sanctorum Aug. IV, p. 414–417= Mombritius, Santuarium, p. 116–117. 241 Delehaye, Légendes, p. 202–213. 242 There are two Latin accounts of the martyrdom of Christopher: BHL 1764= “Passio Sancti Christophori Martyris”, AB 10, 1891, p. 393– 405 and BHL 1766= Mombritius, Santuarium, p. 364–367= Acta Sanctorum Jul. VI, p. 146–149, an Irish one: J. Fraser, “The Passion of St. Christopher”, Revue Celtique 34, 1913, p. 307–325, and a Greek one: “Sancti Christophori Martyris”, AB 1, 1882, p. 121–148= H. Usener, Acta S. Marinae et Christophori, Bonn, 1886, p. 56–76= F. Halkin, Hagiologie, p. 32–39. The oldest monument of worship of the cult of Christopher belongs to the middle of the fifth century, see: H. Grégoire, “Inscriptions historiques Byzantines”, Byzantion 4, 1929, p. 437–468, (p. 461–465) and BS IV, p. 349–353. David Woods, in “St. Christopher, Bishop Peter of Attalia and the Cohors Marmaritarum: a Fresh Examination”, VChr 48, 1994, p. 170–186, accepted that Christopher existed. 243 Ruinart, Acta, p. 489–491. Franchi de’ Cavalieri, “S. Genesio, S. Ferreolo di Vienna, S. Giuliano di Brivas”, Note Agiographice 8, Studi e Testi 65, p. 203–229, (p. 210) and G. Crescenti, Obiettori di coscienza e martiri

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Longinus,244 Luxurius, Nearchus,245 Tarachus,246 Victor, the forty martyrs of Sebaste, Sergius and Bacchus, and Theodorus and Menas.247 A soldier’s duty was to obey commands issued by superiors and Christian soldiers were presented as willing to obey commands even if issued by pagan officials. It was only sacrifice to the idols that Florian could not stand: iussioni autem tuae pareo quantum decet militem: hoc autem mihi nemo suadere poterit, ut idolis sacrificem.248 Marcianus and Nicandrus refused to sacrifice and to receive a donative.249 Typasius at first rejected a donative, then to miliatri nei primi cinque secoli del cristianesimo, Palermo, 1966, p. 257–261, regarded the Acts of Ferreolus as a pure fiction. 244 Acta Sanctorum Mart. II, p. 376–390, one version in p. 384–386 and another one in p. 386–389, composed by Esychius, who was presbyter of Jerusalem in the middle of the fifth century. 245 The Acts of Polyectus and Nearchus, BHG 1866–7 in PG 114, 417–430 and BS X, p. 996–999. 246 BHG 1574, BHL 981= Acta Sanctorum Oct. V, p. 506–581= Ruinart, Acta, p. 448–476, (p. 451–476), Bueno, p. 1085–1140. See also BS XII, p. 123–124. 247 BHG 1250= A. van Hooff, “Acta sancti Menae martyris Aegypti”, AB 3, 1884, p. 258–270 and BHO 746= E. A. Wallis Budge, Texts Relating to Saint Mêna of Egypt and Canons of Nicea in a Nubian Dialect, British Museum, Oxford, 1909, p. 44–58, Ethiopic Synaxarium= Budge, Saint Mêna, p. 39–43, and Coptic Encomium= Drescher, p. 66–70. Secondary literature: Pio Franchi de’ Cavalieri, “Osservazioni sulle legende dei SS. Martiri Mena e Trifone”, Hagiographica, Studi e Testi 19, Roma, 1908, p. 9–42, BS IX, p. 324–342, Alexander Kazhdan, “The Noble Origin of Saint Menas”, Byzantina 13,1, 1985, p. 669–671, and Peter Grossman, “The Pilgrimage Center of Abû Mînâ” in O. Frankfurter, ed., Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt, Leiden, Boston, Köln, 1998, p. 281– 302. 248 BHL 3054.3 and BHL 3058.5. BHL 3054=Acta Sanctorum Mai I, p. 462–463= B. Krusch, Monumenta Germania Historica, p. 65–71 and BHL 3058= Acta Sanctorum Mai I, p. 463–466. Secondary literature: BS V, p. 937–938 and Reinhardt Harreither, “Der hl. Florian. Der einzige namentlich bekannte Märtyrer in Noricum Ripense”, Rajko Bratož, ed., Westillyricum und Nordostitalien in der Spätrömischen Zeit, Ljublani, 1996. 249 Ruinart, Acta, p. 571–573 and BS VIII, p. 696–699.

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reenlist and, finally, to sacrifice.250 Mercurius was absent from the temple of Artemis while other soldiers attended.251 The martyrs of the Theban Legion refused to kill other Christians and declared that they only fought for just causes: pugnavimus semper pro iustitia, pro pietate, pro innocentium salute, pugnavimus pro fide, Christianos nos fatemur, persequi Christianos non possumus.252 Andreas did not wish to abandon his Christian faith. The forty martyrs of Sebaste were forced to abandon Christianity too, according to their encomium composed by Gregory of Nyssa. The sixty martyrs of Gaza and the forty-two martyrs of Amorion253 resisted conversion to Islam. It seems only Martin of Tours and Theagenes strongly disliked the idea of entering the army, following the example of Maximilian: mihi non licet militare, quia Christianus sum.254 Sometimes Christians made a theatrical display of their religious affiliation,255 desperately sought martyrdom and actually BHL 8354= “Passiones tres martyrum Africanorum SS. Maximae, Donatillae et Secundae, S. Typasii veterani et S. Fabii vexilliferi”, AB 9, 1890, p. 107–123, (p. 116–123). E. Gabba, in “I cristiani nell’esercito del IV secolo dopo Cristo” in Transformations et conflicts au IV siècle après J.-Ch, Bonn, 1978, p. 33–52= Per la storia dell’esercito romano in età imperiale, Bologna, 1974, p. 75–109, (p. 93) and in “Il cristianesimo dei militari”, Mondo classico e cristianesimo, Roma, 1982, p. 45–49, (p. 46), accepted the story as authentic. Ubiña, in Cristianos y militares, p. 411 and p. 416, thought that there is a kernel of truth but the story also embodies later interpolations. Gian Domenico Gordini, in BS XII, p. 497–498, was of the same mind and dated the Acts in the end of the fourth century or the beginning of the fifth. David Woods, in “The Praepositus Saltus”, Classical Quarterly N. S. 44, 1994, p. 245–251, dated the Acts in the later half of 397. See also: J. Fontaine, “Sulpice-Sevère a-t-il travesty saint Martin de Tours en martyr militaire”, AB 81, 1963, p. 31–58, (p. 43–46) and David Woods, “A Historical Source of the Passio Typasii”, VChr 47, 1993, p. 78–84. 251 BHG 1274, 6. 252 Acts of the Theban Legion 9. 253 Halkin, Hagiologie, p. 153–161. 254 Acts of Maximilian 1.2. 255 In Seneca’s Epistula 26.10 we read: Qui mori didicit, servire dedidicit; supra omnem potentiam est, certe extra omnem. Quid ad illum carcer, et custodia, et 250

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felt glad when their dream to die for their faith had been fulfilled.256 Menas found his life in the desert far too boring, so he went to the city, interrupted the shows in the theatre and shouted he was a Christian. Mercurius certainly knew how to attract attention when he took off all of his military clothes in public and shouted he was a Christian.257 There were certain things that one could not do in front of an emperor, and being naked and shouting was one of them. Menas and Mercurius could have chosen another time, place and way of modestly confessing their religious beliefs; they preferred a noisy flamboyant display, instead.258 Not all Christian soldiers wished their skeleton in the closet to be discovered. Irenarchos waited patiently for his service to be completed and, then, declared himself a Christian; he fulfilled his duties and, then, became a martyr; he did not want to create upheaval or upset people while in service.259 Procopius had no intention of revealing his Christianity while in service;260 it was his pagan mother who informed the emperor of her son’s unsettling claustra? Liberum ostium habet (= one who has learned to die has unlearned slavery. He is superior to all powers, and certainly beyond their reach. What to him are prison, guards and fetters? He has an open door). Not all pagans though were impressed by the Christian zeal for martyrdom. Emperor Marcus Aurelius, for example, in 167 CE stigmatized the Christian martyrs’ obstinacy and theatricality in a famous quote in his Meditations 13.3. And Martial had written a little earlier, late in the first century, in his Epigrammata 1.8: nolo virum facili redemit qui sanguine famam; hunc volo laudari qui sine morte potest (= the man who buys an easy fame with his blood is not for me. I value him who can win praise without death). 256 There were Christians who did not approve of seeking voluntary martyrdom. See for example Augustine Sermo 285.1, Sermo 299.8 and Enarrationes in Psalmos 141.18. 257 BHG 1274, 7. 258 Lazzati, in Sviluppi, p. 22, discusses the idea that the Acts of the Martyrs resembled theatrical plays. 259 The Acts of Irenarchus are preserved in two manuscripts of the tenth century. See “La passion de S. Irénarque Sébaste et la passion de S. Blaise”, AB 73, 1955, p. 18–54, (p. 41–54). 260 PG 117, 529–531.

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religious beliefs.261 Victor did not confess he was a Christian; when it was reported to the emperor Maximianus, Victor fled, and only later he suffered martyrdom. Varus hid his faith;262 during his spare time in the army he used to visit imprisoned Christians (after bribing guards to allow him free access to them, as was the custom in Roman times).263 It was the Christian prisoners who persuaded him to break his ‘bonds’ and to exhibit his Christianity publicly. Varus found the advice sound and followed it and made a rather theatrical display of his religious affiliation, which gained him a martyr’s crown. In BHL 3054, Florian and, in BHL 5095, Luxurius were soldiers who secretly worshipped Christ. Martyrdom was not something they longed for, but something they were forced to endure when they refused to sacrifice.264 (In BHL 3058 though, Florian did not wait for a challenge; he strived for martyrdom, so he found a pagan official and he confessed his faith in front of him and longed for a furious reaction.) In most of the late accounts fellow soldiers are presented as noticing that there was a Christian among them (unfortunately, the composers of the Acts do not say how to tell a suspicious behaviour) and notified the emperor or the local authorities or their army officers. That was, for example, the case in the Armenian Apology of Callistratus265 and in the Acts of Christophorus.266 As far as Christophorus was concerned it was It would be exciting to investigate how the family members of a would-be martyr reacted to his decision to face death and how much they influenced the martyr’s decision-making. Varus’ mother, for example, although a Christian pious woman, wished her son to have a military career (Acts of Varus 10). However, not all mothers dream the same future for their children. The mother of one of the forty martyrs of Sebaste encouraged her son to martyrdom, apparently thinking of the great benefits he would enjoy in the afterlife and, possibly, the great power she would enjoy in the community of the living, (Basil, Homily 19, 8). 262 Acts of Varus 1. 263 Acts of Varus 1. 264 BHL 5095, 4 and BHL 3054, 3. 265 Acts of Callistratus, Armenian Apology 3. 266 BHL 1764, 3. 261

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reported to the emperor Decius that Christophorus was trying to proselytize pagans, threatened to kill the emperor, and uttered disgraceful and unimaginable things against the emperor and the gods.267 In the Irish Acts of Christophorus, Decius is told that Christophorus was cursing the gods.268 Finally, in the Acts of Theodorus, the emperor Licinius is told that his friend, Theodorus, had disobeyed the imperial commands and that he was a Christian; Theodorus had been keeping his Christianity a secret since he did not want to upset the emperor and to risk their friendship. Praepositus Brincas knew of Christians in his army, but, he did not care.269 Comes Claudius pretended not to see that Typasius was the only soldier in the ranks who did not offer sacrifice.270 Eventually, he had to pay attention to complains about how Typasius could get away with such behaviour.271 The authorities normally strove to avoid martyrdom. They used every possible means, πειθώ τε καὶ βίᾳ, to persuade the soldiers to conform to general practice and tradition.272 They threatened; they promised rewards,273 offices,274 wealth,275 or all of the above276 or, even, sex with prostitutes,277 in the hope that the men would find at least one of them hard to resist. Christian soldiers were ideally undeterred and they even, sometimes, addressed their superiors, their military officials and the emperor, as their equals. It arousing curiosity that the composer(s) of the Latin account of Christophorus, BHL 1764, got a little BHL 1764, 3. Irish Acts of Christophorus 1. 269 BHL 8077, 2. 270 BHL 8354, 7. 271 BHL 8354, 7. 272 Acts of Eustathius 20. 273 BHL 1764, 21. 274 BHL 8550, 2. 275 Acts of Eutropius 9. 276 Basil, Homily 19, 4.21 and 4.22. 277 All of the available versions of the Acts of Christophorus mention the efforts prostitutes made to seduce the martyr. Unsurprisingly, the Christian martyr did not succumb to the temptation. 267 268

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carried away and portrayed the hero totally despising emperor Decius, showing neither restraint nor respect whatsoever, while, the composer of the Greek account presented Christophorus laughing at the face of the emperor.278 Everything was possible when the emperor was pagan (and long dead). The composer of the Irish Acts was considerably milder and had Christophorus say that he will become the emperor’s servant if he believes in Jesus.279 The Latin account (and in a lesser degree the Greek) did not give Decius a chance. The unyielding Christian soldiers had to face the consequences of their bold actions and their reckless words. They were generally charged πρὸς ἐναντίωσιν τῶν βασιλικῶν θεσπισμάτων280 and they were reminded that καλὸν ἐστί ὑπακούειν ἄρχουσι καὶ βασιλεῦσιν.281 They were sentenced, as in the early predecessors, for μὴ ὑπακούσαντας τῆ κελεύσει τῶν αἰωνίων Αὐγούστων.282 Judge Aquilinus was angry that the emperor’s commands were despised by Florian and asked him: quid derides praecepta Regum?283 Delphius284 could not tolerate Luxurius’ showing contempt for the emperor (in contemptum imperatorum).285 Decius could not understand why Mercurius did not obey the commands given to all men.286 Typasius’ sentence read: ex ejus morte omnes discant statutis imperatorum oboedire.287 Sergius was sentenced to death τὸ μὴ βουληθῆναι πειθίνιον ἑαυτὸν καταστῆσαι τοῖς σεβασμίοις προστάγμασιν καὶ θῦσαι τοῖς θεοῖς.288 Menas’ outspokenness meant

lack of respect for governor Pyrrhus.289 The bystanders were also Acts of Christophorus, Greek Account 19. Irish Acts of Christophorus 10. 280 Acts of Andreas 8. 281 Acts of Eutropius 3. 282 Acts of Eutropius 11. 283 BHL 3054, 3. 284 PLRE I, 247. 285 BHL 5095, 4. 286 BHG 1274, 8. 287 BHL 8354, 7. 288 BHG 1624, 26. 289 BHO 1250, 3. 278 279

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amazed and commented on his disobedience. Menas’ reaction was bursting into laughter. How inappropriate this must have seemed! Please note that in BHO 746 Menas was punished because he deserted his post and refused to offer sacrifice. The violent deaths of the ex-soldiers were not in vain. Their sacrifice sometimes inspired other soldiers to convert to Christianity, as we see in the Greek Acts of Callistratus 6, the Greek Acts of Christophorus 7, Theagenes BHG 2416, 11, and the Greek Acts of Theodorus 3. Soldiers were not supposed to get distracted nor persuaded to abandon traditional Roman religiosity. They were the ones entrusted to guard and to kill Christian martyrs.290 One wonders whether the soldiers, who as a result of their contact with Christian martyrs converted to Christianity, were expected by their contemporaries to leave their posts and to follow the example of their heroes or whether their conversion sufficed. What happened to the forty soldiers who witnessed Florian’s martyrdom and who converted to Christianity right after it? What they did and what was expected from them, sadly, remains a mystery. Soldiers occasionally took care of the remains of their martyred fellow soldiers.291 The relics were as a norm acquired by Christians from the upper classes (only rarely men, see for example the Greek Acts of Eutropius 12 where ἀνδρες συγκλητικοί took the martyr’s remains), and most often women.292 Looking after relics was regarded as a leisure pursuit fitting for an upper class woman. The Acts of Varus narrate a fascinating story:293 Kleopatra was an

BHL 1766, 3 and Irish Acts of Christophorus 3. BHO 185, 14 and the Greek Acts of Callistratus 14, BHO 746, Acts of Ananias 21. 292 BHL 3058, 8 and BHL 8077, 9. 293 PG 115, 1141–1160. David Woods, in “Varus of Egypt: a Fictitious Military Martyr”, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 20, 1996, p. 175–200, thought that the fictitious Acts did not antedate the fifth century. Ubiña, in Cristianos y militares, p. 350, also believed that the Acts are not genuine, contrary to the anonymous author of The Book of Saints, London, 1989, p. 560. 290 291

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upper class widow294 who did not hesitate (when forced to travel) to leave the corpse of her husband behind in order to take the corpse of the martyr Varus with her, and to lie about the whole incident. Kleopatra’s choice proved wise; the corpse of Varus turned out to be profitable, although at some point Kleopatra doubted Varus’ power and accused him of ingratitude and the saint was compelled to appear in a vision and to reassure her he had indeed appreciated all she had done for him. One of the few nonupper class persons who acquired relics was Abgar, the slave of the military martyr Theodorus.295 In the version of Nicephoros Ouranos, however, it was a woman who gave presents to the authorities to get hold of the corpse of Theodorus.296 Late antique and medieval upper class women may have been in the habit of collecting relics but it was for the Christian clergy to establish and to administer saint cults.297 Bishops took Victor’s remains and promoted his cult.298 Bishops built a shrine in memory of Sergius and Bacchus and advertised it widely.299 In the Latin Acts of Christophorus 26, bishops paid to obtain the martyr’s relics and to dedicate a basilica to house them. Patriarch Sophronius got most of the relics of the sixty martyrs of Gaza; a few remained for other Christians to buy.300 In the case of Cornelius, who eventually escaped martyrdom, the local bishop got his relics, after Cornelius died of old age, in the hope that they possessed special powers. Widows very often appeared in the lives of martyrs. See for example the Acts of Sebastian in Acta Sanctorum Ian. II, p. 257–296. 295 BHO 1168, 17. 296 Acts of Theodorus, version of Nicephoros Ouranos 3. 297 Sulpicius Severus, Martin of Tours 11, the Greek Acts of Christophorus 28, and Maureen A. Tilley, “Harnessing the Martyrs: Social Control of Hagiography in Roman North Africa” in http://divinity.library.vanderbilt.edu/chroma/saints/martilley.html. 298 Meanwhile, wild animals guarded the martyr’s body, BHL 8550, 6. See Blake Leyerle, “Monks and Other Animals” in Dale B. Martin and Patricia Cox Miller, ed., The Cultural Turn in Late Ancient Studies, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2005, p. 150–171. 299 BHG 1624, 30. 300 BHL 5672m. 294

