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Page:Early Christianity in Arabia.djvu/92

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EARLY CHRISTIANITY

converting the wandering tribes, the name of Euthymius is recorded. The fierce persecution which raged in Persia against the Christians in the reigns of Yezdigird and his successor Baharam, during nearly twenty years of the commencement of the fifth century, is said to have originated from the zeal of a Christian bishop, who had destroyed a pyreum, or temple of the Persian fire-worshippers.[1] Amongst those who suffered under it are preserved the names and histories of Maharsapor[2] and St. Jacobus.[3] For the more effectual extirpation of their enemies, the Magi had instigated Yezdigird to appoint the various Arabian phylarchs who served under him as guards between the frontiers of Persia and Rome, that their flying parties might surprise and cut off the fugitives. Many of the Christians, however, escaped by the roads that were guarded by the phylarch Aspebetus, who, pitying their misfortunes, assisted instead of impeding their flight. The Magi, informed of his proceedings, accused him before the king, and Aspebetus, rather than trust to the mercy of Yezdigird, fled with his family to seek protection in Syria, and met with a hospitable recep-

  1. Asseman. Acta Martyrum Orient, tom. i. p. 230, 1, 2. The following distich was the work of some pious monk: —

    Εις πυρσολατρων γην εναθλει Περσιδα
    Ἡ Χριστολατρων αυχενοτμητος φαλαγξ.

    Menæa ap. Assem. p. 132.

  2. Asseman. ib. p. 234.
  3. Id. ib. p. 242.