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Fathers Of The Church, Catholic Edition


FROM A.D. 323 TO A.D. 425.



Part I

The Life

The name is an unusual and difficult one. It seems desirable to give preference to the order which Photius adopts, but to preserve the spelling in Nicephorus Callistus, and in the captions of the chief manuscripts, and therefore to call him Salaminius Hermias Sozomen. What the term Salaminius indicates, cannot yet be accurately determined. There are no data to show any official connection of Sozomen with Salamis opposite Athens, or Salamis (Constantia) in Cyprus; certainly there is no record of any naval service. In vi. 32, where he speaks of the greater lights of monasticism in Palestine, Hilarion, Hesychas, and Epiphanius, he remarks, “At the same period in the monasteries, Salamines, Phuscon, Malachion, Crispion, four brethren, were highly distinguished.” In the tart controversy between Epiphanius and the empress, the latter had said, “You have not power to revive the dead; otherwise your archdeacon would not have died.” Sozomen explains, “She alluded to Crispion, the archdeacon, who had died a short time previously; he was brother to Phuscon and Salamanus, monks whom I had occasion to mention when detailing the history of events under the reign of Valens” (viii. 15). The readings in the first citation fluctuate between the forms Salamines and Salamanes. Since these monks were of the family of Alaphion, intimate friends and neighbors of the grandfather of Sozomen (v. 15), it might be conjectured that Salamines stood in some relationship with Sozomen, such as sponsor or teacher, and that the cognomen might have its origin from such a connection. It seems strange in such a case that he would not have dwelt upon the bond, or at least have emphasized the life of this particular brother by a special note; but he simply avers, “Some good men belonging to this family have flourished even in our own days; and in my youth I saw some of them, but they were then very aged.” Nor in the other passages (vi. 32, viii. 15) is there any hint of intimacy. At the same time, this seems as yet the most warranted explanation of the epithet. Hermias was quite a common name even among Christians. It was originally connected with the household or local worship of Hermes, as the giver of an unexpected gift, or it may be as the utterance of a parental wish for the future success of the newcomer. Although it contained a heathen reminiscence, it was probably conferred in this case because it was ancestral. The name Sozomen itself is documentarily a very unusual one; and was probably bestowed upon the child by the father as a devout recognition of deliverance for himself and his boy, and in contrast with the family surname. A certain praefectus domestico, to whom Isidore of Pelusium addresses a letter (i. 300), was also so called; he must have been a cotemporary. It would be a pleasant surprise could he be identified with the historian; and it would not be at all impossible, for Evagrius, the advocate and historian, was so promoted (H. E. vi. 24). The biographical hints in Sozomen’s surviving work are of the smallest; and outside tradition has preserved absolutely nothing. His ancestors were apparently from early times inhabitants of the village of Bethelia, in the territory of Gaza, and near to that important city. By race, they were probably of Philistine rather than Jewish descent; for they were pagans (Hellenists) up to the time of Hilarion, in the second quarter of the fourth century, and our historian contrasts them with the Hebrews. The family was one of distinction, belonging to a sort of village patricianate. That of Alaphion was of still greater dignity. The village of Bethelia was populous with a mixture of Gentiles and Jews; the former, however, largely predominating. Its name appears to have been derived from the Pantheon, erected on an artificial acropolis, and so overlooking the whole community, whose universalistic religious zeal was thus symbolized. The term Bethel was first given to the temple, and then was transferred to the town as Bethelia; and the use of such a form indicates that the prevailing dialect was a variation of Syriac or Aramaic. It is also spelled Bethelea (vi. 32). Hilarion was born in Thabatha, another village near Gaza, to the south, on a wady of the same name. He became a student in Alexandria, but adopted the monastic discipline, through the example of Antony; on returning to his home, he found his parents dead. He distributed his share of the patrimony to his family and the poor, and then withdrew to a desert by the sea, twenty stadia from his native village, and began his career of monastic activity as the founder of that ethical system in Palestine. Before his flight to other and distant seclusions, he came in contact with Alaphion, the head of a noble family in Bethelia, seemingly on very friendly footing with Sozomen’s grandfather. Alaphion was possessed of a demon; neither pagan formularies nor Jewish exorcists could relieve him; Hilarion had but to invoke the name of Christ, and the malignant agent was expelled. The healed man became at once a Christian; the grandfather of Sozomen was won to the same profession by the care of his friend. The father, too, adopted the new faith; many other relatives joined the ranks of the believers, in this intensely pagan community and region; for Gaza, as the chief city, displayed a decided hostility to the Gospel. The grandfather was a man of native intelligence, and had moderate cultivation in general studies, and was not without some knowledge of arithmetic. His earlier social and intellectual position made him at once prominent among the converts, especially as an interpreter of the Scriptures. He won the affections of the Christians in Ascalon and Gaza and their outlying regions. In the estimation of his grandson, he was a necessary figure in the religious life of the Christian communities, and people carried doubtful points of holy writ to him for solution; yet it does not appear that he held any clerical function.

While the ancestor of Sozomen was conspicuous as the religious teacher of Southwestern Palestine, the old Philistine region, Alaphion and his family were distinguished for works of a practical quality: they founded churches and monasteries; they were active in the relief of strangers and the poor; some adopted the new philosophy; and out of their ranks came martyrs and bishops. Sozomen says nothing of his father, excepting that he was originally a pagan, and therefore born before Hilarion’s mission. The edicts of Julian caused a sudden revival of the old state religion, and led to many local persecutions, where the pagans were the stronger party: Gaza and its dependencies were of this number, and some of the tragedies of that unhappy time are recorded by our historian. The families of Alaphion and of Sozomen were compelled to flee, to what place is not told us; probably the southernmost monastic retreats: the exiles certainly returned (v. 15), not unlikely after the accession of Jovian. We can only guess at the date of Sozomen’s birth, and somewhat in this wise. Hilarion’s activity in Palestine was after the council of Nice, and before the accession of Julian; we may say about a.d. 345. The grandfather at his conversion may have been about forty, since he had become a conspicuous local figure; the father, in all likelihood, was but a lad when this change came over the domestic worship. The exile under Julian took place very nearly in 362, and the return in 364, when the patrician of Bethelia was verging on sixty, and the lad had become a young man. We may place the date of Sozomen’s birth somewhere between 370 and 380. Hilarion passed away about 371: Ephraim Syrus, in 378; Gratian was emperor of the West; Theodosius the Great was just about to succeed Valens in the East. Ambrose was the most imposing ecclesiastic of the Occident; Gregory Nazianzen and Epiphanius were the leaders of orthodoxy in the Orient.

There are but few details concerning his education. That it was directed by the monks is sure; in fact, the only form of Christian life known in that region was of the ascetic type; the very bishops and clerical functionaries were selected from the ranks of the practical philosophers. There was a succession of pious men in the line of Alaphion, and with the elders of the second generation, Sozomen, as a youth, was more or less acquainted. The names of some of them have already been mentioned: all had been pupils of Hilarion. The fourth of the brothers, Melachion by name, must have already passed away, and legends had speedily transfigured his memory. The influence of Epiphanius throughout Palestine, and particularly in its southern slopes and shepheloth, was dominant in shaping the quality of devotional thought and feeling: its force was scarcely spent when Sozomen was a boy.

This accounts for the exaggerated value he puts upon the monastic discipline as the true philosophy, and why he desires not to appear ungrateful to its cultivators, in the writing of his history; for he purposes to keep in mind that tremendous movement, and to commemorate its eminent leaders under different reigns; in fact, he decides to make it a feature of his treatment of church life and history. There is no warrant, however, for stating that he himself became a monk. With all his admiration for their spiritual superiority, he does not lay claim to any direct fellowship, but rather denies his right or competency to invade their domain. We may be sure that he received the ordinary education imparted in the monastic schools of the time, approximating that of similar institutions near Alexandria. In a degree it was narrow, and growingly hostile to pagan literature; moreover, it was apt to be provincial, if patriotic in its tone. This will account for his desire to elevate the importance of Palestine over against the supercilious tendency which centralized all culture in Constantinople. The main body of his studies was conducted in the Greek language, of which he is no slight master; indeed, he became one of the best imitative stylists of his time, according to so good a judge as Photius. His familiarity with the Syriac and Aramaic names, the exactness of their transliteration, and his larger acquaintance with the history of the Syrian church, point to a likely knowledge of at least a dialect of that widely diffused speech; indeed, he could hardly have escaped the patois, which seems to have predominated over the Greek in Bethelia. In iii. 16, he allows for the loss of force and original grace in every translation, but states that in Ephraim’s works, the Greek rendition made in Ephraim’s own day, suffered nothing by the change, and he institutes such a comparison between the original and its version, that one is inclined to think he could read both. So his effort to keep a balance in writing between the central and border lands of the empire, and indeed outside of it, would indicate a broader linguistic sympathy. In vi. 34, he speaks familiarly of Syrian monks, who had survived to his own period; the wider range of his knowledge may have been due also to the practice of his profession, or to Syrian cases brought to Constantinople, each of which would involve a comprehension of the language; nor less his use of the records written by the Christians of Persia, Syria, and particularly Edessa, to preserve the story of the Persian church and its many martyrs, whose material he used so copiously (ii. 9–14). It is difficult to be sure of his proficiency in Latin; on the one hand, as an advocate it would be absolutely necessary for him to understand that language of jurisprudence; for all edicts, laws, rescripts, were written therein: the Theodosian code itself was so compiled in his own day. On the other hand, where he quotes Latin documents, he invariably does it from translations into Greek made by other hands; thus in iii. 2, of Constantine’s letter to the Alexandrians, he says, “I have met with a copy translated from the Latin into the Greek; I shall insert it precisely as I find it.” So in iv. 18, the letter of the Synod of Ariminum to Constantius; and in viii. 26, the two epistles of Innocent. Probably his second-hand report about Hilary of Pictavium, v. 13, leans the same way. But on the whole we must allow his profession, which necessitated a knowledge of the law language, to outweigh the lack of original versions in his book.

It is difficult to judge from a solitary work what the degree of an author’s general culture is. Clemens Alexandrinus has multitudinous quotations; it would be easy to conclude that he was a scholar of universal reading, and a genuine polyhistor; but their inaccuracy and frequent infelicity make them rather appear as the excerpts from some florilegium or some rhetorical hand-book. The classical allusions in Sozomen are not very many; and he might well have considered it out of place to indulge in overmuch reference in such a record as he presents; the quality of what appears would not compel a wide range of reading; the dedication is most fertile in familiar illustrations, poetical, historical, and mythological. In i. 6, because of his mentioning Aquilis, he drags the Argonauts in by the ears, hardly from Pisander, but rather from Zosimus, who does the same in mentioning the progress of Alaric. When he describes Constantine’s tentative search for a favorable site on which to rear his new capital, the mention of the plain of Ilium moves the historian to relate a little tradition about the Trojan town (ii. 3). He mentions Aristotle, in whose philosophy Aetius was versed (iii. 15); and to whose dialectic work Theophronius composed an introduction (vii. 17). When he dwells on the imitative literature produced by Apolinarius, he alludes indirectly to the Homeric poems, and mentions outright his writing “comedies in imitation of Menander, tragedies resembling those of Euripides, and odes on the model of Pindar” (v. 18). In narrating the history of Daphne under Julian (v. 19), he gives the myth of Apollo and Daphne. Such hints and others are no proof or disproof of any extensive reading, and yet the way in which he alludes to some is more after a cyclopaedic fashion than any profound study of the authors themselves. In fact, his confession in the instance of the Apollo and Daphne myth is naive, “I leave this subject to those who are more accurately acquainted with mythology.” This acknowledgment is not born of any puritanic hesitancy,—for he had ventured into the sensual bog a little way already,—but is rather a genuine declaration of his ignorance, and that in the capital where Anthemius and Synesius were authorities. Probably we have a little light in the limitations and illiberality of his early training, by recalling his attitude toward the imitative writings of Apolinarius, which sprang up to countervail the Julian edict, which the Christians interpreted as a prohibition to their enjoyment of the Hellenic culture. While Socrates whole-souledly and forcibly advocates the humanizing effect of the ancient literature (iii. 16), Sozomen says, “Were it not for the extreme partiality with which the productions of antiquity are regarded, I doubt not but that the writings of Apolinarius would be held in as much estimation as those of the ancients,” and he rather sides with the monks in their contempt for classic studies (i. 12). He does not wholly commit himself; he is a bit hesitant,—a characteristic of his make-up. This was an absorbing question in that and previous days, as it has continued to agitate the church, more or less, until our own time. In his time the influence of the monks and the clergy, who were pervaded with the ascetic spirit, was more and more against the humanities; the court fluctuated, while the training of the Valentinian and Theodosian succession had been decidedly monastic, and its sympathies were mainly with the intolerant tendency, the necessities of their position, and the splendid and overshadowing political abilities of men like Libanius, Themistius, Anthemius, Troilus, could not be set aside. Some of them, too, had proved themselves to be the saviours and uplifters of the state. The learning and grace of Eudocia, the empress, the spirit of her early training as the daughter of an Athenian philosopher, and her own poetic gifts, were persuasive agents in sustaining a classical survival among the Christians at the court, before she fell under the blight of her husband’s jealousy. Cyrus, the restorer of Constantinople, filled his verses with the same antique flavor. The clergy, whose preliminary training had been in the schools of the sophists, or at the Universities, could not wholly bury their sympathy, although they went through casuistic struggles such as that of Jerome. The Arians, too, were frequently of a larger culture, and on the Germanic side, of signal military skill and political sagacity, whose services the state could not dispense with. The University which even the monastically drilled Theodosius the Younger organized in Constantinople, while seeking to give a Christian tone to the higher education, previously controlled by Athens, made very liberal provision for the languages, if not so much for philosophy. Sozomen, as we see, inclined to a less generous view, and thought Apolinarius had such a universal genius, that his numerous originals might be dispensed with; Homer, Menander, Euripides, Pindar, but for an affectation, need not have been missed. This shows the thin quality of his reading, if not the restricted quantity of it, and lays bare the impotence of his critical faculty. These limitations were doubtless due in large measure to the shrunken ideals of his Palestinian education: it savored of Epiphanius’ temper and impress.

