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First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…
FOLIO CXIX verso

The sixth persecution of the Christians was carried on by Maximinus the emperor, chiefly against the clergy and the priests. After he had persecuted many unto death, he and his sons were slain by Pupienus at Aquileia in the third year of his reign; and so an end was made of his persecution and of his life.

Pontius, most holy martyr, as the historians say, converted the two emperors, the Philippi, to the Christian faith. He was the son of a Roman senator. His father’s name was Marcus, his mother’s Julia. While with child she went into the temple of Jupiter in which a priest was sacrificing. And he tore his garments, and in a frightened voice cried out, This woman carries in her womb one who will raze the temple to its foundations. Because of this she returned home in sorrow. And she weighted down her body that the child might not thrive; yet she bore the child undefiled. And when she undertook to slay it, the father said, Let it live, for if Jupiter is so minded, he will take revenge on his enemy himself. Pontius became highly learned, and he heard the Christians singing, Our God in heaven has ordered all things as he wishes them. The idols of the pagans are of gold and silver, etc. And Pontius abandoned the idolatrous gods and, with his father, received baptism. Upon his father’s death he gave all of his estate and possessions to Pope Fabian to be distributed among the poor. Now, being a friend of the Philippi, the emperors, and this being the one thousandth year from the foundation of the City, he showed them that the great and true God in heaven should be worshipped; and they received, baptism from Fabian, and destroyed the temple. However, he was variously tortured at the instance of succeeding emperors, yet remained unharmed. But at length his martyrdom was accomplished by decapitation.[Pontius was the son of a Roman senator named Marcus, and his wife Julia. One day when she was approaching childbirth, she visited the temple of Jupiter to ask an augury concerning the unborn child. The priest predicted that ruin would befall the temple through it. The mother ran home in horror, striking herself with stones in hope of destroying the child. But notwithstanding, the child was born shortly after, and she would have exposed it had not her husband interfered with the sensible advice that Jupiter was the one concerned in the child’s living, and if the child was likely to be obnoxious to him, he would have slain it. As the boy grew up he was sent to a tutor. One morning on the way to his master, when passing a certain house, he heard sweet strains of music, accompanying the words, "Wherefore shall the pagans say, Where is now their God? As for our God, He is in heaven. He has done whatsoever pleased him. Their idols are silver and gold; even the work of men’s hands. They have mouths and speak not. Eyes have they, and see not," etc. And the light of conviction illumined the soul of Pontius, and he struck with hand and foot at the door, eager to hear more. Being admitted, he was led up into the chamber where the sacred mysteries were celebrated, and when the rite was over, he conversed with Pope Pontianus who instructed him in the faith. On his return home Pontius told his experience to his father, and both father and son were baptized. Upon his father’s death Pontius gave his paternal inheritance to the bishop to be distributed to the poor. He saw Pontianus suffer a martyr’s death, and he lived in close familiarity with the humane Emperor Philip, with whom, and his son Philip, he had many opportunities of discussing Christianity. On the accession of Valerian and Gallienus to the throne, Pontius fled to Cimella, a city near Nice in southern France. There he was arrested by the governor and exposed to bears in the amphitheater; but the bears hugged to death the men who were trying to incite them to destroy Pontius. Seeing this, the governor ordered his decapitation.]

The martyrs who suffered through various persecutions.

The names of the famous ones are noted one after the other.

    [First Column]
  • Leontius, martyr
  • Flocellus, a child
  • Felicissimus, martyr
  • Romanus, martyr
  • Habundius, martyr
  • Cirilla, virgin, daughter of Decius and a martyr
  • Habakuk (Abacuck), martyr
  • Andecius, disciple of Polycarp
  • Simimus, martyr
  • Novatus, with 20
  • Victor, soldier, and Terrena, his wife
  • Concordius, a sub-deacon
  • Valerius, martyr
  • Gaius, martyr
  • Philippus, prefect of Alexandria
  • Tryphonia
  • Caesarius
  • Symphorianus
  • Castorius
  • Columba
  • Geminianus
  • Philemon
  • Januarius
  • Festus
  • Desiderius
  • Sabinus
  • Basilius with seven others
  • Adrianus
  • Simplicianus
    [Second Column]
  • Patroclus
  • 48 martyrs
  • Leonilla
  • Priscus
  • 342 Martyrs
  • Quirinus
  • Theodorus Basilides
  • Maurus
  • Victorinus
  • Victor, martyr
  • Nicoforus
  • Claudianus
  • Alexander
  • Carpoferus
  • Crisandus
  • Gedeon
  • Daria
  • Marcellianus
  • Marcus
  • Nicostratus and Zoe, his wife
  • Tranquilla
  • Cromatius (Chromacius)
  • Crescentia
  • Theodora
  • Albinus
  • Felicianus
  • Primus
  • Faustinus
  • Beatrix

In the time of Decius the emperor, when, after many persecutions of the Christians, he came to Ephesus, he caused a temple to be built in the midst of the city; and he commanded all persons, on pain of death, to sacrifice to the idols, and to deny all other gods. And great fear of punishment seized all men to such an extent that sons betrayed fathers, and friends accused one another. In this city were seven nobles, the first and foremost in the palace, namely, Maximinus, Marcus, Martinianus, Dionysius, Seraphion, John (Iohannes) and Constantinus. These ignored the idols and hid themselves in their houses, praying and fasting. But they were accused before Decius, and now they gave their paternal inheritance to the poor, and they went into Mount Celion, intending to conceal themselves until the persecution had abated. And one waited upon the rest, and brought them bread, and thus fed, they were strengthened, and addressed one another in tears. And so, as God willed, they fell asleep. Decius then immediately ordered the cave blocked up so they might die of hunger and thirst. But afterwards, in the time of Theodosius, they were still found alive as related below.

[The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus were seven noble youths in the household of the emperor Decius, who fled from his court to a cave in Mount Celion. They were Christians, and the emperor sent persecutors after them. The mouth of the cave was blocked up, and the youths fell asleep. Some 230 years later the cave was opened, and the "youths" awoke; but they died soon afterward, and were taken to Marseilles in a large coffin. Visitors in St. Victor’s Church are still shown this stone coffin.]