Cursors, Ecclesile

Cursors, Ecclesile were messengers employed in the early Christian Church, in times of danger, to give private notice to each member of the time and place of holding meetings for worship. It was also the term used to denote messengers sent from one country to another upon the important affairs of the Church. Cursfales Equi (post-horses), i.e., horses belonging to the "public course;" called also for shortness cursus, "course." The Roman posting or postal system the distinction between the two belongs to a late stage of civilization was established by Augustus. According to the Secret History of Procopius, the day's journey consisted of eight posts, sometimes fewer, but never less than five. Each stable had forty horses, and as many stablemen. Bingham gives a quite incorrect idea of the system in describing the cursuales equi as being simply impressed for the army and exchequer. The early Christian emperors made minute laws regulating these messengers, and some of them evince their regard for the life and comfort of the animals. T'he clergy were exempt from this service, and from the tax for it. See Smith, Diet. of Christ. Antiq. s.v.

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