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E04539: In his Church History, Rufinus of Aquileia, writing in Latin c. 402 in Aquileia (North Italy), presents Antony (monk of Egypt, S00098) as an exemplary monk who lived in the desert, triumphed over demons, and was asked by the emperor Constantine for intercession. He also refers to the Life of Antony, written by Athanasius of Alexandria and translated into Latin, both shortly after Antony's death (ob. 356).

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posted on 30.12.2017, 00:00 by robert
Rufinus of Aquileia, Church History 10.8

Rufinus describes the reign of Constantine the Great.

... Ad Antonium quoque primum heremi habitatorem velut ad unum ex profetis litteras suppliciter mittit, uti pro se ac liberis suis domino supplicaret. Ita non solum meritis suis ac religione matris, sed et intercessione sanctorum commendabilem se deo fieri gestiebat. Sane quoniam tanti viri Antonii fecimus mentionem, de virtutibus eius atque institutis et sobrietate mentis, ut in solitudine vitam degens usus solummodo consortio fuerit bestiarum et de daemonibus crebros agens triumphos placuerit deo supra cunctos mortales ut que institutionis suae praeclara usque in hodiernum monachis exempla reliquerit, volentem me aliqua exponere ille libellus exclusit, qui ab Athanasio scriptus etiam Latino sermone editus est.

'... He [the Emperor Constantine] also sent letters to Antony, the first desert-dweller. as to one of the prophets, begging him to beseech the Lord for him and his children. Thus he longed to make himself acceptable to God not only by his own merits and his mother's devotion, but also through the intercession of the saints. Now because we have mentioned the great man Antony, I would have liked to say something about his virtues, way of life, and soberness of mind, such that living alone he had only the companionship of wild animals, triumphed frequently over demons, pleased God more than all other mortals, and left glorious examples of his way of life to the monks even of today, but the little book written by Athanasius and translated as well into Latin has forestalled me.'

Text: Mommsen 1909, 971. Translation: Amidon 1997, 18.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Antony, 'the Great', monk of Egypt, ob. 356 : S00098

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Aquileia Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia

Major author/Major anonymous work

Rufinus of Aquileia

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Other miracles with demons and demonic creatures


In 402-403, some time after his return to Italy from Palestine, Tyrannius Rufinus, or Rufinus of Aquileia, translated the Church History of Eusebius into Latin. He added a few passages in books 1-9 and wrote two entirely new books (10-11), which continued Eusebius' narrative down to AD 395. He described mostly contemporary events and his sources are difficult to identify.


For Athanasius' Life of Antony see E00631; for its two Latin translations: E00260 and E00930.


Edition: Mommsen, Th., Eusebius Werke II/2. Historia ecclesiastica (Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller 9.2; Berlin, 1908), 957-1040. Translation: Amidon, P.R., The Church History of Rufinus of Aquileia: Books 10 and 11 (Oxford, 1997). Further reading: Thelamon, F., Païens et Chrétiens au IVe siècle. L'apport de l'«Histoire ecclésiastique» de Rufin d'Aquilée (Paris, 1981).

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