Philip the Arab Timeline

Philip the Arab Timeline

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Philip the Arab Timeline - History

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


One of "the seven" chosen to have the oversight of "the daily ministration" of the poor of the Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 6:5). Whether Philip, bearing a Greek name, was a Hellenist, is not known, but his missionary work reveals to us one free from the religious prejudices of the strict Hebrew.
The martyrdom of Stephen was the beginning of a systematic persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered over Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1), and even as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch (Acts 11:19). Thus, the influence of the new teaching was extended, and a beginning made to the missionary movement. The story of Philip's missionary labors is told in Acts 8:5 ff. He went to the chief city of Samaria, called Sebaste in honor of Augustus (Greek Sebastos). The Samaritans, of mixed Israelite and Gentile blood, had, in consequence of their being rigidly excluded from the Jewish church since the return from exile, built on Mt. Gerizim a rival sanctuary to the temple. To them Philip proclaimed the Christ and wrought signs, with the result that multitudes gave heed, and "were baptized, both men and women." They had been under the influence of a certain sorcerer, Simon, who himself also believed and was baptized, moved, as the sequel proved, by the desire to learn the secret of Philip's ability to perform miracles (see SIMON MAGUS). The apostles (Acts 8:14) at Jerusalem sanctioned the admission of Samaritans into the church by sending Peter and John, who not only confirmed the work of Philip, but also themselves preached in many Samaritan villages.
The next incident recorded is the conversion of a Gentile, who was, however, a worshipper of the God of Israel, a eunuch under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. As he was returning from worshipping in the temple at Jerusalem, he was met by Philip on the road to Gaza. Philip expounded to him that portion of Isa 53 which he had been reading aloud as he sat in his chariot, and preached unto him Jesus. It is another sign of Philip's insight into the universality of Christianity that he baptized this eunuch who could not have been admitted into full membership in the Jewish church (Dt 23:1).
After this incident, Philip went to Azotus (Ashdod), and then traveled north to Caesarea, preaching in the cities on his way. There he settled, for Luke records that Paul and his company abode in the house of Philip, "the evangelist," "one of the seven," for some days (Acts 21:8 ff). This occurred more than 20 years after the incidents recorded in Acts 8. Both at this time and during Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea, Luke had the opportunity of hearing about Philip's work from his own lips. Luke records that Philip had 4 daughters who were preachers (Acts 21:9).
The Jewish rebellion, which finally resulted in the fall of Jerusalem, drove many Christians out of Israel, and among them Philip and his daughters. One tradition connects Philip and his daughters with Hierapolis in Asia, but in all probability the evangelist is confounded with the apostle. Another tradition represents them as dwelling at Tralles, Philip being the first bishop of the Christian community.
S. F. Hunter Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'philip, the evangelist'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE 1915.

Copyright Information
© International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)


Biography of Philip the Arab Edit

Philip was born in a village in Auranitis, part of the district of Trachonitis, east of the Sea of Galilee in Palestine. Philip renamed the village Philippopolis (the modern al-Shahbā', Syria) during his reign as emperor. [2] He was one of only three Easterners to be made emperor before the decisive separation of East and West in 395. (The other two were Elagabalus and Alexander Severus). Even among Easterners Philip was atypical, as he was an Arab, not a Greek. [3] His father was Julius Marinus nothing besides his name is known, but the name indicates that he held Roman citizenship and that he must have been prominent in his community. [4]

The early details of Philip's career are obscure, but his brother, Gaius Julius Priscus, was made praetorian prefect under Emperor Gordian III (r. 238–44). If a fragmentary inscription (Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae 1331) refers to Priscus, he would have moved through several equestrian offices (that is, administrative positions open to a member of the equestrian order) during Gordian's reign. In the spring of 242, Philip himself was made praetorian prefect, most likely with the help of his brother. Following a failed campaign against Persia in the winter of 243–44, Gordian died in camp. [4] Rumors that Philip had murdered him were taken up by the senatorial opposition of the later 3rd century, and survive in the Latin histories and epitomes of the period. [5] Philip was acclaimed emperor, and was secure in that title by late winter 244. Philip made his brother rector Orientis, an executive position with extraordinary powers, including command of the armies in the Eastern provinces. Philip began his reign by negotiating a peaceful end to his predecessor's war against Persia. In 248, Philip called the Secular Games to celebrate the 1000-year anniversary of the founding of Rome. [4]

In the Near East, Philip's brother Priscus' tax collection methods provoked the revolt of Jotapianus. At the same time, Silbannacus started a rebellion in the Rhenish provinces. He faced a third rebellion in 248 when the legions he had used in successful campaigns against the Carpi on the Danubian frontier revolted and proclaimed an officer named Pacatianus emperor. All three rebellions were suppressed quickly. In 249, to restore order after the defeat of Pacatianus, Philip gave Senator Decius, a native of the region, command of the Danubian armies. In late spring 249, the armies proclaimed Decius emperor. The civil war that followed ended in a battle outside Verona. Decius emerged victorious, and Philip either died or was assassinated. When news of Philip's death reached Rome, the Praetorian Guard murdered his son and successor Marcus Julius Severus Philippus. [4] [6]

Christianity and Philip's early life and career Edit

No account or allusion to Philip's presumed conversion to Christianity survives. The Byzantinist and Arabist Irfan Shahîd, who argues in favor of Philip's Christianity in Rome and the Arabs, assumes that he had been a Christian before becoming emperor. He argues, therefore, that there is no need to explain the absence of evidence for Philip's conversion in contemporary Christian literature. [7] Trachonitis, equidistant from Antioch in the north and Bosra in the south, and sited on a road connecting the two, could have been Christianized from either direction. [8] Even if he was not himself Christian, Philip would probably have been familiar with Christians in his hometown as well as Bosra and other nearby settlements. [9] Hans Pohlsander, a classicist and historian arguing against accounts of Philip's Christianity, allows that Philip "may have been curious about a religion which had its origins in an area so close to his place of birth. As an eastern provincial rather than an Italian, he may not have been so intense in his commitment to the traditional Roman religion that he could not keep an open mind on other religions." [10] He also accepts that Philippopolis probably contained a Christian congregation during Philip's childhood. [10] For the scholar of religion Frank Trombley, however, the absence of evidence for the early Christianization of Philippopolis makes Shahîd's assumption that Philip was Christian from early childhood unmerited. [11]

If Philip had been a Christian during his military service, he would have not been a particularly unusual figure for his era—although membership in the army was prohibited by certain churchmen, and would have required participation in rites some Christians found sacrilegious, it was not uncommon among the Christian laity. [12] The position of an emperor, however, was more explicitly pagan—emperors were expected to officiate over public rites and lead the religious ceremonies of the army. [13] Christian scripture contains explicit prohibitions on this sort of behavior, such as the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before me". [14] [notes 1] Whatever the prohibitions, people raised on the "more tolerant Christianity of the camp" [16] would have been able to justify participation in pagan ritual to themselves. Such people did exist: the historical record includes Christian army officers, who would have been regularly guilty of idolatry, and the military martyrs of the late 3rd century. [16] Their ritual sacrifice excluded them from certain parts of the Christian community (ecclesiastical writers tended to ignore them, for example [17] ) but these people nonetheless believed themselves to be Christian and were recognized by others as Christians. [18]

Christianity in Auranitis Edit

Thanks to its proximity to the first Christian communities of Palestine, Provincia Arabia, of which Philippopolis was a part, was among the first regions to convert to Christianity. By the time of Philip's birth, the region had been extensively Christianized, [19] especially in the north and in Hellenized settlements like those of Auranitis. [20] The region is known to have had a fully developed synodal system (in which bishops from the dioceses in the region met to discuss Church affairs) by the mid-3rd century. The region sent six bishops to the Council of Nicaea in 325, [21] and Eusebius' Onomasticon, a gazetteer of Biblical place-names, records a wholly Christian village called Cariathaim, or Caraiatha, near Madaba. [20] Outside of the cities, however, there is less evidence of Christianization. Before the 5th century there is little evidence of the faith, and many villages remained unconverted in the 6th. Philippopolis, which was a small village for most of this period, does not have a Christian inscription that can be dated earlier than 552. [22] It is not known when the village established a prelateship, [23] but it must have been sometime before 451, when it sent a bishop to the Council of Chalcedon. [24]

Christian beliefs were present in the region's Arab community since about AD 200, when Abgar VIII, an ethnic Arab and king of the Roman client state Osroene, converted to Christianity. The religion was propagated from Abgar's capital at Edessa until its destruction in 244. [25] By the mid-3rd century, Bosra, the capital of Provincia Arabia, had a Christian bishop, Beryllos. Beryllos offers an early example of the heretical beliefs Hellenic Christians imputed to the Arabs as a race: [26] Beryllos believed that Christ did not exist before he was made flesh at the Incarnation. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, his views were condemned as heresy following debate at a local synod. [27] The debate was most likely conducted in Greek, a language in common use among the well-Hellenized cities of the region. [notes 2]

