The Martyrdom of Saints
(c. 203)

  Perpetua, Ravenna (modif.)

Passio Sanctarum Martyrum Perpetuae Et Felicitatis. PL 3 0013c-0058a (Acta sinc. Martyr. D. Ruinart, p. 77 sqq. Acta SS. Boll. Mart. III, 633. Galland. Bibl. Vett. PP. t. II, p. XXIII-174). (C,G,S)

CONTENTS: PERPETUA'S  BACKGROUND;   PERPETUA'S VISIONS 1) The Ladder (and Eucharist);    2) Intercession for the Dead;    3) Battle With the Devil;  SATURUS'  VISION of Ascent into Heaven;    Martyr's Curse;    Perpetua's End






[Col. 0013]  Passio Sanctarum Martyrum Perpetuae Et Felicitatis.













IF ancient illustrations of faith which both testify to God’s grace and tend to man’s edification are collected in writing, so that by the perusal of them, as if by the reproduction of the facts, as well God may be honoured, as man may be strengthened; why should not new instances be also collected, that shall be equally suitable for both purposes,—if only on the ground that these modern examples will one day become ancient and available for posterity, although in their present time they are esteemed of less authority, by reason of the presumed veneration for antiquity?

[Col. 0013C] Si vetera fidei exempla, et Dei gratiam testificantia [Col. 0014C] et aedificationem hominis operantia, propterea in litteris [Col. 0015A] sunt digesta, ut lectione eorum, quasi repensitatione rerum, et Deus honoretur et homo confortetur; cur non et nova documenta aeque utrique causae convenientia et digerantur? vel quia et haec vetera futura quandoque sunt et necessaria posteris, si in praesenti suo tempore minori deputantur auctoritati propter praesumptam venerationem antiquitatis. 

        But let men look to it, if they judge the power of the Holy Spirit to be one, according to the times and seasons; since some things of later date must be esteemed of more account as being nearer to the very last times, in accordance with the exuberance of grace manifested to the final periods determined for the world. For “in the last days,” says the Lord, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy. And upon my servants and my handmaidens will I pour out of my Spirit; and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Joel, II, 18, 19; Act., II, 17, 18)

Sed viderint qui unam virtutem Spiritus unius sancti, pro aetatibus judicent temporum, quum majora reputanda sint novitiora quaeque ut novissimiora, secundum exuberationem gratiae in ultima saeculi spatia decreta. In novissimis enim diebus, dicit Dominus, effundam de Spiritu meo super omnem carnem; et prophetabunt filii filiaeque eorum. Et super servos et ancillas meas de meo Spiritu effundam: et juvenes visiones [Col. 0015B] videbunt, et senes somnia somniabunt (Joel, II, 18, 19; Act., II, 17, 18)

        And thus we—who both acknowledge and reverence, even as we do the prophecies, modern visions as equally promised to us, and consider the other powers of the Holy Spirit as an agency of the Church for which also He was sent, administering all gifts in all, even as the Lord distributed to every one as well needfully collect them in writing, as commemorate them in reading to God’s glory; that so no weakness or despondency of faith may suppose that the divine grace abode only among the ancients, whether in respect of the condescension that raised up martyrs, or that gave revelations;

Itaque et nos qui sicut prophetias, ita et visiones novas pariter repromissas et agnoscimus et honoramus, ceterasque virtutes Spiritus sancti ad instrumentum Ecclesiae deputamus, cui et missus est idem omnia donativa administrans in omnibus, prout unicuique distribuit Dominus, [Col. 0016A] necessario et digerimus, et ad gloriam Dei lectione celebramus; ut ne qua aut imbecillitas aut desperatio fidei apud veteres tantum aestimet gratiam divinitatis conversatam, sive martyrum, sive in revelationum dignatione:

01 Perpetua's Background




(1) The crimeof being catechumens (conversions are illegal)

(2) The Diary of Perpetua, 22-year old matron [First-hand account of imprisonment and popular piety] 

(3) Parental and Familial Opposition

(4) Baptism in Prison










 Argument.—When the Saints Were Apprehended, St. Perpetua Successfully Resisted Her Father’s Pleading, Was Baptized with the Others, Was Thrust into a Filthy Dungeon. Anxious About Her Infant, by a Vision Granted to Her, She Understood that Her Martyrdom Would Take Place Very Shortly.     

INCIPIT PASSIO. CAPUT PRIMUM. [Col. 0016B] ARGUMENTUM.---Apprehensis sanctis, S. Perpetua patrem vincit, cum aliis baptizatur, detruditur in tetrum carcerem; sollicita de infante, ex visione sibi facta, scalae in coelum erectae, et ascensus S. Saturi et sui, et buccellae oblatae, intelligit martyrium propediem futurum.





1.1. THE young catechumens, Revocatus and his fellow-servant Felicitas, Saturninus and Secundulus, were apprehended.

I. Apprehensi sunt adolescentes catechumini, Revocatus [Col. 0017A] et Felicitas conserva ejus, Saturninus et Secundulus.

