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Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 5.16

nanAt the solicitation of Theophilus bishop of Alexandria the emperor issued an order at this time for the demolition of the heathen temples in that city; commanding also that it should be put in execution under the direction of Theophilus. Seizing this opportunity, Theophilus exerted himself to the utmost to expose the pagan mysteries to contempt. And to begin with, he caused the Mithreum to be cleaned out, and exhibited to public view the tokens of its bloody mysteries. Then he destroyed the Serapeum, and the bloody rights of the Mithreum he publicly caricatured; the Serapeum also he showed full of extravagant superstitions, and he had the phalli of Priapus carried through the midst of the forum. The pagans of Alexandria, and especially the professors of philosophy, were unable to repress their rage at this exposure, and exceeded in revengeful ferocity their outrages on a former occasion: for with one accord, at a preconcerted signal, they rushed impetuously upon the Christians, and murdered every one they could lay hands on. The Christians also made an attempt to resist the assailants, and so the mischief was the more augmented. This desperate affray was prolonged until satiety of bloodshed put an end to it. Then it was discovered that very few of the heathens had been killed, but a great number of Christians; while the number of wounded on each side was almost innumerable. Fear then possessed the pagans on account of what was done, as they considered the emperor's displeasure. For having done what seemed good in their own eyes, and by their bloodshed having quenched their courage, some fled in one direction, some in another, and many quitting Alexandria, dispersed themselves in various cities. Among these were the two grammarians Helladius and Ammonius, whose pupil I was in my youth at Constantinople. Helladius was said to be the priest of Jupiter, and Ammonius of Simius. Thus this disturbance having been terminated, the governor of Alexandria, and the commander-in-chief of the troops in Egypt, assisted Theophilus in demolishing the heathen temples. These were therefore razed to the ground, and the images of their gods molten into pots and other convenient utensils for the use of the Alexandrian church; for the emperor had instructed Theophilus to distribute them for the relief of the poor. All the images were accordingly broken to pieces, except one statue of the god before mentioned, which Theophilus preserved and set up in a public place; 'Lest,' said he, 'at a future time the heathens should deny that they had ever worshipped such gods.' This action gave great umbrage to Ammonius the grammarian in particular, who to my knowledge was accustomed to say that 'the religion of the Gentiles was grossly abused in that that single statue was not also molten, but preserved, in order to render that religion ridiculous.' Helladius however boasted in the presence of some that he had slain in that desperate onset nine men with his own hand. Such were the doings at Alexandria at that time.

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

5 results
1. Eunapius, Lives of The Philosophers, 6.107-6.113 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

2. Rufinus of Aquileia, In Suam Et Eusebii Caesariensis Latinam Ab Eo Factam Historiam, 11.22-11.23, 11.26 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

3. Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, 5.17, 7.13-7.15 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