Christianity in the mid-3rd century Edit

The 3rd century was the age in which the initiative for persecution shifted from the masses to the Imperial office. [29] In the 1st and 2nd centuries, persecutions were carried out under the authority of local government officials. [30] Septimius Severus (r. 193–211) and Maximin (r. 235–38) are alleged to have issued general rescripts against the religion and targeted its clergy, but the evidence for their acts is obscure and contested. [31] There is no evidence that Philip effected any changes to the Christians' legal status. Pogroms against the Christians in Alexandria took place while Philip was still emperor. [32] There is no evidence that Philip punished, [33] participated in or assisted the pogrom. [34]

No historian contests that Philip's successor Decius (r. 249–51), called a general persecution against the Church, and most would list it as the first. Decius was anxious to secure himself in the imperial office. Before mid-December 249, Decius issued an edict demanding that all Romans, throughout the empire, make a show of sacrifice to the gods. [35] Libelli were signed in Fayum in June and July 250 as demonstrations of this sacrifice. [36] If the persecutions of Maximin and Septimius Severus are dismissed as fiction, Decius' edict was without precedent. [37] If the Christians were believed to be Philip's friends (as Dionysius of Alexandria presents them), however, it might help explain Decius' motivations. [38]

The ancient traditions regarding Philip's Christianity can be divided into three categories: the Eusebian, or Caesarean the Antiochene and the Latin. The Eusebian tradition consists of Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea's Historia Ecclesiastica and the documents excerpted and cited therein, including the letters of Origen and Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria. The Antiochene tradition consists of the John Chrysostom's homily de S. Babyla and Leontius, bishop of Antioch's entries in the Chronicon Paschale. Most scholars hold that these accounts ultimately derive from Eusebius of Caesarea's Historia Ecclesiastica (Ecclesiastical History), but some, like Irfan Shahîd, posit that Antioch had an independent oral tradition. [39]

Eusebius Edit

The most significant author to discuss Philip the Arab and Christianity is Eusebius, who served as bishop of Caesarea in Roman Palestine from ca. 314 to his death in 339. [40] Eusebius' major work is the Historia Ecclesiastica, written in several editions dating from ca. 300 to 325. The Historia is not an attempt at a full history of the Church in the classical style, but rather a collection of facts addressing six topics in Christian history from the Apostolic times to the late 3rd century: (1) lists of bishops of major sees (2) Christian teachers and their writings (3) heresies (4) the tribulations of the Jews (5) the persecutions of Christians by pagan authorities and (6) the martyrs. [41] His Vita Constantini, written between Constantine's death in 337 and Eusebius' own death in 339, is a combination of eulogistic encomium and continuation of the Historia (the two separate documents were combined and distributed by Eusebius' successor in the see of Caesarea, Acacius). [42]

Five references in Eusebius' Historia Ecclesiastica speak to Philip's Christianity three directly, two by implication. At 6.34, he describes Philip visiting a church on Easter Eve and being denied entry by the presiding bishop because he had not yet confessed his sins. The bishop goes unnamed. [43] At 6.36.3, he writes of letters from the Christian theologian Origen to Philip and to Philip's wife, Marcia Otacilia Severa. At 6.39, Eusebius writes that Decius persecuted Christians because he hated Philip. The remaining two references are quotations or paraphrases of Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, a contemporary of Philip (he held the patriarchate from 247 to 265). [44] At 6.41.9, Dionysius contrasts the tolerant Philip's rule with the intolerant Decius'. At 7.10.3, Dionysius implies that Alexander Severus (emperor from 222 to 235) and Philip were both openly Christian. [45]

Philip's visit to the church Edit

Text, sources, and interpretation Edit

Most arguments regarding Philip's Christianity hinge on Eusebius' account of the emperor's visit to a church at 6.34. [46] In the words of the 17th-century ecclesiastical historian Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont, it is the "la ſeule action en laquelle on ſache qu'il ait honoré l'Église", the "only action in which we know him to have honored the Church". [47]

In Shahîd's reconstruction, this event took place at Antioch on 13 April 244, while the emperor was on his way back to Rome from the Persian front. [48] The 12th-century Byzantine historian Zonaras repeats the story. [49]

Eusebius introduces his account of Philip's visit with the words κατέχει λόγος' (katechei logos). The precise meaning of these words in modern European languages has been contested. Ernst Stein, in an account challenging the veracity of Eusebius' narrative, translated the phrase as "gerüchte", or "rumor" [50] the scholar John Gregg translated it as "the saying goes". [51] Other renderings are possible, however modern English translations of the Historia Ecclesiastica have "it is recorded" or "it is reported", as in the translation quoted above. [52] The historian Robin Lane Fox, who translates logos as "story" or "rumor" in scare quotes, [38] emphasizes that Eusebius draws a distinction between his "story" about Philip and the other material in the passage. [53]

The substantiative issue involved is the nature of Eusebius' source where "gerüchte" suggests hearsay (Frend explains that Eusebius' κατέχει λόγος' "usually means mere suggestion" [54] ), "it is recorded" suggests documentation. Given that Eusebius' major sources for 3rd-century history were written records, Shahîd contends that the typical translation misrepresents the original text. [55] His source here is probably one of the two letters from Origen to Philip and Marcia Otacilia Severa, Philip's wife, mentioned at 6.36.3. [56] Shahîd argues that an oral source is unlikely given that Eusebius composed his Historia in Caesarea and not Antioch but others, like Stein and theologian Arthur Cushman McGiffert, editor and translator of the Historia for the Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, contend nonetheless that the story has an oral source. [57]

Shahîd's position is reinforced by C. H. Roberts and A. N. Sherwin-White, who reviewed his Rome and the Arabs before publication. That is, that the proper interpretation of κατέχει λόγος is as a reference to a written account. Roberts notes that Χριστιανὸν ὄντα (Christianon onta, "being a Christian") was probably an editorial insertion by Eusebius, and not included in the logos he relates in the passage. Shahîd takes this as an indication that Eusebius did indeed vouch for Philip's Christianity. Roberts suggested that κατέχει λόγος might be translated as "there is a wide-spread report", but added that a broader study of Eusebius' use of the expression elsewhere would be useful. Sherwin-White points out Eusebius' use of the phrase in his passage on the Thundering Legion (at Historia Ecclesiastica 5.5), where it represents a reference to written sources. [58]

However, because Eusebius nowhere categorically asserts that he has read the letters (he only says that he has compiled them [59] ) and as moderns are disinclined to take him at his word, some, like Pohlsander, posit that Eusebius did not get the tale from the letters, and drew it instead from oral rumors. Whatever the case, the wording of the passage shows that Eusebius is unenthusiastic about his subject and skeptical of its significance. Jerome and the Latin Christian authors following him do not share his caution. [60]

Contexts and parallels Edit

For many scholars, the scene at 6.34 seems to anticipate and parallel the confrontation between Theodosius and Ambrose in 390 [61] Erasmus used the two situations as parallel exempla in a letter written to Francis I in 1523. [62] That later event has been taken as evidence against Philip's Christianity. Even in the later 4th century, in a society that had already been significantly Christianized, the argument goes, Theodosius' humiliation had shocked the sensibilities of the aristocratic elite. It is therefore inconceivable that 3rd century aristocrats, members of a society that had experienced only partial Christianization, would accept such self-abasement from their emperors. [63] Shahîd contests this parallel, and argues that Philip's scene was far less humiliating than Theodosius': it did not take place against the same background (Theodosius had massacred seven thousand Thessalonicans some months before), no one was excommunicated (Theodosius was excommunicated for eight months), and it did not involve the same dramatic and humiliating dialogue between emperor and bishop. Philip made a quick repentance at a small church on his way back to Rome from the Persian front, a stark contrast to the grandeur of Theodosius' confrontation with Ambrose. [64] [notes 3]

Other scholars, such as ecclesiastical historian H. M. Gwatkin, explain Philip's alleged visit to the church as evidence of simple "curiosity". That he was excluded from services is not surprising: as a "heathen" in official conduct, and, as an unbaptized man, it would have been unusual if he had been admitted. [68] Shahîd rejects idle curiosity as an explanation, arguing that 3rd-century churches were too nondescript to attract much undue attention. That Philip was unbaptized is nowhere proven or stated, [69] and, even if true, it would do little to explain the scene: Constantine participated in Christian services despite postponing baptism to the end of his life—and participation in services without baptism was not unusual for Christians of either period. [70]

Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria Edit

At 6.41, Eusebius quotes a letter from Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, to Fabius, bishop of Antioch, on the persecution at Alexandria under Decius. He begins (at 6.41.1) by describing the pogroms which began a year before Decius' decree of 250 that is, in 249, under Philip. [71] At 6.41.9, Dionysius narrates the transition from Philip to Decius.

