Christian author of the fourth century; wrote a work "De errore profanarum religionum". Nothing is known about him except what can be gleaned from this work, which is found in only one manuscript Codex Vaticano-Palatinus, Saec. Some references to the Persian Wars, and the fact that the work was addressed to the two emperors, Constantius II and Constans I, have led to the conclusion that it was composed during their joint reign The work is valuable because it gives a picture of the character which the paganism of the later Roman Empire had taken, under the stress of the new spiritual needs aroused by contact with the religions of Egypt and the East. It aims, if one may judge from the mutilated introduction, at presenting from a philosophical and historical standpoint, reasons showing the superiority of Christianity over the superstitions and licentiousness of heathenism. In a general survey of pagan creeds and beliefs the author holds up to scorn the origin and practices of the Gentile cults.

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Links Firmicus Maternus Firmicus Maternus was a lawyer and astrologer from Sicily who lived during the time of the Emperor Constantine and his sons in the mid-4th century CE. He wrote a long textbook on astrology in Latin known as the Mathesis.

He has a somewhat bombastic style, although he is useful because he preserves quite a bit of older material that would otherwise have been lost. Firmicus dedicated the Mathesis to a government official and friend of his named Lollianus Mavortius.

Mavortius had apparently nursed Firmicus back to health after a difficult winter journey, and during their time together he introduced Firmicus to the subject of astrology Mathesis, 1, proem: At some point during their time together Firmicus apparently made a brash offer to write a textbook on astrology in Latin for Mavortius based on earlier sources, perhaps due to his ability to read Greek, and although he later came to regret committing to what became a rather laborious task, he dutifully fulfilled his promise eventually Mathesis, 1, proem: The Dating of Firmicus There is a bit of a dispute over the dating of Firmicus.

Some internal evidence indicates that he was writing the Mathesis in the mids, and so some authors date him to circa CE. These authors tend to date Firmicus to circa CE.

The arguments for the earlier or later dating are long and complicated, so they will be dealt with in a separate article, but in either case we do know that Firmicus lived and wrote sometime around the middle of the 4th century CE. Critical Editions The standard critical edition of the Mathesis was published in two volumes by Kroll, Skutsch and Ziegler from Kroll, F.

Skutsch, K. Ziegler, Teubner, Leipzig, reprinted Google Books has scanned volume 1 of the critical edition, which contains books 1 through


Iulius Firmicus Maternus

He was also author of the most extensive surviving text of Roman astrology , Matheseos libri octo "Eight books of astrology" written c. The Matheseos was dedicated to the governor of Campania, Lollianus Mavortius , whose knowledge of the subject inspired Firmicus, and whose encouragement supported him during the composition of this handbook. It is among the last extensive handbooks [4] of a "scientific" astrology that circulated in the West before the appearance of Arabic texts in the 12th century. About the year [8] he composed De errore profanarum religionum, which he dedicated to Constantius II and Constans , the sons of Constantine, and which is still extant. He holds up to scorn the religious beliefs and practices of pagans and implores the Emperor to stamp out the old religions as a sacred duty which will be rewarded by God. The Christian work is preserved in a single manuscript from the Bibliotheca Palatina , now in the Vatican library. It was first printed at Strasbourg in , and has been reprinted several times, both separately and combined with the polemical writings of Minucius Felix , Cyprian or Arnobius.


Firmicus Maternus



Julius Firmicus Maternus




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