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Firmiānus (in some MSS. called Lucius Caecilius or Caelius). An eminent Christian writer of the early part of the fourth century, whose birthplace is uncertain. He taught rhetoric at Nicomedia in Bithynia, and it was probably there that he became converted to Christianity. About the year 313 he was invited by Constantine the Great to act as tutor to his son Crispus. He died about 325. His chief work is a defence of Christianity, in seven books, entitled Institutiones Divinae, written in reply to an attack upon the faith made by two pagan writers. He also wrote treatises De Ira Dei and De Opificio Dei, the latter being an account of anthropology from the Christian standpoint. A fourth book, by some not credited to him, is entitled De Mortibus Persecutorum, in which he tries to show that all the persecutors of the Christians have met with violent deaths. There exists, also, an epitome of the Institutiones Divinae, made by Lactantius. His Latinity is so pure that he is styled “the Christian Cicero.” During the Middle Ages his writings were extremely popular, and the MSS. of them are very numerous. The first book ever printed in Italy (1465) was a Lactantius. The earlier texts are enumerated by Dufresnoy in his edition (2 vols. 1748). Lactantius has also been edited by Gersdorf, in the Bibl. Pat. Eccles. Lat. (Leipzig, 1842- 1844); by Migne in vols. vi. and vii. of his Patrologia (Paris, 1844); and by Laubmann and S. Brandt (Vienna, 1891). On his life, see P. Brandt, Das Leben des Lactantius (Vienna, 1890).


Placĭdus. The author of a collection of scholia on the Thebaïs of Statius, probably the same as the glossator Luctatius (?) Placidus, who has left a book of glosses with Latin commentaries. They are chiefly on Plautus and Lucilius. See Goetz, De Placidi Glossis (Jena, 1886), Onions in the (Eng.) Journal of Philology, xi. 75, xii. 77, and xv. 167; and the article Glossa.

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