[quote=""Huon""]The Thundering Legion : Legio fulminata
, not fulminatrix
Emperor Marcus Aurelius commanded the XII Fulminata in his campaign in 174 against the Quadi, a people inhabiting an area now known as Slovakia in modern day Slovak Republic, between Poland and Hungary. His army, exhausted by thirst, was on the point of falling an easy prey to the enemy.
Christian version reported by Tertullian (c. 160 - c. 225) :
It was then that the soldiers of the Twelfth Legion, which was composed of Christians, prayed to their God for help. Forthwith a heavy thunderstorm arose, bringing the desired relief to the Romans, but terrifying and dispersing the barbarians. Hereupon the emperor issued a decree forbidding the persecution of the Christians and to the Twelfth Legion he gave the surname of fulminata
, or fulminea
, that is, "thundering."
The same episode reported by Cassius Dio (c. 150 - 235) refers of the presence of an Egyptian mage, Harnuphis, who evoked Mercury, obtaining the rain shower. See Cassius Dio, Roman History, lxxii.8-10[/quote]
In another account of an attack by led by "barbarians" Augustine, in City of God
, notes that the barbarian sparred the lives of christians (and some non-christians) who sought sanctuary in christian places of worship.
Chapter I.-Of the Adversaries of the Name of Christ, Whom the Barbarians for Christ's Sake Spared When They Stormed the City.
For to this earthly city belong the enemies against whom I have to defend the city of God. Many of them, indeed, being reclaimed from their ungodly error, have become sufficiently creditable citizens of this city; but many are so inflamed with hatred against it, and are so ungrateful to its Redeemer for His signal benefits, as to forget that they would now be unable to utter a single word to its prejudice, had they not found in its sacred places, as they fled from the enemy's steel, that life in which they now boast themselves.6 Are not those very Romans, who were spared by the barbarians through their respect for Christ, become enemies to the name of Christ? The reliquaries of the martyrs and the churches of the apostles bear witness to this; for in the sack of the city they were open sanctuary for all who fled to them, whether Christian or Pagan. To their very threshold the blood-thirsty enemy raged; there his murderous fury owned a limit. Thither did such of the enemy as had any pity convey those to whom they had given quarter, lest any less mercifully disposed might fall upon them. And, indeed, when even those murderers who everywhere else showed themselves pitiless came to those spots where that was forbidden which the license of war permitted in every other place, their furious rage for slaughter was bridled, and their eagerness to take prisoners was quenched. Thus escaped multitudes who now reproach the Christian religion, and impute to Christ the ills that have befallen their city; but the preservation of their own life-a boon which they owe to the respect entertained for Christ by the barbarians-they attribute not to our Christ, but to their own good luck. They ought rather, had they any right perceptions, to attribute the severities and hardships inflicted by their enemies, to that divine providence which is wont to reform the depraved manners of men by chastisement, and which exercises with similar afflictions the righteous and praise worthy,-either translating them, when they have passed through the trial, to a better world, or detaining them still on earth for ulterior purposes. And they ought to attribute it to the spirit of these Christian times, that, contrary to the custom of war, these bloodthirsty barbarians spared them, and spared them for Christ's sake, whether this mercy was actually shown in promiscuous places, or in those places specially dedicated to Christ's name, and of which the very largest were selected as sanctuaries, that full scope might thus be given to the expansive compassion which desired that a large multitude might find shelter there. Therefore ought they to give God thanks, and with sincere confession flee for refuge to His name, that so they may escape the punishment of eternal fire-they who with lying lips took upon them this name, that they might escape the punishment of present destruction. For of those whom you see insolently and shamelessly insulting the servants of Christ, there are numbers who would not have escaped that destruction and slaughter had they not pretended that they themselves were Christ's servants. Yet now, in ungrateful pride and most impious madness, and at the risk of being punished in everlasting darkness, they perversely oppose that name under which they fraudulently protected themselves for the sake of enjoying the light of this brief life.
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2/NPNF ... P152_33940
Augustine attributes this apparent act of benevolence to divine protection but is it possible these "barbarians" were already christians (Arians?) to begin with? Susan Bauer writes in her book,The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade
, that the Visigoth who led sack of Rome was in fact led by an Arian christian general named Alaric. Bauer writes that Alaric gave orders before the sack of Rome to not destroy any Christian temples. If this is correct, then Augustine's argument of any direct divine providence involved during the sack of Rome is greatly weakened.