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PerpetuaAthlete of God$
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Barbara K. Gold

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385458

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195385458.001.0001

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The Conditions of Martyrdom in the High Roman Empire

The Conditions of Martyrdom in the High Roman Empire

(p.121) 7 The Conditions of Martyrdom in the High Roman Empire

Barbara K. Gold

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the conditions of martyrdom in the Roman empire; the distinctions between pagan and Christian martyrs; how frequent persecutions and martyrdoms really were; what the word “martyr” meant and how it evolved; the act of voluntary death, chosen death, or suicide; and the Christian as sufferer. It also discusses the earliest groups of Christian martyrs before Perpetua’s time (the martyrs of Lyons and Vienne and the Scillitan martyrs). It explores the kinds of punishment visited upon the martyrs and the physical, social, and conditions in the arena where power and spectacle were on display.

Keywords:   Perpetua, martyrdom, martyr, voluntary death, Tertullian, Christian suffering, Scillitan martyrs, martyrs of Lyons, Blandina, arena

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