His education on the religious side was in the Nicene faith as professed by the Catholic Church in the East, to which the monks remained, not always thoughtfully faithful, in all that stormy period. As Sozomen says, the people were unable to follow the refinements of theological discussion, and took their cue from those whose lives seemed better than that of the ordinary clergy. He had, however, no close drill in the arguments pro and con, judging from his own declarations of inability to follow the various aspects of Arian discussion. After citing the letter of Gregory Nazianzen to Nectarius, in which the distinctive features of the heresy of Apolinarius are given, he supplements: “What I have said, may, I think, suffice to show the nature of the sentiments maintained by Apolinarius and Eunomius. If any one desire more detailed information, I can only refer him to the works on the subject, written either by them or by others, concerning these men. I do not profess easily to understand or to expound these matters” (epei emoi oute sunienai ta toiauta, oute metaphrazein eupetes, vi. 27). And when he enumerates the causes of rupture among the Eunomians, “I should be prolix were I to enter into further particulars; and indeed the subject would be by no means an easy one to me, since I have no such dialectic skill” (epei mede empeiros echo ton toiouton dialexeon, vii. 17). It would seem, then, that his logical training had not been of a very deep quality, and yet it must be said that such definitions and arguments as he does state in the history of controversy are orderly and lucid. Metaphysics also seems to have had no large place in his earlier studies; but he certainly did become familiar with its later theological terms and distinctions, and he draws a clear line between the various contestants who warred for and against consubstantiality. His reading also covered some philosophical speculations, as one gathers from a sentence in v. 6, “For it is not true, as some assert, that as is the body, so is the soul.” He probably also early learned to distinguish between ontology and ethics, by the practical lines drawn between the clerical disputant and the monastic philosopher. A sentence in his history of Meletius, bishop of Antioch (iv. 28), emphasizes this difference as we seldom find it in early Christian literature: “In his first discourse he confines himself to instructing the people in what we call ethics (tous kaloumenous ethikous logous), and then openly declared the Son to be of the same substance as the Father.”

His spirit was taught to enslave itself with legalistic fetters, and where he does rise above them, it is with trembling misgivings; he had a side for larger things, like Socrates, due probably to his profession, but he was afraid to venture quite so far, and yet he is magnanimous as compared with the better educated and clerical Theodoret.

To those early school years we must also attribute his statement, that he was a witness to the fidelity of Zeno, bishop of Majuma, the seaport of Gaza. “It is said, and I myself am witness of the truth of the assertion, that when he was bishop of the church in Majuma, he was never absent at morning or evening hymns, or any other worship of God, unless attacked by some malady; and yet he was at this period an old man, being nearly a hundred years of age” (vii. 28). The patriarch’s self-support and industry were in like manner the object of his youthful admiration. The struggle of the bishop of Gaza to assert his jurisdiction over Majuma, the seaport which had its own episcopate, and desired to retain its ecclesiastical autonomy, after it had lost its civil independence, Sozomen speaks of as happening in his day, and was one of the news of his youth; and one catches in his statement an inner satisfaction with the decision of the council which recognized the freedom of the Christian community by the sea (v. 3). In connection with public worship, he had very likely heard in those earlier days the reading of the Apocalypse of Peter. He says in vii. 19, “Thus the book entitled the Apocalypse of Peter, which was considered altogether spurious by the ancients, is still read in some of the churches of Palestine, on the day of preparation, when the people observe a fast in memory of the passion of the Saviour.” And a favorite book he saw in the hands of the monks of his native land, was the Apocalypse of Paul, “although unrecognized by the ancients” (vii. 19). A familiarity with such books gives a key to his later attitude toward prophecy.

There is no evidence as to what persuaded him to study law, nor do we know when he was enrolled as a student. The fact that he mentions the school of Berytus as the place where Bishop Triphyllius had prosecuted jurisprudence for so long a while (i. 11) can hardly be taken as a suggestion of Sozomen’s own residence there. It would have been more likely for him to have attended lectures at the University of Alexandria or Antioch, with which cities he shows a considerable acquaintance. His studies were probably based on the Codex Gregorianus, with its supplement, the Codex Hermogenianus; for it was in his own day, and during the writing of his history, that the Codex Theodosianus was begun, and one is sorry to miss his name from the list of its compilers; and it was not until a.d. 439, that it was proclaimed as the text-book of imperial law. That he was admitted to the practice of that profession, we have direct evidence, as in the case of Evagrius, (H. E. vi. 7) while as to Socrates, it is simply an uncertified tradition. Sozomen speaks of his afflicted friend Aquilinus (ii. 3), “who is even at the present time residing with us, and is an advocate in the same courts of justice as that to which we belong.” From the tenor of the legal notices in his history it is likely that he practiced in the episcopal courts as well; for these had assumed form, and the function of an advocate is regulated in several synodical canons. He is more careful and systematic in stating the course of important legislation with regard to religion and the Church, than any other historian. Thus under Constantine, i. 3, 5, 8, 9, 21, 23, ii. 32; under Constantius, iii. 17, iv. 15; under Julian, v. 5, 15, 17; under Jovian, vi. 3; Valens, vi. 12, 19; Gratian, vii. 1; Gratian and Theodosius, vii. 4; under Theodosius, vii. 9, 12, 16, 20, 25, viii. 4; Valentinian, ii. (Justina), vii. 13; Arcadius, viii. 7, 24. There is no instance of his own practice such as Evagrius gives (H. E. vi. 7).

We can only guess at the time of his settlement in Constantinople. One would judge from his narrative, that he was not there during the riots excited by the deposition of Chrysostom, a.d. 404. He may have arrived a little after the elevation of Atticus to the see, as successor to Arsacius, who had followed John, somewhere about 406, a year before the death of the orator, and two years before the decease of the Emperor Arcadius. Under the sage Anthemius, he was finding his way in his profession. Under Pulcheria, one is inclined to suppose that he obtained some recognition. The capital thereafter remained the center of his practice, and he appears to be still in connection with the dikasteries while he is writing the second book of his history (ii. 3). There are a few personal points in his life at the imperial city which he hints at. Thirty five stadia overland from the city, toward the Pontus, was Hestiae; owing to an appearance of the Archangel Michael, a temple was built there, and, as a consequence, called Michaelium. It became noted for its curative properties, both for physical and mental disorders. Sozomen himself had been afflicted, how, he does not tell us,—whether by reverses, or dangers, or disease, or other suffering,—but he resorted thither and testifies to the benefit he received (ii. 3). There is another personal incident which he records in ix. 2. He was a spectator of the splendid ceremonials connected with the discovery and transfer of the remains of the Forty Martyrs: he saw the costly caskets, the festival, and the procession; he heard the music of the commemorative odes, and beheld the deposit of the relics by the body of St. Thyrsus. A number of other spectators whom he knew were there, the greater part of whom were living at the writing of his record. This celebration took place much later, under the episcopate of Proclus; therefore after the year 434. A final personal hint is given in his statements of the overthrow of Uldis. Concerning the remnant of the Sciri, who as a result of that campaign were scattered as slaves over Asia Minor, he remarks, “I have seen many in Bithynia, near Mt. Olympus, living apart from one another, and cultivating the hills and valleys of that region” (ix. 5). As to the nature of this tour, we know nothing. He must have been active in many of the later ecclesiastical and secular matters which he narrates, for the first endeavor of his history is to mention the affairs in which he was concerned (memnesomai de pragmaton hois paretuchon, i. I). We can only deplore that he makes no sign, in the unfolding story, possibly some might have been indicated had he completed his ninth book.

The influential circles of the Eastern and Western capital were divided into parties on a variety of themes. One such, on the lines of culture, we have already considered. A second and very decisive one, was the question whether the foreigners, especially the Goths and the Persians, should be admitted into the service of the state. The stronger body believed in the use and incorporation of these new elements. What before was a variable matter, became a fixed policy under Theodosius the Great, and in all directions. His weak sons were controlled by both factions alternately. Anthemius, Pulcheria, and Theodosius II. adhered in the main to the liberal view. Yet the presence of a cry, Rome for the Romans, could overthrow such a man as Stilicho, and elevate such a weakling as Olympius. Sozomen, from his handling of the events, allied himself with the illiberal cabal; and while he sought room for a representation of foreign Christianity in his book, nevertheless opposed the intrusion of at least the northern element into the offices of the empire.

There was a third line of cleavage among the people and the court. A very strong and persistent faction set itself against the admission of pagans and Arians into political position. These two, dying elements often combined to save themselves from extinction. The court itself fluctuated, because the Germanic politicians were mostly Arian, and the best scholars of political science were pagans. Exigencies compelled the recognition of masters like Anthemius and Troilus. Sozomen threw in his lot with the narrower clique. He does not condescend to mention the best statesman of his time, or the wisest political thinker. Socrates does, and with admiration. The portrayal of Alaric is from the estimate of him as a leader in whom the hopes of pagans and Arians revived. Gainas is traduced, because he was the rallying-point of expiring Arianism in the East.

Sozomen, as we have seen, sided also with the majority in honoring the monastic life, which was bitterly opposed by many politicians and ecclesiastics. Naturally, therefore, he regarded life from a more pietistic standpoint, than did the court under the leadership either of Eudoxia or Eudocia. He responded to the puritanism of Chrysostom and Pulcheria.

He is a defender of Chrysostom, and answers such criticisms as Socrates has made. We can scarcely doubt that his heart was with the Johnites, although he may not have entered their separatist communion.

We can gather from intimations in his history that Sozomen had traveled somewhat. He shows a better knowledge of Palestine, than even Epiphanius; he must have kept up his connection with his native land to have been so well informed as to its traditions, places, and customs. Naturally the greater part of this interest centers in Gaza and its neighborhood, as his old home. In ii. 1, 2, his story of the invention of the Cross and the holy buildings erected by Helena, improves on the original, by local detail and color. In ii. 4, he enlarges upon the Eusebian account of Constantine’s purgation of Mamre or Terebinthus, as one familiar with the spot and with its fair. In ii. 5, he gives a bit of history of Gaza and Majuma under Constantine. In ii. 20, he narrates the election of Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem, from a source which no one else has used. In iii. 14, his biographical notices of Hilarion, Hesychas, and others, indicate an exact topographical knowledge. The Julian edict gives occasion to state the dissensions between Gaza and its seaport (vii. 3). Quite graphic is the martyrology of Gaza and its vicinity, given in v. 9. In discussing Julian’s outrage on the image of Christ at Paneas (v. 27), and the miraculous well at Nicopolis, formerly Emmaus, we see signs of local acquaintanceship. In v. 22, Julian is said to write to the patriarchs, and rulers, and people, asking for their prayers for himself and his empire; here is a distinct reference to the then existing patriarchate; so all the details of the attempted restoration betray a well-informed hand, as well as state the fact of direct communication with the witnesses of the phenomena. The biographies in vi. 32 are bound up with Southern Palestine, and particularly with Bethelia and Gerar. Similarities in vii. 28, of those more closely related to him, easily prove that he was near home. In viii. 13, Scythopolis is selected by the fugitive Egyptian monks, because its many palms afforded them their customary means of support,—a circumstance narrated by no one else. Nor are local hints wanting in the story of the finding of Zachariah’s body (ix. 17), with its legends. There is in one sense a disproportionate mention of Palestine, and designedly, not only from patriotic motives, but from a desire to vindicate its historic position in the development of Church history, and to rebuke the prevailing tendency of churchmen and historians to press it into the background. It is a curious juxtaposition, that the councils of Chalcedon should so soon after have vindicated the primacy of Jerusalem. There is also a better acquaintance with the facts and purposes of Jewish history, the relation of Judaism to Christianity (i. 1); the genesis of the Saracens, and their association with the covenant people (vi. 38); the regulations of the paschal season, especially in vii. 18; as well as a greater accuracy in the transliteration of names of places.

It was no inconsiderable journey from Gaza to his school, and from his school to Constantinople. The hints concerning Palestine, already mentioned, indicate personal observation. Beyond these we have suggestions that may look to his having been in Arabia and Cyprus, as, when he speaks (vii. 19) of knowing the custom in both places, to have a chorepiscopus at the head of a local church. So, too, in Alexandria, he was struck with the strange position of the bishop in not rising when the Gospels were read, something he had never known or heard of in other communities,—words which point to familiarity with that city. One would be glad to think of his having visited Tarsus, since he was acquainted with Cilix, a presbyter of that city, whom he consulted about the origin of the Apocalypse of Paul (vii. 19). That he knew Bithynia from the sight of it, we have already seen (ix. 5). He describes or alludes to architectural or topographic features of Alexandria, Antioch, and possibly Edessa, in a way that scarcely leaves a doubt of his having seen those cities; we may suppose that his clientelage would compel journeys to and fro.

His work abounds with allusions to structures and regions of Constantinople, to say nothing of its vicinity. The general description of the building of the city by Constantine (ii. 3) already gives some of its principal features. Of the churches, he mentions the first of those dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael (ii. 3), at some remove from the city (Hestiae, Michaelium), and to be distinguished from a later structure on the opposite shore, and one in the city, erected to the same patron angel;—the church of the Apostles, which became the place of sepulture for emperors and even bishops (ii. 34, iv. 21, viii. 10);—the church of Acacius the martyr (iv. 21), to which Macedonius endeavored to remove the coffin of Constantine;—the church of Sophia (iv. 26), begun by Constantine, and dedicated under Constantius,—with which was connected a baptistery (viii. 21); this great edifice was burned in the tumult which arose after the second exile of Chrysostom was announced (viii. 22);—the house of prayer begun by Chrysostom and completed by Sisinnius, containing the tomb of the martyred Notaries; this was outside the walls, in a spot previously devoted to the execution of criminals, and an object of dread, because of frequenting ghosts (iv. 3);—the church of the Novatians, situated in a part of the city called Pelargum; this was taken down by them and transferred to a suburb named Sycae, hence the edifice was entitled Anastasia; it was restored to its original spot under Julian (iv. 20);—the little dwelling which was converted into a house of prayer for Gregory Nazianzen, and so became a church, also called Anastasia (vii. 5);—the church reared by Macedonius, which received the name of Paul, bishop of Constantinople, when Theodosius removed the confessor’s body to that building; it is described as a spacious and distinguished temple (vii. 10); when Theodosius the Great conveyed the head of John the Baptist to Hebdomas, in the suburbs, where was the seventh milestone, he erected on that site a spacious and magnificent temple, which became a center of imperial devotion and miraculous cures (vii. 21, 24, viii. 4, 14);—the church reared in honor of St. Stephen, the proto-martyr (viii. 24);—the church dedicated to the memory of St. Mocus the Martyr, where Dioscorus was buried (viii. 17);—the place where the body of Thyrsus the Martyr reposed, and whither the relics of the forty soldiers were transferred (ix. 2); this was a temple, according to Procopius. In Chalcedon, he mentions the church of St. Euphemia, so glowingly described by Evagrius, and that of SS. Peter and Paul in the Oak (Ruffinum).

While he speaks of the number of monks and nuns, in and about Constantinople (iv. 2, viii. 9), and alludes in a general way to their dwellings (iv. 20), he mentions no particular establishment except that founded by Marathonius, which stood in Sozomen’s time. He also refers to the Xenodochia, the Nosocomia, the Cherotrophia, and the Ptochotrophia (iv. 20, 27, viii. 9), but he does not specialize, not even concerning the group of institutions founded and endowed by Pulcheria (ix. 8). There were residences for the bishops and clergy, but these are only hinted at (vii. 14, viii. 14). The palaces and the forums are mentioned only in a general way, but the splendid council chamber (megistos oikos tes sunkletou boules), which was burned with the Sophia, is described as south of that edifice. He refers to the Hippodrome in the third region, with a little description of its early form and place (vi. 39, viii. 21). Certain of the eight public baths are mentioned, the commodious thermae called after Zeuxippus (iii. 9) is set forth as a conspicuous and large structure, and the palace as adjoining it near the sea-side. This was in the second region. He speaks correctly of baths bearing the names of Anastasia and Carosa, daughters of Valens, standing in his own time (vi. 9). The baths of Constantius are characterized as very spacious when he tells us how the followers of John resorted thither for the paschal feast (viii. 21).

