Decius was Roman emperor from 249 to 251 CE. In 249 CE Roman emperor Philip the Arab sent senator Decius to be the governor of the troubled provinces of Moesia and Pannonia. Roman legions under the ineffective command of the governor there were deserting to the invading Goths who were angry because Philip had cut indemnity payments. After repelling the Goths and restoring stability to the region, Decius's legions, already tiring of Philip's rule, declared him emperor. With the return of the deserting legions and the encouragement of his troops, Decius advanced towards Rome in September of 249 CE. Although some historians believe Decius was reluctant to battle Philip, the armies of the two emperors met at Beroea in Macedonia where Decius defeated and killed Philip. Shortly afterwards, Philip's young son and heir was killed at the Praetorian camp in Rome. Rome officially had a new emperor. He would be the first in a long line of emperors from the Balkans.

Early Life

Quintus Decius Valerinus was born around 190 CE to a large landowning family in the small village of Budalia located in the Balkan province of Pannonia. The young aspiring Decius married into a respectable Etruscan family - Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla - they would have two sons, Herennius and Hestilianus. Unlike several of his predecessors - Macrinus, Maximinus and Philip - who had gained renown in the military, Decius had little, if any experience in the army, serving as a distinguished member of the Roman Senate and even as consul in 232 CE. From 235 to 238 CE he was the governor of Lower Germany and later Hispania Tarraconensis. During the reign of Philip, before he was sent to Moesia and Pannonia, he was the urban prefect of Rome. In an odd turn of events, when Philip offered to step down as emperor, it was Decius who stopped his resignation, saying it was unnecessary.

In 250 CE Decius returned to military service when he led forces to the Balkans to confront the resurging Goths.

Decius As Emperor

After defeating Philip and consolidating his power in Rome, the emperor focused on a number of building projects including a repair of the aging Colosseum and the construction of the Baths of Decius. In 250 CE he returned to military service when he led forces to the Balkans to confront the resurging Goths who had crossed the Danube into the province of Thrace and attacked the city of Philippopolis. It was there that the Goths would ally themselves with the provincial governor Titus Julius Priscus. With the support of the Goths, Priscus wasted little time, declaring himself emperor. Unfortunately for Priscus, although the exact date in unknown, he was killed by his new allies before he could enjoy the benefits of the imperial office. In 251 CE while still fighting away from Rome, Decius received news of a second usurper to the throne, a senator, one Iulius Valens Licinianus. Unlike Priscus, he had some support in Rome both in the senate and withh the populace, but his rebellion and he would soon be put down by Publius Licinius Valerianus (a future emperor 253 - 260 CE) who had been appointed by Decius to attend to the administrative duties while he was gone.

Decius could not be bothered with these would-be emperors. His major concern was the leader of the Goths, Kniva. Despite being repelled by Decius' forces, the invading “barbarian” continued eastward where he was joined by the Carpi who had crossed into the Roman province of Dacia. With the hope of stopping Kniva, the emperor sent his oldest son Herennius to Moesia and Decius soon followed. Unfortunately, both Decius and his son (who had been appointed co-emperor) were unable to repel Kniva and his combined forces. They both fled to Oescus where they joined with the governor of Upper and Lower Moesia Trebonianus Gallus. Despite early success, Decius and his son (as well as most of their army) became entrapped in a swamp and died at the Battle of Abrittus. Decius was the first Roman emperor to die in battle against a foreign enemy. Trebonianus Gallus assumed the imperial title (251-253 CE) and quickly made peace with the Goths. Upon his return to Rome, he made Decius' youngest son his co-emperor but the boy would die shortly afterwards.

Unfortunately for Emperor Decius, he is remembered more for his persecution of the Christians than his military campaigns. Although Christians were not specifically named in any of the imperial edicts, it was evident for whom they were intended. Some historians speculate that his dislike of the Christians stemmed from Philip's less aggressive policies - the persistent rumor that Philip was a Christian. Decius declared that all citizens had to not only sacrifice to the Roman gods but also observe pagan rituals, something that both Jews and Christians, since the reign of Nero, had always refused to do. While Christians were not ordered to give up their faith, torture and execution were common for those who refused to demonstrate allegiance - even Pope Fabianus of Rome was not spared. This allegiance extended not only to the Roman gods but also to the emperor via the imperial cult. Decius had a fascination with many of those who had preceded him, and in an attempt to reaffirm their divinity, he issued coins to honor each of them. In addition, in order to associate himself with the Roman emperor Trajan, Decius even adopted the name of Trajanus. After the emperor's death, the persecutions ceased, only to be reborn under Emperor Diocletian fifty years later.

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Persecution In the Third Century, Part 4

Our History of Christianity Scripture verse today is 1 Peter 4:1 which reads: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Tertullian. He said: “If the Tiber rises too high, or the Nile too low, the remedy is always feeding Christians to the lions.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Persecution In the Third Century” (Part 4) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Persecution Under Under Decius (Part 1)

In 249 AD, Decius took the imperial purple. Although Christian historians have depicted him as a cruel person, the truth is that Decius was simply a Roman of the old style, whose main goal was to restore Rome to her ancient glory. There were several factors contributing to the eclipse of that glory. The barbarians beyond the borders were increasingly restless, and their incursions into the empire were growing more and more daring. There was a serious economic crisis. And the ancient traditions associated with the classical times of Roman civilization were generally forgotten.

