Saints Chrysanthus and Daria (died ca. 284) are saints of the Early Christian period. According to legend, Chrysanthus was the only son of an Egyptian patrician, named Polemius or Poleon, who lived during the reign of Numerian. His father moved from Alexandria to Rome. Chrysanthus was educated in the finest manner of the era. Disenchanted with the excess in the Roman world, he began reading the Acts of the Apostles.
He was then baptized and educated in Christian thinking by a priest named Carpophorus. His father was unhappy with Chrysanthus' conversion, and attempted to inculcate his son in the secular world by tempting him with prostitutes, but Chrysanthus retained his virginity. He objected when his father arranged a marriage to Daria, a Roman Vestal Virgin. Chrysanthus converted his new bride and convinced her to live with him in a chaste state. Since Vestal Virgins take a vow of chastity during their 30-year term of service Daria's agreement to live in a chaste marriage would not be surprising.
They went on to convert a number of Romans. When this illegal act was made known to Claudius, the tribune, Chrysanthus was arrested and tortured. Chrysanthus' faith and fortitude under torture was so impressive to Claudius that he and his wife, Hilaria, two sons, and seventy of his soldiers became Christians. For this betrayal, the emperor had Claudius drowned, his sons beheaded and his wife went to the gallows. Daria was sent to live as a prostitute, but her chastity was defended by a lioness. She was brought before Numerian and ordered to be executed by stoning and then burial alive in a deep pit beside her husband. They were entombed in a sand pit near the Via Salaria Nova, the catacombs in Rome.
Carinus, on the other hand, has the reputation of having been one of the worst of the emperors. This infamy was possibly supported by Diocletian himself. Marcus Aurelius Carinus (d. 285) was Roman Emperor (283 – July, 285) and elder son of the Emperor Carus, on whose accession he was appointed governor of the western portion of the empire. He fought with success against the Quadi tribes, but soon left the defence of the Upper Rhine to his legates and returned to Rome, where he abandoned himself to all kinds of debauchery and excess. He also celebrated the ludi Romani on a scale of unexampled magnificence.
The Augustan History (Lat. Historia Augusta) is a late Roman collection of biographies, in Latin, of the Roman Emperors, their junior colleagues and usurpers of the period 117 to 284. It presents itself as an assemblage of works by six different authors (collectively known as the Scriptores Historiae Augustae), written in the reigns of Diocletian and Constantine, but the true authorship of the work, its actual date, and its purpose (if any), have long been matters for controversy. Associated major problems are the sources it used, and how much of the content is sheer fiction. Despite these conundra, all of which are of considerable interest, it is the only continuous account for much of its period and is thus continually being re-evaluated, since modern historians are understandably unwilling to abandon it as a unique source of possible information, despite its obvious untrustworthiness on many levels.
Another excellent historical account of the Emperors is Zosimus' work is the Historia Nova, "New History". It comprises six volumes, the earlier books being mainly a compilation from previous authors (Dexippus, Eunapius, Olympiodorus): the first book sketches briefly the history of the early Roman emperors from Augustus to Diocletian (305); the second, third and fourth deal more fully with the period from the accession of Constantius Chlorus and Galerius to the death of Theodosius I; the fifth and sixth, the most useful for historians, cover the period between 395 and 410, when Priscus Attalus was deposed. For this period, he is the most important surviving non-ecclesiastical source. The work, which is apparently unfinished, is believed to have been written in 498-518.
The text of Zosimus survives in a single manuscript now in the Vatican, Codex Vaticanus Graecus 156. This was written over a period of two centuries, the 10th-12th, probably in the celebrated and scholarly Studios monastery in Constantinople. However the manuscript has suffered damage. A quaternion of 8 leaves is missing at the end of book 1 / start of book 2. These missing pages comprise the reigns of Carus, Carinus, Numerian and Diocletian and are a great loss to historians of the "Crisis of the 3rd Century" as Zosimus wrote his history from a pagan perspective. This is important to consider as most surviving texts of this type are by authors commissioned to write histories and as such are prone to embellishment or by Christian authors who tend to be hostile to Pre-Christian cultures.
Chrysanthus is also venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Troparion associated with him is: "Let us honor the like-minded pair of Martyrs,/ Chrysanthus scion of purity, and supremely modest Daria./ United in holiness of faith, they shone forth as communicants of God the Word./ They fought lawfully for Him and now save those who sing:/ Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you;/ glory to Him Who through you works healings for all." The Kontakion associated with Chrysanthus is: "O Chrysanthus, in the sweet fragrance of holiness/ thou didst draw Daria to saving knowledge./ Together in contest you routed the serpent, the author of all evil,/ and were worthily taken up to the heavenly realms." His was a precongregational canonization. St. Chrysanthus' feast day is the Western Church is 25 October. In the Eastern Orthodox Church his feast day is 19 March.
The relics of Sts. Chrysanthus and Daria are found in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Rome.