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MINTURNAE

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 564 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MINTURNAE, an ancient city of the Aurunci, in Italy, situated on the N.W. bank of the Liris with a suburb on the opposite bank 11 m. from its mouth, at the point where the Via Appia crossed it by the Pons Tiretius. It was one of the three towns of the Aurunci which made war against Rome in 314 B.c., the other two being Ausona (see SESSA AURUNCA) and Vescia; and the Via Appia was made two years later. It became a colony in 295 B.C. In 88 B.C. Marius in his flight from Sulla hid himself in the marshes of Minturnae. The ruins consist of an amphitheatre (now almost entirely demolished, but better preserved in the 18th century), a theatre, and a very fine aqueduct in opus reliculalum, the quoins of which are of various colours arranged in patterns to produce a decorative effect. Close to the mouth of the river was the sacred grove of the Italic goddess Marica. It is still mentioned in the 6th century, but was probably destroyed by the Saracens, and its low site, which had become unhealthy, was abandoned in favour of that of the modern town of Minturno (known as Traetto until the 19th century), 459 ft. above sea-level. A tower at the mouth of the river, erected between 961 and 981, commemorates a victory gained by Pope John X. and his allies over the Saracens in 915. It is built of Roman materials from Minturnae, including several inscriptions and sculptures. See T. Ashby in Melanges de l'EĀ°cole francaise de Rome (1903), 413;MINUSINSK R. Laurent-Vibert and A. Piganol, ibid. (1907), p. 495; G. Q. Giglioli, Notizie degli Scavi (1908) p. 396. (T. As.) ,MINUCIUS, FELIX MARCUS, one of the earliest if not the earliest, of the Latin apologists for Christianity. Of his personal history nothing is known, and even the date at which he wrote can be only approximately ascertained. Jerome (De vie. ill 58) speaks of him as " Romae insignis causidicus," but in this he is probably only improving on the expression of Lactantius (Inst. div. v. r) who speaks of him as " non ignobilis inter causidicos loci." He is now exclusively known by his Octavius, a dialogue on Christianity between the pagan Caecilius Natalis 1 and the Christian Octavius Januarius, a provincial lawyer, the friend and fellow-student of the author. The scene is pleasantly and graphically laid on the beach at Ostia on a holiday afternoon,. and the discussion is represented as arising .out of the homage paid by Caecilius, in passing, to the image of Serapis. His arguments for paganism (possibly modelled on those of Celsus) are taken up seriatim by Octavius, with the result that the assailant is convinced. Minucius. himself plays the part of umpire. The form of the dialogue is modelled on the De natura deorum and De divinatione of Cicero and its style is both vigorous and elegant if at times not exempt from something of the affectation of the age. Its latinity is not of the specifically Christian type. If the doctrines of the Divine unity, the resurrection, and future rewards and punishments be left out of account, the work has less the character of an exposition of Christianity than of a philosophical and ethical polemic against the absurdities of polytheism. While it thus has much in common with the Greek Apologies it is full of the strong common sense that marks the Latin mind. Its ultimate appeal is to the fruits of faith. The Octavius is admittedly earlier than Cyprian's Quod idola dii non lint, which borrows from it; how much earlier can be determined only by settling the relation in which it stands to Tertullian's Apologeticum. Since A. Ebert's exhaustive argument in 1868, repeated in 1889, the priority of Minucius has been generally admitted; the objections are stated in the Dict. Chr. Biog. article by G. Salmon. Editions: F. Sabaeus-Brixianus, as Bk. viii. of Arnobius (Rome, 1543) ; F. Balduinus, first separate edition (Heidelberg, 1560); Migne, Patrol. Lat. iii. 239; Halm in Corp. Scr. Eccl. Lat.(Vienna, 1867); H. A. Holden. Translations: R. E. Wallis, in-Ante-Nic. Fathers, vol. iv.; A. A. Brodribb's Pagan and Puritan. Literature: In addition to that already cited see H. Boenig's art. in Hauck-Herzog's Realencyk. vol. 13. and the various histories of early Christian Literature by A. Harnack, G. Kruger, A. Ehrhard and O. Bardenhewer.
End of Article: MINTURNAE
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