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deity was represented in a bending attitude, with a golden cup in his hand, pouring out a libation on the earth; as if be supplicated the venerable mother to give to his arms the cold and beauteous Daphne: for the spot was ennobled by fiction; and the fancy of the Syrian poets had transported the amorous tale from the banks of the Peneus to those of the Orontes. The ancient rites of Greece were imitated by the royal colony of Antioch. A stream of prophecy, which rivalled the truth and reputation of the Delphic oracle, flowed from the CastaUan fountain of Daphne.107 In the adjacent fields a stadium was built by a special privilege,108 which had been purchased from Elis; the Olympic games were celebrated at the expense of the city; and a revenue of thirty thousand pounds sterling was annually applied to the public pleasures.109 The perpetual resort of pilgrims and spectators insensibly formed, in the neighbourhood of the temple, the stately and populous village of Daphne, which emulated the splendour, without acquiring the title, of a provincial city. The temple and the village were deeply bosomed in a thick grove of laurels and cypresses, which reached as far as a circumference of ten miles, and formed in the most sultry summers a cool and impenetrable shade. A thousand streams of the purest water, issuing from every hill, preserved the verdure of the earth and the temperature of the air; the senses were gratified with harmonious sounds and aromatic odours; and the peaceful grove was consecrated to health and joy, to luxury and love. The vigorous youth pursued, like Apollo, the object of his desires; and the blushing maid was warned, by the fate of Daphne, to shun the folly of unseasonable coyness. The soldier and the philosopher wisely avoided the temptation of this sensual paradise; n0 where pleasure, assuming the character of religion,
107 Hadrian read the history of his future fortunes on a leaf dipped in the CastaUan stream; a trick which, according to the physician Vandale (De Oracutis, p. 281, 282), might be easily performed by chemical preparations. The emperor stopped the source of such dangerous knowledge; which was again opened by the devout curiosity of Julian.
108 It was purchased, A.D. 44, in the year 92 of the sera of Antioch (Noris. Epoch. Syro-Maced. p. 139-174) for the term of ninety Olympiads. But the Olympic games of Antioch were not regularly celebrated till the reign of Comniodus. [Rather, Caraealla, 212 A.D.; see Clinton, Fasti Rom.] See the curious details in the Chronicle of John Malala (torn. i. p. 293, 320, 372-381), a writer whose merit and authority are confined within the limits of his native city.
"* Fifteen talents of gold, bequeathed by Sosibius, who died in the reign of Augustus. The theatrical merits of the Syrian cities, in the age of Constantine, are compared in the Expositio totius Mundi, p. 6 (Hudson, Geograph. Minor, torn. in.).
110 Avidio Cassio Syriacos legiones dedi luxurift diffluentes et Dapknicis moribus. These are the words of the emperor Marcus Antoninus in an original letter preserved by his biographer in Hist. August, p. 41 [vi. 6], Cassius dismissed or punished every soldier who was seen at Daphne.
imperceptibly dissolved the firmness of manly virtue. But the groves of Daphne continued for many ages to enjoy the veneration of natives and strangers; the privileges of the holy ground were enlarged by the munificence of succeeding emperors; and every generation added new ornaments to the splendour of the temple.111
When Julian, on the day of the annual festival, hastened ton.gi«ctand adore the Apollo of Daphne, his devotion was raised to the Sdii'io.1' highest pitch of eagerness and impatience. His lively imagination anticipated the grateful pomp of victims, of libations, and of incense; a long procession of youths and virgins, clothed in white robes, the symbol of their innocence; and the tumultuous concourse of an innumerable people. But the zeal of Antioch was diverted, since the reign of Christianity, into a different channel. Instead of hecatombs of fat oxen sacrificed by the tribes of a wealthy city to their tutelar deity, the emperor complains that he found only a single goose, provided at the expense of a priest, the pale and solitary inhabitant of this decayed temple.112 The altar was deserted, the oracle had been reduced to silence, and the holy ground was profaned by the introduction of Christian and funereal rites. After Babylas 118
111 Aliquantum agrorum Daphnensibus dedit (Pompey), quo lucus ibi spatiosior fieret; delectatus amoenitate loci et aquarum abundantia. Eutropius, vi. 14. Sextus Rufus, de Provinciis, c. 16.
114 Julian (Misopogon, p. 361, 363) discovers bis own character with that naivete, that unconscious simplicity, which always constitutes genuine humour.