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Eustratius was very diligent indeed, so, before his sacrifice, he gave permission to the local bishop to take his relics and to look after them, just in case someone might appear in the future and challenge the bishop’s privilege of managing the martyr’s cult. The forty martyrs of Sebaste wrote a letter before their martyrdom to ensure that their relics would not be dispersed.301 One needed money to bribe the guards and to acquire a martyr’s relics. Unfortunately, we have no information on the amounts required for a whole corpse or for parts of it. The demand for relics was so high, especially in the medieval times, that we would expect them to have been quite expensive. Bishops and upper class women could afford them. What I find funny and have no reason to doubt as accurate is the fact that some Christians attended martyr confessions and waited for the tragic end in order to acquire some relics and benefit from them.302 That is because relics were for Christians, from very early on, ‘more precious than costly stones, and more valuable than gold’303 and their possession was prestigious and lucrative, not to mention beneficial for one’s soul. Even pagans recognized the importance of the corpse of a Christian martyr and sometimes out of grudge tried to prevent Christians from acquiring it. Maximianus in BHL 8550, 3 bitterly warned Victor not to hope that he would gain fame after death as he had already arranged the martyr’s corpse to be hidden from the Christians. It was very difficult to have a martyr’s cult without showing his physical remains and Maximianus thought that by saying this he would deprive Victor of a serious motive to undergo martyrdom. In another version of the story Victor is presented as aware that his body will be taken by the faithful.304 Finally, Delphius ordered Luxurius to be taken and be beheaded in an inhabited area in order to avert Christians from collecting his The Codex Theodosianus 9.17.7 in vain forbade the tampering with the dead and the division and selling of the bodies of martyrs. On the treatment and the disposal of the Roman arenas’ dead non-Christian victims see Kyle, Spectacles of Death. 302 BHL 1764, 23. 303 Acts of Polycarp 18. 304 “De SS. Victore et Corona”, AB 2, 1883, p. 291–299, paragraph 11. 301

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corpse and making a saint for themselves. Of course, Christians finally got what they desired. Nothing could stand on the way between them and their saints. The mortal remains of a martyr were a major concern in the late Acts of the Military Martyrs. The same cannot be said for the legitimacy of Christian participation in warfare. Often the issue was totally irrelevant. The Acts of Eutropius is telling of the composer’s and his/her audience’s apprehensions. The fact that Eutropius was a soldier is only incidentally mentioned in the middle of the account305 and seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the evolution of the story. It is interesting that not only the accounts of martyrdoms of Christian soldiers but, also, other sources that mention soldier martyrs did not discuss the struggle to remain or leave the army. For example, Gildas in De Excidio Britanniae 10–11 in the middle of the sixth century, and Bede in Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum I,7 early in the eighth century, did not remember Alban as a soldier who found service in the army as irreconcilable with his faith.306 Likewise, when in the middle of the sixth century Gregory of Tours talked about the Christian soldiers Emeterius and Chelidonius in his De Gloria Martyrum 92 he was more impressed by their miracles than anything.307 Similarly, late antique Acts of Eutropius 7. W. H. C. Frend, “The Christianization of Roman Britain” in M. W. Barley and R. P. C. Hanson, ed., Christianity in Britain 300–700. Papers Presented to the Conference on Christianity in Roman and Sub-Roman Britain Held at the University of Nottingham 17–20 April 1967, Leicester, 1968, p. 37– 49. 307 Our earliest source for the martyrs Emeterius and Chelidonius is Prudentius’ Peristephanon, hymn 1. Prudentius (who was born in Spain in 348 of Christian parents and had the rank of comes primi ordinis) must have been short on biographical material and that was the reason he chose to concentrate mainly on the envy of the persecutors. Prudentius was much read in the medieval times as the surviving manuscripts of his works number more than three hundred. See P. Allard, “Les persécutions en Espagne pendant les premiers siècles du Christianisme”, Revue des Questions Historiques 39, 1886, p. 5–51, B. G., “S. Marcel de Tanger ou de Léon?”, p. 131–132, Jacques Fontaine, “Le culte des martyrs militaires et son 305 306

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sources on the Theban Legion tend to focus on other issues and do not embark on a discourse on the legality of Christians partaking in warfare. Gregory of Tours in De Gloria Martyrum 61 was interested in the miracles its soldiers performed; Thietmar in the tenth century in his Chronicon 2.17 concentrated on the translation of the soldier martyrs’ relics, as Gallus Anonymous did in his Chronicon 6 a century later. This is curious since the text of the Acts of the Theban Legion itself offered a lot of food for thought and could have easily intrigued discussions on the issue of Christian involvement in warfare. The Acts of the Theban Legion raise some interesting points. The composer, Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, did not wish his intentions to be misunderstood and took great care to make it explicitly clear that his heroes and, subsequently, all Christians should not resent fighting; far from it. The Christian soldiers of the Theban Legion rendered to God what was God’s and to Caesar what was Caesar’s308 and were portrayed saying: militiam debemus.309 Military service was something that Christians owed to the emperor and that was part of their civic obligations, with one condition though: the causes of war had to be known, checked and approved. Eucherius did not invite Christians to abstain from the world and expression poétique au IVè siècle: l’idéal évangélique de la non-violence dans le christianisme théodosien”, Études sur la poésie latine tardive d’Ausone à Prudence, Paris, 1980, p. 331–361, John Francis Petrucione, Prudentius’ Use of Martyrological ‘Topoi’ in ‘Peristephanon’”, dissertation, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1985, printed in 1996, Anne-Marie Palmer, Prudentius. On the Martyrs, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1989, John Francis Petrucione, “The Persecutor’s Envy and the Rise of the Martyr Cult: Peristephanon Hymns 1 and 4”, VChr 45, 1991, p. 327–346, Michael Roberts, Poetry and Cult of the Martyrs. The Liber Peristephanon of Prudentius, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1993, and M. Mastrangelo, The Roman Self in Late Antiquity. Prudentius and the Poetics of the Soul, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2008. The post-Prudentian Acts BHL 2533= Acta Sanctorum Mart. I, p. 23–24, merely elaborate the plot of the hymn with inauthentic biographical data. 308 BHL 5740, 3. See also p. 33. 309 Acts of the Theban Legion 9.

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to refuse to enlist. He simply wanted a political role for himself as a member of the Christian clergy. Eucherius wanted bishops to be seriously involved in politics. Who could have been more suitable to judge whether a war was justified and approved by God than the Christian clergy? According to historian Luigi Alfonsi, Eucherius set limits to military service.310 My understanding of his account as it has been preserved is that Eucherius did not set limits to the individual conscience of the common soldier but, rather, tried to set limits to those waging wars. The composer of the Acts of Ferreolus shared Eucherius’ views and presented Ferreolus saying: imperatoribus militavi. It was against Christians that Ferreolus would not fight.311 Sergius and Bacchus were also presented saying: ἡμεῖς βασιλεῦ, τὴν μὲν ἐπίγειον τῆς σωματικῆς στρατείας ἀποδοῦναι σοι ὑπερησίαν χρεωστοῦμεν,312 but do not ask us to

sacrifice. Eucherius understood the NT exhortation: ‘no one can serve two masters’, found in Matthew 6.24 and in Luke 16.13, as binding Christians to fulfill their civic duties and serve in the army. It is most fascinating that not everyone interpreted Jesus’ saying in quite the same way.313 When Longinus said: nemo potest duobus Dominis servire,314 he meant he could not remain in the army any longer. Montanus repeated Longinus’ exact words315 with exactly the same intention: to quit his military post. Finally, Theagenes shared the same interpretation of the NT quote (and was ironically asked whether Licinius did not seem an emperor to him; pagans did not lose their sense of humor, even if under awkward circumstances).316 “Considerazioni sulla ‘Passio Acaunensium Martryrum’ di Eucherio di Leone”, Studi Romani 8, 1960, p. 52–55, (p. 53). 311 Acts of Ferreolus 1. 312 Acts of Sergius and Bacchus 5. 313 See also p. 31-32. 314 Acts of Longinus 3. 315 One must have copied the other. The similarities between Acta Sanctorum Mart. II, p. 376–390, (p. 384–386) and Acta Sanctorum Jun. III, p. 278–283, are striking. 316 See also the Acts of Maximilian 2.4 and 5. 310

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Menas’ executioners were amazed that he was a soldier and a Christian and asked him how he had become one.317 The composers of the Acts of the Military Martyrs were not very interested in saying how soldiers were converted to Christianity. We are only incidentally informed that Luxurius was reading the psalms and that is how he converted; but how he obtained the psalms in the first place remains a mystery.318 Gordianus, Mercurius’ father, was a Christian who served as a primicerius in the same unit as his son, the Martenses.319 Mercurius entered the army and then converted to Christianity after an angel appeared to him twice in visions. Both Theodorus’ and Menas’ parents were Christians.320 Menas’ father was not only a Christian but also a prefect, according to the Ethiopic Synaxarium. It seems Roman sons often followed their fathers’ footsteps, their choice of career and of religious affiliation, even if that meant being Christians and serving in the army. When Nereas and Achileas converted to Christianity they threw down their arms, confessed their faith and martyred.321 However, if one managed to avoid martyrdom he could retire to

BHO 746. BHL 5095, 2. 319 BHL 1274, 5. 320 BHL 1168, 5 and BHO 746. 321 Damasus was bishop of Rome in 366. He restored the catacombs and advanced the cult of the martyrs. An integral part of the programme of restoration was the provision of epigrams on marble slabs where the heroism of the martyrs was celebrated. Approximately sixty epigrams in honour of martyrs are extant. Nereas and Achilleas were probably the only soldiers among them. A Latin account of the martyrdom of Nereas and Achileas (Acta Sanctorum Mai VII, p. 4–16) was presumably composed in the fifth century, according to Pio Franchi de’ Cavalieri, “Santi Nereo e Achilleo”, Studi e Testi 222, vol. II, (1900–1946), p. 365–366, or in the sixth century, according to Umberto M. Fasola in BS IX, p. 813–820. See also Umberto M. Fasola, La basilica dei SS. Nereo ed Achilleo e la catacomba di Domitilla, Roma, 19672, for the basilica dedicated to the martyrs in the catacomb of Domitilla. 317 318

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the desert, as Gordius and Menas322 did, or he could perhaps built a monastery, as Typasius323 did after his discharge.324 One could have a more busy life by becoming a bishop, following the example of Victricius,325 Martin of Tours and Celerinus.326 Once Victricius became bishop, Paulinus of Nola felt apprehensive whether Victricius had a clear understanding of all major Christian theological issues, like the nature of Jesus.327 It was vital that such an venerable figure, as an almost-martyr, preached the correct doctrine to the masses. Sulpicius Severus conversely fully trusted Martin that his interpretation of the Scriptures was the right one.328 Before ending a chapter that examines (among other things) the conformism of the composers of Acts of the Military Martyrs and their loyalty to the state we ought to wonder why John Chrysostom did not mention the name of the emperor under whom his heroes, the soldiers Juventius and Maximinus, were martyred329 and why Basil of Caesarea did not name the emperor

BHG 1250, 2. BHL 8354, 4. Alan Dearn, in his article “The Passio S. Typasii Veterani as a Catholic Construction of the Past”, VChr 50, no. 1, 2001, p. 86–98, (p. 95), was right to observe that the Acts of Typasius gave legitimacy to monasticism by portraying it as a continuance of martyrdom. 324 After the conversion of Constantine it became more and more common for retiring soldiers to take up the monastic life. See John T. McNeil, “Asceticism Versus Militarism in the Middle Ages”, Church History 5, 1936, n.1, p. 3–28, (p. 4 and 27) and John Haldon, Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World 564–1204, London, 1999, p. 275. 325 Paulinus of Nola, Letter 18 and 37, Guilelmus de Hartel, ed., Sancti Pontii Meropii Paulini Nolani Epistulae, Praga, Vindobana, Lipsia, 1894, Acta Sanctorum Aug. II, p. 192–197, and BS XII, p. 1310–1315. 326 Cyprian, Epistula 39. 327 Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 37, 6. 328 BHL 5610, 25. 329 PG 50, 571–578. Secondary literature: Pio Franchi de’ Cavalieri, “Dei SS. Gioventino et Massimino”, Note Agiografiche 9, Studi e Testi 175, Roma, 1953, p. 169–200 and F. Scorza Barcellona, “Martiri e confessori dell’ età di Giuliano l’Apostata: dall’ storia alla legenda” in F. Ela 322 323

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under whom the forty martyrs of Sebaste suffered martyrdom when he was diligent in providing other information on their martyrdom. Was it because they did not know? Was the information already known to their audiences? It may be that they did not want to insult the memory of an emperor, even if pagan and even if dead so long ago. Let us leave the question open.

Conclusions Why were the Acts of the Military Martyrs written? Some of the composers were of the opinion that Christians could serve in the Roman army, with or without conditions; a few were adamant that Christians should not serve. A surprising number of others did not seem to care at all whether there existed in the past or at the time of their compositions Christians who were serving or Christians who faced a dilemma whether it would be wise to enlist or to abandon their posts (or prospects for a post) in the army. The late Acts of the Military Martyrs preserved and continued the same tradition as the earlier ones so far as the issue of legitimacy of Christian involvement in the military is concerned. My aim was not to treat them as sources of contemporary mentality (and the reason why I dedicate so much space to them is because they were far more numerous than the early ones) but to show that late accounts may have belonged to a different world, and may have been embroidered and highly-colored to become more exciting, but continued to be written mainly by the clergy and to carry the same messages as their predecessors, the same indifference to military service; and when service was not indifferent, the main reason for objection advanced was participation in pagan ceremonies. The Acts of the Military Martyrs were not primarily composed in order to discuss whether Christians were allowed to serve or not. Only a minority of the early and late Acts portrayed the soldier martyrs as unwilling to choose a military profession or to continue their military careers after their conversion as something opposing the teaching of Jesus. It seems as if only a few Christians ever felt Consolino, ed., Pagani e cristiani da Giuliano l’Apostata al sacco di Roma, Catanzaro, Rubbettino, 1995, p. 53–83, (p. 76–78).

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uncomfortable with the military profession. It was mostly pagans that resented having Christians in the army and saw an incompatibility between being Christian with remaining in the army. A considerable number of the composers of the late Acts even presented the martyrs as former great soldiers or explicitly stated that Christians owed military service, even to a pagan emperor. In most of the cases (both in the early and late ones) Christian soldiers were happy to be in the army and problems aroused only when they were called to sacrifice. That was the only thing Christians could ideally never do and that was the reason the Christian heroes resisted. The authors of the early and late Acts were aware that the martyrs were extremely disrespectful and that the pagan authorities perceived them as such. However, this challenge to authority was justified because the authorities were not only pagan but more importantly pagans who had horribly forced Christians to venerate idols against their will. The most common message the late accounts convey (and that was not stressed as much in the early ones) was that one was expected to fulfill his civic duties and serve in the army, even if under pagan authorities, and if, and only if, one was called to renounce Jesus, then he should/could be a hero and suffer a martyr’s death. What we ought to keep in mind when examining the late Acts is that they were written under Christian emperors. Thus, there was no reason for the audience of the Acts to confront the authorities in real life; no reason whatsoever, at least not in the foreseeable future. Emperors (whether pagan or Christian) needed military victories. A well-trained, well-equipped, brave force with a clever plan did not always prove victorious. Emperors needed the support of (the) god(s) to help them prevail on the battlefield. Antiochus believed that the pagan gods authorized the Romans as winners: διὰ γὰρ τῆς τούτων προνοίας πᾶσα ἡμῖν βαρβάρων ὑποτέτακται δύναμις.330 In the late Acts the soldier martyrs were presented as

being able (both before and after their deaths) to interfere in military matters and play a decisive role in the outcome of battles. Military martyrs at some point became the patrons of Christian 330

BHG 1624, 18.

