“Pagan” is a tricky word. According to Webster, a pagan may be a follower of a polytheistic religion or one who has little or no religion—“an irreligious or hedonistic person.” When man creates God, man could be defined as pagan or Atheist because a belief in any man-made gods equals a belief in no god. Another way to look at paganism is that it’s a belief that the self is God, adhering to no higher power. In other words, paganism is a form of Atheism. Roman history has shown how paganism can be used to mask Atheism in order to control the masses. The repercussions of this model of religion eventually produce a vile absence of morality because the morality is reflective of the men who make their own religion.
Pagan: an irreligious or hedonistic person. – Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary
The Blood Caesars
“The sphere in which the Roman commonwealth seems to me to show its superiority most decisively,” writes Polybius, “is in that of religious belief.” This religion served as “the element which holds the Roman state together.” The Roman gods were more to the people than just role models. They were “treated with such solemnity and introduced so frequently both into public and into private life that nothing could exceed them in importance.” However, in the Roman Empire, there was a spiritual gap between the rulers and the people. While ruling as divine inheritors of power, Polybius writes, the Caesars merely adopted spiritual practices “for the sake of the common people.” Polybius comments on the convenient committal of the Caesars:
This approach might not have been necessary had it ever been possible to form a state composed entirely of wise men. But as the masses are always fickle, filled with lawless desires, unreasoning anger and violent passions, they can only be restrained by mysterious terrors or other dramatizations of the subject.
So, according to Polybius, while the people were superstitious, the rulers were Atheistic, adopting religious traits for personally beneficial reasons. Polybius then states the wisdom of manipulation, of threatening the unruly with Hades, and adds that the rulers of his day were unwise to risk rejecting the gods.[i] Throughout his works, Polybius writes as if he is an Atheist, and as if the Caesars are Atheists. Nevertheless, it is interesting how he makes the point that religion is necessary for keeping order in society.
Julius Caesar stands as a prime example of Atheism. The writings on the first twelve Caesars by the historian Suetonius certainly confirm Polybius’ comments on the nature of religion in Rome.
According to tradition, Julius had a difficult time being brought into the world, and his mother had most assuredly an even more difficult time. The baby boy who was to be a Caesar by name, and destined to induce his very name to become synonymous with kingship, was delivered only after his mother’s abdomen walls had been cut—hence the term “Caesarian” or “C-section.”[ii] Concerning Julius’ adulthood, Suetonius writes, “[Julius] took honours which, as a mere mortal, he should certainly have refused.” He accepted:
a golden throne in the Senate House and another in the tribunal, a ceremonial wagon and litter for carrying his statue in the religious procession around the Circus, temples, altars, divine images, a couch for his image at religious festivals, a flamen, a new college of Luperci, and the renaming of a month after him….Once, when a haruspex reported that a sacrificial beast had been found to have no heart—an unlucky omen indeed—Caesar told him arrogantly,“The omens will be as favourable as I wish them to be; not should it be considered a portent if a beast lacks a heart.” [iii]
While Julius often maintained the image of a devout pagan for the sake of his political position, his confident mouth, bold actions, and self-adoration often reflected his Atheist heart. As Polybius noted, wise men must rule from a higher power in order to maintain law and order. For some years, this traditional adherence to Rome’s artificial gods was maintainable, and it worked relatively well in the short term. However, the societal trend saw men creating the dialogue of the gods, and the manmade gods delved deeper into depravity, down the slippery slope of subjective morality.
After Julius’ inevitable death, his grandnephew and adopted son, Octavius, ascended the throne. Octavius ruled under the moniker Augustus, which is derived from the Latin adjective meaning “venerable.” Indeed, here is an example of Roman rule at its best, where the name of the emperor and a word of honor become one in the mouths of the world. How convenient it must have been when lightening happened to strike the first letter of this name on an inscription beneath one of his statues. It was left reading “AESAR AUGUSTUS,” the former word “AESAR” being the Etruscan word for “God.”[iv]
The novelist, scholar, and translator Robert Graves comments on this matter humorously in his book I, Claudius. His stuttering, limp, and handicapped narrator, none other than Claudius himself, asks, “What is the meaning of the letter C? It is the sign for one hundred….Clearly, in a hundred days from that lightening stroke Augustus is to become a God in Rome.”[v] Throughout its life, these sentimental veils of paganism were carefully placed over godless emptiness due to a desperate need to hold a standard. Like the examples of the first two Caesars, as law balanced on a scale of impressions, feelings, and questions, these improvised whims eventually dwindled. For a while, these whims helped Augustus lead Rome through its Golden Age, its “Pax Romana” as historians have labeled the era. It was a time where poets, lyricists, and writers such as Virgil, Ovid, and Horace resurrected and renamed some of history’s most fanciful fables—the glorious gods of Greece turned Roman.
