In the great persecution started by Diocletian, a special effort was made to seize
all copies of the Christian scriptures, in the hope of depriving the persecuted sect of
the means of preserving and propagating its doctrines. The following tells how the search
for the books was conducted in Cirta, an important city of Numidia.
When the magistrates and a policeman, guided by the apostatizing
secretaries of the bishop, came to the house of Felix the tailor, he brought out five
books, and when they came to the house of Proiectus he brought out five big and two little
books. Victor the schoolmaster brought out two books, and four books of five volumes each.
Felix the "Perpetual Flamen" said to him: "Bring your scriptures out: you
have more." Victor the schoolmaster said, "If I had had more I should have
brought them out."
When they came to the house of Eutychia who was a Caesarian [i.e., in the
government service], the flamen said, "Bring out your books that you may obey the
law." "I have none," he replied. "Your answer," said Felix the
flamen, "is taken down."
At the house of Coddeo, Coddeo's wife brought out six books. Felix said "Look and
see if you have not got some more." The woman said, "I have no more." Felix
said to Bos, the policeman, "Go in and see if she has any more." The policeman
reported "I have looked and found none."
From: William Stearns Davis, ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts
from the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13), Vol. II: Rome and the
Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg
has modernized the text.
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