And among them also was Vivia Perpetua, respectably born, liberally educated, a married matron,

Inter quos et Vivia Perpetua, honeste nata, liberaliter instituta, matronaliter nupta,

having a father and mother and two brothers, one of whom, like herself, was a catechumen, and a son an infant at the breast.

habens patrem et matrem et fratres duos, alterum aeque catechuminum, et filium infantem ad ubera. 

She herself was about twenty-two years of age. From this point onward she shall herself narrate the whole course of her martyrdom, as she left it described by her own hand and with her own mind.

Erat autem ipsa annorum circiter viginti duorum. Haec ordinem totum martyrii sui jam hinc ipsa narrabit, sicut conscriptum manu sua et suo sensu reliquit.


1.2.[1]  “While” says she, “we were still with the persecutors, and my father, for the sake of his affection for me, was persisting in seeking to turn me away, and to cast me down from the faith,—Father, ‘said I, ‘do you see, let us say, this vessel lying here to be a little pitcher, or something else? ‘And he said, ‘I see it to be so’ And I replied to him, ‘Can it be called by any other name than what it is? ‘And he said, ‘No.’ ‘Neither can I call myself anything else than what I am, a Christian.’ Then my father, provoked at this saying, threw himself upon me, as if he would tear my eyes out.

[Col. 0018A] II. »Cum adhuc, inquit, cum persecutoribus essemus , et me pater avertere et dejicere pro sua affectione perseveraret: Pater, inquio, vides, verbi gratia, vas hoc jacens, urceolum, sive aliud?« Et »dixit: Video.« Et ego dixi ei: »Numquid alio nomine vocari potest quam quod est?« Et ait: »Non.« »Sic et ego aliud me dicere non possum, nisi quod sum Christiana.« Tunc pater motus in hoc verbo, misit [Col. 0019A] »se in me ut oculos mihi erueret:  



1.2.[2]  But he only distressed me, and went away overcome by the devil’s arguments. Then, in a few days after I had been without my father, I gave thanks to the Lord; and his absence became a source of consolation to me. In that same interval of a few days we were baptized, and to me the Spirit prescribed that in the water of baptism nothing else was to be sought for bodily endurance.

sed vexavit tantum, et profectus est victus cum argumentis diaboli, Tunc paucis diebus quod caruissem patre, Domino gratias egi, et refrigeravit absentia illius. [Col. 0020A] In ipso spatio paucorum dierum baptizati sumus; mihi autem Spiritus dictavit nihil aliud petendum in aqua , nisi sufferentiam carnis.

After a few days we are taken into the dungeon, and I was very much afraid, because I had never felt such darkness. Post paucos dies recipimur in carcerem, et expavi, quia [Col. 0021A] numquam experta eram tales tenebras.

1.2.[3]  O terrible day! O the fierce heat of the shock of the soldiery, because of the crowds! I was very unusually distressed by my anxiety for my infant. There were present there Tertius and Pomponius, the blessed deacons who ministered to us, and had arranged by means of a gratuity that we might be refreshed by being sent out for a few hours into a pleasanter part of the prison. Then going out of the dungeon, all attended to their own wants. I suckled my child, which was now enfeebled with hunger. In my anxiety for it, I addressed my mother and comforted my brother, and commended to their care my son. I was languishing because I had seen them languishing on my account.

O diem asperum! aestus validos turbarum beneficio concussurae militum: novissime macerabar sollicitudine [Col. 0022A] infantis. Ibi tunc Tertius et Pomponius, benedicti diacones, qui nobis ministrabant, constituerunt praemio ut, paucis horis emissi, in meliorem [Col. 0023A] locum carceris refrigeraremus. Tunc exeuntes de carcere universi sibi vacabant. Ego infantem lactabam jam inedia defectum. Sollicita pro eo adloquebar matrem, et confortabam fratrem, commendabam filium . Tabescebam ideo quod illos tabescere videram mei beneficio. 

1.2.[4]  Such solicitude I suffered for many days, and I obtained for my infant to remain in the dungeon with me; and forthwith I grew strong and was relieved from distress and anxiety about my infant; and the dungeon became to me as it were a palace, so that I preferred being there to being elsewhere. Tales sollicitudines multis diebus passa sum, et usurpavi ut mecum infans in carcere maneret; et statim [Col. 0024A] convalui, et relevata sum a labore et sollicitudine infantis: et factus est mihi carcer subito quasi praetorium, ut ibi mallem esse quam alibi .



02 Perpetua's First Vision     »cont.


Perpetua's First Vision:

(1) Difficult Ascent (2) She Bruises the Dragon's Head
3) Christ, the Shepherd: Eucharistic Banquet in Heaven

The Ladder



1.3.[1]   “Then my brother said to me, ‘My dear sister, you are already in a position of great dignity, and are such that you may ask for a vision, and that it may be made known to you whether this is to result in a passion or an escape.’ And I, who knew that I was privileged to converse with the Lord, whose kindnesses I had found to be so great, boldly promised him, and said, ‘To-morrow I will tell you.’ And I asked, and this was what was shown me.