To a traditional Roman such as Decius, it seemed obvious that one of the reasons for all this was that the people had abandoned the ancient gods. When all adored the gods, things went better, and the glory and power of Rome were on the increase. By neglecting the gods, Rome had provoked their displeasure, and had been itself neglected by them. Therefore, if Rome’s ancient glory was to be restored, it was necessary to restore also its ancient religion. If all the subjects of the empire would worship the gods, perhaps the gods would once again favor the empire.

This was the basis of Decius’ religious policy. It was no longer a matter of rumors about Christian immorality, nor of punishing the obstinacy of those who refused to worship the emperor. It was rather an entire religious campaign for the restoration of ancestral religion – a religion that was being particularly undermined by Christianity. What was at stake, as Decius saw it, was the survival of Rome itself. Those who refused to worship the gods were practically guilty of high treason.

Given these circumstances, Decius’ persecution was very different from earlier ones. The emperor’s purpose was not to create martyrs, but apostates. Almost fifty years earlier, Tertullian had declared that the blood of the martyrs was a seed, for the more it was spilled the greater the number of Christians. The exemplary deaths of Christians in those early years had moved many who had witnessed them, and therefore persecution seemed to encourage the spread of Christianity. If, instead of suffering martyrdom, Christians were forced to recant, this would deprive Christianity of the heroic witness of the martyrs, and would be a victory for Decius’ goal of restoring paganism.

Persecution In the Third Century, Part 6

The History of Christianity #61

Our History of Christianity Scripture verse today is 1 Peter 4:19 which reads: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from William Tyndale. He said: “For if God be on our side, what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes, or whatsoever names they will?”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Persecution In the Third Century” (Part 6) from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

The Question of the Lapsed: Cyprian and Novatian (Part 1)

In spite of its brief duration, the persecution under Decius was a harsh trial for the church. This was due, not only to the persecution itself, but also to the problems that had to be faced after it. In short, the great question before the church was what to do about the “lapsed” – those who, in one way or another, had weakened during the persecution. There were several complicating factors. One was that not all had fallen in the same manner nor to the same degree. The case of those who ran to offer sacrifice as soon as they were told of the imperial decree was hardly the same as that of those who purchased fraudulent certificates, or those others who had weakened for a moment, but had then reaffirmed their faith and asked to rejoin the church while the persecution was still in progress.

Given the great prestige of the confessors, some thought that they were the ones with authority to determine who among the lapsed ought to be restored to the communion of the church, and how. Some confessors, particularly in North Africa, claimed that authority, and began restoring some of the lapsed. This met with the opposition of many bishops who claimed that only the hierarchy had the authority to restore the lapsed, and that only it could do so in a uniform and just manner. Still others were convinced that both the confessors and the bishops were showing too much leniency, and that the lapsed ought to be treated with greater rigor. In the debate surrounding this question, two people played crucial rules: Cyprian and Novatian.

Cyprian had become a Christian when he was about forty years old, and shortly thereafter had been elected bishop of Carthage. His favorite theologian was Tertullian, whom he called “the master.” Like Tertullian, he was trained in rhetoric, and he could easily overwhelm his opponents with his arguments. His writings are among the best Christian literature of the time.

Cyprian, who had become a bishop shortly before the persecution, thought that his duty was to flee to a secure place with other leaders of the church, and continue guiding the flock through an extensive correspondence. As was to be expected, many interpreted this decision as an act of cowardice. The church of Rome, for instance, had lost its bishop in the persecution, and the clergy of that city wrote to Cyprian questioning his decision. He insisted that he had fled for the good of his flock, and not out of cowardice. As a matter of fact, his valor and conviction were amply proven a few years later, when he gave his life as a martyr. But meanwhile his own authority was questioned, and there were many who claimed that the confessors of Carthage, who had suffered for their faith, had more authority than he did, particularly when it came to the question of the restoration of the lapsed.

Next time, we will continue looking at The Question of the Lapsed: Cyprian and Novatian.

Christianity threatened the livelihood of pagan priests, idol makers, soothsayers, painters, architects, and sculptors. As a result, Christians were regarded as contributing to the decline of the Empire.

In Acts 7:54-8:3, we read of the first persecution of the Church. Those who first persecuted the Church were not Romans, but the Jews themselves. Some of the deaths of early Christian leaders were directly the result of the Jews. Among them was Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, who was burned at the stake, then stabbed to death when the flames did not sufficiently reach him.

Nicolaus Decius

The contributions of Nicolaus Decius to Lutheran hymnody, although few, actually predate the first published hymns of Martin Luther by one year. The settings he prepared of the Gloria in Excelsis, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei are evidence that he shared in the same interest as Luther of allowing more of the liturgy to be sung by the entire congregation rather than by the choir alone. Two of these settings have survived in Lutheran hymnals of recent decades, “All Glory Be to God on High” and “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy.”