118 Babylas is named by Eusebius in the succession of the bishops of Antioch (Hist. Eccles. 1. vi. c. 29, 39). His triumph over two emperors (the first fabulous, the second historical) is diffusely celebrated by Cbrysostom (torn. ii. p. 536-579, edit. Montfaucon). Tillemont (Mem. Eccles. t. iii. part ii. p. 287-302, 459-465) becomes almost a sceptic. [The history of the remains of Babylas is told, accurately for the most part, by Tillemont, and has been fully discussed by Bishop Lightfoot (in Apostolic Fathers, part ii. vol i. p. 41 sqq.). who uncovers a nest of errors in the account of Gibbon. (1) From Sozomen, v. 20, it is clear that persecutions intervened between the procession and the outbreak of the fire. Consequently Tillemont and Gibbon are wrong in stating that the fire broke out "during the night which terminated this indiscreet procession"—a false inference from Amm. xxii. 13 (Lightfoot p. 43, n. 5). (2) Gibbon seems to confound Theodorus, a young man mentioned by Rufinus, x. 36 (to whom he was known) and Socrates, 3, 19, with the presbyter and martyr Theodoret put to death by Julian's uncle, Count Julian (Soz. v. 8; Ruinart, Acta Mart. Sine. p. 605 sqq.). (3) Ammian's expression levissimus rumor relates not to the charge against Christians, but to the story that the fire was accidentally caused by the philosopher Asclepiades. Gibbon wrongly connected hat, ex causa with the preceding sentence: Amm. 22, 13, 3. (4) Babylas, removed by Julian's orders, was placed in his former marlyrium within the city (Chrysostom, ii. 564-5); soon afterwards a splendid church was built in his honour, outside the city on the other side of the Orontes, and his bones were placed in it, during the bishopric of Meletius, who died 381 A.D. (Chrys. de Hier. Bab. p. 535). Gibbon apparently confounds the martyriuni in Daphne with this new church, when he says "A magnificent church (a bishop of Antioch, who died in prison in the persecution of Decius) had rested near a century in his grave, his body, by the order of the Caesar Gallus, was transported into the midst of the grove of Daphne. A magnificent church was erected over his remains; a portion of the sacred lands was usurped for the maintenance of the clergy, and for the burial of the Christians of Antioch who were ambitious of lying at the feet of their bishop; and the priests of Apollo retired, with their affrighted and indignant votaries. As soon as another revolution seemed to restore the fortune of Paganism, the church of St. Babylas was demolished, and new buildings were added to the mouldering edifice which had been raised by the piety of Syrian kings. But the first and most serious care of Julian was to deliver his oppressed deity from the odious presence of the dead and living Christians who had so effectually suppressed the voice of fraud Rraonisf or enthusiasm.114 The scene of infection was purified, according txxiiM, »n4 to the forms of ancient rituals; the bodies were decently reo?th« ttmpia moved; and the ministers of the church were permitted to convey the remains of St. Babylas to their former habitation within the walls of Antioch. The modest behaviour which might have assuaged the jealousy of an hostile government was neglected on this occasion by the zeal of the Christians. The lofty car that transported the relics of Babylas was followed, and accompanied, and received, by an innumerable multitude; who chanted, with thundering acclamations, the Psalms of David the most expressive of their contempt for idols and idolaters. The return of the saint was a triumph; and the triumph was an insult on the religion of the emperor, who exerted his pride to dissemble his resentment. During the night which terminated this indiscreet procession, the temple of Daphne was in flames; the statue of Apollo was consumed; and the walls of the edifice [ A.d.362. were left a naked and awful monument of ruin. The Christians of Antioch asserted, with religious confidence, that the powerful intercession of St. Babylas had pointed the lightnings of heaven against the devoted roof: but, as Julian was reduced to the alternative of believing either a crime or a miracle, he chose,
was erected over his remains", (5) "The church of St. Babylas was subsequently demolished" is inconsistent with Chrysostom's statement (p. 565) that the martyrium in Daphne was left standing after the fire.]
111 Ecclesiastical critics, particularly those who love relics, exult in the conlession of Julian (Misopogon, p. 361) and Libanius (Nenia, p. 185), that Apollo was disturbed by the vicinity of one dead man. Yet Ammlanus (xxii. 12) clears and purifies the whole ground, according to the rites which the Athenians formerly practised in the isle of Delos.