5.17. When the Temple of Serapis was torn down and laid bare, there were found in it, engraven on stones, certain characters which they call hieroglyphics, having the forms of crosses. Both the Christians and pagans on seeing them, appropriated and applied them to their respective religions: for the Christians who affirm that the cross is the sign of Christ's saving passion, claimed this character as peculiarly theirs; but the pagans alleged that it might appertain to Christ and Serapis in common; 'for,' said they, 'it symbolizes one thing to Christians and another to heathens.' Whilst this point was controverted among them, some of the heathen converts to Christianity, who were conversant with these hieroglyphic characters, interpreted the form of a cross and said that it signifies 'Life to come.' This the Christians exultingly laid hold of, as decidedly favorable to their religion. But after other hieroglyphics had been deciphered containing a prediction that 'When the cross should appear,'- for this was 'life to come,'- 'the Temple of Serapis would be destroyed,' a very great number of the pagans embraced Christianity, and confessing their sins, were baptized. Such are the reports I have heard respecting the discovery of this symbol in form of a cross. But I cannot imagine that the Egyptian priests foreknew the things concerning Christ, when they engraved the figure of a cross. For if 'the advent' of our Saviour into the world 'was a mystery hid from ages and from generations,' as the apostle declares; and if the devil himself, the prince of wickedness, knew nothing of it, his ministers, the Egyptian priests, are likely to have been still more ignorant of the matter; but Providence doubtless purposed that in the enquiry concerning this character, there should something take place analogous to what happened heretofore at the preaching of Paul. For he, made wise by the Divine Spirit, employed a similar method in relation to the Athenians, Acts 17:23 and brought over many of them to the faith, when on reading the inscription on one of their altars, he accommodated and applied it to his own discourse. Unless indeed any one should say, that the Word of God wrought in the Egyptian priests, as it did on Balaam Numbers xxiv and Caiaphas; John 11:51 for these men uttered prophecies of good things in spite of themselves. This will suffice on the subject. 7.13. About this same time it happened that the Jewish inhabitants were driven out of Alexandria by Cyril the bishop on the following account. The Alexandrian public is more delighted with tumult than any other people: and if at any time it should find a pretext, breaks forth into the most intolerable excesses; for it never ceases from its turbulence without bloodshed. It happened on the present occasion that a disturbance arose among the populace, not from a cause of any serious importance, but out of an evil that has become very popular in almost all cities, viz. a fondness for dancing exhibitions. In consequence of the Jews being disengaged from business on the Sabbath, and spending their time, not in hearing the Law, but in theatrical amusements, dancers usually collect great crowds on that day, and disorder is almost invariably produced. And although this was in some degree controlled by the governor of Alexandria, nevertheless the Jews continued opposing these measures. And although they are always hostile toward the Christians they were roused to still greater opposition against them on account of the dancers. When therefore Orestes the prefect was publishing an edict - for so they are accustomed to call public notices - in the theatre for the regulation of the shows, some of the bishop Cyril's party were present to learn the nature of the orders about to be issued. There was among them a certain Hierax, a teacher of the rudimental branches of literature, and one who was a very enthusiastic listener of the bishop Cyril's sermons, and made himself conspicuous by his forwardness in applauding. When the Jews observed this person in the theatre, they immediately cried out that he had come there for no other purpose than to excite sedition among the people. Now Orestes had long regarded with jealousy the growing power of the bishops, because they encroached on the jurisdiction of the authorities appointed by the emperor, especially as Cyril wished to set spies over his proceedings; he therefore ordered Hierax to be seized, and publicly subjected him to the torture in the theatre. Cyril, on being informed of this, sent for the principal Jews, and threatened them with the utmost severities unless they desisted from their molestation of the Christians. The Jewish populace on hearing these menaces, instead of suppressing their violence, only became more furious, and were led to form conspiracies for the destruction of the Christians; one of these was of so desperate a character as to cause their entire expulsion from Alexandria; this I shall now describe. Having agreed that each one of them should wear a ring on his finger made of the bark of a palm branch, for the sake of mutual recognition, they determined to make a nightly attack on the Christians. They therefore sent persons into the streets to raise an outcry that the church named after Alexander was on fire. Thus many Christians on hearing this ran out, some from one direction and some from another, in great anxiety to save their church. The Jews immediately fell upon and slew them; readily distinguishing each other by their rings. At daybreak the authors of this atrocity could not be concealed: and Cyril, accompanied by an immense crowd of people, going to their synagogues- for so they call their house of prayer- took them away from them, and drove the Jews out of the city, permitting the multitude to plunder their goods. Thus the Jews who had inhabited the city from the time of Alexander the Macedonian were expelled from it, stripped of all they possessed, and dispersed some in one direction and some in another. One of them, a physician named Adamantius, fled to Atticus bishop of Constantinople, and professing Christianity, some time afterwards returned to Alexandria and fixed his residence there. But Orestes the governor of Alexandria was filled with great indignation at these transactions, and was excessively grieved that a city of such magnitude should have been suddenly bereft of so large a portion of its population; he therefore at once communicated the whole affair to the emperor. Cyril also wrote to him, describing the outrageous conduct of the Jews; and in the meanwhile sent persons to Orestes who should mediate concerning a reconciliation: for this the people had urged him to do. And when Orestes refused to listen to friendly advances, Cyril extended toward him the book of gospels, believing that respect for religion would induce him to lay aside his resentment. When, however, even this had no pacific effect on the prefect, but he persisted in implacable hostility against the bishop, the following event afterwards occurred. 7.14. Some of the monks inhabiting the mountains of Nitria, of a very fiery disposition, whom Theophilus some time before had unjustly armed against Dioscorus and his brethren, being again transported with an ardent zeal, resolved to fight in behalf of Cyril. About five hundred of them therefore quitting their monasteries, came into the city; and meeting the prefect in his chariot, they called him a pagan idolater, and applied to him many other abusive epithets. He supposing this to be a snare laid for him by Cyril, exclaimed that he was a Christian, and had been baptized by Atticus the bishop at Constantinople. As they gave but little heed to his protestations, and a certain one of them named Ammonius threw a stone at Orestes which struck him on the head and covered him with the blood that flowed from the wound, all the guards with a few exceptions fled, plunging into the crowd, some in one direction and some in another, fearing to be stoned to death. Meanwhile the populace of Alexandria ran to the rescue of the governor, and put the rest of the monks to flight; but having secured Ammonius they delivered him up to the prefect. He immediately put him publicly to the torture, which was inflicted with such severity that he died under the effects of it: and not long after he gave an account to the emperors of what had taken place. Cyril also on the other hand forwarded his statement of the matter to the emperor: and causing the body of Ammonius to be deposited in a certain church, he gave him the new appellation of Thaumasius, ordering him to be enrolled among the martyrs, and eulogizing his magimity in church as that of one who had fallen in a conflict in defense of piety. But the more sober-minded, although Christians, did not accept Cyril's prejudiced estimate of him; for they well knew that he had suffered the punishment due to his rashness, and that he had not lost his life under the torture because he would not deny Christ. And Cyril himself being conscious of this, suffered the recollection of the circumstance to be gradually obliterated by silence. But the animosity between Cyril and Orestes did not by any means subside at this point, but was kindled afresh by an occurrence similar to the preceding. 7.15. There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in coming to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more. Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called C sareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles. After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril's episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius.
4. Theodoret of Cyrus, Ecclesiastical History, 5.22 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