Decius was born about 1485 in the town of Hof in Upper Franconia, Bavaria. After receiving degrees from the University of Leipzig, he entered a cloister and became a teacher at Braunschweig before becoming prior of the Benedictine nunnery at Steterburg near Wolfenbüttel. In 1522, due to his attraction to Luther’s teachings, Decius served briefly as rector of the lyceum in Hanover before returning to Braunschweig during which time the city became part of the Reformation and he became a master in the St. Katherine and Egidien School. During the next six years, Decius studied Reformation theology at Wittenburg University, completed a Master of Arts degree, was recommended by Luther as assistant pastor at St. Nicholas Church in Stettin, and was married. In 1532 he was assistant pastor in the East Prussian town of Liebstadt, leaving two years later for Mühlhausen near Elbing. Decius, himself a capable musician (harp) was appointed as cantor in Bartenstein and also teacher in the village Latin school until he became senior pastor and assistant cantor in Königsberg in 1540. Decius returned to Mühlhausen in 1543 and nothing further is known of him after preparing a successor to perform his duties in April of 1546.

Decius’ three liturgical substitutes were published in his Summula (1523) along with selections from the Gospel of Matthew, Latin authors, and Low German poetry. “All Glory Be to God on High” first appeared for liturgical service use in Gesang Buch (Rostock, 1525) in Low German. A High German version appeared in Valentin Schumann’s Geistliche lieder auffs new gebessert und gemehrt (Wittenburg, 1539) in which the tune Allein Gott in der Höh—Decius’ adaptation of a tenth-century plainsong tune to a “Gloria in excelsis” used at Easter time—first appeared. J.S. Bach used this familiar melody in four of his cantatas, Choralgesänge (choral songs), and in ten different movements for organ. The lilting feel of its triple meter has caused it to be referred to by some as “the Lutheran waltz.”

The text of “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy” appeared with “All Glory Be to God on High” in the publications listed previously. It first appeared with the tune that is currently associated with it, O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, in Anton Corvinus’ Christliche Kirchen-Ordnung (Erfurt, 1542). It was adapted by Decius from a thirteenth-century, or possibly earlier, “Agnus Dei” plainsong for the feast of the Blessed Virgin. This meaningful hymn is frequently used during midweek Lenten services and on Good Friday. In the Chief Service for Good Friday in Lutheran Service Book, each successive stanza is sung following each reproach of Jesus from the cross and response of the people. J.S. Bach used this solemn melody in his St. Matthew Passion, Choralgesänge, as well as setting for organ in the Orgelbüchlein (little organ book) and The Great Eighteen Chorales.

Decius was blessed by God with skills and abilities to serve in multiple capacities: teacher, leader, pastor, and musician. Let us celebrate the contributions of Nicolaus Decius to our Lutheran heritage as we proclaim the innocent death and perfect resurrection of Christ, the pure and holy Lamb of God!

Jonathan A. Swett is Kantor of Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, Hartland, Mich.

Precht, Fred. Lutheran Worship: Hymnal Companion. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1992.

Stulken, Marilyn Kay. Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981.

Decius XXIII

Decius XXIII famously clashed with Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov of the Inquisition's Ordo Hereticus in 945.M41 over the fate of the lowly Preacher Icarael. The confrontation almost came to outright battle after the Inquisitor executed the boy, but Decius vindicated Karamazov after taints of Chaos were found amongst the followers of Icarael. [1]

Later in the Age of the Dark Imperium Decius XXIII attempted to use the instability caused by the Great Rift's creation to repeal the Decree Passive. This caused a number of assassination attempts on him, which forced Saint Celestine, Inquisitor Greyfax, and Longinus to escort him to Ophelia VII for safety. However it soon became apparent the series was events was orchestrated by the Lord of Change known as the Tyrant of Blueflame, causing Celestine to later execute Decius. [2]


Ura ennen keisariutta Muokkaa

Gaius Messius Quintus Decius syntyi Sirmiumin kaupungin lähistöllä sijainneessa Budalian kylässä noin vuosien 190–200 välillä. [7] Deciuksen vanhemmista ei ole tietoa, mutta hänen isänsä oli luultavasti armeijan upseeri, ehkä eräs Quintus Decius Vindex, joka toimi Daakian prokuraattorina. Hänen sukunsa saattoi olla kotoisin Italiasta, mistä antaa viitteitä nimet "Decius" ja "Messius", jotka ovat vanhoja oskalaisia nimiä Italiasta. [8]

Decius toimi noin vuosien 215–225 aikana kvestorina. Vuonna 234 hänet nimitettiin Moesian maaherraksi ja oli samoihin aikoihin myös consul suffectus, eli hänet nimitettiin kesken vuotta edellisen konsulin tilalle. Vuonna 238 hän oli Hispania Tarraconensiksen maaherra. Samana vuonna syttyi sisällissota, jossa Decius tuki senaatin vihollista keisari Maximinusta. Tämä ei kuitenkaan vaikuttanut Deciuksen ja senaatin suhteisiin vaan hän pysyi suosittuna senaatissa. Hän oli myös Germania Inferiorin maaherrana 230-luvulla. [9] Tämän perusteella hän olisi luultavasti ollut myös senaatin jäsen. Oletusta tukee myös se, että hän solmi avioliiton ylhäiseen etruskisukuun kuuluvan Herennia Etruscillan kanssa 230-luvun alussa. Decius sai Etruscillan kanssa kaksi poikaa: Herennius Etruscuksen ja Hostilianuksen. [10] Philippus Arabsin kauden alussa Decius oli kaupunginprefektinä ja vuonna 249 ehkä myös consul suffectus. [11] [5] Zosimoksen mukaan Philippus murtui kapinoiden takia paineen alla ja tarjoutui jopa luopumaan vallasta. Decius kuitenkin rauhoitteli häntä ja ennusti kapinoiden päättyvän itsestään, kuten lopulta kävikin. [12]

