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E00302: Eusebius' Martyrs of Palestine includes the story of the martyrdom of *Ennatha from Gaza (martyr of Palestine, S00162) and *Oualentina/Valentina from Caesarea (martyr of Palestine, S00163). Written in 311 in Caesarea (Palestine); written in Greek, but parts of the text survive only in Syriac.

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posted on 2015-02-16, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Eusebius of Caesarea, Martyrs of Palestine, 8.5-8

In the sixth year of persecution (= 309), after the governor Firmilianus had carried out the execution of three Palestinian confessors, he turned to the case of Ennatha, a young woman from Gaza, where she led a celibate life. When she was arrested, Ennatha, afraid of the threat of being sent to a brothel, chose to aggravate her sentence by insulting the emperor. By the governor's order, she underwent several sessions of severe torture. As she was tortured, another young Christian woman, Oualentina, who was a native of Caesarea, intervened and rebuked Ennatha's tormentors. She was immediately arrested and brought to the governor's court. When Oualentina refused to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, her executioners tried to force her to do that; however during the following struggle she managed to overturn the pagan altar. Enraged, Firmilianus ordered her to be severely tortured as well. After that, both martyrs were sentenced to death by fire.

Summary: Sergey Minov


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Ennatha from Gaza, martyr in Palestine, ob. 309 : S00162 Oualentina from Caesarea, martyr in Palestine, ob. 309 : S00163

Saint Name in Source

ܚܬܐ Οὐαλεντῖνα

Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Accounts of martyrdom


  • Greek

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Caesarea Maritima

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Caesarea Maritima Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Eusebius of Caesarea

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Women Officials


In this work Eusebius presents an account of the suffering and death of Christian martyrs executed during the eight years of the Diocletianic (or Great) persecution, i.e. 303-311. Most of the martyrdoms described by Eusebius took place in Palestine, with the provincial capital city of Caesarea as the most prominent setting. Martyrdom of Ennatha and Oualentina: ed. Cureton 1861, pp. 30*-32* (long recension); ed. Schwartz et al. 1999, vol. 2, p. 926 (short recension); English trans. Lawlor and Oulton 1927-1928, vol. 1, pp. 367-369. For a full discussion of Martyrs of Palestine, see E00294.


This entry, typical of Eusebius' description of the martyrs of Palestine, consists of a brief account of torture and death, with no reference to miraculous events. Although there is no explicit reference to the martyr's commemoration, the record of their death by Eusebius might suggest that they were commemorated in Caesarea. The short Greek recension of the Martyrs does not mention the name of the first of these two female martyrs, whereas in the long Syriac recension she is referred to as ܚܬܐ, a form which could be understood as the general description ḥātā, 'sister' (see Cureton 1861, p. 64). According to some scholars, however, it is a corrupt form of the personal name 'Ennatha' (cf. Violet 1896, pp. 64-65; Lawlor and Oulton 1927-1928, vol. 1, p. 369). This assumption seems to be based on the fact that another female martyr, mentioned by Eusebius, who bears the name Ἐνναθάς in the Greek version (*Ennathas from Scythopolis, S00194), is also referred as ܚܬܐ in the Syriac version. In favour of this interpretation there is also the fact that the construction of the sentences, where this identifier appears, suggests that it was understood to be a personal name. Cf. ܫܡܗ ܕܝܢ ܕܩܕܡܝܬܐ ܐܝܬܘܗܝ ܗܘܐ ܚܬܐ, 'so, the name of the former was ḥātā ' (ed. Cureton 1861, p. 32*, ln. 11-12).


Editions and translations: Cureton, W. (ed.), History of the Martyrs in Palestine, by Eusebius, Bishop in Caesarea, Discovered in a Very Ancient Syriac Manuscript (London / Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate / Paris: C. Borrani, 1861). Lawlor, H.J., and Oulton, J.E.L. (trans.), The Ecclesiastical History and the Martyrs of Palestine. 2 vols (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1927-1928). Schwartz, E., Mommsen, T., and Winkelmann, F. (eds.), Eusebius Werke, Band 2, Teil 2 (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten Jahrhunderte NF 6/2; 2nd ed.; Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1999). Further reading: Violet, B., Die palästinischen Märtyrer des Eusebius von Cäsarea: ihre ausführliche Fassung und deren Verhältnis zur Kürzeren (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur 14.4; Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1896).

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