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the common opinion of the age of Bardesanes, which is, that he flourished in the time of M. Antoninus the philosopher. Perhaps that learned man would not have insisted on this argument if he had seen the Edessen Chronicle, since published by Dr. Asseman. However we will consider the difficulty, without pretending to set it aside upon the Chronicle alone, though its authority may be justly reckoned to be of weight in this question.
In one place Porphyry quotes • Bardesanes the Babylo• nian, who,' says he, b • lived in the time of our fathers. In the other he speaks of some,' who waited on Bardesanes
of Mesopotamia, at the time that the emperor Antoninus, • who was of Emesa, came into Syria.' He means the emperor Antoninus Heliogabalus, whosed reign is computed from the year 218 to 222.
Dodwell e therefore suspects that Eusebius has mistaken the emperor under whom Bardesanes flourished. Finding the book Of Fate inscribed to Antoninus, he concluded Marcus Antoninus the philosopher to be thereby intended ; whereas it was probably the emperor Heliogabalus, who was of Emesa, and had also the name of Antoninus. And Eusebius, being himself deceived, has deceived and inisled all following historians : so that learned man Grabef too was of opinion, that Bardesanes flourished in the time of Heliogabalus.
And it is obvious, that Porphyry's Bardesanes is of the same country with him mentioned by christian writers; that is, of Mesopotamia : and as Porphyry calls him a Babylonian, so does & Jerom likewise, in a place not yet referred to, cite • Bardesanes the Babylonian :' the quotation too is a part of one of the passages alleged by h Por
• Ως Βαρδησανης, ανηρ Βαβυλωνιος, επι των πατερων ημων γεγονως και εντυχων τους περι Δαμαδαμιν [al. Δανδαμιν] πεπεμμενους Ινδοις προς τον Kaloapa, aveypalev. Porphyr. de Abstin. I. iv. sect
. 17. p. 167. 'Cantabrigiæ, 1655.
• Ιδου οι επι της βασιλειας του Αντωνινα του εξ Εμισων εις την Συριαν αφικομενου Βαρδησανη τω εκ Μεσοποταμιας εις λογες αφικουμενοι εξηγησαντο, ώς ο Βαρδησανης ανεγραψεν, κ. λ. De Styge, p. 282. περι ου ο Βαρδησανης ταδε γραφει. Ιbid. p. 283.
d Vid. Pagi, Critic. in Baron. 222. sect. 2.
e Sed vereor ne recentioribus Eusebio historicis omnibus imposuerit Eusebius, qui Marco librum illum • de Fato' putat a Bardesane dicatum. Eusebium autem ipsum, ni fallor, fefellit homonymia in voce Antonini. Sub Antonino enim, non Marco, sed Emesâ oriundo, Elagabalo, floruit Bardesanes, scriptor celeberrimus, e Syriâ, etiam eâdem quâ et hæreticus, Mesopotamiâ, teste certissimo Porphyrio de Styge. Diss. Iren. iv. sect. 35. Spicil. T. i. p. 317.
8 Bardesanes, vir Babylonius, in duo dogmata apud Indos Gymnosophistas dividit, &c. Adv. Jovin. l. ii. T. iv. col. 206. Ed. Marrian.
Vid. Porphyr. de Abstin. p. 169.
phyry. We before observed, that Jerom assures us, Bardesanes was admired by philosophers: accordingly we find one of that name cited by Porphyry with respect. These particulars seem to render it probable, that one and the same person is every where intended. And, if so, Porphyry has determined his age, about which all our authors are mistaken.
