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Fifteen years later the same author asks the Proconsul Scapula: "What will you make of so many thousands, of such a multitude of men and women, persons of every age, sex and rank, when they present themselves before you? " And with regard to the Christians of the African capital he inquires: "What will be the anguish of Carthage itself, which you will have to decimate, as each one recognizes there is relatives and companions; as he sees there, it may be, men of your own order, and noble ladies, and all the leading persons of the city, and either kinsmen or friends of those in your own circle? A council of seventy bishops held at Carthage by Bishop Agrippinus at the epoch (variously dated between 198 and 222), substantially corroborates the testimony of Tertullian as to the general progress of Christianity in Africa in the early years of the third century.

It is impossible to say whence came the first preachers of Christianity in Roman Africa. Indeed, during the last decade of the second century the Roman Church was governed by an African, Pope Victor (189-199).

A RCHDIOCESE OF CARTHAGE (C ARTHAGINIENSIS ) The city of Carthage, founded by Phoenician colonists, and long the great opponent of Rome in the duel for supremacy in the civilized world, was destroyed by a Roman army, 146 B. From this date Roman Africa made rapid progress in prosperity and became one of the most flourishing colonies of the empire.

C.), a new city composed of Roman colonists was founded by Julius Cæsar on the site of Carthage, and became the capital of the Roman province of Africa Nova, which included the province of Africa Vetus, as well as Numidia.

His rigorism indeed drew him, about the opening year of the persecution, into the sect of the Montanists, but in spite of this lapse he appears not to have lost for many years the confidence of the orthodox ; as late as 212 he wrote his letter to the Proconsul Scapula in the name of the Christians of Carthage (Leclercq, , I, 165). Cyprian (249) little is known of the Church of Carthage. Perpetua and Felicitas mention a certain Optatus, who was Bishop either of Carthage or Thuburbo minus.

It was only in the following year (213) that he broke definitively with the Church and became the head of an obscure sect, called after him "Tertullianists", which maintained a precarious existence till the age of St. Agrippinus, already mentioned, was Bishop of Carthage about 197, and the immediate predecessor of St.

It is worthy of note in this regard, however, that from the moment when African Christianity comes into historical prominence, the bishops of Roman Africa are seen in very close relations with the See of Rome . The two greatest names in the history of the Church of Carthage are those of Tertullian and St. The former comes on the scene, in the troubled days of he persecution of Septimius Severus, as an able and valiant defender of his religion. In his youth he devoted himself to the study of law and literature, and thus obtained the intellectual training which was to prove of the greatest service to his future coreligionists.

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Among the martyrs executed at Carthage under the law of Severus were the young matron Vibia Perpetua and the slave Felicitas, the Acts of whose martyrdom, which, perhaps, we owe to Tertullian (Duchesne, op.From the year of the martyrdom of Scillium and Madaura (180) the Christians of Africa were not molested by the authorities for nearly two decades.But in 197 or 198 the governors recommenced the legal pursuit of the followers of Christ, who soon filled the prisons of Carthage.In the early stages of the persecution capital punishment was not resorted to, except in the case of bishops, but the mere threat of even less sever penalties induced large numbers to comply with the law.Many others, however, proved themselves worthy of their religion and died heroically.

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