Victor Vitensis

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Victor Vitensis (or Victor of Vita; born circa 430) was an African bishop of the Province of Byzacena (called Vitensis from his See of Vita). His importance rests on his Historia persecutionis Africanae Provinciae, temporibus Genserici et Hunirici regum Wandalorum (A History of the African Province Persecution, in the Times of Genseric and Huneric, the Kings of the Vandals). This is mainly a contemporary narrative of the cruelties practised against the orthodox Christians of Northern Africa by the Arian Vandals.

Formerly divided into five books, this work is now usually edited in three, of which the first, dealing with the reign of Genseric (427-77), is derived from the accounts of others, while the second and third, covering the reign of Huneric, are a strictly contemporary account of events, of which the author was in the main an eyewitness. At times he exaggerates, but he records little that did not happen.

Victor throws much light on social and religious conditions in Carthage and on the African liturgy of the period. His history contains many documents not otherwise accessible, e.g. the Confession of Faith drawn up for the orthodox bishops by Eugenius of Carthage and presented to Huneric at the conference in 484 of Catholic and Arian bishops. Two documents: a Passio beatissimorum martyrum qui apud Carthaginem passi sunt sub impio rege Hunerico (die VI. Non. Julias 484) and a Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae (List of the Provinces and Cities of Africa), formerly appended to all the manuscripts and now incorporated in the printed editions, are probably not Victor's. The former may be the work of one of his contemporaries. The latter is a list of the Catholic bishops who were summoned to the 484 conference and their Episcopal sees in the Latin provinces of North Africa, arranged according to provinces in this order: Africa Proconsularis, Numidia, Byzacena, Mauretania Caesariensis, Mauretania Sitifensis, Tripolitana, Sardinia.

Editions[edit]

  • Early editions of Victor are found in Migne, Patrologia Latina, LVIII.[1]
  • Karl Felix Halm (Berlin, 1879) in Mon. Germ. Hist.: Auct. Antiq., III, 1; and Petchenig (Vienna, 1881); Corpus Scrip. Eccles. Lat., VII; Ferrere, De Victoris Vitensis libro qui inscribitur historia persecutionis Africanae Provinciae (Paris, 1898).

Translations[edit]

  • Victor of Vita. History of the Vandal Persecution. Translated by John Moorhead, (Translated Texts for Historians; 10). Liverpool, 1992.

Studies[edit]

  • A. H. Merrills, "totum subuertere uoluerunt: ‘social martyrdom’ in the Historia persecutionis of Victor of Vita", in Christopher Kelly, Richard Flower, Michael Stuart Williams (еds), Unclassical Traditions. Vol. II: Perspectives from East and West in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2011) (Cambridge Classical Journal; Supplemental Volume 35), 102-115.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.