Skip to main content

Lactantius, Lucius Caelius Firmianus

Lucius Caelius Firmianus Lactantius (lōō´shəs sē´lēəs fûrmēā´nəs lăktăn´shəs), c.260–AD 340, Christian author and apologist, b. Africa. He taught rhetoric at Diocletian's school in Nicomedia and during the persecutions was converted to Christianity. Later (c.316) he was Latin tutor at Trier to Crispus, Constantine's son. His works, which were influenced by Cicero and Seneca, were sincere, well-written expositions of Christian doctrine, but some of his theological details have been pronounced erroneous. Among his works are The Divine Institutions (Divinae institutiones), the Epitome, and On God's Wrath (De ira Dei). On the Death of the Persecutors (De mortibus persecutorum), telling of the horrible end of such emperors as Nero, Domitian, and Decius, is a chief source for the history of the persecutions. The poem On the Phoenix (De ave pheoenice), a source of Cynewulf's Christ, is possibly by Lactantius.

See Excerpts from the Works of Lactantius, tr. by W. Fletcher (1972).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Lactantius, Lucius Caelius Firmianus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 15 Dec. 2018 <>.

"Lactantius, Lucius Caelius Firmianus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (December 15, 2018).

"Lactantius, Lucius Caelius Firmianus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 15, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.