Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 664
Presbyter Rufinus from Aquileia (Italy) writes and translates many ecclesiastical works from Greek to Latin, AD 345-411. Account in the "Lives of Illustrious Men" by Gennadius of Marseille, writing in Marseille (Gaul), ca AD 490.
RUFINUS, Aquileiensis ecclesiae presbyter, non minima pars doctorum ecclesiae, et in transferendo de Graeco in Latinum elegans ingenium habuit; denique maximam partem Graecorum bibliothecae Latinis exhibuit, Basilii scilicet Caesariensis Cappadociae episcopi, Gregorii Nazianzeni, eloquentissimi hominis, Clementis Romani Recognitionum libros, Eusebii Caesariensis Palaestinae Ecclesiasticam historiam, Sixti Sententias, Euagrii Sententias, Pamphili martyris Adversum mathematicos.
Horum omnium quaecumque praemissis prologis a Latinis leguntur, a Rufino interpretata sunt; quae autem sine prologo, ab alio translata sunt, qui prologum facere noluit; Origenis autem non omnia, quia et Hieronymus transfudit aliquanta quae suo prologo discernuntur. Proprio autem labore, immo gratiae Dei dono exposuit idem Rufinus Symbolum, ut in eius conparatione alii nec exposuisse credantur.
Disseruit et Benedictionem Iacob super patriarchas triplici, id est, historico, morali et mystico sensu. Scripsit et epistulas ad timorem Dei hortatorias multas, inter quas praeminent illae quas Ad Probam dedit. Historiae etiam ecclesiasticae, quam ab Eusebio conscriptam et ab isto diximus interpretatam, addidit decimum et undecimum libros. Sed et obtrectatori opusculorum suorum respondit duobus voluminibus, arguens et convincens se Dei intuitu et ecclesiae utilitate auxiliante Domino ingenium agitavisse, illum vero aemulationis stimulo incitatum ad obloquium stilum vertisse.
(ed. E. Cushing Richardson 1896)
Rufinus, presbyter of the church at Aquileia, was not the least among the doctors of the church and had a fine talent for elegant translation from Greek into Latin. In this way he opened to the Latins the greater part of the Greek literature, translating the works of Basil of Cæsarea in Cappadocia, Gregory of Nazianzus, that most eloquent man, the Recognitions of Clement of Rome, the Church history of Eusebius of Cæsarea in Palestine, the Sentences of Xystus, the Sentences of Evagrius and the work of Pamphilus Martyr Against the mathematicians.
Among all those read by the Latins, these which have prefatory matter, have been translated by Rufinus, but those which are without a prologue have been translated by someone else who did not choose to write a prologue. Not all of Origen, moreover, is his work, for also Jerome translated some which are identified by his prologue. On his own account, the same Rufinus, ever through the grace of God published the Creed so excellent that other creeds are regarded as of no account in comparison.
He also wrote in a threefold sense, that is, the historical, moral, and mystical sense, on Jacob's blessing on the patriarchs. He wrote also many letters exhorting to fear of God, among which those which he addressed to Proba are preeminent. He added also a tenth and eleventh book to the ecclesiastical history which we have said was written by Eusebius and translated by him. Moreover, he responded to a detractor of his works, in two volumes, arguing and proving that he exercised his talent with the aid of the Lord and in the sight of God, for the good of the church, while he, on the other hand, incited by jealousy had taken to polemics.
(trans. by E. Cushing Richardson, changed by J. Szafranowski)

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Aquileia

About the source:

Author: Gennadius of Marseille
Title: De viris illustribus, Lives of Illustrious Men, De viris inlustribus, On the lives of famous men On the Lives of Famous Men
Origin: Marseille (Gaul)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The "Lives of Illustrious Men" by Gennadius of Marseille is the continuation of Jerome`s work bearing the same title. It contains 99 additional additional entries on different famous ecclesiestatics. It was written in the end of 5th century. At one point Gennadius writes that the death of presbyter and monk Theodore (Theodulus) of Coelesyria  occured `three years ago, in the reign of Zeno` (died AD 491). Gennadius also knows that pope Gelasius died (AD 496) and Julianus Pomerius is considered alive (d. AD 498). Therefore, Gennadius composed majority of his work most probably in the first half of the 490s.
E. Cushing Richardson ed., Hieronymus liber De viris inlustribus; Gennadius liber De viris inlustribus, Leipzig 1896, 57-97.


Languages used - Greek
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Writing activity
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: J. Szafranowski, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER664,