Ante Nicene Fathers Timeline

Tertullian of Carthage

Tertullian of Carthage

Tertullian, or Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus to quote his real name, was born in Carthage, modern day Tunisia, in Circa 160AD and died in 220AD. From what is known of him we can assume he was highly educated and would have been from an educated class which we can deduce from his Latin writings. He was a Roman citizen and by all accounts, enjoyed the Roman games which included Christians being torn to pieces by wild animals in the theatres.

On one such occasion he was struck by the extreme cruelty handed out to those Christians, who in the face of such a horrible death, refused to denounce their faith in God and Jesus Christ. Later he sought the leaders of the Christian church in Carthage in an attempt to understand how anyone could face such fate without question and without fear. He was so impressed by what he learned that he became a Christian himself and devoted his talents as a scholar to writing in the defence of the Christians enduring the cruel Roman Rule.

His writings were mostly in Latin, as opposed to all former Christian writers who wrote in Greek. In fact, he was the first of the Church Fathers to write in Latin, although he was fluent in Greek. He wrote a considerable amount of material, some of which was sarcastic, some funny but always dazzlingly brilliant and always keeping his audience riveted. Some of the material attributed to him is doubtful and some has been lost over time but the material that survives that is definitely attributed to him is very valuable to Christians today.

From Rome Tertullian returned to Carthage and served as a church elder and devoted the rest of his life to the ministry of Christ. He wrote apologetic papers to the Romans and also a number of writings in defence of Christianity against the heretics and also exhortations for the Church itself.


Early Church Fathers

Clement of Rome Ignatius of Antioch Polycarp of Smyrna
Clement of Alexandria Tertullian of Carthage Cyprian of Carthage
Irenaeus of Lyons Origen of Alexandria Athanasius of Alexandria

The Council of Nicaea AD 325