After Augustus reigned, a strange man named Tiberius ascended the throne. Unlike any other Caesar before him, no matter how tyrannical they may be, Tiberius is the archetypal representation of manmade justice.
Foreshadowing the future of fanatical dictatorships, he abolished the foreign religions, “particularly the Egyptian and Jewish.” Threatened by slavery and banishment, many people were displaced or unwillingly drafted into the army.[vi] With Tiberius as Caesar of Rome, orgies made statesmen. One of Suetonius’ stories tells how after days of hard drinking with two men, one named Pomponius Flaccus and the other Lucius Piso, Flaccus became the governor of Syria, and Piso became the prefect of the city. Tiberius then praised them in their commissions as “excellent fellows at all hours of the day or night.”
Naturally, many of Tiberius’ orgies included gluttonous drinking competitions, extensive spending, and naked serving girls. Upon his retirement to Capri, Tiberius built himself a “private playhouse, where sexual extravagances were practiced for his secret pleasure.” The house consisted of groups of “girls and toy boys” who were told to perform in rooms plastered with pornographic wallpaper. Erotic manuals were supplied for reading pleasure, these belonging to a mysterious man by the curious name of Elephantis. Costume parties with boys and girls dressing as Pans and nymphs occurred so often that the Island of Capri came to be known as “Caprineum,” this being a play on the Latin adjective “caprinus,” meaning literally “goatish,” that being a proverbial term for one’s sexual appetite.[vii] Moreover, Suetonius remarks that “some aspects of his criminal obscenity are almost too vile to discuss, much less believe.” Tiberius trained little boys whom he called “minnows” to chase him while he swam and “get between his legs to lick and nibble him.” Most disturbing of all, he made “babies not yet weaned from their mother’s breast suck at his groin instead—such a filthy old man he had become!”[viii]
There are a few rumors concerning the death of Tiberius. The one towards which I am personally inclined would have to do with a “wasting poison” planted by his nephew whom Tiberius adopted as his own son, a boy named Gaius, but better known by his nickname—Caligula. In any event, the death of Tiberius brought great joy throughout Rome as some ran about the streets yelling, “To the Tiber with Tiberius!” Additionally, while some of his death decrees were still being fulfilled, “the hatred of Tiberius grew hotter than ever—his cruelty, it was said, continued even after his death.”[ix] However, in turn, it could actually be argued that Rome hated the successor with an even deeper fervor.
“Caligula,” meaning literally “Little Boots,” is the moniker that was given to Gaius as he was raised among the Roman troops and often wore a little military uniform. The Roman army loved the little boy who became an endearing mascot for the army with whom Caligula often traveled.[x] However, the love for the adorable Little Boots was hardly long lived.
After rising through the ranks due to nepotism,[xi] Caligula would become the fourth Caesar of Rome. He had an evident love of others’ blood and screams. At the Circus, where hungry animals were in need of food, “he found butcher’s meat too expensive and decided to feed them with criminals instead.”[xii] Such exploits as these lead to him boldly declaring, “Bear in mind that I can do anything I want to anyone I want!”[xiii]
He once played a prank on an actor named Apelles. Caligula struck a pose beside a statue of Jupiter, asking, “’Which of us two is the greater?’ When Apelles hesitated momentarily, Gaius had him flogged,” and commented on the “musical quality even of his groans for mercy.”
