Donatists and African revolts of the 2nd half of the 6th century

Andrei Leonidovich Mamontov PhD-student, teacher of History, gymnasium No 49 of Primorsky district of St. Petersburg (Bogatirsky avenue, 55/3, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197372)

Mamontov A. L. Donatists and African revolts of the 2nd half of the 6th century, Religiya. Tserkov’. Obshchestvo. Issledovaniya i publikatsii po teologii i religii [Religion. Church. Society: Research and publications in the field of theology and religious studies], Saint-Petersburg, 2022, vol. 10, pp. 222–237.

doi: 10.24412/2308-0698-2022-10-222-237

Language: Russian

Was the Early Christian church involved in political rivalries of the Later Roman Empire? The answer is positive, and this involvement of Christians is an interesting aspect of the vast issue of Church-State relations. Two early examples are provided by the history of the Donatist schism in North Africa. According to our sources, Donatists supported (and were supported by) two regional rebels of the last third of the 6th century: Firmus and Gildo. Under the later their influence was especially great: his administration turned a blind eye on their violent actions, headed by bishop Optatus of Thamugadi and aimed at their opponents. Those cases are usually treated among the researchers as a mark of a specific tendence, which is formation of a natural rebel alliance of mutinous generals and schismatic priests. The following paper provides another interpretation of that natural alliance, understood as a coalition of provincial elites with the dominant religious institution of the region.

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Key words: Donatists, Firmus, Gildo, Optate, Augustine, Late Antiquity, Roman Empire, North Africa


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