»III. Tunc dixit mihi frater meus: Domina soror, jam in magna dignitate es; et tanta ut postules visionem, et ostendatur tibi an passio sit, an commeatus. Et ego, quae me sciebam fabulari cum [Col. 0025A] Domino, cujus beneficia tanta experta eram, fidenter repromisi ei dicens : »Crastina die tibi renuntiabo.« Et postulavi, et ostensum est mihi hoc: 

1.3.[2] I saw a golden ladder of marvellous height, reaching up even to heaven, and very narrow, so that persons could only ascend it one by one; and on the sides of the ladder was fixed every kind of iron weapon. There were there swords, lances, hooks, daggers; so that if any one went up carelessly, or not looking upwards, he would be torn to pieces and his flesh would cleave to the iron weapons. And under the ladder itself was crouching a dragon of wonderful size, who lay in wait for those who ascended, and frightened them from the ascent. And Saturus went up first, who had subsequently delivered himself up freely on our account, not having been present at the time that we were taken prisoners.

Video scalam auream mirae magnitudinis pertingentem usque ad coelum et angustam, per quam non nisi singuli ascendere possent: et in lateribus scalae omne genus ferramentorum infixum. Erant ibi gladii, lanceae, hami, machaerae; ut si quis negligenter, aut non sursum adtendens ascenderet, laniaretur et carnes ejus inhaererent [Col. 0026A] ferramentis. Et erat sub ipsa scala draco cubans mirae magnitudinis, qui ascendentibus insidias parabat , et exterrebat ne ascenderent.

[The ascent of the ladder of the virtues would play an important role in both the literature and art of later monastic spirituality: these icons illustrate the Spiritual Ladder of St. John Climacus]

1.3.[3] And he attained the top of the ladder, and turned towards me, and said to me, ‘Perpetua, I am waiting for you; but be careful that the dragon do not bite you.’ And I said, ‘In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me.’ And from under the ladder itself, as if in fear of me, he slowly lifted up his head; and as I trod upon the first step, I trod upon his head. And I went up, and I saw an immense extent of garden, and in the midst of the garden a white-haired man sitting in the dress of a shepherd, of a large stature, milking sheep; and standing around were many thousand white-robed ones. And he raised his head, and looked upon me, and said to me, ‘Thou art welcome, daughter.’

Ascendit autem Saturus prior, qui postea se propter nos ultro tradiderat, et tunc cum adducti sumus, praesens non fuerat: et pervenit in caput scalae, et convertit se ad me , et dixit mihi: »Perpetua, sustineo te. Sed vide ne te mordeat draco ille.« Et dixi ego: »Non me [Col. 0027A] nocebit in nomine Domini Jesu Christi.« Et de sub ipsa scala quasi timens me, lente elevavit caput: et cum primum gradum calcassem, calcavi illius caput. Et ascendi et vidi spatium horti immensum, et in medio horti sedentem hominem canum, [Col. 0028A] in habitu pastoris, grandem, oves mulgentem; et circumstantes candidati millia multa. Et levavit caput et adspexit me, et dixit mihi: »Bene venisti, tecnon.«.

The Eucharistic Banquet and the Good Shepherd are common themes in catacomb-paintings dating from roughly the time of Perpetua's martyrdom.


1.3.[4] And he called me, and from the cheese as he was milking he gave me as it were a little cake, and I received it with folded hands; and I ate it, and all who stood around said Amen. And at the sound of their voices I was awakened, still tasting a sweetness which I cannot describe. And I immediately related this to my brother, and we understood that it was to be a passion, and we ceased henceforth to have any hope in this world.

Et clamavit me, et de caseo quod mulgebat dedit mihi quasi buccellam, et ego accepi [Col. 0029A] junctis manibus, et manducavi: et universi circumstantes dixerunt, Amen. Et ad sonum vocis experrecta sum, commanducans adhuc dulcis nescio quid. Et retuli statim fratri meo, et intelleximus passionem esse futuram: et coepimus nullam jam spem in saeculo habere







Argument. Perpetua, When Besieged by Her Father, Comforts Him. When Led with Others to the Tribunal, She Avows Herself a Christian, and is Condemned with the Rest to the Wild Beasts. She Prays for Her Brother Dinocrates, Who Was Dead CAPUT II. ARGUMENTUM.---Perpetua, a patre oppugnata, confortat eum; cum aliis ad tribunal ducta, confitetur se christianam, damnatur cum reliquis ad bestias; orat pro fratre Dinocrate mortuo, quem in visione intelligit a purgatorii poenis affligi et liberari





2.1. “After a few days there prevailed a report that we should be heard. And then my father came to me from the city, worn out with anxiety. He came up to me, that he might cast me down, saying, ‘Have pity my daughter, on my grey hairs. Have pity on your father, if I am worthy to be called a father by you. If with these hands I have brought you up to this flower of your age, if I have preferred you to all your brothers, do not deliver me up to the scorn of men.

»I. Post paucos dies rumor cucurrit ut audiremur. Supervenit autem et de civitate pater meus, consumptus taedio, ascendit ad me ut me dejiceret, dicens: [Col. 0029B] »Miserere, filia, canis meis; miserere patri, [Col. 0030A] si dignus sum a te pater vocari. Si his te manibus ad hunc florem aetatis provexi; si te praeposui omnibus fratribus tuis, ne me dederis in dedecus hominum. 

