My first copy of The History of the Church by Eusebius is the Penguin Classics edition translated by G. A. Williamson, revised, edited and with a new introduction by Andrew Louth (Penguin Books, 1989). This is the trade paperback edition (7 3/4 x 5 1/8 in. or 19.75 x 13 cm), which I prefer to the normal paperback sized edition of the same text that I’ve got squirreled away here somewhere….
Anyhow, I decided to start reading through Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History again as my nighttime relaxing reading before bed, and ran across a thorogouhly hilarious typographical error that I thought it would be a delight to share. It occurs in a section on Polycarp, the famous bishop of Smyrna, in which he runs into the arch-heretic Marcion (p. 117):
Polycarp himself on one occasion came face to face with Marcion, and when Marcion said ‘Don’t you recognize me?’ he replied: ‘I do indeed: I recognize the firstborn of Satin!”
Yes, there it is: “the firstborn of Satin!’
Here’s the Greek, which is quite snappy:
καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ ὁ Πολύκαρπος Μαρκίωνί ποτε εἰς ὄψιν αὐτῷ ἐλθόντι καὶ φήσαντι· ἐπιγίνωσκε ἡμᾶς, ἀπεκρίθη· ἐπιγινώσκω ἐπιγινώσκω τὸν πρωτότοκον τοῦ σατανᾶ.
Unfortunately, it seems that our Father among the Saints Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna wasn’t making a comment upon the unfortunate sartorial sense of the wretched heretic Marcion, shipwrecker of souls. The “Satin” is simply a typographical error for “Satan”. Unfortunately the typo really turns quite a dramatic moment into a rather silly thing. Hopefully it’s been corrected in later printings.