FULGENTIUS OF RUSPE: Bishop of Ruspe in the province of Byzacena, North Africa; b. at Telepte, North Africa, 468; d. at Ruspe Jan. 1, 533. He was born of a senatorial family, and on account of his good education and practical ability obtained at an early age the office of fiscal procurator, but, under the influence of Augustine's writings, he soon entered a cloister and subjected himself to the strictest asceticism. The persecutions of catholics under the Vandal King Thrasamund drove him from his home to Sicily and Rome about 500. On his return he became abbot of a small island cloister on the African coast, and in 508 (or 507) bishop of Ruspe. Scarcely had he entered upon his office when with other catholics he was banished from North Africa. With many of his fellow exiles, including his biographer, Fulgentius Ferrandus (q.v.), he settled at Cagliari, Sardinia, where he developed great practical and literary activity and became the recognized leader of the exiles in their efforts to effect their return to Africa. In 515 Thrasamund summoned him to a disputation that he had arranged between catholics and Arians, but Fulgentius, persisting in his conviction, had to return into exile. He was likewise drawn into the disputes of the Eastern Church by request of the so called Scythian monks (see SEMI-PELAGIANISM THEOPASCHITES). On the death of Thrasamund in 523 he returned to Ruspe and resumed the administration of his diocese, which he resigned a year before his death.


Fulgentius was one of the most influential champions of orthodoxy against Arianism and Semi-Pelagianism, to which he opposed the Augustinian doctrine, though avoiding, as far as possible, its subtleties and austerities. Of his numerous writings the most important are: Contra Arianos; Ad Thrasamundum regem Vandalorum libri iii; De remission peccatorum ad Euthymium libri ii; Ad Monimum libri iii; De veritate prœdestinationis et gratiœ dei ad Johannem et Venerium libri iii; De fide sive de regula verœ fidei ad Petrum, his best-known and most valuable writing; and Liber de incarnation et gratia domini nostri Jesu Christi, addressed to the Scythian monks, and also designated as Epist. (xvii.) ad Petrum diaconum. The best edition of the works of Fulgentius is that of L. Mangeant (Paris, 1684; reprinted in MPL, lxv. 105-1018).