Have regard to your brothers, have regard to your mother and your aunt, have regard to your son, who will not be able to live after you. Lay aside your courage, and do not bring us all to destruction; for none of us will speak in freedom if you should suffer anything.’ These things said my father in his affection, kissing my hands, and throwing himself at my feet; and with tears he called me not Daughter, but Lady. And I grieved over the grey hairs of my father, that he alone of all my family would not rejoice over my passion. And I comforted him, saying, ‘On that scaffold whatever God wills shall happen. For know that we are not placed in our own power, but in that of God.’ And he departed from me in sorrow.

Aspice ad fratres tuos, aspice ad matrem tuam et materteram, aspice ad filium tuum qui post te vivere non poterit. Depone animos, ne universos nos extermines. Nemo enim nostrum libere loquetur, si tu aliquid fueris passa.« Haec dicebat pater pro sua pietate basians mihi manus; et se ad pedes meos jactans, et lacrymis non filiam sed dominam me vocabat. Et ego dolebam canos patris mei, quod solus de passione mea gavisurus non esset de toto genere meo; et confortavi eum, dicens: »Hoc fiet in illa catasta quod Deus voluerit. Scito enim nos non in nostra potestate esse constitutos, sed in Dei.« Et recessit a [Col. 0030B] me contristatus.

2.2. “Another day, while we were at dinner, we were suddenly taken away to be heard, and we arrived at the town-hall. At once the rumour spread through the neighbourhood of the public place, and an immense number of people were gathered together. We mount the platform. The rest were interrogated, and confessed.

[Col. 0031A] »II. Alio die cum pranderemus, subito rapti sumus ut audiremur: et pervenimus ad forum. Rumor statim per vicinas fori partes cucurrit, et factus est populus immensus. Ascendimus in catasta . Interrogati caeteri confessi sunt. Ventum est et ad me, et apparuit pater illico cum filio meo, et extraxit me de gradu, et dixit supplicans: 

Then they came to me, and my father immediately appeared with my boy, and withdrew me from the step, and said in a supplicating tone, ‘Have pity on your babe.’ And Hilarianus the procurator, who had just received the power of life and death in the place of the proconsul Minucius Timinianus, who was deceased, said, ‘Spare the grey hairs of your father, spare the infancy of your boy, offer sacrifice for the well-being of the emperors.’ And I replied, ‘I will not do so.’ Hilarianus said, ‘Are you a Christian? ‘And I replied, ‘I am a Christian.’

»Miserere infanti .« Et Hilarianus procurator, qui tunc, loco proconsulis Minucii Timiniani defuncti, jus gladii acceperat: »Parce, inquit, [Col. 0032A] canis patris tui: parce infantiae pueri. Fac sacrum pro salute imperatorum.« Et ego respondi: »Non facio.« Hilarianus, »Christiana es?« »inquit. Et ego respondi: »Christiani sum.« 

And as my father stood there to cast me down from the faith, he was ordered by Hilarianus to be thrown down, and was beaten with rods. And my father’s misfortune grieved me as if I myself had been beaten, I so grieved for his wretched old age. The procurator then delivers judgment on all of us, and condemns us to the wild beasts, and we went down cheerfully to the dungeon. 

Et cum staret pater ad me dejiciendam, jussus est ab Hilariano dejici, et virga percussus est. Et doluit mihi casus patris mei, quasi ego fuissem percussa: sic dolui pro senecta ejus misera. Tunc nos universos pronuntiat, et damnat ad bestias: et hilares descendimus ad carcerem.

Then, because my child had been used to receive suck from me, and to stay with me in the prison, I send Pomponius the deacon to my father to ask for the infant, but my father would not give it him. And even as God willed it, the child no long desired the breast, nor did my breast cause me uneasiness, lest I should be tormented by care for my babe and by the pain of my breasts at once.

Tunc, quia [Col. 0033A] consueverat a me infans mammas accipere et mecum in carcere manere, statim mitto ad patrem Pomponium diaconum, postulans infantem: sed pater dare noluit: et quomodo Deus voluit, neque ille amplius mammas desideravit; neque mihi fervorem fecerunt, ne sollicitudine infantis et dolore mammarum macerarer.

03 Perpetua's Second Vision   »cont.


Perpetua's Second Vision: The martyr's powers of 
Intercession for the Dead




2.3. “After a few days, whilst we were all praying, on a sudden, in the middle of our prayer, there came to me a word, and I named Dinocrates; and I was amazed that that name had never come into my mind until then, and I was grieved as I remembered his misfortune. And I felt myself immediately to be worthy, and to be called on to ask on his behalf. And for him I began earnestly to make supplication, and to cry with groaning to the Lord. Without delay, on that very night, this was shown to me in a vision.

