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man hath professed.' The holy Speratus answered : ' To
commit murder and to be^r false witness is a dangerous
persuasion.' The proconsul said : ' Take no part in such
folly and obstinacy.' The holy Cittinus took up the word
and said : * There is no one whom we can fear save the
Lord our God, who dwells in heaven.' The holy Donata
said : ' We give honour to the emperor as the emperor, but
iear we render to our God.' The holy Hestia said : * I am
a Christian,' The holy Secmida added : * What I am, that
will I also remain.' Then said the proconsul to the holy
Speratus : * Dost thou likewise continue a Christian ? '
The holy Speratus said : ' I am a Christian.' Likewise
also said all the other holy ones. The proconsul said :

* Will ye not have a space for reflection ? ' The holy
Speratus said : ' In a matter so approved ^ there is no
dehberation and no reflection.' The proconsul said :

* What books have you in your satchel ? ' ^ The holy
Speratus said : * Our holy writings and the letters also of
the holy man PauL' The proconsul said : * Ye shall have
a space of thirty days, if so be ye may perchance come to
reason.' The holy Speratus answered thereto : ' I am
unchangeably^ a Christian.' The others also with one
voice affirmed the same thing. Then the proconsul
Saturninus pronounced judgment over them in the fol-
lowing way : ' Inasmuch as Speratus, Martzallus, Cittinus,

2 Tro7aL irpayfiaruai iv ro7s vfierepois avSKeivTai (TKeveciv ; No doubt
the question points to a suspicion of magic.
' d/t€ra0€TOS.



200 CHRISTIANITY AND

Donata, Hestia and Secunda, as well as tlie others who
have not appeared before us, have professed that they live
according to the Christian mode of life, and inasmuch as
they remain obstinate in their resolution, notwithstanding
that a space was allowed them in which to return to the
Roman worship, we give orders that they be executed with
the sword.' ^

There is no sign in this account of any departure from
the principles of Trajan's rescript. If M. Aurelius in-
augurated a severer course, Saturninus at any rate did not
carry it out. He clearly had not hunted out the Christians
wdio were brought before him ; he not only offers pardon
on condition of recantation, even pressing on them a delay
of thirty days, but he goes so far as to dispense with the
test of actual sacrifice to the emperor, if the accused w^ould
only swear by his genius. On the other hand the Christians
are punished for the name, in consequence of their obstinate
profession of it (dKAtj/et? rrjv yvw/xT^v), their disobedient
refusal to return to the Roman cult, and their refusal to
recognise the authority of the kingdom of this world in
religious concerns.^ There is no question of maiestas ; no
mention of any charge of immorality ; if any suspicion of
magic is implied,^ no stress is laid on any such charge, and
the whole trial is evidently summary and informal, the
number of questions asked being solely due to the anxiety
of the proconsul to avoid, if possible, extreme measures.

The other document, if anything a still more interesting
one, is an account — probably the original ' Acta ' — of the
trial of Apollonius in Rome. This martyrdom is, as is

' Tov 'S.-rreparov k. t. \. ocroi Tcp XptariaviK^ dea/xi^ eavrovs KaTeirrjy-
yeiXauTO irohiTevecrdai iirel Koi xapiaQ^icrris avrdls -npoOeauias rod nphi
r7]v rwu 'PwfjLaiwu iTrap€\6e7u irapddocrij/ aK\ivi7s rrjv yvdoiJLTtv hii^^Lvav,
^i(psi. TovTOvs avaipeQijvai. SeSiKO/ca.

2 e'-ydj tV fiaaiAeiav tov vvv al(avos ov yivcixTKca,

3 Bee p. 200, note 2. •



THE EOMAN GOVERNMENT 201

well known, mentioned by Eusebius,^ who states that an
accuser, stirred up by the devil, caused Apollonius to be
brought before Perennis ; that Perennis, after ordering the
informer to be executed, requested Apollonius to give an
account of himself before the senate,^ and that the martyr,
after giving a reasonable account of his faith before that
body, was beheaded, doo-av (xtto Soyixaro's crvyKk-qTov, since an
old precedent had been established that Christians who
were once brought to trial could be released in no other
way than by giving up their profession.^ Eusebius addg
that anyone who wishes to know what the martyr said
and what he answered to the questions of Perennis, and
his whole apology before the senate, can learn it Ik tojv
dp^atwv fxapTvpLO)V a-vva^$€L(T7]<s rffuv dvaypa(f)rj<;. The docu-
ment thus referred to has almost certainly been discovered
in an Armenian version, belonging to the fifth century, of
a Greek original, by Mr. F. C. Conybeare, ' in a repertory
of Martyrdoms published by the Mechitarists of Venice in
1874.' Mr. Conybeare has published in the Guardian for
June 21, 1893, an English translation of the * Acta,' while
Professor Harnack has since published a German transla-
tion by Herr Burchardi, with a commentary of his own in
the ' Sitzungsbericht der koniglich Preussischen Akademie
der Wissenschaften zu Berlin,' xxxvii. 1893.

After a brief introduction, probably by Eusebius, the
' Acta ' begin abruptly, the first portion being lost. Perennis,
the prefect, commanded that he should be brought before
the senate, and said to him : * Apollonius, wherefore dost

' Euseb. H. E. v. 21.

■- b 5e' 76 eeo(pi\4aTaTOS juapruj, iruWh Mirapus iKeT^vaavros rov
SiKaarov Kol \6yov avrhv iirl ttis axryKXi^TOV ^ovKrjs alr-f}(TavTOS, XoyiwrdTT)!/
virep ^s i/xapTvpei Trio'Tecoj inl Trdi/rwi/ irapacrx'^v airoXoyiav K€(pa\iKr)
Ko\d(Xei waau airh SSynaTos (TvyKK'i]TOv TeXeiovrai.

' jLiTjS' 6\\a>s a(pe7crdai rovs an-a| ds SiKaffrrjpiov irapiSpras Ka\ fj.-ndafJLWs
TTIS irpodeaeus jiiCT a^aWo^eVoys apxaiov trap' avTols v6ixqv KiKpaTTjKOTos.,



202 CHRISTIANITY AND

thou resist the invincible law and decree of the emperors,^
and dost refuse to sacrifice to the gods ? ' Apollonius said :
* Because I am a Christian ; ^ therefore I fear God, who
made heaven and earth, and sacrifice not to empty idols.'
The prefect said : ' But thou oughtest to repent of this
mind of thine, because of the edicts of the emperors,^ and
take oath by the good fortune of the autocrat Commodus.'
Apollonius replied :'.... it is best to swear not at all,
but in all things to live in peace and truth ; for a great
oath is the truth, and for this reason is it a bad and an ill
thing to swear by Christ, but because of falsehood is there
disbelief, and because of disbelief there is swearing. I am
willing to swear in truth by the true God that we, too, love
the emperor and offer up prayers for his majesty.' The
prefect said : * Come then and sacrifice to Apollo '^ and to
the other gods and to the emperor's image.' Apollonius
said : ' As to my change of mind and as to the oath, I have
given their answer ; but as to sacrifices, I and all Chris-
tians offer a bloodless sacrifice to God .... Wherefore
according to the command of the God-given precept, we
make our prayers to him who dwells in heaven, who is the
only God, that men may be justly ruled upon this earth,
knowing for certain that he, your emperor, also is estab-
lished, not through anyone else, but only through the one
King, God, who holds everyone in his hand.' The prefect
said : ' Surely thou wast not summoned hither to talk
philosophy. I will give thee one day's respite that thou

' This need imply no more than the de facto procedure which we
have seen was pursued in such cases, and which no doubt rested on
rescripts from different emperors.

2 Cf. Plin. ad Trai. 96, 5 : ' Quorum nihil posse cogi dicuntur
qui sunt re vera Christiani.'

' Cf. Trajan's words : ' Qui negaverit se Christianum esse idque
re ipsa manifestum fecerit, id est suppHcando deis nostris.'

* Probably, as Harnack suggests, the senate was held in the
temple of Apollo on the Palatine.



THE EOMAN GOVERNMENT 203

mayest consider thine interest and advise thyself concern-
ing thy life.' And he ordered him to be taken to prison.
After three days he ordered him to be brought forward and
said to him : ' What counsel hast thou found for thyself ? '
Apollonius answered : ' To remain firm in my religion as I
told thee before.' The prefect said : ' Because of the edict
of the senate ^ I advise thee to repent and to sacrifice to
the gods to whom all the earth gives homage and sacrifices
for it is far better for thee to live among us than to die a
miserable death. Methinks thou art not unacquainted
with the edict of the senate.' Apollonius said : ' I know the
command of the Omnipotent God, and I remain firm in my
religion,^ and I do no homage to idols made with hands.
. . . .' The prefect answered : * You have philosophised
enough and filled us with admiration ; but dost thou not
know this, Apollonius, that it is the command of the
senate that no one shall anywhere be named a Christian ? ' ^
Apollonius answered : ' Ay, but it is not possible for a
human statute of the senate to prevail over the command

of God ' The prefect said : * Art thou bent upon

death? .... I would fain let thee go, but I cannot,
because of the command of the senate,^ and yet with
benevolence I pronounce sentence on thee.' And he
ordered him to be beheaded with a sword. Apollonius
said : * I thank my God for thy sentence.' And the execu-
tioners straightway led him away and beheaded him.

' The edict of the senate was probably a resolution that Apol-
lonius should be treated in the same way as other Christians were.

- Apollonius manifests the same ohstinatio as that displayed by
the Bithynian Christians, which Pliny considered to be deserving of
death.

^ i.e. the senate sanctioned, in this particular case of a member
of their own body, the course usually pursued, that the nomen or
profession of Christianity was punishable with death.

* The motive of Perennis in putting the matter in this light ig
obvious.



204 CHEISTIANITY AND

There are several points which are unusual about this
trial. In the first place the accused is brought before the
court, not of the praefectus urhi, as Ptolemaeus and his
companions were under Pius, and as Justin was under M.
Aurelius, but of the praefectus praetorio. This, however,
is sufficiently explained by the exceptional position of
Perennis, who occupied under Commodus a position similar
to that of Sejanus under Tiberius. There was at no time
a very distinct line separating the judicial sphere of the
praefectus urhi and the praefecti praetorio, and as the
latter became more and more civil rather than military
functionaries, their court, even in ordinary circumstances,
came to encroach upon and to overshadow that of the
senatorial praefectus.

A more difficult problem is the part taken in the trial
by the senate. Apollonius was clearly first brought before
Perennis, evidently because the crime of Christianity was
one for the police administration to deal with. Perennis,
however, insists that the- accused should give an account
of himself before the senate. But this by no means
meant that the senate was to try the case. This is con-
clusively proved against Neumann in two ways : (1) by the
fact that even in the senate it is Perennis — though not a
senator, and strictly having no right to be present in the
senate at all, except as an escort to the emperor — who
puts the questions and conducts the examination ; (2) after
the reprieve of three days, Apollonius was brought, as
Harnack very clearly shows, ^ not before the senate again,
but before Perennis, who passes sentence upon him. We

' (1) Whereas on the first day, the prefect based his action on the
edicts of the emperors, he on the second hearing mentions only the
resolution of the senate. (2) The way in which Perennis refers to the
senate makes it impossible that the proceedings were still in the
presence of that body. (3) A philosopher interposes a remark : which
might happen in the prefect's court, but was hardly possible in the
senate, where non-senators were not admitted.



THE EOMAN OOVERNMENT 205

therefore have no instance here, as Neumann thinks, of a
Christian trial before the senate. The expressions of
Eusebius, wo-av oltto Soy/MZTOS (rvyKX.rJTOV and €7rt tov StKaoTov,
were in themselves against this view, and the * Acta ' clearly
show it to be wrong. What then was the part which the
senate took ? and what was the cause of its exceptional
interference ? The answer, it seems to me, can only be
that Apollonius was a senator. Eusebius does not say so :
but he tells us that about this time several persons in
Rome conspicuous by wealth and birth became Christians.'
There had clearly been Christian senators when Tertullian
wrote the * Apology,' ^ and he had been in Rome under
Commodus; and Hieronymus^ describes Apollonius as
' Romanae urbis senator ' — a statement which, whether
due to evidence independent of Eusebius, or to an in-
ference from his account, as Harnack thinks, is nctt without
its weight. Professor Harnack is inchned to give up the
view that Apollonius was a senator, apparently on three
grounds : (1) neither Eusebius nor the * Acta ' speak of him
as one ; (2) he was not tried by the senate, but by
Perennis ; (3) his appearance before the senate is quite
well explained by the following passage from Momm sen's
' Staatsrecht : ' ^ ' Wenn in der Stadt die capitale Coercition
in Fallen von politischer Wichtigkeit zur Anwendung kam,
ist dabei wohl regelmassig der Senat hinzugezogen worden.
Dasselbe geschieht bei ausserordenthcher Gefahrdimg der
ofifentlichen Sicherheit, namenthch bei weit und insbeson-
dere iiber die Biirgerschaft hinaus sich verzweigenden
Verbrechen, also bei religiosen Associationen mit crimi-
nellen Tendenzen, bei den Gruppen verbrechen der Gift-
mischerei, der Brandstiftung u. s. w. Das fiir diese
Judication erforderliche Imperium kann der Senat nicht
verleihen, wohl aber die ihm zustehende Einwirkung auf

• Enseb. H. E. v. 21, 1. « Apol 37.

» Dc Vir. ilhist c. 42 * Staatsr. iii. 1066.



