Circumcellions


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Circumcellions

 

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.

REFERENCE

Diligenskii, G. G. Severnaia Afrika v IV-V vv. Moscow, 1961.
References in periodicals archive ?
Especially valuable are the eight appendixes on the number of African Catholic and dissident bishops, the chronology of the divisions, the Catholic conference of 348, the edict of unity and persecution of 347, the mission of Paul and Macarius, historical fictions in interpreting the circumcellions, archeological evidence of self-killings by the dissident Christians, and the listing of Augustinian and Pseudo-Augustinian African sermons.
there was a schismatic group known as the Circumcellions who professed a fanatical devotion to the early Christian martyrs.
Repeated asides like "we'll see them again" (of the Circumcellions, 152) and "more about that below" (210) could have been avoided.
They Lived as Brigands, Died as Circumcellions, and Were Honored as Martyrs': Ethnicity and Holy Warriors in Roman North Africa," Nancy Weatherwax, Vanderbilt University