His domineering habits also overflowed into his personal relationships. Whenever he kissed the neck of his wife or mistress, he would quip, “And this beautiful throat will be cut whenever I please.”[xiv] If he ever noticed a handsome man with a fine head of hair, Caligula would have the man’s scalp forcibly shaved.[xv] Suetonius tells us that Caligula’s body was noticeably hairy but for his head, the top being completely bald, and “Because of his baldness and hairiness, he announced that it was a capital offence for anyone either to look down on him as he passed or to mention goats in any context.”[xvi]
This psychologically disturbed Caesar developed a variety of fears and illnesses. The physical causes of his illnesses perhaps relate to his occasional sessions of epilepsy as a child. Additionally, his fourth wife, Caesonia, was rumored to have given him an aphrodisiac—a drug to encourage his sexual appetite—which Suetonius claims “drove him mad.” But without question, Caligula’s most detested ailment was insomnia. “Three hours a night of fitful sleep were all that he ever got, and even terrifying visions would haunt him.” Conversely, his bloodlust must have had a deep impact on his mental state as well, his actions having a severe impact on his own well being alongside a disregard for the well being of others. No doubt, memories of his daily actions plagued his dreams. Suetonius writes that he was convinced that Caligula’s mental illness accounted for his “two contradictory vices—overconfidence and extreme timorousness. Here was a man who despised the gods, yet shut his eyes and buried his head beneath the bedclothes at the most distant sound of thunder.”[xvii]
Inevitably, Caligula suffered a common fate for a Roman Caesar—assassination. His handicapped Uncle Claudius then ascended the throne for a few years. In turn, Claudius suffered his own fate of assassination, which was rumored to have been planned by his wife Agrippina via soup and poison mushrooms.[xviii] It makes sense that Agrippina was the assassin because it was her son, Claudius’ stepson by marriage, who was next in line, as Agrippina was the granddaughter of Augustus. This heir would become the vilest Caesar of them all—a rather annoying individual named Nero.
By combining the disturbing sexual appetite of Tiberius and the catastrophic bloodlust of Caligula, Nero managed to find himself ranked among the most evil men in the history of the world. His entire life was scripted. He fancied himself a singer, actor, and musician. He pretended to be humble in front of a crowd while deviously bribing any particularly gifted singer to fail to reach their potential upon performing publicly. Once, while performing, “he dropped his scepter and quickly recovered it, but was terrified of disqualification.” Afterwards, his accompanist swore that the mistake slipped past unnoticed before the crowd as they all cheered with shouts of approval for their juvenile Caesar.
Occasionally, Nero would participate in chariot racing. He once lost his balance before falling in the middle of a race. After being helped back to his chariot, he continually failed to manage his team of ten horses. Although he never even completed the course, the judges nevertheless awarded him the prize.[xix] According to yet another story of fixed victories, “he had a lion so carefully trained that he could safely face it naked before the entire amphitheatre, and then either kill it with his club or else strangle it.”[xx] Nero was an actor, and the world was his stage whose themes changed depending on his manic moods.
Concerning his sexual persuasion, Nero succumbed to his unnatural—or perhaps all too natural—desires. He had a boy named Sporus transformed into a girl by castration. Thereafter, “he went through a wedding ceremony with him—dowry, bridal veil and all—which the whole court attended, then brought him home and treated him as a wife.” Suetonius then states that there was a joke circulating among the population: “The world,” he writes, “would have been a happier place had Nero’s father Domitius married that sort of wife.”[xxi]
Throughout his reign, “nothing could restrain Nero from murdering anyone he pleased, on whatever pretext.” He once condemned a man to death for keeping a mask of Gaius Cassius, one of Julius’ assassins, attached to his own family tree. He condemned another man for nothing more than “looking like a cross old schoolmaster.” Sometimes, he would even order his victims to death by suicide, never giving them more than an hour’s grace. To be sure that Nero’s justice was enforced, “he made doctors ‘take care’ of any who were found still alive—which in Nero’s vocabulary meant opening their veins.” He acquired “a certain Egyptian—a sort of ogre who would eat raw flesh and practically anything else he was given—and watch him tear live men to pieces and then devour them.” [xxii]
Like Caligula, Nero was plagued with nightmares, but only after killing his mother. Eventually, his tormented mind caused him to condemn even himself. He committed suicide by running a sharp blade along his throat.[xxiii] His death occurred in good time as Rome was on the brink of being renamed “Neropolis.”[xxiv] Consequently, the blood lineage of the Caesar’s by family name came to an end.[xxv] From then on, the name “Caesar” came to be synonymous with the title “Roman Emperor”—a derivation of which was applied to the German “Kaisers,” and the Russian “Czars.”
On Nero’s religious convictions, Suetonius tells us that “[Nero] despised all religious cults except that of the Syrian Goddess, and one day he showed that he had changed his mind even about her by urinating on the divine image.”[xxvi] Nero was most assuredly an Atheist. Because of this fact, he had no scruples about praising himself, loving no one more than himself, and adhering to no standards but that of his own. During and after Nero, the trend in Rome forewent the facades of paganism, and rulers grew bolder by defying their traditional man-made gods.