At 7.10.3, Eusebius quotes a letter from Dionysius to the otherwise-unknown Hermammon on the early years of Valerian's (r. 253–260) rule. [72] In this period the emperor implicitly tolerated Christianity Eusebius would contrast his early reputation with his later policy of persecution. [44]

Dionysius is quoted saying that Valerian was so friendly to Christians that he outdid "those who were said to be openly Christians" (οἰ λεχθέντες ἀναφανδὸν Χριοτιανοὶ γεγονέναι, tr. Shahîd). [73] Most scholars, Shahîd and Stein included, understand this as a reference to Severus Alexander and Philip. [74] Because the reference is to a plurality of emperors, implying that Severus Alexander and Philip were both Christians, Stein dismissed the passage as entirely without evidentiary value. Shahîd, however, contends that genuine information can be extracted from the spurious whole, and that, while the reference to Severus Alexander is hyperbole, the reference to Philip is not. [44] He explains the reference to Severus Alexander as a Christian as an exaggeration of what was actually only an interest in the Christian religion. Shahîd references a passage in the often-dubious Historia Augusta ' s biography of the emperor, which states that Alexander had statues of Abraham, Christ, and Orpheus in his private chapel, and that he prayed to them each morning. [75] He also adduces the letters sent from Origen to Alexander's mother Mamaea (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 6.21, 6.28) to explain Dionysius' comment. [76]

Origen's letters Edit

The mention of those princes who were publicly supposed to be Christians. evidently alludes to Philip and his family. The epistles of Origen (which were extant in the time of Eusebius, see l. vi c. 36.) would most probably decide this curious, rather than important, question.
Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. D. Womersley (London: Penguin, 1994 [1776]), 1.554 n. 119.

Origen's letters do not survive. [59] However, most scholars believe that the letters that circulated in the era of Eusebius and Jerome were genuine. It is also reasonable that Origen, a man with close contacts in the Christian Arab community, would have taken a particular interest in the first Arab emperor. [77] The scholar K. J. Neumann argued that, since Origen would have known the faith of the imperial couple, he must have written about it in the letters listed at 6.36.3. Since Eusebius read these letters, and does not mention that the emperor was Christian (Neumann understands the passage at 6.34 to reflect Eusebius' disbelief in Philip's Christianity), we must conclude that Philip was not Christian, and was neither baptized nor made catechumen. [78] Against Neumann, Shahîd argues that, if Eusebius had found anything in the letters to disprove Philip's Christianity, he would have clearly outlined it in this passage—as the biographer of Constantine, it would have been in his interest to undermine any other claimants to the title "first Christian emperor". Moreover, this segment of the Historia is a catalog of Origen's works and correspondence the contents of the letters are irrelevant. [59]

Views on the Arabs Edit

Eusebius' understanding of the Arab peoples is informed by his reading of the Bible and his knowledge of the history of imperial Rome. He does not appear to have personally known any Arabs. [79] In his Chronicon, all the Arabs that appear—save for one reference to Ishmael—figure in the political history of the first three centuries of the Christian era. [80] To Eusebius, the Saracens of the 4th century are direct-line descendants of the biblical Ishmaelites, descendants of the handmaid, Hagar, and the patriarch, Abraham. They are thus outcasts, beyond God's Covenant with the favored son of Abraham, Isaac. [81] The twin images of the Ishmaelite and the Saracen—outcasts and latrones, raiders of the frontiers—reinforce each other and give Eusebius' portrait of the Arab nation an unhappy color. [82] He may have been reluctant to associate the first Christian emperor with a people of such unfortunate ancestry. [83]

In his Historia, Eusebius does not identify either Philip or Abgar V of Edessa (whom he incorrectly presumed to be the first Christian prince he does not mention Abgar VIII, who was actually the first Christian prince), as Arabs. He does, however, identify Herod the Great as an Arab, thus tarring the Arab nation with the Massacre of the Innocents and the attempted murder of Christ himself. [84] The Christianity of Provincia Arabia in the 3rd century also earns some brief notices: the heresy of Beryllos, bishop of Bostra, and his correction by Origen (6.33) the heretical opinions concerning the soul held by a group of Arabs until corrected by Origen (6.37) and the heresy of Helkesaites (6.38). Eusebius' account of Philip appears amidst these Arab heresies (at 6.34, 6.36, and 6.39), although, again—and in spite of the fact that Philip so often took on the epithet "the Arab", in antiquity as today—he never identifies him as an Arab. [85] The image of the Arabs as heretics would persist in later ecclesiastical historians (like Epiphanius of Salamis). [86] Shahîd, relating these facts, nonetheless concludes that "Eusebius cannot be accused in the account he gave of the Arabs and their place in the history of Christianity." [87] The fact that he downplayed the role of Philip and Abgar in the establishment of Christianity as a state religion is understandable, given his desire to prop up Constantine's reputation. [87]

Views on Constantine Edit

In Shahîd's judgment, the imprecision and unemphatic tone of Eusebius' passage at 6.34 is the major cause of the lack of scholarly consensus on Philip's Christianity. To Shahîd, Eusebius' wording choice is a reflection of his own lack of enthusiasm for Philip's Christianity, which is in turn a reflection of the special position Constantine held in his regards and in his written work. [88] A number of scholars, following E. Schwartz, believe the later editions of Eusebius' Historia to have been extensively revised to adapt to the deterioration of Licinius in the public memory (and official damnatio memoriae) after Constantine deposed and executed him in 324–25. Passages of the Historia incompatible with Licinius' denigration were suppressed, and an account of the last years of his life was replaced with a summary of the Council of Nicaea. Shahîd suggests that, in addition to these anti-Licinian deletions, Eusebius also edited out favorable notices on Philip to better glorify Constantine's achievement. [89]

In 335, Eusebius wrote and delivered his Laudes Constantini, a panegyric on the thirtieth anniversary of the emperor's reign his Vita Constantini, written over the next two years, has the same laudatory tone. The ecclesiastical historian, who framed his chronology on the reigns of emperors and related the entries in his history to each emperor's reign, understood Constantine's accession as something miraculous, especially as it came immediately after the Great Persecution. The final edition of his Historia has its climax in Constantine's reign, the ultimate "triumph of Christianity". [90] Shahîd argues, it was therefore in his authorial interest to obscure the details of Philip, the first Christian emperor hence, because of Eusebius' skill in narrative and deception, modern historians give Constantine that title. [91]

Shahîd further argues that the facts of Philip's alleged Christianity would also discourage Eusebius from celebrating that emperor. Firstly, Philip lacks an exciting conversion narrative secondly, his religion was private, unlike Constantine's very public patronage of the faith and, thirdly, his reign only lasted five years, not long enough to enact much amelioration of the Christians' condition. [92] In Shahîd's view, the insignificance of his reign to the progress of Christianity, Eusebius' subject, combined with Eusebius' role as Constantine's panegyrist, explain the tone and content of his account. [93]

Vita Constantini Edit

F. H. Daniel, in Philip's entry in the Smith–Wace Dictionary of Christian Biography, cites a passage of Eusebius' Vita Constantini as his first piece of evidence against Philip's alleged Christianity. In the passage, Eusebius names Constantine as (in the words of the dictionary) "the first Christian emperor". [94]

Shahîd describes this passage as a mere flourish from Eusebius the panegyrist, "carried away by enthusiasm and whose statements must be construed as rhetorical exaggeration" [96] he does not take it as serious evidence against Eusebius' earlier accounts in the Historia, where he never refers to Constantine as the first Christian emperor. For Shahîd, the passage also represents the last stage in Eusebius' evolving portrait of the pair of emperors, Philip and Constantine: in the early 300s, in his Chronicon, he had nearly called Philip the first Christian emperor in the 320s, during the revision of the Historia and the Chronicon, he turned wary and skeptical in the late 330s, he could confidently assert that Constantine was the sole Christian emperor. [96] John York argues that, in writing this passage, Eusebius was cowed by the anti-Licinian propaganda of the Constantinian era: as an ancestor of the emperor's last enemy, Philip could not receive the special distinction of the title "first Christian emperor"—Constantine had claimed it for himself. [97] Perhaps, Shahîd observes, it is not coincidental that Eusebius would paint the Arabs in uncomplimentary terms (as idolaters and practitioners of human sacrifice) in his Laudes Constantini of 335. [98]

Chrysostom and Leontius Edit

John Chrysostom, deacon at Antioch from 381, was made priest in 386. As a special distinction, his bishop, Flavian, decided that he should preach in the city's principal church. [99] Chrysostom's contribution to the literature on Philip and Christianity is a homily on Babylas, a martyr-bishop who died in 253, during the Decian persecution. The treatise was composed about 382, when John was a deacon, [100] and forms part of Chrysostom's corpus of panegyrics. [notes 4] Chrysostom's Babylas confronts an emperor and, since Chrysostom is more interested in the bishop than his opponent, the emperor goes unnamed. He has since been identified with Philip. [102]

Excerpt from John Chrysostom, de S. Babylas 1, tr. T. P. Brandam

Leontius was bishop of Antioch from 348 to 357. He is quoted in the Chronicon Paschale, or Paschal Chronicle, a universal chronicle of history based on the paschal cycle, as an authority on the martyrdom of Babylas. The quotation describes Philip seeking penitence from Babylas for the sin of murdering his predecessor. [103]

Chrysostom and Leontius both lived in Antioch, the site of Philip's alleged humiliation and repentance, and wrote in the mid-4th century, one hundred years after the event took place. Shahîd takes this, along with the fact that Babylas is not named in Eusebius' account, as evidence of an independent local tradition. This tradition would have been perhaps partially oral in nature, and far removed from the written accounts in Eusebius' library at Caesarea. [104] Many other historians trace Chrysostom and Leontius' accounts back to Eusebius: Hans Pohlsander counts Chrysostom and Leontius' accounts as later accretions to Eusebius original account, dependent on his Historia for their legendary core [105] John Gregg holds that this dependent relationship is most probable [51] and Stein claims all three Greeks as contributors to the same gerüchte. [106]

