124 [The derangement of Diocletian appears to have been temporary only. The causes of his abdication are not very clearly ascertained; but he seems to have meditated the step a considerable time previously. See Gibbon, ch. 13, and the note of Valesius.-Bag.]
125 Valesius and Hein., in his first edition, and Bag. read this transposed thus, "... severe damage to the state, and an effusion of blood; which, if shed," etc. But Val. suggests, and Heinichen adopts in his second edition, that the whole sentence should be transposed as above.
126 ["He means Maxentius, as appears from what follows. How Diocletian's army came under the command of Maxentius, it is not difficult to understand. After Diocletian's abdication, Galerius Maximian took the command of his forces, giving part to Severus Caesar for the defence of Italy. Shortly afterwards, Maxentius having usurped the Imperial power at Rome, Galerius sent Severus against him with his forces. Maxentius, however, fraudulently and by promises corrupted and drew to his own side Severus's army. After this, Galerius, having marched against Maxentius with a more numerous force, was himself in like manner deserted by his troops. Thus the army of Diocletian came under the power of Maxentius" (Valesius ad loc.).-Bag.]
128 Better, literally, "slackening faith." There is somewhat of loss from the primitive and real conception of faith in the fixing of the word "wavering" as the conventional expression for weak. Faith is the steadfast current of personality towards an object, and poverty of faith is more often the abatement or slackening of that steady, insistent activity than the wavering of doubt. There is more unbelief than disbelief.
The translation of this oration shows, even more than that of the Life or Constantine's Oration, a sympathy on the part of the translator with the florid style of Eusebius, and, trying as the style itself is, the success of Bag. in presenting the spirit of the original with, on the whole, very considerable accuracy of rendering has been a constant matter of surprise during the effort to revise.
6 [We must be content here (and probably in other passages of this Oration) to tolerate as rhetorical embellishment that which, regarded literally, is in every sense palpably untrue.-Bag.] The intention of the passage is probably like that of those who say now that there is no nation where, in some form, God is not worshiped.
7 [Referring possibly to Rev. i. 8. "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."-Bag.] Or, possibly, refers to Eph. iv. 6, as it seems to be simply some verbal suggestion.
10 This is directly from Eph. iv. 6: "Who is over all and through all and in all." It is thus directly referred to the Father, and on the basis of the above note of Bag. seems to convict of Arianism, but in reality the conception of a pre-existing Word is distinctly orthodox.
12 This is an allusion to what was afterwards known as Vampireism,-a belief of unknown antiquity and especially prevalent in various forms in the East. Rydberg (Magic of the Middle Ages, p. 207) describes the mediaeval form thus: "The vampires, according to the belief of the Middle Ages, are disembodied souls which clothe themselves again in their buried bodies steal at night into houses, and suck from the nipple of the sleeping all their blood." (Cf. Perty, d. myst. Ersch. 1 , 383. 91; Görres' Chr. myst. Vol. 3, etc.) Similar in nature was that notion of the spirits who sucked away the breath of sleeping persons, which has left its trace in the modern, superstition that cats suck away the breath of sleeping children.
15 [Dan. vii. 18. It is surely needless to remark on so singular and vicious an application of Scripture as this, further than that it is either a culpable rhetorical flourish, or else an indication of a lamentable defect of spiritual intelligence in the most learned writer of the fourth century.-Bag.] "But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom."-Revised Version.