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História (São Paulo)
On-line version ISSN 1980-4369
OLIVEIRA, Julio Cesar Magalhães de. From the archives of persecution to the stories of martyrs: hagiography, memory and propaganda in Roman North Africa. História [online]. 2010, vol.29, n.1, pp.56-70. ISSN 1980-4369. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-90742010000100005.
The series of events stemming from the acts and passions of the Christian martyrs, written in the heat of persecution up to the more legendary and epic stories spreading from the late 4th and early 5th centuries has often been viewed by historians as one of the more striking transitions of hagiography in Late Antiquity. Nevertheless, the use of the judicial processes in the writing of the traditional martyrs' acts as well as in the composition of the more extensive and epic narratives remained highly valued in the minds of North African Christians, Donatists and Catholics alike, at least until the beginning of the 5th century. The purpose of this paper is to understand the reasons for the high regard in which the documents in the archives were held, especially the official ones, and to research the different, practical uses made from them by North-African Christians, from the 3rd to the beginning of the 5th century.
Keywords : Hagiography; Donatism; Judicial processes; Public archives; Roman North Africa.