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Apologeticus

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Apologeticus is Tertullian's most famous work, consisting of apologetic and polemic, which was written in Carthage in the year 197 AD, during the reign of Septimius Severus. In this work he defends Christianity, demanding legal toleration and that Christians be treated as all other sects of the Roman Empire. It is in this treatise that one finds the phrase: "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity."

Apologeticus is addressed to the rulers of the country, and is bears resemblance thus to the Greek Apologies. The Apologeticus is calm in tone, "a model of judicial discussion" (Bardenhewer). Unlike previous apologists of Christianity, whose appeals for tolerance were made in the name of reason and humanity, Tertullian, influenced by his legal training, spoke as a jurist convinced of the injustice of the laws under which the Christians were persecuted. The "Apologeticus" was written before the edict of Septimius Severus (202), and consequently, the laws to which the writer took exception were those under which the Christians of the first and second centuries had been convicted.

There is a similarity of content, if not of purpose, between this work and Tertiallian's Ad nationes - published earlier in the same year - and it has been claimed that the latter is a finished draft of Apologeticus. There arises also the question of similarity to Minucius Felix's dialogue Octavius - some paragraphs are shared by both texts, and it is not known which predated the other, and was thus their origin.

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