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Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists (1917) Appendix 1. The trial of Felix, Bishop of Aptunga. pp.327-345.




The scene of the events described in this document----of which unfortunately a large part is missing----was Carthage. The date is a.d. 314. It is, therefore, exactly sixteen hundred years since Constantine, fresh from his victory over Maxentius and full of zeal for the welfare of the religion which he had so recently embraced, gave orders for the charge of Betrayal brought so persistently against Felix, Bishop of Aptunga, to be heard publicly on the spot----that is to say in Africa. It was indeed notorious that there was no real ground for this charge. But to the Donatists it was a matter of life and death that the truth of their accusation against the consecrator of Caecilian should be substantiated, or at any rate generally accepted. Otherwise any attempt to justify their schism broke down of itself. When the matter was gone into at Rome under Pope Miltiades, it had been admitted that no accusation was made against Caecilian personally.1 The whole |328 question really concerned Felix. Consequently Caecilian was declared at Rome to be the rightful Bishop of Carthage, and the legates Eunomius and Olimpius promulgated the Roman decree at Carthage itself. Still the Donatists remained obstinate, and represented to Constantine that their case had not been fairly heard, but that the judges had shut themselves up and given their verdict without any regard to the weight of evidence.2 Thus it came to pass that a certain Alfius Caecilianus 3 was ordered to go before the Proconsul's court at Carthage, there to give an account of a former investigation of this same matter which had been held at the time when he was himself duovir. He was told to bring with him the men who had been his secretary and notary respectively. The name of the Proconsul before whom the trial was to be heard was Aelianus. With Aelianus were at least three commissioners or assessors (though their name of duovirs seems to us somewhat quaintly out of keeping with this fact), Gallienus, Fuscius and Sisenna.

The case heard at Rome had direct reference to Caecilian. Now, the case of Felix was to be examined anew, without any reference to Caecilian, on its own merits.4 We shall see that Aelianus required the Acts of the former African trial to be produced and read in extenso. Alfius Caecilianus, in consequence of his age, had been excused from going to the Imperial Court and had made a deposition before the duovir Aurelius Didymus Speretius. It was shown that the letter upon which the Donatists relied to convict Felix had been interpolated (or rather |329 added to) by a certain Ingentius. This Ingentius was secretary to one Augentius, who had been fellow-aedile with Caecilianus. After these Acts had been read the counsel Apronianus insisted on questioning Caecilianus, who explained in some detail his dealings with Ingentius.

Ingentius had falsely represented that Felix had told him that he had certain valuable codices in his possession----and that their owner now wanted them back----so would Ingentius obtain a letter from Caecilianus stating that they had been burned when he was duovir? Thus Felix would be able to steal the codices! Had Caecilianus given the letter, as requested, it was to have been used as a proof that Felix had been a Betrayer. It was an ingenious plot; but it failed. At first Caecilianus would not write anything. In the end Ingentius induced Augentius to persuade Caecilianus to write a letter of some kind. This letter has been almost wholly lost, but it is clear that from the point of view of Ingentius it was quite unsatisfactory, as it contained nothing which would have been of any value for his purpose. So Ingentius forged the interpolation, which had been read out at the previous trial. Caecilianus swore that this interpolation was a forgery, and indeed it could not possibly be genuine, since it consisted of an addition (after the original conclusion) purporting to relate a conversation with Felix, who was absent from home at the time. It represents him as giving up the Scriptures privately to a friendly official. This was meant to explain why there was no public proof available of Felix's fall.

The evidence was all against Ingentius, who had to confess to the forgery, under fear of torture. But he tried to make out that he committed his crime through love for a certain Bishop Maurus, who was charged with simony. It was shown, however, that, notwithstanding his oaths to the contrary, he had been an envoy of the Donatist faction throughout Numidia and Mauritania, so that it became |330 clear that the calumny had been invented in the interests of party.

Thus was Felix finally and triumphantly vindicated.

The Donatists, who styled themselves 'the Pure,' were conscious of being themselves Traditores. It was partly in order to cover up their own guilt that they invented the quite baseless charge against Felix, the consecrator of Caecilian Bishop of Carthage.5 That charge once formulated, the next step was to argue that all who communicated with Caecilian----'polluted' by Betrayal----were themselves 'polluted,' even though this conclusion might involve the whole Catholic world in apostasy from Christ. All this has been made clear in the pages of St. Optatus.

