Political and Textual Assasinations, early 5th CE
In other papers related to the thesis that Constantine
invented christianity in the fourth century, and implemented it in
the Roman Empire with effect from his military supremacist council of
Nicaea, we have emphasised that the field of this thesis is ancient history.
An alternative theory of the history of antiquity is being explored
in which the christian "Biblical History" was inserted
into the political history of the Roman Empire no earlier than the rise of Constantine.
The primary purpose of this article is the examination of the role played
by the Bishop Cyril of Alexandria (378-444 CE) in the refutation and the
destruction of the writings of the Emperor Julian. However, the role of this figure Cyril in the death of the
female philosopher Hypatia in Alexandria, and the question of the role of Cyril
in the burning of the library of Alexandria, will also be examined.
It is here presented that after the writings of the emperor Julian, the Roman
empire was split with large scales power struggles between the adherents of the
christian religion (which according to this thesis came into being with effect
only from the military supremacy council of Nicaea), and other more traditional
structures of power within the Roman empire at Julian's death.
It is here conjectured that, in his original three books, now lost, Julian wrote
an extremely strong invective against the literary fabrication of the Galilaeans,
and against the roles of Constantine and Eusebius, who Julian (it is conjectured)
actually named, as the authors and perpetuators of the "fiction of men composed
Comments in regard to this thesis in the field of ancient history
- TimeLine and a brief History of the rise to power of Bishop Cyril.
- The Doctrinal aspect of Cyril's "christological pronouncements".
- An Analysis of the Treatise of the Censor, Bishop Cyril, against Julian.
- The History of Socrates scholasticus as regards Bishop Cyril.
- Bishop Cyril's implication in the murder of the philosopher Hypatia.
- Bishop Cyril's implication in the burning of the library of Alexandria.
may be sent to arius at the domain name of this website.
Best wishes to the students of life,
Southern Winter 2007
Cyril's Treatise Against Julian
Part 1 of 2
Cyril of Alexandria, Against Julian (2006) Prefatory Address
Address of the blessed Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria,
to the very pious emperor Theodosius, devoted to Christ
However who is it that has entered into war
against the glory of Christ?
They are legion, those who at various periods
have let themselves go at this foolishnes,
driven by the perversity of the devil;
but none as went far as Julian,
who damaged the prestige of the Empire
by refusing to recognize Christ,
dispenser of royalty and power.
Before his accession to the throne, he was counted among the believers:
he had even been admitted to Holy Baptism and had studied the Holy Scriptures.
4. But some sinister characters, followers of superstition,
entered I do not know how into connections with him
and sowed in him the maxims of apostasy;
then, allied with Satan in this design,
they led him towards the practices of the Greeks
and transformed into a servant of impure demons
one who had been raised in holy churches and monasteries:
"bad company corrupts good upbringing", as the very wise Paul says.
However, I affirm that those who wish to preserve a solid thought,
and who keep in their spirit, like an invaluable pearl,
the tradition of the true faith, do not have to offer
to the peddlers of superstition any occasion to insinuate themselves,
in any case to speak to them freely.
Is it not written: "You will be holy with the holy,
irreproachable with the irreproachable, chosen with the chosen,
and you will outwit the cheat"?
The eloquence with which he was gifted the all-powerful Julian
used against our common Saviour Christ;
he composed three books against the holy gospels
and against the very pure Christian religion,
he used them to shake many spirits
and to cause them uncommon wrongs.
Indeed, the light-minded and easily seduced
fall easily into his sights, and constitute
a welcome amusement for the demonic powers;
but not spirits strengthened in the faith
which do not let themselves be disturbed sometimes:
they believe that Julian knows the holy and divine Scriptures,
since he accumulates in his own works —
without otherwise knowing well what it says!... —
a number of testimonies that he borrows from them.
5. Very many followers of superstition, when they meet Christians,
overpower them with any kind of sarcastic remarks,
and rely on the works of Julian to attack us,
which they proclaim to be of an incomparable effectiveness,
adding that there never was a learned man on our side
able to refute them, or even show them at fault;
also, at the instigation of more than one person,
and full of confidence once again in the word of God:
"Get under way, and I will open your mouth!",
I put myself to the duty of rebutting this Greek eyebrow
raised against the glory of Christ, to help to the extent
of my abilities those which have been deceived,
in order to convict of error and of ignorance
of the Scriptures the man who has accused
our common Saviour Christ.
Part 2 of 2
Cyril of Alexandria, Against Julian.
Book 2 (beginning)
2. It is now necessary to come to (Julian's) own book.
We will reproduce his text word for word,
and will oppose our own arguments to his lies
in the appropriate order,
because we realize that it is necessary
to firmly neutralize them.