Nousu valtaan Muokkaa

Keisari Philippus lähetti vuonna 249 Deciuksen Moesian provinssiin, jotta tämä palauttaisi järjestyksen Tonavan rajalle, joka oli ollut rauhaton Tiberius Claudius Marinus Pacatianuksen kapinan jälkeen. Philippus valitsi Deciuksen luultavasti siksi, että tämä oli suosittu senaatissa, joka oli alkanut epäillä Philippuksen kyvykkyyttä hoitaa valtakunnan asioita. Toiseksi Decius oli kotoisin Tonavan alueelta ja toiminut myös Moesian maaherrana, mikä oli tuonut hänelle kokemusta. Decius lähtikin poikansa Herenniuksen kanssa Moesiaan palauttamaan järjestystä. Pian tämän jälkeen Philippukseen tyytymättömät Deciuksen joukot julistivat komentajansa keisariksi. [5] Hänen väitetään olleen yllättynyt tällaisesta tapahtumien käänteestä ja yrittäneen selittää Philippukselle, että hän ei suinkaan ollut halukas kaappaamaan tältä valtaa. [13] Mutta jos Decius jotain selittikin, ei se ilmeisesti vakuuttanut Philippusta, joka lähti kesäkuussa 249 armeijoineen tekemään selvää Deciuksesta. [14]

Deciusta tukivat Pannonian legioonat, joihin kuului muun muassa Legio X Gemina, jota Decius myöhemmin kunnioitti lisänimellä Deciana. [15] Zosimoksen ja Zonaraksen mukaan Decius kohtasi Philippuksen joukot Veronan luona ja voitti taistelun. Johannes Antiokialainen taas kertoo, että Philippus oli matkalla Byzantioniin, kun hän kuuli kapinasta ja sai surmansa Beroiassa Macedonian provinssissa. Hän kaatui joko taistelussa tai murhattiin pian sen jälkeen. Kun tieto Philippuksen tappiosta kantautui Roomaan asti, pretoriaanikaarti murhasi Philippuksen pojan, Philippus nuoremman. [5] Decius marssi Roomaan ja sai senaatin vahvistuksen keisariudelleen, luultavasti syksyllä 249. [13] Egyptistä löydetyssä papyrusdokumentissa kerrotaan Deciuksen valtakauden alkaneen 28. marraskuuta mutta myös 16. lokakuuta on mahdollinen päivämäärä. [16] [14]

Keisarina Muokkaa

Heti keisariksi tulonsa jälkeen Decius päätti liittää nimiensä joukkoon nimen Traianus viitatakseen noin 150 vuotta aiemmin hallinneeseen valloittajakeisari Trajanukseen, jota pidettiin yhtenä suurimmista keisareista Augustuksen jälkeen. Lisäys oli tarkoin mietitty, sillä Trajanus oli itsekin toiminut Germania Superiorin legioonien komentajana ja hänellä oli ollut myös yhteyksiä Pannonian ja Moesian provinsseihin. Deciuksesta ei kuitenkaan tullut uutta Trajanusta. [17]

Vuoden 251 alussa Decius otti vastaan konsulinviran yhdessä erään Vettius Gratuksen kanssa. Deciuksen ajan kolikoiden kääntöpuolien aiheista on voitu päätellä, että hän noudatti hyvin konservatiivista politiikkaa. Hän yritti jopa palauttaa vanhan lakkautetun kensorinviran tarjoamalla sitä senaattori Publius Licinius Valerianukselle. [17] Tätä ei kuitenkaan nimitetty virkaan.

Decius kuvasi itseään aktiiviseksi kenraaliksi ja sotilaaksi. Hän johti usein sotaretkiään ja kunnioitti joukkojaan erilaisilla arvonimillä ja tunnustuksilla. Hän yritti myös perustaa oman dynastian nimittämällä vuonna 250 poikansa Herennius Etruscuksen ja Hostilianuksen caesareiksi, eli hänen seuraajikseen. Myöhemmin vanhempi Herennius korotettiin Augustukseksi eli samanarvoiseksi kanssahallitsijaksi. [17]

Korostaakseen parempien aikojen tuloa Decius käynnisti vuoden 249 lopussa useita rakennusprojekteja Roomassa. Hän kunnostutti salamaniskussa vaurioituneen Colosseumin ja rakennutti uuden kylpylän (Thermae Decianae) Aventinukselle. [10] [11] Hän saattoi rakennuttaa myös Deciuksen portiikin. Rooman suuruuden palauttamista juhlistettiin myös useissa kolikoissa. [17] [18]

Philippuksen aikana eräs Jotapianus kapinoi keisaria vastaan Syyriassa tai Kappadokiassa, mutta hänen omat sotilaansa luultavasti murhasivat hänet pian Deciuksen valtaannousun jälkeen. [19]

