Fulgentius, St.

, an ecclesiastical writer, was borti at Telepta, or Tellepte, about the year 468. He was of an illustrious family, the son of Claudius, and grandson of Gordianus, a senator of Carthage. Claudius dying early, left his son, then very young, to the care of his widow Mariana. He was properly educated in the knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages, and made such progress in his studies, that while yet a boy he could repeat all Homer, and spoke Greek with fluency and purity. As soon as he was capable of an employment he was made procurator or receiver of the revenues of his province. But this situation displeased him, because of the rigour he was forced to use in levying taxes; and therefore, notwithstanding the tears and dissuasions of his mother, he left the world, and took the monastic vows under Faustus, a bishop persecuted by the Arian faction, who had founded a monastery in that neighbourhood. The continued persecutions of the Arians soon separated him and Faustus; and not long after, the incursions of the Moors obliged him to retire into the country of Sicca, where he was whipped and imprisoned. Afterwards he resolved to go into Egypt; but in his voyage was dissuaded by Eulalius bishop of Syracuse, because the monks of the East had separated from the catholic church. He consulted also a bishop of Africa, who had retired into Sicily; and this bishop advised him to return to his own country, after he had made a journey to Rome. King Theodoric was in that city when he arrived there, which was in the year 500. After he had visited the sepulchres of the apostles he returned to his own country, where he built a monastery.

Africa was then under the dominion of Thrasitnond king of the Vandals, an Arian, and a cruel enemy to the catholics. He had forbidden to ordain catholic bishops in. the room of those who died: but the bishops of Africa were determined not to obey an order which threatened the extinction of orthodoxy. Fulgentius, under these circumstances, wished to avoid being a bishop; and when elected for the see of Vinta in the year 507, fled and concealed himself, but being soon discovered, was appointed bishop of Ruspae much against his will. On this elevation he did not change either his habit or manner of living, but uspd. the same austerities and abstinence as before. He still loved the monks, and delighted to retire into a monastery as often as the business of his episcopal function allowed | him time. Afterwards he had the same fate with about two hundred and twenty catholic bishops of Africa, whom. Thrasimond banished into the island of Sardinia; and though he was not the oldest among them, yet they paid such respect to his learning, as to employ his pen in all the writings produced in the name of their body. So great was his reputation, that Thrasimond had a curiosity to see and hear him; and having sent for him to Carthage, he proposed to him many difficulties, which Fulgentius solved to his satisfaction: but because he confirmed the catholics, and converted many Arians, their bishop at Carthage prayed the king to send, him back to Sardinia. Thrasimond dying about the year 523, his son Hilderic recalled the catholic bishops, of whom Fulgentius was one. He returned, to the great joy of those who were concerned with him, led a most exemplary life, governed his clergy well, and performed all the offices of a good bishop. He died in the year 533, on the first day of the year, being then sixty- five.

His works, as many of them as are extant, consisting of doctrinal treatises and some epistles, have often been, printed; but the last and completest edition is in one volume, 4to, Paris, 1684. Fulgentius did not only follow the dpctrine of St. Austin, but he also imitated his style. His language, indeed, is not quite so pure; but he has not the same play of words as St. Austin. He had a quick and subtle spirit, which easily comprehended whatever he applied himself to learn; and he had a clear and copious way of setting it off; too copious indeed, for he often repeats the same things in different words, and turns the question many different ways. He was deeply versed in the holy scriptures, and as well read in the fathers, particularly St. Austin: but, as he loved thorny and scholastic questions, he sometimes introduced them in the discussion of mysteries. 1