Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

(Called also VICTORINUS MARIUS, or MARIUS FABIUS VICTORINUS, and frequently referred to as VICTORINUS AFER.)

A fourth-century grammarian, rhetorician, philosopher, and theologian, b. in Africa about the year 300. In pursuance of his profession as teacher of rhetoric he migrated to Rome where he attained such fame and popularity that in 353 a statue was erected in his honour in the Forum of Trajan (Jerome, "Chron." ad an. 2370). Details regarding his life come almost entirely from Jerome or Augustine, the latter of whom calls him a man of the highest learning and thoroughly skilled in the liberal arts. In addition to his activities as a teacher he was a copious author and wrote or translated many works. Three works written before his conversion still exist: "Liber de Definitionibus"; a commentary on the "De inventione" of Cicero; and a treatise on grammar, "Ars grammatica". Works from the same period which have perished are: a treatise on logic, "De syllogismis hypotheticis"; commentaries on the "Topica" and the "Dialogues" of Cicero; a translation and commentary of Artistotle's "Categories"; a translation of the same author's "Interpretation"; translations of Porphyry's "Isagoge", and works of other Neo-Platonists. The conversion of Victorinus, which took place before 361, was brought about, according to Augustine, through study of the Bible . A seeming reluctance at first to enroll himself in the Christian community was compensated for afterwards by his insistence on making his profession of faith as publicly as possible. His accession to the Church, which was received with joy by the Christians of Rome, did not cause Victorinus to abandon his profession, and he continued to teach until the edict of Julian in 362, closing the teaching profession to Christians, caused him to retire.

Nothing more is known of his subsequent career except what can be gleaned from his writings. The range and fulness of these manifest his diligence and zeal in defence of his faith. Most of the writings of his Christian days have perished. Those which survive are an anti-Arian treatise, "Liber de generatione divini Verbi"; a work "Adversus Arium" in four books, a tract "De Hoimoousio Recipiendo"; three hymns "De Trinitate"; commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, and to the Philippians. Other works of doubtful authenticity are "Liber ad Justinum manichaeum"; "De verbis scripturae: Factum est vespere et mane dies unus"; "Liber de physicis". Many references in his own writings show that Victorinus was the author of many other works of a theological, exegetical, or polemical character. He is also credited with the translation of some of Origen's works and the authorship of other Christian hymns. Though a man of varied books and great erudition Victorinus is little studied. This neglect is largely attributed to the fact that his style is obscure and burdensome in the extreme. Recent study of his works tends to enhance his position in the history of pedagogy, letters, and theology, and above all as a potent influence in disseminating Neo-Platonic doctrines in the West.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:14-21
14 This, then, is what I pray, kneeling before the Father,15 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19
1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53
49 'I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 20th, 2016 Image

St. Paul of the Cross
October 20: St. Paul of the Cross was born at Ovada in the ... Read More