Tiberius II (©!!)
|Baalbek or Heliopolis
(Ἡλιούπολις, "sun city"): town in the northern Bekaa valley,
site of the largest sanctuary in the Roman world.
579, a Byzantine general, Theophilus, exterminated the last pagans of
Heliopolis. The shocking story is recorded by the sixth-century author
John of Ephesus. Ecclesiastical History 3.27 was translated by R.P.
The End of the Pagans of Heliopolis
In the second year of Tiberius' reign, the news reached the capital
that the wicked heathens at Baalbek, otherwise called Heliopolis, who
were professed worshippers of Satan, were plotting whenever they could
find an opportunity to destroy and wipe out the very remembrance of the
Christians in that town, who were few and poor, while they all were in
the constant enjoyment of wealth and dignity. They indulged moreover in
scoffs at Christ, and all who believed in him, and had already ventured
upon many acts of open violence.
Upon the news reaching Tiberius, he entrusted the matter to an officer
who had already a short time before been sent to the East by Justin,
upon the occasion of a revolt and disturbance created by the Jews and
Samaritans in Palestine: and who on his arrival there had effectually
reduced them to order, exterminating some and crucifying others, and
destroying their property, and compelling them, by the severity of his
measures, to submission.
On receiving the emperor's commands, this officer, whose name was
Theophilus, proceeded at once from Palestine to Heliopolis, and having
arrested numerous heathens, recompensed them as their audacity
deserved, humbling them and crucifying them, and slaying them with the
sword. And on being put to the torture, and required to give the names
of those who were guilty like themselves of heathenish error, they
mentioned numerous persons in every district and city in their land,
and in almost every town in the East, but especially at Antioch.