without hesitation, without evidence, but with some colour of probability, to impute the fire of Daphne to the revenge of the Galilaeans.115 Their offence, had it been sufficiently proved, might have justified the retaliation which was immediately executed by the order of Julian, of shutting the doors, and confiscating the wealth, of the cathedral of Antioch. To discover Joii»n «i"tf» the criminals who were guilty of the tumult, of the fire, or tm ot Aeof secreting the riches of the church, several ecclesiastics were tortured; 118 and a presbyter, of the name of Theodoret, was beheaded by the sentence of the Count of the East. But this hasty act was blamed by the emperor; who lamented, with real or affected concern, that the imprudent zeal of his ministers would tarnish his reign with the disgrace of persecution.117
The zeal of the ministers of Julian was instantly checked by the frown of their sovereign; but, when the father of his country declares himself the leader of a faction, the licence of popular fury cannot easily be restrained nor consistently punished. Julian, in a public composition, applauds the devotion and loyalty of the holy cities of Syria, whose pious inhabitants had destroyed, at the first signal, the sepulchres of the Galilaeans; and faintly complains that they had revenged the injuries of the gods with less moderation than he should have recommended.118 This imperfect and reluctant confession may appear to confirm the ecclesiastical narratives: that in the cities of Gaza, Ascalon, Ca^sarea, Heliopolis, &c. the Pagans abused, without prudence or remorse, the moment of their prosperity; that the unhappy objects of their cruelty were released from torture only by death; that, as their mangled bodies were dragged through the streets, they were pierced (such was the universal rage) by the spits of cooks and the distaffs of enraged women; and that the entrails of Christian priests and virgins, after they had been tasted by those bloody fanatics, were mixed with barley, and contemptuously thrown to the unclean animals
"'Julian (in Misopogon, p. 361) rather insinuates than affirms their guilt. Ammianus (xxii. 13) treats the imputation as levissimus rumor, and relates the story with extraordinary candour. [See above, p. 467, n. 113.]
m Quo non atroci casu repente consumpto, ad id usque imperatoris ira provexit, ut quaestiones agitare juberet solito acriores (yet Julian blames the lenity of the magistrates of Antioch), et majorem ecclesiam Antiochise claudi. This interdiction was performed with some circumstances of indignity and profanation: and the seasonable death of the principal actor, Julian's uncle, is related with much superstitious complacency by the Abbe1 de la Bteterie. Vie de Julien, p. 362-369.
117 Besides the ecclesiastical historians, who are more or less to be suspected, we may allege the passion of St. Theodore, in the Acta Sincera of Ruinart, p. 591. The complaint of Julian gives it an original and authentic air.
118 Julian, Misopogon, p. 361.
of the city.11* Such scenes of religious madness exhibit the most contemptible and odious picture of human nature; but the massacre of Alexandria attracts still more attention, from the certainty of the fact, the rank of the victims, and the splendour of the capital of Egypt.
George,120 from his parents or his education sumamed the Cappadocian, was born at Epiphania in Cilicia, in a fuller's shop. From this obscure and servile origin he raised himself by the talents of a parasite: and the patrons, whom he assiduously flattered, procured for their worthless dependent a lucrative commission, or contract, to supply the army with bacon. His employment was mean; he rendered it infamous. He accumulated wealth by the basest arts of fraud and corruption; but his malversations were so notorious that George was compelled to escape from the pursuits of justice. After this disgrace, in which he appears to have saved his fortune at the expense of his honour, he embraced, with real or affected zeal, the profession of Arianism. From the love, or the ostentation, of learning, he collected a valuable library of history, rhetoric, philosophy, and theology; 121 and the choice of the prevailing faction promoted George of Cappadocia to the throne of Athanasius. The entrance of the new archbishop was that of a Barbarian conqueror; and each moment of his reign was polluted by cruelty and avarice. The Catholics of Alexandria and Egypt were abandoned to a tyrant, qualified, by nature and education, to exercise the office of persecution; but he oppressed with an impartial hand the various inhabitants of his extensive diocese. The primate of Egypt assumed the pomp and insolence of his lofty station; but he still betrayed the vices of his base and
o«orge of Cappadocia
Alexandria and Egypt
118 See Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. iii. p. 87 [iv. c. 86} Sozomen (L v. c. 9) may be considered as an original, though not impartial, witness. He was a native of Gaza, and had conversed with the confessor Zeno, who, as bishop of Maiuma, lived to the age of an hundred (1. vii. c. 28). Philostorgius (1. vii. c. 4, with Godefroy's Dissertations, p. 284) adds some tragic circumstances, of Christians who were literally sacrificed at the altars of the gods. &c
mThe life and death of George of Cappadocia are described by Ammianus (xxii. 11), Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xxi. p. 382, 385, 389,390[c. 16 sfj.]), and Epiphanius (Hxres. lxxvi.). The invectives of the two saints might not deserve much credit, unless they were confirmed by the testimony of the cool and impartial infidel.
121 After the massacre of George, the emperor Julian repeatedly sent orders 10 preserve the library for his own use, and to torture the slaves who might be suspected of secreting any books. He praises the merit of the collection, from whence he had borrowed and transcribed several manuscripts while he pursued his studies in Cappadocia. He could wish indeed that the works of the Galilseans might perish: but he requires an exact account even of those theological volumes, lest other treatises more valuable should be confounded in their loss. Julian. Episi. ix. xxxvi.