NEGATIVE SOURCES

283

emperors and their armies and associated with the maintenance of their power.331 They sometimes provided cures from illnesses to emperors and officials.332 However, they more often granted victories on the battlefield. Mercurius informed Decius that his army won owing to the Christian God.333 Nestor in the Passio Altera and in the Passio Tertia believed he overcame the gladiator Lyaeos because saint Demetrius334 gave him a helping hand.335 Menas after his death ensured a military victory.336 Typasius predicted the military victory of the emperor Diocletian. It turned out that the martyr was right.337 Martin of Tours, after his retirement from military service, predicted that the emperor Maximinus (235–238) would at first win Valerian (253–260), but eventually face defeat.338 It is not clear though, whether Martin Walter, “Theodore”, p. 194. Sulpicius Severus, Martin of Tours 19, BHL 1764, 16, Ethiopic Synaxarium of Menas, Miracles of Artemios. 333 BHG 1274, 7. 334 Accounts of the martyrdom of Demetrius were written in the ninth century, by Photius, the patriarch of Constantinople, in his Bibliotheca in PG 104, 104–106 and by Anastasius’ the librarian in PL 129, 715–726= PG 116, 1167–1172, who sent his work to the Frankish king Charles the Bald (823–878). There also survives the Passio Altera in PG 116, 1173– 1184 and the Passio Tertia by Symeon Metaphrastes in PG 116, 1185–1202. The earliest evidence for the cult of Demetrius is archaeological: the remains of a church dedicated to the saint in Thessaloniki in the middle of the fifth century. Ruth J. Macrides, “Subversion and Loyalty in the Cult of St. Demetrios”, Byzantinoslavica 51, 1990, p. 189–197, James C. Skedros, Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki. Civic Patron and Divine Protector 4th–7th Century CE, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, HThS 47, 1999, and David Woods, “Thessalonica’s Patron: Saint Demetrius or Emeterius?”, HThR 93, 2000, p. 221–234. 335 However, in Photius’ Bibliotheca, the earliest surviving account of the martyrdom of Demetrius, Nestor’s victory over the famous gladiator Lyaeos is not attributed to Demetrius, and Nestor did not meet Demetrius before the game. 336 BHO 746. 337 BHL 8354, 3. 338 BHL 5610, 20. 331 332

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drew his conclusions as an ex-officer or could predict the future as a result of his special relation to God. The soldier martyrs became so powerful that they could threaten an emperor.339 Other sources render military martyrs responsible for emperors’ deaths! In John Malalas’ Chronicle 13.25,340 Basil, bishop of Caesarea, is presented as having seen a dream that Jesus told Mercurius to kill the emperor Julian because the later opposed Christianity. Basil was, reportedly, confused by the dream as Julian held him in honour. In the seventh century the Chronicon Pascal 363 narrated the same story with a minor change: this time Basil was terrified.341 In around 470 CE, approximately sixty years before the composition of Malalas’ Chronicle, the Armenian historian Fawstos Buzand preserved a similar story presenting Theodore and Sergius as responsible for the death of the Arian emperor Valens. The Acts of the Military Martyrs do not generally report such horror stories. The soldier martyrs derived their power from God. Andreas declared that the God of the Christians granted successful outcomes in battle.342 Christians perceive(d) their God in a most interesting way. He was thought to send visions to military martyrs to help them endure martyrdom343 and to Christian soldiers to encourage them to perform their duties bravely.344 He was supposed to have two armies under His direction: an army of angels which sometimes fought against an army governed by the devil,345 and an army of saints.346 It is also noteworthy that God was never presented in the Acts of the Military Martyrs as

BHL 1766, 12. Many of the most popular medieval saints were soldiers, see Stephen Wilson, “Introduction” in Saints and their Cults. Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore Society, Cambridge, 1983, p. 1–53, (p. 37). 340 PG 47, 497. 341 N. H. Baynes, “The Death of Julian the Apostate in Christian Legend”, JRS 27, 1937, p. 22–29. 342 Acts of Andreas 3. 343 BHG 1274. 344 BHG 1624, 12. 345 BHL 1764, 27. 346 Acts of Varus 14. 339

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285

condemning warfare or at least Christian participation in it; to the best of my knowledge not even once. The same is true for His Son. The power of the Christian God in military affairs was often acknowledged by emperors. Emperor Theodosius built a church in Georgius’ honour.347 Arcadius and Honorius built a church for Menas.348 Zeno established a garrison of one thousand two hundred soldiers to guard the shrine of Menas according to the Coptic encomium, while according to BHO 746 the garrison was much bigger and numbered twenty-three thousand men. From all of the above, it is evident that most of the authors of the Acts of the Military Martyrs described the martyrs’ struggle against the authorities in conservative terms. We do not know (or know little of) the real motives that lay behind the Christian soldiers’ decisions to abandon their posts and confront the authorities. We only know what the written accounts choose to offer us. And what they did offer was martyrs challenging the authorities only because these authorities were pagan and demanded the Christians to compromise their religious beliefs and to renounce Jesus. Under these circumstances, the military martyrs’ actions were fully justified. A rebellion and a martyrdom for other reasons would probably find no justification. The conservatism of the Acts is comprehensible since their composers were often bishops or sent their works to bishops to approve and to read to their congregations. The Christian bishops generally came from the upper classes349 and shared more or less the same interests as the political authorities and would have no or little benefit to preach rebellious messages against them. The Church offered pagan BHO 320. Ethiopic Synaxarium. 349 Dimitris J. Kyrtatas, Η αποκάλυψη του Ιωάννη και οι επτά εκκλησίες της Ασίας, Αthens, 1994, p. 75–76, Roger S. Bagnall, Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton University Press, Princeton, Chichester, 1996, 1993 1, p. 285, Timothy D. Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius. Theology and Politics in the Constantinian Empire, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, 20013, 1993, p. 179, and Peter Brown, Poverty and Leadership in the Later Roman Empire, University Press of New England, Hanover and London, 2002, p. 48–49. 347 348

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emperors (and subsequently offered wholeheartedly Christian emperors) religious valorization and justification of their position.350

Danny Praet, “Explaining the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Older Theories and Recent Developments”, Sacris Erudiri 33, 1992–1993, p. 5–119, (p. 33) and Michael Whitby, “Deus Nobiscum: Christianity, Warfare and Morale in Late Antiquity”, in Michel Austin, Jill Harries and Christopher Smith, ed., Essays in Honour of Geoffry Rickman, London, 1998, p. 191–208. 350

7. COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW

AWAY THEIR ARMS IN TIMES OF PEACE SHOULD BE KEPT FROM COMMUNION

INTRODUCTION If the early Christians had indeed been preoccupied about the legitimacy of having military careers and participating in warfare, then we would expect the Church to have helped them to be freed from their dilemmas by officially announcing its position. The first surviving ‘public appearance’ of the Church belongs to as late as the beginning of the fourth century. It looks as if the Church had not intervened before simply because it felt there was no reason to; the issue did not comprise a major concern in the previous centuries. This chapter examines the regulations the Church announced concerning the appropriate behaviour of its members towards war, violence and military service. Some regulations were set by local clergy who had in mind solely their communities; some were composed by ambitious individuals with the desire that all Christians worldwide follow them; and some were the result of ecumenical synods and were addressed to all Christians worldwide. It is imperative to keep this distinction in mind when reading the sources. The regulations will be examined, where possible, in chronological order since they were responses to specific situations and reactions to imperial measures. In late antiquity the Church and the state were engaged in a dialogue concerning the responsibilities towards each other. The impression we get is that the Church initially did not have a unanimous position concerning Christian responsibilities. No pattern emerges showing clearly the early Christian official attitude to war, violence and military service. 287

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Different Christian communities perceived the issue in a different light and consequently proposed different solutions. It was only in the end of the fourth century when Christian religious leaders agreed that only clerics and monks were to live a ‘pure’ and ‘higher’ Christian life and to keep themselves apart from military affairs and expected the laity to get actively involved. This position was happily acknowledged by the state.

SACRORUM CANONUM CONTEMPTORES ET ECCLESIASTICAE SANCTITATIS PROFANATORES A soldier who is in authority must not kill men; if he should be ordered (to do it), he must not do it. He must not take the military oath. If he will not agree, let him be rejected. A military governor or a magistrate of a city who wears the purple (toga) either let him resign or be rejected. If a catechumen or a baptized Christian wishes to become a soldier let him be rejected for he has despised God (Traditio Apostolica 16).

The author of the Traditio Apostolica,1 who might have been Hippolytus,2 advised Christians not to seek a military career. He also provided for those who had started a military career prior to their conversion to Christianity. If they were ordinary soldiers they should refuse the order to kill, take the military oath and shun the positions of superior officers or magistrates who inflict or carry out the death penalty. If they were superior officers and magistrates then they were expected to change careers. The author of the Traditio Apostolica made clear distinctions and put different limitations on what a Christian could/should do according to his position in the army and the time of his conversion. There was no Contemporary scholarship expresses scepticism whether the Traditio Apostolica has rightly been attributed to Hippolytus. The discussion is complicated but interesting to follow. See Jacques Fontaine, “Christians and Military Service in the Early Church”, Consilium 7, 1965, p. 58–64, Gregory Dix, The Apostolic Tradition, London, 1968, p. d–i, Bernard Botte, Hippolyte de Rome. La Tradition Apostolique d’après les anciennes versions, Paris, 19682, p. 14–17, and Philip Rousseau, The Early Christian Centuries, London et al., 2002, p. 174f. 2 For a biography of Hippolytus see p. 164 footnote 60. 1

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 289 universal rejection of the notion of military duty as such. A military career was seen as a possibility, but the limitations put on it (not to kill and not to take the military oath) made it virtually impossible for someone to continue to serve without attracting the attention and the fury of his superiors. The Traditio Apostolica is the earliest surviving collection of Church regulations for the appropriate Christian conduct of laity and clergy, composed at the end of the second3 or the beginning of the third century,4 and one of the earliest evidence for the existence of anti-military sentiments in the Christian Church. (The first surviving anti-military voices belong to Tatian and Tertullian, as we saw in chapter 6.1.) We do not know whether these regulations were ever followed or even accepted and authorized as generally binding by the Christian congregation in which their author belonged; he would certainly have wished the later to be the case. De his qui arma projiciunt in pace placuit abstineri eos a communione. In 314 CE, the Synod of Arles,5 summoned at emperor Constantine’s behest,6 promulgated in Canon 3 that those who throw away their arms in times of peace should be kept from communion. This Canon has greatly vexed scholars interested in early Christian attitudes to warfare. Several interpretations have been proposed to the phrases arma projiciunt and in pace. Some scholars replaced the arma projiciunt with arma conjiciunt assuming that the Canon prohibited Christians from carrying weapons in peacetime and referred either to gladiatorial games or the carrying of weapons in everyday life (contrary to Jesus’ advice in Lk 22.35–

B. Steimer, “Traditio Apostolica” in Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 580–583, (p. 582). 4 Dix, The Apostolic Tradition, p. xi and xxxv–xxxviii, argued in favour of 215 CE. 5 Translated by James Stevenson, A New Eusebius. Documents Illustrative of the History of the Church to AD 337, London, 1957, no.124, p. 144–147. 6 Donatus, bishop of Carthage, was against the readmitting of clergy who lapsed during persecution and appealed to Constantine who referred the matter to a meeting of bishops in Rome and then at Arles. See Averil Cameron, The Later Roman Empire, London, 1993, p. 59. 3

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38).7 Other scholars asserted that the early Church was pacifist and understood either that Christians were only allowed to pursue military careers as long as they did not shed blood but were only engaged in police work, and if they abandoned their police duties then they were in trouble. Similarly, others understood that Christians helped the Roman army only in periods when there were no wars and kept themselves apart when there were, for the Church expected its members not to get involved in warfare but punished them if they refused to help the state when there were no wars.8 A few scholars understood the term peace in quite a different way, as the peace that prevailed between the empire and the Church with the termination of persecutions against Christians.9 Finally, some replaced the in pace with in bello, A. Bigelmair, Die Beteiligung der Christen am öffentlichen Leben in vorkonstantinischer Zeit. Ein Beitrag zur ältesten Kirchengeschichte, Munich, 1902, p. 182, K. H. E. De Jong, Dienstweigering bij de oude Christenen, Leiden, 1905, p. 28ff, and G. S. Windass, “The Early Christian Attitude to War”, Irish Theological Quarterly 29, 1962, p. 235–245, (p. 244). 8 H. F. Secrétan, “Le Christianisme des premiers siècles et le service militaire”, Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie 2, 1914, p. 324–366, (p. 364), G. Fritz, “Service militaire”, Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique 14/2, 1941, p. 1972–1981, (p. 1977), R. H. Bainton, Actitudes cristianas ante la guerra y la paz. Examen histórico y nueva valoración crítica, tr. Angel Alcalá, Madrid, 1963, p. 77, and John Driver, How Christians Made Peace with War. Early Christian Understandings of War, Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Kitchener, Ontario, 1988, p. 75–76. The idea that early Christians served in the Roman army but carried out only police duties is still very popular among modern theologians; see for example “War” in Sinclair B. Ferguson and David F. Wright, ed., New Dictionary of Theology, Leicester, Illinois, 1988, p. 714–716, (p. 715), Ronald Musto, Catholic Peacemakers. A Documentary History. From the Bible to the Era of the Crusades, New York and London, 1993, p. 158, and R. G. Clouse, “War” in Walter A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Grand Rapids and Cumbria, 1995, 19841, p. 1152–1155, (p. 1153) and Out of Justice, Peace. The Church in the Service of Peace, Joint Pastoral Letter of the German Bishops, Dublin, without date of publication. 9 Ed. Le Blant, Les inscriptions chrétiennes de la Gaulle romaine, Paris, 1892, vol. 1, p. 82, n. 2, Adolf Harnack, Militia Christi. The Christian Religion and the Military in the First Three Centuries, tr. David McInnes, Philadelphia, 7

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 291 discerning a Christian effort to please the state by prohibiting Christians from feeling an aversion to warfare and subsequently being uncomfortable in the army.10 We can maintain that the Church was not pacifist but tried to please the state without having to replace any words if we assume that the Church prohibited its members from finding the military profession incompatible with their faith even in periods when there was no warfare and no bloodshed, and punished all those who dared to desert their posts. And the council of Arles made no mention of throwing away arms in time of war (to which the Church also objected) because military laws had already covered this possibility and had assigned the death penalty.11 Admittedly, none of these interpretations is entirely convincing. However, some are less convincing than others. First of all, it seems unlikely that the distinction between police work and military work was a meaningful one in late antiquity. There was physical violence involved in both activities.12 And the Church could not have expected its members to serve only in periods of relative calm and desert when war was threatened. No army would have tolerated such an arrangement, and no emperor. And we know that the emperor was present at the proceedings; it was explicitly stated so in the published text. Furthermore, the military laws had already covered the possibility and had assigned penalties

1981, (1905), p. 100, and J. Moffatt in Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, 2nd vol., Edinburgh, 1918, p. 670f. See also: Tertullian, De Fuga 3, Origen, Contra Celsum iii.15, viii.70, Eusebius, H.E. V. xvi.19, and Lactantius, De Mortibus Persecutorum 4, where the term peace has this meaning. 10 For example Surius, Concilia omnia tam generalia quam provincialia atque particularia, Colonia, 1576, cited by C. J. Hefele- H. Leclercq, Histoire des conciles, Paris, 1907, vol. I, p. 282. 11 A. W. W. Dale, The Synod of Elvira and Christian Life in the Fourth Century, London, 1882, p. 238f and p. 281 and John Helgeland, “Christians and the Roman Army from Marcus Aurelius to Constantine”, ANRW II.23.I.1979, p. 724–834, (p. 806). 12 Louis J. Swift, The Early Fathers on War and Military Service, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983, p. 91.

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for desertion not only in times of war but also of peace.13 This leaves us with the following possibilities: either to take in pace to mean the end of Christian persecution (something quite common in late antique Christian circles, as we saw in p. 229) or to replace words (arma projiciunt with arma conjiciunt or in pace with in bello). We have no reason to believe that the author(s) of the Canon did not have the end of persecutions in mind. However, there is no strong evidence to support such an interpretation either, as there is no evidence to justify the replacement of any words. Canon 3 is far too brief. The rest of the Canons of the council were concerned about donatism,14 celibacy, the consecration of bishops, rebaptism and various other issues that unfortunately do not clarify the obscurity of the meaning of Canon 3. It is only helpful to keep in mind that since the emperor Constantine was present at the council meetings it is highly unlikely that the council would have decided something that might displease him and jeopardize his loyalty to the Church. Condemning Christian participation in warfare would certainly not be to any emperor’s liking. Thus, it seems reasonable to assume that service in the army could create problems for the early Christian conscience (and that was the reason a relevant Canon was included in the council) but the Church’s decision was in favour of Christian participation in warfare. This Canon could be a Christian response to the generosity of Constantine who had a few years earlier obliged the Church by commanding the following:

J. B. Campbell, The Emperor and the Roman Army 31BC–AD235, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1984, p. 303f and Dick Whittaker, “Landlords and Warlords in the Later Roman Empire” in John Rich and Graham Shipley, ed., War and Society in the Roman World, London and New York, 1993, p. 277–302, (p. 287). 14 See W. H. C. Frend, The Donatist Church: a Movement of Protest in Roman North Africa, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1952 and Orthodoxy, Paganism and Dissent in the Early Christian Centuries, Variorum Collected Studies Series, Hampshire and Vermont, 2002, ch. 8, 9 and 10. 13

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 293 Once more, with respect to those who had previously been preferred to any military distinction, of which they were afterwards deprived, for the cruel and unjust reason that they chose rather to acknowledge their allegiance to God than to retain the rank they held; we leave them perfect liberty of choice, either to occupy their former stations, should they be content again to engage in military service, or after an honourable discharge, to live in undisturbed tranquility. For it is fair and reasonable that men who have displayed such magnanimity and fortitude in meeting the perils to which they have been exposed, should be allowed the choice either of enjoying peaceful leisure, or resuming their former rank (Eusebius, Vita Constantini, 2.33).

Constantine with this rescript, preserved by Eusebius in the emperor’s biography, the Vita Constantini,15 permitted soldiers who had deserted, were demoted or expelled from their posts on account of their faith to have the option of resuming their former ranks in the army or to obtain honourable discharge.16 Modern scholarship has correctly understood the emperor as referring to the desertion of Christians from the Roman army under the anti-

This document is considered authentic by F. J. Foakes-Jackson, Eusebius Pamphili. A Study of the Man and his Writings, Cambridge, 1933, p. 108, A. H. M. Jones and T. C. Skeat, “Notes on the Genuineness of the Constantinian Documents in Eusebius’ Life of Constantine”, JEH 5, 1954, p. 196–200, Timothy D. Barnes, “The Constantinian Settlement” in Harold W. Attridge and Gohei Hata, ed., Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism, Leiden, New York and Köln, 1992, p. 653–657, (p. 650), and Averil Cameron and Stuart G. Hall in their edition of Eusebius, Life of Constantine, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1999, p. 5, p. 18 and p. 239. Chapters 27 and 28, the end of 26 and beginning of 29, have been identified as the text written on the back of P.Lond. 878 (319–320), thus leaving no doubt about the authenticity of the document. B. H. Warmington, in “The Sources of some Constantinian Documents in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History and the Life of Constantine”, St Patr. 18/1, 1986, p. 93–98, (p. 94–97), suggested that the document was given to Eusebius by an imperial notary called Marianus whose work is described in iv. 44. 16 See also Sozomen, Historia 1.1. 15

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Christian measures of the emperors Diocletian and Licinius17 or Diocletian and Galerius.18 The rescript started and concluded with Constantine expressing his conviction that he enjoyed the unlimited favour of the Christian God he honoured.19 It announced measures manifesting the emperor’s support to the Church: the return of Christian exiles to their homes, the release of the clergy from curial duties, the restoration of Christian property, the release of Christians from confinement, prison and hard labour, the restoration of Christian soldiers to military rank, the release of Christians from service in state factories and the restoration of their noble status where applicable.20 The document was sent to all eastern provinces. The Church and the state had begun a dialogue in good faith to define the terms of their relationship. It would be interesting to follow the dialogue, as much as we can, by examining Canons, decrees and laws. The state needed men to serve as soldiers. In 318 CE, a law was published that obliged the sons of veterans to serve in the army.21 The state did not want the Church to avert its members from pursuing military careers.22 In 325 the council of Nicea,23 which was summoned by Constantine when he discovered that theological disputes had Giovanni Crescenti, Obiettori di coscienza e martiri militari nei primi cinque secoli del cristianesimo, Palermo, 1966, p. 320. 18 Swift, Early Fathers on War and Military Service, p. 91. 19 This idea pertains to Eusebius’ Vita Constantini. 20 Eusebius, Vita Constantini iii.24–42. 21 CTh 16.22.2, CTh 7.1.5 and 12.1.15 and 35, and Crescenti, Obiettori, p. 269. 22 CTh 16.2 and Zosimos, Historia 3. 23 The council’s primary aim was the condemnation of Arius (who regarded Jesus as inferior to His Father), the agreement for the correct date of the celebration of Easter and the establishment of concord in the Christian communities. See: A. E. Burn, The Council of Nicea, London, 1925, G. L. Dossetti, Il simbolo di Nicea e di Constantinopli, Roma, 1967, William G. Rusch, The Trinitarian Controversy, Philadelphia, 1980, The Irish Theological Quarterly 48, nos. 3 and 4, 1981, Colm Luibhéid, The Council of 17

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 295 broken out in the East concerning the nature of Jesus and His relationship to His Father,24 provided the following in Canon 12: Those who responded to the call of grace and initially expressed their faith by putting off the military belt, but who subsequently acted like dogs returning to their vomit when they offered money and gifts to get back to the army must remain among the hearers for three years and then among the supplicants for ten more. In all such cases, however, it is proper to examine into the purpose and nature of their repentance; for as many as manifest their conversion in deed, and not in appearance only, by their fear, and tears, and patience and good works, these having completed the prescribed time as hearers, may properly communicate in the prayers, and the bishop may be allowed to determine yet more favourably respecting them. But those who hear their sentence with indifference, and think the form of entering into the church sufficient for their conversion, must complete the whole time.

