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Ammianus Marcellinus, Book 22.13

13 The Burning of the temple of Apollo, at Daphne, is falsely attributed to the Christians by Julian, who therefore orders the greater church of Antioch to be closed.

1 At that same time, on the twenty-second of October, the splendid temple of the Daphnaean Apollo, which that hot-tempered and cruel king Antiochus Epiphanes had built, and with it the statue of the god, a copy of that of the Olympian Zeus and of equal size, was reduced to ashes by a sudden fire. 2 The sudden destruction of this shrine by so terrible an accident inflamed the emperor with such anger, that he ordered stricter investigations than usual to be made, and the greater church at Antioch to be closed. For he suspected that the Christians had done the deed, aroused by jealousy and unwillingness to see the temple enclosed by a magnificent colonnade. 3 It was said, however, though on very slight evidence, that the cause of the burning of the temple was this: the philosopher Asclepiades, whom I have mentioned in the history of Magnentius, when he had come to that suburb from abroad to visit Julian, placed before the lofty feet of the statue a little silver image of the Dea Caelestis, which he always carried with him wherever he went, and after lighting some wax tapers as usual, went away. From these tapers after midnight, when no one could be present to render aid, some flying sparks alighted on the woodwork, which was very old, and the fire, fed by the dry fuel, mounted and burned whatever it could reach, at however great a height it was. 4 In that year also, just as the winter season was at hand, there was such a fearful scarcity of water that some brooks dried up, as well as springs which had before overflowed with plentiful jets of water; the later these were restored to their former condition. 5 Then, on the second of December, just before evening, the rest of Nicomedia was wholly destroyed by an earthquake, as well as a good part of Nicaea.

cynics/asclepiades.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/14 23:20 (external edit)