[Davis Introduction]: About 250 A.D.,
during the Emperor Decius short but furious persecution, persons suspected of
Christianity were evidently obliged to clear themselves by sacrificing to the old gods,
then taking out a certificate to protect themselves against further legal proceedings.
This example comes from a papyrus found at Oxyrhyncus.
To the Commissioners of Sacrifice of the Village of
From Aurelius Diogenes, the son of Satabus, of the Village of
Alexanders Island, aged 72 years: ---scar on his right eyebrow.
I have always sacrificed regularly to the gods, and now, in your
presence, in accordance with the edict, I have done sacrifice, and poured the drink
offering, and tasted of the sacrifices, and I request you to certify the same. Farewell.
-----Handed in by me, Aurelius Diogenes.
-----I certify that I saw him sacrificing [signature obliterated].
Done in the first year of the Emperor, Caesar Gaius Messius Quintus
Trajanus Decius Pius Felix Augustus, second of the month Epith. [June 26, 250 A.D.]
From: William Stearns Davis, ed. Readings in Ancient History:
Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-1913),
Vol. II: Rome and the West, p. 289.
Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton
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