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The movement shows how the apocalyptic expectations of part of the rural population of N Africa in the 4th c. found their outlet in the martyr ideal of the Donatist church. The leaders of the latter at first rejected the circumcellions Opt., III, 4 but later accepted them and even led them. Schismatic religion was thus associated with radical social reform. While the memory of the circumcellions persisted see Isid., loc. cit., there is no evidence for the recrudescence of their activity in Africa in Vandal or Byzantine times.

The ancient sources are listed by F. Martroye, Circumcellions: DACL 3, 1692-1710. For inscriptions, see ibid., as well as: L. Leschi, A propos des pitaphes chrtiennes du Djebel Nif en Nisr: Rev. Africaine 83 1940 35-40; C. Saumagne, Ouvriers agricoles ou r´deurs de celliers? Les Circoncellions d’Afrique: Annales d’hist. con. et sociale 6 1934 351-364; A. Berthier et al., Les vestiges du christianisme antique dans la Numidie centrale, Algiers 1942; J.P. Brisson, Autonomisme et christianisme dans l’Afrique romaine de Sptime Sv¨re   l’invasion vandale, Paris 1958, ch. 4; H.J. Diesner, Kirche und Staat in sp¤trmischen Reich, Berlin 1963 with particular essays on the sociolegal situation of the circumcellions; E. Tengstrm, Donatisten und Katholiken, Gteborg 1964, ch. 1; S. Calderone, Circumcelliones: PP 22 1967 94-109; W.H.C. Frend, Circumcellions and Monks: JTS n.s. 20 1969 542-549; Id., The Donatist Church, Oxford 2 1971, 171-174; G. Gottlieb, Die Circumcellionen.

Bemerkungen zum donatistischen Streit: Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum 10 1978 1-15; A. Schindler, Kritische Bemerkungen zur Quellenbewertung in der Circumcellionenforschung: SP 15 1984 238- 241; A. Gotoh, Circumcelliones: The Ideology Behind Their Activities, in Forms of Control and Subordination in Antiquity: Proceedings of the International Symposium for Studies on Ancient Worlds, Tokyo January 1986, Leiden 1988, 303-311.

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