But, as I said, from his open mouth without reserve
he spreads every kind of calumny
against our common Saviour Christ,
and pours against him ill-sounding remarks:
I will abstain from responding with similar details,
and, advising the wise party to ignore that in his words
which risks dirtying the spirit by simple contact,
I will endeavour to combat this (method of) 'combat',
by denouncing on all occasions his habit of scoffing
which speaks wrongly and irrelevantly without ever being able
to arrive at saying a true thing.
It also should be known that in his first book
he handles a great mass of ideas
and does not cease turning and turning over
the same arguments in every direction;
some developments which are found at the beginning of his work,
he also advances in the body of the book and at the end:
he thus reveals a kind of disorder
in the articulation of his discussion,
and, fatally, those who want to argue
against what he says seem constantly
to be repeating themselves instead of finishing them once for all.
We will thus divide his text according to an appropriate classification,
we will gather his ideas by categories
and will face each of them
not on several occasions, but only once,
the with appropriate explanations and
following the rules of the art (of speaking).
Thus, at the beginning of his book against us, he says:
It is, I think, expedient
to set forth to all mankind
the reasons by which I was convinced
that the fabrication of the Galilaeans
is a fiction of men composed by wickedness.
Though it has in it nothing divine,
by making full use of that part of the soul
which loves fable and is childish and foolish,
it has induced men to believe
that the monstrous tale is truth.
Socrates Scholasticus on CYRIL
Conflict between the Christians and Jews at Alexandria:
About this same time it happened that the Jewish inhabitants were driven out of Alexandria by Cyril the bishop on the following account. The Alexandrian public is more delighted with tumult than any other people: and if at any time it should find a pretext, breaks forth into the most intolerable excesses; for it never ceases from its turbulence without bloodshed. It happened on the present occasion that a disturbance arose among the populace, not from a cause of any serious importance, but out of an evil that has become very popular in almost all cities, viz. a fondness for dancing exhibitions.  In consequence of the Jews being disengaged from business on the Sabbath, and spending their time, not in hearing the Law, but in theatrical amusements, dancers usually collect great crowds on that day, and disorder is almost invariably produced. And although this was in some degree controlled by the governor of Alexandria, nevertheless the Jews continued opposing these measures. And although they are always hostile toward the Christians they were roused to still greater opposition against them on account of the dancers. When therefore Orestes the prefect was publishing an edict—for so they are accustomed to call public notices—in the theatre for the regulation of the shows, some of the bishop Cyril’s party were present to learn the nature of the orders about to be issued. There was among them a certain Hierax, a teacher of the rudimental branches of literature, and one who was a very enthusiastic listener of the bishop Cyril’s sermons, and made himself conspicuous by his forwardness in applauding. When the Jews observed this person in the theatre, they immediately cried out that he had come there for no other purpose than to excite sedition among the people. Now Orestes had long regarded with jealousy the growing power of the bishops, because they encroached on the jurisdiction of the authorities appointed by the emperor, especially as Cyril wished to set spies over his proceedings; he therefore ordered Hierax to be seized, and publicly subjected him to the torture in the theatre. Cyril, on being informed of this, sent for the principal Jews, and threatened them with the utmost severities unless they desisted from their molestation of the Christians. The Jewish populace on hearing these menaces, instead of suppressing their violence, only became more furious, and were led to form conspiracies for the destruction of the Christians; one of these was of so desperate a character as to cause their entire expulsion from Alexandria; this I shall now describe. Having agreed that each one of them should wear a ring on his finger made of the bark of a palm branch, for the sake of mutual recognition, they determined to make a nightly attack on the Christians. They therefore sent persons into the streets to raise an outcry that the church named after Alexander was on fire. Thus many Christians on hearing this ran out, some from one direction and some from another, in great anxiety to save their church. The Jews immediately fell upon and slew them; readily distinguishing each other by their rings. At daybreak the authors of this atrocity could not be concealed: and Cyril, accompanied by an immense crowd of people, going to their synagogues—for so they call their house of prayer—took them away from them, and drove the Jews out of the city, permitting the multitude to plunder their goods. Thus the Jews who had inhabited the city from the time of Alexander the Macedonian were expelled from it, stripped of all they possessed, and dispersed some in one direction and some in another. One of them, a physician  named Adamantius, fled to Atticus bishop of Constantinople, and professing Christianity, some time afterwards returned to Alexandria and fixed his residence there. But Orestes the governor of Alexandria was filled with great indignation at these transactions, and was excessively grieved that a city of such magnitude should have been suddenly bereft of so large a portion of its population; he therefore at once communicated the whole affair to the emperor. Cyril also wrote to him, describing the outrageous conduct of the Jews; and in the meanwhile sent persons to Orestes who should mediate concerning a reconciliation: for this the people had urged him to do. And when Orestes refused to listen to friendly advances, Cyril extended toward him the book of gospels , believing that respect for religion would induce 160him to lay aside his resentment. When, however, even this had no pacific effect on the prefect, but he persisted in implacable hostility against the bishop, the following event afterwards occurred.
and breach between the Bishop Cyril and the Prefect Orestes.
