Annotated Bibliography
Primary Sources:
Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, XXX
Livy wrote a history of the Rome from its founding through the reign of Augustus. From
Book XVI- Book XXX, Livy gives an account of complicated conflict between Rome and
Carthage and the Punic Wars.
Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis. The acts of the Christian martyrs; introduction, texts and
translations by Herbert Musurillo ( Oxford early Christian texts). Oxford, Clarendon Press,
The orignal account presented first in Latin and then with a translation of the martyrdom
of Perpetua and Felicitas. A fluid translation provided by the same Herbert Musurillo can
also be found at the following link.
Appian, Punic Wars, VII- XX
A Roman historian of Greek decent, lived c. 95 CE- 165 CE and gives accounts for Roman
wars and conflicts (including the Civil Wars) from the conquest of Central Italy through
Tranjans eastern campaigns. In Books VII- XX he describes the Punic Wars with Carthage
including the accounts of both Sophonisba and Hasdrubal’s wife.
Secondary Sources for Teachers
Charles-Picard, G., & Charles-Picard, C. (1961). Daily life in carthage at the time of Hannibal.
New York: Macmillan.
Based on archaeological finds up to the time of publication, 1961, and literary sources
Charles-Picard presents a picture of Carthaginian daily life during the time of Hannibal,
though he admits that much more is unknown than known. This work helped to provide
an understanding of the Carthaginian tradition from which Perpetua, and more
importantly, the author of the Passio Perpetuae, descended and in what ways an
understanding of Carthaginian tradition and culture might affect a reading of the Passio.
Desmond, M. (1994). Reading Dido : Gender, Textuality, and the Medieval Aeneid.
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
This book examines the different versions of the Dido myth and their appearance in
ancient texts. Desmond shed some light on the Carthaginian interpretation of Dido and
her role in the Carthaginian tradition as a founder, a queen, and heroine of Carthage.
This would be an excellent resource for teachers or scholars interested in gaining a
deeper understanding of the literary history and tradition of Dido beyond the account
provided by Vergil in the Aeneid.
Farina, W. (2009). Perpetua of Carthage : Portrait of a Third-century Martyr. Jefferson, N.C.:
Farina tackles a wide range of issues concerning the Passio Perpetuae. the introduction,
Farina admits to a Christian bias, which is obvious throughout the entire work, and
therefore would be interesting to someone looking for a Christian interpretation
supported by literary, historical, and archaeological evidence. Due to the condensed and
comprehensive nature of this work, it is highly recommended that the reader have a prior
knowledge of the history of Carthage and the Catholic Church.
Heffernan, T. J. (1988). Sacred biography : Saints and their biographers in the middle ages.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Heffernan’s book examines the biographies of several saints and the influence of these
manuscripts on such important Christian figures as Augustine and Aquinas. One of the
most important for Heffernan is the of the Passion of the Saints Perpetua and Felicitas
and its seemingly autobiographical nature. This would be a great resource to teachers
interested in the lives of early Christian saints.
Secondary Sources for Students
Kitzler, Pater- Passio Perpetuae and Acta Perpetuae: Between Tradition and Innovtion. Listy
filologicke CXXX, 2007, 1-2, pp. 1-19.
This article is divided into two distinct parts with two different sub titles. In the first half
of his article, titled a Passio Perpetuae: a Re-examination, Kitzer provides a more general
yet thoroughly researched analysis of the Passio Perpetuae and presents scholarship on
its main issues. In the second half of the article, titled Passio et Acta: Interpretting the
Text, Kitzer dives into a comparision of the Passio Perpetuae and the later, shortened
version of the account commonly called the Acta Perpetuae, and attempts to explain the
appearance of the latter. While the second half of this article is rather specific and
complicated in nature, the first half of the article offers a valuable introduction to the
story and history of Perpetua and could be a great jumping-off point for classroom
discussions in an upper level course.
Raven, S. (1993). Rome in Africa (3rd ed.). London ; New York: Routledge.
Raven chronicles the history of the North African inhabitants from the indigenous
Berbers, c 1,000 BCE, through the Byzantine recapture of Carthage from the Vandals in
697 C.E. Raven covers nearly 1,700 years which she divides up into small and
manageable sections. Many of her desciptions, including the Punic Wars, the Numidian
Invasion, the Account of Perpetua, et al., could provide excellent introductory background
information for students.
Web Resources
Dysinger, Luke. “Christian Martyrdom: Sharing in the Passion and Ministry of Christ. Saint
John’s Seminary, 1990. Web 1 July. 2010.
This website provides side by side Latin and English translation as well as a visual
timeline of other important church figures mapped against the reigns of the emperors
(from Septimius Severus to Constantine). It also presents the text in smaller and more
manageable chunks of text and provides links to each of the sections. Because of its
straightforward layout and its helpful visual components, I would recommend this as a
possible resource in the classroom to discuss or even translate sections of the Perpetuae.
This website has several facets: a link to Tertullian, Augustine, Donatism, et al., with
simple descriptions and explanations. It also contains a link to the website author’s
colloquial translation of the Passio. Although a little jarring in its casual vocabulary in an
attempt to be contemporary, the translation still maintains the exact meaning, structure,
and message of the original document.
This website has a plethera of information on St Perpetua, including a translation of the
passio and links to several articles and other various secondary resources on the topic of
the Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis.