3. AEGYPTIUS, or of EGYPT (1). A Christian martyr, who suffered in Palestine in the persecution generally known as that of Diocletian. Eusebius speaks of him as the most illustrious of the sufferers in Palestine, and especially worthy of admiration for his philosophic (i. e. ascetic) life and conversation, and for the wonderful strength of his memory.
He suffered the loss of his eyesight, either in the earlier part of Diocletian's persecution, or at some earlier period; but afterwards acted as Anagnostes or reader in the church, supplying the want of sight by his extraordinary power of memory.
He could recite correctly, as Eusebius testifies from personal observation, whole books of Scripture, whether from the prophets, the gospels, or the apostolic epistles.
In the seventh year of the persecution (A. D. 31 0) he was treated with great cruelty one foot was burnt off, and fire was applied to his sightless eyeballs, for the mere purpose of torture.
As he was unable to undergo the toil of the mines or the public works, he and several others (among whom was Silvanus of Gaza), whom age or infirmity had disabled from labour, were confined in a place by themselves.
In the eighth year of the persecution, A. D. 311, the whole party, thirtynine in number, were decapitated in one day, by order of Maximin Daza, who then governed the Eastern provinces. (Euseb. de Martyrib. Palaestinae,
sometimes subjoined to the eighth book of his Hist. Eccles.