Kristittyjen vainot Muokkaa

Decius käynnisti vuoden 249 lopussa ensimmäiset järjestelmälliset ja siihen asti laajimmat kristittyjen vainot, joissa sai surmansa lukuisia kristittyjä eri puolilla valtakuntaa. Papyruslöytöjen perusteella tiedetään, että Deciuksen aikana jokaisen roomalaisen oli määräaikaan mennessä hankittava todistus (libellus) siitä, että he olivat osallistuneet Rooman jumalien palvontarituaaleihin. Määräajan jälkeen todistuksen puute saattoi johtaa vankeuteen tai jopa kuolemantuomioon. [20] [21]

Kristityille ajatus Rooman jumalien palvomisesta oli mahdoton. Niinpä muun muassa paavi Fabianus teloitettiin 20. tammikuuta 250. Kovimmat vainot koettiin Karthagossa ja Aleksandriassa. [22] Kaikki kristityt eivät kuitenkaan lähteneet marttyyriuden tielle, vaan osa sortui painostuksen alla palvomaan Rooman jumalia. Osa saattoi myös turvautua lahjontaan saadakseen tarpeellisen "palvontatodistuksen". Decius sai joka tapauksessa kristittyjen keskuudessa ikävän maineen. [20] [21] Uskontoedikti ei kuitenkaan ollut suunnattu yksinomaan kristittyjä vastaan. [18] Omasta näkökulmastaan Decius ei vaatinut kristityiltä sen enempää kuin muiltakaan alamaisiltaan. Ja jos kristitty osoitti Rooman jumalille asianmukaista palvontaa, saattoi hän rauhassa jatkaa myös Jeesuksen palvomista.

Ei ole myöskään varmaa mitkä olivat Deciuksen syyt kristittyjen vainoamiselle. Eusebios Kesarealaisen mukaan hän teki niin koska hän vihasi keisari Philippusta, joka puolestaan suosi kristittyjä. Eusebioksen mukaan Philippus oli jopa itsekin kristitty, mutta tämä on epätodennäköistä. Decius yritti ilmeisesti palauttaa uskomuksen vanhaan roomalaiseen uskontoon ja oli sitä mieltä, että valtakuntaa ei puolusteta vain aseilla. [3] Tarvittiin myös oikeaa asennetta, eli vahvaa kiintymystä roomalaisiin perinteisiin. Ennen kaikkea piti kunnioittaa Rooman jumalia, joiden katsottiin takaavan Rooman imperiumin jatkuvuuden. [20] [21] [22]

Goottisodat Muokkaa

Talvella 250 germaanikansoihin kuuluneet gootit hyödynsivät jäätynyttä Tonavaa ja sisällissodan heikentämiä puolustuksia tunkeutumalla kuninkaansa Knivan johdolla Moesiaan. Gootit jakoivat armeijansa kahteen osaan, joista ensimmäinen piiritti Novaen kaupungin ja toinen jatkoi etelään piirittäen Philippopoliksen sulkien provinssin maaherran Lucius Priscuksen kaupunkiin. Decius lähetti caesariksi korotetun Herennius Etruscuksen armeijan kanssa Moesiaan. Pannonian tai Moesian maaherra Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus kukisti Knivan johtamat gootit Novaessa jolloin nämä kääntyivät etelään kohti Nicopolista. Myöhään keväällä 250 myös karpit tekivät ryöstöretkiä Daakiaan sekä Tonavan yli itäiseen Moesia Superioriin ja läntiseen Moesia Inferioriin. [23] Decius joutui koko kautensa ajan taistelemaan näitä hyökkääjiä vastaan. [19] [24]

Kesä- heinäkuussa 250 Decius päätti lähteä Roomasta ottaakseen Rooman armeijan komennon Balkanilla. Nuorempi poika Hostilianus jäi Roomaan hoitamaan hallinnollisia asioita yhdessä senaattori Publius Licinius Valerianuksen kanssa. Roomalaiset vapauttivat Nicopoliksen piirittäjistä, jolloin Knivan johtamat gootit jatkoivat matkaansa etelään kohti Philippopolista, jota piiritti toinen goottiarmeija. Decius kukisti myös karpit ja ajoi nämä pois Daakiasta. [25] Tästä Decius otti arvonimet Dacicus Maximus (suom. suuri daakialaisten voittaja ) ja restitutor Daciarum (suom. Daakian entistäjä ), joita juhlistettiin lukuisissa kolikoissa. Viestiyhteyksiä ja teitä korjattiin ja Decius perusti useita sotilassiirtokuntia Balkanille. Armeija nimesi hänet tänä aikana myös imperaattoriksi ainakin kaksi kertaa. [24]

Vuoden 250 lopulla Decius päätti hyökätä Philippopolista piirittäviä gootteja vastaan. Tiedot tapahtumista ovat epäselviä, mutta roomalaisten pysähtyessä lepäämään Beroeen, Philippopoliksesta koilliseen, Knivan johtamat gootit hyökkäsivät ja aiheuttivat raskaita tappioita roomalaisille. Decius perääntyi joukkojensa kanssa Oescukseen ja liittyi Trebonianus Galluksen armeijaan. [25] Samaan aikaan kaupunkiin saarrettu Priscus julistautui keisariksi, ehkä goottien kanssa solmitun sopimuksen mukaisesti. Kaupunki kuitenkin vallattiin rynnäköllä ja ryöstettiin. Priscuksen tarkasti kohtalosta ei ole tietoa mutta hän sai luultavammin surmansa. Kun tieto Deciuksen tappiosta kantautui Roomaan asti, eräs senaattori Julius Valens Licinianus yritti vallankaappausta. Kapina kuitenkin kukistettiin pian, kukistajana ehkä Valerianus. [24] [26]