We have some brief notices of a few friends outside the earlier circles in Bethelia and Gaza. By the advice of some pious acquaintances, who were versed in the mysteries, he decided not to publish the Nicene symbol (i. 20). Among those who experienced relief at the Michaelium, was a fellow-advocate, Aquilinus; the story of his cure is told us from Sozomen’s own observation, and from the statements made by his colleague (ii. 3). He was on good terms with Cilix, the venerable presbyter of Tarsus (vii. 19). He had a friend or friends, who were cognizant of affairs under Theophilus (viii. 12); and similarly with some who had been intimate with Chrysostom (viii. 9). It is not unlikely that he knew Nicarete in her old age, a lady of Bithynia remarkable for her sacrificial life, whose memory is preserved by him alone (viii. 23). The facts which he brings to light concerning Pulcheria, and the submission of his work to the younger Theodosius, shows that he was received graciously by both.

Part II

Sozomen as Author

When seized with a desire to write history, Sozomen says: “I at first felt strongly inclined to trace the course of events from the very commencement, but on reflecting that similar records of the past, up to their own time, had been compiled by those wisest of men, Clemens and Hegesippus, successors of the Apostles, by Africanus, the historian, and by Eusebius, surnamed Pamphilus, a man intimately acquainted with Sacred Scriptures and the writings of the Greek poets and historians, I merely drew up an epitome in two books, of all that is recorded to have happened to the churches, from the ascension of Christ to the deposition of Licinius.” This work is unfortunately lost. It was not a simple chronicle, but an abbreviated account of these events; the abridgment was probably from the authors mentioned above. The habit of succinct narration is quite in his later vein. He doubtless commingled secular with the sacred detail. It may be suggestingly asked, whether his words in ix. 1 do not give a hint of another work: “But I willingly for awhile pass over the many separate manifestations of divine favor, that were granted to the sister of the emperor, as proofs that she was loved of God, lest anybody should blame me, for having set out to do other things, and yet had turned to the use of encomiums.” This sudden arrest could not be owing to an intended resumption of such matters at a later portion of the history; for the method was already regarded as irrelevant, and the very reason for citing no more in that vein; is it not likely that he at least purposed an encomium of Pulcheria?

The work by which we know him, is the Ecclesiastical History in nine Books. When did he write it? In trying to determine the time of its production, let us look at the data suggested in his work.

(1) In the dedication, the delineation of the emperor’s culture and character discloses a man of fixity and repose; these qualities could not be ascribed to the time of his imperial majority, in his fifteenth year, nor to the time of his marriage (421); they are rather the features of settled experience; hence we would expect in general a period nearer the end of his reign, than one in the beginning or middle; certainly somewhere beyond his thirtieth year, and therefore beyond a.d. 438.

(2) Sozomen says that poets and authors, even those of prefectural dignity, as well as other subjects, celebrated the emperor. The usual literary incense was burned. Olympiodorus dedicated his history to him. Socrates was magniloquent; and more particularly did Cyrus, the friend of Eudocia, who attained the highest offices of the state from 439–441, write epigrams in praise of his monarch. This would make a date after 441.

(3) In illustration of the practiced self-control of his sovereign, he narrates an incident of the royal journey in the summer heat, through Bithynia, to the fallen city of Heraclea, in Pontus, with the view of restoring it. This journey took place in June of a.d. 443. This incident is introduced with proen, which would place the writing quite definitely as not very soon after June 443.

(4) The reign of Theodosius is described as above all others bloodless and pure from slaughter. This could only be moderately just, before the judicial murders connected with the jealous fits of Theodosius, from 442 on, and the united movement of outlying nations upon the East and West, as projected by the political sagacity of Attila.

(5) The professed terminus of his history is the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius: this was the year 439; hence the whole work was written after that time.

(6) The prayer at the conclusion of the proemium may have in it a point of light; he hopes that through the favor of Christ, the imperium may be transmitted to Theodosius’ sons and grandsons. The only child born to Eudocia was a daughter, Eudoxia, who was married to Valentinian III. It was because of the lack of succession, that Pulcheria married General Marcianus. Eudocia withdrew from the court somewhere between 441–443, but that would not have had to impede the succession, had Theodosius chosen to be divorced; and this prayer rather intimates the desirability of another marriage. This, therefore, must have been written before the hope of sons was removed; certainly, therefore, before the closing years of the emperor’s reign.

(7) In Book ix, Pulcheria’s inclination to virginity is spoken of as expressed in the most solemn way, and with the consecrated gift of a table to signalize it. There is no hint in the work of the marriage with Marcian, suggested by Theodosius on his death-bed, and carried out after his demise. This would indicate that the work was completed before 450.

(8) In ix. 1, he affirms: “That new heresies have not prevailed in our times, we shall find to be due especially to her, as we shall subsequently see.” The heresies are those connected with Nestorianism, 428–444, and possibly the return of the Johannists to full communion by the triumphal restoration of Chrysostom’s remains in 438; these were to fall within the limits of his work. The Eutychean heresy in its first stage was hostile to Pulcheria’s views, while its overthrow was not effected until a year after the death of Theodosius. The close of the Nestorian controversy through the compromise was in 444, and that date would suit well with the fact of mastering the heresy at the very time he was writing this account of Pulcheria.

(9) In ix. 2, he recounts the transfer of the forty martyrs, after a public festival had been appropriately celebrated with fitting honor and pomp, with psalms, “at which I myself was present; and others who were present can also bear testimony that these things were done in the way described, for almost all of them still survive. And the event occurred much later, when Proclus governed the church of Constantinople.” Proclus was elected 434, and continued in office until his death in 447. This transfer must have taken place before 439, the proposed terminus of the history, and very likely a little while after the accession of this long-tried candidate. The time of the writing was at some considerable remove from the event itself, because of his appeal to the survivors as witnesses to the truth of his portrayal, and yet not so far, but that the most of the participants and spectators could still be appealed to. This would correspond very well with the date connected with 443, suggested by the incident in Bithynia, if we allow some interval between the writing of the dedication and Book ix.

(10) In ix. 6, the overthrow of Uldis, 406, is narrated. The settlement of the conquered Sciri as slaves and colonists is enlarged upon. Sozomen himself saw these imperial farmers at their tilling in Bithynia. This may connect itself, possibly, as to the time of the year, and place, with the emperor’s progress to Heraclea Pontica. There is evidently an interval between the capture of the Sciri, and their settled work as colonists, when Sozomen visited that region, and between that visit and the writing of the fact. If it corresponded with the imperial progress, it would of course be 443. Taking all these points together, it would seem that the work was begun about the latter part of 443; and that the dedication was written first, because that states the plan of the whole work, including the ninth book, whose record does not meet the intention, there expressed; moreover, some of the events in Book ix. indicate a considerable interval between the fact and the account of it. When he finished what he wrote, it is not so easy to tell; it would certainly take him a few years, and the end was reached before any considerable outbreak of the Eutychean heresy; therefore probably in 447, or 448, for the reason that Pulcheria did not conquer that heresy until after her marriage with Marcian; this date is supported by the fact that the breaking of her vow was unknown to the writer of ix. 1, 3; also because the Emperor Theodosius was still alive. The work was the fruit and employment of old age; the style is certainly that of an elderly man, and not that of youth or early maturity.

What were the main objects he had in view in his history?

1. He desired to present the truth with regard to the facts and their results. In i. 1, he affirms: “I will readily transcribe fully from any work that may tend to the elucidation of truth.” “Still, as it is requisite, in order to maintain historical accuracy, to pay the strictest attention to the means of eliciting truth, I felt myself bound to examine all writings of this class, according to my ability.” This is his professed purpose; however subjective or churchly his view of truth may be, we must give him the credit for the intention. In i. 1, he appeals to his readers in this wise: “Let not an impertinent or malignant spirit be imputed to me, for having dwelt upon the disputes of ecclesiastics among themselves, concerning the primacy and pre-eminence of their own heresy. In the first place, as I have already said, a historian ought to regard everything as secondary in importance to truth.” And we shall see evidences of his fairness.

2. His history is designed to be a demonstration of Christianity as from God. The vastness of the change wrought by God in the introduction and success of Christianity and the insignificant and mythical themes upon which literature had been wont to exercise itself, prompted him, with his confessed inefficiency, to undertake this line of evidence, in the conviction that God would help his believing incapacity. Hence his work is a record of immediate divine interventions, and extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit; it abounds in visions, miracles, and prophecy. The celestial agents visibly direct affairs; the flow of vaticination does not cease; the power to reverse the expected order of events is not suspended. Thus, as to epiphanies of divine, angelic, or sainted beings: In i. 3, is recounted the appearance of the cross unto Constantine; and in the night during sleep, the manifestation of Christ with a cross, and the instructions given to the emperor. In ii. 1, we have a series of divine interpositions to discover the true cross, and Sozomen remarks in refutation of one explanation, “I do not think that human information is requisite, when God thinks it best to make manifest the same.” In ii. 3, the old name, Hestiae, is changed to Michaelium, because of the reported appearance of the archangel there. The monks are favored with such direct counselors; Pachomius obeys an angel, who directs him to assemble young men for instruction; “he was frequently admitted to intercourse with the holy angels.” Apollonius yielded to direct divine advice, and withdrew from the desert to a populous region. The cross reappeared in the days of Constantius (iv. 5); Julian’s life is filled with portents (v. 1, 20, 22; vi. 2). A curious bit of speculation occurs in vi. 2; in interpreting Julian’s alleged use of his blood, he says: “I know not whether the approach of death, as is wont to be the case, when the soul is in the act of being separated from the body, and when it is enabled to behold diviner spectacles than is allotted to men, that Julian might then have beheld Christ. Few allusions have been made to this subject; and yet I dare not reject this hypothesis as absolutely false, for God often suffers still more improbable and astonishing events to take place, in order to prove that the religion named after Christ is not sustained by human energy.” Of Theodore’s confession (v. 20) he remarks: “It is said that he was afterwards asked whether he had been sensible of any pain on the rack; and that he replied he had not been entirely free from suffering, but had his pain assuaged by the attentions of a young man who had stood by him, and had wiped off the perspiration with the finest linen cloth, and supplied him with coolest water, by which he eased the inflammation and refreshed his labors. I am convinced that no man, whatever magnanimity he may possess, is capable without the special assistance of divine Power, of manifesting such entire indifference about the body.” In vi. 29, Piammon sees an angel standing near the holy table, and writing down in a book the names of the monks who were present, while he erased the names of those who were absent. Mark had the elements of the holy table administered to him by an angel (vii. 29). Malachion, while journeying with his brothers, was made invisible, and then reappeared, and pursued his way with them (vi. 32). So the portent at Hebdomas was a sign of divine favor to Theodosius the Great (vii. 24); the heavenly hosts were the real overthrowers of Gainas (viii. 4); Basiliscus the martyr appears to Chrysostom (viii. 28). Pulcheria’s celestial directors helps her to find the forty martyrs (ix. 2). The appearance of Zechariah to the serf pointed out the way to the discovery of the prophet’s remains (ix. 17). The demoniacal agencies are equally operant, some of which are alluded to in the above passages, but readily yield to prayer and exorcism, if not immediately overthrown by God.

For a demonstration of the same truth, miracles are wrought to effect physical cures, mental troubles, threatened dangers, casting out of demons, silencing philosophers and wordy ecclesiastics, vindicating orthodoxy, reading the thoughts of hypocrites defeating enemies, sanctifying the sacraments’ raising the dead; and they are the mighty agents for converting philosophers, Jews, pagans, and heretics. They are wrought by the hands of the eminently excellent only; the gift is associated with a high measure of grace; for example the bishops Paphnutius (i. 10) and Spyridion (i. 11) are so endowed; Alexander of Constantinople (i. 14), Eusebius of Emesa (iii. 6), Martin of Tours (iii. 14), Arsacius of Nicomedia (iv. 16), Donatus (vii. 26), Gregory of Neocaesarea (vii. 26), Theotimus of Scythia (vii. 26), Epiphanius of Salamis (vii. 27). In like manner, the monks Antony (i. 13), Amun (i. 14), Eutychianus (i. 14), Macarius the Egyptian, Apollonius, Hilarion, Julian (iii. 14), John, Copres, Helles, Apelles, Eulogius (vi. 28); Apollos, John of Diolchus, Benjamin and Pior (vi. 29). The united prayer of a congregation could effect them (vii. 5). The statue of Christ at Paneas, the fountain at Emmaus, the tree at Hermopolis (v. 21), were all miraculous centers. The spot where the Archangel Michael appeared (ii. 3), the places where the head of John the Baptist reposed (vii. 21), the tombs of monks, martyrs, and bishops,—as of Hilarion (iii. 14), Martyrius and Marcianus (iv. 3), Epiphanius (vii. 27),—were replete with restorative virtues. Sozomen had such a miracle wrought upon himself; he believed thoroughly in an uninterrupted stream of charismata; he deemed it necessary for the maintenance of the faith. He was no more credulous than Socrates, or Theodoret, or Evagrius, or Theodore. To criticise him for his belief in this respect is to forget the Christian consciousness of the age. And the historic school which seeks to eliminate the volume of testimony, in the assumption that miracles do not fall within the province of history, ignores the first law of that science, which requires the reproduction of all facts, in time and place, whatever they may be, that are affiliated with the evolution of the human will; that other older school which dismisses all ecclesiastical miracles on the a prioriassumption that these energies ceased at a time co-ordinate with the death of the Apostles, or at a point not far removed from their age, violates the spirit of induction. These miracles must be tested by evidence, and the laws of supernatural energy, and in no other way. To Sozomen and all his contemporaries the miracle appeared essential both to the proof of the divine origin of Christianity, and to offset and withstand the influence of the theurgic arts of the philosophers, such as Julianus and many of the Neoplatonists. As he remarks concerning the reply made by Alexander, bishop of Constantinople, when he silenced the philosopher by the simple authority of Christ, “It is then right to consider whether it is a greater miracle, that a man, and he a philosopher, should so easily be silenced by a word, or that a stone wall should be cleft by the power of a word, which miracle I have heard some attribute with pride to Julian, surnamed the Chaldean” (i. 18). The gift of prophecy is also represented as sustained throughout this period, and with the same logical aims in view. The monks are especially thus endowed: Antony (i. 13, vi. 5, 6), the two Macarii, Pachomius (iii. 14), Arsacius (iv. 16), John (vi. 28, vii. 22, vii. 28), Theon (vi. 28), Isaac (vi. 40); so the bishops Athanasius (iv. 10), Chrysostom and Epiphanius, rather abusively (viii. 15); so royal persons, such as the wife of Valens, passively (vi. 16), Pulcheria, directly and passively (ix. 3). The perpetuation of this charism was deemed inherently necessary for the sake of historical continuity, and to prove as well that the faith he loved had been established by God; equally was it requisite as a holy parallel whereby to gainsay the mantic spirit of Paganism; as is best illustrated in the silencing of the oracle at Daphne (v. 19), and by his reflections upon the philosopher’s tripod devised for finding the successor of Valens (vi. 35). Nor are Socrates, Theodoret, Evagrius, and others any more moderate than Sozomen in this respect.

3. Another aim of his history is to prove that Providence or the divine government is promoting the Christian faith directly. The universal order must be interpreting itself distinctly through the Church. The Father must be vindicating the good and punishing the wicked, according to the orthodox category. Sozomen’s history is as insistent in this regard as Eliphaz and his philosophic confreres. One must be able to decide infallibly in each case as to cause and effect; it is a very realistic pragmatism, and is not the exclusive property of Sozomen; it is a characteristic of all these Church historians.

There is properly enough a recognition of God in history; the sovereign will and the human will are jointly working out the world’s order, but it is the attempt to trace the cause and effect immediately and in each case, which is so repulsive and absurd. Some illustrations will show how he brings out this view. In i. 7 the comment made on Constantine’s overthrow of Licinius: “From many facts it has often appeared to me that the teaching of the Christians is supported, and its advancement secured, by the Providence of God, and not the least from what then occurred; for at the very moment that Licinius was about to persecute all the churches under him, the war in Bithynia broke out, which ended in a war between him and Constantine, and in which Constantine was so strengthened by Divine assistance, that he was victorious over his enemies by land and by sea.” More of detail comes out in the life of Athanasius. Thus in ii. 17, of his election he says: “Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, when about to depart this life, left Athanasius as his successor, in accordance, I am convinced, with the Divine will, directing the vote upon him.” And again: “He fled to escape the honor, but he was discovered in his place of concealment by the help of God, who had forecast by Divine manifestations to his blessed predecessors, that the succession was to devolve upon him.” His whole career is so viewed in v. 6. There is a large discussion of this subject in vi. 35, where he argues against the plan of pagan philosophers to foretell the future of the empire: “The philosophers, on the other hand, acted as if the deposition and restoration of emperors had depended solely on them; for if the imperial succession was to be considered dependent on the arrangement of the stars, what was requisite but to await the accession of the future emperor, whoever he might be? Or, if the succession was regarded as dependent on the will of God, what right had man to meddle? For it is not the function of human foreknowledge or zeal to understand God’s thought; nor if it were right, would it be well for men, even if they be the wisest of all, to think that they can plan better than God.” He persists in tracing a connection between God and every event in favor of mechanical goodness or orthodoxy. He follows many opponents, whether heretical or pagan, with the Divine wrath; all these historians do this,—Philostorgius, as well as Evagrius. Sozomen is not nearly so bitter or uncharitable as either of these. He is most atrabilious in the case of Julian, under whom his own family had suffered. As a consequence of this arbitrary pious pragmatism, the most deplorable incompetents are treated as the express favorites of heaven, while the larger-minded pagan or Arian is loaded with contempt. Under this law, too, the evil sides of the orthodox, and the excellences of the pagan, or Arians, are suppressed. The defeats of the Nicene emperors are not mentioned; the victories of the Anti-Nicene are passed by or belittled, while their humiliations are evidence of the impending anger of heaven. In the survey of Helena’s life (ii. 2) he says: “It seems to me that so many holy actions demanded a recompense, and indeed even in this life she was raised to the summit of magnificence.” As to Constantine, in ii. 34 he dares say: “He was more successful than any other sovereign in all his undertakings; for he formed no design, I am convinced, without God.” When Bishop Felix of Rome died, and Liberius became sole occupant of the see, he construes the fact thus: “This event was no doubt ordained by God, that the seat of Peter might not be dishonored by the occupancy of two bishops; for such an arrangement is a sign of discord, and is foreign to ecclesiastical law” (iv. 15). In all the features of Julian’s life, God is visiting him with his unappeasable anger (vi. 35, v. 21, 22, vi. 1, 2). The election of Nectarius, though it was in violation of ecclesiastical order and an accumulation of ignorant blunders, did not take place without the interposition of Divine strength (vii. 8). Theodosius is portrayed as the prime delight of heaven; thus his simple reliance upon God wins him a hopeless battle with Eugenius (vii. 24). It is so with the whole Theodosian line (viii. 1, ix. 1). Pulcheria has Divine love manifested to her in manifold ways, as does her brother, Theodosius the Younger (ix. 1, 3, 16). Even Alaric is driven by an inexplicable impulse to rebuke the luxury, debauchery, and injustice of the Romans (ix. 6). In ix. 1, he says of his own sovereign: “It appears to me that it was the design of God to show by the events of this period, that piety alone suffices for the salvation of princes; and that without piety, armies, a powerful empire, and every other resource, are of no avail. The Divine power, which is the guardian of the universe, foresaw that the emperor would be distinguished by his piety, and determined that Pulcheria, his sister, should be the protector of him and of the government.” In ix. 16, he explains his secular details in the paragraph: “This is not the proper place to enter into details concerning the deaths of the tyrants; but I considered it necessary to allude to the circumstance in order to show, that to insure the stability of imperial power, it is sufficient for an emperor to serve God with reverence, which was the course pursued by Honorius.” While of his patron he says: “It seems as if God openly manifested His favor towards the present emperor, not only by disposing of warlike affairs in an unexpected way, but also by revealing the sacred bodies of many persons who were of old most distinguished for piety.” The whole history is full of this sort of philosophy of its personages. Similarly all natural calamities and the irruption of barbarians are ethically explained, which is correct enough as a general principle; but these phenomena are punitive or vindicatory of particular deeds. Constantius’ course toward Athanasius was heralded by an invasion of the Franks, and by an earthquake in the East (iii. 6). Of Julian he says: “It is, however, very obvious that throughout the reign of this emperor, God gave manifest tokens of His displeasure and permitted many calamities to befall several of the provinces of the Roman Empire. He visited the earth with such fearful earthquakes, that the buildings were shaken, and no more safety could be found within houses than in the open air.” Then follow the inundations of the Nile; the drought and the famine in the empire, and on their heels the pestilences (vi. 2). Under Valens we read: “In the meantime although hail-storms of extraordinary magnitude fell in various places, and although many cities, particularly Nicaea in Bithynia, were shaken by earthquakes, yet Valens the emperor and Eudoxius the bishop paused not in their career, but continued to persecute all Christians who differed from them in opinion” (vi. 10). He does not make the same reflection upon Constantius, when the earthquake at Nicomedia intercepted the meeting of a council (iv. 16); Gainas’ attempted revolution is “pre-announced by the appearance of a comet directly over the city; this comet was of extraordinary magnitude, larger, it is said, than any that had previously been seen” (viii. 3). After Chrysostom’s exile, “hailstones of extraordinary magnitude fell at Constantinople and in the suburbs of the city. Four days afterwards, the wife of the emperor died. These occurrences were regarded by many as indications of Divine wrath, on account of the persecutions that had been carried on against John” (viii. 27).

But the earthquakes and famines and invasions that happened under Theodosius the Great and Theodosius Junior are not mentioned directly. By such unfair pragmatism Sozomen, as all his fellow-historians, sought to answer the allegations, now more directly affirmed, in the period of barbarian irruption, that the calamities were due to the desertion of the gods. Sulpicius Severus, Augustine, and Orosius built up a somewhat better apology.

4. Another object he kept before him, we will let him state in his own words: “The doctrine of the Catholic Church is shown to be especially the most genuine, since it has been tested frequently by the plots of opposing thinkers; yet, the disposal of the lot being of God, the Catholic Church has maintained its own ascendancy, has re-assumed its own power, and has led all the churches and the people to the reception of its own truth” (i. 1). Catholicity and Orthodoxy, as defined at Nicaea, are synonymous. The creed of the fathers is final. The Church which spoke in 325 and 381 is the historic and Catholic Church, and the Theodosian line is the Divinely appointed instrument for laying its foundations immovably, the others having failed. Church and State are to be indissolubly wedded. This faith is made mechanically the test of goodness and badness, and this expresses his personal belief.

He speaks of the Scriptures with uniform reverence, and holds to the theoria as the method of interpretation, as we see in v. 22, where he says of the Jews: “They were only acquainted with the mere letter of Scripture, and could not, like the Christians and a few of the wisest among the Hebrews, discover the hidden meaning (pros theorian)”; yet he speaks with respect (viii. 2) of Chrysostom’s way of expounding the sacred records and of his “teacher Diodorus’ method, employed in the many books of that bishop,” in which he explained the significance of the sacred words and avoided allegory (theoria). But when bishops and monks are declared to be skilled in the Scriptures, it is in this mystical sense. His own grandfather was a solver of the amphibolies of the Word, doubtless by this convenient key (v. 5).

The dogmatic standpoint, as we have seen, was traditionalism, toward which the Church gravitated under the dictation of the councils, the influence of bishops like Athanasius, the almost uniform ictus of the Roman see, Ambrose, the Gregories, Basil the Great, Ephraim, Eusebius, and Epiphanius, the majority of monks, and finally the whole force of the State. He opposes all shades of Arianism, as also Apolinarianism; had he completed his work, from what he says of Pulcheria’s conquest over heresies, he would have opposed the Nestorian views of the Theotokos. But of Donatism and Cyprianism he has not a word. Of the anthropological struggles of the West there is not a syllable. Here is the place, also, to consider his attitude toward heresies. Sozomen does not assail any phase of Arianism with the intemperate epithets which Eusebius employed to condemn the earlier innovators, or such as abound in Theodoret and Evagrius and later historians. Indeed, he sometimes calls them Christians and members of the Catholic Church. His treatment of the Novatians, while a little offish, is yet generous as compared with other writers, except Socrates, from whom he obtains almost all their history; he devotes much space; he is generally courteous in tone; and when he speaks of the proposed union (iv. 2) between the Catholic Church and that body of believers, he omits the cause of the failure; viz., the reluctance of some legalistic Novatians to acquiesce,—a point which Socrates does not fail to expose. He mentions Montanism (Phrygianism) several times, but with no new facts, save that they were numerous in Phrygia in his day, and had peculiar Paschal usages (i. 6, ii. 18, 32, vii. 18, 19). Of the Gnostic sects, he alludes to the Valentinians only, whose conventicles were repressed by an edict of Constantius (ii. 32). The Manichaeans are mentioned only as they are one of the three sects excepted from Gratian’s law of toleration (vii. 1). Of the Pricillianists, whose attempt at a world religion falls so wholly within his time, he says nothing. The Quartodecimanians are still numerous and tenacious (vii. 18). He has a bare allusion to the Encratites (v. 11). Of the Origenistic controversy, he has no more to say than he is compelled to, in order to state correctly the conflict between Theophilus and Chrysostom. Over against the Origenists he places the Anthropomorphists (viii. 12). Of Lucifer’s separatism, he gives only the rise (iii. 15). With all his emphatic adherence to the current orthodoxy, he must be regarded as the most charitable of historians next to Socrates. Mention has already been made of his kindly disposition toward the Novatians. When writing fully and favorably, as was his duty, about Aetius (iii. 15), he is constrained to make an apology: “Let it not be accounted strange if I have bestowed commendations upon the leaders or enthusiasts of the above-mentioned heresies. I admire their eloquence and their impressiveness in discourse: I leave their doctrines to be judged by those whose prerogative it is.”

On the one hand, we find him insisting on the right of private judgment, as when he discusses the overruling Providence in Julian’s life, and especially on the infatuation which led the emperor to Persia in spite of Sallust (vi. 1): “This observation, however, is only inserted lest I should be blamed for omitting it. I leave every one to form his own opinion.” So, after discussing the use of penance, he remarks in the following chapter (vii. 17): “Such subjects as the above, however, are best left to the decision of individual judgment.” He would also allow latitude in ceremonials (vii. 19), as we shall see. On the other hand, he dreads the progressive and unsettling outcome of the private judgment in exercise. He expresses this fear in iv. 27: “The spirit of innovation is self-laudatory; hence it advanced farther and farther, and crept along to greater novelties. With increasing self-conceit, and in scorn of the fathers, it enacted laws of its own. Nor does it honor the doctrine of the ancients concerning God, but is always excogitating strange dogmas and restlessly adds novelty to novelty, as the events now show.”

Of the threatening strategies of free thought in his own day, he devoutly exclaimed: “That new heresies have not prevailed in our times, we shall find to be due especially to her” (Pulcheria) (ix. 1). Consequently he deprecates the deleterious influence of polemics. On the accession of Jovian, he says: “The presidents of the churches now resumed the agitation of doctrinal questions and discussions. They had remained quiet during the reign of Julian, when Christianity itself was endangered, and had unanimously offered up their supplications for the mercy of God. It is thus that men, when attacked by foreign enemies, remain in accord among themselves; but when external troubles are removed, then internal dissensions creep in” (vi. 4 and in vi. 25).

