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BARDESANES


293


BARDESANES


Island of Guernsey and Captain of Comet Castle. Later he was appointed to the command of a brigade and was made governor of Camden House, Glouces- tershire. Failing to hold this post against the as- saults of the Parliamentarians, he burned the house to the ground.

Bard was also Governor of Worcester about 1643, and in May, 1645. he distinguished himself by being the first to scale the ramparts of Leicester- He also took a prominent part in the battle of Xaseby. On 8 July, 1646, he was created Baron Bard and Viscount Bellamont in the Kingdom of Ireland. In the following December Bard was again taken prisoner, when on his way to Ireland, but was finally liberated on liis promising to go beyond the sea and never to return without permission. The court of Charles II at The Hague furnished the needed resting- place. In May of 1649 he was arrested, charged with murdering Dr. Dorislaus. The charge came to naught, and in 1656 Bard was sent from Bruges as special ambassador by Charles II to the Shah of Persia, to obtain financial help to recover the throne of England. The mission failed, as the Persian monarch was under obligations to England for aid rendered him at Ormuz and was therefore imable to comply with the request of Charles. Bard, who had been a Catholic for several years, lost his life in a windstorm in the desert of Arabia about 1660.

Henderson' in Diet. Nat. Biog., Ill, 175; Gn-Low, Bibl. Diet. Eng. Cath.. I, 128.

Thom.\s Gaffney Taaffe.

Bardesanes and Bardesanites. — Bardesanes {Bar- Daisan), a SjTian Gnostic or, more correctly, a SjTian poet, astrologist, and philosopher, b. 11 July, 154 (164?), at Edessa, of wealthy Persian, or Parthian, parents; d. 222, at Edessa. To indicate the city of his birth his parents called him "Son of the Daisan", the river on which Edessa is situated. On account of his foreign extraction he is sometimes referred to as "the Parthian" (by Julius Africanus), or "the Babylonian" (by PorphjTius); and, on ac- count of his later important activity in Armenia, "the Armenian" (by Hippolytus). His pagan parents, Nuhama' and Nah'siram, must have been people of rank, for their son was educated ■nith the crown-prince of the Osrhoenic kingdom, at the coiU"t of Abgar Manu VIII. Julius Africanus says that he saw Bardesanes, with bow and arrow, mark the out- line of a boy's face with his arrows on a shield which the boy held. Owing to political disturbances in Edessa, Bardesanes and his parents moved for a while to Hierapohs (Mabug), a strong centre of

Eaganism. Here the boy was brought up in the ouse of a heathen priest Anuduzbar. In this school, no doubt, he learnt all the intricacies of Babylonian astrology, a training which permanently influenced his mind and proved the bane of his later life. At the age of twenty-five he happened to hear the homilies of Hystaspes, the Bishop of Edessa; he re- ceived instruction, was baptized, and even admitted to the diaconate or the priesthood. "Priesthood", however, may merely imply that he ranked as one of the college of presbjners, for he remained in the world, had a son called Harmonius, and when Abgar IX, the friend of his youth, ascended the throne (179) he took his place at court. He was clearly no ascetic, but dressed in Oriental finerj-, "with berylls and caftan", according to St. Ephrem. His acceptance of Christianity was perfectly sin- cere; nor do later stories, that he left the Catholic Church and joined the Valentinian Gnostics out of disappointed ambition, deserve much credit. His royal friend became (probably afer 202, i. e. after his visit and honourable recepiion r,; Rome) the first Christian king; and both king and philosopher la- boured t o creat e t he first Christ ian St at e. Bardesanes showed great literary activity against Marcion and


Valentinus, the Gnostics of the day. But unfortu- nately, with the zeal of a convert anxious to use his previous acquirements in the service of the newly found truth, Bardesanes mixed his Babylonian pseudo-astronomy with Christian dogma and thus originated a Christian sect, which was vigorously combated by St. Ephrem. The Romans imder Cara- calla. taking advantage of the anti-Christian faction in Edessa, captured Abgar IX and sent him in chains to Rome. Thus the Osrhoenic kingdom, after 353 years' existence, came to an end. Though he was urged by a friend of Caracalla to apostatize, Bar- desanes stood firm, sajing that he feared not death, as he would in any event have to undergo it, even though he should now submit to the emperor. At the age of sixty-three he was forced to take refuge in the fortress of Ani in Armenia and tried to spread the Gospel there, but with little success. He died at the age of sixty-eight, probably at Edessa. Accord- ing to Michael the Syrian, Bardesanes had besides Harmonius two other sons called Abgarun and Hasdu.

Writin'GS. — Bardesanes apparently was a volumi- nous author. Though nearly all his works have per- ished, we find notices of the following: (a) Dialogues against Marcion and Valentinus (Theodoretus, HxT. fab., I, xxii; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xxx, 3). (b) Dialogue "Against Fate" addressed to An- toninus. Whether this Antoninus is merely a friend of Bardesanes or a Roman emperor and, in the latter case, which of the Antonini is meant, is a matter of controversy. It is also uncertain whether this dia- logue is identical with "The Book of the Laws of the Countries", of which later on (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xxx, 2; Epiphanius, Hser., LVI, i; Theodoretus, Hser. fab., I, xxii). (c) A "Book of Psalms ", 150 in number, in imitation of David's Psalter (St. Ephrem, Serm. adv. hser., liii). These psalms be- came famous in the history of Edessa; their words and melodies lived for generations on the lips of the people. Only, when St. Ephrem composed hjTiins in the same pentasyllable metre and had them sung to the same tunes as the psalms of Bardesanes, these latter gradually lost favour. We probably possess a few of Bardesanes' hjinns in the Gnostic "Acts of Thomas"; the "Hjinn on the Soul"; the "Espousals of Wisdom'; the consecratorj' praj'er at Baptism and at Holy Communion. Of these, however, only the "Hymn on the Soul" is generally acknowledged to be by Bardesanes, the authorship of the others is doubtful. Though marred by many obscurities, the beauty of this hj-mn on the soul is ven,' striking. The soul is sent from its heavenly home to the earth, sj-mbolized by Egj-pt. to obtain the pearl of great price. In EgjTDt it forgets for a while its royal parentage and glorious destiny. It is reminded thereof by a letter from home, succeeds in snatching the pearl from the Serpent, and, once more clothed in a raiment of light, it returns to receive its rank and glory in the kingdom of its father, (d) Astrologico- theological treatises, in which his peculiar tenets were expounded. They are referred to by St. Ephrem, and amongst them was a treatise on light and dark- ness. A fragment of an astronomical work by Barde- sanes was preserved by George, Bishop of the Arab tribes, and republished by Nau in " Bardfoane I'astrologue" etc. (Paris, 1899). (e) A "History of Armenia". Moses of Chorene (Historj- of G. A., II, 66) states that Bardesanes, "having taken refuge ia the fortress of Ani. read there the temple records in which also the deeds of kings were chronicled; to these he added the events of his own time. He wTote all in SjTiac, but his book was afterwards translated into Greek." Though the correctness of this state- ment is not quite above suspicion, it probably has a foundation in fact. (f) "An Account of India". Bardesanes obtained his information from the Hindu