Did the Christians in Nicea have a different position from the Christians in Arles? Was Canon 12 of the council of Nicea an expression of the incompatibility of the Christian faith with the military profession and a declaration towards the state of its decision not to help the state by supplying Christians to serve? This possibility is highly unlikely since emperor Constantine presided at the proceedings and gave the Canons of the council the force of imperial laws.25 And anyway the Church would not have insulted her most precious ally, the emperor, in such an obvious and careless way. Perhaps the Church and the emperor imagined that it would be possible to have a completely pagan army with no Christians serving in the ranks? There is no evidence to support Nicea, Galway University Press, Galway, 1982, and Arthur Stanley, The Council of Nicea. Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, Piscataway, New Jersey, 2009. 24 Constantine vehemently desired the Church to be or to seem unanimous in religious matters. See Eusebius, Vita Constantini I.44.3, II.65.2, III.12.2, III.21–22, III.59–60 and IV.42. 25 See: Norman P. Tanner, ed., Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, vol. I, Nicea I to Lateran V, Georgetown University Press, Washington, 1999, p. 4.

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such a hypothesis. The vast majority of serious scholars rightly believe that the Canon does not concern the military profession in general and its relationship to the Christian faith. It concerns rather only those Christian soldiers who under the emperor Licinius preferred to resign their posts instead of succumbing to the emperor’s pressures to take part in pagan sacrifice.26 However, they subsequently returned to their ranks, out of love for (or in need of) money, and paid the required homage to the traditional gods.27 Whether the Canon referred only to a particular case or had more general character, what we ought to keep in mind is that for some early fourth century Christians returning to the army once it had been abandoned was inconceivable. The author(s) of the Canons 13 and 14 of the Church of Alexandria,28 dated between 336–340,29 probably did not have a specific case in mind when they declared the following: 26

Eusebius, Vita Constantini I.54.1 and Sulpicius Severus, Historia Sacra

2.7. Canon 12 must have referred to the desertion of soldiers under Licinius, since the previous Canon, number 11, dealt with Licinius and allowed those Christians who performed pagan ceremonies during the emperor’s persecution to return to their communities so that unity be restored. See: Harnack, Militia Christi, p. 103 and The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries, , tr. James Moffatt, London and New York, 1908, p. 63, Morisi, Guerra, p. 93, Crescenti, Obiettori, p. 267, Helgeland, “Christians and the Roman Army”, p. 807 and “Christians and the Roman Army AD 173–337”, Church History 43.2, 1974, p. 149–163, (p. 163), Swift, Early Fathers on War and Military Service, p. 92, and José Fernández Ubiña, Cristianos y militares. La iglesia antigua ante el ejército y la guerra, Universidad de Granada, Granada, 2000, p. 480. 28 The Canons of the Church of Alexandria were edited by Oscar von Gebhardt and Adolf Harnack, Altchristlichen Literatur, Leipzig, 1891. Their purpose was to explain the duties of bishops and the duties of Christian congregations. It is highly significant that the only two professions excluded from the Christian community are that of the soldier and that of the creator of idols. 29 Swift, Early Fathers on War and Military Service, p. 93 and B. Steimer, “Canons of Hippolytus”, in Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 116. 27

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 297 A man who has accepted the authority to kill, even if he is a soldier, he should on no account do it. And those who are soldiers and are ordered to fight should also refrain from slandering and neither put on crowns on their heads, nor obtain any military standard… Every man who has been elevated with the ornament of justice to the position of prefect or excellence or authority, which is in accordance to the gospel, and does not comply, he is to be separated from the congregation and a bishop should not pray in his presence (Canon 13). A Christian should not voluntarily become a soldier unless compelled to by someone in authority. He should have a sword, but he should not be commanded to shed blood. If it is ascertained that he has done so, he should stay away from the sacraments at least until he has been purified through tears and lamentation. He should fulfill his obligation without deceit and in fear of God (Canon 14).

Christians ought preferably to stay away from the army in order to avoid shedding blood. However, if someone in authority compelled them to join, then they would have little choice but to accept. Not upsetting the authorities was always a top priority for the Church. The Canons of the Church of Alexandria, also known as Canones Hippolyti, were based on the Traditio Apostolica.30 Both works are considered pseudepigraphic and wrongly ascribed to Hippolytus. The author(s) of the Canons of Alexandria was not as strict as the author(s) of the Traditio Apostolica; he was willing to pardon Christian involvement in the military if under pressure from the authorities. Finally, it needs to be mentioned that the Canons in all probability had only local force; there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that they were considered binding by other communities outside Alexandria. For some Christians it was crucial to differentiate whose blood one sheds or was called to shed. If the killing was instigated from private initiative and for private gain then it was unacceptable, but if one was instructed by the authorities to do so on the battlefield and in order to defend an ideal and to protect the

Oscar von Gebhardt and Adolf Harnack, ed., Die Canones Hippolyti, Leipzig, 1891. 30

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nation’s interests, then, it was a completely different matter.31 In that case, killing might even be praiseworthy as Athanasius, one of the most important Christian theologians of the fourth century stated: One is not supposed to kill, but killing the enemy in battle is both lawful and praiseworthy. For this reason individuals who have distinguished themselves in war are considered worthy of great honours and monuments are erected to celebrate their accomplishments. Thus, at one particular time, and under one set of circumstances, an act is not permitted, but when the time and conditions are right, it is both allowed and condoned (Athanasius, Epistula ad Amunem Monachum 68–69).

Basil was another prominent Christian theologian who was aware of this simplistic distinction between ‘private and thus objectionable murder’ and ‘public and thus praiseworthy killing’ but felt a little uncomfortable with it in 374,32 approximately twenty years after Athanasius sent his letter to Amun:33 Our predecessors did not consider killing in war as murder but, as I understand it, made allowances for those who fought on the side of moderation and piety. Nonetheless, it is good to admonish those whose hands are unclean to abstain just from communion for three years (Basil, Epistula 188,13).

Soldiers who shed blood were to be simply excluded from the sacrament of the communion for three years. We do not know whether Basil was conveying an expression of opinion or an express injunction. However, it is interesting that he was not annoyed as much as to order something drastic like the excommunication of soldiers who shed blood. Basil did not detest soldiers; let us keep in mind that he had addressed Epistula 106 to a soldier who, he admitted, had perfect love for God. See also Seneca, Epistula ad Lucilium 95,30 and Augustine, De Civitate Dei 1.21 and 1.26, Contra Faustus 22.70, De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio 1.4.9.25 and 1.5–11.32–13.41 and Epistula 47.5. 32 Swift, Early Fathers on War and Military Service, p. 95. 33 Georgios Poulis, Η άσκηση βίας στην άμυνα και στον πόλεμο κατά το εκκλησιαστικό δίκαιο, Thessaloniki, 1990, p. 58. 31

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 299 Athanasius and Basil had slightly different views. For Athanasius service in the army was completely unproblematic; for Basil there was a problem but it could easily be overcome. The Council in Trullo in 691,34 did not discern any difference of opinion between the two passages from Athanasius and Basil, and gave to both precepts the status of a Canon.35 It seems that by the end of the fourth century Christians were beginning to reach a consensus as far as the issue of shedding blood in warfare was concerned. The principle eventually applied only to the Christian clergy. Constitutiones Apostolorum, a voluminous compilation of earlier Church orders, created in Syria between 375 and 400,36 ended with the Canones Apostolorum that consist in part of synodal Canons from different sources that had perhaps been collected in an earlier Corpus Canonum.37 Most of the Canons dealt with the ordination, the official responsibilities and the moral conduct of the clergy and only a few were concerned with the duties of Christians in general. Canon 83 required that any bishop, priest or deacon devoting himself to military service and aiming at combining it with the duties of his office shall be forthwith degraded from his ecclesiastical rank on the principle of failing to give to Caesar what is his and to God what is God’s. The clergy was allowed if necessary to get involved in a battle but not to kill a human being.38 The clergy was preferably to avoid violence under all circumstances.39 As far as the laity was concerned, they were not George Nedungatt and Michael Featherstone, ed., The Council in Trullo Revisited, Roma, 1995 and James C. Skedros, “Canons of the Council in Trullo”, in Richard Valantasis, ed., Religions of Late Antiquity in Practice, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford, 2000, p. 289–300. 35 Athena Kolia-Dermitzaki, Ο Βυζαντινός «ιερός πόλεμος». Η έννοια και η προβολή του θρησκευτικού πολέμου στο Βυζάντιο , Athens, 1991, p. 129. 36 Franz Xaver Funk, Die Apostolischen Konstitutionen, Frankfurt, 1970, 18911 and R. Hugh Connolly, Didascalia Apostolorum, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1929, p. xx. 37 B. Steimer, “Apostolic Canons” in Dictionary of Early Christian Literature, p. 43–44. 38 Canones Apostolorum, Canon 66. 39 Canones Apostolorum, Canon 27. 34

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prevented from entering the army. And those already in the army prior to their conversion were simply encouraged to obey the injunctions given to soldiers by John the Baptist: to be unfair to no man, to accuse no man falsely, and to be content with their hire. If Christian soldiers gave that promise they were to be admitted to the Christian community and if they refused to do so they were to be rejected.40 There was no real obstacle for a soldier to become a Christian or a Christian to become a soldier, unless he had a clerical office. Eusebius was probably the first theologian to draw an elaborate comparison between the avocations permissible to the clergy and to the layman and specified as among those that belong solely to the later the carrying on of ‘just warfare’: τοῖς τε κατά τό δίκαιον στρατευομένοις.41 From the end of the fourth century onwards more and more Christian councils under the influence of industrious theologians started discouraging much more strongly the clergy from getting involved in warfare.42 The 8th Canon of the council of Toledo in 398 forbade anyone who after baptism has put on the military belt to be raised to the office of a deacon. The 7th Canon of the council of Chalchedon in 451 anathematized all whom having been once enrolled among the clergy or were monks to return either to warfare or to secular employment. Canon 5 of the first council of Tours in 460 excommunicated all clergy who engaged in warfare. The 1st Canon of the council of Lerida in 523, speaking of the case of clergy who might be in a besieged city, provided that all who minister at the altar should abstain from shedding human blood; those who had done so, even in the case of an enemy, should be removed for two years not only from their office but from communion. The two years were to be spent in fasting, prayers and Canones Apostolorum, Canon 8.32. Eusebius, Demonstratio Evangelica i.8. 42 “Military Service” in William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, ed., A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, vol. 2, London, 1880, p. 1181–1184 and “War”, in M. L’Abbé Migne, ed., Dictionnaire des conciles, Paris, vol. 1, 1846, vol. 2, 1847, p. 2028–2030, and C. J. Hefele—H. Leclercq, Histoire des conciles, Paris, 1907–1949. 40 41

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 301 alms-giving. At the end of the two years they might be restored, but never promoted to higher stations. The penance might be protracted at the will of the bishop if not performed to his satisfaction. Canon 5 of the first council of Mâcon in 581 provided that any clergy wearing arms shall be kept for thirty days on bread and water. Canon 19 of the fourth council of Toledo in 633 forbade that any employed in secular warfare or pursuit should be ordained while Canon 44 directed that those of the clergy who ventured to take up arms in quacumque seditione shall be similarly treated and sent in monasterium poenitentiae contradantur (= to do penance in a monastery). The 2nd Canon of the council of Lestines in 743 prevented any of the clergy from wearing arms and from accompanying armies, except one or two bishops with their chaplains in attendance on the prince and one presbyter attached to each division of the army. Canon 3 of the first council of Soissons in 744 kept abbots from bearing arms; even those who by their feudal tenure were obliged to send soldiers from their lands. Canon 37 of the council of Meaux in 845 forbade the clergy to engage in warfare and even carry arms under pain of deprivation of office as sacrorum canonum contemptores et ecclesiasticae sanctitatis profanatores. The fact that numerous ecclesiastical councils systematically condemned any involvement of the Christian clergy in military affairs requires some explanation. Was it a custom devoid of meaning? Were the Christian councils simply repeating earlier injunctions? Or did the clergy tend to forget that war was not their business and the councils had to remind them? There is ample evidence that the latter was true.43 It seems that the clergy often P. Lemerle, “Le monde de Byzance: Histoire et institutions. Byzance et la croisade”, Variorum Reprints VIII, London, 1978, p. 595–620, (p. 620, note 1) and The Agrarian History of Byzantium from the Origins to the 12th Century, tr. G. Mac Niocaill, Galway, 1979, p. 148, note 1, Martha Gregoriou-Ioannidou, «Πληροφορίες αγιολογικών κειμένων γύρω απο 43

στρατιωτικά ζητήματα», Πρακτικά του Α΄ διεθνούς συμποσίου «Η καθημερινή ζωή στο Βυζάντιο. Τομές και συνέχειες στην ελληνιστική και ρωμαϊκή παράδοση», 15–17 Σεπτεμβρίου 1988, Athens, 1989, p. 531–545, and Poulis, Η άσκηση βίας, p. 79 and p. 196, discuss cases of the clergy’s

involvement in military matters.

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preferred the excitement of the camp to the seclusion of the cloisters or the monotony of their clerical duties. The Canons were frequently transgressed, especially during the medieval times. The state found the decision of the Church to keep only its religious officials away from warfare and politics convenient. Emperors endorsed the idea that the clergy and the monks44 ought to avoid violence,45 keep themselves apart from political affairs46 and be exempt from public duties.47 However, emperors were willing, in collaboration with the Church authorities, to allow exceptions. In 398, according to Codex Theodosianus 16.2.31, if someone who held a clerical office got involved in violence, they might consider forgiving him. The accepted norm was that the clergy would not mingle in military affairs or indeed any kind of violence.48 Of course, Christians were not to take advantage of this

CTh 16.3.1. However, Christians were not to enter the monastic life merely to avoid civic duties (CTh 12.1.63). 45 See Justinian, Novella, 123.11.1, while in 545 CE, the emperor in Novella 131, endowed the Canons of the first ecumenical councils with the validity of imperial legislation. 46 CJ 1.3.17 of 416 was explicit: “it pleases our majesty that the clergy have nothing to do with public acts or political affairs”. 47 Eusebius, H.E. X. vii.1–2, CTh 16.2.11, CTh 16.2.9, CTh 16.2.14– 16, CTh 16.2.24, CJ 1.3.6, CTh 11.16.15, CTh 11.16.22, CTh 16.8.13, CS 11, CTh 16.2.46, CJ 13.22, CJ 10.49.2, CJ 1.2.12. However, some emperors tried to cancel or control clerical exemption from public duties. For example in 383, Gratian, Valentinian II and Theodosius I, prohibited Jews and Christians from entering the clergy before they had performed their public services (CTh 12.1.99); in 408, Arcadius and Honorius prescribed that ex-clergymen were expected to perform their civil duties (CS 9); in 423, Honorius and Theodosius imposed upon churches a share in the performance of some public services (CTh 15.3.6); in 440–1, Theodosius II and Valentinian III ordered the Church to help the imperial tours by providing transport animals (CJ 12.50.21) and finally cancelled the clerical exemption from public duties (LNV 10). 48 The norm became deeply rooted to the conscience of the emperors to such an extent that we find in the twelfth century the empress Anna 44

COUNCILS OR THOSE WHO THROW AWAY THEIR ARMS 303 ‘agreement’ and no one was to hold an ecclesiastical office in order to excuse himself from serving in the army or fulfilling his civic duties.49 At the same time, the state expected only Christians to serve in the army; in 416, Theodosius II issued a decree stipulating that only Christians were allowed to serve in the army50 and in 519 or 520, it was only orthodox Christians, and not heretics, that were permitted to enlist.51

CONCLUSIONS Christian involvement in military affairs started creating problems for the Christian conscience from the beginning of the fourth century. It was rarely generally forbidden. Normally several factors and conditions had to be taken into account before a decision was reached. It was examined whether a Christian had to kill or had already killed a human being, had to give or was given the order to kill on the battlefield, took the initiative to kill for his own reasons and profit, whether he had to take or taken the pagan military oath, whether he was a soldier or a high-ranking official, whether he was in the army prior, during or after his conversion to Christianity, whether he had left the army and later returned to his post, and most importantly perhaps, whether he was a cleric, a monk or an ordinary Christian. Christian involvement in military affairs was a complicated issue that could afford no easy solutions.

Comnene filled with anger about the involvement of the Christian clergy in warfare, (Anna Comnene, Alexiad, II.218.18f). 49 CTh 7.20.12, CTh 16.2.3, CTh 12.1.49, CTh 8.4.7, CTh 12.1.50, and Julian, Epistula 380D–IA. 50 CTh 16.10.21. 51 CJ 1.4.20. See also CTh 16.5.29, CTh 16.5.42, CTh 16.5.48, CTh 16.5.61, and CJ 1.5.22.

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Plate 1: a copy of the scratched drawing of a cataphractarius found at Dura Europos domus ecclesia, made by Vassilis Iossif, author of Calling all catlovers.

8. EPILOGUE The early Christians were not all pacifists. They never were of one mind as to how they understood heavenly and earthly authorities and institutions. The very first Christian writers, the composers of the gospels, seem not to have been concerned with the issue of the legitimacy of Christian enlistment and participation in warfare. They were uninterested in the salvation of the soul of individual soldiers, (echoing Jesus?). They rather turned their attention to high-ranking officials in the palace and in the army and portrayed them favourably in an attempt to approach the upper classes and convert them to Christianity. Military service started being regarded as an unsuitable career option for young male Christians from the end of the second century CE and Tertullian was the first Christian theologian to treat the issue in a systematic way. The debate continued in the third century and gradually more Christian intellectuals participated in it and in the fourth century it reached its peak. The first anti-military Christian voices resorted to the Bible to justify their positions and selected certain passages from it, like Matthew 6.24 (=Lk 16.13) and Matthew 22.17 (=Mk 12.14=Lk 20.22), even though these passages were most probably not originally written in order to provide guidance on the issue, and gave them wildly contrasting interpretations. The same passages continued to be considered relevant to the issue and employed in discussions by all subsequent generations up to the present day and continued to be given outrageously conflicting readings and meanings. Literary sources from the end of the second century state, assume or imply the existence of Christian legionaries. Inscriptional material also attests to such an existence, but most importantly it reveals Christian attitudes to military service. Christian families did not keep military careers dark; not only they did not feel disgraced by them but sometimes they even felt authentic enthusiasm and 305

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pride. The earliest known Christian Church, from the middle of the third century at Dura Europos, also shows that the military and the early Christians did not occupy two separate worlds. The majority of the pre-Constantinian literary sources remain silent on the issue; another indication that rejection of military service and warfare was not something that distinguished Christians from their pagan neighbours. Some Christian preachers’ works, despite their silence, contain hints that Christians accepted or tolerated warfare and military service because they were profoundly loyal to the earthly pagan authorities. When Christians envisaged the possibility of a Christian empire with a Christian emperor, then and for the first time they started reflecting on the issue and setting requirements for characterizing a war as legitimate. In the fourth century the debate culminated. Christians who abandoned their military posts as no longer appropriate for them were praised and congratulated by Christian intellectuals for abandoning the things of the world. But very few Christian intellectuals preached or expected all Christians to follow such extreme routes, as it is evident in the private correspondence of Jerome, Augustine and Paulinus of Nola. Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen and Lactantius, the minority of pre-Constantinian sources that condemned Christian involvement in the military, have traditionally been considered as representing the mainstream of the early Church. Even for them, the issue was not constantly a major concern. Sometimes they appeared inconsistent and approved of Christian involvement in the military. The reasons they provided for rejecting military service were various: the incompatibility of Christian beliefs with army religion and with killing being the most common. Another important reason for rejection (that has been overlooked by modern scholars) was that military service at times entailed having to inflict the capital punishment; and that was totally unacceptable. Furthermore, the Acts of the Military Martyrs were not composed to provide guidance to those who had doubts whether they ought to enter or remain in service, as one would imagine, but to provide guidance to those who had doubts whether they ought to compromise their Christian beliefs and participate in rites in honour of the traditional pagan gods. The most common objection to military service (when) found in the Acts seems to have been army religion.

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307

The first Christian ruling on the issue appeared relatively late, in 314 in the council of Arles, more than a century after the start of the debate. Christian rulings never condemned Christian involvement in the military without first setting conditions and requirements and without first taking into account personal circumstances. It was not a simple issue and the Christian rulings did not treat it as simple. Different Christian communities advanced different views through their rulings. In the end of the fourth century a consensus was reached. Christian communities agreed and prescribed that only monks and clerics were to refrain from military activities. The state found this a completely satisfactory solution.

9. BIBLIOGRAPHY Agnello S. L., Silloge di iscrizioni paleocristiane della Sicilia, Roma, 1953. Aland K., “The Relation Between Church and State in Early Times: a Reinterpretation”, Journal of Theological Studies 19, 1968, p. 115–127. Allard P., “Les persécutions en Espagne pendant les premiers siècles du Christianisme”, Revue des Questions Historiques 39, 1886, p. 5–51. Alston Richard, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt: a Social History, London and New York, 1995. Alston Richard, “The Ties that Bind: Soldiers and Societies” in Adrian Goldsworthy and Ian Haynes, ed., The Roman Army as a Community, Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 1999, p. 175–195. Alston R. and S. N. C. Lieu, ed., Aspects of the Roman East: Papers in Honour of Professor Fergus Millar, vol 1, Turnhout, 2007. Ameling Walter, ed., Märtyrer und Märtyrerakten, Stuttgart, 2002. Anonymous, “Roman Britain”, Journal of Roman Studies 31, 1940, p. 128–148. Atkinson David J. and David H. Field, ed., New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology, Leicester, Illinois, 1995. Aune D. E., Prophesy in Early Christianity and the Ancient Mediterranean World, Grand Rapids, 1983. Austin N. J. E. and N. B. Rankov, Exploratio. Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople, London and New York, 1995. Aviam M., “Horvath Hesheq- A Unique Church in Upper Galilee: Preliminary Report”, p. 351–378 in G. C. Bottini, L. di Segni, E. Alliata, ed., Christian Archaeology in the Holy Land. New Discoveries. Essays in Honour of Virgilio C. Corbo, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Collection Maior 36, Jerusalem, 1990. Bagnall R. S. and B. W. Frier, The Demography of Roman Egypt, Cambridge, 1994. 309

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Bagnall Roger S., Egypt in Late Antiquity, Princeton University Press, Princeton, Chichester, 19931, 1996. Bagnall Roger S., Early Christian Books in Egypt, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2009. Bainton Roland H., “The Early Church and War”, Harvard Theological Review 39, 1946, p. 189–212. Bainton Roland H., Christian Attitudes toward War and Peace. A Historical Survey and Critical Reevaluation, Abingdon, Nashville, 1960. Bainton Roland H., Actitudes cristianas ante la guerra y la paz. Examen histórico y nueva valoración crítica, tr. Angel Alcalá, Madrid, 1963. Balás D., “Marcion Revisited: a Post-Harnack Perspective” in W. E. March, ed., Texts and Testament: Critical Essays on the Bible and Early Church Fathers, Trinity University Press, San Antonio, 1980, p. 95–108. Balsdon J. P. V. D., Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome, London, Sydney and Toronto, 1969. Bardy G., Athenagore, Paris, 1943. Barison Paolo, “Ricerche sui monasteri dell’Egitto Bizantino ed Arabo secondo i documenti dei papyri Greci”, Aegyptus 18, 1938, p. 29–148. Barlow Jonathan, ‘‘The Morality of the Franks’’ in John Drinkwater and Benet Salway, Wolf Liebeschuetz Reflected, Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, London, 2007, p. 107–114. Barnard L. W., Justin martyr. His Life and Thought, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge et al., 1967. Barnard L. W., “The ‘Epistle of Barnabas’ and its Contemporary Setting”, Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt 2.27.1, 1993, p. 159–207. Barnes Timothy D., “Pre-Decian Acta Martyrum”, Journal of Theological Studies 19, 1968, p. 509–31. Barnes Timothy D., “Porphyry Against the Christians: Date and the Attribution of Fragments”, Journal of Theological Studies 24, 1973, p. 424–442. Barnes Timothy D., Constantine and Eusebius, Cambridge and Massachusetts, 1981. Barnes Timothy D., The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, 1982.

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Stanley Arthur, The Council of Nicea. Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, Piscataway, New Jersey, 2009. Stark Rodney, The Rise of Christianity. A Sociologist Reconsiders History, Princeton University Press, Princeton and New Jersey, 1996. Stein Ernest, “Ordinarii et campidoctores”, Byzantion 8, 1933, p. 379–387. Stone Ronald H., ed., Paul Tillich. Theology of Peace. Essays Written from 1938–1965, From the Eve of the Second World War to the Crisis of Berlin and Nuclear Armaments in the mid 1960s, Louisville, Kentucky, 1990. Stoyanov Yuri, The Other God: Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy, New Haven, 2000. Straw Carole, “Martyrdom and Christian Identity: Gregory the Great, Augustine and Tradition” in William E. Klingshirn and Mark Vessey, ed., The Limits of Ancient Christianity. Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R. A. Markus, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1999, p. 250–266. Suolanti Jaako, The Junior Officers of the Roman Army in the Republican Period, Helsinki, 1955. Swartley Williard M., “War and Peace in the NT”, Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt II.26.3.1996, p. 2298–2408. Swift Louis J., “St. Ambrose on Violence and War”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 101, 1970, p. 533–543. Swift Louis J., “War and the Christian Conscience I: the Early Years”, Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt II.23.I, 1974, p. 835–868. Swift Louis J., The Early Fathers on War and Military Service in Thomas Halton, ed., Message of the Fathers of the Church 19, Wilmington, Delaware, 1983. Tabbernee William, Montanist Inscriptions and Testimonia: Epigraphic Sources Illustrating the History of Montanism, Patristic Monograph Series 16, Macon, 1997. Tabbernee William, “Eusebius’ ‘Theology of Persecution’: as seen in the Various Editions of his Church History”, Journal of Early Christian Studies 5:3, 1997, p. 319–334. Tabbernee William, “Keeping the Faith: Montanism and Military Service” in Thomas Drew-Bear, Mehmet Taşlialan and Christine M. Thomas, ed., Actes du Ier Congres International sur Antioche de Pisidie, Lyon, Paris, 2002, p. 123–136.

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10. APPENDIX A. OTHER POSSIBLE EPIGRAPHICAL EVIDENCE In antiquity when relatives set up tombstones to commemorate the loss of their loved ones they usually provided more information on their lives and deaths than when non-relatives undertook this task, anxious as they were in protecting and projecting their family image. Pistus was a soldier who died in Rome; probably away from home. A cummanuplio, from the term commanipulus or commanipularis (= comrade in the same manipulus, the same standard),1 called Aurelius Octavianus, buried him at the coemeterium Maius in the Via Nomentana. Aurelius Octavianus provided a very basic tombstone for Pistus. He did not regard it necessary to state the name of the corps in which they were both serving, the age Pistus met his death, where he was from or any other information concerning Pistus’ life and death. The tombstone was found in 1840 in situ: Aurelius Octavianus made (this tomb) for Pistus most deserving fellow soldier.2

Aurelius Octavianus and Pistus could have been great friends who used to discuss religious matters; perhaps Aurelius Octavianus knew that his friend was a Christian and thought it appropriate to M. J. Nicasie, Twilight of Empire. The Roman Army from the Reign of Diocletian until the Battle of Adrianople, Amsterdam, 1998, p. 52. 2 Ivan Di Stefano Manzella, Le iscrizioni dei cristiani in Vaticano, Vaticano, 1997, p. 311, no. 3.10.1. See also CIL VI, 33010 and ICUR VIII, 22603. 1

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choose a characteristically Christian burial place for him. However, Aurelius Octavianus’ decision to bury Pistus at the coemeterium Maius might equally have been an accidental one. There is no indication (not even a hint) in the text of the inscription to suggest that Pistus or/and Aurelius Octavianus were Christians. It is equally plausible that they were praetoriani serving at the castra praetoria that were stationed at great proximity near the coemeterium and Aurelius Octavianus decided to bury Pistus there as the easiest and less time consuming solution. Manzella argued that the tombstone was engraved before 312 CE.3 Two indications led him to this conclusion: firstly, he took into account that the term cummanuplio is not found later than his date and secondly, he assumed that the two soldiers were praetorians serving at the castra praetoria that were close to the coemeterium. In 312 the praetoriani were substituted by the protectores by the emperor Constantine.4 Solin thought that the men lived sometime in the second or third century.5 The coemeterium Maius was created in the middle of the third century6 making it impossible for Pistus to have died earlier, unless of course the coemeterium was not his initial burial place. The next tombstone was found in 1825 in removing earth from the base of the old tower at Blenkinsopp Castle in Carvoran in Britain. It belonged to Aurelia Aia,7 daughter of Titus from Manzella, Iscrizioni, p. 311 and 314. See p. 101 footnote 149. 5 Heikki Solin, Die Griechischen Personennamen in Rom ein namenbuch, Berlin, New York, 1982, p. 734. 6 Philippe Pergola and Palmira Maria Barbini, Le catacombe romane. Storia e topografia, Roma, 1999, 19971, p. 144–147 and Vincenzo Fiocchi Nicolai, “Le catacombe cristiane: origini e sviluppo” in Serena Ensoli and Eugenio La Rocca, ed., Aurea Roma. Dalla città pagana alla città cristiana, Roma, 2000, p. 301–308, (p. 305). 7 The name Aius occurs on inscriptions from Rome, Verona and Aquileia and the meticulous statement of the father’s name and domicile in this inscription conform to Italian tradition as the unnamed author of the article “Roman Britain” in JRS 31, 1940, p. 128–148, informs us in p. 145. 3 4

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Salona in Dalmatia, who died at the age of thirty-three. Her husband Aurelius Marcus, a centurion, set this tombstone up in memory of his unblemished wife (sine ulla macula, line 9): To the spirits of the departed. To Aurelia Aia daughter of Titus from Salona, Aurelius Marcus of the century of Obsequens to his most pure wife who lived thirty-three years without any blemish.8

The phrase sine ulla macula bears a Christian flavour and was mostly used by Christian husbands to praise their dead wives,9 possibly following I Tim 6.14: τηρῆσαί σε τὴν ἐντολὴν ἄσπιλον ἀνεπίληπτον or serues mandatum sine macula. However, it was also sometimes used by pagans.10 The phrase dis manibus (= to the spirits of the departed, line 1) was originally pagan but soon lost its pagan significance and was often inscribed in Christian tombstones.11 The editors Collingwood and Wright thought that this inscription was presumably a third century one as the dedicator, a serving soldier, was married. However, the ban on soldier marriages was never strictly observed.12 Thus, the dating they proposed remains far from certain. Valerius Valentinianus, mentioned in the next inscription, lost his dear wife Marcora Iulia Baebia Hermofila. He and other heirs prepared a sarcophagus for her and placed it in the Via Tiburtina in

R. G. Collingwood and R. P. Wright, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, Oxford Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1965, p. 567, no.1828. See also CIL VII, 793, Lapidarium Septenrianale 321, Archeologia Aeliana I, 1857, 256, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne ix, 1941, 257, and G. R. Watson, “Christianity in the Roman Army in Britain” in M. W. Barley and R. P. C. Hanson, ed., Christianity in Britain 300–700. Papers Presented to the Conference on Christianity in Roman and Sub-Roman Britain Held at the University of Nottingham, 17–20 April 1967, Leicester University Press, Leicester, 1968, p. 51–54, (p. 54). 9 Examples are CIL VI, 9663= ILS 7518, CIL XIV, 1889= ILCV 3331 and ILCV 768. 10 For example CIL VI, 22657 and Cicero, Pro Plancio 14. 11 See p. 107 footnote 174. 12 G. R. Watson, The Roman Soldier, Bristol, 1969, p. 133f. 8

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Rome probably in the late third century.13 The sarcophagus was found in 1912. In the inscription of the sarcophagus Valerius Valentinianus appeared devastated by the loss:14 To perpetual companionship. To Marc. Iul. Baebia Hermofile, woman of honourable memory, of unique purity, sister and companion, beyond the bounds of love, as a loving husband, kind wife and incomparable mother Valerius Valentinianus beneficiarius of the prefectus praetorio with his co-heirs.15

Christians were not the only ones to love their wives; pagans loved them as much. Christian preachers condemned homosexual practices and promoted heterosexual relations within marriage.16 Such teachings influenced Christians and made them appear more effusive towards their spouses in their tombstones. Valerius Valentinianus might have been a Christian who loved his wife dearly. Valerius Valentinianus was certainly involved in military affairs. The inscription he made for his wife presented him as a b f pref p (line 9) which according to the Corpus Inscriptionum

Judith Evans Grubbs, “Pagan and Christian Marriage: the State of the Question, JECS 2:3, 1994, p. 361–412, (p. 408, note 189). 14 It has been suggested that Baebia Hermofila and her husband Valerius Valentinianus had a chaste marriage in which they abstained from sex completely. See Grubbs, “Pagan and Christian Marriage”, p. 407–408. 15 CIL VI, 37231. Also ILCV 1585. 16 Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians, Middlesex, Victoria, Ontario, Auckland, 1986, p. 336–374, Henry Chadwick, “The Early Christian Community” in John McManners, ed., The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity, London, New York, Sydney and Toronto, 1990, p. 21–61, (p. 39), and Aline Rousselle, “The Family under the Roman Empire” in Andre Burguière, Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, Martine Segalen and Françoise Zonabend, ed., A History of Family, vol.1, Distant Worlds, Ancient Worlds, Cambridge, 1996, p. 270–310, (p. 309). Evans Grubbs, in “Pagan and Christian Marriage”, suggested that Christian ideals of marriage and family life were not that different from pagan ones as it is often thought by scholars. 13

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Latinarum and to Carl Maria Kaufmann17 stand for beneficiarius praefecti praetorio.18 Unfortunately, we do not know when.

For a helpful list of the most common abbreviations that appear in Latin inscriptions see Carl Maria Kaufmann, Handbuch der altchristlichen Epigraphik, Freiburg, 1917, p. 39–40. 18 See p. 101 footnote 148. 17

11. APPENDIX B. A SELECTION OF THE SOURCES DISCUSSED CHAPTER 1. Anonymous, Acts of Maximilian 2.4 and 5: Dion proconsul ad Maximilianum: Milita et accipe signaculum. Respondit: Non accipio signaculum. Iam habeo signum Christi Dei mei. Dion dixit: Statim te ad Christum tuum mitto. Respondit: Vellem modo facias. Hoc et mea laus est. Dion the proconsul said to Maximilian: “Agree to serve and receive the military seal”. “I will not accept the seal”, he replied. “I already have the seal of Christ who is my God”. Dion said: “I will send you to your Christ directly”. “I only wish you would” (Maximilian) replied. “This would be my glory”.

Julius Africanus, Kestoi 7.1: Inter caetera vero bellandi artem cognoscere pulchrum est. It is nice to know the art of war among other things.

CHAPTER 2. Ambrose, Expositio in Lucam 5.73: Lex vicissitudinem imperat ultionis, evangelium inimicitiis caritatem, benignitatem odiis, vota maledictis, subsidia persequentibus, patientiam esurientibus et gratiam remunerationis inpertit. The law (= the Pentateuch) calls for reciprocal vengeance; the gospel commands us to return love for hostility, good will for hatred, prayers for curses. It enjoins us to give help to those who

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Mt 5.21: Oὐ φονεύσεις.

Thou shall not kill.

Mt 5.9: Μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Mt 5.39, (see also Lk 6.29): Ὅστις σε ῥαπίσει ἐπὶ τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα, στρέψον αὐτῶ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην.

If anyone slaps you in the right cheek, turn and offer him the other also.

Mt 5.44, Lk 6.27: Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν.

Love your enemies.

Mt 6.24, Lk 16.13: Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν. ἤ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τόν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἤ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει. οὐ δύνασθε Θεῶ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾶ.

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.

Mt 10.23: Ὅταν δὲ διώκωσιν ὑμᾶς ἐν τῆ πόλει ταύτῃ, φεύγετε εἰς τὴν ἄλλην.

