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E07837: Prosper of Aquitaine, in his Chronicle, describes how four Spanish men, *Arcadius, Pascasius, Probus and Eutycianus (Spanish men martyred in Africa by the Vandals, 02836), were martyred in Africa by the Vandal king Geiseric in 437 for refusing to convert to Arianism, and the brother of two of them, Paulillus, was severely persecuted but not martyred. Written in Latin in Gaul or Rome, in the mid 5th c.

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posted on 2019-12-02, 00:00 authored by dlambert
Prosper of Aquitaine, Chronicle 1325, 1329

Aetio II et Segisvulto
Per idem tempus quattuor Hispani viri Arcadius Paschasius Probus et Eutycianus dudum apud Gisiricum merito sapientiae et fidelis obsequii cari clarique habebantur. quos rex ut dilectiores sibi faceret, in Arrianam perfidiam transire praecepit. sed illi hoc facinus constantissime respuentes excitato in rabidissimam iram barbaro primum proscripti, deinde in exilium acti, tum atrocissimis suppliciis excruciati, ad postremum diversis mortibus interempti inlustri martyrio mirabiliter occubuerunt. puer autem Paulillus nomine frater Eutyciani et Paschasii pro elegantia formae atque ingenii admodum regi acceptus cum a professione atque amore catholicae fidei nullis minis deturbari posset, fustibus diu caesus et ad infimam servitutem damnatus est, ideo, ut apparet, non occisus, ne de superata saevitia impii etiam illa aetas gloriaretur.

'410 [years since the Crucifixion]
[Consulship of] Aetius for the second time and Segisvultus [= AD 437]
At the same time, four Spanish men, Arcadius, Paschasius, Probus, and Eutycianus, were held to have long been dear to Geiseric and renowned by virtue of their wisdom and faithful service. To make them dearer to him, the king ordered them to cross over into Arian perfidy. But very firmly rejecting this crime, they were first proscribed by the barbarian, who was stirred up into the most rabid anger, then sent into exile, then tormented with the most atrocious tortures, and finally, being put to death in different ways, perished magnificently in a glorious martyrdom. A boy, however, by the name of Paulillus, the brother of Eutycianus and Paschasius, very pleasing to the king on account of the handsomeness of his appearance and character, since he could not be shaken by threats from the profession and love of the Catholic faith, was beaten for a long time with clubs and condemned to the lowest servitude. Thus, as it appears, he was not killed, in case even [someone of] that age should take pride in overcoming the cruelty of the impious man.'

Text: Mommsen 1892, 475-6. Translation: David Lambert.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Arcadius, Pascasius, Probus and Eutycianus, Spanish men martyred in Africa by the Vandals, ob. 437 : S02836

Saint Name in Source

Arcadius, Paschasius, Probus, Eutycianus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Gaul and Frankish kingdoms Rome and region

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

Tours Tours Toronica urbs Prisciniacensim vicus Pressigny Turonorum civitas Ceratensis vicus Céré Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Monarchs and their family Aristocrats Foreigners (including Barbarians) Heretics Children


Prosper of Aquitaine (ob. after 455) was active from the 420s to the 450s, producing religious polemics, collections of documents, theological treatises, poetry, and chronography. Prosper was originally from southern Gaul, and is known to have been living in Marseille in the late 420s. The once generally accepted belief that he subsequently moved to Rome, and even became an adviser to Pope Leo the Great, has been increasingly disputed in recent scholarship (for differing perspectives, see Markus 1986; Hwang 2009, 187-198; Salzman 2015); it is clear from his works, however, that he visited Rome, had contacts with the papacy, and had access to papal documents. Prosper first compiled his Chronicle in 433, and added continuations in 445 and 455. Like most late antique Latin chroniclers, Prosper began the original part of his Chronicle at the point where Jerome's Chronicle ended, in the late 370s (Prosper, Chron. 1166; p. 460 in Mommsen's ediition), but instead of simply appending his continuation to a text of Jerome's work, he produced his own version, which is shorter than the original but also contains additions by Prosper (we have not included separate entries for items in Prosper's Chronicle which simply reproduce entries in the Chronicle of Jerome). Prosper dates events in his Chronicle both by years since the Crucifixion and by consular years. For a detailed overview of Prosper's Chronicle, see Muhlberger 1990, 55-135.


Arcadius, Pascasius, Probus and Eutycianus were Romans who seemingly joined the Vandals in Spain and then crossed with them to Africa. This entry in Prosper's Chronicle is the only account of their martyrdom and the persecution of Paulillus. However, Arcadius (PCBE 1, 'Arcadius'; PLRE II, 'Arcadius 2') was the addressee of a letter from an African bishop, Honoratus of Constantine, exhorting him to remain constant and to accept martyrdom; the letter is extant (Patrologia Latina 50, 567-570), but contains no biographical details about Arcadius except that he had been sent into exile by Geiseric. The other individuals involved (PCBE 1, 'Pascasius 8', 'Probus 1', 'Eutycianus', and 'Paulillus'), are apparently unattested except in this chronicle entry. In presenting the episode, Prosper may have hoped that the four martyrs would evoke Daniel and the three youths condemned to the fiery furnace, as depicted in the first three chapters of the book of Daniel, and thus also imply that Geiseric was the equivalent of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.


Edition: Mommsen, T., Prosperi Tironis epitoma de chronicon, in: Chronica Minora saec. IV. V. VI. VII., vol. 1 (Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Auctores Antiquissimi 9; Berlin: Apud Weidmannos, 1892), 385-485. Further reading: Hwang, A.Y., Intrepid Lover of Perfect Grace: The Life and Thought of Prosper of Aquitaine (Washington: CUA Press, 2009). Markus, R.A., "Chronicle and Theology: Prosper of Aquitaine," in: C. Holdsworth and T.P. Wiseman (eds.), The Inheritance of Historiography: 350-950 (Exeter: Exeter University Publications, 1986), 31-43. Muhlberger, S., The Fifth-Century Chroniclers: Prosper, Hydatius, and the Gallic Chronicler of 452 (Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1990). Salzman, M.R., "Reconsidering a Relationship: Pope Leo of Rome and Prosper of Aquitaine," in. G. Dunn (ed.), The Bishop of Rome in Late Antiquity (Farnham: Ashgate, 2015), 109-125.

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