Capitulum vicesimum quintum.
DIOCLICIANUS, the sonne of Dalmata the scribe, of a con|sulle [folio 227b] made emperour, was emperour xxti yere. Whiche did Page 101, vol.5 smyte Aper or Aprus, fader in lawe to Numerianus, in the cownselle howse of knyȝhtes, swerenge that he was notte gilty of the dethe of Numerianus. This Dioclician was a subtile man of witte, in so moche that he cowthe explete his cruellenesse thro envy of other men. Whiche commaundede hym selfe to be worschippede as godde, usenge clothes and schoone replete with gemmes; sythe afore this emperoure other emperoures were contente with a robe or mantel of pur|pull, by whiche themperoures were knowen from oþer men of worschippe. Eutropius. This Dioclician perceyvenge batelles to be movede ageyne hym, toke a felowe to hym, Herculeus Maximianus by name, to governe thempire with hym, a man of grete crudelite, schewenge his scharpenesse by the ferefulle chere and contynaunce of hym. Neverthelesse Dioclician made hym firste Cesar, and after that an emperour; whiche Page 103, vol.5 oppressynge a multitude of chorles, restorede pease to men of Fraunce. After that Dioclician made Galerius and Constancius Cesares, that lyke as thempire was governede by ij. empe|roures, so the commune utilite scholde be disposede by ij. Cesares. For hit is of moore noble dignite to be an emperour then to be Cesar. This Dioclician causede Constantius to leve Helena his firste wife, and to marye Theodora the stappe|doȝhter off Herculeus Maximianus, of whom he gate vj. sonnes. Also he causede Galerius to mary his doȝhter Valeria, his wife refusede also. At the laste, Dioclician and Maximian levenge thempire voluntaryly, began to be philosophres. Then Constancius and Galerius were made emperoures, and dividede thempire betwene þeym, soe that Galerius scholde reioyce Grece with oþer regiones of þe Este, and that Constancius scholde reioyce the weste regiones; nevertheles, Constancius contente with Fraunce and Speyne, ȝafe the other cuntres to Page 105, vol.5 Galerius. Wherefore Galerius made ij. Cesares, Maximianus in the Este, and Severus in the Weste and in Ytaly, reteynenge [folio 228a] to hym selfe oonly the londe of Grece. After that Dioclician intendede to have sleyne Constantyne the son of Constantius, geten by Helena his firste wife; but Constantinus knowenge that, fledde to Constancius his fader. Seynte George, a tribune by office, of the cuntre of Capadocia, suffrede dethe for the feithe of Criste in Persida, at the cite callede Diospolis nye to Ioppen, under Dacian the presidente. The legende of whom is hade amonge scriptures apocriphate by the decrete of þe cownesayle Nicene. Marcellinus the pope succedede Gaius viij.*. [A wikked dede.] yere; whiche consente in a tyme to do sacrifice to ydoles by the compulsion of Dioclician; whiche was penitente þerfore afterwarde, in a cownesayle hade at Campania afore a c. and Page 107, vol.5 iiijxx bischoppes, clothede with an hair*. [Sic in MS.] havenge asches caste on hit, submittenge hym mekely to the correccion and censure of the churche. The bischoppes seide, "Thow hase denyede Criste; and Petyr denyede Criste also, whiche not iuggede by eny other man, wente furthe and wepede soore; þerfore iugge thy selfe." Then Marcellinus seide, "And y iugge me to be deposede; and y ȝiffe my curs to the man that puttethe my body, after my dethe, to the sepulture of the churche." Whiche goenge after that to Dioclician, and knowlegenge hym a Cristen man, was hedede. And when the body of that pope Marcellinus lye unberyede by xxxti daies openly in the hie way, Seynte Petyr apperede in the nyȝhte to a preste callede Marcellus, whiche was successor to Marcellinus, seyenge in this wise, "Marcellus, why dothe thow not bery my body," understondenge by that the body of Marcellinus; "Hase þow not redde that every man makenge meke hym selfe schalle be exaltede; þerfore bery him by me, that sepulture may not