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Characters Behind Ancient Quotes , Tertullian & Terence

Some historical figures who have made their mark in time are lesser known to the average person. This is the case with Tertullian, who not only led within the church scene, but also gained recognition as an influential Christian apologist. In this article, you will also encounter the words of Terence , a notable character who thrived during the Roman Republic.

Tertullian (160 ~ 240)

As a productive writer during the time of Early Christianity, Tertullian (born Quintus Septimius Florente Tertullianus) was also a leader in the church. Throughout his lifetime, he would become known as many different things, such as the son of a Roman centurion and a significant Christian apologist before any others, which meant he was big on systematically defending Christianity.

Anything he deemed heretical in Christian doctrine, Tertullian would denounce, but as he grew older , he would later embrace views that he once thought wrong in the past. He penned three books in Greek. This would earn him recognition as a great author of Latin Christianity. People would refer to him as the “Father of the Latin Church.” He also wore the hat of a prominent lawyer in Rome during the rule of Marcus Aurelius. He is also responsible for using the term, ‘Trinity.’ Some of his words include:

“You can judge the quality of their faith from the way they behave.”

“Discipline is an index to doctrine.”

“Arguments about Scripture achieve nothing but a stomachache and a headache.”

 “He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies.”

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.”

“Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money.”

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

“You cannot parcel out freedom in pieces because freedom is all or nothing.”

Terence (185 BC – 159 BC)

A playwright during the Roman Republic, Terence (born Publius Terentius Afer) delivered entertaining comedies in his time , seeing them take to the stage for the first time between 170 and 160 BC. Unfortunately, he died at a young age when he was in Greece or perhaps on his way back to Rome.

Terentius Lucanus, who was a Roman senator at the time, bought Terence as a slave. He then supplied an education to his slave, who was able to produce abilities that impressed his master. Lucanus decided to free the slave. Fortunately, all of the plays that Terence wrote (six in total) have survived.

One of Terence’s famous quotes reads “Homo sum, humani nil a me alienum puto”, which translates into “I am human, nothing that is human is alien to me.” This line was showcased in play titled “Heauton Timorumenos.” Another quote of his includes:

“Moderation in all things.”