The Latin tradition consists of three authors writing in the later 4th and early 5th centuries—Jerome, Orosius, and Vincent of Lérins. The tradition is represented in Jerome's Liber de viris inlustribus and Chronicon, Orosius' Historiarum Adversum Paganos, and Vincent of Lérins' Commonitorum Primum. Most scholars hold that all of these accounts ultimately derive from Eusebius of Caesarea's Historia. These authors follow the Greek tradition, and probably takes all of their information from Eusebius, Eusebius' sources, or Jerome. These authors are more forceful in their claims than Eusebius, as demonstrated by their use of primus, or "first", as in "first Christian emperor", when referring to Philip. Jerome is the most important, both since he is the earliest of the three, and because, as the editor and translator of Eusebius' Chronicon (Chronicle), he is closest to Eusebius. [107]

Jerome Edit

Eusebius' first version of the Chronicon was written in 303, and his second in the mid-320s Jerome's revision, translation and continuation dates to 380. [108] The original Greek is lost it is largely through Jerome's Latin and through an Armenian translation unrelated to Jerome that the substance of the original survives. [109] Eusebius' original did cover Philip's rule—Jerome's continuation of the Chronicon only covers the period from 325 to 378 [110] —but the sections regarding Philip's Christianity do not survive in the Armenian translation. In the Armenian, all references to Arabs are omitted. Philip's celebration of the millennium is preserved, while his supposed Christianity is only implied in the entry on Decius' persecution. [111] Jerome's Chronicon is, therefore, the nearest we can get to Eusebius' early statements on Philip's Christianity. That Jerome calls Philip primus in the Chronicon thus admits of two interpretations: either he found it in Eusebius, or he added it independently, based on other sources available to him. [40] Shahîd argues that, while the text would offer a strong case for Philip's Christianity either way, the former interpretation is more plausible. [112] Shahîd believes that primus appeared in Eusebius first version of the Chronicon, but may have been edited out for the second version—by the mid 320s, Eusebius had become Constantine's panegyrist, and was understandably loath to praise his subject's ignoble predecessors. [113]

In his Liber de viris inlustribus, written twelve years later, in 392, Jerome mentions Philip in his chapter on Origen.

The passage contains two important features: first, the statement that the letters of Origen to Philip and his family were still extant in Jerome's time and second, a strong affirmation of Philip's Christianity. [114] The sentence also contains the false reference to Philip's mother (matrem) as the recipient of a letter from Origen—it was actually Philip's wife who received it. Jerome probably confused her with Alexander Severus' mother Mammaea. [115] Bowersock characterizes the whole passage as a "confused copy" of Eusebius' evidence. [116] Shahîd understands "quae usque hodie extant" to mean that Jerome had read the letters that he refers to Philip as primus would thus mean that he either found positive evidence for Philip's Christianity in them or, at least, that he found nothing to disprove it. [117]

Jerome otherwise had a dim view of the Arabs. His prejudices were those of a native Roman. Born in Strido (in modern Croatia or Slovenia), near Aquileia, and educated in Rome, Jerome was a lover of Latin, Italy, and the city of Rome. In about 374, he found himself accused in a dream while in Antioch on the way to Palestine: "Ciceronianus es, non Christianus", "you are a Ciceronian, not a Christian". [118] In one of his letters, written while he was staying in the desert of Chalcis, he tells of the joy he had when he discovered that his correspondents had written a letter to him in Latin. All he had to hear during the day were the "barbarous" languages of the natives (that is, Syriac and Arabic). [119] From this evidence, Shahîd concludes that Jerome would not honor the memory of an Arab emperor without a strong rationale. [120]

Orosius and the Origo Constantini Imperatoris Edit

To Orosius, Constantine was the first Christian Roman emperor, except for Philip (he was the "primus imperatorum Christianus, excepto Philippo"). [121] He probably took this judgment from Jerome—he had met the author in Bethlehem in 415, while on assignment from Augustine of Hippo. Although his judgment is thus not independent of Jerome, Shahîd contends that it is nonetheless valuable since Orosius did not have a bias towards either emperor. It presents Philip in the role Christian history merited: as precursor to Constantine. [122] Because Orosius' Historiae adversum paganos served as the standard manual of universal history during the middle ages, his judgment on this matter was inherited, and generally accepted, by medieval European writers. [123]

Orosius' wording is echoed by the Origo Constantini Imperatoris, an anonymous work usually dated to the late 4th century. "Constantine was also the first Christian emperor, with the exception of Philippus, who seemed to me to have become a Christian merely in order that the one-thousandth year of Rome might be dedicated to Christ rather than to pagan idols." ("Item Constantinus imperator primus Christianus, excepto Philippo, qui Christianus admodum ad hoc tantum constitutus fuisse mihi visus est, ut millesimus Romae annus Christo potius quam idolis dicaretur", tr. J.C. Rolfe [124] ) The scholar Samuel N. C. Lieu holds that this passage is a later interpolation, designed to give the work's pagan core a Christian gloss. According to Lieu, this passage, along with others, was probably taken from Orosius' history and inserted into the Origo Constantini during the reign of Constantine III (r. 417–21), a period that witnessed substantial anti-pagan polemic. [125] Shahîd argues that, since the author of the Origo Constantini was a biographer of Constantine, and not a historian of the 3rd and 4th centuries, his reference to Philip is unnecessary. The conflicting claims of Philip and Constantine to primacy may have been at issue at the turn of the 5th century, when the Origo Constantini and Historia adversum paganos were written. [126]

Vincent of Lérins Edit

In the chapter on Origen in Vincent of Lérins' Commonitorium primum, Vincent writes: "quos ad Philippum imperatorem, qui primus romanorum principum Christianus fuit, Christiani magisterii acutoritate conscripsit." [127] "with the authority which [Origen] assumed as a Christian Teacher, he wrote to the Emperor Philip, the first Roman prince that was a Christian." [128] Vincent thus unites the commentary on Origen's letters with Philip's Christianity, as Jerome had done. It is possible that he was only following Jerome in so doing, but Shahîd argues that his note that the letters were written "Christiani magisterii auctoritate" implies that he has read the letters. Additionally, the variance between his wording and Jerome's (Vincent refers to Philip as a princeps, not a rex, and he calls the letters epistolae, not litterae), speaks for Vincent's independence of Jerome. [129]

But [Philip's] conduct as emperor and the universal silence of pagan sources in the matter of any Christian leanings make it highly unlikely that Philip had actually become a Christian. The silence of Zosimus is particularly impressive, inasmuch as he vigorously disliked both Arabs and Christians. His account is most unflattering in ethnic terms and if there had been anything to say about his being a Christian, Zosimus would surely have said it.
Glen Bowersock, Roman Arabia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980, 3rd rev. ed. 1994), 126.

Zosimus, a pagan writing at the turn of the 6th century, wrote a work titled the Historia Nova (New History). Its detailed sections cover the period from the 3rd century AD to 410. Zosimus, like all secular historians in his era, addressed himself to the governing class of the later Roman empire: officers, bureaucrats, and the landed aristocracy. [130] There was relatively little overlap between the reading audience of secular histories and the ecclesiastical histories of Eusebius and his successors. [131] For most of the period it covers, the Historia is the most valuable—and sometimes the only—available source. Zosimus' history was written as a polemic, with the aim of establishing that barbarism and Christianity were the essential causes of the decline of the Roman state. Because of these themes, the Historia Nova is considered the first history of what moderns would call Rome's "decline and fall". [132] Although skilled in literary rhetoric, [133] Zosimus was a poor historian. He confuses dates and persons, is ignorant of geography, and treats his sources with naive simplicity. [134] For the 3rd century, Zosimus follows Eunapius of Sardis and Olympiodorus of Thebes in Egypt. Since Eunapius' history began in 272, where the Chronicle of another historian, Dexippus, ended, Zosimus probably used Dexippus' Chronicle, and perhaps his histories of the German wars between 250 and 270. Dexippus, however, was as poor a historian as Zosimus. The surviving fragments of his work show an uncritical author, without strong sources, who prefers rhetoric to fact. [135] (The secular sources for this period are all quite weak. [136] ) Zosimus, like all ancient secular historians of the era, [137] says nothing of Philip's alleged Christianity. [138]

Zosimus had no great respect for Philip, and offers an unfavorable judgment on his reign. [139] Nonetheless, he offers a curiously detailed narrative of his reign. He devotes five sections of his Historia Nova to the emperor (1.18–22)—more than Alexander Severus, who only gets half a section (1.8). [140] He even reverts to Philip in the midst of a discussion of the Peace of Jovian (363) two books later (at 3.32), taking the opportunity to recall Philip's own "disgraceful" peace with the Persians. [141] In Shahîd's judgment, Zosimus makes this editorial decision to emphasize his central theme—the decline and "barbarization" of Rome. [142] Zosimus' views on the latter phenomenon reflect his racial prejudice, and his account of Philip carries anti-Semitic overtones. [143] In Zosimus' view, Philip was a barbarian operating at the highest levels of power. The unsavory character of Philip is contrasted with his ethnically Roman predecessor, Gordian (who Philip helped overthrow), and his Roman successor, Decius, who wins glowing praise from the historian. [144]