Abrittuksen taistelu ja kuolema Muokkaa

Keväällä 251 Decius ja Gallus päättivät hyökätä uudestaan gootteja vastaan, jotka olivat vallanneet Philippopoliksen ja olivat nyt perääntymässä ryöstösaaliinsa kanssa takaisin pohjoiseen kotiseuduilleen. Decius toivoi katkaisevansa goottien perääntymisreitin Abrittuksessa (nykyinen Razgrad Pohjois-Bulgariassa). Eräässä kahakassa Deciuksen poika Herennius sai kuitenkin surmansa, ilmeisesti nuolesta. Kohottaakseen joukkojen taistelutahtoa Decius julisti "ettei yhden miehen kuolema ollut suuri menetys tasavallalle". Viimein roomalaiset kohtasivat Knivan armeijan soisessa maastossa Abrittuksen lähellä. Tiedot tapahtumista ovat epäselviä, mutta ilmeisesti Decius uskoi saaneensa vihollisen ansaan ja aloitti hyökkäyksen roomalaisille epäedullisessa maastossa. Kniva jakoi armeijansa kolmeen osaan ja piiritti Deciuksen joukot. Keisari sekä suurin osa hänen armeijastaan sai surmansa. Deciuksen ja Herenniuksen ruumiit katosivat suolle eikä niitä koskaan löydetty. [24] [19] [27] [25]

Trebonianus Gallus ei osallistunut taisteluun, ja hänet julistettiin keisariksi heti taistelun jälkeen. Joko hän ei ollut tilanteen tasalla tai sitten Deciuksen kuolema sopi hänen suunnitelmiinsa. Zosimoksen mukaan Gallus antoi ennalta tehdyn sopimuksen mukaan merkin gooteille, jotka piirittivät ja tuhosivat Rooman armeijan. [24] Tämä saattaa kuitenkin olla pelkkää tarua, sillä Galluksen petoksesta ei ole luotettavia todisteita. [28]

Decius oli ensimmäinen Rooman keisari, joka kaatui taistelussa ulkoista vihollista vastaan. Taistelun paikalle pystytettiin myöhemmin alttari, joka oli yhä kuuluisa 400-luvulla. [19] Vaikka antiikin aikaiset kristityt historioitsijat suhtautuivatkin Deciukseen vihamielisesti, ei-kristityt historioitsijat puhuivat Deciuksesta aina myönteiseen sävyyn. [29] Abrittuksen katastrofin jälkeen Decius ja Herennius julistettiin luultavasti jumaliksi, ehkä kesäkuun 251 jälkimmäisellä puoliskolla. On kuitenkin todisteita siitä, että mahdollisesti suojellakseen omaa mainettaan Gallus olisi määrännyt Deciuksen ja Herenniuksen muistot kirottaviksi (damnatio memoriae) heinäkuussa 251. [30]

Deciuksen kohtalona oli hallita poikkeuksellisen vaikeana aikana Roomaa. Jonain muuna aikana hän olisi saattanut olla hyväkin hallitsija. Vaikka hän pyrki kuvaamaan itseään tarmokkaana hallitsijana, hänen uskotaan olleen osittain ahdistunut ja väsynyt valtion taakkojen kantamisesta. [1] Nyt hänet muistetaan miehenä, joka yritti vahvistaa Roomaa, mutta epäonnistui täydellisesti. [31] [29]

Deciuksen elämästä on nykypäivään säilynyt erittäin vähän lähteitä. Tärkeimmät ovat kahden bysanttilaisen historioitsijan, Zonaraksen ja Zosimoksen historiateokset. [14] Myös Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, Jordanes ja Silvius Polemius kirjoittivat lyhyesti Deciuksesta. Katkelmia löytyy Johannes Antiokialaisen ja Deksippoksen teoksista. Kirkkohistorioitsija Eusebios Kesarealainen kertoo Deciuksen vainoista ja viittauksia niihin löytyy bysanttilaisen historioitsija Sokrateen ja Lactantiuksen teoksista. Historia Augustassa saattoi olla Deciuksesta kertova luku mutta se ei ole säilynyt. Lisätietoa löytyy piirtokirjoituksista ja kolikoista, joita on säilynyt runsaasti. [6]

Decius - History

"Gallus neither recognized the wickedness of Decius, nor considered what had destroyed him but stumbled on the same stone, though it lay before his eyes. For when his reign was prosperous and affairs were proceeding according to his mind, he attacked the holy men who were interceding with God for his peace and welfare. Therefore with them he persecuted also their prayers in his behalf." So much concerning him. Footnotes:

[2161] Decius reigned about thirty months, from the summer of 249 until almost the close of the year 251 (see Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. III. p. 285). His son Herennius Etruscus was slain with his father in a battle fought against the Goths in Thrace another son, Hostilianus, was associated in the purple with Decius' successor, Gallus, but died soon afterwards, probably by the plague, which was at that time raging possibly, as was suspected, by the treachery of Gallus. There has been some controversy as to whether Hostilianus was a son, or only a nephew, or a son-in-law of Decius. Eusebius in speaking of more than one son becomes an independent witness to the former alternative, and there is really little reason to doubt it, for Zosimus' statements are explicit (see Zosimus, I. 25, and cf. Tillemont, ibid. p. 506). Two other sons are mentioned in one inscription but its genuineness is doubtful. Eusebius, however, may be urged as a witness that he had more than two (cf. Tillemont, ibid.).