“Thus do the private animosities of the clergy from time to time greatly injure the Church and divide religion into many heresies! And this is a proof; for had George, like Theodotus, received Apolinarius, on his repentance, into communion, I believe that we should never have heard of the heresy that bears his name. Men are prone, when loaded with opprobrium and contempt, to resort to rivalries and innovations; whereas, when treated with justice, they become moderate and remain in the same position.” More emphatic still is his protest in vi. 26: “Those varying dogmas are the source of innumerable troubles to religion, and many are deterred from embracing Christianity by the diversity of opinion which prevails in matters of doctrine.” In the beginning of this same chapter, in speaking of the Eunomians, he delineates them thus: “They do not applaud a good course of life or manner of conduct, or mercy towards the needy, unless exhibited by persons of their own sect, so much as skill in disputation and the power of triumphing in debates.” This is a great blow at the sectores cymini, and at pride in polemics; the whole tone is much more liberal than that of the ecclesiastic Theodoret, or even the lawyer Evagrius. Sozomen, like Socrates, represents a generous feeling current among the laymen of Constantinople in court and among the trades and professions. The attitude of the Catholic Church with regard to baptism he sets forth adequately as trivial, and argues against the Eunomian innovation of one baptism and a change in the formula (vi. 21): “But whether it was Eunomius or any other person who first made these innovations upon the tradition of baptism, it seems to me that such innovators, whoever they may have been, were alone in danger, according to their own representation, of quitting this life without having received Divine baptism.” The argument here is an unusually long one; with his generation he held to the magical efficacy of the rite. The theory of the sacraments as mysteries or arcane, was one which controlled him throughout, and even limited his fidelity as a historian. Thus in i. 20: “I thought it necessary to reproduce the very document (the Nicene Creed) concerning these matters, as an example of the truth, in order that posterity might possess in a fixed and clear form, the symbol of that faith which proved pacifying at the time; but since some pious friends who understood such matters, recommended that these truths ought to be spoken of and heard by the initiated and their initiators only, I agreed with their counsel: for it is not unlikely that some of the uninitiated may read this book: while I have concealed such of the prohibited material as I ought to keep silent about, I have not altogether left the reader ignorant of the opinions held by the Synod.” Nor will he repeat the symbol as subjoined to the letter of the council of Antioch (vi. 4); and when the Macedonian commission to Liberius make their statement, and the text is given to show their entire acceptance of the Nicene view, Sozomen will not reproduce it. Again in vi. 29, Mark was a monk of “such eminent piety, that Macarius himself, the presbyter of Celliae, declared that he had never given to him what priests present to the initiated at the holy table; but that an angel, administering it to him, whose hand up to the forearm, he declared himself to have seen.” In viii. 5, in giving the account of a marvelous judgment wrought on a Macedonian wife, who pretended to be a convert to the Nicene views, and thus frequented the orthodox ceremony of the Supper, he remarks, “At the time of the celebration of the mysteries (the initiated will understand what I mean), this woman kept what was given her, and held down her head as if engaged in prayer.” In reciting the disturbances at the Easter celebration over the decree of exile against Chrysostom (viii. 21), he says: “They were charged with the commission of such disorderly acts as can be readily conceived by those who have been admitted to the mysteries, but which I consider it requisite to pass over in silence, lest my work should fall into the hands of the uninitiated.” Here we have a glimpse of the scope of the arcane as well as the weakness of the historian in submitting to the advice of narrow friends; no other historian felt bound to restrict himself in such matters. Sozomen here joined the most extreme sacramentarians of his day. On the weighty matter of discipline, he believes with the Catholic Church in receiving back the penitent into the Church, against Novatian and Donatistic practices. He expresses his opinion at some length, though not so fully as Socrates, in the chapter which relates to the abolition of the penitential presbyter (vii. 16): “Impeccability is a Divine attribute, and belongs not to human nature; therefore God has decreed that pardon should be extended to the penitent even after many transgressions. As in supplicating for pardon, it is requisite to confess the sin, it seems probable that the priests, from the beginning, considered it irksome to make this confession in public, before the whole assembly of the people. They appointed a presbyter of the utmost sanctity and the most undoubted prudence, to act on those occasions: the penitents went to him and confessed their transgressions; and it was his office to indicate the kind of penance adapted to each sin, and then when satisfaction had been made, to pronounce absolution.” He deplores the abolition of the office as the occasion of laxity. The deterrent force of public confession was now lost, and that to the danger of Christian conduct. He sympathizes also with that form of martyrdom which wantonly and ruthlessly assails paganism and is slain in the attempt. The system of relic-worship, so characteristic of any decline of opportunity for heroic action, had set in overwhelmingly, and he believed in it vigorously. Our own age reproduces the same tendency not only in religious, but in secular forms, and among Protestants as well. Thus he commemorates: of Old Testament prophets, Micah and Habakkuk (vii. 29), Zechariah (ix. 17); of the preparatory period, the head of John the Baptist (vii. 21); of the Apostolic Church, St. Stephen (vii. 29, ix. 16); of the martyrs, Babylas (v. 19), Forty Soldiers (ix. 2); of the monks, Hilarion (iii. 14), the four brothers (vii. 9). The most prominent of secondary relics is the cross with its inscriptions and nails (ii. 1). The discovery of these is mainly through prayer and heavenly signs; their possession is an object of imperial ambition; the removal and transportation of them are effected with most gorgeous and reverent pomp; and the sacred treasures become the agents of endless miracles.

Sozomen, like Socrates and Chrysostom, believes in freedom as to old-time ceremonials. He has a chapter on the varieties of religious usage (vii. 19); and the record is largely the result of his own inquiry. He remarks in conclusion: “Many other customs are still to be observed in cities and villages; and those who have been brought up in their observance would, from respect to the great men who instituted and perpetuated these customs, consider it wrong to abolish them. Similar motives must be attributed to those who observe different practices in the celebration of the fast, which has led us into this long digression.” From his point of view, uniformity may not encroach upon individualism beyond a certain point. He is certainly quietly and with dignity attacking a party of narrow uniformitarians, who are already pressing for a harmony of all ceremonials in Christendom.

Another feature of the Catholic system that he traces carefully, is the relation between Church and Empire. He devotes more attention to this aspect of polity than to its internal development; this latter he touches upon incidentally, and not at all carefully. We have seen how painstakingly he cites the imperial edicts with regard to the Church. The state laws, which at first expressed conciliar decisions, were followed by independent imperial enactments. These, indeed, are at first sporadic, but become more and more the rule. The personal views of Sozomen appear in the narrative, but they are fluctuating. He acquiesces in the imperial convocation of councils, as do all his cotemporaries. On the death of Constantine, in commenting upon the hereafter fixed Christian character of the state, he says: “The sacerdotal dignity is not only equal in honor to imperial power, but in sacred places even takes the ascendancy” (ii. 34). With the plan of producing uniformity of religion in the empire, he seems to sympathize (iv. 11). He is indignant at Julian’s indifference to the murder of Zeno by the inhabitants of Gaza, and at the deprivations of the Christians, when all their political and personal rights were taken from them (v. 9). To the charge of Libanius, that the man who aimed the dart at Julian was a Christian, and belonged to the race of habitual transgressors of the law, Sozomen replies by defending the regicide: “In the documents above quoted, Libanius clearly states that the emperor fell by the hand of a Christian; and this probably was the truth. It is not unlikely that some of the soldiers who then served in the Roman army might have conceived the idea, since Greeks and all men until this day have praised tyrannicides, for exposing themselves to death in the cause of liberty, and spiritedly standing by their country, their families, and their friends. Still less is he deserving of blame, who for the sake of God and of religion, performed so bold a deed” (vi. 2). This is the highest stand that a lawyer could take in support of individualism. In his view of the exalted prerogatives of the Church, the reply of Valentinian to the bishops, who desired to hold a council, would seem happy. “I am but one of the laity, and have, therefore, no right to interfere in these transactions; let the priests, to whom such matters appertain, assemble where they please” (vi. 7). Theodosius’ compulsory course with regard to paganism and orthodoxy, and the choice of Nectarius, are approved. On the other hand, he selected two instances out of many from the life of Ambrose, for the purpose of illustrating how, in God’s behalf, that bishop conducted himself towards those in power (vii. 25).

Throughout we find him recognizing the practical headship of Rome; he expresses himself unconsciously in vi. 22, “The question having been thus decided by the Roman Church, peace was restored and the inquiry ended.” This ignores the action of the Synod of Alexandria and that of Constantinople itself, for both had decreed the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit and opposed the christology of Apolinarius, prior to the action of the Roman Synod. The power delegated to Julius by the council of Sardica (iii. 8), the conflict between the East and the West conducted in mutually arrogant epistles (iii. 10), the subordination of new to old Rome (vii. 9), show the drift toward concentration. Sozomen does not seem to understand the rival movements of Alexandria under Athanasius and Theophilus; nor the Eastern imperial attempts to elevate Constantinople to the supremacy, nor the mutterings of Antiochan jealousy.

The Church’s servility toward the orthodox rulers is fairly expressed, and yet with comparative moderation, by Sozomen. He is an apologist for Constantine, and reflects, as do all the historians, and especially Evagrius in his criticism of Zosimus, the adulations and subterfuges of Eusebius. The religious fluctuation of that emperor is masked; his crimes are suppressed; he is made to appear orthodox, even when at his worst Eusebian stage. No wonder that Philostorgius charged the Homooeusians with worshiping Constantine as a god in the ceremonies connected with his image! Constantius, a vacillating, cruel, incompetent, is also apologized for, but to the damage of his intelligence. Julian, for his years in some respects, one of the most promising and earnest rulers of ancient times, is loaded with obloquy, his highest motives and ideals ridiculed, his victories belittled, his death savagely exulted in. Jovian’s and Valentinian’s toleration are not understood, but their personal orthodoxy is in so far praised. Valens is looked at through the eyes of his two fierce Cappadocian assailants. His excellences are entirely ignored; the most inconsequent views are imputed to him while attempting to glorify Basil; in the sad story of the emperor’s dying son, that bishop appears as a brute in his treatment of the agonized father. The stories of heroism attributed to the orthodox are only examples of insufferable insolence; one must marvel at the patience of Valens, if there be any truth in them. Gratian, that beau-ideal of Western orthodoxy, was really a nose of wax in the hands of Ambrose; he was esteemed more moderately by the East, and that rather for having called Theodosius to a share in the throne, than for any quality in himself; but his utter moral collapse, after the magnificent promise of his youth, is wholly veiled from sight. Theodosius the Great is glorified, not for his superior statecraft and generalship, but for his efforts to suppress paganism and heresy. The charges against his private life such as Eunapius and Zosimus suggest, are not hinted at. He is a man of prayer and visions, a relic-worshiper, and a persecutor of pagans and Arians. Great as he certainly was, his distinguishing and conspicuous qualities are passed by. His pitiful children, Arcadius and Honorius, the sorriest quidnuncs of those stormy times, are heroes of piety. Pulcheria, excellent as she was, was not worthy of the excessive flattery poured out upon her; while Anthemius, Troilus, Valerianus, and other noble figures of the day are passed by. The younger Theodosius, with his good training and generally fair endeavor, is delineated in the dedication as the consummate man of all time, while he is a very third-rate soul at best. The eulogies by Socrates (vii. 22 and 42) are just as fulsome. This was the grave sin of the State Church; the Arian State Church did the same for Constantius and Valens; more and more as history reveals the truth concerning many of those idols, does the revulsion increase against a union of two functions which could so degrade both.

The relation of Church and State involves the question of persecution. It is not the history of the endeavor to enforce uniformity, with which we shall concern ourselves, but rather the views Sozomen sets forth, as to the policy of repression. The laws of Constantine suppressing heretics did not affect the Novatians (ii. 32), concerning which justice, he remarks: “The emperor, I believe, willingly relaxed the rigor of the enactment in their favor, for he only desired to strike terror into the minds of his subjects, and had no intention of persecuting them.” The punishments inflicted in Constantius’ time on the orthodox in Constantinople, both by Macedonius (iv. 23) and Eudoxius (iv. 26), call forth this reflection: “For, if the persecution did not occasion such tortures to the body as preceding ones, it appeared more grievous to all who reflected aright, on account of its disgraceful nature, for both the persecutors and the persecuted belonged to the Church; and the one was all the more disgraceful in that men of the same religion treated their fellows with a degree of cruelty which the ecclesiastical laws prohibit to be manifested towards enemies and strangers.” He spares himself the pain of registering all who were ejected from their sees (iv. 27), for no province was without its list of sufferers. The cruelties inflicted by George on pagan and orthodox, furnish a mournful narrative (iv. 30). On the elevation of Julian, a great dread fell upon the Christian world, intensified by the portents which befell him. The series of edicts soon wrought mutual dissension in the Christian ranks, as well as suffering from without. But while Sozomen attributes the refinements of cruelty to Julian, and lays the miseries of the saints at his door as parts of a subtle plan, he nevertheless cannot conceal from himself the absence of direct interference on the part of the State; these calamities were the results of a restoration of the old religion to its ancient union with the State; it was an imperial act; and he is compelled to confess the seeming magnanimity of Julian in certain cases, but even then maligns his motives. The imperial clemency did not arise from any feeling of compassion, but because persecution would only increase the number of Galilean adherents; because he was envious of their glory, did he resort to argument instead of cruelty, and manifest an unexpected benevolence instead of proceeding to rigorous measures (v. 4, 5). “It may be concluded from what has been said, that if Julian shed less blood than preceding persecutors of the Church, and that if he devised fewer punishments for the torture of the body, yet that he was severer in other respects.” Nevertheless, this statement is followed by a record of suffering in all quarters of the empire and the impression of purposed directness is given, as if the State had inflicted them, especially when we read that the emperor would not listen to the cautions of Sallust (v. 20). He does not comment on Jovian’s toleration, but only rejoices in the return of the Church to ascendancy. Unsparing is his picture of the dastardly measures of Valens against the professors of the faith; he regards that persecutor as the special victim of Divine wrath; while, on the other hand, he does not hesitate to call the Arian Goths, who fell under the anger of Athanaric, martyrs (vi. 37). He does not express an opinion as to the partial toleration of Gratian’s edict (vii. 1); but in explanation of Theodosius’ law forbidding heretics, i.e. all anti-Nicenists, from holding churches and from exercising any clerical function, he says: “Great as were the punishments adjudged by the laws against heretics, they were not always carried into execution; for the emperor had no desire to persecute his subjects; he only desired to enforce uniformity of view about God’ through the medium of intimidation. Those who voluntarily renounced heretical opinions, received commendation from him.” And it is true that the court practice of persecuting emperors, orthodox or Arian, was utterly in the teeth of their own edicts, and their most intimate counselors were elected without regard to religion. When Justina sought to revive the Arian standard in the West, her treatment of Ambrose is called persecution (vii. 13); but Ambrose’s intolerant procedures against the Arians are not even noticed. No quizzical wrinkle disturbs the flow of his narrative in vii. 15, when Theodosius I. gives a heathen temple to the Christians, and the pagans resolve to defend their rights, and do so effectually; but the Christians who perish in that hateful conflict are crowned as martyrs by an imperial edict! For the religious tyranny of Theodosius the Great he is a warm apologist, and disguises the perversion of that principle of freedom for which he pleads most earnestly, when the Arians hold the reins of power, and abuse their opportunity. The contradictions are perfectly apparent and irreconcilable, because uniformity by force has always been impossible. Yet logical men will state the most contradictory reasons, which no quidnunc can refrain from laughing at. Themistius’ plea for toleration (vi. 36) in matters of intellectual belief, on the ground of secular diversities in philosophy and from the incomprehensible nature of God, shows the existence of a party who believed in this principle. While Sozomen gives it place, and hailed the Gothic Arians who compelled Valens to cease his oppressions, he has no word of approbation for the proposition or the argument.

