University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

E02214: Augustine of Hippo (North Africa), preaches in Latin a sermon on the feasts of the *Maccabean Martyrs (pre-Christian Jewish martyrs of Antioch, S00303). Sermon 301, preached in unknown place in North Africa, possibly c. 417.

online resource
posted on 2017-01-03, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 301

[In solemnitate ss. Machabeorum

'On the feast of the holy Maccabees']

1. Magnum spectaculum positum est ante oculos fidei nostrae. Aure audiuimus, corde uidimus optantem matrem ante se finire istam uitam filios suos: longe contrariis uotis consuetudini humanae.

'1. A tremendous spectacle has been set before the eyes of our faith. We heard with our ears, we saw in our hearts this mother actually choosing that her sons should end this life before herself; a wish clean contrary to normal human feelings.'

In what follows Augustine argues that martyrdom is not a high price to pay for the happiness in heaven.

Text: Patrologia Latina 38, 1380. Translation: Hill 1994, 282 (slightly adapted). Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Maccabean Brothers, 2nd-century BC Jewish martyrs in Antioch : S00303

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Sermons/Homilies


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Latin North Africa

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

Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Sermon/homily

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Transmission, copying and reading saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The sermon is dated tentatively to AD 417 on the basis of intertextual references with other Augustine's writing.


Augustine refers to the reading which preceded the sermon, from 2 Mac 7.


Text: Migne, J.P., Patrologia Latina 38 (Paris, 1865). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 9. Sermons 306-340A for the Saints ‬(New York: New City Press, 1994). Dating: Kunzelmann, A., "Die Chronologie der sermones des hl. Augustinus," Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 2 (Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1931), 417-452.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity