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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Life of Constantine with Orations of Constantine and Eusebius.: Chapter XXXVIII

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Chapter XXXVIII.—Death of Maxentius on the Bridge of the Tiber. 3126

And already he was approaching very near Rome itself, when, to save him from the necessity of fighting with all the Romans for the tyrant’s sake, God himself drew the tyrant, as it were by secret cords, a long way outside the gates. 3127 And now those miracles recorded in p. 493 Holy Writ, which God of old wrought against the ungodly (discredited by most as fables, yet believed by the faithful), did he in every deed confirm to all alike, believers and unbelievers, who were eye-witnesses of the wonders. For as once in the days of Moses and the Hebrew nation, who were worshipers of God, “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea and his chosen chariot-captains are drowned in the Red Sea,” 3128 —so at this time Maxentius, and the soldiers and guards 3129 with him, “went down into the depths like stone,” 3130 when, in his flight before the divinely-aided forces of Constantine, he essayed to cross the river which lay in his way, over which, making a strong bridge of boats, he had framed an engine of destruction, really against himself, but in the hope of ensnaring thereby him who was beloved by God. For his God stood by the one to protect him, while the other, godless, 3131 proved to be the miserable contriver of these secret devices to his own ruin. So that one might well say, “He hath made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violence shall come down upon his own pate.” 3132 Thus, in the present instance, under divine direction, the machine erected on the bridge, with the ambuscade concealed therein, giving way unexpectedly before the appointed time, the bridge began to sink, and the boats with the men in them went bodily to the bottom. 3133 And first the wretch himself, then his armed attendants and guards, even as the sacred oracles had before described, “sank as lead in the mighty waters.” 3134 So that they who thus obtained victory from God might well, if not in the same words, yet in fact in the same spirit as the people of his great servant Moses, sing and speak as they did concerning the impious tyrant of old: “Let us sing unto the Lord, for he hath been glorified exceedingly: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. He is become my helper and my shield unto salvation.” And again, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, marvelous in praises, doing wonders?” 3135



The Milvian, the present Ponte Molle.


The present Ponte Molle is nearly 2½ kilometers (say 1½ miles) from the Porta del Popolo (at the Mons Pincius). The walls at that time were the ones built by Aurelian, and are substantially the same as the present ones. This Pons Milvius was first built 100 years b.c., and “some part of the first bridge is supposed to remain” (Jenkin, p. 329). Compare Jenkin, art. Bridges, in Enc. Brit. 4 (1878), 329, for cut and description.


Ex. xv. 4. This is identically taken from the Septuagint with the change of only one word, where Eusebius gains little in exchanging “swallowed up in” for plunged or drowned in.


“Heavy armed and light armed.”


Ex. xv. 5.


“Godless,” or if νευis to be read, “destitute of his aid,” as Bag. Much conjecture has been expended on this reading. Heinichen has θεεὶ.


Ps. 7:15, 16, Septuagint translation.


This matter is discussed in the Prolegomena.


Ex. xv. 10.


Exod. 15:1, 2, 11, Septuagint version. This whole chapter with the last paragraph of the preceding are in the Church History, 9. 9.

Next: Chapter XXXIX