5.22. The illustrious Athanasius was succeeded by the admirable Petrus, Petrus by Timotheus, and Timotheus by Theophilus, a man of sound wisdom and of a lofty courage. By him Alexandria was set free from the error of idolatry; for, not content with razing the idols' temples to the ground, he exposed the tricks of the priests to the victims of their wiles. For they had constructed statues of bronze and wood hollow within, and fastened the backs of them to the temple walls, leaving in these walls certain invisible openings. Then coming up from their secret chambers they got inside the statues, and through them gave any order they liked and the hearers, tricked and cheated, obeyed. These tricks the wise Theophilus exposed to the people. Moreover he went up into the temple of Serapis, which has been described by some as excelling in size and beauty all the temples in the world. There he saw a huge image of which the bulk struck beholders with terror, increased by a lying report which got abroad that if any one approached it, there would be a great earthquake, and that all the people would be destroyed. The bishop looked on all these tales as the mere drivelling of tipsy old women, and in utter derision of the lifeless monster's enormous size, he told a man who had an axe to give Serapis a good blow with it. No sooner had the man struck, than all the folk cried out, for they were afraid of the threatened catastrophe. Serapis however, who had received the blow, felt no pain, inasmuch as he was made of wood, and uttered never a word, since he was a lifeless block. His head was cut off, and immediately out ran multitudes of mice, for the Egyptian god was a dwelling place for mice. Serapis was broken into small pieces of which some were committed to the flames, but his head was carried through all the town in sight of his worshippers, who mocked the weakness of him to whom they had bowed the knee. Thus all over the world the shrines of the idols were destroyed.
5. Sozomenus, Ecclesiastical History, 7.15.2-7.15.6

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
alexandria,church of annianos Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of cosmas and damian Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of dizya Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of kyrinos Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of persaia Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of pieirios Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of raphael Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of st. mark Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of the three young men Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,church of theonas Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,pharos Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,serapeum Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81, 82, 342; Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria,temple of dyonisos Rizzi (2010) 136
alexandria Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288, 295; Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81, 82, 342; Rizzi (2010) 136
allegory Rohmann (2016) 245
ammonius (grammarian) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 82
arians Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
asceticism,and violence Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
avidius cassius,roman general Rizzi (2010) 136
bon,gustave le Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
canopus Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81
chalcedonian Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
church histories,church historians Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 342
codex theodosianus Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 342
crowd behaviour,violent Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
demons Rohmann (2016) 245
dionysos,greek god Rizzi (2010) 136
egypt Rizzi (2010) 136
eunapius Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288, 295
eunapius (historian) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 342
exorcism,exorcists Rohmann (2016) 245
fayum Rizzi (2010) 136
hahn,johannes Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 295
helladius (grammarian) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 82
hieroglyphs Rohmann (2016) 245
honorius,roman emperor Rizzi (2010) 136
jerome Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
jerusalem (zion),temple Rizzi (2010) 136
jerusalem (zion) Rizzi (2010) 136
john the baptist Rizzi (2010) 136
legislation Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 342
library of alexandria Rohmann (2016) 245
magic Rohmann (2016) 245
mark,evangelist Rizzi (2010) 136
martyrs Rohmann (2016) 245
mary,virgin Rizzi (2010) 136
miaphysite Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
monasticism/monastic life Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
monasticism and hostility towards pagan culture Rohmann (2016) 245
monks Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
nicaea Rizzi (2010) 136
nicaeans Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306
orthodoxy Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81
riots Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 295
rome Rizzi (2010) 136
rufinus (church historian) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81, 82
rufinus of aquileia Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288, 295
sarapis Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
schools Rohmann (2016) 245
serapeum Rohmann (2016) 245
serapeum (alexandria),destruction of Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288, 295
serapis,egyptian god Rizzi (2010) 136
socrates (church historian) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81, 82, 342
socrates scholasticus Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288, 295
sophronius Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
sosthenion,see laosthenion sozomen Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
sozomen (church historian) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 342
superstitio Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81
tasoucharion,egyptian man Rizzi (2010) 136
temple,destruction Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 295
temple destruction Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 342; Rohmann (2016) 245
thelamon,fran├žoise Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 295
theodoret Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288
theodosius,roman emperor Rizzi (2010) 136
theophilus (bishop of alexandria) Hahn Emmel and Gotter (2008) 81, 82, 342
theophilus of alexandria Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 288, 295
tibur,hadrians villa,canopus Rizzi (2010) 136
tibur,hadrians villa,piazza doro Rizzi (2010) 136
violence,direct' Dijkstra and Raschle (2020) 306