Let us however consider their testimony, and whether it is likely that they should be in the wrong. Dodwell allows, that Eusebius, both in his History and Chronicle, places Bardesanes near Tatian. This uniforinity of computation seems to show, that Eusebius had no doubt of the truth of it. All our christian writers agree together about the age of Bardesanes, and they had every one of them some knowledge of his writings. Eusebius knew very well the book Of Fate. He was not wholly unacquainted with his other performances, as appears from his observation, that Bardesanes did not get entirely clear of his former errors. Jerom too commends his style and learning. Epiphanius passes his judgment upon the writings of this author, approving some and condemning others. And Theodoret says expressly, that he had seen a great many of them : which acquaintance with his works may be reasonably supposed to have enabled them to judge of his age, without depending upon the authority of Eusebius. Then Epiphanius relates some conversation between Bardesanes and Apollonius, a friend of the emperor Antoninus. And there was, beside others, a Stoic philosopher of that name, of Chalcis too, a city in Syria, who was i first a master, and afterwards an intimate friend, of Marcus Antoninus. Finally, Eusebius informs us, that it was generally said, (he was not certain of this,) that Bardesanes wrote some books concerning the persecution of that time, meaning the reign of Marcus. And Epiphanius informs us of the persuasions or threatenings of Apollonius, to induce Bardesanes to renounce the christian religion. These particulars concur in describing the reign of Marcus, not that of Heliogabalus, or his immediate predecessors, which Dodwell allows not to have been times of remarkable rigour against the christians.
I think then that we may allow, that Porphyry, and the christian writers, speak of one and the same person : and that we need not dispute either his or their authority, concerning the age of 'Bardesanes, but may reconcile them
Vid. Jul. Capitolin. in Antonino Pio. cap. 10. et M. Antonino Philos,
cap. 2, 3.
together. The visit to Bardesanes of which Porphyry makes mention, when Antoninus Heliogabalus came into Syria, was made, we may suppose, in the year 218, before Heliogabalus set out from Antioch to go to Rome. And it is likely that Bardesanes did not live long after this, he having died before the time of Porphyry, who was born about the year 232. For so Porphyry says: · He lived in o the time of our fathers.'
Probably at the year 218 Bardesanes was of a great age. His extensive knowledge, vast reputation, the great number of his books, and of his followers, and his change of sentiments, are indications of no short, but rather of a long life. Possibly too he was an author in the early part of his life. Great men are usually, first of all, illustrious youths. There are many men who bave flourished, as authors, thirty or forty years, and more. Tertullian, about the same time, flourished as long; Libanius, of the same country, longer. I perceive not any absurdity in supposing Bardesanes to have been a writer of repute in the reign of Marcus Antoninus, and his being alive, and greatly respected, in the year 218 or 220.
If, according to the Edessen Chronicle, Bardesanes was born in 154, he was not yet seventy years of age in 220 ; and he would be twenty-six years of age complete in 180, the year in which Marcus died, before which time he might have written several books.
Thus Porphyry and our christian writers are reconciled, even allowing them all to speak of one and the same per son. It happens, that Porphyry has spoken of some things near the conclusion of Bardesanes' life; whilst our authors have chiefly mentioned him about the time when he began to be famous in the world, without k denying him to have continued much longer.
k • Without denying him to have continued much longer.'] We must however except Epiphanius, according to the common reading and interpretation of his words, Hær. 56, sect. 1. AinpkeoE MEV peta TNV EKELV8 TelevTNV αχρι των χρονων Αντωνιν8 Καισαρος, ου του Ευσεβους καλεμενο, αλλα του Ounpr. • That he continued after the death of Agbarus until the times of the emperor Antoninus, not him who is called Pius, but Verus;' that is, Marcus Antoninus the philosopher : which words must be allowed to imply, that Bardesanes did not outlive the reign of Marcus. But on the other hand, if we could suppose Epiphanius to mean Heliogabalus, who was often called Varius, [vid. Lampridii Antonin. Heliogab. cap. i.] he would afford an argument, not that Bardesanes flourished in the time of Heliogabalus, as Grabe says, [Spicil. T. i. p. 317,] but that he continued till the reign of that emperor, after having been eminent for a considerable time before, which may be the truth. But I think it in vain to criticise upon the words of Epiphanius, whose chronology is not always exact.
All this is proposed to be considered, upon the supposition that Porphyry and the
christian writers speak of one and the same Bardesanes, But I do not allow that to be certain, and out of doubt : for methinks it may be very well questioned, whether Jerom, when he quotes Bardesanes the Babylonian, means the same whom he has several times mentioned as a christian, or a heretic. However I maintain that our christian writers are not mistaken about the time of Bardesanes, whom they speak of as living, and being an author, in the reign of Marcus Antoninus. And I take it for granted that I have said enough to clear them from all suspicion of mistake in this matter.
