Circumcellions(redirected from Circumcellion)
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or Agonistici, a democratic Christian sect in Roman Africa during the fourth and fifth centuries; the left wing of the Donatists. Withdrawal from worldly affairs was characteristic of the Circumcellions, who were primarily from the rural working class. So were their rejection of agricultural forced labor, their protest against social inequality, their irreconcilability with the enemies of the “true faith”—that is, with the official church—and their advocacy of asceticism and martyrdom. As active followers of Donatism, the Circumcellions led the fight against orthodox (“Catholic”) clericals, destroyed church buildings, offered armed resistance to imperial forces, and struggled against moneylenders. It is also known that Circumcellions headed large uprisings of peasants, the rural poor, and slaves—for instance, the uprising in Numidia of approximately 340 led by Axido and Fazir and an early fifth-century uprising.