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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/386

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Mimrcius


336


MINUCIUS


gnese coin, equivalent to a carlino or giulio; the. gabettonc was equivalent to 26 bolognini (baiocchi) ; the franco, in the fifteenth century, wiis worth 12 baiocchi at Bologna, but only 10 baiocchi at Rome; the albcrclti wa« a Iwo-baiocco piece that was coined by the Homan Republic (17!)S-1K)).

No olhcial collection of the papal coins was made before the time of Benedict XIV, who acquired from Cardinal Passionei the valuable collection of Scilla which was enriched later by other acquisitions; in ISOO, however, it was taken to Paris, and was never recovered. In the nineteenth century the Holy See obtained pos.ses.sion of the fine collection of Belli, begun in the previous century by Luigi Tommasini, and this collection liecame the basis of the Numis- matic Cabinet, which is under the direction of the pre- fect of the Vatican Library and has a special custodian. Since the lass of the temporal power, the pope hivs not coinetl money; each year, however, he strikes the customary medal for the feast of Saint Peter, which is given to caniinals and to the employees of the Roman Curia.

CmAGij.,LemonetedeipapidescriH€intarnl< ' I'.rmo.

1848): Belli, Cimelioteca delle monetc pon/ ' nv.

fieZK (Rome, 1835); Florav ANTES. ^nfi^Ki i i ,.!//(;>;-

cum denarii a Benedicto IX ad Paulum 111 vJ v*,Ls., Kume. 1738); Promis, Monete dei romani pontcfici aianti il 1000 (Turin, 1858); Venuti, Numismata pontificum romanorum

grtestanticra a Martina V ad Benedictum XIV (Rome, 1744); APOBIANCHI, Origine delta zecca det Scnata romano nel sccolo XII (Cameriuo. 1883); AMBnosoLl, Atlantino di monete papali modeme a sussidio del Cinatjli (Milan, 1905). Special subjects were treated by Salvaggi, Rossi. Belli, Capobi.\nchi, Rus- POLi, Garampi, Diamilla, Pila, CIaroni, Vitalixi, Gregoro- vlus, etc. Orfeu, De veteris numismatis potestaie ejusque incremento et dccmnento (Rome, 1835); Morelli, Tariffa uni- versale figurata delle monete (Rome, 1833).

U. Benigni.

Minucius Felix, Christian apologist, flourished between 100 and 300; the exact date is not known. His " Octavius " has numerous points of agree- ment with the " Apologeticiim" of Tert-ullian, similarities that have been explained by the theory of a common source — an apology written in Latin, and which is supposed to have disappeared without leav- ing any trace, not even in the name of its author. This hypothesis is now generally abandoned. It seems improbable that such a work, from which Minucius and Tertullian might have drawTi, would have so thoroughly disappeared. Lactantius (Diu. Inst., V, i, 21) enumerates the apologists who pre- ceded him antl does not even suspect the existence of such a writer. The most natural supposition is that one of the two writers, Minucius or Tertullian, is directly dependent on the other. Formerly, Minucius was regarded as posterior to Tertullian. The first doubts in this respect were expressed in France by Blondel in 1641, by Dalla^us in 1660, and in England by Dodwell. The theory of the priority of Minucius was defended by van Hoven in the second edition of Lindner in 1773. In modem times it was most ably defended by Ebert. The priority of Ter- tullian has been chiefly defended by Ad. Haniack, who has been refuted by A. Krueger. M. Waltzing, the scholar best acquainted with Minucius Felix and what has been written about him, is inclined to think him anterior to Tertullian. The arguments in favour of one or the other of these theories are not decisive. However, it may be said that in the passages taken from the ancient authors, such as Seneca, Varro, and especially Cicero, Minucius seems to be more exact and clo.ser to the original; consequently he seems to be intermediary between them and Tertullian. The ecclesiastical authors were probably not better in- formed than we are with regard to Minucius. Lactan- tius puts him before Tertiillian (Diu. Inst., I, xi, 55; V, i, 21), and St. Jerome after; but St. Jerome contradicts himself by putting him after St. Cyprian (Ep. Ixx, (Ixxxiii); v; Ix; xlviii; "In Isaiam". VIII, pnpf.), and elsewhere putting him between Tertullian and St.


Cyprian (De Viris, Iviii). Fronto (d. about 170) is mentioned by Minucius. If the treatise "Quod idola non dii sint" is by St. Cyprian (d. about 258) there is no need of going beyond that date, for this treatise is ba.sed on the "Octavius". It is true that the attribution of the aforesaid treatise to St. Cyprian has tx!en contested, but without serious reason. If this be rejected there is no period ante, quern before Lactantius.

The birthplace of the author is believed to be Africa. This is not proved by Minucius's imitation of .\frican authors, any more than it is by the resem- blance between Minucius and Tertullian. At this period the principal writers were Africans, and it was natural that a Latin, of whatever province he might be, would read and imitate them. The allu- sions to the customs and belief of Africa are numerous, but this may be explained by the African origin of the champion of paganism. The " Octavius " is a dia- logue of which Ostia is the scene. Ccecilius Natalis upholds the cause of paganism, Octavius Januarius that of Christianity; the author himself is the judge of the debate. Csecilius Natalis was a native of Cirta; he lived at Rome and attentively followed Minucius in his activity as an advocate. Octavius had just arrived from a foreign country where he had left his family. Minucius lived at Rome. All three were advocates. The name Minucius Felix has been found on inscriptions at Tebessa and Carthage (Cor. Inscrip. Lat. VIII, 1964 and 12499); that of Octavius Januarius at Saldaj (Bougie; ib., 8962); that of Cxcilius at Cirta itself (ib., 7097-7098, 6996). The M. C;ecilius Natalis of the inscriptions discharged important municipal duties and gave pagan festivals with memorable prodigality. He may have belonged to the same family as the interlocutor of the dialogue. Attempts have been made to make them identical or to establish family relationship between them. These are pure hypotheses suborilinate to the opinion entertained regarding the date of the dialogue.

The persons are real. The dialogue may likewise be so, despite the fact that Minucius has transformed into an almost judicial debate what must have been a mere conversation or series of conversations. Owing to the adjournment of the courts during the vintage time, the three friends went for rest to Ostia. Here they walked on the sea-shore, and when they passed before a statue of Serapis, CEecilius saluted it with the customary kiss. Octavius thereupon expressed his indignation that Minucius .should allow his daily companion to fall into idolatry. They resume their walk while Octavius gives an account of his voyage; they go to and fro on the shore and the quay; they watch children jumping about in the sea. This be- ginning is charming; it is the most perfect portion of the work. During the walk Ca;cilius, silenced by the words of Octavius, has not spoken. He now explains himself and it is agreed to settle the debate. They seat themselves on a lonely pier; Minucius seated in the centre is to be the arbitrator. Thereupon Cae- cilius begins by attacking Christianity; Minucius says a few words, and then (Octavius replies. At the end Minucius and Ca>cilius express their admiration and the latter declares that he surrenders. Fuller ex- planations of the new religion are postponed until the next day. The dialogue therefore consists of two discourses, the attack of Csecilius and the refutation of Octavius.

The discussion bears on a small number of points: the possibility of man arriving at the truth, creation, Providence, the unity of God, the necessity of keeping the religion of one's ancestors and especially the advantage to the Romans of the worship of the gods, the low character of Christians, their tendency to con- ceal themselves, their crimes (incest, worship of an ass's head, the adoration of the generative organs of the priest, prayers addressed to a criminal, sacrifice of