The document now before us has vivid touches of dramatic interest, where various scenes are described, as they took place, with much actuality. Sometimes, it must be admitted, we cannot well refrain from asking ourselves how far, with regard to details, play is being given to the exercise of the imagination. But as to the central fact of the innocence of Felix there can be no question, nor as to the justice of the verdict which Optatus tells us was delivered in his favour.6 Whoever else may have behaved discreditably, against Felix of Aptunga there was no evidence. |331 

The Acts of the Vindication of Felix, Bishop of Aptunga 7 (the Consecrator of Caecilian, Bishop of Carthage) before Aelianus, Proconsul of Africa, at Carthage, during the Consulate of Volusianus and Aunianus.8

. . . 9 In the town 10 of Autumna, Gallienus the Duovir said:

'Since, Caecilianus, you are here present, listen to the letter of my lord, the Right Honourable 11 Aelius Paulinus, acting deputy of the Prefect,12 in which, according to his letter addressed to us, he has deigned to command that you and the secretary whom you employed during the period of your administration, and the notary 13 should make a declaration. But, inasmuch as the notary of that time has departed this life, you will have to bring with you all the Acts of your administration, in compliance with the requirements of the letter of my Lord, and you will have to go with your secretary to Carthage. The Curator is present. In his presence we charge you, what answer do you make to this?'

Caecilianus said:

'As soon as you handed to me the letter of the Right Honourable Aelius Paulinus, acting deputy of the Prefect, I sent immediately to my secretary Miccius to come and bring me the Acts which were set down at that time, and he is still searching for them. For no small space of time has passed since I held the office of Duovir. It was eleven |332 years ago. So, as soon as he has found them, I will obey a command of such high dignity.'

Gallienus the Duovir said:

'It is to your interest to obey the command, for you see that it is sacred.14'

Caecilianus said:

'I have due devotion to a command of such great dignity.15'

Then when, a little time after, the secretary Miccius had also arrived, Fuscius the Duovir said:

'Have you too, Miccius, heard that you also have to go with Caecilianus to the office of the Right Honourable Deputy, and bring there with you the documents concerning that time? What have you to say to this?'

Miccius answered:

'The magistrate, when his year of office was completed, took all his Acts home with him. ... I am searching to see whether the wax tablet can be found among them. 16'

And whilst he was searching, Quintus Sisenna the Duovir said:

'He has answered according to what the Court already knows.'

Apronianus said:

'If the magistrate took away all his Acts, whence can we procure the Acts which were then made or put together at a time of so great importance?' |333 

And, when he said this, Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Both my questions and the answers of the various persons are contained in the Acts.'

Agesilaus said:

'There are besides other letters, necessary for the understanding of this affair. It is of importance that they should be read.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Read them in the hearing of Caecilianus, that he may know whether he dictated them.'

Agesilaus read aloud 17:

During the consulate of Volusianus and Annianus, on the nineteenth of August, in a lawsuit before Aurelius Didymus Speretius, priest of mighty Jupiter, duovir of the magnificent colony of the Carthaginians, Maximus said:

'I speak in the name of the seniors of the Christian people of the Catholic Law.18 The case must be pleaded before the Supreme Emperors against Caecilian and Felix, who strive their utmost to attack the supremacy of that Law.19 The proofs of the charges against them in this matter are being searched for. When persecution was proclaimed against the Christians, that is to say, when they were required to offer sacrifice, or betray whatever Scriptures they might have, to be burned, Felix, who was then Bishop of Autumna, had given his consent for Scriptures to be given up by the hand of Galatius, that they might be committed to the fire. And at that time Alfius Caecilianus, whom you may observe here present, was a magistrate, and since it was then his duty to see that, in accordance with the proconsular command, all should sacrifice, and that, in accordance with the Imperial law,20 they should hand over any Scriptures they might possess, I ask him, since |334 he is here 21 and you see he is an old man and cannot go to the Imperial Court, to make his deposition in the Acts as to whether he gave (as is stated in the Acts 22) a letter in accordance with an agreement which he had already made, and as to whether the statements which he has made in the letter are true----so that the actions and the truthfulness of these persons may be set forth in the trial before the Emperor.'

Speretius the Duovir said to Caecilianus who was present:

'Do you hear what are the depositions in the Acts? '

Alfius Caecilianus said:

'I had gone to Zama with Saturninus to buy linen garments,23 and when we arrived there, the Christians themselves sent to me in the praetorium to ask "Has the Emperor's ordinance reached you?" I answered "No, but I have already seen copies, and have seen churches destroyed and also Scriptures burnt at Zama and Furni. So if you have any Scriptures, bring them forth, that the Emperor's command may be obeyed." Then they sent to the house of the Bishop Felix to bring out the Scriptures from there, that they might be burnt in accordance with the Emperor's decree. So Galatius went with us to the place where they had been accustomed to celebrate their prayers. We took out the Chair and the letters of salutation,24 and afterwards 25 all were burnt in accordance with the Emperor's decree. And when we sent to the house of this Bishop Felix the public officials informed us that he was not there. And when, at a later time,26 Ingentius |335 arrived----the secretary of Augentius, with whom I was aedile----I dictated to that 27 colleague the letter which I wrote to this Bishop Felix.'

Maximus said:

'He is here.28 Let this letter be shown him, that he may recognise it.'

He answered: 

'It is the one.'

Maximus said:

'Since he has recognised his own letter, I shall read it, and ask that it be inserted in the Acts in full.' 

And he read it aloud:

'Caecilianus to his father Felix, health! Inasmuch as Ingentius has approached my colleague Augentius his friend, and asked whether, in accordance with the Emperor's command, any Scriptures of your Law were burnt in the year when I was aedile 29 . . . my friend Galatius, a Christian,30 publicly brought forth letters of salutation from the Basilica. I wish thee good health.

'This 31 is the proof that the Christians and the owner of the praetorium had written to entreat my mercy----that you said "Take the key and take also whatever books you may find upon the Chair and whatever codices there may be upon the stone. But see, I beg you, that the officials do not take away the oil and wheat." 32 And I said to you "Are you unaware that where Scriptures are found, the house itself is pulled down?" And you said "What then are we to do?" And I said to you "Let one of your people take them out into the court where you make your prayers, and let them be placed there. And I will come with the officials and take them away.' |336 

'And we all went there and took everything away in accordance with the Emperor's command.'

Maximus said:

'Since the reading of his letter, which he has acknowledged that he sent, has been placed upon the Acts, we ask that his words should remain upon the Acts.'

Speretius the Duovir said:

'What you have said has been written down.' 33

Agesilaus said:

'With regard to the present letter which he has recognised, he says that the last part which has just been read is a forgery.'

Caecilianus said:

'My lord, I dictated up to the point where we find the words "My dearest father, I wish thee good health." '

Apronianus said:

'Always has it been so, that those who have refused to adhere to the Catholic Church, have acted thus treacherously, by terrorising, by acting a pretence, by anti-religious bent.34 For when Paulinus was Vice-prefect here, a man without official position was suborned to act the part 35 of a courier, that he might go to those who belong to the Catholic unity,36 and ensnare and terrify them.37 And now the conspiracy 38 has been discovered. For a lying story was made up against the most holy Bishop Felix, so that it might appear that he had betrayed and burnt the Scriptures. It was in fact Ingentius (since his |337 whole line of conduct was opposed to the holiness and religion of Caecilian) who was suborned to come with a letter that purported to be from Felix the Bishop to Caecilianus the Duovir, and pretend to him that he was commissioned by Felix. Let him give us the very words in which this story was concocted.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said: 

'Tell us.'

Apronianus said: 

['Ingentius spoke in this way to Caecilianus:] "Tell my friend Caecilianus," said Felix to me, "that I received [from somebody] eleven precious divine codices, and, as he is now demanding 39 of me to restore them, say that you 40 burnt them in your year of office, so that I need not return them to him." 41 

For this reason Ingentius must be questioned as to the manner in which these designs were manufactured and fabricated, as to how he strove to lead his master to tell lies, that he might bespatter Felix with infamy. Let him tell us by whom he was sent, but if this plot against the good name of Felix, by which he might do injury to the episcopal character 42 of Caecilian from its commencement. . .43 For there is a certain person 44 who was sent by the other side 45 as ambassador through Mauritania and Numidia.' |338 

In the presence of Ingentius, Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'At whose bidding did you undertake to do these things that are brought against you? '

Ingentius said:


Aelianus the Proconsul said:                             

'As you pretend not to understand what you are asked, I will speak more plainly. Who sent you to the magistrate Caecilianus?'

Ingentius said: 

'No one sent me.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'How was it then that you went to the magistrate Caecilianus?'