»III. Post dies paucos, dum universi oramus, subito media oratione profecta est mihi vox, et nominavi Dinocratem: et obstupui quod numquam mihi in mentem venisset nisi tunc, et dolui commemorata casus ejus. Et cognovi me statim [Col. 0034A] dignam esse, et pro eo petere debere. Et coepi pro ipso orationem facere multum, et ingemiscere ad Dominum. Continuo ipsa nocte ostensum est mihi hoc in oromate : 

I saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid colour, and the wound on his face which he had when he died. This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age who died miserably with disease—his face being so eaten out with cancer, that his death caused repugnance to all men. For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other. And moreover, in the same place where Dinocrates was, there was a pool full of water, having its brink higher than was the stature of the boy; and Dinocrates raised himself up as if to drink. And I was grieved that, although that pool held water, still, on account of the height to its brink, he could not drink. video Dinocratem exeuntem de loco tenebroso, ubi et complures erant , aestuantem et sitientem valde, sordido vultu et colore pallido, et vulnus in facie ejus quod cum moreretur habuit. Hic Dinocrates fuerat frater meus carnalis, annorum septem, qui per infirmitatem, facie cancerata , male obiit, ita ut mors ejus odio fuerit omnibus hominibus. [Col. 0035A] Pro hoc ego orationem feceram: et inter me et illum grande erat diadema , ita ut uterque ad invicem accedere non possemus. Erat deinde in ipso loco ubi Dinocrates erat, piscina plena aqua, altiorem marginem habens quam erat statura pueri, et extendebat se Dinocrates quasi bibiturus. Ego dolebam quod et piscina illa [Col. 0036A] aquam habebat, et tamen propter altitudinem marginis bibiturus non esset.

And I was aroused, and knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then was the birth-day of Geta Caesar, and I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me.

Et experrecta sum, et cognovi fratrem meum laborare. Sed confidebam profuturam orationem meam labori ejus, et orabam pro eo omnibus diebus quousque transivimus in carcerem castrensem; munere enim castrensi eramus pugnaturi. Natale tunc Getae Caesaris: [Col. 0037A] et feci pro illo orationem die et nocte gemens et lacrymans ut mihi donaretur.



(1) baptism and (2) Prayer

themes from the catacombs and early 

for the dead :

Christian sarcophagi.



2.4. “Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me. I saw that that place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. And where there had been a wound, I saw a scar; and that pool which I had before seen, I saw now with its margin lowered even to the boy’s navel. And one drew water from the pool incessantly, and upon its brink was a goblet filled with water; and Dinocrates drew near and began to drink from it, and the goblet did not fail. And when he was satisfied, he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment.

»IV. Die autem quo in nervo mansimus, ostensum est mihi hoc: Video locum illum quem retro videram tenebrosum, esse lucidum; et Dinocratem mundo corpore, bene vestitum, refrigerantem. Et ubi erat vulnus, video cicatricem; et piscinam illam quam retro videram, summisso margine usque ad umbilicum pueri; et aquam de ea trahebat sine cessatione, et super margine phiala erat , plena aqua; et accessit Dinocrates, et de ea bibere coepit, quae phiala non deficiebat. Et satiatus abscessit de [Col. 0038A] aqua ludere more infantium gaudens: et experrecta sum. Tunc intellexi translatum eum esse de poena.

04 Perpetua's Third Vision »cont.


Perpetua's Third Vision: Battle With 

the Devil









        Argument. Perpetua is Again Tempted by Her Father. Her Third Vision, Wherein She is Led Away to Struggle Against an Egyptian. She Fights, Conquers, and Receives the Reward.

CAPUT III. ARGUMENTUM.---Perpetua a patre iterum tentatur; visio ejus tertia, in qua abducitur ad luctam contra Aegyptium, proposito praemio; pugnat, vincit et praemium accipit.





3.1. “Again, after a few days, Pudens, a soldier, an assistant overseer of the prison, who began to regard us in great esteem, perceiving that the great power of God was in us, admitted many brethren to see us, that both we and they might be mutually refreshed. And when the day of the exhibition drew near my father, worn with suffering, came in to me, and began to tear out his beard, and to throw himself on the earth, and to cast himself down on his face, and to reproach his years, and to utter such words as might move all creation. I grieved for his unhappy old age. 

»I. Deinde post dies paucos Pudens , miles optio, praepositus carceris, qui nos magni facere coepit intelligens magnam virtutem Dei esse in nobis, multos fratres ad nos admittebat, ut et nos et illi invicem refrigeraremus. Ut autem [Col. 0039A] proximavit dies muneris, intravit ad me pater meus consumptus taedio, et coepit barbam suam evellere, et se in terram mittere et prosternere se in faciem, et improperare annis suis, et dicere tanta verba quae moverent universam creaturam. Ego dolebam pro infelici senecta ejus.

3.2. “The day before that on which we were to fight, I saw in a vision that Pomponius the deacon came hither to the gate of the prison, and knocked vehemently. I went out to him, and opened the gate for him; and he was clothed in a richly ornamented white robe, and he had on manifold calliculae. And he said to me, ‘Perpetua, we are waiting for you; come!’ And he held his hand to me, and we began to go through rough and winding places. Scarcely at length had we arrived breathless at the amphitheatre, when he led me into the middle of the arena, and said to me, ‘Do not fear, I am here with you, and I am labouring with you; ‘and he departed.

»II. Pridie quam pugnaremus, video in oramate huc venisse Pomponium diaconum ad ostium carceris, et pulsare vehementer. Exivi ad eum, et aperui ei: qui erat vestitus distinctam candidam, habens multiplices calliculas . Et dixit mihi: Perpetua, te exspectamus, veni.« Et tenuit mihi manum, et coepimus ire per aspera loca et flexuosa. Vix tandem pervenimus anhelantes ad amphitheatrum, et induxit me in media arena, et dixit mihi: [Col. 0039B] Noli pavere, heic sum tecum, et collaboro tecum, [Col. 0040A] et abiit. 