XIII. Eusebius has given a short account of Apollonius, who suffered martyrdom at Rome in the time of Commodus; probably in the year 186 or 187. He says, that! Apollonius was celebrated for learning and philosophy.' Being accused before Perennis, [præfect of the Prætorium,] • Perennis desired him to give an account of himself before • the senate, which he did, in a most eloquent apology for • the faith pronounced in that assembly: and was then sen* tenced to lose his head, as by a decree of the senate.' Eusebius adds: “They who are desirous to read what Apollonius said before the judge, his answers to the interrogatories of Perennis, and m his whole Apology in * the senate, may find them in the collection which I have • made of the ancient martyrdoms.' Which collection is Jost.
Jerom has given Apollonius a place in his Catalogue" of Ecclesiastical Writers. He calls him a senator of Rome.' • Being commanded to give an account of his faith, he
composed an excellent piece, which be read in the senate. • But nevertheless he was beheaded for Christ, by order of • the senate.'
There are difficulties attending some parts of the bistory of Apollonius, which I pass over, considering him at present chiefly as an author. Jerom says, he read his Apology in the senate, which is not said by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History. However he deserves to be reckoned an author. If he only pronounced the apology, it might be taken down from him in writing. Eusebius is express, that this whole apology' might be read in his collection of the Acts of Martyrs.
'Απολλωνιον ανδρα των τοτε πισων επι παιδεια και φιλοσοφια βεβoημενον, H. E. I. v. c. 21. p. 189. C. η Πασαν τε την προς την συγκλητον απολογίαν. Ιbid. D. De V. I. c. 42.
Jerom,o in another work, mentions Apollonius among some of the most eminent christian writers. He is there placed with Greek authors: but in bis Catalogue, in the article of Tertullian, he says, that father was then reckoned the first of the Latin writers, after Victor and Apollo
nius;' where he seems to mean the same person. Possibly the reason of this different way of reckoning may be, that Apollonius delivered bis apology to the senate in Latin ; but in Jerom's time it was extant only in Greek, in the Acts of the ancient Martyrs, collected by Eusebius.
XIV. Rhodon is spoken of by Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, under the reign of Commodus. Jerom P says, he flourished in the times of Commodus and Severus : they both say, he was a native of Asia. shall confine myself to the account which Eusebius gives of his works.
that Rhodon wrote several books; among others one against the heresy of Marcion, which he assures us was then divided into several parties. He relates a conference which he had with Apelles, one of them, then an old man, whom he confuted and exposed. In the same book,' says? Eusebius, which he inscribes to Callistion, he • informs us, that he had been instructed by Tatian at • Rome, and says that Tatian had composed a book of • difficult questions, for the explication of several obscure ' places of scripture: Rhodon at the same time promises to put out a distinct work, containing a solution of those questions. There is extant a commentary of his upon the six days' work of the creation.'
XV. Victor, as we are informed by' Eusebius, succeeded Eleutherus, bishop of Rome, in the reign of the emperor Commodus. He says, that upon occasion of a difference about keeping the time of Easter, · Victor en• deavoured to cut off from the common unity all the • churches of Asia, together with the churches in their
neighbourhood, as holding things contrary to the right • faith: ands by letters' proscribed, and declared excom* municated, all the brethren in those parts :' for which he was reproved by Irenæus, and other bishops, as acting contrary to the laws of peace and charity.
There was before this a synodical letter, upon the same
Scripsit et Miltiades contra gentes volumen egregium. Hippolytus quoque et Apollonius, Romanæ urbis senator, propria opuscula condiderunt. Ad. Magnum, ep. 83. al. 84.
p De V. I. c. 37. 9 L. v. c. 13.
r H. E. 1. v. c. 22. init. * Και σηλιτευει γε
δια γραμματων, ακoινωνητως αρδην παντας τους εκεισε avaxnputtwv adelges. L. v. c. 24. p. 192. B. C.
' lb. p. 192, 193.