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indicates active devotees to this god.2 In some North African cities, theatres and amphitheatres were still pulling in big audiences, as in the Bulla Regia mentioned by Augustine.3

Some pagan traditions developed into Christian ones. The pagan practice of holding banquets and celebrations on tombs, to keep the anniversary of the death, continued in the Christian tradition. This observance consisted of bread mixed with water and wine, which was first consumed by the visitors (epulis praegustandi) and then given to the deceased (largiendis). Tertullian considered the funerary banquets a rite of unity with the dead.4 Augustine totally rejected this practice, emphasising instead its connection with the pagan tradition. In several of his sermons, Augustine mentions that these rites - the parentalia - were celebrated on several occasions, i.e., memoriae sanctorum, memoriae defunctorum and memoriae martyrum. This custom was widely practised in North Africa during the fourth century, even though it was already forbidden in Milan and other parts of the empire.5 For example, we know that episodes of dancing and singing preceded the 'celebration' of Cyprian's death in Carthage.6 In 392, Augustine suggested in a letter to Aurelius, the bishop of Carthage, that he should forbid this practice; in 397, a council legislated against it.7 About fifteen years later, Augustine alludes to the fact that a small number of these banquets survived and they were more likely to be considered as vigils.8 And yet it would seem that, around 411, the tradition survived only in the Donatist church (see below) and had disappeared among the Catholics. This is witnessed by the fact that this problem (among others) was discussed that year in the Council of Carthage, with the participation of a large number of bishops from both groups (Catholic and Donatist), including Augustine.9

2 The function of this building has been discussed at length; see, e.g., Picard, 'Une schola de college a Carthage' and La Carthage de St. Augustin, 180.

3 Augustine, Sermo 301.1: 'O fratres Bullenses, circumaquaque prope in omnibus civitatibus vicinis vestris lascivia impietatis obmutuit. Non erubescitis, quia apud vos solos remansit turpitudo venalis? An delectat vos, inter frumentum, vinum, oleum, animalia, pecora et quaecumque in romanis, vel nundinis venundantur, etiam turpitudinem emere et vendere? Et fortassis ad talia commercia huc veniant peregrini, et dicitur: Quid quaeris? Mimos, meretrices? Bulla habes.'

4 Tertullian, Spect. 13.2-5. On this aspect, see V Saxer, Morts, martyrs, reliques en Afrique chretienne, 134-5.

5 Augustine, Conf. 6.2. We know in fact the famous episode of Augustine's mother wanting to celebrate a banquet in Milan in 385, but this practice was forbidden by Ambrose; see Saxer, Morts, martyrs, reliques en Afrique chrétienne, 134-5.

6 On the problem of the churches dedicated to Cyprian in Carthage, see N. Duval, 'Les monuments chrétiens de Carthage'; N. Duval Les églises africaines a deux absides; and Ennabli, Carthage.

7 Augustine, Letters 22.3 and 16.57-8.

8 Augustine, City of God 8.27.

9 For a complete analysis of the council see the edition of the Acts by Lancel: SC194.

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