Chapter

Then the emperor raged, not only against those of his own household, but against all. In the first place, he compelled his daughter, Valeria, and her husband, and Prisca to be defiled by pagan sacrifice. When those who had been the most powerful eunuchs were killed, those on whom the palace and he himself depended, the priests and deacons were seized and condemned without any proof or confession. They were led away with all their families. There was no respect for sex or age. Men were seized and burned, not individually, because there was such a great number, but they were herded into devouring fires. The domestic servants of the palace were plunged into the sea, millstones tied to their necks.

The persecution was no less intense against the rest of the people. The judges went about through all the temples and forced everybody to sacrifice. The prisons were full. Unheard of kinds of torment were conceived. In order that justice might not be rashly applied in favor of anyone, altars were set up in secretarial rooms and before the tribunal so that those coming to court should sacrifice first and then plead their cases, and, therefore, the approach to the judge was as though an entrance hall to the gods.

Letters had found their way even to Maximian and Constantius so that they would do the same things. Their opinion had not been looked for in such great matters. And, indeed, the old Maximian willingly carried out the instructions throughout all of Italy for he was not a very clement man. Constantius, so as not to seem to disapprove of the precepts of the previous rulers, allowed the church buildings, the meeting places, that is, the wall which could be restored, to be torn down, but the temple of God, which is in men, he left untouched.

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