The Passion Of The Scillitan Martyrs
[Note: pagination of Ante-Nicene Fathers edition preserved]
WHEN Praesens, for the second time, and Claudianus were the
consuls, on the seventeenth day of July, at Carthage, there were
set in the judgment-hall Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata,
Secunda and Vestia.
Saturninus the proconsul said: Ye can win the indulgence of
our lord the Emperor, if ye return to a sound mind.
Speratus said: We have never done ill, we have not lent ourselves
to wrong, we have never spoken ill, but when ill-treated we have
given thanks; because we pay heed to OUR EMPEROR,
Saturninus the proconsul said: We too are religious, and our
religion is simple, and we swear by the genius of our lord the
Emperor, and pray for his welfare, as ye also ought to do.
Speratus said: If thou wilt peaceably lend me thine ears,
I can tell thee the mystery of simplicity.
Saturninus said: I will not lend mine ears to thee, when thou
beginnest to speak evil things of our sacred rites; but rather
swear thou by the genius of our lord the Emperor.
Speratus said: The empire of this world I know not; but rather
I serve that God, whom no man hath seen, nor with these eyes can
see.(1) I have committed no theft; but if I have bought anything
I pay the tax; because I know my Lord, the King of kings and Emperor
of all nations.
Saturninus the proconsul said to the rest: Cease to be of
Speratus said: It is an ill persuasion to do murder, to speak
Saturninus the proconsul said: Be not partakers of this folly.
Cittinus said: We have none other to fear, save only our Lord
God, who is in heaven.
Donata said: Honour to Caesar as Caesar: but fear to God.(2)
Vestia said: I am a Christian.
Secunda said: What I am, that I wish to be.
Saturninus the proconsul said to Speratus: Dost thou persist
m being a Christian?
Speratus said: I am a Christian. And with him they all agreed.
Saturninus the proconsul said: Will ye have a space to consider?
Speratus said: In a matter so straightforward there is no
Saturninus the proconsul said: What are the things in your
Speratus said: Books and epistles of Paul, a just man.
Saturninus the proconsul said: Have a delay of thirty days
and bethink yourselves.
Speratus said a second time: I am a Christian. And with him
they all agreed.
Saturninus the proconsul read out the decree from the tablet:
Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Vestia, Secunda and the
rest having confessed that they live according to the Christian
rite, since after opportunity offered them of returning to the
custom of the Romans they have obstinately persisted, it is determined
that they be put to the sword.
Speratus said: We give thanks to God.
Nartzalus said: To-day we are martyrs in heaven; thanks be
Saturninus the proconsul ordered it to be declared by the
herald: Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Veturius, Felix, Aquilinus,
Laetantius, Januaria, Generosa, Vestia, Donata and Secunda, I
have ordered to be executed.
They all said: Thanks be to God.
And so they all together were crowned with martyrdom; and
they reign with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, for
ever and ever. Amen.
trans J.A, Robinson in Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs , in Original supplement to the American Edition in Ante Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, (repr. Grand Rapids MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1955), X, 290-291
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(c)Paul Halsall Feb 1996