The Sacred Writings of Minucius Felix
The Sacred Writings of Minucius Felix0 0 5 Author: Minucius Felix
The "Octavius" is a dialogue of which Ostia is the scene. Caecilius Natalis upholds the cause of paganism, Octavius Januarius that of Christianity; the author himself is the judge of the debate. Caecilius 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 Saldae (Bougie; ib., 8962); that of Caecilius at Cirta itself (ib., 7097-7098, 6996). The M. Caecilius 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 subordinate 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, Caecilius saluted it with the customary kiss. Octavius thereupon expressed his indignation that Minucius should allow his daily companion to fall into idolatry.
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