And the king's of the earth, and the great men
The Roman emperors, and other principal magistrates, governors of provinces and cities:
and the rich men;
among the commonalty; these three may design perhaps more particularly the emperors, nobles, and senate of Rome: and
the chief captains;
or captains of thousands, that had the command of the Roman legions
and the mighty men;
the soldiers that were under them, men of strength, courage, and valour;
and every bondman, and every freeman;
which takes in all the inhabitants of the Roman empire, of every state and condition, and which was an usual distinction among the Romans: these
hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains;
where, through their cruel persecutions, they had forced multitudes of Christians to flee, and therefore, "lex talionis", the law of retaliation was righteously inflicted on them; and not to take notice of any other, this was remarkably true of their kings or emperors Dioclesian and Herculius Maximianus, who were emperors together, in the height of their imperial glory and grandeur, the one being at Nicomedia, and the other at Milan, did, on one and the same day, of their own accord, abdicate the empire, and divested themselves of their imperial crown and government, and retired to a private life; pretending in public, that old age, and the weight of business, were the cause, but to their friends they owned, that it was through despair, because they could not extinguish the Christian religion F16. Some ascribed this to frenzy and madness F17; but the true reason was, that the wrath of the Lamb was let into their consciences, and which they could not bear, and which obliged them to take this step, to the amazement of the whole world. Maximinus, who succeeded them, being overcome by Licinius, laid aside his imperial habit, and hid himself among the common people, and skulked about in fields and villages F18. Maxentius, another emperor, fled from Constantine, the instrument of the wrath of the Lamb, and the pouring it out upon his enemies, and fell into the river Tiber, from the Mylvian bridge, where he perished; and which was the very place in which he had laid snares for Constantine F19.
F16 Contur. Magd. cent. 4. c. 16. p. 909. Vid. Eutrop. l. 9.
F17 Euseb. Hist. l. 8. c. 13. & de Vita Constantin. l. 5. c. 25.
F18 lb. l. 9. c. 10.
F19 Ib. c. 9. & de Vita Constant. l. 1. c. 38. Vid. Aurel. Victor. de Caesaribus.