Individuals who went through cities and villages to disseminate the doctrine of Donatus
Agonistici (Gr., agon=struggle), one of the names given by the Donatists to those of their followers who went through cities and villages to disseminate the doctrine of Donatus. They first appeared about 317 (Tillemont, Mem., VI, 96), and claimed that they were champions of Christ, fighting with the sword of Israel. Their war-cry was Laudes Deo (Praises to God). They committed many barbarous acts and deeds of violence. Whether they called themselves “fighters” (Agonistic) because they fought the battles of the Lord, or because they were forced to fight those who sought to protect their property against their invasions, is not clear. The Catholics styled the Agonistici, “Circumcellions,” i.e. circum cellas euntes, because they roved about among the peasants, living on those they sought to indoctrinate.
JOHN J. A’ BECKET.