When you are persecuted in one town, flee to another.

Mt 26.52: Πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀποθανοῦνται.

All who have taken the sword, shall die by the sword.

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Mt 22.21, Mk 12.17, Lk 20.25: Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῶ Θεῶ.

Render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

Lk 3.14: Mηδένα συκοφαντήσετε, μηδὲ διασείσητε καὶ ἀρκεῖσθε τοῖς ὀψωνίοις ὑμῶν.

Do not slander, do not blackmail and make do with your pay.

Mt 10.34: Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν. οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.

Acts 5.29: Πειθαρχεῖν δεῖ Θεῶ μᾶλλον ἤ ἀνθρώποις.

It is necessary to obey God rather than men.

1 Epistle of Peter 2.13–2.15: Ὑποτάγητε οὖν πάσῃ ἀνθρωπίνῃ κτίσει... εἴτε βασιλεῖ, ὡς ὑπερέχοντι, εἴτε ἡγεμόσιν, ὡς δι' αὐτοῦ πεμπομένοις, εἰς ἐκδίκησιν μὲν κακοποιῶν, ἔπαινον δὲ ἀγαθοποιῶν, ὅτι οὕτῶς ἐστὶ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Submit to every human authority…whether to the emperor as supreme or to the governors as his deputies for the punishment of the evil-doers and the praise of those who do right; for this is God’s will.

Romans 13.1: Πᾶσα ψυχὴ ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις ὑποτασσέσθω. οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ἐξουσία εἰ μὴ ὑπὸ Θεοῦ. αἱ δὲ οὖσαι ἐξουσίαι ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ τεταγμέναι εἰσίν.

Every person must submit to the authorities in power, for all power comes from God and the existing authorities are instituted by God.

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Romans 13.6: Φόρους τελεῖτε.

You should pay the taxes.

Titus 3.1: Ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι, πειθαρχεῖν.

Submit and obey to the authorities and power.

1 Epistle to Corinthians 7.24 (see also 15.23): Ἕκαστος ἐν ὧ ἐκλήθη ἀδελφοί ἐν τούτῳ μενέτω.

Everyone is to stay as he/she is.

Ephesians 6.11–17: Ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα, ἀλλὰ πρός τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις. διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῆ ἡμέρᾳ τῆ πονηρᾶ καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι. στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης, καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης, ἐπὶ πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως, ἐν ὧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ τὰ πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι, καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου δέξασθε, καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ Πνεύματος, ὅ ἐστί ῥῆμα Θεοῦ.

Put on the armour of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the stratagems of the devil. For our struggle is not against human foes, but against cosmic powers, against the authorities and the powers of this dark age, against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, take up the armour of God; so you will be able to withstand them on the evil day and, after doing your utmost, to stand your ground. Stand fast, fasten on the belt of truth; for a breastplate put on justice, let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, and with all these, take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the burning arrows of the evil

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one. Accept salvation as your helmet, and the sword that the spirit gives you, the word of God.

Apocryphal Acts of Paul 31: Διὰ δὲ τῆς τοῦ Παύλου διδασκαλίας πολλοὶ καταφρονοῦντες τῆς στρατείας προσεκολλῶντο τῳ Θεῶ, ὥστε καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ κοιτῶνος τοῦ βασιλέως ἐλθεῖν τινας πρὸς αὐτόν καὶ γενόμενοι Χριστιανοὶ οὐκ ἐτι ἠθέλησαν ὑποστρέψαι ἐν τῃ στρατείᾳ οὐτε ἐν τῳ παλατίῳ.

As a result of the teaching of Paul many came to despise military service and adhere to God, and even some from the family of Caesar came to him and as they became Christians they did not want to return to military service or to the palace any longer.

CHAPTER 3. Chapter 3.1. Tertullian, Ad Scapulam 2.6: Christianus nullius est hostis, nedum imperatoris, quem sciens a Deo suo constitui, necesse est ut et ipsum diligat et revereatur et honoret et saluum velit cum toto Romano imperio, quousque saeculum stabit: tamdiu enim stabit. A Christian is enemy to none, least of all to the emperor whom he knows to be appointed by his God and so cannot but love and honour and desire his well-being as well as the well-being of the Roman empire for as long as the world shall stand, they stand together.

Tertullian, Apologeticum 37.4: Vestra omnia implevimus, urbes, insulas, castella, municipia, conciliabula, castra ipsa, tribus, decurias, palatium, senatum, forum; sola vobis reliquimus templa. We (= Christians) have filled everything, cities, islands, forts, towns, exchanges, and indeed camps, tribes, decuries (= town councils), palace, Senate, forum; we have only left to you the temples.

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Tertullian, Apologeticum 42.2–3: Itaque non sine foro, non sine macello, non sine balneis, tabernis, officinis, stabulis, nundinis vestris ceterisque commerciis cohabitamus in hoc saeculo. Navigamus et nos vobiscum et militamus et rusticamur et mercamur; proinde miscemus artes, operas nostras publicamus usui vestro. Quomodo infructuosi videmur negotiis vestris, cum quibus et de quibus vivimus, non scio. So not without your forum, not without your meat market, not without your baths, shops, factories, inns and market days and the rest of life of buying and selling we live with you in this world. We sail ships, we as well as you and along with you and we go to war, to the country and to the market. Our arts and yours work together; our labor is openly at your service. In what way can we seem unprofitable to your business when we live with you and our living depends on you, I do not know.

Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus X.100,4: Γεώργει, φαμέν, εἰ γεωργὸς εἶ, ἀλλὰ γνῶθι τὸν θεόν γεωργῶν καὶ πλεῖθι ὁ τὴς ναυτιλίας ἐρῶν, ἀλλὰ τὸν οὐράνιον κυβερνήτην παρακαλῶν. στρατευόμενόν σε κατείληφεν ἡ γνῶσις. τοῦ δίκαια σημαίνοντος ἄκουε στρατηγοῦ.

Continue to be a farmer if you were a farmer (before your conversion) but know (or acknowledge) God while farming; continue to be a shipping enthusiast but (at the same time) call on your heavenly steersman. In case the revelation of the truth (= γνῶσις) comes to you while you are on campaign, then pay attention to the general who orders what is right.

Clement of Alexandria, Paedagogus II. XI.117,2: Ἀνδρὶ δὲ εὖ μάλα ἁρμόδιον ἀνυποδησία, πλὴν εἰ μὴ στρατεύοιτο.

It is fitting for a man not to wear shoes, except if he is in the army.

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Chapter 3.2. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses IV.30.1.23–26: Quid autem et hi qui in regali aula sunt fideles, nonne ex eis quae Caesaris sunt habent utensilia, et his qui non habent unusquisque eorum secundum suam virtutem praestat? Those faithful who are in the royal palace, do they not derive the utensils they employ from Caesar? And to those who do not receive (from Caesar), does not each (Christian) give according to his virtue?

Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 7.10.3: Πᾶς τε ὁ οἶκος αὐτοῦ θεοσεβῶν πεπλήρωτο καὶ ἦν ἐκκλησία θεoῦ.

All his (the emperor Valerian’s) house had been filled with the faithful and was a Church of God.

CHAPTER 4. Athenagoras, Supplicatio pro Christianis 37: ‘Υμεῖς δὲ, ὦ πάντα ἐν πᾱσι φύσει καὶ παιδείᾳ χρηστοὶ καὶ μέτριοι καὶ φιλάνθρωποι καὶ τῆς βασιλείας ἄξιοι, διαλελυμὲνῳ μὲν τὰ ἐγκλήματα, ἐπιδεδειχότι δὲ ὅτι καὶ θεοσεβεῖς καὶ ἐπιεικεῖς καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς κεκολασμένοι, τὴν βασιλικὴν κεφαλὴν ἐπινεύσατε. Τίνες γὰρ καὶ δικαιότεροι ὧν δέονται τυχεῖν, ἢ οἵτινες περὶ μὲν τῆς ἀρχῆς τῆς ὑμετέρας εὐχόμεθα ἵνα παῖς μὲν παρὰ πατρὸς κατὰ τὸ δικαιότατον διαδέχησθε τὴν βασιλείαν, αὒξην δὲ καὶ ἐπίδοσιν καὶ ἡ ἀρχή ὑμῶν, πάντων ὑποχειρίων γιγνομένων λαμβάνῃ. Τοῡτο δ'ἐστὶ καὶ πρὸς ἡμῶν, ὅπως ἢρεμον καὶ ἡσύχιον βίον διάγοιμεν, αὐτοὶ δὲ πάντα τὰ κεκελευσμένα προθύμως ὑπηρετοῖμεν.

But do you (= the pagan Roman authorities), who by nature and education are in every way moral, moderate, kind towards other people and worthy of your royal office, nod your heads in assent, now that I have dissolved the accusations advanced and have shown that we (= the Christians) are pious, mild and chastened in soul. Who ought more justly to receive what they request than we, who pray for your reign that the succession to the kingdom may proceed from father to son, as is most just, and that your reign may increase, so that all men may become your subjects? You also have to

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Tatian, Oratio 4.20–25: Διὰ τί γάρ, ἄνδρες Ἕλληνες, ὥσπερ ἐν πυγμῆ συγκρούειν βούλεσθε τὰς πολιτείας καθ' ἡμῶν; καὶ εἰ μὴ τοῖς τινων νομίμοις συγχρῆσθαι βούλομαι, τίνος χάριν καθάπερ μιαρώτατος μεμίσημαι; προστάττει φόρους τελεῖν ὁ βασιλεύς; ἕτοιμος παρέχειν. δουλεύειν ὁ δεσπότης καὶ ὑπηρετεῖν; τὴν δουλείαν γινώσκω.

Why, men of Greece (= pagans), do you wish to cause society to fight with us (= Christians)? If I refuse to participate in some people’s acknowledged activities, why should I be hated, as if I were impure? The emperor orders me to pay taxes; I am ready to pay. A master commands me to serve and to do service; I accept my obligation.

Justin, Apologia prima 11.1: Καὶ ὑμεῖς, ἀκούσαντες βασιλείαν προσδοκῶντες ἡμᾶς, ἀκρίτως ἀνθρώπινον λέγειν ἡμᾶς ὑπειλήφατε, ἡμῶν τὴν μετὰ θεοῦ λεγόντων.

And you after having heard that we are expecting the arrival of a new kingdom you concluded, without much contemplation, that we were anticipating an earthly kingdom, while we were talking about the reign of God.

Justin, Apologia prima 17.3: Ὅθεν θεὸν μὲν μόνον προσκυνοῦμεν. ὑμῖν δὲ πρὸς τὰ ἄλλα χαίροντες ὑπηρετοῦμεν, βασιλεῖς καὶ ἄρχοντας ἀνθρώπων ὁμολογοῦντες.

Although we only adore God, we are happy to serve you in every other way acknowledging you as the rightful kings and rulers.

Justin, Apologia prima 17.1: Φόρους δὲ καὶ εἰσφορὰς τοῖς ὑφ' ὑμῶν τεταγμένοις πανταχοῦ πρὸ πάντων πειρώμεθα φέρειν.

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In every part of the empire we are trying to pay the taxes and the charges.

Clement of Rome, Epistula i ad Corinthios 32.2: Ἐξ αὐτοῦ γὰρ ἱερεῖς καὶ Λευὶται πάντες οἱ λειτουργοῦντες τῶ θυσιαστηρίῳ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐξ αὐτοῦ ὁ κύριος Ἰησοῦς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, ἐξ αὐτοῦ βασιλεῖς καὶ ἄρχοντες καί ἡγούμενοι κατὰ τὸν Ἰούδαν.

From Him come all the priests and the Levites who serve the altars of God, from Him comes the Lord Jesus according to the flesh, from Him come the kings and the rulers and the governors in the succession of Judah.

Anonymous, Barnabae Epistula 19.7: Ὑποταγήσῃ κυρίοις ὡς τύπῳ θεοῦ.

Obey your masters as if they were God.

Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus III.42.1: Φέρε δὴ οὖν καὶ τοῡτο προσθῶμεν, ὡς ἀπάνθρωποι καὶ μισάνθρωποι δαίμονες εἶεν ὑμῶν οἱ θεοὶ καὶ οὐχὶ μόνον ἐπιχαίροντες τῆ φρενοβλαβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, πρὸς δὲ καὶ ἀνθρωποκτονίας ἀπολαύοντες. νυνὶ μὲν τὰς ἐν σταδὶοις ἐνόπλους φιλονεικίας, νυνὶ δὲ τὰς ἐν πολέμοις ἀναρίθμους φιλοτιμίας ἀφορμὰς σφίσιν ἡδονῆς ποριζόμενοι, ὅπως ὅτι μάλιστα ἔχοιεν ἀνθρωπείων ἀνέδην ἐμφορεῖσθαι φόνων.

Come then, let us add this that your gods are inhuman and misanthropic demons who, not only rejoice over the insanity of men, but they also delight in human slaughter. They provide for themselves innumerable sources of pleasure: at one time in the armed contests of the stadium, at another in wars, so that they can indulge themselves in human slaughter.

Clement of Rome, Epistula i ad Corinthios 37.1–3: Στρατευσώμεθα οὖν, ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί, μετὰ πάσης ἐκτενείας ἐν τοῖς ἀμώμοις προστάγμασιν αὐτοῦ. κατανοήσωμεν τοὺς στρατευομένους τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ἡμῶν, πῶς εὐτάκτως, πῶς ἑκτικῶς, πῶς ὑποτεταγμένως ἐπιτελοῦσιν τὰ διατασσόμενα. οὐ πάντες εἰσὶν ἔπαρχοι, οὐδὲ χιλίαρχοι, οὐδέ ἑκατόνταρχαι, οὐδὲ

372

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR πεντηκόνταρχοι, οὐδὲ τὸ καθεξῆς, ἀλλ ἕκαστος ἐν τῶ ἰδίῳ τάγματι τὰ ἐπιτασσόμενα ὑπο τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ τῶν ἡγουμένων ἐπιτελεῖ.

Let us serve in our army, brothers, with all earnestness, following His faultless commands. Let us show understanding for those who serve our generals, with what good order, habitual readiness and submissiveness they carry out their commands. Not all are prefects, or tribunes, or centurions, nor in charge of fifty men, or the like, but each carries out in his own rank the commands of the emperor and of the generals.

Τatian, Oratio 23.5: Ἀνθρώπους ὠνεῑσθε τῆ ψυχῆ διὰ τὴν ἀνθρωποσφαγίαν παρεχόμενοι, τρέφοντες αὐτὴν αἱματεκχυσίαις ἀθεωτάταις.

You buy men to provide human slaughter to the soul, feeding it with the most impious bloodshed.

CHAPTER 5. Augustine, Epistula 189, 4: Noli existimare neminem deo placere posse, qui in armis bellicis militat. Do not think that none can please God while he is engaged in military service.

Augustine, Epistula 189, 6: Pacem habere debet voluntas, bellum necessitas, ut liberet deus a necessitate et conseruet in pace, non enim pax quaeritur, ut bellum excitetur, sed bellum geritur, ut pax adquiratur. Peace should be the object of your desire and war a necessity undertaken only so that God may by means of it deliver men from necessity and preserve them in peace. For peace is not sought in order to incite war, but war is waged in order that peace may be secured.

Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25, 8: Audi ergo, mi fili, et inclina aurem tuam mihi et dirumpe omnia vincula tua, quaecumque te in hoc saeculo implicatum tenent.

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Listen my son and give me your ear: break off all ties that bind and entangle you in this world.

Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 25*, 1: Quodmodo autem probare possum aliter quia diligam te sicut et me, nisi idem tibi cupiam, quod mihi optimum iudicavi, id est ut renuntiantes huic saeculo et omnibus pompis et inlecebris vanitatis eius fugiamus ab ira ventura et confugiamus ad unicam generis humani salutem, Iesu Christum. How else can I prove that I love you as myself, except by desiring for you what I adjudged best for myself? My decision was to renounce this world with all the pomp and empty allurements, to flee from the anger, to come and take refuge with the sole salvation of the human race Jesus Christ.

Paulinus of Nola, Epistula 18, 7: Arma sanguinis abiecisti ut arma pacis indueres. (Victricius) threw down the arms of blood in order to take up the arms of peace.

CHAPTER 6. Chapter 6.1. Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,74: Χριστιανοὶ δὲ μᾶλλον εὐεργετοῦσι τὰς πατρίδας ἤ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

Christians are better citizens than others.

Tertullian, Apologeticum 30.4: Precantes sumus semper pro omnibus imperatoribus, vitam illis prolixam, imperium securum, domum tutam, exercitus fortes, senatum fidelem, populum probum, orbem quietum, quaecumque hominis et Caesaris vota sunt. We are making intercession for all the emperors; we pray for them a long life, a secure rule, a safe home, brave armies, a faithful senate, a quiet world and everything a man and a Caesar wish for.

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Tertullian, Ad Scapulam 2.6–7: Christianus nullius est hostis, nedum imperatoris, quem sciens a deo suo constitui necesse est, ut et ipsum diligat et revereatur et honoret…ut hominem a deo secundum est. A Christian is enemy to none; least of all to the emperor of Rome whom he knows to be appointed by his God and so he cannot but love and honour…regarding him as the human being next to God.

Tertullian, Apologeticum 50.1: Plane volumus pati, verum eo more, quo et bellum miles. Our desire is to suffer, like a soldier longs for wars.

Tatian, Oratio adversus Graecos, 11.26–31: Bασιλεύειν οὐ θέλω, πλουτεῑν οὐ βούλομαι, τὴν στρατηγίαν παρήτημαι, πορνείαν μεμίσηκα, ναυτίλλεσθαι διὰ τήν ἀπληστίαν οὐκ ἐπιτηδεύω, στεφάνους ἔχειν οὐκ ἀγωνίζομαι, δοξομανίας ἀπήλλαγμαι, θανάτου καταφρονῶ, νόσου παντοδαπῆς ἀνώτερος γίνομαι, λύπη μου τὴν ψυχὴν οὐκ ἀναλίσκει.

I have no desire to rule; I do not wish to be rich; I do not seek to be (or I cease being) a military commander; I hate harlotry; Ι do not engage myself in shipping in order to gain a huge profit; I am not in competition for athlete’s garlands; I am free from ambition; I despise death; I rise above every kind of sickness; I do not let grief consume my soul.

Tertullian, De Pallio 5.4: Ego, inquit, nihil foro, nihil campo, nihil curiae debeo…non iudico, non milito, non regno: secessi de populo. I owe no duty to the forum, the election ground or the senate house… I am no judge, no soldier, no king. I have withdrawn from the populace.

