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E02656: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of the *Scillitan Martyrs (martyrs in Carthage from Scillium, S00913). Sermon 299D, preached probably in Carthage (North Africa), possibly in 413.

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posted on 2017-04-03, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 299D

[In natali sanctorum martyrum Scillitanorum

'On the birthday of the Scillitan martyrs']

1. Martyres sancti, testes Dei, ne uiuendo morerentur, moriendo uiuere maluerunt; ne timendo mortem negarent uitam, amando uitam contempserunt uitam. Ut negaretur Christus, uitam promittebat inimicus, sed non qualem Christus. Credentes ergo quod a Saluatore promittebatur, riserunt quod persecutor comminabatur. Fratres, quando sollemnia martyrum celebramus, exempla nobis proposita nouerimus, quae imitando assequamur.

'1. The holy martyrs, witnesses of God, preferred to live by dying, in order not to die by living; in order not to deny life by fearing death, they despised life by loving life. To get them to deny Christ, the enemy was promising them life, but not the kind Christ was. So as they believed the promises of the Saviour, they laughed at the threats of the persecutor. Brothers, when we celebrate the festivals of the martyrs, we should know that examples are being set before us, which we should try to match by imitating them.'

In what follows Augustine refers to a dialogue between the judge and the martyrs, which does not seem to be related with any specific text that we know.

Text: Morin 1930, 75. Translation: Hill 1994, 256. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Scilitan martyrs, ob. 180 in Carthage (North Africa) : S00913

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, village, etc


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

Carthage Carthage Carthago Karthago قرطاج‎ Qarṭāj Mçidfa Carthage

Major author/Major anonymous work

Augustine of Hippo

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The sermon is tentatively dated to 413 on the basis of intertextual references and its place in the collection of Augustine's sermons.


According to the manuscript tradition this sermon was preached at the feast of the Scillitan martyrs, but the dialogue that Augustine quotes is not the one that we know from their Acts.


Text: Morin, G., Sancti Augustini Sermones post Maurinos reperti (Miscellanea Agostiniana, vol. 1; Rome: Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1930). Translation: Hill, E., The Works of Saint Augustine. A Translation for the 21st Century, vol. III 9, Sermons 273-305A on 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.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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