Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (Tertullian)

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Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (Tertullian)

Circa 160-225 c.e.

Church father

Sources

African Christian Community. Tertullian was born in Carthage in North Africa. He studied law and philosophy, and as a young man Tertullian was attracted to Christianity. Tertullian was disenchanted with pagan immorality and admired the early Christian martyrs. He is the earliest of the Latin Church authors, and one of the only Romans of his era to express feelings of horror at the practice of gladiatorial games and other public spectacles. Tertullian lived in an era when Latin literature was becoming less focused on a Rome-centered audience and more concentrated upon provincial Roman life and problems. For Tertullian, the growing African Christian community was the center of his life rather than the city of Rome itself. In spite of the invective Tertullian raises against pagan immorality in his writings, his works are informative regarding contemporary provincial Roman society. In particular, his De spectaculis reveals many details about public spectacles that one might not learn about otherwise, including the gory, painful, and protracted deaths of participants in these events.

Sources

William Hugh Clifford Frend and Mark Julian Edwards, “Tertullian,” in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, third edition, edited by Simon Horn-blower and Antony Spawforth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 1487–1488.

E. Allo Isichei, Political Thinking and Social Experience: Some Christian Interpretations of the Roman Empire from Tertullian to Salvian (Christchurch: University of Canterbury, 1964).

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Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus (Tertullian)

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