Arnobius of Sicca

Lactantius and Arnobius were both professors of rhetoric; indeed, though neither mentions the other in his surviving works, Arnobius taught Lactantius. Both men knew that their intelligent contemporaries despised Christianity because it was crudely expressed: ‘The language is trivial and sordid,’ Arnobius’ opponents complained (Nat. 1.58.2); … The objection was not frivolous; it expressed a sense that Christianity was fundamentally incompatible with what was known about the way the world worked. The Christians were frankly stupid; stultitia, said their presecutors, had laid hold of them (so Galerius: Mort.; cf. Inst. 5.18.12). Lactantius and Arnobius confronted this judgement on their convictions in contrasting ways. (Oliver Nicholson, ‘Arnobius and Lactantius’, in: F. Young, L. Ayres, and A. Louth (eds), The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004) 259. See also J. Quasten, Patrology, vol. 3 (Notre Dame IN: Christian Classics, 1983) 383-392.)


  • [Clavis 93] Aduersus nationes
    • Edition: CSEL 4 (ed. A. Reifferscheid; 1875). — Arnobii Adversvs nationes libri VII, 2nd edn, Corpus scriptorum latinorum Paravianum (ed. C. Marchesi; Torino: I. B. Paraviae et sociorum, 1953).
    • Translation: The Ante-Nicene Fathers 6 (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1995). [First published 1886]. — The case against the pagans, 2 vols, Ancient Christian writers 7-8 (trans. G.E. McCracken; Westminster, MA: The Newman Press, 1949). — Arnobe: Contre les gentils, livre I, v. 1, Collection des universités de France (trans. H. Le Bonniec; Paris: Les Belles lettres, 1982). — Adversus nationes = En pugna con los gentiles, Biblioteca de autores cristianos 632 (trans. C. C. Bolíbar; Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos , 2003). — Arnobe: Contre les gentils, livre III, Collection des universités de France (trans. J. Champeaux; Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2007).

Secondary references

  • G.E. McCracken, ‘Critical Notes to Arnobius Adversus Nationes’, Vigiliae Christianae 3 (1949) 39-49.
  • A.J. Festugière, ‘Arnobiana’, Vigiliae Christianae 6 (1952) 208-254. [Review of Arnobius of Sicca Against the pagans, trans. G. E. McCracken, 1949].
  • L. Berkowitz, Index Arnobianus, Alpha-Omega, Reihe A, Lexika, Indizes, Konkordanzen zur klassischen philologie 6 (Hildsheim: Olms, 1967).
  • A. Viciano, Retórica, filosofía y gramática en el Adversus nationes de Arnobio de Sica (Frankfurt am Main; New York: P. Lang, 1993).
  • M.B. Simmons, Arnobius of Sicca: Religious Conflict and Competition in the Age of Diocletian, Oxford Early Christian Studies (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).
  • Michael von Albrecht, A History of Roman Literature 2 (New York: Brill, 1996) 1584-1593.
  • M. Edwards, ‘The flowering of Latin apologetic: Lactantius and Arnobius’, in: eds. M. Edwards, M. Goodman, and S. Price, Apologetics in the Roman Empire: Pagans, Jews, and Christians (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) 197-222.
  • J.A. North, ‘Arnobius on sacrifice’, in: eds. J. Drinkwater and B. Salway, Wolf Liebeschuetz reflected: essays presented by colleagues, friends, & pupils, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies: Supplement 91 (London: Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2007) 27-36.

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