Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of the Conquests and Charity of our Lord

Gesta Romanorum Vol. I  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of the Conquests and Charity of our Lord



Cosdras, king of the Athenians, (39) having declared war against the Dorians, assembled an army, and despatched messengers to the oracle of Apollo, to ascertain the fortune of the engagement. The God answered, "that the party whose chief fell by the sword of the enemy, should win the field." The Dorians, also, understanding the response of the oracle, strictly enjoined their soldiers to spare the life of Cosdras; but the king, disguising himself in the habit of a slave, cut his way into the heart of the hostile army. The enemy, perceiving the extreme audacity of a single man, armed only with a sabre, yet fighting valiantly and effectively in the very midst of them, turned all their attack upon the warrior, and with some difficulty slew him. Thus, by a remarkable effort of patriotism, he enabled his country to triumph over its enemies; and his death, on one side so fatal in its consequences, was bewailed not less by the adverse host, than by his own subjects.


My beloved, thus did our blessed Lord, by the pre-determined counsel of God, die to liberate mankind from their worst enemies. As Cosdras changed his regal state for the humiliating garb of a servant, so did Christ put on mortality, and by his death triumphed over our demoniacal foes.

Note 39.Page 150.


By Cosdras, is meant Codrus, the last king of Athens. See Justin ii. ch. 6 and 7.