And I gazed upon an immense assembly in astonishment. And because I knew that I was given to the wild beasts, I marvelled that the wild beasts were not let loose upon me. Then there came forth against me a certain Egyptian, horrible in appearance, with his backers, to fight with me. And there came to me, as my helpers and encouragers, handsome youths; and I was stripped, and became a man. Then my helpers began to rub me with oil, as is the custom for contest; and I beheld that Egyptian on the other hand rolling in the dust.

Et adspicio populum ingentem attonitum. Et, quia sciebam me ad bestias datam esse, mirabar quod non mitterentur mihi bestiae. Et exivit quidam contra me Aegyptius, foedus specie, cum adjutoribus suis pugnaturus mecum. Veniunt et ad me adolescentes decori adjutores et favitores mei, et exspoliata sum, et facta sum masculus. Et coeperunt me favitores mei oleo defrigere , quomodo solent in agonem, et illum contra Aegyptium video in afa voluntatem.

   And a certain man came forth, of wondrous height, so that he even over-topped the top of the amphitheatre; and he wore a loose tunic and a purple robe between two bands over the middle of the breast; and he had on calliculae of varied form, made of gold and silver; and he carried a rod, as if he were a trainer of gladiators, and a green branch upon which were apples of gold. And he called for silence, and said, ‘This Egyptian, if he should overcome this woman, shall kill her with the sword; and if she shall conquer him, she shall receive this branch.’ 

Et exivit vir quidam mirae magnitudinis, ut etiam excederet fastigium amphitheatri, discinctam habens tunicam et purpuram inter duos clavos per medium pectus, habens et calliculas multiformes ex auro et argento factas, et ferens virgam [Col. 0040B] quasi lanista, et ramum viridem in quo [Col. 0041A] erant mala aurea. Et petiit silentium, et dixit: Hic Aegyptius si hanc vicerit, occidet illam gladio; et si hunc vicerit, accipiet ramum istum. 

Then he departed. And we drew near to one another, and began to deal out blows. He sought to lay hold of my feet, while I struck at his face with my heels; and I was lifted up in the air, and began thus to thrust at him as if spurning the earth. But when I saw that there was some delay I joined my hands so as to twine my fingers with one another; and I took hold upon his head, and he fell on his face, and I trod upon his head. And the people began to shout, and my backers to exult. And I drew near to the trainer and took the branch; and he kissed me, and said to me, ‘Daughter, peace be with you: ‘and I began to go gloriously to the Sanavivarian gate.

Et recessit. Et accessimus ad invicem, et coepimus mittere pugnos. Ille mihi pedes apprehendere quaerebat : ego autem ille calcibus faciem caedebam, et sublata sum in aere, et coepi eum sic caedere quasi terram conculcans. At ubi vidi moram fieri, junxi manus, ita ut digitos in digitos mitterem. Et apprehendi illi caput, et cecidit in faciem; et calcavi illi caput. Et coepit populus clamare, et favitores mei psallere. Et accessi ad lanistam, et accepi ramum. Et osculatus est me, et dixit mihi: Filia, pax tecum. Et coepi ire cum gloria ad portam Sanavivariam.

     Then I awoke, and perceived that I was not to fight with beasts, but against the devil. Still I knew that the victory was awaiting me. This, so far, I have completed several days before the exhibition; but what passed at the exhibition itself let who will write.”

Et experrecta sum: et [Col. 0041B] intellexi me non ad bestias, sed contra diabolum esse pugnaturam; sed sciebam mihi victoriam imminere . Hoc usque in pridie muneris egi: ipsius autem muneris actum, si quis voluerit, scribat.«

 05 Saturus' Vision  »cont.


 Saturus. Vision: Ascent into










Argument. Saturus, in a Vision, and Perpetua Being Carried by Angels into the Great Light, Behold the Martyrs. Being Brought to the Throne of God, are Received with a Kiss. They Reconcile Optatus the Bishop and Aspasius the Presbyter.

CAPUT IV. [Col. 0042A] ARGUMENTUM.---S. Saturus, in visione sibi facta, et S. Perpetua ab Angelis in lucem magnam portati, vident martyres; ducti ad thronum Dei, osculo excipiuntur, Optatum episcopum et Aspasium presbyterum conciliant.

4.1. Moreover, also, the blessed Saturus related this his vision, which he himself committed to writing:—“We had suffered,” says he, “and we were gone forth from the flesh, and we were beginning to be borne by four angels into the east; and their hands touched us not. And we floated not supine, looking upwards, but as if ascending a gentle slope. And being set free, we at length saw the first boundless light; and I said, ‘Perpetua’ (for she was at my side), ‘this is what the Lord promised to us; we have received the promise.’ And while we are borne by those same four angels, there appears to us a vast space which was like a pleasure-garden, having rose-trees and every kind of flower. And the height of the trees was after the measure of a cypress, and their leaves were falling incessantly.

