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MARK—MARK, GOSPEL OF


(Severus Aschimon in Renaudot, Hist. patriarch. alex., p. 2). In the apocryphal Acts of Barnabas, which profess to be written by him, he speaks of himself as having been formerly a servant of Cyrillus, the high priest of Zeus, and as having been baptized at Iconium. The presbyter John, whom Papias quotes, says distinctly that “he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him” (Eusebius, loc. cit.); and this positive statement is fatal to the tradition, which does not appear until about two hundred and fifty years afterwards, that he was one of the seventy disciples (Epiphanius, pseudo-Origen De recta in Deum fide, and the author of the Paschal Chronicle). Various other results of the tendency to fill up blank names in the gospel history must be set aside on the same ground; it was, for example, believed that Mark was one of the disciples who “went back” because of the “hard saying” (pseudo-Hippolyt., De LXX Apostolis in Cod. Barocc. Migne, Patrol. graec. x. 955); there was an Alexandrian tradition that he was one of the servants at the miracle of Cana of Galilee, that he was the “man bearing a pitcher of water” in whose house the last supper was prepared, and that he was also the owner of the house in which the disciples met on the evening of the resurrection (Renaudot, loc. cit.); and even in modern times there has been the conjecture that he was the “certain young man” who “fled naked” from Gethsemane, Mark xiv. 51, 52 (Olshausen).

A tradition which was widely diffused, and which is not in itself improbable, was that he afterwards preached the gospel and presided over the church at Alexandria (the earliest extant testimony is that of Eusebius, H. E. ii. 16, 1; ii. 24; for the fully-developed legend of later times see Symeon Metaphrastes, Vita S. Marci, and Eutychius Origines ecclesiae Alexandrinae). There was another, though perhaps not incompatible, tradition that he preached the gospel and presided over the church at Aquileia in North Italy. The earliest testimony in favour of this tradition is the vague statement of Gregory of Nazianzus that Mark preached in Italy, but its existence in the 7th century is shown by the fact that in A.D. 629 Heraclius sent the patriarchal chair from Alexandria to Grado, to which city the patriarchate of Aquileia had been then transferred (Chron. patriarch. Gradens., in Ughelli, Italia sacra, tom. v. p. 1086; for other references to the general tradition see De Rubeis, Monum. eccles. aquileien., c. 1; Acta sanctorum, ad April, xxv.). It was through this tradition that Mark became connected with Venice, whither the patriarchate was further transferred from Grado; an early Venetian legend, which is represented in the Cappella Zen in the basilica of St Mark, antedates this connexion by picturing the evangelist as having been stranded on the Rialto, while it was still an uninhabited island, and as having had the future greatness of the city revealed to him (Danduli, Chron. iv. 1, ap. Muratori, Rer. ital. script. xii. 14).

The earliest traditions appear to imply that he died a natural death (Eusebius, Jerome, and even Isidore of Seville); but the Martyrologies claim him as a martyr, though they do not agree as to the manner of his martyrdom. According to the pseudo-Hippolytus he was burned; but Symeon Metaphrastes and the Paschal Chronicle represent him to have been dragged over rough stones until he died. But, however that may be, his tomb appears to have been venerated at Alexandria, and there was a firm belief at Venice in the middle ages that his remains had been translated thither in the 9th century (the fact of the translation is denied even by Tillemont; the weakness of the evidence in support of the tradition is apparent even in Molini’s vigorous defence of it, lib. ii. c. 2; the minute account which the same writer gives, lib., ii. c. 11, of the discovery of the supposed actual bones of the evangelist in A.D. 1811, is interesting). There was another though less widely accepted tradition, that the remains soon after their translation to Venice were retranslated to the abbey of Reichenau on Lake Constance; a circumstantial account of this retranslation is given in the treatise Ex miraculis S. Marci, in Pertz, Mon. hist. german. script., tom. iv. p. 449. It may be added that the Venetians prided themselves on possessing, not only the body of St Mark, but also the autograph of his Gospel; this autograph, however, proved on examination to be only part of a 6th-century book of the Gospels, the remainder of which was published by Bianchini as the Evangeliarium forojuliense; the Venetian part of this MS. was found some years ago to have been wholly destroyed by damp.

