Once, while he was conducting affairs in parts of the Orient, as he was from fear a searcher into the future, he was offering a sacrifice of cattle and was seeking from their entrails what things were to happen. Then, certain of his ministers who had knowledge of the Lord, while they stood near him as he sacrificed, made the immortal sign on their foreheads.2 When this was done, the demons took to flight and the sacred rites were disturbed. The augurs trembled; they did not perceive the customary signs in the entrails, and, as though the offerings had not already been made, they began to perform the rites again and again. But each time the slain victims showed nothing, until the master-augur, a Tages, either because he suspected something or had seen the action, said that the sacred signs were not making any response for this reason, that some profane men were present at the divine rites. Then, in a rage, Diocletian ordered, not only those who were ministers of the sacred rites, but all who were in the palace to make sacrifice. He
2 That is, the cross.
gave orders that any who might refuse were to be punished with clubbings. By means of these orders, which were delivered through officers, he charged even the soldiers to be forced to the nefarious sacrifices. Those who would not obey were withdrawn from service. His raging fury went so far that it could not do anything more against the law and religion of God.
Then, after some time had passed, he came to Bithynia to spend the winter, and to the same place there came Maximian Caesar [Galerius] also inflamed with crime, so that he instigated the doting old man to conduct a persecution of the Christians because he had already made a start.
I have found out that the account which follows was a cause of that one's (i.e., Galerius's) fury.
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