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Liber Pontificalis

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Definition:

Liber Pontificalis, translates as "Book of the Pontiffs", is a Latin text which originally dates from the 6th century CE, and gives brief biographies of the first 56 Popes (from St Peter [32--67 CE] to Felix IIII [526--530 CE]). The biographies give the place of birth, length of pontificate, an overview of any decrees issued, any significant ecclesiastical events, and the date of death. The Liber Pontificalis has been added to over the years.

Of significance to African History, the Liber Pontificalis lists three Popes natione Afer, ie born in the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis -- present day Tunisia and Algeria. (Not to be confused with the continent of Africa -- people from sub-Saharan Africa were known as Aethiopes ['Ethiopians'] from the Greek "aitho" and 'ops" effectively meaning "burnt face".) The three were Victor I (pope from around 189 CE to 198/199 CE), Miltiades (pope from 311 CE to 314 CE), and Gelasius I (pope from 492 CE to 496 CE).

Principal Sources:
• 'Liber Pontificalis (Late 6th century A.D.)', Retrieved 10 February 2013, from http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/liberpontificalis1.html
The Book of the Popes: Liber Pontificalis trans. by Louise Ropes Loomis, Columbia University Press, 1916.

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