The Atheist Caesars
Emperor Domitian, who after years of bloody conflict, ascended as the twelfth Caesar of Rome. Having a grave distaste for others’ opinions, he banished all philosophers in the year 94 A.D. In a letter, he once arrogantly referred to himself as “Our Lord God,” before having the letter circulated. “Thereafter, ‘Lord God’ became his regular title both in writing and conversation.”[xxvii] A few months before his death, “Domitian is said to have dreamed that a golden hump sprouted from his back, deducing from this that the standing of the commonwealth would be far richer and happier when he had gone; and soon the wisdom and restraint of his successors proved him right.”[xxviii] So Emperor Domitian was murdered, and the vicious cycle of Roman ascension continued.
One of the biggest persecutors in all of history was the Philosopher Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. He was born in Rome in the year 121 A.D., acquiring his Stoic philosophy from his ex-slave teacher, Epictetus. Aurelius’ personal journal, posthumously titled Meditations, has become a staple of western philosophy. He writes that, “You should always look on human life as short and cheap. Yesterday sperm: tomorrow a mummy or ashes.”[xxix]
It was the Christians whom he saw as particularly cheap because it was they who refused to worship the man-made Roman gods, which caused the rulers to see the Christians as upsetting the societal balance. Aurelius writes, “Every man’s mind is god.”[xxx] Those who disagreed were sentenced to death.
Marcus Aurelius ordered that the Christians should be tortured to death, and released only upon renounced faith in Christ. The pagan perspective was that the Christians were Atheists because the Christians rejected the Roman gods. But the Christian perspective was that the pagans were Atheists because it was the pagans who were worshipping man-made gods, thus, no true gods at all.
In any case, it was a Roman world, and the Christians would be charged with practicing Atheism, and if false charges of Atheism were insufficient in upholding some superficial form of justice, false charges of cannibalism and incest would be made. Of course, these two perversities were commonly committed by none other than the Caesars themselves, according to Suetonius. Nevertheless, the hypocritical system charged the Christians for the crimes of the kings.
You should always look on human life as short and cheap. Yesterday sperm: tomorrow a mummy or ashes. – Marcus Aurelius, Atheist
The trials and tortures were set to take place in the center of the city’s amphitheatre in front of the citizens of the Roman Empire. The methods of persuasion differed depending on whatever preference the crazed mob had on any given day. Tortures included a gauntlet of whips, mauling by beasts, and “the iron chair,” which provided a prolonged form of entertainment as it slowly roasted human bodies. During this ordeal, each of the accused was plainly asked a simple question, “Are you a Christian?” Sometimes with an air of defiance, sometimes with an air of despair, the Christians answered in the affirmative, and hundreds were sentenced to death.
Perhaps as a show of rebellion against tyranny, perhaps as a calm acceptance of fate, one of the accused Christian men named Sanctus answered every single question including name, race, and city of origin, “I am a Christian,” over and over again. One of the accused Christian women named Blandina suffered a series of tortures that lasted for such a long period of time that even her torturers grew tired of torturing. When there was nothing left to mutilate, Aurelius’ men were astounded that her lacerated body was able to continue living. Finally, upon being questioned again on charges of immorality and blasphemy, Blandina declared, “I am a Christian, and nothing wicked happens among us.”
If none recanted their profession of faith in Christ, then none were released alive. After being tortured to death, the mutilated Christian corpses were then thrown into the Rhone River. The Christians denounced being called martyrs in reverence to Christ, he being in their eyes the ultimate martyr.
Contrary to what human nature would dictate, and in order to strive to love as Jesus loves, the martyrs prayed fervently that God would forgive their persecutors.[xxxi] So the persecution increased and decreased anticlimactically for many years to come, depending on the varying opinion of each Atheist emperor.
