Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 232: Arrest of Marcellinus
Arrest of Marcellinus
The revolt of Heraclianus, Count of Africa, occurred in 413. He attacked Rome with a fleet of more than three thousand ships, was defeated by Count Marinus, and executed in Carthage. He had fled there in all likelihood before August 3. Count Marinus then traveled through Africa apparently to execute the law of July 5.1 By this law all those who took part in the rebellion of Heraclianus were to be put to death. Count Marinus lost his reputation and fortune over the death of the tribune Marcellinus who had rendered such great service to the Church against the Donatists. According to Jerome Marcellinus had been killed by heretics.2 He adds he was put to death because he was thought to be involved in the tyranny of Heraclianus, though he was patently innocent. Jerome shows clearly—Orosius says explicitly—Count Marinus put him to death.3 He was impelled to this sentence by private jealousy or corruption by Donatist money.
Details of Marcellinus’ death can be found in Letter 151. Augustine does not mention Marcellinus by name but the details of the letter fit him so unmistakably scholars are not hesitant over this reference—it is taken for granted here. Certainly no one would be more deserving of the grief Augustine expresses over this death and his efforts to prevent it.
Letter 151 is addressed to Caecilianus, an elderly man of ordered life and highly regarded character.4 He...