Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The trauaile of Helena.

Helena Flauia Augusta serenissimi Coeli Britannici Regis Hæres, et vnica filia, Magni Constantini Cæsaris mater, incomparabili decore, fide, religione, bonitate, ac magnificentiâ piâ, Eusebio etiam teste, per totum resplenduit orbem: Inter omnes ætatis suæ foeminas, nulla inueniebatur eâ in liberalibus artibus doctior, nulla in instrumentis musicis peritior, aut in linguis nationum copiosior. Innatam habebat ingenij claritudinem, oris facundiam, ac morum ornatissimam compositionem: Hebraicè, Græcè et Latinè erudita. Caruerat pater alia sobole (inquit Virumnius) quæ Regni solio potiretur. Illam proprerea his instrui fecit per optimos præceptores, vt eò commodius Regni tractaret negotia. Vnde ob incredibilem eius pulchritudinem, atque alias eximias animi et corporis dotes, Constantius Chlorus Cæsar illam duxit in vxorem, atque ex eâ filium in Britanniâ genuit Constantinum Magnum. Sed eo tandem Eboraci defuncto, cum Annâ illâ Euangelicâ, in sanctâ viduitate perdurauit ad vltimum vitæ diem, tota Christianæ religione dedita. Sunt enim authores, qui narrent per instam, cessante persecutione, pacem Ecclesijs datam: Ad tantam coelestis Philosophiæ; cognitionem cam ferunt post agnitum Euangelium peruenisse, vt olim multos ediderit libros, et carmina quaædam Græca, quæ hucúsque à Pontico superesse perhibentur. Visionibus admonita Hierosolymam petijt, et onmia saluatoris loca perlustrauit. Romæ tandem octogenaria foeliciter in Christo quieuit 15. Kalendas Septembris, filio adhuc superstite, anno salutis humanæ 337. Regnante apud Britannos Octauio. Huius corpus non minimâ nunc curâ Venetijs seruatur.

The same in English.

Helena. Flauia Augusta, the heire and onely daughter of Coelus sometime the most excellent King of Britaine, the mother of the Emperour Constantine the great, by reason of her singular beautie, faith, religion, goodnesse and godly Maiestie (according to the testimonie of Eusebius) was famous in all the world. Amongst all the women of her time, there was none either in the liberall arts more learned, or in instruments of musike more skilfull, or in the diuers languages of nations more abundant than herselfe. She had a naturall quicknesse or excellency of wit, eloquence of speech, and a most notable grace in all her behauiour. She was seene in the Hebrew, Greeke and Latine tongues.

Her father (as Virumnius reporteth) had no other childe to succeed in the kingdome after him but her, and therefore caused her to be instructed in these things by the best teachers, that thereby she might the better in time gouerne the Realme: so that by reason of her passing beautie, and other her excellent giftes of body and minde, Constantius Chlorus the Emperour married her, and had by her a sonne called Constantine the great, while hee remained in Britaine. Who at length deceasing at Yorke, this Helena (no otherwise then Anna of whom mention is made in the new Testament) continued a vertuous and holy widow to the end of her life.

There are some writers which doe affirme, that persecution ceased, and peace was granted to the Christian Churches by her good meanes.

After the light and knowledge of the Gospel, she grewe so skilfull in diuinitie, that shee wrote and composed diuers bookes and certaine Greeke verses also, which (as Ponticus reporteth) are yet extant. Being warned by some visions she went to Ierusalem, and visited all the places there, which Christ had frequented. She liued to the age of fourescore yeeres, and then died at Rome the 15 day of August in the yeere of oure redemption 337. Octauius being then king of Britaine, and her sonne Constantine the Emperour then also liuing, and her body is to this day very carefully preserued at Venice.

Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 22:44