The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Felix – Felix Magnus

144

FELIX.

some interesting extracts, explaining the distinctions between the different kinds of comitia. In this work Felix cites Labeo. Zimmern (R. R. G. i. § 89), after Conradi and Bynkerschoek, moved by the archaic style of the extracts in Gellius, think it not improbable that the Laelius Felix of that author was more ancient than the Laelius of the Digest, and that he may even be the same person with the preceptor of Varro. If this be the; case, the Labeo he cites must be Q. Antistius Labeo, the father. The preceptor of Varro, however, who is stated by Gellius (xvi. 8) to have written an essay on oratorical introductions (Commentarium dePro- loquiis), is, according to a different reading, not Laelius, but L. Aelius, and was perhaps the gram­ marian, L. Aelius .Stilo. In Pliny ^H. N. .xiv. 13) it is doubtful whether the name mentioned in connection with Scaevola and Capito should be read Laelius, or L. Aelius. (Dirksen, Bruckstucke aus den Schriften der Romischen Juristen^ p. 101 ; Maiansius, ad XXX. Ictorum Fragm. Comment. vol. ii. p. 208—217.) [J. T. G.]

FELIX MAGNUS, a fellow-student and cor­respondent of Sidonius Apollinaris, and conse­quently lived between a. d. 430—480. Felix was of the family of the Philagrii (Sidon. Propempt. ad LibelL 90, Ep. ii. 3), and was raised to the rank of patrician {Ep. ii. 3). The letters of Sidonius to Felix are curiously illustrative of the distress and dismemberment of the Roman provinces north of the Alps in the fifth century.; a. d..

A poem (Carm. ix.) and five letters (ii. 3, iii. 4, 7, iv. 5, 10) are addressed by Sidonius to Felix. [W. B.D.J

FELIX, M. MINU'CIUS, a distinguished Roman lawyer, the author of a dialogue entitled OctaviiiS) which occupies a conspicuous, place among the early Apologies for Christianity.. The speakers are Caecilius Natalis, a Pagan, and Octavius Janu-arius, a true believer, who, while rambling along the shore near Ostia during the holidays of the vintage with their common friend Mmucius, are led into a discussion in consequence of an act of homage paid by Caecilius to. a statue of Serapis, a proceeding which calls forth severe, although indi­rect animadversions from Octavius. Irritated by these remarks, Caecilius commences a lengthened discourse, in which he combines a formal defence of his own practice • with an attack, upon the prin­ciples of his companion. His arguments are of a twofold character. On the one hand he assails re­vealed religion in general, and on the other the Christian religion specially. Octavius replies to all his objections with great force and eloquence ; and when he concludes, Caecilius, feeling himself defeated, freely acknowledges his errors, and de­clares himself a convert ,to the truth.

The tone of this production is throughput earnest and impressive ; the arguments are well selected, and stated with precision ; the style is for the most part terse and pregnant, and the diction is extremely pure ; but it frequently wears the aspect of a cento in which a number of choice phrases have been-culled from various sources. There is, moreover, occasionally a. want of simplicity, and some of the sentiments are expressed in language which borders upon declamatory inflation. But these blemishes are not so numerous as to affect seriously our favourable estimate of the work as a whole, which, in the opinion of many, entitles the author to rank not much below Lactautius. Its

FELIX.

value in a theological point of view is not very great, since the various topics are touched upon lightly, the end in view being evidently to furnish a ready reply to the most common popular objec­tions. The censure of Dupin, who imagined that he could detect a tendency to materialism, seems to have been founded upon a misapprehension of the real import of the passages whose orthodoxy he impugns.

It is remarkable that the Octavifis was for a long period believed to belong to Arnobius, and was printed repeatedly as the eighth book of his treat­ ise Adversus Gentes^ notwithstanding the express testimony of St. Jerome, whose words (de Viris III. 58) are so clear as to leave no room for hesi­ tation. <

The time, however, at which Minucius Felix lived is very uncertain. By some he is placed as early as the reign of M. Aurelius ; by some as ioav as Diocletian; while, others have fixed upon various points intermediate between these two extremes. The critics who, with Van Hoven, carry him back as .far as the middle of the second century, rest their opinion chiefly on the purity of his diction, upon: the indications afforded by allu­sions to the state of the Church, both as to its internal constitution, and to the attention which it attracted from without, upon the strong resem­blance which the piece bears to those Apologies which confessedly beloTigtothe period in question, and upon the probability ;that thetFronto. twice named in the course,of the colloquy is the same with the rhetorician, M. Cornelius Fronto, so celebrated under the Antonines. But this posi­tion, although defended, with great learning, can scarcely be . maintained against the positive evi­dence afforded by St. Jerome, who, in his account of illustrious men, where, the individuals .men­tioned succeed each other in regular chronological order, sets down Minucius Felix after Tertullian and before Cyprian,.an arrangement confirmed by a paragraph in the Epistola ad Magnum, and not contradicted by another in the Apologia ad Pam-machium, where Tertullian, Cyprian, and Felix,, are grouped; together in the same clause. The cir-, cumstance that certain sentences in the Octavius and in the De Idolorum Vanitate are word for word the same, although it proves that one writer copied from the other, leads to no inference as to which was the original. We may therefore acquiesce in the conclusio.n that our author flourished about A. d. 230. That he was a lawyer, and attained to eminence in pleading, is distinctly asserted both by St. Jerome and Lactantius ; but beyond this we know nothing of his personal history, except in so far as we are led by his own words to believe that tie was by birth a Gentile, and that his conversion did not take place until he had attained to man­hood. We are further told (Hieron. I. c.) that a book entitled De Fato9 or Contra Mathematicos, was circulated under his name, but that, although evidently the work of an accomplished man, it was so different in style and general character from the Octavius^ that they could scarcely have pro-eeded from the same pen.

It has already been remarked that this dialogue was long supposed to form a part of the treatise of Arnobius, Adversus Gentes. It was first assigned to its rightful owner, and printed in an indepen­dent form, by Balduinus (Heidelberg. 1560), who prefixed a dissertation, in which he proved his

Pages
About | First

143

144

145
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.