As he disliked both Arabs and Christians, some scholars, such as Bowersock, have taken Zosimus' silence on the matter as strong evidence against Philip's alleged Christianity. [145] Others, like historian Warwick Ball, view Zosimus' evident distaste for Philip as noteworthy, and suggest that Zosimus' anti-Christian polemic is indirect in his writing on the emperor. [146] Shahîd construes Zosimus' silence as an argument for Philip's Christianity. Zosimus, he argues, would never have shown such distaste for a pagan. Septimius Severus was a "barbarian", an African born at Leptis Magna whose mother tongue was Phoenician and whose wife, Julia Domna, was a provincial from Emesa. But Severus gets a good press from Zosimus (1.8). Nor would Philip's assistance in the execution of Gordian be enough: the 3rd century was hardly a stranger to such bloodshed and treachery. [147] Zosimus' hostility begins to makes sense, Shahîd contends, once we assume that he was aware of the tradition that viewed Philip as the first Christian emperor (and perhaps even accepted it). And it becomes perfectly clear once we understand the importance Zosimus attributes to the Secular Games, and the schematic incongruity he would behold when a Christian emperor was presiding over them. [148]

In 248, Philip held Secular Games (Ludi Saeculares) to celebrate the thousandth anniversary of Rome's legendary founding by Romulus. It is presumed that he would have officiated over the games in his capacity as pontifex maximus, chief priest of the state cults. [149] Allard accepts that he made no public notice of his private religion, and that he ran the games as a "prince païen", a "pagan prince". [150] Pohlsander cites a number of early Christian theologians in support of his contention that "Christians generally condemned 'games' of any kind." [151] Tertullian's de Spectaculis, Novatian's treatise of the same name (which does not survive), and Cyprian's disapproving comments in his ad Donatum are offered as examples. [151] The later followers of Jerome, however, like Orosius and Bede, mention Philip's games approvingly—Orosius even claims that Philip did not sacrifice during the games. [152] Pohlsander concedes that public games continued under Christian emperors throughout the 4th century (they were eventually outlawed in 404 under Honorius). Ball argues that even Constantine was deified, and that Philip had no choice but to publicly oversee the games, seeing as how the debacle of Elagabalus was still fresh in memory. Elagabalus had tried to force an Eastern religion onto Romans to disastrous consequences, which would motivate Philip, already in an unstable position, to keep his personal faith a private matter. [153]

Zosimus provides the lengthiest account of the games (at Historia Nova 2.1–7), but does not mention Philip. [154] The games had a starring role in Zosimus' scheme of Roman history. To him, the fortune of the empire was intimately related to the practice of the traditional civic rites. Any emperor who revived or supported those rites—Augustus, Claudius, Domitian, Septimius Severus—earns Zosimus' credit, while the emperor who ended them, Constantine I, earns his condemnation. All the misfortune of the 4th century can be directly attributed to Constantine's discontinuation of the old rites. [155] In this context, Shahîd argues, Zosimus' silence on Philip's Christianity and Philip's involvement in the games makes sense. [156] First, it would have given lie to his thesis on that the practice of the traditional rites guaranteed the fortunes of empire, since the period following the games was hardly a happy one (and this argument remains valid even if both Philip's Christianity and Zosimus' awareness of the tradition is denied). [157] And second, it would have dulled his attack on Constantine by disentangling the potent alignment between imperial disaster, Christianity, and the traditional cult. The last emperor to celebrate the games was also the first emperor to embrace Christianity. The incongruity of this fact proved too much for the historian to handle, so he ignored it. [158]

Because of the continuing popularity of Jerome's Chronicon and Orosius' Historia, the medieval writers who wrote about Philip called him the first Christian emperor. [159] The Chronica Gallica of 452, Prosper of Aquitaine (d. ca. 455), [160] Cassiodorus (d. ca. 585), Jordanes (fl. 551), Isidore of Seville (d. 636), and Bede (d. 735) all follow Jerome on this point. [161] One early medieval historian writing at the eve of the millennium, the Lombard Landolfus Sagax, held that Philip had confessed to Fabian, Bishop of Rome, instead of Babylas. [162]

By the late 17th century, when Tillemont wrote his Histoire des Empereurs, it was no longer possible to make the argument that Philip was a Christian "ſans difficulté", "without difficulty". [163] And when Jean-Baptiste Louis Crévier wrote his L'Histoire des empereurs des Romains, jusqu'à Constantin in 1749, he affirmed the contrary, that Philip was not a Christian at all: ". it is easy to judge what degree of credit ought to be given to this story of his penance which, besides, is not fully and exactly related by any ancient author. To make out an account of it any way tolerable, they have been obliged to patch several evidences together, and to supply and alter the one by the other. The shortest and safest course is not to admit of a perplexed and ill supported narrative. We have no great temptation to torture history in order to claim such a Christian." [164]

Edward Gibbon, in the first volume of his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776), would take the same position: "The public and even partial favour of Philip towards the sectaries of the new religion, and his constant reverence for the ministers of the church, gave some colour to the suspicion, which prevailed in his own times, that the emperor himself was become a convert to the faith and afforded some grounds for a fable which was afterwards invented, that he had been purified by confession and penance from the guilt contracted by the murder of his innocent predecessor." [165] And the fable has—"as usual"—"been embellished". [166] To Gibbon, the matter is "curious, rather than important", and the man he credits with disposing of it, Friedrich Spanheim (d. 1649), is said to have shown "much superfluous learning" in the task. [167]

French historians of the 19th and 20th century were more favorable to the notion. Paul Allard, in his Histoire des persecutions pendant la premiere moitié du troisième siecle (1881) René Aigrain, in his chapter "Arabie" in the Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie Ecclésiastique (1909) Henri Grégoire, in Les persécutions dans l'empire romain (1964) and Jean Daniélou and Henri-Irénée Marrou, in The Christian Centuries 1: The First Six Hundred Years (English tr., 1964), all strongly supported the notion. [168] English and German scholars were less likely to accept it. Ecclesiastical historians of the 19th century, like John Mason Neale, B. J. Kidd, and H. M. Gwatkin, gave the notion some credence, but less than their full support. [169] Critical historians, like Ernst Stein, Karl Johannes Neumann, and John Gregg, denied it entirely. [170]

In the late 20th century, a small number of articles and book chapters discussed the matter. John York's "The Image of Philip the Arab" (1972) argued that the literary material on Philip's reign was deeply biased against the emperor. York attempted to correct the narrative, and rehabilitate Philip's reputation. He held that Eusebius' logos was derived from an oral tradition originating in Antioch, and that Origen's letters cannot have definitively proven Philip's Christianity, since (he follows Jerome's Liber de viris inlustribus 54 here) those letters were addressed to Philip's son. Because of this fact, York declared that Philip's Christianity was only "probable", not certain. [171] H. Crouzel's "Le christianisme de l'empereur Philippe l'Arabe" (1975) argued that the Antiochene tradition, as represented by Chrysostom and Leontius, was independent of Eusebius, and that Eusebius was, likewise, ignorant of it. The sources of Eusebius' logos were instead Origen's letters to Philip and Severa. Crouzel is not entirely certain on this point it is only "très probable", "very probable". In spite of Crouzel's arguments, Pierre Nautin's Origène (1977) was very skeptical of accounts of Philip's Christianity, [172] and Hans Pohlsander's "Philip the Arab and Christianity" (1980), adducing Philip's commitment to traditional civic religion as evidence, denied all accounts of Philip's Christianity. [173]

In a lengthy chapter of his 1984 book Rome and the Arabs, Irfan Shahîd argued that Philip deserved the title of "First Christian Emperor". The chapter is divided into five parts: (1) a brief listing of the sources (2) a lengthy address to Ernst Stein's arguments against accounts of Philip's Christianity (3) an explanation of Eusebius' caution and dissimulation (4) an exposition of the Latin authors' accounts of Philip's Christianity and (5) Eusebius' relationship with the unnamed bishop in his passage, Babylas, and Babylas' importance in ecclesiastical history. He follows the main body of the chapter with an appendix addressing the articles by York, Crouzel, and Pohlsander, "Philip the Arab and Christianity", and noting the judgments of the scholars who reviewed his draft. [174]

Currently, there is no consensus on the issue of Philip's Christianity. Timothy Barnes, who reviewed Shahîd's chapters on "The First Christian Emperor" and "Eusebius and the Arabs" in 1979, [175] would only say that Eusebius "[presents] Philip as a Christian", in his Constantine and Eusebius (1981). [176] Warwick Ball, author of Rome and the East: The transformation of an empire (2000), argued in favor of Philip's Christianity. [177] David Potter, author of The Roman Empire at Bay (2004), treated the matter dismissively: accounts of Philip's Christianity were simply "bogus", Potter wrote, and works that accepted them should be treated with less respect on that count alone. [178] Some scholars, like Glen Bowersock, took a middle route. Bowersock, reviewing Shahîd's Rome and the Arabs for the Classical Review in 1986, wrote: "I doubt many will be convinced by the extreme position that [Shahîd] has taken, but his arguments do offer some basis for believing that Philip was seriously interested in the religion". [179] He reiterated that view in his Roman Arabia (1980, 3rd rev. ed. 1994). [180]