Ingentius said:

'When we had arrived and the case of Maurus, a Bishop from Utica, who bought his bishopric,46 was being tried, Felix, the Bishop of Autumna, came up to the city to preach,47 and said "Let no one communicate with him, for he is guilty of fraud.48" And I, on the other hand, said to him "Let no one communicate with you any more than with him,49 because you are a Betrayer." I was grieving over the case of Maurus my guest, since I had communicated with him when I was abroad----for I escaped from the persecution. From it 50 I went into the country of Felix himself and took with me three seniors, that |339 they might see whether in truth he had been a Betrayer or not.'

Apronianus said:

'It is not so. He went to Caecilianus. Ask Caecilianus about it.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said to Caecilianus:

'How was it that Ingentius came to you?'

Caecilianus answered:

'He came to me at home. I was at dinner with the workmen.51 He came in and stood in the doorway.52 "Where is Caecilianus?" said he. I answered "Here." I said to him "What is it? Is all right? " "Everything," said he. I answered him "If you are not too proud to dine, come and have dinner." He said to me "I am coming back." He came alone. He began to tell me that he wanted me to look into the matter and inquire whether the Scriptures had been burnt in the year when I was Duovir. I said to him "You annoy me. You are a man who has been suborned.53 Be off with you. Take yourself away from me." And I spurned him from me.54 And he came yet a second time together with my colleague with whom I had been aedile.55 My colleague said to me "Felix, our Bishop, sent this man here that you might give him a letter, because he has received precious codices, and is unwilling to give them back. Write for him that they were burnt in the year when you were Duovir." And I said "Is this the faith of Christians? " '

Ingentius said:

'My lord, let Augentius also be called, for I too have |340 held honourable office.56 [If you listen to this story] it will be all over with my honour, and . . .' 57

Aelianus the Proconsul said to Ingentius:

'You are convicted on another ground.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said to an officer:

'Strip and bind him.' 58

And when he was made ready, Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Let him be drawn up.' 59

And while he was being drawn up on the rack, Aelianus the Proconsul said to Caecilianus:

'Under what circumstances did Ingentius come to you? '

He answered:

' "Our friend Felix," so he spoke, "sent me here that you should write to him, since there is an abandoned man who is the owner of some most precious codices which are in his possession, and he is unwilling to restore them. So ----that they may not be claimed back----write that they were burnt." And I said to him "Is this the faith of a Christian? " Then I began to rebuke him. But my colleague said "Write thither to our friend Felix." And so I dictated the letter which lies before you, up to the place that I have pointed out.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Listen without fear to the reading of your letter. See how far you dictated.' |341 

Agesilaus read out:

' " . . . I wish you, my dearest father, good health for many years." '

Aelianus the Proconsul said to Caecilianus:

'Did you dictate as far as this? '

He answered:

'As far as this. The rest is a forgery.'

Agesilaus read aloud [the remainder of the letter]:

' "This is the proof that the Christians and the owner of the praetorium had written to entreat my mercy, and that you had said 60 'Take the key and take also whatever books you may find upon the Chair and whatever codices there may be upon the stone. But see, I beg you, that the officials do not take away the oil and the wheat.' And I said to you, 'Are you unaware that where Scriptures are found the house itself is pulled down?' And you said 'What then shall we do?' And I said to you 'Let one of your people take them out into the halls where you make your prayers, and let them be placed there. And I will come with the officials 61 and take them away.' And we went thither, and took everything away as we had arranged,62 and burnt it in accordance with the Emperor's command." '

Maximus said:

'Since there has also been placed upon the Acts the purport of this letter, which he himself said that he had acknowledged and sent, we ask that this should be set down on your Acts.' |342 

Speretius said:

'What you have said has been written down.'

Caecilianus answered:

'It is a forgery from that point. It is my letter up to where I said "My dearest father, farewell." '

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Who do you say added to the letter? '

Caecilianus said:


Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Your statement is set down in the Acts.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said to Ingentius:

'You shall be tortured to prevent your telling lies.'

Ingentius said:

'I have sinned. I did add to this letter, through my grief on account of Maurus my guest.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Constantine Maximus ever Augustus, and Licinius, Caesars, deign to show such favour to Christians as to be unwilling that their discipline should be corrupted; on the contrary, they are determined that this religion should be observed and respected. Do not, therefore, flatter yourself that, because you tell me that you are a worshipper of God, on this account you cannot be tortured. You shall be tortured, that you may not tell lies----a thing which is thought to be foreign to Christians. So tell the truth frankly, that you may not be tortured.'

