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Victorius of Aquitaine

Victorius (2) of Aquitaine. During the pontificate of Leo the Great in 444 and 453 differences arose between the Western churches headed by Rome, and the Eastern headed by Alexandria as to the correct day for celebrating Easter. Pope LEO yielded on both occasions, but to avoid such disputes in future, directed his archdeacon HILARIUS, who succeeded him, to investigate the question. Hilary referred it to his friend Victorius, who in 457 drew up a cycle to determine the date of Easter in past and future years.

The cycle of 532 years, consisting of 28 Metonic (28 x 19) or rather 7 Calippic (7 x 76) cycles, was adopted or independently discovered by Victorius. He began it with the year of the crucifixion, which he placed on Mar. 26, in the consulship of the two Gemini. As the year in which he composed his cycle, the consulship of Constantinus and Rufus, which corresponds with a.d. 457, was the 430th of his cycle, its first year corresponded with a.d. 28. He made his earliest Easter limit Mar. 22, the same as the Alexandrians; his latest Apr. 24, while theirs was the 25th.

The cycle of Victorius was widely, though not universally, accepted in the West, and especially in Gaul. In 527, however, DIONYSIUS published a new period of the Cyrillian 95-year cycle, which would terminate in 531; and VICTOR of Capua, c. 550, wrote against Victorius's cycle and in favour of the Alexandrian method of computation. Victorius's cycle seems thereafter to have become disused in Italy, but lingered much later in parts of Gaul. It has been edited with elaborate dissertations by Bucherius, de Doctrina Temporum, where all notices of Victorius are collected. The only additional information they give is Gennadius's statement (de Vir. Ill. 88) that he was a native of Aquitaine. As Hilary calls him "Dilectissimus et honorabilis sanctus frater," he was probably in orders. A full account of his cycle is given by Ideler (Handbuch d. Chronol. ii. 275–285), who points out that what Dionysius did was to continue the 95-year cycle, and that there is no evidence that he did anything to the Victorian cycle. The fact that his continuation of the Cyrillian cycle began in 532, which would be the first year of a new period of the Victorian cycle if the latter commenced with the year of Christ's birth, probably suggested the notion that he had thus altered the beginning of the Victorian cycle, and started a new period of it from 532. Victorius is by later writers sometimes called Victorinus and Victor, the last mistake leading to confusion with Victor of Capua.

[F.D.]

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