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E00318: Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Ecclesiastical History, gives a list of nineteen Christian leaders martyred alongside numerous other Christians in various regions of the East during the tetrarchic persecutions (304-313). Written in Greek in Palestine, 311/325.

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posted on 2015-02-23, 00:00 authored by Bryan
Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History 8.13, 9.6


Eusebius lists the following martyred bishops and priests:

At Nicomedia:
Anthimos, the bishop of Nicomedia, is beheaded
Loukianos, a presbyter of Antioch, offers a brave confession and is martyred.

In Phoenicia:
Tyrannion, bishop of Tyre
Zenobios, presbyter of Sidon
Silvanos, bishop of Emesa, with others

In Antioch:
The bishop of Antioch is thrown to the sea
Zenobios, a physician, is tortured and martyred

In Palestine:
Silvanos, bishop of Gaza, is beheaded with 39 others at the copper mines of Phaeno.
Peleus and Neilos, Egyptian bishops and companions are burnt at the same mines.
The presbyter Pamphilos, pride of the church of Caesarea, is martyred. Eusebius states that he will write about him separately.

In Alexandria and Egypt:
Petros, bishop of Alexandria, with the presbyters Phaustos, Dios and Ammonios
Phileas, Hesychios, Pachymios and Theodoros, bishops

Thousands of others died around the world, and their stories are to be recounted by those that witnessed them with their eyes. Eusebius intends to write a separate account about martyrdoms he has witnessed himself (8.13.7).

In book 9, Eusebius mentions again the martyrdoms of Silvanos of Emesa with two anomymous Christians (devoured by the beasts), Petros of Alexandria (decapitated) with several other Egyptian bishops, and Loukianos of Antioch at Nicomedia (died in gaol). Here he dates these martyrdoms to the persecution of Maximinus Daia (312).

Text: Schwartz et al. 1999. Summary: E. Rizos.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Anthimos, bishop and martyr in Nicomedia, ob. 303/311 : S00124 Phileas, bishop of Thmuis, martyred in Alexandria, ob. 303/313 : S00125 Loukianos, martyr of Nicomedia : S00151 Tyranniōn, martyred bishop of Tyre, ob. 303/313 : S00152 Anonymous Mart

Saint Name in Source

Ἄνθιμος Φιλέας Λουκιανὸς Τυραννίων Πάμφιλος Σιλβανός Ζηνόβιος Σιλβανός Ζηνόβιος Πηλεύς, Νεῖλος Πέτρος Φαῦστος Ἡσύχιος Παχύμιος Θεόδωρος

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • 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

Ecclesiastics - lesser clergy Ecclesiastics - bishops


Eusebius lived in Caesarea Maritima in Palestine between c. AD 260 and 340. He was a pupil and friend of the martyred Christian intellectual Pamphilus. Under Constantine, he emerged as one of the most influential Christian figures of the Roman Empire, and was ordained bishop of Caesarea. Written between 311 and 325, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History is the first literary work to employ the methodology and objectives of classical historiography – which, since Herodotus and Thucydides, had traditionally focused on military and political events – in a novel field, the history of the Christian community. The first paragraphs of the work outline its chronological framework and thematic range: it is a narrative of events in the life of the Christian community from the times of Christ and the Apostles to the times of Eusebius (c. AD 260-340); it records the leaders of the most important communities (i.e. successions of bishops in Alexandria, Antioch, Rome and Jerusalem); it records the most notable exponents of Christian doctrine and their works, and also the main heresies and their proponents; it finally records persecutions and people that suffered and were martyred during them. The Ecclesiastical History is mostly a synthesis of quotations and summaries from other sources, for which Eusebius often gives concrete references. Thus his work preserves excerpts from early Christian texts which do not survive in their full form. Eusebius’ source material is mostly Greek texts, originating from Christian communities in Anatolia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. These areas constitute the main geographical range of his narrative, while his information about Christianity in the western provinces of the Roman Empire (except Rome) is very limited. The text survives in several Greek manuscripts, in a Latin translation by Rufinus, and in Syriac and Armenian translations.


With this special enumeration of martyred clerics, Eusebius concludes his account of the persecutions under Diocletian and Galerius in the East. The most prominent of the figures mentioned in this section are Anthimos of Nicomedia, Loukianos of Antioch, Pamphilos of Caesarea, Peter of Alexandria and Phileas of Thmuis, all of whom had well-known and popular cults in Late Antiquity. The end of the paragraph anticipates the publication of a collection of extensive martyrdom accounts of which Eusebius was an eyewitness, leaving the rest of the stories to be recounted by people who witnessed them with their own eyes. Eusebius apparently fulfilled his promise by writing the collection known as Martyrs of Palestine, which is appended to the end of book 8 of the Ecclesiastical History in some of its editions (see E00294). This collection indeed includes the three martyrdoms mentioned here for Palestine (Silvanos; the Egyptian bishops Pēleus and Neilos with their companions; Pamphilos of Caesarea; see E00388, E00384, E00391).


Edition: Schwartz, E., Mommsen, T., and Winkelmann, F., Eusebius Werke II: Die Kirchengeschichte. 3 vols. (Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte NF 6/1-3; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1999). Translations: Lake, K., Oulton, J.E.L., and Lawlor, H.J., Eusebius of Caesarea: The Ecclesiastical History. 2 vols. (Loeb Classical Library; London and Cambridge, MA: Heinemann and Harvard University Press, 1926). Williamson, G.A., and Louth, A., Eusebius: The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine (London: Penguin, 1989). Further reading: Chesnut, G. The First Christian Histories: Eusebius, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and Evagrius. Atlanta: Mercer University, 1986.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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