1. a sect of heretics in Northern Africa in the second and third centuries. They pretended to the primitive innocence which Adam had before the fall; and, in imitation of his original condition, they appeared naked in their religious assemblies, which they called Paradises. The author of this abominable heresy was a certain Prodicus, a disciple of Carpocrates (August. De Haeres. 31).
2. A similar heresy, under the same name, appeared in Bohemia in the fifteenth century. (See Picard, Ceremonies Religieuses, fig. 215.) Their founder was a Frenchman, John Picard, after whom they were also called Picardists. From France they spread over a large portion of Germany, especially over Bohemia and Moravia. Their chief seat was a fort on an island of the river Lusinicz, from whence they frequently set out for plundering and murdering. Ziska suppressed them in 1421. For a long time they seemed to be extinct, but in 1781, when Joseph II issued his patent of toleration, the Adamites came again forward and claimed toleration of their principles and meetings. But when they made known the character of both, the government speedily suppressed them. Also this time their extinction was only apparent, and in 1849, after the publication of the edict of toleration, they again showed themselves in public, especially in the district of Chrudim, Bohemia. In five villages they were very numerous, and in one, Stradau, they even succeeded in making many converts. All their members belong to the Czechic (Slavonian) nationality, and are mostly mechanics or peasants. They deny the existence of a personal God, but assume a Supreme Power (Moc) which has created the world, which henceforth exists through itself. Every Adamite claims a spirit who cleanses him from sins. They reject sacraments and worship, but expect a savior (Marokan) from whose appearance they hope the realization of their communistic ideas. Their meetings and the public confession of their principles have been again suppressed by the government, but they are known still to exist in secret. (See Beausobre, Sur les Adamites en Boheme, in L'Enfant, Hist. Huss. 1, 304 sq.; Pertz, Script. rer. Austriae, sect. 14.) — Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 2, pt. 2, ch. 5, § 18; Lardner, Works, 8, 425; Wetzer and Welte, 12, 11 sq.