5. Another design of his history is stated in i. 1: “I have had to deliberate whether I ought to confine myself to the recital of events connected with the Church under the Roman government; but it seemed more advisable to include, as far as possible, the record of transactions relative to religion among the Persians and barbarians.” He regards Christianity as the universal and sole religion, and would trace its extension in all directions. Hence he is the first historian to give us a larger account of religion in Syria and Palestine, introducing us especially to some aspects of Christian life and suffering in Edessa; we are all the more surprised to have no mention of the Church in Africa, and so very little of the Church in the West, except when it comes into close relations with the East, as in the larger controversies, and especially after Arianism threatened to keep its hold upon the Byzantine section of the empire; and the Orient had to cry to the cold and unsympathetic Occident for help, and often in vain. He is also careful to give us some, if not a very original, account of the work of missions. He repeats the story of the Iberians, Armenians, Indians, Saracens, and Goths. He gives us a larger insight into Persia; the errors with which he is charged as swarming, are no more numerous than those of his cotemporaries. Of the large work of Theophilus of Dhu, or the extension of Arianism among the Germanic tribes, he says nothing. Chrysostom’s real missionary enterprises are passed by, excepting his expenditure of the funds furnished by Olympias for the redemption and restoration of Isaurian captives (viii. 27). His reflections on the methods of Church extension are more interesting and numerous. Thus, in ii. 5, of the attempt of Constantine to abolish idolatry and introduce the faith, Sozomen says, “Soldiers were not necessary; the courtiers effected it”; he does not consider it advisable to give all the details as to all the lands then won to the state religion. The barbarians he notices as converted through the instrumentality of Christian captives (ii. 6, 7). Armenian influence carried Christianity into Persia (ii. 8). Prodigies, too, are helpful agents (vi. 5, v. 22). The hieroglyphs and crux-symbols discovered in the Egyptian temples led to the repentance of pagans (vii. 15). Sometimes a kingdom will solicit the instruction of an orthodox monk, as in the case of the Saracens (vi. 38). The legal suppressions of paganism facilitate a change of sentiment on the part of many (vii. 15). The very ambitions of their clergy led numbers of the Arians to embrace Nicene views (vii. 17); and the doctrinal discussions among heretics constrain others to embrace a more uniform system of belief (viii. 1). The efficiency of the monks as evangelists is found in nearly all the biographies of them. On the other hand, he makes confession to the baleful effects of incessant indulgence in polemics. “These varying dogmas are the sources of innumerable troubles to religion; and many are deterred from embracing Christianity by the diversity of opinion which prevails in matters of doctrine” (vi. 26). This thought of universality, then, is a feature of his history.

6. Another design is to dignify monasticism as the true ethical ideal and goal of Christianity,—as the philosophy which is to supplant all the ancient intellectual strivings of reason,—and he announces this purpose as follows: “Nor is it foreign to ecclesiastical history to introduce in this work an account of those who were the fathers and originators of what is denominated monachism, and of their immediate successors, whose celebrity is well known to us either by observation or report. For I would neither be considered ungracious towards them, nor willing to consign their virtue to oblivion, nor yet be thought ignorant of their history; but would wish to leave behind me such a record of their manner of life that others, led by their example, might attain to a blessed and happy end” (i. 1). He is here quietly resisting a school of Christians and politicians who were opposed to the absorbing and destructive qualities of this manner of life; Athanasius, Basil the Great, Jerome, Chrysostom, had to write in its defense for the same reason, and he sided with these supporters of its virtues, very naturally. He is a full believer in the Divine philosophy which nurtured him; monasticism with its practical strivings after conformity to the Divine-human Pattern, and its attempt to enthrone the spiritual over the material has a zealous defender in him, of all its rapt and grotesque forms. He determined therefore to make it a unique portion of his history. The discussion of its aims in i. 12 will give us a clue to his own desire to represent it as almost the resultant force in the progress of the Divine kingdom; one reads the historian’s responsive feeling between the lines. This philosophy was the most useful thing received by man from God; it was superior to all other knowledge, and warranted the neglect of all worldly science; it strove to eliminate the adiaphora from ethics, and to make everything have a moral complexion; one must be doing good, or else he is doing evil. Its great duties are the discipline of self, the worship of the Creator, and the cultivation of a spirit of other-worldness. These canons and goals are the life of the system. It is the philosophy which is to take the place of the old theoretical schemes; and it is the great school to fill up the gap made by the decay of the Hellenic universities. The Christian university founded by Theodosius in Sozomen’s day, was indeed a blow to this educational ideal. While we may have no accord with his view of this ethical phenomenon, we must concede him the merit of discerning its significance and intent, and allow that he was wise to give us so full an account of its elaboration, and so much detail and scrap of biography; for it was a dominant element in the history of this time. It formed men and measures. The reproach of Sozomen on this score is wholly a mistake; he has done us capital service in not neglecting this element, otherwise we could have but little conception of its historical setting, of its patience, its tireless devotion, and we would have to resort to Palladius or Rufinus and the individual biographies. Moreover, it is an uncritical spirit which recoils from dissecting the awful and often repulsive details of legalistic self-denial. After discoursing on the local origin of monasticism and the forms it assumed, we have chapters containing brief sketches of hermits, laurists, and coenobites (i. 12, 13, 14, iii. 14). The people looked to the monks for the color of their theology (iv. 10). Arianism felt its weakness without them and ineffectually sought their suppression (vi. 20). The Nicene faith uniformly received the support of these communities (vi. 27), to which they remained devoted under all persecutions. Another series of biographies follows in vi. 28–34: Theophilus (viii. 12) has a preliminary struggle with them to carry forward his plots against John. The royal court itself under Pulcheria’s leadership reflected its severe discipline (ix. 13). Sozomen seems also to have studied the rules of various bodies, some of whose details he gives, and indulges in a sort of comparative study of their regulations (vi. 30). Yet with all his implied admiration of the heroes of this system, who went to the almost extreme of abstinence, he remarks in reviewing the discipline of Theotimus (vii. 26): “I consider it to be the part of the philosopher to yield to the demand of these appetites from necessity, and not from the love of sensual gratification.” It is to be noted that he omits for the most part the immoral forms of monasticism, such as Evagrius gives us a highly rhetorical account of.

7. A more subordinate aim is to present selected secular matters so-called; he does not consider these to be wholly foreign to the scope of his work. He handles such with considerable largeness in Constantine’s life, and keeps up a thread under Constantius and Julian. He is more sparing until he reaches Arcadius and Honorius, and the chapters 3–15 of Book ix. are largely devoted to the Western struggles with usurpers.

8. A final and subordinate aim is the development of imperial law with regard to the Church; he gives little of purely synodical canons, but remarks, “I consider it necessary, however, to mention the laws enacted for the honor and consolidation of religion, as they constitute a considerable portion of ecclesiastical history.” And in the next chapter, “Having arrived at this point of my history, it would not be right to omit all mention of the laws passed in favor of those individuals in the churches, who had received their freedom” (i. 9). We have already seen how continuously this plan is sustained.

His Method. 1. He is conscious of certain limitations, and expresses them frankly. (a) A modest estimate of his own powers (Proemium, i. 1). (b) The excess of material compels him to a constant process of selection (ii. 3, 5, 14, iii. 14, 15, 16, iv. 4, 27, vii. 17, 28, ix. 1. (c) A sense of incapacity to handle some aspects of doctrine (vii. 17). (d) An occasional insufficiency of data to state a positive conclusion (iv. 2, viii. 16).

2. He acknowledges the need of research, and presents his ideal purpose in i. 7: “I shall record the transactions with which I have been connected, and also those concerning which I have heard from persons who knew or saw the affairs in our own day, or before our own generation. But I have sought for records of events of earlier date amongst the established laws appertaining to religion, amongst the proceedings of the Synods of the period, amongst the innovations that arose, and in the epistles of kings and priests.” His recurring intention was to reproduce the documents just as they were, but he finally decided to epitomize their contents and to present the entire instrument, only when the state of controversy compelled it in order to fairness. The difficulty in the way of consulting these sources lay in the fact of their dispersion in palaces, churches, and the private libraries of the erudite. He anticipates criticism by acknowledging that contradictions are likely to appear in his work, not from any fault of his own, but because of the partisan and arbitrary nature of the documents; he ingenuously confesses that men’s passions and conceptions have shaped many of these writings, and that the factious spirit has often been guilty of the willful omission of material, which was not of its side. He distinctly avers that he felt it his duty to examine all writings of this class according to his ability. Such was his intention. If now we turn to his actual methods, we can group his ways of accumulating material, somewhat as follows:—

(a) His own observation by hearing or sight, and hence knowing, as in ii. 3; vii. 19, 28.

(b) By obtaining a personally clear knowledge, the medium being undefined, as in the election of Maximus to be bishop of Jerusalem, and Macarius’ sympathy therewith; here his better information was probably due to his Palestinian origin. ‘Isteon mentoi hos hoi tade ekribokotes, kata gnomen Makariou genesthai te kai spoudasthenai to plethei tauta, ischurizontai (ii. 20). As to Serapion and Severianus ta men hode egnon (viii. 10). As to Zechariah, where the same phrase occurs (ix. 17). At the close of a universal review of monasticism tade egnon hos sunegrapsa (iii. 14). As to the Syrian and Persian monks eis gnosin emen elthon (vi. 34). ‘Alla ta men aphegesamen eph’ hoson moi mathein exegeneto, peri ton tote ekklesiastikon philosophon (vi. 35).

(c) By hearing from those who knew the facts haper para akribos epistamenon akekoa (ii. 21). As to Arsacius: ohi para ton ‘Arsakion auton theasamenon akekoenai ephasan (iv. 16). As to the mutual prophecies of Epiphanius and John kakeinon de eiseti nun pollon onta ton logon eputhomen (viii. 15). As to Atticus: kai ton men toionde genesthai phasin, hoi ge ton andra egnosan (viii. 27).

(d) The correction of a false story by inquiring of trustworthy persons. Thus as to the origin of the Apocalypse of Paul. ‘Eromeno de moi peri toutou, pseudos ephesen einai Kilix (vii. 19). As to an accusation against John: toutou de prophasin heteran legein ouk echo, plen hoti apseudes tis oimai puthanomeno peri toutou ephe, k.t.l. (viii. 9). The true and twofold causes of difficulty between Theophilus and Isadore: ton ge men sungenomenon toutois tote tois monachois andros hoiou pisteuesthai eputhomen, k.t.l (viii. 12).

(e) To these may be added the very frequent usage of punthanomai as a means of expressing his knowledge acquired in any form whatsoever, by hearing, by inquiry, by tradition (i. 21, ii. 8, iii. 14, iv. 25, v. 2, 9, vi. 2 bis, 17, 34 bis, 37, vii. 8, 15, 17, 20, 21, 25, viii. 2, 7, 9, 19).

(f) Also his use of akriboo, showing his effort to attain accurate information, and ischurizomai less frequently, to indicate the strongest confirmation. Both these are used with reserve, and not lightly. Several times he acknowledges his resort to tradition, when he uses the word pareilephamen, but we cannot always be sure of the form of transmission (iii. 15, 30, vi. 38).

(g) Also his reference to those who had more accurate information, or to works whose detail he could not reproduce, or which lay without the province of history (iv. 3).

We see then an ideal and actual plan of research, and a real effort at personal investigation; to deny his frequently iterated language, is to accuse him of deliberate falsehood; and this is palpably unfair; this his honest purpose and work must be borne in mind, in the discussion of his relation to Socrates.

3. As to method in textual criticism, there is none; we find variations in the texts quoted from those of Socrates, Athanasius, and Theodoret, but no more in him than in the rest from one another. When he reports Constantine’s speech, he treats it as Thucydides did the orations of his worthies, and as the high-flying Eusebius and the indiscriminating Theodoret do. When he copies a translation from the Greek, he simply says that he gives it just as he found it. On the whole, one is surprised at so fair an agreement in the readings of the documents.

4. There is an entire lack of genuine analytical criticism; the love of allegory (i. 1, ii. 1), the credence given to the Christic sections of Josephus (i. 1), the unquestioning acceptance of Eusebius’ turgid statements about Constantine’s life, are proofs enough of its absence; and yet Sozomen was careful to present the variety of accounts, so that one might have all points of view, if he did not carefully sift the evidence. This is indeed quite a marked feature of his method. Thus concerning the death of Arius, he gives five different views (ii. 29, 30). He states carefully the varying shades of opinion concerning Marcellus (ii. 33). The two classes of views of the election of Macedonius are recorded and skillfully weighed (iii. 3). The divisions of sentiment after the Synods of Sardica and Philippopolis are accurately grouped (iii. 13). Other instances occur in iii. 14, 18, 23, v. 2, 22, vi. 2, 12, 26, vii. 5, 22. These are but a selection of what is habitual with him, and show a desire to present all sides of a question, and to reflect the divergent convictions of his time about men and measures; but he does not always try to find the just opinion and weigh the testimony; he never tests the validity of his documents, and only a few times tries to decide between clashing judgments, as to which of them rests on a solid foundation of testimony. It is, however, to his credit, when he confesses that his research is baffled, as in iv. 2, with respect to the manner of Paul’s death, or suspends his judgment, because the data are insufficient, as in the application to the empress, of Chrysostom’s homily on female peccadilloes (viii. 6). Such language shows that he not only sought to ascertain the truth, but to elicit the facts out of conflicting testimony. We may not always think the game worth the powder, but the temper and intent are commendable.

5. Sozomen has a marked zeal for interpreting the events of history; and we can gather these hints of histories, although they do not seem to have been defined as principles in his own mind.

(a) He criticises by the rules of traditionalism and monasticism; we find small men given undue prominence, and large ones put far below their proper place (iv. 6, 9, 28, v. 7, 12, vi. 17, 26, vii. 12).

(b) He seems to have regarded it his occasional duty to explain the moral intent of a period, of the lives of men, of a special incident; in other words, he used history reflectively and ethically (viii. 4, 12, 17).

(c) He is fertile in suggesting motives for which he has no documentary warrant. The entire history of Julian is replete with the insinuation of mean motives (hos sumballo). The solitary commendation of him for lowering the price of provisions in Antioch (v. 19) is only a ground for holding him up to ridicule for want of judgment (iii. 5, 15, v. 2, 4, 5, 11, 19, 15, 22, vi. 12).

(d) He deems it necessary to apologize for his favorites if they are in a questionable position (iii. 18, v. 6, viii. 1).

(e) He thinks it right to give recognition to men or measures who have enlisted his admiration (vii. 10).

(f) He traces cause and effect in a pragmatic way (vi. 16, 38).

(g) He delights in taking prominent figures of a period as the remarkable men who have created a remarkable time, and are Divine instruments, or as objects of Divine protection on account of their piety (iii. 13, 19, iv. 16, v. 13, vi. 17, 26, 27, viii. 3, 4, 6).

(h) He dwells at times on characteristics of human nature at play (vi. 4, 26).

(i) He gives a favorable explanation of the bad actions of the orthodox (iv. 16).

(j) He sometimes introduces speculative explanations or reflections (vi. 2, 4, 37, viii. 5).

6. Chronological method. (1) The imperial reigns are taken as the great periods for the books, and the material is distributed under them; no dates are given, only the names of the emperors. This is stated in the proemium, and is carried out in the history. (2) He uses the consulates—

(a) To mark the beginning and the end of the entire history.

(b) Also occasionally to indicate the synchronous occupants of the apostolic sees (i. 2); the convocation of a council (iii. 12, 19, iv. 6, 17, vii. 12); the enthronement of a bishop (iv. 26); the death of an emperor (vii. 29, ix. 1); some general but important event (vii. 5, viii. 4).

(c) With this the corresponding year of the emperor is sometimes but rarely given.

(d) Another conspicuous chronological system with Sozomen, as in Eusebius, Socrates, and the church historians in general, is to keep up the roll of succession in the greater sees. This had become an essential note of the visible and Catholic Church.

(e) Occasionally intervals are indicated as so many years after such and such an event (iii. 5, 11, 12, iv. 1, ix. 1).

(f) The length of a reign or of an episcopate, the duration of the life of an emperor or bishop, and of a tendential period are stated, but not often, and without uniformity (iv. 11, v. 1, vii. 5).