divide theyme whom the same grace Page 109, vol.5 iustifiethe." Constancius did slee lx. ml of the Alemannes nye to Lingones; whiche conclusede in the cite, was putte downe of the walles by a rope, the hoste beynge ignorante. Galerius devicte by Narsus, fledde to Dioclician, whiche was seide to be receyvede of Dioclician with so grete honoure, and obtenede so grete favor, that Dioclician clothede in purpulle [folio 228b] wolde renne by the chariette of Galerius by certeyne ml passes. Martinus. Marcellus the pope succeded Marcellinus, after that the seete hade bene vacante by mony dayes; whiche con|tynuede in that office by v. yere. This pope ordeynede xv. places for so mony cardinalles, for the ministracion of baptym and of beryenge. Maximian themperour compellede this pope to kepe bestes, for cause that he wolde not do sacrifice to ydoles, but hit is*. [Sic in MS,] clerkes toke hym aweye in the nyȝhte. Whiche haloenge a churche in the brode weye, Maximian made that churche a stable, and causede Marcellus the pope to kepe bestes þer openly, whiche coverede there with an hair*. [Sic, ut supra.] diede. Page 111, vol.5 Whom Eusebius succeded, made pope of a leche. ℞. After the cronicle of Eusebius and Bede, the xviij. year of Dioclician was the firste yere of the grete persecucion under Dioclician in the Este and Maximian in the Weste, whiche persecucion was moore longe and more cruelle then other persecucions, durenge continually by x. yere; for thauȝhe Dioclician and Maximian lefte thempyre in the thridde yere of the persecucion, as hyt is schewede afore, neverthelesse that persecucion i|begunne, contynuede un to the vijthe yere of grete Constantyne; whiche was seide to have bene so grete that the churches destroyede, and the bokes of the lawe of God brente, xvij. ml martirs suffrede dethe thro diverse places of the worlde within the space of oon monethe. In whiche tyme the noble martirs folowenge suffrede dethe: Pancracius, Primus, Feli|cianus, Sebastianus, Felix, Adauctus, vij. breþer with Beatrice theire moder, Quatuor coronati, Grisogonus, Vincente, George, Page 113, vol.5 Pantaleon, Vitus, Modestus, Ciprian with Justina, Cosmas and Dannanus, Puerbarala, Fidis, Eufemia, Lucia, Anastasia, Agnes, Gorgonius, and a cite of trewe peple of Criste brente at Frigia with alle peple inhabitenge hit. Beda, libro primo, capitulo septimo. Seynte Alban suffrede dethe þat tyme in Englonde.*. [Of Seynte Alban.] This Alban beynge a pagan loggede a clerke in his place, by whom he was convertede to the feithe of Criste; whiche [folio 229a] clothenge hym in the habite of that clerke, whiche was callede Caracalla, and presentede hym selfe to þe iugge. Whiche iuggede to dethe, converte mony peple to the feithe nye to a welle brekenge up from the grownde at hys preyer; after that an oþer welle did sprynge in the toppe of that hille on whom he suffrede dethe, and convertede his heder in to the feithe of Criste, suffrenge passion nye to a cite callede in Englische Verlamchestre or Watlingestrete. Item Beda, capitulo octavo.Page 115, vol.5 The heresy of Arrius spronge this tyme, whiche infecte not the worlde oonly, but also the yles of the worlde, whiche ioy to here newe thynges, not holdenge theyme contente with thynges certeyne. Dioclician and Maximian levede thempire this tyme, and lyvede privately, that oon at Nichomedia, that other at*. [Of the heresy of Arrius.] Mediolanus. Melchiades þe pope succeded Eusebius iiij. yere; whiche prohibete fastenge on the Sonneday and on Thursday, in that the paganes do not*. [not] sic in MS.] worschippe in those dayes. Galerius was emperour oon yere, whiche create ij. Cesares, Maximianus and Severus. Beda, libro primo, capitulo octavo. In whiche tyme Constancius diede at Briteyne at the cite of Yorke, levenge after hym Constantyne his firste son, geten of Helena, makenge hym kynge off Briteyne and of Fraunce in the xiij. yere of the reigne of Constancius.