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E01108: Augustine of Hippo, in his City of God (22.8), tells how an old man in Hippo Regius (North Africa) who prayed to the *Twenty Martyrs (martyrs of Hippo, S00703), with a famous memorial shrine (memoria) in the city, found a golden ring in the stomach of a fish; all at the beginning of the 5th c. Written in Latin in Hippo, c. 426/427.

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posted on 2016-02-08, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, City of God 22.8

Erat quidam senex Florentius hipponiensis noster, homo religiosus et pauper; sartoris se arte pascebat; casulam perdiderat et unde sibi emeret non habebat; ad uiginti martyres, quorum memoria est apud nos celeberrima, clara uoce ut uestiretur orauit.

'There was a fellow-townsman of ours at Hippo, Florentius, an old man, religious and poor, who supported himself as a tailor. Having lost his coat, and not having means to buy another, he prayed to the Twenty Martyrs who have a very celebrated memorial shrine (memoria) in our town, begging in a clear voice that he might be clothed.'

Young people mock at Florentinus' prayer. Yet the old man finds on the seashore a fish, still alive, and sells it to a chef. The latter finds in the fish a golden ring which he gives to Florentinus, saying that it was the Twenty Martyrs who clothed him in this way.

Text: Dombart and Kalb 1955. Translation: Dods 1887.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Twenty martyrs, ob. at an unknown date at Hippo Regius : S00703

Saint Name in Source

viginti martyres

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Hippo Regius

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hippo Regius Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Scepticism/rejection of miracles

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle with animals and plants Material support (supply of food, water, drink, money)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Merchants and artisans

Cult Activities - Relics

Unspecified relic


Augustine wrote Book 22 of the City of God in Hippo, c. 426/427. Chapters 8-9 enumerate a number of contemporary miracles, most of which took place in Hippo and other cities of North Africa, either at the relics of *Stephen, the first martyr or those of Gervasius and Protasius, martyrs in Milan.


The Twenty Martyrs are known only from Augustine (see E01121, E03498, E4009, E4081).


Edition: Dombart, B., and Kalb, A., Augustinus, De civitate dei, 2 vols. (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 47-48; Turnhout: Brepols, 1955). English translation: Dods, M., Augustine, The City of God (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, vol. 2; Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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