(g) An unusual number of particles for indefinite time occur as substitutes for an exact method. Nevertheless, one of his main purposes was to narrate his history in strict chronological order, so as to contain the virtue of a chronicle together with a more developed presentation of events. This is almost entirely forgotten, except that the sequence of occurrences is fairly kept up. Yet he does not hesitate to break through even this sequence, when he thinks the collocation of later facts, under the head that he is writing of, may contribute to clearness and completeness, as he directly avers in iii. 3, 14, iv. 10, 11, 12, v. 11, ix. 2. It is no easy task to make a Regesta of Sozomen’s history; moreover, he often blunders in the very few dates he gives, as well as in the arrangement of the events themselves; these errors are due to the lack of a fixed system.

7. The contributions to geography are mainly confined to Palestine. Passing more familiar ones, we have a list as follows: Helenopolis (ii. 2), Majuma (ii. 5, v. 3, vii. 28), Anthedon, Bethagathon, Asalea, Thabatha (iii. 14), Diocaesarea (iv. 17), Bethelia (v. 15, vi. 32), Besanduca, Capharchobia, Gerara (vi. 32), Botolium (vii. 28), Ceila, Berathsabia with its tomb, Nephsameena (vii. 29), Chaphar Zacharia (ix. 17). Most of these terms are Hebraic or Syrian. Scythopolis is mentioned as abundant in palms (viii. 13). There is no direct, and very little indirect light on the political or ecclesiastical geography of the time; of course the seats of the bishops and of the monks that are enumerated yield a few new names of places. There are equally few hints in the physical features of the empire; the great rains, or hail-storms, or earthquakes are recorded chiefly with regard to their special ethical bearing. The topography of Constantinople has been indicated previously; outside of these, details of Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea, Cappadocia are given, but none of them new.

8. Statistics. There is of course no method in the presentation of statistics; there are general proportions, as in ii. 6, iv. 27, v. 15, vi. 20; and special detail, as in the enumeration of monks, iii. 14, vi. 29–34. The best illustration one finds in the account of the Persian martyrs, where there was a distinct effort at registration by Persian, Syrian, and Edessan authorities (ii. 13, 14).

9. Biography is one of the chief constituents of his history. He gives us an account of most of the distinguished Christian masters in theology, in monasticism, martyrdom, oratory, scholarship, administration; and he is refreshingly fair in giving a place to those who were not friendly to his view of the faith. Athanasius may be a chief hero, but Arius is not neglected. Here we may observe that Sozomen makes Aetius the second head of rationalism, and the man who gave it breadth of culture by building the system on the basis of Aristotle (iii. 15, iv. 12); he regards Eunomius as but a reflection of Aetius (vi. 29). This position accorded to Aetius is one deserving special note and study. Philostorgius exalted Eunomius both in his special encomium and in the history. Of course the two Cappadocians, as well as Epiphanius and Chrysostom, are liberally sketched. The imperial biography is fairly full, and a large space is accorded Julian. In every book parts are devoted to the vitae sanctorum, as the best way to set before us the inner life of the Church and the fairest exhibition of Christian character; these monastic sketches are, for the most part, mere glimpses of individuals (a line or two suffices); whereas the more conspicuous founders and organizers, such as Antony, Hilarion, Pachomius, the Macarii, Evagrius, receive a larger recognition. He feels the need of selection in the multiplicity of illustrious characters, and after a sketch of Acacius, Zeno, and Ajax, he says: “I have mentioned these as examples of those who served as priests at this period. It would be a task to enumerate all, when the major part of them were good, and God bore testimony to their lives by readily hearing their prayers and by working many miracles” (vii. 28). Prominent as is the biographical element, and earnestly as he endeavors to substantiate its claims, he confesses, as to Ephraim (iii. 16), “it would require a more experienced hand than mine to furnish a full description of his character and that of the other illustrious men, who, about the same period, had devoted themselves to a life of philosophy; and it is to be regretted that Ephraim did not enter upon this undertaking. The attempt is beyond my powers, for I possess but little knowledge of those great men, or of their exploits.”

10. In ecclesiastical culture we have many and important incidental hints, but no direct general chapter except vii. 19; and on special topics, those on the Easter controversy (i. 16, 21, vi. 24, vii. 18, viii. 17) on the penitential presbyter (vii. 16), and on relic worship, are the most significant.

11. Nor is there any methodical statement of growth in the acquisition and exposition of truth; his traditionalism in a measure precluded that, and his acknowledged incapacity to go deeply into the differentiation of these discussions prevented any system; there is no real history of dogma and ethics, except on the external side. He is frank to say: “I leave their doctrines to be judged by those whose right it is. For I have not set forth to record such matters, nor is it befitting in history” (iii. 15); that he does “not profess easily to understand or to expound these matters” (vi. 27); and again, “I should be prolix were I to enter into further particulars, and under the subject would be by no means an easy one to me, since I have no such dialectic skill” (vii. 17). He furnishes us only with such a statement of doctrine, as sprang out of polemics and councils and the variety of creeds.

12. And so with the history of literature there is no such sustained account of Christian writers and works as in Eusebius; the second stage of historians did not see fit to be as complete and accurate as their exemplar in this particular, and Photius was left to gather up the fragments for us. What strikes us as peculiar is his confessed ignorance of the works of the greatest theologians. He passes by all the technical writings of Athanasius; he has no direct knowledge of the works of Hilary, though that might be excused. Of the purely theological works of Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, whom he regards as the pillars of the Nicene faith, he makes no mention; and indeed makes but the slightest use of their letters and special orations. Of the Arian theologians of all shades, he has no closer knowledge; he confesses at the outset that he had not read the Thalia (i. 21), but condemns it on Socrates’ authority; and he speaks of Diodorus, bishop of Tarsus, in language that displays unfamiliarity with his treatises (viii. 2).

13. There are no conceptions of the philosophy of history or of histories in general, other than those which have been discussed before.

14. If we pass to the stylistics of Sozomen, we find the quality of the Greek to be excellent; the dedication is especially studied and rhetorical; the first chapter of the first book is scarcely inferior in these traits, after which the form becomes more abrupt, after the fashion of an epitomizer, and it is obviously affected by his authorities. The likeness to Xenophon is not continuous, any more than Socrates sustainedly imitates Thucydides, although in elevated conception, Socrates is more in the vein of that philosophic master of history, than Sozomen is a reflection of the writer of the Hellenics. The vocabulary, too, is quite meager; the same forms of expression occur again and again, yet Photius considers him superior in diction to Socrates, which only one who admires mere form above spirit, can affirm. Certainly it would not be the view of this more subjective age. Of course he reflects the decline of meaning in particles and prepositional prefixes and participial constructions. He does not begin his books with formal prefaces, such as Socrates indulges in; chapter 1 of Book i. may, however, be regarded as introductory; and it serves to link Christianity with Judaism. In the distribution of his material there is no system agreeing with his own outline of aims or any other order that is discoverable. The main topics are: Secular affairs, relations of the emperor to Christianity, laws and privileges, missions and persecutions, polemics and irenics, biographies ; but there is no regular discussion of these, either under the reigns or in the books. None of the historians are any better in this regard.

A characteristic of our historian is the admirable generalization and the summaries he pauses to make here and there. The most notable are in iii. 17, a generalized description of the period of the Constantines. iii. 18, a doctrinal summary. iv. 17–19, conciliar movement in the West. iv. 20–22, conciliar movement in the East. iv. 23–25, united results. vi. 6, a succinct comparison of Valens with Valentinian. vi. 10, geographical centers of Nicenism. vi. 21, geographical centers of Arianism and Orthodoxy. vi. 22, geographical distribution of Macedonianism. vi. 26, genesis of Aetianism (Eunomianism). vi. 27, geographical distribution of beliefs. vi. 28–34, geographical grouping of the monks. vii. 2, geographical supremacy of Arianism in the East. vii. 4, geographical survey of religion. vii. 17, divisions of Arianism. viii. 1, summary of Apostolic succession. The selective process is often alluded to (ii. 3, iii. 14, 15, iv. 3, 23, 27, vii. 25, 28, ix. 1); and we must confess that he has kept a very just proportion in this way among the subjects he has elected for his narrative.

The Period described.

The work was to have covered the time from 323 to 439, a period of 116 years; whereas, in fact, he writes continuously only to the death of Honorius as the latest event, 423, and the accession of Valentinian III. in 425; beyond that in time, but mentioned anticipatively in the narrative (ix. 2), is the transfer of the forty martyrs, which happened certainly after 434, the year of the election of Proclus, therefore probably not far from the proposed limit of his work, say 437 or 438; this would give a period of about 114 or 115 years. He divides the record of this time into nine books, distributed among the emperors.

i. and ii. To Constantine, 323–337=14.

iii. and iv. His sons, 337–361=24.

v. and vi. Julian, Jovian, Valentinian I., Valens, 361–375=17.

vii. and viii. Gratian and Valentinian II., Theodosius I., Arcadius (and Honorius), 375–408=33.

ix. (Honorius) and Theodosius II., 408–437=25.

A noticeable feature, save in the case of Book ix., is the grouping of books by twos, in which the intervals discussed vary from fourteen to thirty-three years. This grouping seems entirely arbitrary.

For whom he wrote.

The question for whom he wrote has been somewhat obscured by those who regard him simply as a plagiarist. He evidently turned himself to this task under the conviction that there was need of some such work as his. He addressed himself chiefly to Christians and not only to monks, because he defers to the narrow views of some friends about the mysteries,—and represses creeds and sacraments, for fear the book might fall into the hands of the uninitiated. He moreover designed his record, not for the more learned classes, but for the instruction of ordinary believers, since he professes uniformly a great modesty in treating the profounder themes of theology and the characters of the more eminent men. Yet he did not hesitate to submit it to the criticism of his emperor and invited the most erasive and final judgment. This is probably as far as we may go in the absence of any direct address to specific readers.

Part III


The original translation, with its many excellences, seems to belong to an earlier school. It is free both in enlargement and in compression; words at times, and occasionally clauses, are inverted. The editor felt the difficulty of recasting such a flowing style; yet, in spite of the resulting infelicity, he felt constrained to make every possible correction, and these have been very numerous and extended in caption and text.

Sozomen uniformly describes the ancient heathen cult, of whatever form it might be, as Hellenism, and its followers, Hellenists. It seemed advisable to retain the rendering “paganism,” which the first translator used toward the middle and the end of his work, although he had not been uniform in the beginning; any other translation would cause a constant confusion between nationality and religion.

In order to give a better impression of the author and text, the spelling of the proper names indicated by the text has been adhered to; the orthography “Novatus” is not a real exception. Where the spelling of a proper name in the caption differs from that of the text, the differences of origin between the two must be borne in mind. To the Pseudo-Nicephorus are due the headings; these variations have been preserved purposely.

The notes have been for the greater part limited to the sources, previous or contemporary. It has not been deemed necessary to load the text with references to the literature, ancient or modern, sufficiently indicated in the Bibliography. It is just for the editor to say, that while the literature is not unfamiliar to him, he does not believe in the modern German method of annotation and allusion to every book under the sun, to the grave impediment of individual study. Similarly, the dictionaries show the biography and archaeology in a better form than can be compressed into a note. Nor did the editor think it best to introduce into the translation any technical discussion as to the errors of Sozomen.

Hermias Sozomen practiced the law at Constantinople, at the same time with Socrates. His ancestors were not mean; they were originally natives of Palestine, being inhabitants of a village near Gaza, called Bethelia. This village was very populous in times past, and had most stately and ancient churches. But the most glorious structure of them all was the Pantheon, situated on an artificial hill, which was the tower as it were of Bethelia, as Sozomen relates in chap. xv. of his fifth book. The grandfather of Hermias Sozomen was born in that village, and first converted to the Christian faith by Hilarion the monk. For when Alaphion, an inhabitant of the same village, was possessed with a devil, and the Jews and physicians, attempting to cure him, could do him no good by their enchantments, Hilarion, by a bare invocation of the name of God, cast out the devil. Sozomen’s grandfather, and Alaphion himself, amazed at this miracle, with their whole families embraced the Christian religion. The grandfather of Sozomen was eminent for his expositions of the Sacred Scriptures, being a person endowed with a polite wit, and an acuteness of understanding; and besides, he was well skilled in literature. Therefore he was highly esteemed by the Christians inhabiting Gaza, Ascalon, and the places adjacent, as being useful and necessary for the propagating of religion, and could easily unloose the knots of the Sacred Scriptures. But Alaphion’s descendants excelled others in their sanctity of life, in kindness to the indigent, and in other virtues; and they were the first that built churches and monasteries there, as Sozomen says in the passage above cited, where he also adds, that some holy persons of Alaphion’s family were surviving even in his own days, with whom he himself conversed when very young, and concerning whom he promises to speak more afterwards. Most probably he means Salamanes, Phusco, Malchio, and Crispio, brothers, concerning whom he speaks in chap. xxxii. of his sixth book. For he there says that these brethren, instructed in the monastic discipline by Hilarion, were, during the empire of Valens, eminent in the monasteries of Palestine; that they lived near Bethelia, a village in the country of the Gazites, and were descendants of a noble family in those parts. He mentions the same persons in the fifteenth chapter of book viii., where he says that Crispio was Epiphanius’s archdeacon. It is evident, therefore, that the brothers were of Alaphion’s family. Alaphion, too, was related to Sozomen’s grandfather, as we may conjecture; first, because the grandfather of Sozomen is said to have been converted (together with his whole family) to the Christian religion, upon account of Alaphion’s wonderful cure, whom Hilarion had healed by calling on the name of Almighty God. Secondly, this conjecture is confirmed by what Sozomen relates, viz., that when he was very young, he conversed familiarly with the aged monks that were of Alaphion’s family. And, lastly, from the fact that Sozomen took his name from those persons who were either the sons or grandchildren of Alaphion. For he was called Salamanes Hermias Sozomenus (as Photius declares in his Bibliotheca), from the name of that Salamanes who, as we observed before, was the brother of Phusco, Malchio, and Crispio. Wherefore Nicephorus, and others, are mistaken in supposing that Sozomen had the surname of Salaminius because he was born at Salamis, a city of Cyprus. But we have before shown from Sozomen’s own testimony, that he was not born in Cyprus, but in Palestine. For his grandfather was not only a Palestinian, as is above said, but Sozomen himself was also educated in Palestine, in the bosom (so to say) of those monks who were of Alaphion’s family. From this education Sozomen seems to have imbibed that most ardent love of a monastic life and discipline, which he declares in so many places of his history. Hence it is, that in his books he is not content to relate who were the fathers and founders of monastic philosophy; but he also carefully relates their successors and disciples, who followed this way of life both in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine, and also in Pontus, Armenia, and Osdroena. Hence also it is, that in the twelfth chapter of the first book of his history, he has proposed to be read (in the beginning as it were) that gorgeous account of the monastic philosophy. For he supposed that he should have been ungrateful, had he not after this manner at least made a return of thanks to those in whose familiarity he had lived, and from whom, when he was a youth, he had received such eminent examples of a good conversation, as he himself intimates, in the opening of his first book. It is inferred that Sozomen was educated at Gaza, not only from the passage above mentioned, but also from chap. xxviii. of his seventh book, where Sozomen says that he himself had seen Zeno, bishop of Majuma, for this Majuma is a sea-port belonging to the Gazites. Although Zeno was nearly a hundred years old, he was never absent from the morning and evening hymns, unless sickness detained him. After this Sozomen applied himself to the profession of the law. He was a student of the civil law at Berytus, a city of Phoenicia, not far distant from his own country, where there was a famous school of civil law. But he practiced the law at Constantinople, as himself asserts, book ii. chap. iii. And yet he seems not to have been very much employed in pleading of causes; for at the same time that he was an advocate in Constantinople, he wrote his Ecclesiastical History; as may be concluded from his own words in the last-mentioned passage. Before he wrote his nine books of Ecclesiastical History, Sozomen composed a Breviary of Ecclesiastical Affairs, from our Saviour’s ascension to the deposition of Licinius. This work was comprised in two books, as himself bears witness in the opening of his first book; but these two books are now lost.