In the year 284, the empire fell to a man named Diocletian. In order to save an empire that was too large to maintain, an empire that was suffering from weekly invasions on all sides of its borders, he divided the large empire into four districts each with a separate Caesar who was responsible to maintain a firm hand on his people. Upon appointment by Domitian, Maximian (father of Maxentius, and soon to be discussed), Constantius (father of Constantine, also soon to be discussed), and Galerius were selected to bear the responsibility of kingship. Naturally, they gave themselves the titles of “Caesar,” and “Augustus,” and in order to maintain even further reverence in the eyes of the people, Domitian and Maximian regarded themselves as “sons of gods.” It was a governmental arrangement called a tetrarchy, and historians would eventually remember these men as “the four princes of the world.” Together, they brought control over the empire, restoring its immense power, glory, and borders.[xxxii]
However, geography came at a price. In the days of the historian Eusebius, these so-called god-emperors would attempt to destroy every trace of Christianity within their jurisdiction. It began in a city called Nicomedia, today known as the city of Izmit, located just fifty-four miles southeast of Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul. On the brink of an Easter celebration in the month of March during “the nineteenth year of Diocletian’s reign,” an edict was ordered “that the churches be demolished and the Scriptures destroyed by fire.” It would become a period in history that scholars would aptly label “The Great Persecution.”
Promptly thereafter, church leaders were imprisoned, apprehensively waiting for their day of death. Furthermore, if any of the martyrs dared shout aloud the Lord’s name, those Christians of course were beaten more severely, especially via battery to the mouth.[xxxiii] There is one account of a man named Peter being:
hoisted up naked and lashed with whips until he should give in. Since even this failed to bend him, they mixed salt with vinegar and poured it over the lacerations of his body where the bones were already protruding. When he scorned these agonies too, a lit brazier was applied, and the rest of his body was roasted by the fire as if meat for eating—not all at once, lest he find too quick a release, but little by little. Still he clung immovably to his purpose and expired triumphantly in the middle of his tortures.[xxxiv]
So the persecutions continued for years, spanning miles, countries, and even continents, from Nicomedia to Egypt. The fortunate Christians were quickly beaten to death, while many others were hung upside down, nailed to crosses, and starved to death.[xxxv] “Sometimes thirty, or almost sixty; at other times a hundred men, women, and little children were condemned to a variety of punishments and killed in a single day.”[xxxvi] As the Romans were eagerly inventing new methods, “trying to outdo one another in devising new tortures, as if contending for a prize,” private body parts, organs, and other “unmentionable suffering” were just typical justice that took place on a daily basis in the empire. Diocletian continued to rule until “an ill-fated disease attacked [him], which deranged his mind, so he returned to ordinary private life.”[xxxvii] Upon this abdication, the empire was ready for yet another phase, and the Christians were ready to be freed.
The Savior Caesars
Like the transition from a harsh winter to a warm spring, changes occurred slowly, and with unpredictable surprises. The fearsome Emperor Galerius subdued the Great Persecution when he began to suffer from numerous bodily ailments such as ulcers and stomach worms that caused his obese body to stink intolerably. He summoned his doctors, and keeping with the infantile traditions of his predecessors, the doctors who were unable to bear the stench of Galerius were sentenced to death. As for the doctors who attempted to heal him but were unsuccessful, they no less were sentenced to death as well. Galerius became desperate.
He issued an edict that declared Christianity legal, but only if the Christians agreed to build new churches and pray to their God for their poor emperor’s condition. Ironically, he was among the first to arouse his co-emperors to persecute the Christians, and now he lay sick in bed, begging for Christian compassion. Shortly afterwards, Diocletian had “succumbed to a long and painful illness,” and Maximian had “strangled himself for his many crimes.” This left the glorious Constantius to rule as the most powerful man in the world.
Throughout the Great Persecution, he had “spent his entire reign in a manner worthy of his high office, most gracious and favorable to all.” Despite the tyranny of his co-rulers, this emperor had taken pity on his Christian subjects, never destroying a single church building under his jurisdiction. By the year 311, all of the “four princes” lay dead, Constantius being the only one who happened to die a peaceful death. Additionally, he was the last of the four upon the thrown. His death left a perfect platform for his son to make a name for himself as emperor of the western world.[xxxviii]
The next wave of good fortune occurred when Constantine the soon-to-be Great challenged the other sons of the tetrarchy. As the time for usurping the thrown was ripe for the taking, Constantine fought against a co-emperor by the name of Maxentius (son of Maximian), both men believing that the throne was rightfully and solely theirs. War was begun, and after Constantine’s troops had garnered one strategic victory after another, Constantine had a conversion.