Origen, Contra Celsum VIII,73: Εἶθ' ἑξῆς προτρέπεται ἡμᾶς ὁ Κέλσος ἀρήγειν τῶ βασιλεῖ παντὶ σθένει καὶ συμπονεῖν αὐτῶ τὰ δίκαια καὶ ὑπερμαχεῖν αὐτοῦ καὶ συστρατεύειν αὐτῶ, ἄν ἐπείγῃ, καὶ συστρατηγεῖν...Ἡμεῖς καὶ

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μᾶλλον ὑπερμαχοῦμεν τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ οὐ συστρατευόμεθα μὲν αὐτῶ, κἄν ἐπείγῃ, στρατευόμεθα δὲ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ ἴδιον στρατόπεδον εὐσεβείας συγκροτοῦντες διὰ τῶν πρὸς τὸ θεῖον ἐντεύξεων.

Then Celsus goes on to invite us to help the emperor with all our strength and cooperate with him in what is right and fight for him and be fellow-soldiers, if necessary, and fellow-generals with him …Even more do we fight on behalf of the emperor. And though we do not become fellow-soldiers with him, if necessary, we are fighting for him and composing a special army of piety through our intercessions to God.

Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones VI,20,15–17: Non enim cum occidere deus vetat, latrocinari nos tantum prohibet, quod ne per leges quidem publicas licet, sed ea quoque ne fiant monet quae aput homines pro licitis habentur. Ita neque militam iusto licebit, cuius militia est ipsa iustitia, neque vero accusare quem-quam crimine capitali, quia nihil distat utrumne ferro an verbo potius occidar, quoniam occisio ipsa prohibetur. Itaque in hoc dei praecepto nullam prorsus exceptionem fieri oportet, quin occidere hominem sit semper nefas quem deus sacrosanctum animal esse voluit. When God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things that are regarded lawful among men (= the shows). So, neither is it acceptable for a just man to be in the army, whose real military service is under God, nor to inflict capital punishment on anyone, because it makes no difference whether one kills with iron or instead with a word, since killing itself is forbidden. Thus, as regards this command of God, it is fitting that there should be absolutely no exception; to kill a man is always a crime in the eyes of God (nefas), a creature that God wished to be sacrosanct.

Chapter 6.2. Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 1: Sub Maximiano, qui Romanae reipublicae cum Diocletiano collega imperium tenuit, per diversas fere provincias laniati, aut interfecti sunt martyrum populi. Idem namque Maximianus, sicut avaritia, libidine, crudelitate, ceterisque vitiis obsessus furebat: ita etiam exsecrandis gentilium ritibus deditus, et erga Deum

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Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 2: Erat eodem tempore in exercitu legio militum, qui Thebaei appellabantur. Legio autem vocabatur, quae tunc sex millia ac sexcentos viros in armis habebat. Hi in auxilium Maximiano ab Orientis partibus acciti venerant, viri in rebus bellicis strenui, et virtute nobiles, sed nobiliores fide, erga Imperatorem fortitudine, erga Christum devotione certabant. Evangelici praecepti etiam sub armis non immemores, reddebant quae Dei errant Deo, et quae Caesaris Caesari restituebant. Itaquae cum hi, sicut et ceteri militum, ad pertrahendam Christianorum multitudinem destinarentur; soli crudelitatis ministerium detrectare ausi sunt, atque hujusmodi praeceptis se obtemperaturos negant. There was at that time in the army a legion of soldiers called Theban. The so-called legion had six thousand and six hundred men under arms. Summoned from the East to assist Maximian, these men arrived, strong in battle and renowned for their courage, although more renowned for their faith; they strove in bravery for the emperor and in devotion to Jesus. Mindful of gospel teaching even under arms, they rendered to God what was God’s and to Caesar what was Caesar’s. When they were assigned, along with other soldiers, to harass the multitude of Christians, they alone dared to refuse the cruel task and declared that they would not obey commands of this kind.

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Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 3: ...Igitur, sicut supra diximus, cognito Maximianus Thebaeorum responso, praecepiti ira fervidus, ob neglecta imperia, decimus quemque ex eadem Legione gladio feriri jubet, quo facilius ceteri regiis praeceptis territi metu cederent. ...So, as I have already mentioned when Maximin was informed about the Theban Legion’s reply, he burned with a fierce anger on account of their neglect of his commands and ordered every tenth person from that same legion to be executed by the sword in order that others terrified by fear might more easily yield to royal instructions.

Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 5: Non reclamantes saltem aut repugnantes; sed depositis armis cervices persecutoribus praebentes, et jugulum persecutoribus vel intectum corpus offerentes. Non vel ipsa suorum multitudine, non armorum munitione elati sunt, ut ferro conarentur asserere justitiae causam: sed hoc solum reminiscentes, se illum confiteri, qui nec reclamando ad occisionem ductus est, et tamquam agnus non aperuit os suum: ipsi quoque tamquam grex dominicarum ovium, laniari se tamquam ab inruentibus lupis passi sunt. Operta est terra illic procumbentibus in mortem corporibus piorum, fluxeruntque pretiosi sanguinis rivi… They did not shout or fight back but they laid aside their arms and presented their necks to their persecutors, offering their throat or body to their executioners. Nor were they inspired by their number or by the protection of their arms to attempt to assert the cause of justice by their sword, but remembering this alone that they were confessing Him who was led to His death without a cry and like a lamb did not open His mouth, they the Lord’s flock of sheep also allowed themselves to be torn by the strong wolves. The earth was covered by the bodies of the pious as they fell forward into death; rivers of precious blood flowed...

Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 7: …Operae pretium est etiam illud indicare qui deinde Maximianum trucem tyrannum exitus consecutus est. Cum dispositis insidiis genero suo Constantino tunc regnum tenenti mortem moliretur; deprehenso dolo ejus, apud Massiliam captus, nec multo post strangulates, teterrimoque hoc supplicio affectus, impiam vitam digna morte finivit.

378

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR …It is worth reporting the fate that later befell the savage tyrant Maximin. When he contrived the death of his son-in-law Constantine, who was then in power, by means of a waylay, his trickery was discovered, was captured at Marseilles and strangled soon afterwards. Punished in this most shameful way, he ended his wicked life with a fitting death.

Anonymous, The Martyrdom of St. Marinus: Κατὰ τούτους εἰρήνης ἁπανταχοῦ τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν οὔσης, ἐν Καισαρείᾳ τῆς Παλεστίνης Μαρῖνος τῶν ἐν στρατείας ἀξιώμασι τετιμημένων γένει τε και πλούτῳ περιφανὴς ἀνήρ, διὰ τὴν Χριστοῦ μαρτυρίαν τὴν κεφαλὴν ἀποτέμνεται, τοιᾶσδε ἕνεκεν αἰτίας. Τιμή τίς ἐστί παρὰ Ῥωμαίοις τὸ κλῆμα, οὗ τοὺς τυχόντας φασὶν ἑκατοντάρχους γίνεσθαι. Τόπου σχολάζοντος, ἐπὶ τοῦτο προκοπῆς τὸν Μαρῖνον ἡ τοῦ βαθμοῦ τάξις ἐκάλει. Ἤδη τε μέλλοντα τῆς τιμῆς ἔχεσθαι, παρελθὼν ἄλλος πρὸ τοῦ βήματος μὴ ἐξεῖναι μὲν ἐκείνῳ τῆς Ῥωμαίων μετέχειν ἀξίας κατὰ τοὺς παλαιοὺς νόμους, Χριστιανῶ γε ὄντι καὶ τοῖς βασιλεῦσι μὴ θύοντι, κατηγόρει, αὐτῶ δὲ ἐπιβάλλειν τὸν κλῆρον. Ἐφ’ ὧ κινηθέντα τὸν δικαστὴν (Ἀχαιὸς οὗτος ἦν) πρῶτον μὲν ἐρέσθαι ποίας ὁ Μαρῖνος εἴη γνώμης. Ὡς δ’ ὁμολογοῦντα Χριστιανὸν ἐπιμόνως ἑώρα, τριῶν ὡρῶν ἐπιδοῦναι αὐτῶ εἰς ἐπίσκεψιν διάστημα. Ἐκτὸς δῆτα γενόμενον αὐτὸν τοῦ δικαστηρίου Θεότεκνος ὁ τῆδε ἐπίσκοπος ἀφέλκει προσελθὼν δι’ ὁμιλίας, καὶ τῆς χειρὸς λαβὼν ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν προάγει, εἴσω τε πρὸς αὐτῶ στήσας τῶ ἁγιάσματι, μικρόν τι παραναστείλας αὐτοῦ τῆς χλαμύδος καὶ τὸ προσηρτημένον αὐτῶ ξίφος ἐπιδείξας ἅμα τε ἀντιπαρατίθησι προσαγαγὼν αὐτῶ τὴν τῶν θείων εὐαγγελίων γραφήν, κελεύσας τῶν δυοῖν ἑλέσθαι τὸ κατὰ γνώμην. Ὡς δ' ἀμελλητὶ τὴν δεξιὰν προτείνας ἐδέξατο τὴν θείαν γραφήν. Ἔχου τοίνυν, ἔχου, φησὶ πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ Θεότεκνος, τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τύχοις ὧν εἵλου πρὸς αὐτοῦ δυναμούμενος. Καὶ βάδιζε μετ’ εἰρήνης. Εὐθὺς ἐκεῖθεν ἐπανελθόντα αὐτὸν κῆρυξ ἐβόα καλῶν πρὸ τοῦ δικαστηρίου καὶ γὰρ ἤδη τὰ τῆς προθεσμίας τοῦ χρόνου πεπλήρωτο καὶ δὴ παραστὰς τῶ δικαστῆ καὶ μείζονα τῆς πίστεως τὴν προθυμίαν ἐπιδείξας, εὐθὺς ὡς εἶχεν ἀπαχθεὶς τὴν ἐπὶ θανάτῳ τελειοῦται.

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During that time the Churches everywhere enjoyed peace. Yet at Caesarea in Palestine a man called Marinus, who had been honoured with many posts in the army and was distinguished for his good family and wealth, was beheaded for his witness to Christ for the following reason. Among the Romans the vine branch is a mark of honour and those who obtain it, it is said, become centurions. An army post fell vacant and according to the order of promotion it was Marinus who was entitled to fill it. But when he was on the point of receiving the office, another man came up before the magistrate and attacked Marinus, saying that as a Christian Marinus would not sacrifice to the emperors, and should not therefore be allowed to share in the honours that belonged to the Romans according to the ancient laws, but that instead the post should fall to himself. The magistrate (whose name was Achaeus) was moved by this and he first asked Marinus what views he held. And then, when he saw that he persistently confessed that he was a Christian, he granted him a stay of three hours to reconsider. No sooner had Marinus left the court than Theotecnus, the bishop of Caesarea, approached him and drew him aside in conversation and taking him by the hand led him to the church. Once inside, he placed Marinus right in front of the altar and drawing aside his cloak pointed to the sword attached to his side. At the same time he brought a copy of the divine Gospels and he set it before Marinus asking him to choose which he preferred. Without hesitation Marinus put out his right hand and took the divine writings. ‘So then’, said Theotecnus, ‘hold fast to God and given strength by him, may you obtain what you have chosen, now go in peace’. No sooner had Marinus returned than a herald cried out to summon him before the tribunal; for the allotted time was now over. Marinus presented himself before the judge and showed even greater loyalty to their faith and immediately, just as he was, he was led off to execution, and so found his fulfillment.

Anonymous, Acts of Maximilian 2.9: Ego tamen Christianus sum, et non possum mala facere. I am a Christian and I can do no harm.

Anonymous, Acts of Dasius 9: Πᾶς ἄνθρωπος τῆ βασιλικῆ προστάξει καὶ τοῖς ἱεροῖς νόμοις ὑποτέτακται.

380

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR Every man is/must be subject to the emperor’s orders and to the divine laws.

Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 9: Pugnavimus semper pro iustitia, pro pietate, pro innocentium salute, pugnavimus pro fide, Christianos nos fatemur, persequi Christianos non possumus. We always fight for justice, for piety, for the health of the innocent, and we fight for the faith; we admit we are Christians who cannot persecute other Christians.

Anonymous, Acts of Maximilian 1.2: Mihi non licet militare, quia Christianus sum. I am not allowed to serve for I am a Christian.

Anonymous, Acts of Eutropius 3: Καλὸν ἐστί ὑπακούειν ἄρχουσι καὶ βασιλεῦσιν.

It is a good thing to obey those in authority and the kings.

Eucherius, Acts of the Theban Legion 9: Tibi militiam debemus. We owe you (emperor) our military service.

Anomymous, Acts of Ferreolus 1: Imperatoribus militavi. I fight for the emperors.

Anomymous, Acts of Sergius and Bacchus 5: Ἡμεῖς βασιλεῦ, τὴν μὲν ἐπίγειον τῆς σωματικῆς στρατείας ἀποδοῦναι σοι ὑπερησίαν χρεωστοῦμεν.

We owe you, emperor, service in the earthly army.

CHAPTER 7. Hippolytus?, Traditio Apostolica 16: Miles qui est in potestate non occident hominem. Si iubetur, non exequetur rem. Neque faciet iuramentum. Si autem non vult, reiciatur. Qui habet potestatem gladii, vel magistrates civitatis qui induitur purpura, vel cesset vel reiciatur.

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Catezhumenus vel fidelis qui volunt fieri milites reiciantur, quia contempserunt deum. A soldier who is in authority must not kill men; if he should be ordered (to do it), he must not do it. He must not take the military oath. If he will not agree, let him be rejected. A military governor or a magistrate of a city who wears the purple (toga) either let him resign or be rejected. If a catechumen or a baptized Christian wishes to become a soldier let him be rejected for he has despised God.

Synod of Arles, Canon 3: De his qui arma projiciunt in pace placuit abstineri eos a communione. Those who throw away their arms in times of peace should be kept from communion.

Eusebius, Vita Constantini, 2.33: Οὐ μὴν ἀλλά καὶ τοῖς ἐξετασθεῖσι μὲν ἐν στρατιωτικαῖς ἀξίαις ποτέ, τούτων δὲ διὰ τὴν ἀπηνῆ τε καὶ ἄδικον πρόφασιν ἐκπεσοῦσιν, ὅτι τὸ γινώσκειν τὸ κρεῖττον ὁμολογοῦντες προτιμότερον ἧς εἶχον ἀξίας ἦγον, ἔστω πρὸς βούλησιν ἤ τὰ στρατιωτικά στέργουσιν ἐφ' οὗπερ ἦσαν σχήματος μένειν, ἤ μετά ἀφέσεως ἐντίμου ἐλευθέραν ἄγειν σχολήν. Πρέπον γὰρ ἄν εἴη καὶ ἀκόλουθον τὸν τοσαύτην μεγαλοψυχίαν καὶ καρτερίαν πρὸς τοὺς ἐπενεχθέντας κινδύνους ἐπιδειξάμενον καὶ σχολῆς, εἰ βούλοιτο, καὶ τιμῆς πρός τὴν αἵρεσιν ἀπολαύειν.

Once more, with respect to those who had previously been preferred to any military distinction, of which they were afterwards deprived, for the cruel and unjust reason that they chose rather to acknowledge their allegiance to God than to retain the rank they held; we leave them perfect liberty of choice, either to occupy their former stations, should they be content again to engage in military service, or after an honourable discharge, to live in undisturbed tranquility. For it is fair and reasonable that men who have displayed such magnanimity and fortitude in meeting the perils to which they have been exposed, should be allowed the choice either of enjoying peaceful leisure, or resuming their former rank.

Council of Nicea, Canon 12: Oἱ δὲ προσκληθέντες μέν ὑπὸ τῆς χάριτος, καὶ τὴν πρώτην ὁρμὴν ἐνδειξάμενοι, καὶ ἀποθεμένοι τὰς ζώνας, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα

382

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR ἐπὶ τὸν οἰκεῖον ἔμετον ἀνδράμοντες ὡς κύνες, ὡς τινὰς καὶ ἀργύρια προέσθαι, καὶ βενεφικίοις κατορθῶσαι τὸ ἄνα στρατεύσασθαι. Οὗτοι δέκα ἔτη ὑποπιπτέτωσαν μετὰ τὸν τῆς τριετοῦς ἀκροάσεως χρόνου. Ἐφ' ἅπασι δέ τούτοις προσήκει ἐξετάζειν τὴν προαίρεσιν, καὶ τὸ εἶδος τῆς μετανοίας, ὅσοι μὲν γὰρ καὶ φόβῳ καὶ δάκρυσι τὴν ἐπιστροφὴν ἔργῳ καὶ οὐ σχήματι ἐπιδείκνυται, οὗτοι πληρώσαντες τὸν χρόνον τὸν ὡρισμένον τῆς ἀκροάσεως, εἰκότως τῶν εὐχῶν κοινωνήσουσι, μετά τοῦ ἐξεῖναι τῷ ἐπισκόπῳ, καί φιλανθρωπότερον τι περί αὐτῶν βουλεύσασθαι. Ὅσοι δὲ ἀδιαφόρως ἤνεγκαν, καὶ τὸ σχῆμα τοῦ [μή] εἰσιέναι εἰς τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν ἀρκεῖν αὐτούς ἡγήσαντο πρὸς τὴν ἐπιστροφὴν, ἐξάπαντος πληρούτωσαν τὸν χρόνον.

Those who responded to the call of grace and initially expressed their faith by putting off the military belt, but who subsequently acted like dogs returning to their vomit when they offered money and gifts to get back to the army must remain among the hearers for three years and then among the supplicants for ten more. In all such cases, however, it is proper to examine into the purpose and nature of their repentance; for as many as manifest their conversion in deed, and not in appearance only, by their fear, and tears, and patience and good works, these having completed the prescribed time as hearers, may properly communicate in the prayers, and the bishop may be allowed to determine yet more favourably respecting them. But those who hear their sentence with indifference, and think the form of entering into the church sufficient for their conversion, must complete the whole time.

Church of Alexandria, Canon 13: Homo, qui accepit potestatem occidendi, vel miles numquam recipiatur omnino. Qui vero, cum essent milites, jussi sunt pugnare, ceterum autem ab omni mala loquela abstinuerunt, neque coronas capitibus imposuerunt, omne signum autem adepti sunt…Omnis autem homo, qui ad gradum praefecturae vel praecedentiae vel potestatis elevatus ornamento justitiae, quod est secundum evangelium, non induitur, hic a grege segregetur, neve episcopus coram illo oret. A man who has accepted the authority to kill, even if he is a soldier, he should on no account do it. And those who are soldiers and are ordered to fight should also refrain from slandering and neither put on crowns on their heads, nor obtain any military standard… Every man who has been elevated with the ornament of

APPENDIX B

383

justice to the position of prefect or excellence or authority, which is in accordance to the gospel, and does not comply, he is to be separated from the congregation and a bishop should not pray in his presence.

