Book Series Giornale Italiano di Filologia - Bibliotheca, vol. 24

Acta Martyrum Scillitanorum

A Literary Commentary

Vincent Hunink

  • Pages: 140 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin, Greek
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59095-0
  • Paperback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59096-7
  • E-book
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The first full commentary in English on the first Christian martyr text in Latin


“In sum, Hunink’s commentary demonstrates the utility of reading the AMS as drama with an interactive cast of characters. This kind of reading will, I think, be useful for exploring questions of meaning and yield further insights when applied more broadly to Christian martyr texts like the Acts of Justin, the Acts of Cyprian, and any others with a trial scene. (...) we can be very grateful that he has taken a few big steps in this increasingly popular direction and has produced a synthesis of current scholarship on the AMS for the first time in English.” (Daniel J. Crosby, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2021.07.23)

“(... a) useful and thought-provoking new commentary.” (James Corke-Webster, in Sehepunkte, 21/9, 15.09.2021)

“The commentary is easy for readers to use, with the Latin and Greek printed together, chapter by chapter, followed by a complete English translation of the Latin. In the commentary on individual chapters, the Latin and Greek are reprinted, with English translations of both. Back-to-back printing allows for easy comparisons, while the translations make the commentary relatively accessible to readers who have little to no Latin or Greek. (...) the bibliography is impressively polyglot, with thorough coverage of recent scholarship on the AMS. Though readers will want to consult the volume alongside more recent works, Hunink has succeeded in producing a useful literary commentary on the AMS.” (Jared Secord, in Rhea Classical Reviews, Dec 08 2022)

« En résumé, on ne peut que louer pareil ouvrage. Outre le fait qu’il mette à la disposition de l’historien le premier texte hagiographique africain, il est parfaitement documenté tant sur le plan philologique (la traduction a été réalisée d’après les meilleures éditions) que sur le plan historique. » (Mohamed-Arbi Nsir, dans Revue de l’histoire des religions, 240/3, 2023)


Vincent Hunink (1962) is associate professor of early Christian Greek and Latin at Radboud University Nijmegen. His publications in English include commentaries on Lucan, Apuleius, and Tertullian. He is widely known as a translator of Latin texts, mostly in Dutch, but also in English and German (


The Acta Martyrum Scillitanorum is the first martyr text in Latin, and one of the earliest documents in Christian Latin. This short text presents a group of young Christians facing trial in Carthage before a Roman judge on July 17th, 180 A.D. This is the first full commentary on this important text in English. It studies the fiery altercation between the defendants and the Roman proconsul, highlighting the rhetorical and narrative aspects of the original Latin (and the Greek translation from late antiquity). Throughout the book, much attention is paid to the communication, or miscommunication, between antagonists. For this dramatic and narrative approach to the text, the Acta Martyrum Scillitanorum may be taken as it is: a coherent body of text, describing an altercation that either took place exactly like that, or was deemed by the author to be probable and natural, that is, a plausible and convincing dialogue between contrasting characters in a Roman judicial context.

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