Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume III/Lives of Illustrious Men/Gennadius/Orosius the presbyter

Chapter XL.

Orosius,[1] a Spanish presbyter, a man most eloquent and learned in history, wrote eight books against those enemies of the Christians who say that the decay of the Roman State was caused by the Christian religion. In these rehearsing the calamities and miseries and disturbances of wars, of pretty much the whole world from the creation[2] he shows that the Roman Empire owed to the Christian religion its undeserved continuance and the state of peace which it enjoyed for the worship of God.

In the first book he described the world situated within the ever flowing stream of Oceanus and intersected by the Tanais, giving the situations of places, the names, number and customs of nations, the characteristics of various regions, the wars begun and the formation of empires sealed with the blood of kinsmen.

This is the Orosius who, sent by Augustine to Hieronymus to teach the nature of the soul, returning, was the first to bring to the West relics of the blessed Stephen the first martyr then recently found. He flourished almost[3] at the end of the reign of the emperor Honorius.


  1. Paulus Orosius of Tarragon, the historian, flourished about 413 or 417. His history was begun after 416 and finished in 417.
  2. from the creation (“from the whole period of the earth”) A 25 30 31 a e; omit T 21 Her.
  3. almost25 30 31 a e; omit T A Her.