Church of Alexandria, Canon 14: Christianus ne fiat propria voluntate miles, nisi sit coactus a duce. Habeat gladium, caveat tamen, ne criminis sanguinis effusi fiat reus. Si compertum est, sanguinem ab eo esse effusum, a participatione mysteriorum abstineat, nisi forte singulari conversione morum cum lacrimis et planctu correctus erit. Attamen ejus donum ne sit fictum, sed cum timore Dei. A Christian should not voluntarily become a soldier unless compelled to by someone in authority. He should have a sword, but he should not be commanded to shed blood. If it is ascertained that he has done so, he should stay away from the mysteries at least until he has been purified through tears and lamentation. He should fulfill his obligation without deceit and in fear of God.

Athanasius, Epistula ad Amunem Monachum 68–69: Οἶον, φονεύειν οὐκ ἔξεστιν, ἀλλ' ἐν πολέμοις ἀναιρεῖν τούς ἀντιπάλους καὶ ἔννομον καὶ ἐπαίνου ἄξιον. Οὕτω γοῦν καὶ τιμῶν μεγάλων οἱ κατὰ πόλεμον ἀριστεύσαντες ἀξιοῦνται, καὶ στῆλαι τούτων ἐγείρονται κηρύττουσαι τά κατορθώματα. Ὥστε τὸ αὐτὸ κατὰ τι μὲν καὶ κατὰ καιρὸν οὐκ ἔξεστι, κατὰ τι δὲ καὶ εὐκαίρως ἀφίεται καὶ συγκεχώρηται.

One is not supposed to kill, but killing the enemy in battle is both lawful and praiseworthy. For this reason individuals who have distinguished themselves in war are considered worthy of great honours and monuments are put up to celebrate their accomplishments. Thus, at one particular time, and under one set of circumstances, an act is not permitted, but when the time and conditions are right, it is both allowed and condoned.

Basil, Epistula 188,13: Τοὺς ἐν πολέμοις φόνους οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν ἐν τοῖς φόνοις οὐκ ἐλογίσαντο, ἐμοί δοκεῖν, συγγνώμη δόντες τοῖς ὑπέρ σωφροσύνης καί εὐσεβείας ἀμυνομένοις. Τάχα δὲ καλῶς ἔχει συμβουλεύειν, ὡς τὰς χεῖρας μὴ καθαρούς, τριῶν ἐτῶν τῆς κοινωνίας μόνης ἀπέχεσθαι.

384

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR Our predecessors did not consider killing in war as murder but, as I understand it, made allowances for those who fought on the side of moderation and piety. Nonetheless, it is good to admonish those whose hands are unclean to abstain just from communion for three years.

Canones Apostolorum, Canon 83: Ἐπίσκοπον ἤ πρεσβύτερον ἤ διάκονον στρατείας παραμένοντα καὶ ἀμφότερα ποιεῖν βουλόμενον χρή. Τά γάρ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι, καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῶ Θεῶ.

Any bishop, priest or deacon devoting himself to military service and aiming at combining it with the duties of his office shall be forthwith degraded from his ecclesiastical rank on the principle of failing to give to Caesar what is his and to God the things that are God’s.

Canones Apostolorum, Canon 66: Εἴ τις κληρικός ἐν μάχη τινά κρούσας καὶ ἀπό τοῦ ἑνός κρούσματος ἀποκτείνῃ, καθαιρείσθω διά τὴν προπέτειαν αὐτοῦ. Ἐὰν δὲ λαϊκός ἡ, ἀφοριζέσθω.

If a priest strikes one in battle and as a result causes him to lose his life, he is to leave his post for his hasty judgement. If a layman (does the same), he is to be excommunicated.

Canones Apostolorum, Canon 27: Ἐπίσκοπον ἤ πρεσβύτερον ἤ διάκονον τύπτοντα πιστούς ἁμαρτήσαντας ἤ ἀπίστους ἀδικήσαντας καὶ διὰ τῶν τοιούτων φοβεῖν ἐθέλοντα καθαιρεῖσθαι προστάσσομεν. Οὐδαμοῦ γάρ ἡμᾶς ὁ Κύριος τοῦτο ἐδίδαξεν, τοὐναντίον δὲ αυτός τυπτόμενος οὐκ ἀντέτυπτεν, λοιδορούμενος οὐκ ἀντελοιδόρει, πάσχων οὐκ ἠπείλει.

If a bishop, a presbyter or a deacon strikes a Christian who sinned or a non-Christian who wronged someone, he as a result ought to be in fear and we order that he is to leave his post. Our Lord taught us otherwise and did not strike back, did not accuse those who accused Him and while in suffering He made no threats.

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Canones Apostolorum, Canon 8.32: Στρατιώτης προσιὼν διδασκέσθω μὴ ἀδικεῖν, μὴ συκοφαντεῖν, ἀρκεῖσθαι δὲ τοῖς διδομένοις ὀψωνίοις. Πειθόμενος προσδεχέσθω, ἀντιλέγων δέ ἀποβαλλέσθω.

If a soldier approaches the Church let him be instructed not to do wrong, not to slander, and make do with his pay (= it echoes Lk 3.14). If he obeys, he is to be accepted, if he has objections he is to be rejected.

INDEX

beneficiarius ......... 114, 360, 361 biarcus .................................. 110 Boniface ..... 34, 187, 194, 195, 196, 198, 199, 204 brother/sister .... 49, 118, 128, 129, 130, 133

A Acacius .............. 263, 266, 355 Acts of the Military Martyrs .. 4, 32, 74, 168, 239, 249, 250, 259, 260, 276, 279, 280, 281, 284, 285, 306 Acts of the Theban Legion ..... 33, 242, 243, 244, 245, 268, 277, 374, 375, 376, 379 Alban .................................. 276 Ambrose.... 12, 23, 25, 30, 33, 171, 172, 194, 201, 250, 263, 350, 362 Andreas....... 31, 54, 258, 261, 268, 272, 284, 312 Antiochus........................... 282 Antoninus Pius........... 64, 156 Apolinarius ....................61, 66 apparitor ............................... 265 Arnobius . 151, 152, 170, 179, 182, 342, 348 Athanasius........ ..21, 150, 204, 208, 222, 230, 285, 298, 311, 382 Athenagoras..... 149, 153, 155, 156, 157, 162, 182, 327, 345, 368 Augustine .... 4, 12, 21, 26, 30, 34, 35, 41, 44, 152, 165, 171, 172, 173, 185, 187, 188, 194, 195, 196, 198, 203, 204, 251, 269, 297, 306, 314, 322, 323, 325, 330, 334, 336, 337, 338, 339, 344, 350, 371

C Cadoux...10, 26, 28, 31, 33, 34, 39, 46, 180, 223, 314 Caesar .. 33, 38, 44, 56, 57, 63, 79, 162, 218, 220, 227, 243, 277, 299, 332, 364, 366, 368, 372, 375, 383 Callistratus ....... 249, 265, 266, 270, 273 campidoctor ........................... 120 Canon .......19, 20, 47, 68, 289, 292, 295, 296, 297, 299, 300, 340, 380, 381, 382, 383, 384 castigatio………………....132 cataphractarius ............. 135, 139 Celerinus ............................ 280 Celsus .......146, 150, 218, 233, 353, 374 Christophorus . 266, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274 Clement of Alexandria ......21, 23, 35, 48, 67, 70, 71, 74, 75, 77, 153, 162, 166, 168, 169, 170, 174, 177, 180, 182, 185, 331, 349, 367, 370 Clement of Rome ...... 42, 160, 161, 162, 178, 185, 370 clibanarius ............................ 139 comes ................. 89, 98, 99, 102 comes ripae ....................... 98, 99

B Bainton ...... 2, 3, 8, 17, 27, 29, 180, 290, 310 387

388

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR

commiles…………………..47 Constantine....1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 19, 21, 22, 23, 36, 54, 61, 65, 72, 73, 77, 89, 95, 96, 97, 99, 101, 102, 103, 105, 110, 112, 119, 120, 122, 124, 125, 131, 170, 178, 179, 187, 205, 206, 215, 235, 236, 239, 244, 250, 253, 263, 280, 289, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 310, 315, 316, 320, 327, 330, 333, 342, 349, 352, 355, 358, 377 Cornelius ..... 34, 41, 181, 195, 263, 266, 274 Crispianus...187, 196, 197, 198, 199, 204 cummanuplio (or commanipulus or commanipularis)......... 357, 358 Cyprian ...... 19, 23, 62, 66, 68, 157, 170, 171, 178, 179, 182, 184, 228, 253, 256, 257, 260, 280, 314

D Decius...62, 250, 263, 270, 271, 272, 283, 328 Demetrius ......... 214, 283, 355 Diocletian.......1, 5, 18, 72, 77, 87, 88, 89, 97, 98, 106, 128, 139, 151, 170, 214, 235, 243, 248, 253, 283, 293, 310, 341, 345, 348, 357, 375 discens equitum ................... 7, 89 disciplina militaris………...260 Domitian .......... 100, 102, 106, 159, 161, 349

donativum....................... 68, 268 ducalis ordinis scrinarius…...261

E emeritus ................................ 108 Emeterius &Chelidonius..276 episcopus……………123, 382 eques................................. 87, 89 eques lanciarius ........................89 eques sagittarius .................... 139 Eucherius...33, 245, 261, 277, 278, 374, 375, 376, 379 Eusebius..2, 19, 21, 23, 48, 61, 62, 66, 70, 72, 73, 79, 91, 106, 114, 128, 138, 153, 158, 159, 170, 205, 211, 214, 235, 246, 248, 253, 255, 260, 289, 291, 293, 294, 295, 296, 300, 302, 310, 311, 315, 323, 326, 327, 328, 333, 335, 337, 346, 350, 352, 368, 380 Eustathius .................. 262, 271 Eustratius...250, 252, 261, 262, 266, 274 Eutropius, Kleonicus & Basiliscus ...................... 266 evocatus ............... 104, 109, 113 Evodius .............................. 196

F Feriale Duranum .141, 142, 143 Ferreolus ........... 266, 278, 379 fetiales .................................. 173 Fidelis ................................. 262 Florian .......267, 270, 272, 273 Fontaine ....... 10, 68, 239, 268, 323

INDEX

389

forty martyrs of Sebaste.. 252, 264, 266, 269, 275, 280 forty-two martyrs of Amorion............... 250, 268

Irenaeus 21, 76, 79, 153, 159, 164, 165, 182, 327, 342, 368 Irenarchos ......................... 269

G

J

Gabba ....... 142, 267, 325, 326 Galerius ..........65, 72, 77, 158, 235, 294, 334 Georgius.................... 262, 284 Gordius ..................... 263, 279 gradus deiectio………….…132

Jerome ... 2, 21, 32, 38, 48, 62, 110, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 203, 204, 206, 211, 306, 314, 334, 345, 347, 355 John the Baptist.....35, 38, 75, 195, 299 Josephus ............. 36, 157, 322 Julius Africanus .. 2, 351, 352, 362 Justin . 37, 61, 65, 68, 79, 153, 156, 157, 162, 165, 166, 170, 176, 179, 180, 218, 310, 344, 369 Juventius & Maximinus ... 280

H Harnack ... 6, 9, 24, 39, 58, 65, 66, 231, 240, 290, 296, 297, 310, 329 Helgeland .... 3, 10, 21, 65, 68, 142, 143, 178, 216, 234, 242, 253, 291, 296, 330 Heliodorus ....... 187, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 196, 199, 200, 204, 347 Hermas ...... 76, 159, 165, 166, 338 Hippolytus ....... 4, 23, 70, 164, 165, 166, 213, 214, 216, 217, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 236, 238, 288, 296, 297, 306, 330, 379

I Ignatius .. 19, 27, 76, 159, 162, 174, 184, 338, 347, 353 imperium………………...234 in pace.... 85, 98, 101, 103, 114, 115, 123, 289, 292, 371, 380

K Kyrtatas..8, 24, 34, 43, 46, 215, 285, 335, 336

L Lactantius .... 4, 25, 70, 72, 73, 77, 91, 150, 152, 158, 170, 182, 213, 214, 216, 217, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 291, 306, 341, 342, 374 legio VII Augusta Germanica 87, 88 legio X Fretensis…………..249 legio fulminata..63, 67, 168, 169 legio I Iovia Scythica…….87, 88

390

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR

legio I Italica……….41, 87, 88 legio I Minervia……....100, 102 legio II Parthica Severiana….106 Libanius ................................ 18 Licentius ............................. 203 Licinius..72, 73, 103, 205, 206, 235, 250, 270, 278, 293, 296 Lk 3.14........ 35, 195, 364, 384 Lk 6.27......................... 30, 363 Lk 6.29......................... 30, 363 Lk 16.13........ 31, 53, 305, 363 Lk 20.25...........32, 33, 53, 364 Longinus ................... 266, 278 Luxurius .. 265, 266, 270, 272, 275, 279

M MacMullen . 16, 137, 143, 338 manipulus ............................. 357 Marcianus & Nicandrus... 267 Marcion . 23, 24, 25, 310, 327, 329, 335 Marcus Aurelius .... 10, 21, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 150, 154, 168, 178, 181, 234, 268, 291, 330, 333, 340, 346 Martin of Tours ...... 197, 202, 265, 268, 274, 280, 282, 283, 311, 320, 352 Maximilian .. 1, 2, 52, 87, 253, 257, 258, 260, 268, 278, 314, 355, 362, 378, 379 Menas ...... 125, 267, 269, 272, 278, 279, 282, 283, 285, 334 Mercurius.263, 267, 269, 272, 279, 283

military metaphors..45, 46, 47, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 201, 202, 230 militiae mutatio………...…132 Minucius Felix .... 23, 68, 150, 151, 153, 154, 165, 166, 175, 182 missicius (or misicius)... 107, 108 missio ignominiosa……..…..132 Mk 11.15 ...............................39 Mk 12.17 32, 33, 53, 226, 364 Montanus........................... 278 Mt 5.9 ........................... 30, 363 Mt 5.21 ......................... 30, 363 Mt 5.39 ......................... 30, 363 Mt 5.44 ......................... 30, 363 Mt 6.24 .................. 31, 53, 363 Mt 10.23................ 32, 53, 363 Mt 10.34....................... 38, 364 Mt 22.21......... 32, 33, 53, 364 Mt 26.52....................... 32, 363 munerum indictio.…………132

N Nearchus............................ 266 nefas ............................. 237, 374 Nepotianus ...... 187, 191, 192, 193, 194, 196, 199, 200, 204 Nereas & Achileas............ 279 Nestor ................................ 283 Novatian ..... 62, 181, 182, 352 numerus lanciariorum iuniorum 120

O obstinatio………………...246 officium……….89, 90,111,192 optio ........................ 87, 89, 115 optio comitum ..........................89

INDEX optio ordinatus ........................ 89 ordinarius.............................. 120 Origen...... 2, 4, 21, 23, 25, 26, 38, 42, 43, 48, 70, 133, 150, 153, 174, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 238, 291, 306, 372, 373

P Pachomius ....... 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 327, 337, 345 patria…………………... 234 Paulinus of Nola . 32, 33, 187, 188, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 280, 306, 325, 337, 348, 351, 352, 371, 372 Pilate .......... 35, 36, 38, 56, 57, 58, 59, 220, 313, 327 Polycarp....... 51, 76, 157, 159, 275, 331, 347 praefectus lanciariis.................. 98 praepositus .. 117, 128, 129, 130 praetorianus .......................... 109 primicerius………………..279 princeps militarum………...263 princeps optio........................... 89 probatio…………...………88 protector ....... 98, 100, 115, 119, 195, 197 protector domesticus ................. 98 Pucciarelli ............................. 10

Q Quirinus ............................. 263

391

R Romans 13 .. 42, 43, 156, 226, 364, 365

S sacramentum……………...176 scutarius ............................... 112 senator .......................... 112, 196 Seneca ......181, 183, 237, 239, 268, 297 Sergius & Bacchus .. 264, 266, 274, 278, 354, 379 sixty martyrs of Gaza...... 252, 268, 274 stipendium………………....15 sub vexillo ............................ 108 Sulpicius Severus ..... 197, 202, 265, 280 Swift...3, 8, 10, 28, 43, 68, 178, 231, 257, 294, 296, 298, 350 Synod of Arles .................. 289

T Tarachus ............................ 266 Tatian .......154, 155, 156, 161, 162, 164, 166, 181, 232, 289, 327, 332, 369, 373 Tertullian .4, 6, 17, 19, 23, 25, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 38, 41, 42, 55, 62, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 77, 79, 153, 155, 157, 159, 174, 181, 182, 183, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 236, 238, 251, 257, 289, 291, 305, 306, 311, 320, 322, 326,

392

EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDES TO WAR

342, 355, 366, 367, 372, 373 Theagenes ....... .265, 268, 273, 278, 355 Theban Legion .. 33, 242, 245, 248, 262, 268, 277, 278, 340, 342, 354, 376 Theodore........ ..205, 207, 208, 210, 245, 250, 264, 282, 284, 352, 355 Theodorus........ 126, 263, 266, 270, 273, 274, 279 thundering legion (or legio fulminata) ........... 63, 67, 168, 169 tiro ....................................87, 88 translatio imperii……….....228 triarius ..............................87, 89 Typasius .. 267, 271, 272, 280, 283

U

ἄ ἄπα ..................................... 129 ἄρχων τῶν στρατιωτικῶν (or

princeps militarum) .......... 263

Δ διαδότης ............................. 133 διάκων ................................ 133

Ε εἰρήνη ......................... 184,

185

Ν ναολέκτης

(or νεολέκτης)127

ὀ ὀμολογία

(or sacramentum)

176



Ubiña ..... 10, 33, 34, 267, 273, 351

ὁπλοποιὸς .......................... 119

V

παπάς ................................. 130 πρωτεύον ........................... 127

Varus........ 125, 269, 270, 273, 284, 354 veteranus ............................... 108 Victor ....... 110, 111, 197, 230, 250, 262, 266, 269, 274, 275, 328 Victricius . 187, 200, 201, 202, 204, 244, 280, 317, 332, 372

ἀ ἀγουστάλιος νουμέρου κυντανῶν ...................... 133 ἀνδροφονία ........................ 180

Π

Σ σιτολόγος ........................... 133 σκρινιάριος τῆς δουκικῆς τάξεως (or ducalis ordinis

scrinarius)....................... 261 (or commilito) 47

συστρατιώτης