For the French Byzantinologist Gilbert Dagron, Philip's Christianity is a legend—albeit a very old one—that intended, in a Late Roman/Early Byzantine context, to foster the idea of a Roman Empire that was Christian almost from the beginning, thereby melding Roman Imperial ideology and Christianism, and therefore offering a base for other later legends showing Roman emperors, beginning with Augustus, to be aware and/or sympathetic to Christian revelation, forming a legendary corpus that was brought together during the 6th century by the chronicler John Malalas. [181]

  1. ^ Jews, who faced the same prohibitions on "idolatry" and "false gods", were granted exemption from Roman military service and public religion. [15]
  2. ^ The large cities of Auranitis were well-Hellenized by the mid-3rd century, fourteen cities of the Hauran, including Philippopolis, were minting coins in Greek and Latin. A mass of inscriptions in colloquial Greek also give evidence for contemporary linguistic practice. [28]
  3. ^Timothy Barnes, a historian of the 3rd and 4th centuries, finds Eusebius' story "suspiciously similar" to a story the 5th-century church historian Philostorgius (a Eunomian sectary whose anti-Trinitarian history survives only in Photius' epitome) gives about Babylas and another 3rd-century emperor, Numerian (r. 283–84). [65]

Shahîd draws a different comparison, calling Babylas "the first after the prophet Nathan of Old Testament times to throw a challenge to a Christian ruler [sic]". [66] After noting that Babylas–Philip serves as a prelude to Ambrose–Theodosius, he adduces two more encounters which embody the same general theme ("the repentance of the emperor"): the Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos' confrontation with Emperor Leo VI at Constantinople in 906/7, and Pope Gregory VII's confrontation with Emperor Henry IV at Canossa in 1077. Shahîd thus believes that Babylas' stand was all the more "courageous", happening, as it did, during an era of persecution and instability. [66] He also notes that, if the historicity of Babylas' confrontation is accepted (and Mysticus' confrontation with Leo, brought to prominence by Nicolas Oikonomides, is recognized as significant), the four scenes are equally divided between East and West. [67]

All citations to the Historia Augusta are to individual biographies, and are marked with a "HA".


Little is known about Philip's early life and political career. He was born in what is today Shahba, Syria, about 90 kilometres (56 mi) southeast of Damascus, in Trachonitis. [8] His birth city, later renamed Philippopolis, lay within Aurantis, an Arab district which at the time was part of the Roman province of Arabia. [9] It is accepted by historians that Philip was indeed an ethnic Arab. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] He was the son of a local citizen, Julius Marinus, possibly of some importance. [15] Allegations from later Roman sources (Historia Augusta and Epitome de Caesaribus) that Philip had a very humble origin or even that his father was a leader of brigands are not accepted by modern historians. [16]

While the name of Philip's mother is unknown, he did have a brother, Gaius Julius Priscus, an equestrian and a member of the Praetorian Guard under Gordian III (238–244). [17] In 234, Philip married Marcia Otacilia Severa, daughter of a Roman Governor. They had three children, a son named Marcus Julius Philippus Severus (Philippus II), born in 238, [15] a daughter called Julia Severa or Severina who is known from numismatic evidence but is never mentioned by the ancient Roman sources and a son named Quintus Philippus Severus, born in 247. [18]

The rise to the purple of the Severans from nearby Emesa is noted as a motivational factor in Philip's own ascent, due to geographic and ethnic similarity between himself and the Emesan emperors. [19] [20]

Philip's rise to prominence began through the intervention of his brother Priscus, who was an important official under the emperor Gordian III. [15] His big break came in 243, during Gordian III's campaign against Shapur I of Persia, when the Praetorian prefect Timesitheus died under unclear circumstances. [24] At the suggestion of his brother Priscus, Philip became the new Praetorian prefect, with the intention that the two brothers would control the young Emperor and rule the Roman world as unofficial regents. [15] Following a military defeat, Gordian III died in February 244 under circumstances that are still debated. While some claim that Philip conspired in his murder, other accounts (including one coming from the Persian point of view) state that Gordian died in battle. [25] Whatever the case, Philip assumed the purple robe following Gordian's death. According to Edward Gibbon:

His rise from so obscure a station to the first dignities of the empire seems to prove that he was a bold and able leader. But his boldness prompted him to aspire to the throne, and his abilities were employed to supplant, not to serve, his indulgent master. [26]

Philip was not willing to repeat the mistakes of previous claimants, and was aware that he had to return to Rome in order to secure his position with the senate. [8] However, his first priority was to conclude a peace treaty with Shapur, and withdraw the army from a potentially disastrous situation. [27] Although Philip was accused of abandoning territory, the actual terms of the peace were not as humiliating as they could have been. [28] Philip apparently retained Timesitheus’ reconquest of Osroene and Mesopotamia, but he had to agree that Armenia lay within Persia's sphere of influence. [29] He also had to pay an enormous indemnity to the Persians of 500,000 gold denarii. [30] Philip immediately issued coins proclaiming that he had made peace with the Persians (pax fundata cum Persis). [28]

Leading his army back up the Euphrates, south of Circesium Philip erected a cenotaph in honor of Gordian III, but his ashes were sent ahead to Rome, where he arranged for Gordian III's deification. [31] Whilst in Antioch, he left his brother Priscus as extraordinary ruler of the Eastern provinces, with the title of rector Orientis. [32] Moving westward, he gave his brother-in-law Severianus control of the provinces of Moesia and Macedonia. [33] He eventually arrived in Rome in the late summer of 244, where he was confirmed Augustus. [8] Before the end of the year, he nominated his young son Caesar and heir, his wife, Otacilia Severa, was named Augusta, and he also deified his father Marinus, even though the latter had never been emperor. [28] While in Rome, Philip also claimed an official victory over the Persians with the titles of Parthicus Adiabenicus, Persicus Maximus and Parthicus Maximus. [ citation needed ]

In an attempt to shore up his regime, Philip put a great deal of effort in maintaining good relations with the Senate, and from the beginning of his reign, he reaffirmed the old Roman virtues and traditions. [28] He quickly ordered an enormous building program in his home town, renaming it Philippopolis, and raising it to civic status, while he populated it with statues of himself and his family. [34] This creation of a new city, piled on top of the massive tribute owed to the Persians, as well as the necessary donative to the army to secure its acceptance of his accession, meant Philip was desperately short of money. [34] To pay for it, he ruthlessly increased levels of taxation, while at the same time he ceased paying subsidies to the tribes north of the Danube that were vital for keeping the peace on the frontiers. [35] Both decisions would have significant impacts upon the empire and his reign. [36]

At the frontiers of the empire Edit

In 245, Philip was forced to leave Rome as the stability established by Timesitheus was undone by a combination of his death, Gordian's defeat in the east and Philip's decision to cease paying the subsidies. [37] The Carpi moved through Dacia, crossed the Danube and emerged in Moesia where they threatened the Balkans. [38] Establishing his headquarters in Philippopolis in Thrace, he pushed the Carpi across the Danube and chased them back into Dacia, so that by the summer of 246, he claimed victory against them, along with the title "Carpicus Maximus". [39] In the meantime, the Arsacids of Armenia refused to acknowledge the authority of the Persian king Shapur I, and war with Persia flared up again by 245. [36]

Ludi Saeculares Edit

Nevertheless, Philip was back in Rome by August 247, where he poured more money into the most momentous event of his reign – the Ludi Saeculares, which coincided with the one thousandth anniversary of the foundation of Rome. [40] So in April 248 AD (April 1000 A.U.C.), Philip had the honor of leading the celebrations of the one thousandth birthday of Rome, which according to tradition was founded on April 21, 753 BC by Romulus. Commemorative coins, such as the one illustrated here, were issued in large numbers and, according to contemporary accounts, the festivities were magnificent and included spectacular games, ludi saeculares, and theatrical presentations throughout the city. [41] In the Colosseum, in what had been originally prepared for Gordian III's planned Roman triumph over the Persians, [42] more than 1,000 gladiators were killed along with hundreds of exotic animals including hippos, leopards, lions, giraffes, and one rhinoceros. [43] The events were also celebrated in literature, with several publications, including Asinius Quadratus's History of a Thousand Years, specially prepared for the anniversary. [15] At the same time, Philip elevated his son to the rank of co-Augustus. [15]

Despite the festive atmosphere, there were continued problems in the provinces. In late 248, the legions of Pannonia and Moesia, dissatisfied with the result of the war against the Carpi, rebelled and proclaimed Tiberius Claudius Pacatianus emperor. [15] The confusion that this entailed tempted the Quadi and other Germanic tribes to cross the frontier and raid Pannonia. [40] At the same time, the Goths invaded Moesia and Thrace across the Danube frontier, and laid siege to Marcianopolis, [44] as the Carpi, encouraged by the Gothic incursions, renewed their assaults in Dacia and Moesia. [40] Meanwhile, in the East, Marcus Jotapianus led another uprising in response to the oppressive rule of Priscus and the excessive taxation of the Eastern provinces. [45] Two other usurpers, Marcus Silbannacus and Sponsianus, are reported to have started rebellions without much success. [15]

Overwhelmed by the number of invasions and usurpers, Philip offered to resign, but the Senate decided to throw its support behind the emperor, with a certain Gaius Messius Quintus Decius most vocal of all the senators. [46] Philip was so impressed by his support that he dispatched Decius to the region with a special command encompassing all of the Pannonian and Moesian provinces. This had a dual purpose of both quelling the rebellion of Pacatianus as well as dealing with the barbarian incursions. [47]

Although Decius managed to quell the revolt, discontent in the legions was growing. [36] Decius was proclaimed emperor by the Danubian armies in the spring of 249 and immediately marched on Rome. [48] Yet even before he had left the region, the situation for Philip had turned even more sour. Financial difficulties had forced him to debase the Antoninianus, as rioting began to occur in Egypt, causing disruptions to Rome's wheat supply and further eroding Philip's support in the capital. [49]

Although Decius tried to come to terms with Philip, [46] Philip's army met the usurper near modern Verona that summer. Decius easily won the battle and Philip was killed sometime in September 249, [50] either in the fighting or assassinated by his own soldiers who were eager to please the new ruler. [15] Philip's eleven-year-old son and heir may have been killed with his father and Priscus disappeared without a trace. [51]

Some later traditions, first mentioned by the historian Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, held that Philip was the first Christian Roman Emperor. According to Eusebius (Ecc. Hist. VI.34), Philip was a Christian, but was not allowed to enter Easter vigil services until he confessed his sins and was ordered to sit among the penitents, which he did willingly. Later versions located this event in Antioch. [52]

However, historians generally identify the later Emperor Constantine, baptized on his deathbed, as the first Christian emperor, and generally describe Philip's adherence to Christianity as dubious, because non-Christian writers do not mention the fact, and because throughout his reign, Philip to all appearances (coinage, etc.) continued to follow the state religion. [53] Critics ascribe Eusebius' claim as probably due to the tolerance Philip showed towards Christians.

Philip (Latin: Marcus Julius Philippus) [3] was born in around 204. [4] He got the name "Philip the Arab" (Latin: Philippus Arabs or Marcus Iulius Philippus Arabs). [5] [ better source needed ] (The Chronicon Paschale, a Greek chronicle, and the Latin historian Aurelius Victor each have different dates for Philip's birth.) He was the son of Julius Marinus. Philip was probably born in the city he later named Philippopolis, in the Roman province of Arabia Petraea (now the city of Shahba, Syria). [4]

244–245 Edit

Philip became emperor at the start of 244. (The Justinianic Code's writing means that Philip became emperor after 13 January 244 and before 14 March the same year.) Philip's wife, Marcia Otacilia Severa, became augusta (empress) early in 244. After Philip became emperor, the Romans and the Sasanian Empire made peace. With this success, Philip got the name Persicus maximus (or Parthicus maximus) in the middle of 244. Philip came to Rome in 244, probably in early summer. [4]

245–247 Edit

In 245, Philip was Roman consul for the first time. That year, the Romans went to war with the Carpi. On 12 November 245, Philip was at Aquae in Dacia (Vidonac, Serbia). Wars against the Carpi and Germanic peoples continued into 247. In 247, Philip was Roman consul for the second time. In late summer 247, Philip held a triumph in Rome. For his military success against the Carpi, Philip probably got the name Carpicus maximus at the end of 247. [4]

247–249 Edit

In 248, Philip was Roman consul for the third time. In April 248, Philip held a festival for the one thousandth anniversary of Rome, a thousand years since Romulus became the first king of Rome. (The chronicle of the Latin historian Cassiodorus says that this started on 21 April and ended on the 23 April 248.) [4]

John Chrysostom wrote that unlike other pagan rulers of the Romans, Philip was tolerant to the Christians and let them practise their faith openly. [ source? ] Eusebius wrote Philip and his wife received letters from Origen. [ source? ]

Some time before 11 September 249, soldiers in the Roman army killed Philip in a battle against the army of Decius. The battle was probably near Verona on the Italian Peninsula. Philip, Philip II, and Marcia Otacilia Severa may all have had damnatio memoriae on them, and the Romans removed their names from some inscriptions. [4]

The Latin historian Eutropius says that Philip and Philip II were both deified (made into gods). This is probably not true. [4] Where Philip's grave was is unknown. [6]

Philip married Marcia Otacilia Severa before 238. At the start of 244, Marcia Otacilia Severa became augusta (empress) and got the Latin title: mater castrorum et senatus et patriae, 'mother of the camp and of the Senate and of the fatherland'. Marcia Otacilia Severa probably died in 248. [4]

They had a son, Philip II. The Latin history Epitome de Caesaribus says that Philip II was born in 236 or 237. Only the Greek historian John of Antioch says Philip had other sons. Philip made his son Philip II his caesar (junior emperor) in July or August 244. After July or August 244, Marcia Otacilia Severa also had the title mater caesaris, 'mother of the caesar'. In July or August 247, Philip made his son his augustus (co-emperor). [4]

Philip's father, Julius Marinus, died while his son was emperor. After that, people in Philippopolis in Arabia (Philip's home town) worshipped Julius Marinus as a god. However, the Roman Senate probably did not deify Julius Marinus, and he probably did not become one of the official gods. [4]

Philip had a brother, Gaius Julius Priscus. He was a governor of Roman Mesopotamia (Latin: praefectus Mesopotamiae) and then a praetorian prefect and governor of the East (Latin: praefectus praetorio et rector Orientis). [4]

Philip the Apostle

Saint Philip the Apostle was from Bethsaida, a town in Galilee (John 1:43 John 12:21). He was one of the original twelve apostles of Jesus (Matt.10:3 Mark 3:18 Luke 6:14). He was mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, but the Gospel of John offered a more detailed account of Philip’s involvement in Jesus’ ministry than the first three gospels. After Jesus had called Philip to follow him, he went to find his friend Nathanael and brought the initially skeptical man to Jesus (John 1:43-48). Philip and Andrew also stood out among the apostles as the only two men who had Greek names.

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He displayed his practical nature when Jesus asked him where they should buy bread for the 5,000 or so people who followed them to the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Philip exclaimed that “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:5-7 NIV)

He introduced some Greek worshipers to Jesus (John 12:21-22) and was present during the Lord’s various teachings (John 14). As a member of the Jesus’ inner circle, Philip witnessed his betrayal, death, and ascension to heaven (Acts 1:13). Philip, as one of the original twelve apostles, made the decision to turn over the management of food distribution among the Hebrew and Gentile widows to seven men of the church including Philip the Evangelist (Acts 6:1-7).

Legend says that he traveled north to Scythia in southern Russia and established a church there. He left Scythia after twenty years and established another church in Hierapolis in Phrygia (a part of modern Turkey) where he later died by crucifixion. He is frequently depicted in artworks with loaves of bread as well as fish. His feast day is on the 3rd of May.

Портрет императора Филиппа Араба

Филипп Араб (204 г. -249 г. император &ndash с 244 г.), относится к группе портретов «солдатских императоров». Он относится к периоду римской истории, который называют «кризисом третьего века», времени. когда правители быстро сменяли друга, и, будучи незнатного происхождения, приходили к власти в результате военного переворота. Филипп Старший, прозванный Арабом, происходил из Аравии. Филипп был назначен соправителем Гордиана III, а в 244 г., после его убийства, провозглашен сирийскими легионами императором. Придя к власти император быстро столкнулся с восстаниями, вспыхнувшими в разных уголках Империи. Во время одного из них войско провозгласило императором другого полководца, и в 249 г., Филипп был убит. Впечатляющий образ Филиппа &ndash первый в ряду изображений солдатских императоров, с появлением которых изменяется стиль официального портрета. Это правитель нового типа запечатлен в портрете: у Филиппа - тяжелый взгляд исподлобья, массивная шея, коротко остриженные волосы. Подчеркнуты склонность к насилию, хитрость и коварство - качества лидера, которые помогают мгновенно возвыситься в воинской среде. Усиленная экспрессия образа достигается художественными средствами, присущими искусству второй четверти - середины III века. В портретной скульптуре появляется предельный лаконизм. Волосы и борода Филиппа переданы насечками, абстрактная графичность сочетается с энергичной пластикой лица. Это направление знаменует возникновение абстрактного экспрессионизма, связанного с возрастающим влиянием варварских провинций.

Who was Philip in the Bible?

There are four different men named Philip mentioned in the Bible. Phillip was the name of two of King Herod the Great’s sons by different wives (Luke 3:1 and Matthew 14:3). The other two Philips in the Bible were servants of Christ and instrumental in the early church: Philip the disciple and apostle of Christ, and Philip the evangelist.

The disciple named Philip was, along with Peter and Andrew, from Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44 12:21). Jesus called Philip, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist’s (John 1:43), and then Philip went and found Nathanael and told him about Jesus. Nathanael also became Jesus’ disciple. The Bible does not contain much biographical detail about Philip or any of the other disciples, but John records several times when Philip spoke to Jesus.

Philip’s first recorded act as a disciple of Jesus was to go and tell his friend Nathanael. Later, Philip was approached by some Gentiles, more specifically, Greeks from Bethsaida who asked Philip to introduce them to Jesus (John 12:20–22). Philip was the disciple who calculated the amount of money it would take to feed the 5,000 (John 6:7). After the Last Supper, Philip requested that Jesus show them the Father, leading to Jesus’ statement, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9). The last time the Bible mentions the disciple Philip is as one of those gathered in Jerusalem to pray after the Lord’s ascension (Acts 1:13). Tradition states that Philip went to Phrygia (in modern-day Turkey) as a missionary and was martyred there in Hierapolis.

