The mother of Galerius was a worshiper of the gods of the mountains. Since she was a very superstitious woman, she offered sacrificial repasts almost every day and made donations of the meals to her countrymen. Christians kept away, and while she would be dining with her fellow-pagans, they would redouble fasts and prayers. Therefore, she conceived a hatred for them and, with womanly complaints, she prevailed upon her son, no less superstitious, to get rid of these men.
Therefore, secret councils were held during a whole winter, when no one was admitted, and all thought that the greatest affairs of state were being treated. For a long time, the old man, the Augustus, resisted his fury, showing how dangerous it was to have the whole world disturbed and the blood of many shed, that they were accustomed to die willingly, and that it would be enough if he would keep only those of the palace household and his soldiers from the practice of that religion. However, he was not able to influence the wildness of the impetuous man. He decided, then, to get the opinion of his friends. This was Diocletian's type of malice. When he had determined what was a good thing to do, he did it without counsel so that he himself might get the praise; when there was something evil, since he knew it would be criticized, he called many into his coun-sei so that whatever he himself should be found wanting in would be ascribed to the fault of others.
A few judges, therefore, and some military leaders who held superior rank were called in and questioned. Certain ones among them, from a personal hatred of Christians, believed that these were enemies of the gods and of state religion and, therefore, ought to be done away with. Those who thought differently, either fearing the man or wishing to gratify his wishes because they knew what he wanted, voiced a pretended agreement with that same opinion. Not even in this way was the emperor swayed to give his assent, but he thought it best to consult the gods and sent an augur to Milesian Apollo. The response came that the God of the Christians was an enemy of the divine religion. Thus he was led away from his own decision, and although he was not able to resist his friends, his Caesar, and Apollo, he did attempt to hold this moderation, that he ordered the affair to be conducted without bloodshed, although the Caesar wanted those who refused to sacrifice to be burned alive.
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