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E04423: Augustine of Hippo preaches in Latin a sermon on the feast of a group of martyrs, including *Primus, Victoria and Perpetua (martyrs in Africa, S01709), in which he warns his audience not to celebrate this day by drinking. Sermon 335A, preached on an unspecified date between 391 and 430, in an unknown city in North Africa, possibly in Hippo.

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posted on 2017-12-05, 00:00 authored by robert
Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 335A

[De natale sanctorum martyrum

'On the birthday of some martyrs']

1. ... Credo quod aduertit caritas uestra, quando sanctorum passio legebatur, qui primus confessus est Primus uocabatur, ante nouissimum Victoria, in fine Perpetua.

'I'm sure your graces noticed, when the passion of the saints was being read, that the one who first confessed was called Primus; the one before last was Victoria, at the very end came Perpetua.'

In what follows Augustine plays with the names of the martyrs and comments upon their meaning. The sermon end in the following words: 

3. ... celebremus ergo martyrum dies, honorando martyrum passiones, non amando potiones. Conuersi ad Dominum.

'So let us celebrate the feast days of the martyrs, by honouring the sufferings of the martyrs, not in indulging ourselves in drink. Turing to the Lord ...'

Text: Morin 1930, 221. Translation: Hill 1994, 212-213. Summary: Robert Wiśniewski.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Primus, Victoria, Perpetua and their companions martyrs in Africa on an unknown date : S01709

Saint Name in Source

Primus, Victoria, Perpetua

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 - Activities Accompanying Cult

  • Feasting (eating, drinking, dancing, singing, bathing)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops


The dating of this sermon and the place in which it was preached are uncertain. The group of saints named in this passage is otherwise unknown. Perpetua almost certainly cannot be identified with *Perpetua martyr of Carthage (S00009), since none of their companions was named Primus or Victoria. The two latter names appear in the evidence, but never together.


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 306-340A 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.

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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