(Died AD 304)
June AD 304
According to Geoffrey
of Monmouth, Amphibalus was the name of the underground Christian
priest, sheltered by Britain's protomartyr, St.
Alban, at his house in the Roman town of Verulamium (now St. Albans).
The latter took his place when the authorities arrived to arrest Amphibalus. He
suffered execution for his trouble. Bede describes these events as occurring
during the religious persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian (c.AD 304), though
modern historians have argued the reigns of Decius (c.254) or Septimus Severus
Unfortunately, though Amphibalus may have existed in person, this was
almost certainly not his name. Rather, the word is a misunderstanding of the
Latin used for the cloak from which Alban created his disguise. All other
details of the man's life are, no doubt, later medieval embellishments. He
was supposedly a native of Isca (Caerleon), converted numerous Romano-Britons
after his brush with death - including SS.
Stephanus & Socrates - and fled with them to western Britannia
Superior (Wales). He was, later, caught and returned to Verulamium where he too
Amphibalus' body was supposedly discovered at
Redbourne, in 1178, and translated to a fitting shrine
in the Abbey Church of St. Albans. He is, doubtfully, said to have had a church
dedicated to him in post-Roman Winchester.
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