Sozomen

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Sozomen (400-450), also known as Salamanes Hermias Sozomenos, was a Roman lawyer and historian of the Christian Church. What he has to tell us of the history of Southern Palestine was derived from oral tradition. Sozomen wrote that his grandfather lived at Bethelia, near Gaza, and became a Christian together with his household, probably under Constantius II. A neighbor named Alaphrion was miraculously healed by Saint Hilarion who cast out a demon from Alaphrion, and, as eyewitnesses to the miracle, his family converted, along with Alaphrion’s. As an adult Sozomen acquired training as a lawyer. He studied law in Beirut.

Sozomen wrote two works on church history, of which only the second one is extant.  His first work covered the history of the Church, from the Ascension of Jesus to the defeat of Licinius in 323, in twelve books. His sources for it included Eusebius of Caesarea, the Clementine homilies, Hegesippus, and Sextus Julius Africanus.  Sozomen’s second work continues approximately where his first work left off. He wrote it in Constantinople, around the years 440 to 443 and dedicated it to Emperor Theodosius II.  The work is structured into nine books, roughly arranged along the reigns of Roman Emperors.

 

Writings:

  • Ecclesiastical History Book I: from the conversion of Constantine I until the Council of Nicea (312–325)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book II: from the Council of Nicea to Constantine’s death (325–337)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book III: from the death of Constantine I to the death of Constans I (337–350)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book IV: from the death of Constans I to the death of Constantius II (350–361)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book V: from the death of Constantius II to the death of Julian the Apostate (361–363)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book VI: from the death of Julian to the death of Valens (363–375)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book VII: from the death of Valens to the death of Theodosius I (375–395)
  • Ecclesiastical History Book VIII: from the death of Theodosius I to the death of Arcadius (395–408).
  • Ecclesiastical History Book IX: from the death of Arcadius to the accession of Valentinian III (408–25).

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