Chapter

But the Caesar was not content with the laws of the edict. He prepared to set Diocletian off on another score. In order to drive him to the determination of the most cruel persecution, he set fire to the palace through the aid of secret agents. And when part had been burned, the Christians were charged with being public enemies and, because ill-will was so high, the name of the Christians was being burned along with the palace. They were charged with having plotted with the eunuchs for the death of the princes, the two emperors having been almost burned alive in their own palaces.

Diocletian, however, who always wished to appear clever and intelligent, was able to discover nothing, but, inflamed with wrath, he began at once to put all his domestics to torture. He himself sat and had the innocent roasted at the fire. Likewise, all the judges and all those, in short, who were officials in the palace received the faculties and put them to torture. They vied with each other so as to be first to find out something.

Nothing was ever discovered though, for, of course, no one tortured the household of the Caesar. That one was present and kept pressing the matter, nor did he allow the anger of the ill-advised old man to settle. After fifteen days, he again contrived another fire. This one was discovered more quickly, but it did not become apparent who caused it. Then the Caesar, whose departure had been in readiness since the middle of winter, rushed out that very same day, claiming that he was taking flight so as not to be burned alive.

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