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EUSEBIUS [OF EMESA] (d. c. "36o)

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 957 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EUSEBIUS [OF EMESA] (d. c. "36o), a learned ecclesiastic of the Greek church, was born at Edessa about the beginning of the 4th century. After receiving his early education in his native town, he studied theology at Caesarea and Antioch and philosophy and science at Alexandria. Among his teachers were Eusebius of Caesarea and Patrophilus of Scythopolis. The reputation he acquired for learning and eloquence led to his being offered the see of Alexandria in succession to the deposed Athanasius at the beginning of 339, but he declined, and the council (of Antioch) chose Gregory of Cappadocia, " a fitter agent for the rough work to be done." Eusebius accepted the small bishopric of Emesa (the modern Horns) in Phoenicia, but his powers as mathematician and astronomer led his flock to accuse him of practising sorcery, and he had to flee to Laodicea. A reconciliation was effected by the patriarch of Antioch, but tradition says that Eusebius finally resigned his charge and lived a studious life in Antioch. His fame as an astrologer commended him to the notice of the emperor Constantius II., with whom he became a great favourite, accompanying him on many of his expeditions. The theological sympathies of Eusebius were with the semi-Arian party, but his interest in the controversy was not strong. His life was written by his friend George of Laodicea. He was a man of extraordinary learning, great eloquence and considerable intellectual power, but of his numerous writings only a few fragments are now in existence. See Migne, Patrol. Graec. vol. lxxxvi. Confessor's court. A brawl in which he and his servants became involved with the citizens of Dover led to a serious quarrel between the king and Earl Godwine. The latter, to whose jurisdiction the men of Dover were subject, refused to punish them. His contumacy was made the excuse for the outlawry of himself and his family. In ro66 Eustace came to England with Duke William, and fought at the battle of Hastings. In the following year, probably because he was dissatisfied with his share of the spoil, he assisted the Kentishmen in an attempt to seize Dover Castle. The conspiracy failed, and Eustace was sentenced to established his court at Byzantium, was regarded as the capital of the eastern part of the empire. He warmly espoused the cause of Arius in his quarrel with his bishop Alexander, and wrote a letter in his defence to Paulinus, bishop of Tyre, which is pre-served in the Church History of Theodoret. Trained in the school of Lucian of Antioch, his views appear to have been identical with those of Eusebius of Caesarea in placing Christ above all created beings, the only begotten of the Father, but in refusing to recognize him to be " of the same substance " with the Father, who is alone in essence and absolute being. At the council of Nicaea Eusebius of Nicomedia earnestly opposed, along with his namesake of Caesarea, the insertion of the Homousian clause, but after being defeated in his object he also signed the creed in his own sense of oµows /car' ovoiay. He refused, however, to sign the anathema directed against the Arians, not, as he afterwards explained, because of his variance from the Athanasian theology, but " because he doubted whether Arius really held what the anathema imputed to him " (Sozom. ii. 15). After the council he continued vigorously to espouse the Arian cause, and was so far carried away in his zeal against character. " He was an evil man and did more harm than good wherever he went; he spoiled the lands and laid thereon heavy taxes." He had used threats against the recalcitrant bishops, and in the war against the Angevin party had demanded contributions from religious houses; these facts perhaps suffice to account for the verdict of the chronicler. See Sir James Ramsay, Foundations of England, vol. ii. (London, 1898) ; J. M. Lappenberg, History of England under the Norman Kings (trans. B. Thorpe, Oxford, 1857) ; and E. A. Freeman, History of the Norman Conquest (Oxford, 1867–1879).
End of Article: EUSEBIUS [OF EMESA] (d. c. "36o)
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