It has been at various times supposed that Mark wrote other works besides the Gospel. Several books of the New Testament have been attributed to him: viz. the Epistle to the Hebrews (Spanheim, Op. miscell. ii. 240), the Epistle of Jude (cf. Holtzmann, Die synoptischen Evangelien, p. 373), the Apocalypse (Hitzig, Ueber Johannes Marcus, Zürich, 1843). The apocryphal Acta Barnabae purport to have been written by him. There is a liturgy which bears his name, and which exists in two forms; the one form was found in a MS. of the 12th century in Calabria, and is, according to Renaudot, the foundation of the three liturgies of St Basil, St Gregory Nazianzen and St Cyril; the other is that which is used by the Maronite and Jacobite Syrians. Both forms have been published by Renaudot, Liturg. oriental. collect, i. 127, and ii. 176, and in Neale’s History of the Holy Eastern Church; but neither has any substantial claim to belong to the ante-Nicene period of Christian literature.

The symbol by which Mark is designated in Christian art is usually that of a lion. Each of the “four living creatures” of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse has been attributed to each of the four evangelists in turn; Augustine and Bede think that Mark is designated by the “man”; Theophylact and others think that he is designated by the eagle; Anastasius Sinaita makes his symbol the ox; but medieval art acquiesced in the opinion of Jerome that he was indicated by the lion. Most of the martyrologies and calendars assign April 25 as the day on which he should be commemorated; but the Martyr. Hieron. gives the 23rd of September, and some Greek martyrologies give the 11th of January. This unusual variation probably arises from early differences of opinion as to whether there was one Mark or more than one.

See Canon Molini of Venice, De vita et lipsanis S. Marci Evangelistae, edited, after the author’s death, by S. Pieralisi, the librarian of the Barberini library (1864); R. A. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgesch. und Apostellegenden (1883 foll). vol. ii. part 2, pp. 321-353.


MARK, a word of which the principal meanings are in their probable order of development,—boundary, an object set up to indicate a boundary or position; hence a sign or token, impression or trace. The word in O. Eng. is mearc, and appears in all Teutonic languages, cf. Du. merk, Ger. Mark, boundary, marke, sign, impression; Romanic languages have borrowed the word, cf. Fr. marque, Ital. marca. Cognate forms outside Teutonic have been found in Lat. margo, “margin,” and Pers. marz, boundary. Others would refer to the Lith. margas, striped, parti-coloured, and Sanskrit marga, trace, especially of hunted game. In the sense of boundary, or a tract of country on or near a boundary or frontier, “mark” in English usage proper is obsolete, and “march” (q.v.) has established itself. It still remains, however, to represent the German mark, a tract of land held in common by a village community (see Mark System), and also historically the name of certain principalities, such as the mark of Brandenburg. The Italian marca is also sometimes rendered by “mark,” as in the mark of Ancona.

Mark is also the name of a modern silver coin of the German empire. This is apparently a distinct word and not of Teutonic origin; it is found in all Teutonic and Romanic languages, Latinized as marca or marcus. The mark was originally a measure of weight only for gold and silver and was common throughout western Europe and was equivalent to 8 oz. The variations, however, throughout the middle ages were considerable (see Du Cange, Gloss. med. et infim. Lat., s.v. Marca for a full list). In England the “mark” was never a coin, but a money of account only, and apparently came into use in the 10th century through the Danes. It first was taken as equal to 100 pennies, but after the Norman Conquest was equal to 160 pennies (20 pennies to the oz.) = 2/3 of the pound sterling, or 13s. 4d., and therefore in Scotland 131/2d. English; the mark (merk) Scots was a silver coin of this value, issued first in 1570 and afterwards in 1663. The modern German mark was adopted in 1873 as the standard of value and the money of account. It is of the value of 6.146 grains of gold, 900 fine, and is equal to English standard gold of the value of 11.747 pence. The modern silver coin, nearly equal in value to the English shilling, was first issued in 1875. (See Numismatics, § iv.)


MARK, GOSPEL OF ST, the second of the four canonical Gospels of the Christian Church. Till quite recent times this Gospel, though nominally equal to the others in authority, has unquestionably not aroused the same interest or feelings of attachment as they have, partly from its not bearing the name of an apostle for its author, as the first and fourth do, partly, also, owing to the fact that the first and third, while they include most of what is found in it, contain much additional matter, which is of the highest value. Of late, however, it has acquired new importance through the critical inquiries which have led to the conclusion that the two other synoptic Gospels are based upon it, or upon a document which is upon the whole most truly represented in it (see Gospel), so that it possesses the advantage of being an earlier source of information, or at least of bringing us more fully into contact with such a source. The significance of all that we can learn as to the history of the composition of Mark’s Gospel is clearly enhanced by this consideration.

(1) Early Account of a Writing by Mark.—According to a fragment of Papias (ap. Eus. Hist. Eccl. III. 39) taken from