The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Valentinus

1214

VALENT1NUS.

was completed by the attendants of Valentinian, and Boethius, the friend of Aetius, also shared his fate. (a. d. 454.) The principal friends of Aetius were singly summoned to the palace, and mur­dered. Thus the bravest man, the ablest com­mander of the age, the last great Roman soldier, perished by the treacherous hand of the most un-warlike of the Roman Caesars.

A grievous insult to Petronius Maximus is said to have been the immediate cause of Valentinian's death. Maximus had a handsome wife, who re­sisted the emperor's solicitations, but he got her within the palace by an artifice, and compelled her to yield to force what she had refused to persuasion. The injured husband resolved on the emperor's de­struction, and he gained over some of the domestics of Valentinian who had been in the service of Aetius. While he was amusing himself in the field of Mars with some spectacle, two of these men fell upon him ; and, after killing the guilty Heraclius, despatched the emperor without any resistance from those who were about him, A. d. 455. This was the end of Valentinian III., a feeble and contemptible prince, the last of the family of Theodosius. He was ill brought up, and had all the vices that in a princely station dis­grace a man's character. Even his zeal for the Catholic faith and the church is not allowed to have been sincere.

(Gibbon, Decline and Fall, c. 33, &c. ; Tille-mont, Histoire des Empereurs, vol. vi.) [G. L.]

COIN OF VALENTINIANUS III.

VALENTINUS (OuaAej/rTi/os), the celebrated Gnostic heresiarch of the second century, was a native of Egypt, whence he went to Rome, and there propagated his heresy, having seceded from the church, if we may believe Tertullian (c. Va-lent. 4) in consequence of being disappointed in the hope of obtaining a bishopric. The chrono-graphers fix the time at which he flourished in the reign of Antoninus Pius, from a. d. 140, when they represent him as coming to Rome^ and onwards. (Euseb. CJiron. s. a. 2155 ; Hieron. s. a. 2156 ; Syncell. p. 351, a.) Eusebius (H. E. iv. 11) also tells us, on the authority of Irenaeus, that Valen-tinus came to Rome in the episcopate of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and survived till the epis­copate of Anicetus, about A. d. 140—155. (Comp. Euseb. Chron. and Hieron., s. a. 2159.) Some writers assign to him an earlier date, chiefly on the authority of the tradition, preserved by Cle-meris Alexandrinus (Strom.\ii. p. 764), that he had heard Theodas, a disciple of St. Paul: hence Cave places him at the year a-. d. 120. The two opi­nions may be reconciled by supposing, with Clin­ton, that Valentinus did not begin to propagate his heresy till late in life ; and, supposing him to have been seventy years of age in a. d. 150, the first year of Anicetus, he would be twenty-five in a. d. 105, when it was quite possible that a dis-

VALENTINUS.

ciple of St. Paul might be still alive. (Clinton, Fast. Rom. s. aa. 140, 144.)

Valentinus was one of the boldest and most in­fluential heresiarchs of the Gnostic sect. A minute account of his doctrines, into which it is not con­sistent with the plan of this work to enter, will be found in the works quoted below : perhaps, for general readers, the brief but clear exposition of Valentinianism by Mosheim will be found the most useful.

There is also a good and brief account in Giese-ler, which we extract, as the work is not so well known to the English reader, as that of Mosheim :

— " From the great original (according to him, (3v66s, TrpoirdTvp, irpoapxfy, with whom is the consciousness of himself (ei/i/ota, 0^777), emanate in succession male and female aeons (Novs or WLovoyevys and aA7?0€ta, \6yos and aATjfleia, \6yos and £077, 'dvBpuiros and e/c/cA7j(na, &c.), so that 30 aeons together (distinguished into the 'Oydods, Ae/cas, and AwSe/cas) form the ir\r)p(a/j.a. From the passionate striving of the last aeon, the aotyia, to unite with Bythos itself, arises an untimely bejng (77 /carw tro^m, evtiv/j.ricris, 'Axa/^fl, «. e. : tt)» which, wandering about outside the pleroma, communicates the germ of life to matter, and forms the At]/j.iovpy6s of psychical material, who immediately creates the world. In this three kinds of material are mixed, rb TTj/eu/zariKoj/, rb xJ/i>x'KoX T^ v\ikov. The result of the course of the world is, that the two first should be se­parated from the last, and that rb Trvevfj-aTiKov should return to the pleroma, t& x//i»xt/o$i/ into the tottos /ui.ecr<$Tir]Tos, where the Achamoth now dwells. In the mean time, two new aeons, Christ and the Holy Spirit, had arisen, in order to re­store the disturbed harmony in the pleroma ; then there emanated from all the aeons Jesus ((twtt^), who, as future associate (avfryos) of the Acha­moth, shall lead back into the pleroma this and the pneumatic natures. The ff(ar^p united itself at the baptism with the psychical Messiah pro­mised by the Demiurgus. Just so is the letter of the doctrines of Jesus for psychical men. On the other hand, the spirit introduced by the Soter or Saviour, is for the spiritual. These theosophic dreams were naturally capable of being moulded in many different ways ; and, accordingly, among Valentine's disciples are found many departures from their teacher. The most important of his followers were Heracleon, Ptolemy, and Marcus/* It must, however, be remembered that our knowledge of his system is derived almost entirely from the works of the writers against the heresies, whose expositions of their opponents' views are often very unfair. Nothing is extant of his own works, except a few insignificant fragments, quoted by the writers referred to. (Irenaeus, adv. Haeres. i. 1—7 ; Tertullian, c. Valentinianos; Clem. Alex. passim; Epiphanius, Haeres. 31 ; J. F. Buddeus, de Haeresi Valentin., appended to his Introd. in Hist. Philos. Hebr.; Cave, 'Hist. Litt. s. a. 120, pp. 50, 51, ed. Basil. ; Mosheim, de Reb. Christ, ante Const, pp. 371—389, Eccl. Hist. B. i. cent. ii. pt. ii. c. 5. §§ 15—17, vol. i. pp. 191—193, ed. Murdock and Soames ; Walch, Hist. d. Ketze-reyen, vol. i. pp. 335—386 ; Schrockh, Christliclie Kirchengeschichte, vol. ii. p. 359 ; Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. vol. i. pp. 140, 141, Davidson's transl. , Neander, Kirclwngescliiclite, vol. i. pt. ii. pp. 704

— 731.) [P.S.]

Pages
About | First

1212

1213

1214
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.