I. Sed et Saturus benedictus hanc visionem suam edidit, quam ipse conscripsit. »Passi, inquit, eramus, et exivimus de carne, et coepimus ferri a quatuor Angelis in orientem, quorum manus nos non tangebant. Ibamus autem non supini sursum versi, sed quasi mollem clivum ascendentes. Et liberati primam jam vidimus lucem immensam; et dixi: Perpetua (erat enim haec in latere meo), hoc est quod nobis Dominus promittebat: [Col. 0042B] percepimus promissionem. Et dum gestamur ab ipsis quatuor Angelis, factum est nobis spatium grande, quod tale fuit quasi viridarium arbores habens rosae , et omne genus floris. [Col. 0043A] Altitudo autem arborum erat in modum cypressi, quarum folia cadebant sine cessatione. 

        Moreover, there in the pleasure-garden four other angels appeared, brighter than the previous ones, who, when they saw us, gave us honour, and said to the rest of the angels, ‘Here they are! Here they are!’ with admiration. And those four angels who bore us, being greatly afraid, put us down; and we passed over on foot the space of a furlong in a broad path. There we found Jocundus and Saturninus and Artaxius, who having suffered the same persecution were burnt alive; and Quintus, who also himself a martyr had departed in the prison. And we asked of them where the rest were. And the angels said to us, ‘Come first, enter and greet your Lord.’

Ibi autem in viridario, alii quatuor Angeli fuerunt clariores caeteris, qui ubi viderunt nos, honorem nobis dederunt, et dixerunt caeteris Angelis: Ecce sunt, ecce sunt; cum admiratione. Et expavescentes quatuor illi Angeli qui gestabant nos, deposuerunt nos: et pedibus nostris transivimus stadium via lata . Ibi invenimus Jocundum et Saturninum et Artaxium qui, eamdem persecutionem passi, vivi arserunt; et Quintum, qui et ipse martyr in carcere exierat; et quaerebamus ab illis ubi essent caeteri. Dixerunt autem nobis Angeli: Venite prius, introite, et salutate Dominum.



the Good 



4.2. “And we came near to place, the walls of which were such as if they were built of light; and before the gate of that place stood four angels, who clothed those who entered with white robes. And being clothed, we entered and saw the boundless light, and heard the united voice of some who said without ceasing, ‘Holy! Holy! Holy!’ [43B] II. Et venimus prope locum, cujus loci parietes tales erant quasi de luce aedificati; et ante ostium loci illius quatuor Angeli stabant, qui introeuntes vestierunt stolas candidas. Et nos vestiti introivimus, et vidimus lucem immensam, et audivimus vocem unitam dicentium: Agios, agios, agios; sine cessatione.
And in the midst of that place we saw as it were an elderly man sitting, having snow-white hair, and with a youthful countenance, whose feet we did not see. Et vidimus in medio loci illius sedentem quasi hominem canum, niveos [Col. 0044A] habentem capillos et vultu juvenili, cujus pedes non vidimus.

And on his right hand and on his left were four-and-twenty elders, and behind them a great many others were standing.

 Et in dextra et in sinistra seniores viginti quatuor, et post illos caeteri complures stabant. 

We entered with great wonder, and stood before the throne; and the four angels raised us up, and we kissed Him, and He passed His hand over our face. And the rest of the elders said to us, ‘Let us stand; ‘and we stood and made peace. And the elders said to us, ‘Go and enjoy.’ And I said, ‘Perpetua, you have what you wish.’ And she said to me, ‘Thanks be to God, that joyous as I was in the flesh, I am now more joyous here.’

Introivimus cum magna admiratione, et stetimus ante thronum; et quatuor Angeli sublevaverunt nos, et osculati sumus illum, et de manu sua trajecit nobis in facie . Et caeteri seniores dixerunt nobis: Stemus. Et stetimus, et pacem fecimus. Et dixerunt nobis seniores: Ite, et ludite. Et dixi: Perpetua, habes quod vis. Et dixit mihi: Deo gratias, ut, quomodo in carne hilaris fui, hilarior sum et heic modo.

4.3. “And we went forth, and saw before the entrance Optatus the bishop at the right hand, and Aspasius the presbyter, a teacher, at the left hand, separate and sad; and they cast themselves at our feet, and said to us,  III. Et exivimus, et vidimus ante fores Optatum episcopum ad dexteram, et Aspasium presbyterum doctorem ad sinistram, separatos et [Col. 0044B] tristes, et miserunt se ad pedes nobis, et dixerunt nobis:

‘Restore peace [componite] between us, because you have gone forth and have left us thus.’ [compono: reconcile, bring together]

Componite inter nos quia existis, et sic nos reliquistis .

And we said to them, ‘Are you not our father, and you our presbyter, that you should cast yourselves at our feet? And we prostrated ourselves, and we embraced them; and Perpetua began to speak with them, and we drew them apart in the pleasure-garden under a rose-tree

Et diximus illis: Non tu es papa noster , et tu presbyter, ut vos ad pedes nostros mittatis? et misimus nos , et complexi illos sumus. Et coepit Perpetua cum illis loqui, et segregavimus eos in viridario sub arbore rosae. 