The other Philip is usually distinguished from the disciple of the same name by calling him “Philip the evangelist” or “Philip the deacon.” It is often assumed that this Philip was one of the seventy-two men whom Jesus sent out in Luke 10:1, although the Bible doesn’t make that connection. We do know that Philip was one of the original seven deacons selected to serve in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:5). Philip had a heart for evangelism, and, when the “great persecution” arose in Acts 8:1, Philip left Jerusalem to become an evangelist in Samaria (Acts 8:5–12). After the church in Samaria was started, Philip was used by the Holy Spirit to bring the gospel to an Ethiopian eunuch, a member of the court of Candace, the Ethiopian queen. Philip found the eunuch sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah and trying to make sense of the prophet’s words. Philip offered to explain, and the eunuch invited him to come up and sit with him. In the end, the eunuch was saved and baptized (Acts 8:26–39). Immediately following the baptism, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away to Azotus, where he continued to preach the gospel in the towns from there to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

Twenty years later, Philip is mentioned again, still in Caesarea (Acts 21:8–9). Paul and Luke and others were traveling to Jerusalem, and they stopped at Philip’s home in Caesarea. They stayed with Philip for several days. Philip had four unmarried daughters at that time, all of whom had the gift of prophecy. That is the last time the Bible mentions the evangelist Philip.

Philip the Arab Timeline - History

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter ("by dwelling", apo but of Capernaum "by birth", ek Greswell): John 1:44-45. Associated with Andrew both, alone of the apostles, have Greek names. Jesus Himself called Philip. When "wishing (Greek) to go forth into Galilee. He findeth Philip and saith (with His deeply significant call), Follow Me." The first instance of Jesus calling a disciple: it was on the morrow after the naming of Peter, and the next but one after Andrew's and the other disciple's visit, the fourth day after John the Baptist's witness concerning Christ (John 1:19 John 1:35 John 1:40). The Lord probably knew Philip before, as the latter knew Hint as "son of Joseph" (expressing the ordinary belief), John 1:45. Converted himself, Philip sought to convert others "Philip findeth Nathanael and saith . We have found Him (implying his sharing with Andrew, whose words he repeats, in the hope of Messiah, John 1:41) of whom Moses in the law did write, Jesus of Nazareth."
Sincere in aim, defective in knowledge for it was Christ who found him, not he Christ (Isaiah 65:1) and Jesus was Son of God, not of Joseph His reputed father, husband of Mary. To Nathanael's objection, "can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip replied with the best argument, experimental proof, "come and see" (Psalm 66:16 Psalm 34:8). Probably they had before communed together of the divine promise of Messiah. Philip stands at the head of the second group of the twelve (Matthew 10:3 Mark 3:18 Luke 6:14) coupled with his friend and convert Nathanael, Bartholomew. (See BARTHOLOMEW.) Clemens Alex. (Strom. 2:25) identifies him with the disciple who said, "suffer me first to go and (wait until my father dies, and) bury my father" (Matthew 8:21) but Jesus said, cf6 "let the dead (in sin) bury their (literal) dead: follow thou Me" (the same words as at his first call), cf6 "go thou and preach the kingdom of God" (1 Kings 19:20 Leviticus 10:3 Leviticus 10:6 Ezekiel 24:16-18).
To Philip Jesus put the question concerning the crowd faint with hunger, "from whence shall we buy bread that these may eat? to prove Philip (so Deuteronomy 8:2 Matthew 4:4) for Jesus Himself knew what lie would do" (John 6:5-9). Philip failed, on being tested, through unbelief "two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one of them may take a little" (Numbers 11:21-22). Philip was probably the one whose duty was to provide for the daily sustenance of the twelve or rather Luke's (Luke 9:10) notice that the desert where Jesus fed the multitude "was belonging to Bethsaida" gives us the key to the query being put to Philip he belonged to Bethsaida (John 1:44): who then was so likely as Philip to know where bread was to be got? An undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness. Andrew here (John 6:8) as in John 1 appears in connection with Philip.
In John 12:20-22 Greek proselytes coming to Jerusalem for the Passover, attracted by Philip's Greek name, and his residence in Galilee bordering on the Gentiles, applied to him of the twelve, saying, We would see Jesus. Instead of going direct to Jesus, he first tells his fellow townsman Andrew (a mark of humility and discreet reverence), who had been the first to come to Jesus then both together tell Jesus. The Lord then spoke of His Father as about to honour any who would serve Jesus, and cried: "cf6 Father, glorify Thy name a voice came, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again" "He that seeth Me seeth Him that sent Me" (John 12:28 John 12:45).
This saying sank deep into Philip's mind hence when Jesus said, cf6 "if ye had known Me ye should have known the Father, henceforth ye know and have seen Him," Philip in childlike simplicity asked,"Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us" (John 14:8-11). As he had led Nathanael and the Greeks to "see" Jesus, so now Jesus reveals to Philip himself what, long as he had been with Jesus, he had not seen, namely,cf6 "he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father . I am in the Father, and the Father in Me " (Hebrews 1:3 Colossians 1:15, "the image of the invisible God" John 1:18). He was probably of the fishing party with his friend and convert Nathanael (John 21:2). He was in the upper room with the praying disciples after the ascension (Acts 1:13).

Philip II of Greece

King Amytas III was a Macedonian ruler who controlled Macedon in 393 B.C. and once again between 392 B.C. and 370 B.C. King Amytas III reign was relatively calm and he bore three sons. They were named Alexander II, Perdiccas III and Philip II and when he died of old age in 370 B.C. his sons Alexander II and then Perdiccas III became the next rulers. King Alexander II was murdered and a few years later Perdiccas III avenged his death and then became the next king. King Perdiccas tried to retake lost Macedonian territory and died in the process. King Philip II was finally placed on the throne in 359 B.C. which is where he appears on the Old Testament Timeline with World History.

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King Philip II was an intelligent, diplomatic and warrior king who was capable of forcing the independent city states of Greece into one unified society. He learned how to fight and govern in his youth. It was customary for the wealthy and powerful children of Greek society to be held hostage by individuals who controlled the people. While he was a captive in Thebes, he was taught military tactics, government, and diplomacy. He used all of these skills to forge the coming Greek empire that would be completed under Alexander the Great.

King Philip II realized that he had the ability to unify the territory of Greece and after he completed this great feat he then turned his attention toward Persia. King Philip II knew that if he could take down Persia the rest of the world would follow. He was a bold military genius who wanted to take over the world and expand Greek influence as far as he could. He was never able to fulfill his vision because he was assassinated by one of his bodyguards in 336 B.C. Before King Philip II met his demise he had a son named Alexander III.

Even though King Philip loved his son, Alexander had shown more love toward his mother, Olympias. Regardless of the conflict that existed between the king and Alexander III he taught his son about warfare and instructed him in politics. He also shared his vision of expanding the Macedonian empire into the world. King Philip II wanted his boy to carry on his legacy if he wasn’t able to complete it himself. King Philip II and Alexander III, Olympias, mother also had an uneasy relationship and many suspects that she was a part of his assassination. When Alexander the Great became king and prepared his soldiers to march against the world, he had a seasoned and capable army already in place because of King Philip II efforts. He perfected the use of the phalanx in his youth, and this instrument would be his primary advantage on the battlefield. He also had the resources of many Greek cities to aid him in this process due to Philip II as well.

The most important thing that King Philip II set in place for Alexander was a unified Greek state. Alexander didn’t have to lose his time and energy fighting against local enemies and could now concentrate on taking over the world. King Philip II had already started to take over some minor foreign territories such as Scythia and Ardiaioi before Alexander III began his conquest. The League of Corinth was composed of various Greek states, and this group of allies was started by King Philip II right before invading Persia. King Philip II greatest accomplishment was probably giving birth to Alexander the Great. He set the stage for his son to conquer the world and to become one of the greatest military geniuses in all of history. Without Philip II and his vision, Alexander the Great probably would not have been able to accomplish this feat.

How did Philip the Apostle die?

It’s hard to say how Philip died, especially since he was confused with Philip the Evangelist early on, and there are conflicting accounts. One record says he died of natural causes. Another says he was beheaded. Or stoned to death. Or crucified upside down.

Most of the earliest traditions seem to point to him being martyred in Hierapolis. In a letter to Pope Victor, Polycrates of Ephesus said: “I speak of Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who is laid to rest at Hierapolis. . .”

Caius the Presbyter (a Christian writer in the third century) wrote: “And after this there were four prophetesses, daughters of Philip, at Hierapolis in Asia. Their tomb is there, and that, too, of their father.”

The Acts of Philip provides the earliest, most detailed account of his martyrdom, but again, it’s hard to say how much we can trust it. Allegedly, he converted a proconsul’s wife, which angered the proconsul enough to have him and Bartholomew crucified upside down. While hanging there, Philip preached, and the crowd was moved to release them. He told them to free Bartholomew, but not to take him down.

Philip died sometime in the first century, possibly around 80 AD.

Watch the video: Ursprung der Araber