40 By the Donatists called Agonistici (St. Augustine, In Ps. 133. 6), and by the Catholics Circilliones, or Circumcelliones, that is, Vagrants. Circumcelliones dicti sunt, quia circum cellas vagantur, solent enim ire hac illac nusquam habentes pedes (In Ps. 132. 3). They were of a very licentious and abandoned character, and in their fanaticism they would often commit suicide, to which the text may suppose to refer (Lib. de Haeres. c. 69; Brev. Coll. cum Donant. viii.  ). They exercised extreme cruelty against the Catholics (Cont. Cresc. Don. lib. 3, xliii. , xlvi. ). Their form of salutation was Deo laudes (Cont. lit. Petil. lib. 2, lxv. ), which St. Augustine (In Ps. 133, 6) says was more feared than the roaring of a lion. For the time of their origin see Opt. lib. 3.
43 This refers doubtless to the laws against the Donatists. The Emperor Honorius issued an edict against them A.D. 405, and another A.D. 410, and A.D. 412, and again A.D 414, on occasion of the death of Marcellinus, and to prevent and advantage which the Donatists might derive from his death. For he had been judge in the conference between the Catholics and Donatists, granted by the Emperor at the request of the deputies of the council of Carthage, four years before (Fleury, H. E. B. xxii., cxxvi.): and to him had been entrusted the execution of the laws issued against the Donatists for the maintenance of the Catholic religion.
11 See, as to the excesses which prevailed at the festivals of the Martyrs, a letter of St. Augustine to Aurelius Bishop of Carthage and Primate of Africa (Ep. 22, al. 64), urging him to use his authority to suppress them. St Ambrose had prohibited these feasts in the Church of Milan (Augustine, Conf. lib. 6. 2 [Am. edition i. 90, note]). Aurelius succeeded in getting a canon (xxx.) made in the third Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), obliging the clergy to abstain from all such feasts in the Church, and as far as in them lay to restrain the people from the same practice (Conc. Labbe, t. 2, p. 1171; Bingham, B. xx. vii. § 10).