reluctantly granted toleration; he however guaranteed privileges only to the Catholics.154 Emboldened by Constantine's seeming lack of interest, the Donatists persecuted Catholics, particularly in the Donatist stronghold of Numidia, by occupying a Catholic church in Constantia (where Constantine had financed a new Catholic basilica) and illegally subjecting Catholic clergy to public duties. The result was bloodshed.

During the summer of 347, the emperor Constans revived the order to dissolve the Donatist church. Its buildings and properties were confiscated; bishops who refused conversion were exiled.155 The Donatist church was substantially weakened and Donatus of Carthage exiled. This second attempt at forced reunification succeeded, but it also reinforced Donatist opposition against the emperor. Whereas under Constantine Caecilian and his party were the target, now the emperor became the enemy. Rumours had spread; two imperial commissioners who had come to offer relief to the poor were said to have demanded sacrifice before the emperor's image. Donatus raised the famous question, 'What has the emperor to do with the church?'156 Already in Carthage, the edict led to martyrdoms and riots. Marculus, a member of a Donatist delegation to the imperial commissioner, was arrested and died in custody. A martyr cult developed.157

During Julian's short reign (361-3), the situation was reversed. Now the Donatists were supported by the imperial authorities and revenged themselves by occupying churches and committing atrocities.158 A militant group arose within the Donatist church, the so-called circumcelliones,159 who roamed the countryside, plundered the great estates in search for food and terrorised the Catholics. Confrontation also occurred at the intellectual level. On the Donatist side, Parmenian of Carthage claimed that only the sacraments (especially baptism) of the true church were valid. Moreover, he attacked Catholics for involving the military. Optatus of Milevis answered Parmenian's arguments:

154 Augustine, brev. Coll. 22.40 (CCSL149A: 303); Corpus Optati 9 (Maier, DossierduDonatisme, 241-2). But see CTh 16.5.1 (SC 497: 226).

155 Optatus, Against the Donatists 2.15; 3.1; Passio Marculi 3 (Maier, Dossier du Donatisme, 278-9); Augustine, Against Crescionius 3.50.55. See Grasmtick, Coercitio, 117-18. A small Donatist church emerged in Rome.

156 Optatus, Against the Donatists 3.3.

157 Passio Marculi (Maier, Dossier duDonatisme, 275-91); Augustine, c. litt. Petil. 2.20.46 (CSEL 52: 46-7) and Against Cresconius 3.49.54 (CSEL 52: 461-2). For the cult of the martyrs in Africa, see Y. Duval, Loca Sanctorum Africae; for the cult ofMarculus, see ibid. ii: 705. See also L. Grig, Making martyrs.

158 Grasmuck, Coercitio, 132-9.

159 According to Augustine, Enarr. inps. 132.3, circumcelliones are so named because they roam around martyrs' shrines (quia circum cellas vagantur). A careful discussion of the circumcelliones can be found in Schindler, 'Afrika i', 662-5, 8; Shaw, 'Circumcelliones'.

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