- May 2011
- Rural Australia
But among his august counsels was Eusebius Pamphilus and his team of professional Greek scribes. I guess the question might become whether Eusebius was aware that the Chi-Rho symbol had this prior usage on inscriptions - in the east where the Greek language predominated.I have to agree this is a case of lack of evidence in either direction. But logic says no. Constantine and his forces came from Gaul and Britain, an area where Greek was very uncommon. Education in Greek in the upper and middle classes wasn't as prevalent as it used to be either in these regions.
Sozomen wrote that no one had dared to reject Constantine's doctrines while he was alive. So it may be likely that, even though they may have noticed Eusebius' story was doubtful, they kept their mouths shut.But even then you would expect that many of Eusebius' Greek-speaking contemporaries would have noticed that his story about Christ sounded doubtful, if Constantine had just copied or expanded on an existing practice.
The ecclesiastical histories may have expunged this, along with a host of other controversies. that erupted from the rule of Constantine after his military supremacy in the Eastern empire. Julian's invectives against Constantine (and the "wretched Eusebius") for example, were burnt and refuted. There is somewhat of a (black?) hole in the pagan literary sources between 324 CE (Constantine's supremacy) and 353 CE (when Ammianus resumes).You would also expect that this would have left some traces in the sources.
Eusebius must have been among the top echelon of Greek scholars at that time. Is it reasonable to think that Eusebius did have, or did not have, knowledge of this prior use for the Chi-Rho symbol?