When, therefore, we remember that Aurelius knew little of the Christians, that the only mention of them in the Meditations is a contemptuous reference to certain fanatics of their number whom even Clement of Alexandria compares for their thirst for martyrdom to the Indian gymnosophists, and finally that the least worthy of them were doubtless the most prominent, we cannot doubt that Aurelius was acting unquestionably in the best interests of a perfectly intelligible ideal.
But this severity cemented the alliance of religious fanatics with the physical-force party and induced the ordinary citizens to join them, in spite of the punishments which they received when captured.
Fanatics sought death by insulting the magistrates or by breaking idols, and in their enthusiasm for martyrdom became self-centred and forgetful of their normal duty.
In contrast to the fanatics, after a brief hesitation they threw millennarianism overboard, and along with it all other "opiniones Judaicae."
Kindred to this latter view was the position of sundry sects of English fanatics during the Commonwealth, who denied that an elect person sinned, even when committing acts in themselves gross and evil.
How would you define fanatics? Add your definition here.