Their churches were restored and their bishops reinstated (Parmenianus succeeding the deceased Donatus at Carthage), with the natural result of greatly increasing both the numbers and the enthusiasm of the party.
A single mention of his poem, the De rerum natura (which from the condition in which it has reached us may be assumed to have been published posthumously) in a letter of Cicero's to his brother Quintus, written early in S4 B.C., confirms the date given by Donatus as that of the poet's death.
Besides the Institutions Lactantius wrote several treatises: (I) De Ira Dei, addressed to one Donatus and directed against the Epicurean philosophy.
The number of referees was afterwards increased to twenty, and the case was tried at Rome in 313.2 Ten bishops appeared on each side, the leading representative of the Donatists being Donatus of Casae Nigrae.
Many of their bishops fell victims to the persecution, and Donatus (Magnus) and several others were banished from their sees.
The decision was entirely in favour of Caecilian, and Donatus was found guilty of various ecclesiastical offences, An appeal was taken and allowed; but the decision of the synod of Arles in 314 not only confirmed the position of Caecilian, but greatly strengthened it by passing a canon that ordination was not 1 There were three prominent men named Donatus connected with the movement - Donatus of Casae Nigrae; Donatus surnamed Magnus, who succeeded Majorinus as the Donatist bishop of Carthage; and Donatus of Bagoi, a leader of the circumcelliones, who was captured and executed c. 350.
The toleration edicts of Galerius and of Constantine and Licinius were published during his pontificate, which was also marked by the holding of the Lateran synod in Rome (313) at which Caecilianus, bishop of Carthage, was acquitted of the charges brought against him and Donatus condemned.
He was the author of editions of several classical authors, of which the most important were: the complete works of Cicero (2nd ed., 1869-1874); Clement of Alexandria (1831-1834); Euripides (1841-1867), in continuation of Pfiugk's edition, but unfinished; Terence (1838-1840), with the commentaries of Donatus and Eugraphius.
We have also a valuable commentary (newly edited by P. Wessner) on five of the plays, derived chiefly from Euanthius and Donatus (both of the 4th century), and another of less importance by one Eugraphius.