Ingentius said:

'I have already confessed without torture.' |343 

Apronianus said:

'Be pleased to ask him by what authority, by what craft, by what madness he went through all the districts of Mauritania and also of Numidia, and by what means he stirred up sedition against the Catholic Church.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Have you been to the Numidias?'

He answered:

'No, my Lord. Let anyone prove it who can.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Nor to Mauritania? '

He answered:

'I was there on commercial business.'

Apronianus said:

'In this he lies, my Lord, for it is impossible to travel to Mauritania, excepting through the Numidias. Now he says that he was in Mauritania, but not in Numidia.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said to Ingentius:

'What is your rank?'

Ingentius answered:

'I am a decurion of the Ziquenses.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said to the officer: 

'Lower him.'63 |344 

When he had been lowered, Aelianus the Proconsul said to Caecilianus:

'You have given false evidence.'

Caecilianus answered:

'Not so, my lord. Command the attendance of him who wrote the letter. He is his friend. He will tell you to what point I dictated the letter.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Who is it whom you wish to have here? '

Caecilianus said:

'Augentius, with whom I was aedile. It is only through the evidence of Augentius himself who wrote the letter, that I can prove my case. He can tell you to what point I dictated to him.'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Is it then certain that the letter is a forgery?'

Caecilianus answered:

'It is certain, my lord. In my blood I do not lie.' 64

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Since you held the office of Duovir in your country we ought to give credence to your words.'

Apronianus said:

'It is no new thing for them to act in this way. They have added what they pleased to the Acts. It is a trick of theirs.' |345 

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Through the evidence of Caecilianus, who tells us that the Acts have been falsified, and many additions made to his letter, the purpose of Ingentius in doing these things has been made clear. So let him be committed to gaol, for we shall require him for stricter examination. Moreover, it is manifest that Felix the holy Bishop has been cleared from the charge of burning the Divine writings, since no one has been able to prove anything against him to show that he gave up or burned the most sacred Scriptures. For through all the evidence, it has been made clear on the interrogatories that no Divine Scriptures were either discovered or corrupted or burnt by him. It is shown by the Acts that Felix the holy Bishop was neither present when these things were done, nor was privy to them,65 nor did he order anything of the kind.' 66

Agesilaus said:

'What does your lordship order to be done with these witnesses, who came to give evidence to your lordship?'

Aelianus the Proconsul said:

'Let them go back to their homes.'

[Footnotes moved to the end and renumbered]

1. 1 'Illo tempore a tot inimicis nihil in eum [Caecilianum] potuit confingi; sed de ordinatore suo, quod abillis falso traditor diceretur, meruit infirmari' (Opt. i, 19).

2. 1  Cf. letter of Constantine, p. 385.

3. 2  For the sake of clearness I have called the Bishop Caecilian; the official Caecilianus.

4. 3  'Sed quia in ipsa caussa iamdudum in Catholica duorum videbantur laborare personae, et ordinati et ordinatoris; postquam ordinatus in Urbe purgatus est, et purgandus adhuc remanserat ordinator' (Opt. i, 27).

5. 1   '. . . ut crimina in silentium mitterent sua, vitam infamare conati sunt alienam' (Opt. i, 20).

6. 2  'A supra memorato proconsule haec pars sententiae dicta est: "Felicem religiosum Episcopum liberum esse ab exustione librorum manifestum est, cum nemo in eum aliquid probare poterit . . . Hoc actis continetur quod Felix illis temporibus neque praesens fuerit, neque conscientiam accommodaverit, neque aliquid tale fieri iusserit." Unde pulsa atque extersa infamia, cum ingenti laude de illo iudicio recessit' (Opt. i, 27).

7. 1 Episcopi Aptungitani, of Aptunga, or Autumna. 

8. 2 Du Pin's heading.

9. 3  The early part of the MS. is lost.

10. 4  in municipio. Municipium is a self-governing township.

11. 5  viri spectabilis. A title, showing the precise rank----equivalent to our Right Honourable.

12. 6  agentis vicariam praefeciuram.

13. 7 tabularium.

14. 1 iussionem esse sacram, i.e. the Emperor's.

15. 2 devotus sum tanto praecepto.

16. 3 The MS. has si mei in cera possint inveniri inquiro. This is plainly corrupt. Baluzius suggested si in eis cera possit. This emendation is accepted by Ziwsa.

17. 1  Here begin the Acts of the former trial.

18. 2  Catholicae Legis. Cf. Opt. i, 11: 'Catholicam facit simplex et verus intellectus in Lege.'

19. 3  principatum eiusdem Legis.

20. 4  secundum sacrum legem.

21. 1  The MS. has secundum sens est. Deutsch (Drei Aktenstücke zur Geschichte des Donatismus. Berlin, 1875) supplies [quod prae]-sens.

22. 2  secundum. Deutsch supplies Acta. Ziwsa accepts these two emendations. Evidently something is lacking.

23. 3  propter lineas comparandas. Possibly it may mean 'to compare the lines of the document.'

24. 4 cathedram tulimus, et epistolas salutatorias. It has been thought that these were letters of St. Paul. The point seems rather to be that they were ordinary, not sacred, letters, and as such not of an incriminating character.

25. 5  postea, an emendation for ostia.

26. 6  i.e. many years afterwards.

27. 1  eidem collegae (i.e. Ingentius).

28. 2  i.e. Caecilianus, who had just finished speaking.

29. 3  Here there is a lacuna. The greater part of the letter is lost. 

30. 4 ex lege vestra.

31. 5  At this point, after the usual conclusion, commences the forgery of Ingentius.

32. 6  oleum et triticum.

33. 1  Here the reading ceases, and the later trial proceeds.

34. 2  per terrorem, per scaenam, per inreligiosam mentem.

35. 3  modum ( ---- speciem, formam). The MS. has modicum. 

36. 4 Catholicae unitatis.

37. 5 eos induceret et terreret.

38. 6 factio (cf. Optatus ii, 4: 'factio quae mater scismatis est').

39. 1  convenit me, a frequent late use of convenire, = 'he is calling upon me to.' He is the owner of the codices.

40. 2  i.e. Caecilianus.

41. 3 Apronianus is quoting here the actual words in which Ingentius is said to have reported to Caecilianus the actual words supposed to have been used by Felix.

42. 4 pudori et initio. Pudori is manifestly corrupt. Possibly the right reading may be innocentiae. Initio ---- the source of his episcopate.

43. 5 There is here a lacuna. Ziwsa suggests paraverit, but as this is only a guess, I have left the sentence incomplete.

44. 6 quidam, i.e. Ingentius himself, who had been a Donatist agent (cursor).

45. 7 ex diversa parte, i.e. by the Donatists.

46. 1 qui Episcopatum sibi redemit.

47. 2 ut tractaret.

48. 3 quia falsum admisit. Falsum-----fraud----in this case, simony.

49. 4 nec tibi nec illi.

50. 5 exinde, i.e. from the persecution.

51. 1  prandebam cum operarios (accusative for ablative, as not unusual in this kind of Latin) (cf. p. 341, n. 2).

52. 2  stetit in ianua.

53. 3 homo immisus es. 

54. 4 sprevi illum a me.

55. 5 i.e. Augentius.

56. 1 et ego honorificus sum (I too have held public office----honor----and so am as worthy to be believed as Caecilianus).

57. 2 'et huius latera habemus.' These words follow in the MS. They seem hopelessly corrupt.

58. 3  apta eum.

59. 4  suspendatur (i.e. on the rack, ready for torture).

60. 1 I have corrected the text here from the copy of the letter already given (p. 335). The MS. has 'hoc signo quod deprecatorium ad me misisti, nisi ego et tu et cuius est praetorium et dixit,' which is clearly corrupt and, as it stands, untranslatable.

61. 2 cum officiates (cum with accusative).

62. 3 secundum placitum = as had been arranged between us.

63. 1 submitte illum. Ingentius had been 'prepared' (stripped and bound) and then hung up on the equuleus, ready for the screws to be turned. When Aelianus hears he is a decurion, he has him lowered. We learn from St. Augustine (con. Cresc. iii, 70) that Ingentius was prepared for torture, but not actually tortured, because he said that he was a decurion. Submitte corresponds to suspendatur (supra). Aelianus is for the moment favourable to Ingentius, and turns upon Caecilianus: 'Your evidence was false.' Still, as we shall see immediately, he recognises that, as an ex-duovir, Caecilianus is more to be trusted than Ingentius, who was only a decurion! Moreover, Ingentius had actually confessed. 

64. 1 non mentior in sanguine meo.

65. 1  conscientiam accommodaverit, lit. 'gave his privity to it' = allowed the thing to be done with his knowledge.

66. 2  The italicised words are quoted by St. Optatus textually (i, 27). Cf. p. 55.

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This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2006. All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.

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Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts