In die Skriflig
On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441
SWARTZ, Nico P.. The functionality of the martyrs' accounts in Victor of Vita's Historia Persecutionis (HP). In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.46, n.2, pp.1-8. ISSN 2305-0853.
Victor of Vita believed that the Vandal persecution of the Christians in North Africa (429-489 AD) was a visitation of God to punish them for their immoral and dissolute life. In this context, suffering and torture are the logical results of profligacy which Victor explains in Paulinian terms as a means of destroying the human body and thus releasing mankind from bondage to sin. Victor therefore advances arguments to convince the reader that torture contains both divine and redeeming qualities. The life of the martyr is portrayed as an encouragement so that the reader may emulate this conduct. The martyr narratives provide four measures for the preservation of moral values in civil society. They embody the ethical, exemplary, philosophical and stimulant dimensions of the martyr narratives in the Historia Persecutionis. On this premise, the martyr narratives in the Historia Persecutionis are not to be seen only as a literary work, but also as a contribution to ethics.