 As to how the ancient Church looked upon theatrical shows, see Bingham, Christ. Antiq. XVI. 11. 15, and passages there referred to.
 ?at????? ????? s?f?st??, also called by other writers of the period ?at??s?f?st?? ; see Sophocles, Greek Lex. of the Rom. and Byzant. Periods.
 As a mode of abjuration, see VI. 11, note 5. In this case the sacred volume takes the place of the child.
The Monks of Nitria come down and raise a Sedition
Some of the monks inhabiting the mountains of Nitria, of a very fiery disposition, whom Theophilus some time before had unjustly armed against Dioscorus and his brethren, being again transported with an ardent zeal, resolved to fight in behalf of Cyril. About five hundred of them therefore quitting their monasteries, came into the city; and meeting the prefect in his chariot, they called him a pagan idolater, and applied to him many other abusive epithets. He supposing this to be a snare laid for him by Cyril, exclaimed that he was a Christian, and had been baptized by Atticus the bishop at Constantinople. As they gave but little heed to his protestations, and a certain one of them named Ammonius threw a stone at Orestes which struck him on the head and covered him with the blood that flowed from the wound, all the guards with a few exceptions fled, plunging into the crowd, some in one direction and some in another, fearing to be stoned to death. Meanwhile the populace of Alexandria ran to the rescue of the governor, and put the rest of the monks to flight; but having secured Ammonius they delivered him up to the prefect. He immediately put him publicly to the torture, which was inflicted with such severity that he died under the effects of it: and not long after he gave an account to the emperors of what had taken place. Cyril also on the other hand forwarded his statement of the matter to the emperor: and causing the body of Ammonius to be deposited in a certain church, he gave him the new appellation of Thaumasius,943943 Ta?µ?s??? , ‘wonderful,’ ‘admirable.’ ordering him to be enrolled among the martyrs, and eulogizing his magnanimity in church as that of one who had fallen in a conflict in defence of piety. But the more sober-minded, although Christians, did not accept Cyril’s prejudiced estimate of him; for they well knew that he had suffered the punishment due to his rashness, and that he had not lost his life under the torture because he would not deny Christ. And Cyril himself being conscious of this, suffered the recollection of the circumstance to be gradually obliterated by silence. But the animosity between Cyril and Orestes did not by any means subside at this point, but was kindled afresh by an occurrence similar to the preceding.
against the Prefect of Alexandria.
Of Hypatia the Female Philosopher.
There was a woman at Alexandria named Hypatia ,
daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instructions. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner, which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not unfrequently appeared in public in presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in coming to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more. Yet even she fell a victim to the political jealousy which at that time prevailed. For as she had frequent interviews with Orestes, it was calumniously reported among the Christian populace, that it was she who prevented Orestes from being reconciled to the bishop. Some of them therefore, hurried away by a fierce and bigoted zeal, whose ringleader was a reader named Peter, waylaid her returning home, and dragging her from her carriage, they took her to the church called Cæsareum, where they completely stripped her, and then murdered her with tiles.  After tearing her body in pieces, they took her mangled limbs to a place called Cinaron, and there burnt them. This affair brought not the least opprobrium, not only upon Cyril, but also upon the whole Alexandrian church. And surely nothing can be farther from the spirit of Christianity than the allowance of massacres, fights, and transactions of that sort. This happened in the month of March during Lent, in the fourth year of Cyril’s episcopate, under the tenth consulate of Honorius, and the sixth of Theodosius. 
 The following incident has been popularized by Charles Kingsley in his well-known novel of Hypatia, which has, however, the accessory aim of antagonizing the over-estimation of early Christianity by Dr. Pusey and his followers. The original sources for the history of Hypatia, besides the present chapter, are the letters of her pupil Synesius, and Philostorgius, VIII. 9. Cf. also Wernsdoff, de Hypatia, philosopha Alex. diss. 4, Viteb. 1748.
 ?st??????, lit. ‘oystershells,’ but the word was also applied to brick tiles used on the roofs of houses.
 The responsibility of Cyril in this affair has been variously estimated by different historians. Walch, Gibbon, and Milman incline to hold him guilty. J. C. Robertson ascribes him indirect responsibility, asserting that the perpetrators of the crime ‘were mostly officers of his church, and had unquestionably drawn encouragement from his earlier proceedings.’ Hist. of the Christ. Ch. Vol. I. p. 401. W. Bright says, ‘Cyril was no party to this hideous deed, but it was the work of men whose passions he had originally called out. Had there been no onslaught on the synagogues, there would doubtless have been no murder of Hypatia.’ Hist. of the Church from 313 to 451, pp. 274, 275. See also Schaff, Hist. of the Christ. Ch. Vol. III. p. 943.
 415 CE.
Authors of Antiquity |