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XLIII. To the Augusta Pulcheria.16851685    Vide p. 155 n.

Since you adorn the empire by your piety and render the purple brighter by your faith, we make bold to write to you, no longer conscious of our insignificance in that you always pay all due honour to the clergy. With these sentiments I beseech your majesty to deign to show clemency to our unhappy country, to order the ratification of the visitation which has been several times made, and not to accept the false accusations which some men have brought against it. I beseech you to give no credit to him who bears indeed the name of bishop, but whose mode of action is unworthy even of respectable slaves.16861686    The delator referred to in these letters is presumably Athanasius of Perrha, who was deposed by Domnus II bishop of Antioch, in the middle of the fifth century. As Tillemont points out (Vol. XV. pp. 261–3 ed. 1740) we cannot make the identification with certainty, but the circumstances correspond with what is known of this Athanasius. There was a Perrha, now Perrin, about twenty miles north of Samosata (Samisat). He has been himself under serious charges and subject to the bann of excommunication under the most holy and God-beloved archbishop of Antioch, the Lord Domnus, pending the summoning of the episcopal council for the investigation of the charges against him. He has now made his escape, and betaken himself to the imperial city, where he plies the trade of an informer, attacking the country which is his mother country with its thousands of poor, and, for the sake of his hatred to one, wags his tongue against all. Out of regard to what is becoming to me I will say nothing as to his character and education, and indeed he shows only too plainly what he has at present in hand. But of the district I will say this, that when the whole province had its burdens lightened, this portion, although it bore a very heavy share of the burden, never enjoyed the benefit of relaxation. The result is that many estates are deprived of husbandmen; nay, many are altogether abandoned by their owners, while the wretched decurions have demands made on them for these very properties, and, being quite unable to bear the exaction, betake themselves some to begging, and some to flight. The city seems to be reduced to one man, and he will not be able to hold out unless your piety supplies a remedy. But I am in hopes that your serenity will heal the wounds in the city and add yet this one more to your many good deeds.


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