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DONATISTS

I. Anonymous – II. Martyrs. I. Anonymous. The followers of Donatus wrote many treatises, libelli and chronicles. We only have simple descriptions of the famous anonymous libelli mentioned by Augustine. Donatist defamatory literature against Catholic bishops nearly always hid behind anonymity, until efforts were made to identify the authors so as to punish them CTh IX, 34,1- 9. But it was never possible to bring to an end the systematic search for anonymous Donatist literature, which in the end mingled with Catholic writings. CPL 722: Ep. Pseudocypriani ad plebem Carthaginensem: PL 4, 433 – CSEL 33, 273-274; CPL 723: Ep. Hieronymi ad Damasum papam: PLS 1, 303; CPL 84: Prophetiae ex omnibus libris collectae: PLS 1, 177, 1738-1741; CPL 2254: Liber genealogus: PL 49, 523-543; MGH AA, 9, 154-196; CPL 2055: P.D. et Saturnini: ST 65 1935 3-71; 387-402; PL 8, 688-703; CPL 2063: P. Max., Sec. et Donatillae: AB 9 1890 110-116; ST 65 1935 75-97; Monceaux IV, Paris 1912; E. Romero Pose, Ticonio y el sermón “in nat. sanct. innoc.”: Gregorianum 60 1979 513-544.

E. Romero Pose II. Martyrs. The Donatists liked to call themselves a church of martyrs, “advocates with God.” Their desire for martyrdom went as far as suicide Aug., Ep. 173,4; C. Gaud. I, 1; Retract. II, 85; C. litt. Pet. II, 20,46; C. Cresc. III, 49,54. They appropriated martyrs from before the schism 312, and added to them those who perished during the conflicts with the Catholics Opt., III, 4.6.8, whom Optatus calls dubii martyres III. 8. Provincial councils were called to settle the question of claimed Donatist martyrs. From epigraphs of martyrs in Africa “Africa is full of the bodies of martyrs” Aug., Ep. 78 it is difficult to distinguish a Catholic from a Donatist martyr; but half of the martyrs’ inscriptions of 4th- to 5th-c. Numidia belong to the martyrs of Donatus. They have Punic or Libyan names, and are not cited by Augustine, the martyrologies or the calendar of Carthage. Donatist literature on martyrs comprises sermons, letters and booklets, which can be classified as follows: a common martyrs, prior to the split of 312, with adaptations of acts and passions in use in Africa; they are the precursors of the schism; b proper martyrs. The lists of Donatist martyrs are very long, esp. those pertaining to the persecution of Macarius 347, the Edict of Union 405–412 and the Decimations of the Circumcellions 340–347.

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