206 CHRISTIANITY AND

die effective Competenz der Imperientrager in der Weise
ausiiben, dass er einen Consul oder einen Prator mit der
Handhabung dieser Criminaljustiz beauftragt. In Folge
eines derartigen Auftrags richtet der betreffende Magistrat,
je nach Umstanden mit Ziiziehung eines Consilium: der
Senat selber fungirt audi in diesem Fall niemals als
Gerichtshof.'

Of these reasons the first alone seems to me to have
any force, and, as Professor Harnack himself allows, it is
not conclusive, even apart from the possibility that Apol-
lonius is described as a senator in the lost beginning of
the ' Acta.' The second reason proves nothing. Senators
were by no means invariably tried by the senate, except
perhaps in the reign of Tiberius. ApoUonius, if a senator,
would much more naturally have been tried, as no doubt
Flavins Clemens and Acilius Glabrio were, by the emperor
himself. But Commodus, as we learn expressly from Dio
Cassius, neglected all the duties of his position, and
Perennis was compelled to administer, not only military
affairs, but all other matters as well, and, in fact, to act as
vice-emperor.^ This by itself seems a sufficient explana-
tion why a senator, accused of being a Christian, should
come before Perennis rather than the praefectus urhi.
With regard to the passage quoted from Mommsen, it is
enough to say that it has reference solely to republican
times, and is quite inappropriate even to the first century
of the empire, and still more to the second.

On the other hand, the hypothesis that ApoUonius was
a senator enables us to suggest a consistent account of
what really happened. ApoUonius, a senator, was accused
by an informer — perhaps, as Hieronymus states, by one of
his own slaves— of being a Christian. An ordinary Chris-

* Dio Cass. Ixxii. 9 : tov Ko/xudBov . . . rwv r-p apxfi rrpoffTiKSvTuv
ouSei/ cl'S etTretf irpArrouTos 6 Uepevvios f/i/ay/cdCeTO ovx SxtTcfe ffTpariwriKa
aWa Koi T&\ha dia x«tp^s Ixetr koI tov koivov ■npoara.TTiiv,



THE ROMAN GOVERNIVIENT 207

tian would have been tried by the praefectus urbi, a
senator naturally by the emperor. Commodus, however,
delegated all such duties to Perennis, and accordingly
before Perennis the accused was brought. The prefect, in
these somewhat exceptional circumstances, may naturally
have desired to relieve himself of some of the responsibility
of putting a senator to death, especially as at the beginning
of his reign the emperor, perhaps with a rather bad grace,
made some show of deference to the senate's authority,^
and he accordingly not only allowed but ordered Apollonius
to make a statement to him in the presence of the senate,
and induced the senate to pass a resolution that the
ordinary course of procedure was to be observed in this
case, viz. that pardon could only be secured by retracta-
tion.'^ Armed with this semi-official authority,^ Perennis
resumed the trial in his own court, and as Apollonius
persisted in his profession of Christianity and refused to
worship the emperor, he was condemned to death, the
only concession made to his senatorial rank being that he
was beheaded instead of being exposed to wild beasts.'*

* Schiller, Gesch. der rom. Kaiserz. i. 663.

' This seems the best explanation of the words /xt/S' a<p^7(TQai
&X\(i}T rovs aira^ (Is 5iKa<TT-fipiou irapidvras KoX firidafxas rrjs irpodifffoos
/xeTafiaWoi-Uvovs apxaiov Trap' avTo7s vS/jlov KeKpaTrjKdros ; of. Hieronym.
ad loc. cit. : ' veteri apud eos obtinente lege absque negatione non
dimitti Christianos.'

' This seems to give exactly the force required by oxrav a-nh
Soyfxaros avvKAijTov.

* Professor Harnack gives a different explanation. He supposes
that the favourable attitude of Commodus towards the Christians
under the influence of Marcia had already commenced ; that it was
with reluctance that the information of the slave was received ; that
Perennis was expected by the emperor to bring the matter to a
favourable termination ; that he sought to do this by inducing the
senate to pass a resolution exempting Apollonius from the conse-
quences of his obstinacy, and that it was only because he failed in
this that he passed sentence on the accused, to whom he showed his



208 CHRISTIANITY AND THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT

For the rest it is sufficient to point out (1) that Apollonius
was not sought out, but accused ; (2) that it was the mere
profession of Christianity apart from any more specific
charge which was laid against him, (3) that the worship
of the emperor was, as in other cases, used as a test and
sign of retractation ; (4) that Perennis, no less than the
provincial governors, is anxious to induce this recantation,
and so to avoid the necessity of capital punishment.

favourable attitude by a lighter sentence. This account leaves quite
unexplained the position of the senate in the matter, and probably
antedates by several years the more indulgent attitude of Commodus.



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