[2162] henos deonta tes zoes hebdomekonta apoplesas ?te teleut?. Upon the date of Origen's birth and upon his life in general, see above, Bk. VI. chap. 2, note 1, and below, p. 391 sq.

[2163] Of this Hermammon we know nothing. The words of Eusebius at the close of chap. 22, below, lead us to think that he was probably a bishop of some church in Egypt. Fragments of the epistle addressed to him are preserved in this chapter and in chapters 10 and 23, below. It is possible that Dionysius wrote more than one epistle to Hermammon and that the fragments which we have are from different letters. This, however, is not probable, for Eusebius gives no hint that he is quoting from more than one epistle, and, moreover, the three extracts which we have correspond excellently with one another, seeming to be drawn from a single epistle which contained a description of the conduct of successive emperors toward the Christians. The date of the epistle is given at the close of chap. 23 namely, the ninth year of the Emperor Gallienus (i.e. August, 261-August, 262), reckoning from the time of his association with his father Valerian in the purple.

[2164] Gallus succeeded Decius toward the close of the year 251 and reigned until the summer of 253 (some with less ground say 254), when he was slain, with his son, by his own soldiers. His persecution of the Christians (under him, for instance, Cornelius, bishop of Rome, was banished, see above, Bk. VI. chap. 39, note 3), seems to have been less the result of a deeply rooted religious conviction and a fixed political principle (such as Decius possessed) than of the terrible plague which had begun during the reign of Decius and was ravaging the empire during the early part of Gallus' reign (see Tillemont's Hist. des Emp. III. p. 288). He persecuted, therefore, not so much as a matter of principle as because he desired either to appease the populace or to propitiate the Gods, whom he superstitiously believed, as the people did, to be the authors of the terrible scourge.

Eusebius of Caesarea

Imagine writing a comprehensive history of the church's last three centuries. Now imagine no one has ever written such a history before, so there's no single collection of key documents, no books profiling key figures, no chronology of major events, not even a fixed system of dates. When Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, undertook such an effort, he felt trepidation: "I feel inadequate to do it justice as the first to venture on such an undertaking, a traveler on a lonely and untrodden path," he wrote in his introduction to the The Church History (or Ecclesiastical History ). "But I pray that God may guide me and the power of the Lord assist me, for I have not found even the footprints of any predecessors on this path, only traces in which some have left various accounts of the times in which they lived."

For this ten-volume work, Eusebius is known as "the father of church history." But in his day, he was as much a maker of history as a recorder of it.


There was once a biography of Eusebius, written by his successor as Caesarea's bishop, but like so many other documents, it is lost. So we know nothing for certain about this historian's early life. He was probably born in Palestine, certainly baptized at Caesarea and ordained a presbyter (elder) under his teacher and friend, Pamphilus. So closely did he follow this Origen devotee that he called himself Eusebius Pamphili, son of Pamphilus.

But in 303 came Diocletian who ordered his "great persecution," and Pamphilus was martyred within seven years. Eusebius too, was imprisoned but managed to avoid his mentor's fate. Around 313, about the time of Constantine's Edict of Milan, Eusebius became bishop of the Palestinian city. There he continued work on his church history, which he began during the persecutions. He also wrote a 15-volume refutation of paganism called Preparation, and Demonstration of the Gospel, demonstrating Christ's fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy he also completed his Chronicle of world history.


Earliest known public churches built

Decius orders empire-wide persecution

Eusebius of Caesarea born

Eusebius of Caesarea dies

Athanasius's letter defines New Testament canon

Eusebius's history was not written simply to record the deeds of the church after Christ's ascension he wanted to show that Christianity, with Constantine's conversion, was the pinnacle of humanity's long climb. The church had been an oppressed minority, but now it could enter a period of peace.

Peace seeker

Just as Eusebius was writing about Christianity's defeat of paganism, one of its greatest threats was developing on the inside. Arius, a presbyter from Libya, was gaining followers around the empire, teaching, "There was a time when the Son was not." Egyptian bishop Alexander and his chief deacon, Athanasius, fumed at the teaching. The argument spread throughout the empire, promising to rip the church in two. Constantine&mdashGod's chosen instrument, as Eusebius saw him&mdashcalled the Council of Nicea to close the fissure.

Since his earliest days with Pamphilus, Eusebius was enthralled with the teachings of Origen, who has been criticized for 1,800 years for his belief that the Trinity was a hierarchy, not an equality. So Eusebius was less concerned with Arius's heresy than the threat of disunity in the church. When Arius was censured, Eusebius&mdashwho thought the entire debate brought Christianity the "most shameful ridicule"&mdashwas among the first to ask that he be reinstated.

