bishop called Crispinus, and laments that the emperor was renting his lands to a Donatist.47 Leaving aside the religious problem, the information confirms that bishops - and indeed other clergy - were renting lands directly from the emperor. The land rented by Crispinus (which was located in the large area of saltus Imperiales in the Medjerda valley in Africa Proconsularis) must have been very big, and it probably included around twenty families of coloni (or, as Augustine puts it, octogintaferme animas). The case of Crispinus is also instructive in that, as a Donatist bishop, he imposed the re-baptism of all the people working in the massa.48 This suggests that managing land brought a double advantage to the clergy: an increase of their patrimony and of the number of believers. This brings us to a further element in the practicalities of land management in Roman North Africa: the enphiteuticarius was able to act as the dominus (lord). In some cases bishops, also acting as conductores, abused their power within the lands under their control, like Bishop Antoninus of


The presence of monasteries in Roman North Africa also requires consideration. Monasteries were particularly important in Egypt, but not much is known about such buildings in Africa Proconsularis. The lack of distinct archaeological evidence for Catholic monasteries could be owed to the practice of bishops' houses doubling as monasteries. Possidius, for example, describes Augustine's house as having been a monastery and broadly indicates that other bishops emulated that practice.50 'Clerical monasteries' like Augustine's would not necessarily have distinctive architectural features that would set them apart. In any case, the existence of monastic communities is attested by other sources. We know that Aurelius of Carthage offered some lands to monks in Thagaste near the end of the fourth century.51 Furthermore, we read in the Life ofFulgentius 2-3 that monasteries were proliferating in North Africa at the beginning of the sixth century.

47 Augustine, C. litt. Petiliani 2.83.184 (CSEL 52:114) and Letter 66; CTh 5.15.15; on this topic, see also Lepelley 'Deux témoignages de Saint Augustin'.

48 The episode was mentioned by Augustine as a scandal, although Crispinus was acting exactly as Augustine himself was suggesting to his friends: En. in Ps. 54.13; Letters 58 (Pammachius), 89 (Festus), 112 (Donatus), 251 (Pancarius). See also D. Vera, 'Conductores domus nostrae, conductores privatorum', 475.

49 S. Lancel, 'L'affaire d'Antoninus de Fussala' and Vera, 'Conductores domus nostrae, conductores privatorum', 483-4; Antoninus was managing land belonging to a Roman woman ofsenatorial rank.

50 Possidius, Life of Augustine 22.1-7.

51 See Jai'di, 'Remarques sur la constitution des biens des églises africaines', 176 n. 46; on the monasteries in North Africa, see also Gavigan, De vita monastica.

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