4 strathgw=n. Christophorsonus would read strathgou= in the sense of commander. But the word is used here of the duumviri, or magistrates of Alexandria. And that the word strathgo/j was used in this civil acceptation as well as in the common military application, we see by many examples in Athanasius, Ammianus Marcellinus, and others. Thus, as Valesius remarks, the soldiers (stratiwtw=n) here will be the band with the centurion, and the attendants (u/phretw=n) will be the civil followers of the magistrates.
5 This happened in the first persecution under Decius, when Dionysius was carried off by the decision of the prefect Sabinus to Taposiris, as he informs us in his epistle to Germanus. Certainly any one who compares that epistle of Dionysius to Germanus with this one to Domitius, will have no doubt that he speaks of one and the same event in both. Hence Eusebius is in error in thinking that in this epistle of Dionysius to Domitius we have a narrative of the events relating to the persecution of Valerian,-a position which may easily be refuted from Dionysius himself. For in the persecution under Valerian, Dionysius was not carried off into exile under military custody, nor were there any men from Mareotis, who came and drove off the soldiers, and bore him away unwillingly, and set him at liberty again; nor had Dionysius on that occasion the presbyters Gaius and Faustus, and Peter and Paul, with him. All these things happened to Dionysius in that persecution which began a little before Decius obtained the empire, as he testifies himself in his epistle to Germanus. But in the persecution under Valerian, Dionysius was accompanied in exile by the presbyter Maximus, and the deacons Faustus, and Eusebius, and Chaeremon, and a certain Roman cleric, as he tells us in the epistle to Germanus.-Valesius.
6 e0n th=| no/sw|, Rufinus reads nh/sw|, and renders it, "But of the deacons, some died in the island after the pains of confession." But Dionysius refers to the pestilence which traversed the whole Roman world in the times of Gallus and Volusianus, as Eusebius in his Chronicon and others record. See Aurelius Victor. Dionysius makes mention of this sickness again in the paschal epistle to the Alexandrians, where he also speaks of the deacons who were cut off by that plague.-Vales.
7 peristola\j e0ktelei=n. Christophorsonus renders it: "to prepare the linen cloths in which the bodies of the blessed martyrs who departed this life might be wrapped." In this Valesius thinks he errs by looking at the modern method of burial, whereas among the ancient Christians the custom was somewhat different, the bodies being dressed out in full attire, and that often at great cost, as Eusebius shows us in the case of Astyrius, in the Hist. Eccles., vii. 16. Yet Athanasius, in his Life of Antonius, has this sentence: "The Egyptians are accustomed to attend piously to the funerals of the bodies of the dead, and especially those of the holy martyrs, and to wrap then in linen cloths: they are not wont, however, to consign them to the earth, but to place them on couches, and keep them in private apartments."
9 Jerome, in his Catalogus, where he adduces the beginning of this epistle, gives Novatianus for Novatus. So in the Chronicon of Georgius Syncellus we have Dionu/sioj Nauatianw=|. Rufinus' account appears to be that there were two such epistles,-one to Novatus, and another to Novatianus. The confounding of these two forms seems, however, to have been frequent among the Greeks. [See Lardner, Credib., sub voce Novat. Wordsworth thinks the Greeks shortened the name, on the grounds which Horace notes ad vocem "Equotuicum." Satires, I. v. 87.]
10 We read, with Gallandi, kai0 h\n ou0k a0docute0ra th=j e@neken tou= mh\ i9dwlolatreu=sai (sic) ginome/nhj, h9 e@neken tou@ mh\ sxi/sai marturi/a. This is substantially the reading of three Venetian codices, as also of Sophronius on Jerome's De vir. illustr., ch. 69, and Georgius Syncellus in the Chronogr., p. 374, and Nicephorus Callist., Hist. Eccles., vi. 4. Pearson, in the Annales Cyprian., Num. x. p. 31, proposes qu\sai for sxi/sai. Rufinus renders it: "et erat non inferior gloria sustinere martyrium ne scindatur ecclesia quam est illa ne idolis immoletur."
11 Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., vi. 41, 42, 44. Certain codices read Fabianus for Fabius, and that form is adopted also by Rufinus. Eusebius introduces this epistle thus: "The same author, in an epistle written to Fabius bishop of Antioch, gives the following account of the conflicts of those who suffered martyrdom at Alexandria."
16 ta/ th=j a0sebei/aj khru/gmata. What these precisely were, it is not easy to say. Dionysius speaks of them also as du/sfhma r9h/mata in this epistle, and as a@qeoi fwnai in that to Germanus. Gallandi thinks the reference is to the practice, of which we read also in the Acts of Polycarp, ch. 9, where the proconsul addresses the martyr with the order: loido/rhson to\n Xristo/n-Revile Christ. And that the test usually put to reputed Christians by the early persecutors was this cursing of Christ, we learn from Pliny, book x. epist. 97. [Vol. i. p. 41.]
22 This refers to the death of the Emperor Philip, who showed a very righteous and kindly disposition toward the Christians. Accordingly the matters here recounted by Dionysius took place in the last year of the Emperor Philip. This is also indicated by Dionysius in the beginning of this epistle, where he says that the persecution began at Alexandria a whole year before the edict of the Emperor Decius. But Christophorsonus, not observing this, interprets the metabolh\n th=j basilei/aj as signifying a change in the emperor's mind toward the Christians, in which error he is followed by Baronius, ch. 102.-Vales.
23 In this sentence the Codex Regius reads, to\ pror0r9hqe\n u9po\ tou= Kuri/ou h9mw=n parabraxu/ to\ foberw/taton, etc., = "the one intimated beforetime by our Lord, very nearly the most terrible one." In Georgius Syncellus it is given as h9 para\ braxu/. But the reading in the text, a0pofai=non "setting forth," is found in the Codices Maz., Med., Fuk., and Savilii; and it seems the best, the idea being that this edict of Decius was so terrible as in a certain measure to represent the most fearful of all times, viz., those of Antichrist.-Vales.
25 oi9 de\ dhmosieu/ontej u9po\ tw=n pra/cewn h@gonto. This is rendered by Christophorsonus, "alii ex privatis aedibus in publicum raptati ad delubra ducuntur a magistratibus." But dhmosieuontej is the same as ta\ dhmo/sia pra/ttontej, i.e., decurions and magistrates. For when the edict of Decius was conveyed to them, commanding all to sacrifice to the immortal gods, these officials had to convene themselves in the court-house as usual, and stand and listen while the decree was there publicly recited. Thus they were in a position officially which led them to be the first to sacrifice. The word praceij occurs often in the sense of the acts and administration of magistrates: thus, in Eusebius, viii. 11; in Aristides, in the funeral oration on Alexander, ta\ d' ei0j praceij te kai\ politeiaj, etc. There are similar passage also in Plutarch's Politika\ paragge/lmata, and in Severianus's sixth oration on the Hexameron. So Chrysostom, in his eighty-third homily on Matthew, calls the decurions tou\j ta\ politika\ pra/ttontaj. The word dhmosieu/ontej, however, may also be explained of those employed in the departments of law or finance; so that the clause might be rendered, with Valesius: "alii, qui in publico versabantur, rebus ipsis et reliquorum exemplo, ad sacrificandum ducebantur." See the note in Migne.
33 In his Bibliotheca, cod. cxix., Photius states that Isidorus was full brother to Pierius, the celebrated head of the Alexandrian school, and his colleague in martyrdom. He also intimates, however, that although some have reported that Pierius ended his career by martyrdom, others say that he spent the closing period of his life In Rome after the persecution abated.-Ruinart.
34 su/ntagma stratiwtiko/n. Rufinus and Christophorsonus make n turmam militum. Valesius prefers manipulum or contubernium. These may have been the apparitors or officers of the praefectus Augustalis. Valesius thinks rather that they were legionaries, from the legion which had to guard the city of Alexandria, and which was under the authority of the praefectus Augustalis. For at that time the praefectus Augustalis had charge of military affairs as well as civil.
36 qriambeu/ontoj au0tou/j. Rufinus makes it, "God thus triumphing in them;" from which it would seem that he had read di' au0tou/j. But qriambeu/ein is probably put here for qriambeu/ein poiei=n as basileu/ein is also used by Gregory Nazianzenus.
39 This passage is notable from the fact that it makes mention of the Saracens. For of the writers whose works have come down to us there is none more ancient than Dionysius of Alexandria that has named the Saracens. Ammianus Marcellinus, however, writes in his fourteenth book that he has made mention of the Saracens in the Acts of Marcus. Spartianus also mentions the Saracens in his Niger, and says that the Roman soldiers were beaten by them.-Vales. ["The barbarous Saracens:" what a nominis umbra projected by "coming events," in this blissfully ignorant reference of our author! Compare Robertson, Researches, on the conquest of Jerusalem.]
41 That the martyrs were to be Christ's assessors, judging the world with Him, was a common opinion among the fathers. So, after Dionysius, Eulogius, bishop of Alexandria, in his fifth book, Against the Novatians. Photius, in his Bibliotheca, following Chrysostom, objects to this, and explains Paul's words in 1 Cor. vi. 2 as having the same intention as Christ's words touching the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south who should rise up in the judgment and condemn that generation.
47 Eusebius introduces this in words to the following effect: "Writing to this same Fabius, who seemed to incline somewhat to this schism, Dionysius of Alexandria, after setting forth in his letter many other matters which bore on repentance, and after describing the conflicts of the martyrs who had recently suffered in Alexandria, relates among other things one specially wonderful fact, which I have deemed proper for insertion in this history, and which is as follows."
48 That is, none either of the clergy or of the people were moved by his prayers to consider him a proper subject for absolution; for the people's suffrages were also necessary for the reception into the Church of any who had lapsed, and been on that account cut off from it. And sometimes the bishop himself asked the people to allow absolution to be given to the suppliant, as we see in Cyprian's Epistle 53, to Cornelius [vol. v. p. 336, this series], and in Tertullian On Modesty, ch. xiii. [vol. iv. p. 86, this series]. Oftener, however, the people themselves made intercession with the bishop for the admission of penitents; of which we have a notable instance in the Epistle of Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch about that bishop who had ordained Novatianus. See also Cyprian, Epistle 59 [vol. v. p. 355].-Vales.
49 In the African Synod, which met about the time that Dionysus wrote, it was decreed that absolution should be granted to lapsed persons who were near their end, provided that they had sought it earnestly before their illness. See Cyprian in the Epistle to Antonianus [vol. v. p. 327, this series].-Vales.
50 a0fiesqai. There is a longer reading in Codices Fuk. and Savil., viz.: tw=n qeiwn dw/rwn th=j metado/sewj a0ciou=sqai kai ou@twj afiesqai, "be deemed worthy of the imparting of the divine gifts, and thus be absolved."
51 Valesius thinks that this custom prevailed for a long time, and cites a synodical letter of Ratherius, bishop of Verona (which has also been ascribed to Udalricus by Gretserus, who has published it along with his Life of Gregory VII.), in which the practice is expressly forbidden in these terms: "And let no one presume to give the communion to a laic or a woman for the purpose of conveying it to an infirm person."
52 a0pobre/cai. Rufinus renders it by infundere. References to this custom are found in Adamanus, in the second book of the Miracles of St Columba, ch 6; in Bede, Life of St. Cuthbert, ch. 31, and in the poem on the life of the same; in Theodorus Campidunensis, Life of St. Magnus, ch. 22; in Paulus Bernriedensis, Life of Gregory VII., p. 113.
53 o9mologhqh=nai. Langus, Wolfius, and Musculus render it confiteri, "confess." Christophorsonus makes it in numerum confessorum referri, "reckoned in the number of confessors:" which may be allowed if it is understood to be a reckoning by Christ. For Dionysius alludes to those words of Christ in the Gospel: "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father."-Vales.
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