At the Council of Nicea, Eusebius (whose name means "faithful") attempted to mediate between the Arians and the orthodox. But when the council was over and Arius was anathematized, Eusebius was reluctant to agree with its decision. He eventually signed the document the council produced, saying, "Peace is the object which we set before us." But a few years later, when the tables flipped and Arianism became popular, Eusebius criticized Athanasius, hero of the council. He even sat on the council that deposed him. Eusebius wasn't himself an Arian&mdashhe rejected the idea that "there was a time when the Son was not" and that Christ was created out of nothing. He simply opposed anti-Arianism.

As the Arian controversy continued to rage, Eusebius stayed in Caesarea&mdashdeclining a promotion to become bishop of Antioch&mdashand wrote. Among his most famous writings of this period was another history: a praise-filled Life of Constantine, his adored political leader.


This third century "religious fanatic" gave up his job, slept on the floor, ate no meat, drank no wine, fasted twice a week, owned no shoes, and reportedly castrated himself for the faith. He was also the most prolific scholar of his age (with hundreds of works to his credit), a first-rate Christian philosopher, and a profound student of the Bible.

Child prodigy Origen Adamantius ("man of steel") was born near Alexandria about A.D. 185. The oldest of seven children in a Christian home, he grew up learning the Bible and the meaning of commitment. In 202 when his father, Leonidas, was beheaded for his Christian beliefs, Origen wanted to die as a martyr, too. But his mother prevented him from even leaving the house&mdashby hiding his clothes.

To support his family, the 18-year-old Origen opened a grammar school, copied texts, and instructed catechumens (those seeking to become members of the church). He himself studied under the pagan philosopher Ammonius Saccas in order to better defend his faith against pagan arguments. When a rich convert supplied him with secretaries, he began to write.


Ignatius of Antioch martyred

Irenaeus writes Against Heresies

"Great Persecution" begins under Diocletian

Bible student and critic

Origen worked for 20 years on his Hexapla , a massive work of Old Testament analysis written to answer Jewish and Gnostic critics of Christianity. An examination of Biblical texts, it had six parallel columns: one in Hebrew, and the other five in various Greek translations, including one he found at Jericho in a jar. It became an important step in the development of the Christian canon and scriptural translation, but unfortunately it was destroyed. So massive was it that scholars doubt anyone ever copied it entirely.

This first Bible scholar analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical. As he put it, "For just as man consists of body, soul, and spirit, so in the same way does the Scripture." Origen, in fact, preferred the allegorical not only because it allowed for more spiritual interpretations, but many passages he found impossible to read literally: "Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first and the second and the third day &hellip existed without the sun and moon and stars?" In any event, Origen's method of interpretation became the standard in the Middle Ages. Origen's main work, De Principiis ( On First Principles ), was the first systematic exposition of Christian theology ever written. In it he created a Christian philosophy, synthesizing Greek technique and biblical assumptions. Add to these massive works his homilies and commentaries, and it's clear why he was reputed to have kept seven secretaries busy and caused Jerome (c.354&ndash420) to say in frustrated admiration, "Has anyone read everything that Origen wrote?"

Heretical church father?

Origen has always been controversial. His reported self-mutilation, in response to Matthew 19:12 ("&hellip there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven&hellip.") was condemned as a drastic misinterpretation of the text. In Palestine he preached without being ordained and was so condemned by his bishop, Demetrius. When on a second trip, he was ordained by the same bishops who had invited him to speak the first time, Demetrius sent him into exile.

While some of his writings are thought to have been hypothetical, Origen did teach that all spirits were created equal, existed before birth, and then fell from grace. Furthermore, "those rational beings who sinned and on account fell from the state in which they were, in proportion to their particular sins, were enslaved in bodies as punishment"&mdashsome demons, some men, and some angels. He also believed that all spirits, even Satan, could be saved. "The power of choosing between good and evil is within the reach of all," he wrote.

Most notably, however, Origen described the Trinity as a hierarchy, not as an equality of Father, Son, and Spirit. And though he attacked Gnostic beliefs, like them, he rejected the goodness of material creation.

Three centuries after his death, the Council of Constantinople (553) pronounced him a heretic: "Whoever says or thinks that the punishment of demons and the wicked will not be eternal &hellip let him be anathema."

Some contend that Origen was merely trying to frame the faith in the ideas of his day still his works were suppressed following his condemnation, so modern judgment is impossible.

Despite such condemnation, Origen said, "I want to be a man of the church &hellip to be called &hellip of Christ." His Contra Celsum , in fact, is one of the finest defenses of Christianity produced in the early church. Answering the charge that Christians, by refusing military service, fail the test of good citizenship, he wrote, "We who by our prayers destroy all demons which stir up wars, violate oaths, and disturb the peace are of more help to the emperors than those who seem to be doing the fighting."

The authorities, however, were not convinced: in 250 the emperor Decius had Origen imprisoned and tortured. He was deliberately kept alive in the hope that he would renounce his faith. But Decius died first and Origen went free. His health broken, Origen died shortly after his release.

Watch the video: PARADISE - DECIUS (January 2022).