In the composure of his History, Sozomen has made use of a style neither too low nor too high, but one between both, as is most agreeable to a writer of ecclesiastical affairs. Photius prefers Sozomen’s style to that of Socrates, and we agree with him in his criticism. But though Sozomen is superior in the elegance of his expression, yet Socrates excels him in judgment. For Socrates judges incomparably well, both of men, and also of ecclesiastical business and affairs; and there is nothing in his works but what is grave and serious, nothing that can be expunged as superfluous. But on the contrary, some passages occur in Sozomen that are trivial and childish. Of this sort is his digression in his first book concerning the building of the city Hemona, and concerning the Argonauts, who carried the ship Argo on their shoulders some furlongs, and also his description of Daphne without the walls of the city Antioch, in chap. xix. of his sixth book; to which we must add that observation of his, concerning the beauty of the body, where he treats of that virgin at whose house the blessed Athanasius was concealed a long while. Lastly, his ninth book contains little else besides warlike events, which ought to have no place in an Ecclesiastical History. Sozomen’s style, however, is not without its faults. For the periods of his sentences are only joined together by the particles de and te, than which there is nothing more troublesome. Should any one attentively read the epistle in which Sozomen dedicates his work to Theodosius junior, he will find it true that Sozomen was no great orator.

It remains, that we inquire which of these two authors, Socrates or Sozomen, wrote first, and which of them borrowed, or rather stole, from the other. Certainly, since both of them wrote almost the same things of the same transactions, inasmuch as they both began at the same beginning, and concluded their history at the same point (both beginning from the reign of Constantine, and ending at the seventeenth consulate of Theodosius junior), it must needs be true, that one of them robbed the other’s desk. This sort of theft was committed by many of the Grecian writers, as Porphyry testifies, Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica, bk. x. But which was the plagiary, Socrates or Sozomen, it is hard to say, in regard both of them lived in the same times, and both wrote their history in the empire of Theodosius junior. Therefore, in the disquisition of this question, we must make use of conjecture. So Porphyry in the above-mentioned book, since it was uncertain whether Hyperides had stolen from Demosthenes, or Demosthenes from Hyperides, because both had lived in the same time, decided to use conjecture. Let us therefore see upon which of them falls the suspicion of theft. Indeed, this is my sentiment, I suppose that the inferior does frequently steal from the superior, and the junior from the senior. But Sozomen is in my judgment far inferior to Socrates; and he betook himself to writing his history when he was younger than Socrates. For he wrote it whilst he was yet an advocate, as I observed before. Now, the profession of the advocates amongst the Romans was not perpetual, but temporary. Lastly, he that adds something to the other, and sometimes amends the other, seems to have written last. But Sozomen now and then adds some passages to Socrates, and in some places dissents from him, as Photius has observed, and we have hinted in our annotations. Sozomen therefore seems to have written last. And this is the opinion of almost all modern writers, who place Socrates before Sozomen. So Bellarmine in his book “De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis”; who is followed by Miraeus, Labbaeus, and Vossius. Amongst the ancients, Cassiodorus, Photius, and Nicephorus name Socrates in the first place. Although Cassiodorus is found to have varied; for in the preface of the Tripartite History, he inverts the order, and names Theodoret first, ranks Sozomen in the second place, and refers to Socrates as the last. So also Theodorus Lector recounts them in his epistle which he prefixed to his Tripartite History. Thus far concerning Sozomen.

Memoir of Sozomen.

Little more than cursory allusions to Sozomen occur in the works of contemporary writers; and the materials for a memoir of his life are therefore at best but few and scanty. We should, in fact, be destitute of almost all knowledge as to his birth, education, mode of life, and private history, had not some information on these points been furnished by himself. In the work before us, the only one which has caused his name to be handed down to posterity, he draws aside the curtain which would otherwise have concealed his origin and parentage, and makes known to us a portion of his family history. He tells us (book v. chap. xv.) that his grandfather was a native of Palestine, and of Pagan parentage; that he, with all his family, was converted to Christianity on witnessing a miracle wrought by St. Hilarion; and that, being possessed of great mental endowments, he afterwards became eminently useful to the men of Gaza and Ascalon, by his extraordinary power in expounding the most obscure passages of Holy Writ.

Our author himself seems to have been born about the beginning of the fifth century. He tells us that in his youth some of the founders of monasticism in Palestine were still living, although they had reached a very advanced period of life, and that he had enjoyed opportunities of intercourse with them. To this circumstance may probably be attributed the tone of reverential admiration in which Sozomen invariably speaks of the ascetic inhabitants of the desert.

The education of Sozomen was conducted with a view to the legal profession; and he studied for some years at Berytus, then noted for its school of law. He afterwards established himself at Constantinople, and, it has been conjectured, held some office at the court of Theodosius the Younger. He is reputed to have possessed some skill in the law, but it is certain that he never attained any eminence in his profession. It is only in the character of an historian that he has rendered himself conspicuous. His first work was an abridgment of Ecclesiastical History, from the ascension of our Lord to the deposition of Licinius (a.d. 324), but this is not extant. The work before us seems to have been commenced about the year 443. It embraces a period of 117 years; namely, from a.d. 323 to a.d. 439. It is generally admitted to have suffered many alterations and mutilations; and this may, in some measure, serve to account for the frequent inaccuracies in point both of narrative and of chronology which pervade the nine books of which it is composed. It is evident, from the very abrupt termination of this history, that it is but a fragmentary portion of a larger work. The precise object of Sozomen in undertaking to write this history is not apparent, as exactly the same ground had previously been gone over by Socrates, if we except the ninth book of the former, which is almost entirely devoted to the political history of the times. The learned Photius prefers the style of Sozomen to that of Socrates; yet Sozomen frequently evinces great deficiency in point of judgment, and on many occasions enlarges upon details which are altogether omitted by Socrates, as unworthy of the dignity of Ecclesiastical History. To us, there is manifest advantage in possessing these separate chronicles of the same events. Facts which might perhaps have been doubted, if not rejected, had they rested upon the sole authority of a single writer, are admitted as unquestionable when authenticated by the combined testimony of Socrates, of Sozomen, and of Theodoret. And, indeed, the very discrepancies which, on several minor points, are discernible in the histories of these writers, are not without their use, inasmuch as they tend to the removal of all suspicion of connivance or collusion.

Address to the Emperor Theodosius by Salaminius Hermias Sozomen, and Proposal for an Ecclesiastical History.

The popular saying is, that the former emperors were zealous about some useful matter or other; such as were fond of ornaments, cared for the royal purple, the crown, and the like; those who were studious of letters, composed some mythical work or treatise capable of fascinating its readers; those who were practiced in war, sought to send the weapon straight to the mark, to hit wild beasts, to hurl the spear, or to leap upon the horse. Every one who was devoted to a craft which was pleasing to the rulers announced himself at the palace. One brings a precious stone not easily susceptible of polish; another undertakes to prepare a more brilliant color than the purple robe; one dedicates a poem or treatise; another introduces an expert and strange fashion of armor.

It is considered the greatest and a regal thing for the ruler of the whole people to possess, at least, one of the homely virtues; but no such great estimate has been made of piety, which is, after all, the true ornament of the empire. Thou, however, O most powerful Emperor Theodosius, hast in a word, by God’s help, cultivated every virtue. Girt with the purple robe and crown, a symbol of thy dignity to onlookers, thou wearest within always that true ornament of sovereignty, piety and philanthropy. Whence it happens that poets and writers, and the greater part of thy officers as well as the rest of thy subjects, concern themselves on every occasion with thee and thy deeds. And when thou presidest as ruler of contests and judge of discourses, thou art not robbed of thy accuracy by any artificial sound and form, but thou awardest the prize sincerely, observing whether the diction is suitable to the design of the composition; so also with respect to the form of words, divisions, order, unity, phraseology, construction, arguments, thought, and narrative. Thou recompensest the speakers with thy favorable judgment and applause, as well as with golden images, erection of statues, gifts, and every kind of honor. Thou showest greater personal favor toward the speakers than the ancient Cretans did toward the much-sung Homer; or the Alevadae did to Simonides; or Dionysius, the tyrant of Sicily to Plato, the companion of Socrates; or Philip the Macedonian, to Theopompus the historian; or the Emperor Severus to Oppianus, who related in verse the kinds, nature, and catching of fish. For after the Cretans had rewarded Homer with a thousand nummi, they inscribed the amount of the gift on a public column as if to boast of their excessive munificence. The Alevadae, Dionysius, and Philip were not more reserved than the Cretans, who boasted of their modest and philosophical government, but quickly imitated their column, so that they might not be inferior in their donative. But when Severus bestowed upon Oppianus a golden gift for each line of his moderate verse, he so astonished everybody with his liberality, that the poems of Oppianus are popularly called golden words to this day. Such were the donations of former lovers of learning and discourses. But thou, O Emperor, surpassest any of the ancients in thy liberality to letters, and thou seemest to me to do this not unreasonably. For while thou strivest to conquer all by thy virtues, thou dost also conduct thine own affairs successfully, according to thy thorough knowledge of the story of those ancient affairs, so prosperously directed by the Greeks and Romans. Rumor says that during the day, thou takest military and bodily exercise, and arrangest affairs of state by giving judicial decisions, and by making note of what is necessary, and by observation, both in public and private, of the things which ought to be done; and at night that thou busiest thyself with books. It is a saying, that there serves thee for the study of these works, a lamp which causes the oil to flow automatically into the wick, by means of some mechanism, so that not one of the servants in the palace should be compelled to be taxed with thy labors, and to do violence to nature by fighting against sleep. Thus thou art humane and gentle, both to those near, and to all, since thou dost imitate the Heavenly King who is thy pattern; in that He loves to send rain, and causes the sun to rise on the just and unjust, as well as to furnish other blessings ungrudgingly. As is natural, I hear also that by thy various learning, thou art no less familiar with the nature of stones, and the virtues of roots, and forces of remedies, than Solomon, the wisest son of David; while thou excellest him in virtue; for Solomon became the slave of his pleasures, and did not preserve to the end, that piety which had been for him the source of prosperity and wisdom. But thou, most powerful Emperor, because thou settest thy restraining reason in array against levity, art not only an autocrat of men, but also of the passions of soul and body, as one would naturally suppose. And this, too, ought to be remarked: I understand that thou dost conquer the desire for all food and drink; neither the sweeter figs, to speak poetically, nor any other kind of fruit in its season, can take thee prisoner, except the little that thou dost touch and taste, after thou hast returned thanks to the Maker of all things. Thou art wont to vanquish thirst, stifling heat, and cold by thy daily exercise, so that thou seemest to have self-control as a second nature. Lately, as is well known, thou wast anxious to visit the city of Heraclea in Pontus, and to restore it, prostrated by time, and thou tookest the way in the summer season through Bithynia. When the sun about midday was very fiery, one of the body-guard saw thee, heated with much sweat and clouds of dust, and, as if to do thee a favor, he anticipatingly offered to thee a bowl which reflected brilliantly the rays of the sun; he poured in some sweet drink, and added cold water thereto. But thou, most powerful Emperor, didst receive it, and didst praise the man for his good will, and thou didst make it obvious that thou wouldst soon reward him for his well-wrought deed with royal munificence. But when all the soldiers were wondering with open mouth at the dish, and were counting him blessed who should drink, thou, O noble Emperor, didst return the drink to him and didst command him to use it in whatever way he pleased. So that it seems to me that Alexander, the son of Philip, was surpassed by thy virtue; of whom it is reputed by his admirers, that while he, with the Macedonians, was passing through a waterless place, an anxious soldier found water, drew it, and offered it to Alexander; he would not drink it, but poured out the draught. Therefore, in a word, it is appropriate to call thee, according to Homer, more regal than the kings who preceded thee; for we have heard of some who acquired nothing worthy of admiration, and others who adorned their reign with scarcely one or two deeds. But thou, O most powerful Emperor, hast gathered together all the virtues, and hast excelled every one in piety, philanthropy, courage, prudence, justice, munificence, and a magnanimity befitting royal dignity. And every age will boast of thy rule as alone unstained and pure from murder, beyond all governments that ever existed. Thou teachest thy subjects to pursue serious things with pleasure, so that they show zeal for thee and public affairs, with good will and respect. So that for all these reasons, it has appeared to me, as a writer of Ecclesiastical History, necessary to address myself to thee. For to whom can I do this more appropriately, since I am about to relate the virtue of many devoted men, and the events of the Catholic Church; and since her conflicts with so many enemies lead me to thy threshhold and that of thy fathers? Come thou, who knowest all things and possessest every virtue, especially that piety, which the Divine Word says is the beginning of wisdom, receive from me this writing, and marshal its facts and purify it by thy labors, out of thy accurate knowledge, whether by addition or elimination. For whatever course may seem pleasing to thee, that will be wholly advantageous and brilliant for the readers, nor shall any one put a hand to it after thine approval. My history begins with the third consulate of the Caesars, Crispus and Constantine, and stretches to thy seventeenth consulship. I deemed it proper to divide the whole work into nine parts: the first and second books will embrace the ecclesiastical affairs under Constantine; the third and fourth, those under his sons; the fifth and sixth, those under Julian, the cousin of the sons of the great Constantine, and Jovian, and, further, of Valentinian and Valens; the seventh and eighth books, O most powerful Emperor, will open up the affairs under the brothers Gratian and Valentinian, until the proclamation of Theodosius, thy divine grandfather, as far as thy celebrated father Arcadius, together with thy uncle, the most pious and godly Honorius, received the paternal government and shared in the regulation of the Roman world; the ninth book I have devoted to thy Christ-loving and most innocent majesty, which may God always preserve in unbroken good will, triumphing greatly over enemies, and having all things under thy feet and transmitting the holy empire to thy sons’ sons with the approbation of Christ, through whom and with whom, be glory to God, and the Father, with the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.

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