On the eve of what would become the war’s definitive battle, Constantine had a dream where the first two Greek letters of the name of Christ, superimposed as a symbol, appeared beside the words, “By this sign you will conquer.” Constantine had his troops paint this symbol on all of their shields and helmets.[xxxix]
The battle occurred on the Tiber River, at the northern edges of the city of Rome. It was there where Maxentius had ordered the construction of the Milvian Bridge, which at the time was fashioned by lashing boats together in order for his army to quickly cross.
Unfortunately for Maxentius, his makeshift bridge collapsed at the worst possible time, during the battle against Constantine’s army. Maxentius drowned alongside a large portion of his men. Eusebius compares this scene to the Egyptians at the Red Sea, both visuals involving a victory for God’s chosen people due to immense amounts of water, hasty departures, and bad timing.
With destiny on his side, Maxentius beneath his feet, and God in his soul, Constantine won the hearts of the Christians. Here was a Roman leader who adhered to the God of Abraham instead of the self-made gods of Nero, Aurelius, or Diocletian. Rome had finally acquired its first Christian emperor, an emperor who deemed himself the servant of God.[xl]
Shortly after celebrating the end of Maxentius, a co-emperor to Constantine, Licinius, issued a new ordinance. Only a few years earlier, Licinius was in direct opposition to Christ. However, with the mighty Constantine leading the new wave of Christian hope, Licinius too agreed to promote Christianity.
This new law declared that everyone was free to worship however and whomever they pleased. The law actually listed Christianity by name and went so far as to demand that all confiscated property be returned to the rightful owners.[xli] So the famed Edict of Milan of 313 A.D. proved to be a great step towards legalizing Christianity. “People now lost all fear of their former oppressors and celebrated brilliant festivals—light was everywhere—and men who once were dejected greeted each other with smiling faces and sparkling eyes.”[xlii] It was a new beginning for Rome and all who observed the political practice concerning the individual rights that were born upon the death of Atheism.
A Very Brief Overview of Ancient Roman Trends
The adherence to made up gods is sometimes helpful, but only for a little while. Pagan gods were useful for Julius and Augustus, but these gods were unstable. When gods became too similar to man, the people grew cynical of the Caesars. By the time the Caesars had abolished the gods, holding the Caesars as immortal, Roman society began to crumble.
The Atheist Caesars are responsible for some of the most heinous crimes ever committed against humanity. Here is an account of brutality by Atheists against Christians on a massive scale. Torture, murder, and indifference to human life was commonplace during the reign of emperors such as Nero and Aurelius. The Great Persecution was a direct repercussion of Atheism.
The light of hope came when Constantine halted the killing of Christians. And it was this same hope that caused the Roman Empire to prosper once again. The Christian no longer had to fear that his family would be tortured before a crowd for the sake of the Atheist’s entertainment. When the Atheists fell, the empire rose.
[i] Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire, 349 (Ian Scott-Kilvert trans., Penguin Books) (1979).
[ii] The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.
[iii] Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, 35 (Robert Graves trans., Penguin Books) (2007).
[iv] Id. at 99.
[v] Robert Graves, I, Claudius, 162 (Penguin Books) (1978).
[vi] The Twelve Caesars at 124.
[vii] Id. at 362.
[viii] Id. at 126-7.
[ix] Id. at 143.
[x] Id. at 149.
[xi] Id. at 145.
[xii] Id. at 160.
[xiii] Id. at 161.
[xiv] Id. at 163.
[xv] Id. at 164.
[xvi] Id. at 171.
[xvii] Id. at 171-2.
[xviii] Id. at 205.
[xix] Id. at 220.
[xx] Id. at 240.
[xxi] Id. at 222.
[xxii] Id. at 229-30.
[xxiii] Id. at 239.
[xxiv] Id. at 240.
[xxv] Id. at 242.
[xxvi] Id. at 240.
[xxvii] Id. at 304-5.
[xxviii] Id. at 310.
[xxix] Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 32 (Martin Hammond trans., Penguin Books) (2006).
[xxx] Id. at 120.
[xxxi] Eusebius, The Church History, 151-9 (Paul L. Maier trans., Kregel Publications) (1999).
[xxxii] Britannica Encyclopedia.
[xxxiii] The Church History at 261.
[xxxiv] Id. at 263.
[xxxv] Id. at 266.
[xxxvi] Id. at 267.
[xxxvii] Id. at 273.
[xxxviii] Id. at 278-81.
[xxxix] Id. at 305-6.
[xl] Id. at 294-5, 306.
[xli] Id. at 299-300.
[xlii] Id. at 332.