And while we were speaking with them, the angels said unto them, ‘Let them alone, that they may refresh themselves; and if you have any dissensions between you, forgive one another.’ Et dum loquimur cum eis, dixerunt [Col. 0045A] illis Angeli: Sinite illos, refrigerent ; et si quas habetis inter vos dissensiones, dimittite vobis invicem;
 And they drove them away. And they said to Optatus, ‘Rebuke your people, because they assemble to you as if returning from the circus, and contending about factious matters.’ et conturbaverunt eos. Et dixerunt Optato: Corrige plebem tuam; quia sic ad te conveniunt quasi de circo redeuntes, et de factionibus certantes.

And then it seemed to us as if they would shut the doors. And in that place we began to recognise many brethren, and moreover martyrs. We were all nourished with an indescribable odour, which satisfied us. Then, I joyously awoke.”

Et sic nobis visum est, quasi vellent claudere portas. Et coepimus illic multos fratres cognoscere , sed et martyres. Universi odore inenarrabili alebamur, qui nos satiabat. Tunc gaudens experrectus sum.« 







Argument. Secundulus Dies in the Prison. Felicitas is Pregnant, But with Many Prayers She Brings Forth in the Eighth Month Without Suffering, the Courage of Perpetua and of Saturus Unbroken. CAPUT V. ARGUMENTUM.---S. Secundulus in carcere moritur. S. Felicitas gravida, fusis precibus, octavo mense, [Col. 0046A] parit sine dolore. Invictus animus S. Perpetuae et S. Saturi. 

5.1. The above were the more eminent visions of the blessed martyrs Saturus and Perpetua themselves, which they themselves committed to writing. But God called Secundulus, while he has yet in the prison, by an earlier exit from the world, not without favour, so as to give a respite to the beasts. Nevertheless, even if his soul did not acknowledge cause for thankfulness, assuredly his flesh did.

I. Hae visiones insigniores ipsorum martyrum beatissimorum Saturi et Perpetuae, quas ipsi conscripserunt. Secundulum vero Deus maturiore exitu de saeculo, adhuc in carcere evocavit, non sine gratia, ut bestias lucraretur. Gaudium tamen etsi non anima, certe caro ejus agnovit.





5.2. But respecting Felicitas (for to her also the Lord’s favour approached in the same way), when she had already gone eight months with child (for she had been pregnant when she was apprehended), as the day of the exhibition was drawing near, she was in great grief lest on account of her pregnancy she should be delayed,—because pregnant women are not allowed to be publicly punished,—and lest she should shed her sacred and guiltless blood among some who had been wicked subsequently. Moreover, also, her fellow-martyrs were painfully saddened lest they should leave so excellent a friend, and as it were companion, alone in the path of the same hope.

II. Circa Felicitatem vero (nam et illi gratia Domini ejusmodi contigit), cum octo jam mensium suum ventrem haberet (nam praegnans fuerat apprehensa), instante spectaculi die, in magno erat luctu , ne propter ventrem differretur, quia non licet praegnantes poenae repraesentari: et ne inter aliquos postea sceleratos, sanctum et innocentem sanguinem [Col. 0047A] funderet. Sed et commartyres ejus graviter contristabantur, ne tam bonam sociam, quasi comitem, solam in via ejusdem spei relinquerent. 

     Therefore, joining together their united cry, they poured forth their prayer to the Lord three days before the exhibition. Immediately after their prayer her pains came upon her, and when, with the difficulty natural to an eight months’ delivery, in the labour of bringing forth she was sorrowing, some one of the servants of the Cataractarii said to her, “You who are in such suffering now, what will you do when you are thrown to the beasts, which you despised when you refused to sacrifice? “And she replied, “Now it is I that suffer what I suffer; but then there will be another in me, who will suffer for me, because I also am about to suffer for Him.” Thus she brought forth a little girl, which a certain sister brought up as her daughter.

Conjuncto itaque unito gemitu, ad Dominum orationem fuderunt ante tertium diem muneris. Statim post orationem dolores eam invaserunt. Et cum, pro naturali difficultate octavi mensis, in partu laborans doleret, ait illi quidam ex ministris Cataractariorum: Quae sic modo doles, quid facies objecta bestiis, quas contempsisti cum sacrificare noluisti? Et illa respondit: »Modo ego patior quod patior, illic autem alius erit in me qui patietur pro me, quia et ego pro illo passura sum.« Ita enixa est puellam, quam sibi quaedam soror in filiam educavit.





5.3. Since then the Holy Spirit permitted, and by permitting willed, that the proceedings of that exhibition should be committed to writing, although we are unworthy to complete the description of so great a glory; yet we obey as it were the command of the most blessed Perpetua, nay her sacred trust, and add one more testimony concerning her constancy and her loftiness of mind.

III. Quoniam ergo permisit, et permittendo voluit [Col. 0047B] Spiritus sanctus ordinem ipsius muneris conscribi, [Col. 0048A] etsi indigni ad supplementum tantae gloriae describendum; tamen, quasi mandatum sanctissimae Perpetuae, immo fidei commissum ejus exsequimur , unum adjicientes documentum de ipsius constantia et animi sublimitate. 

     While they were treated with more severity by the tribune, because, from the intimations of certain deceitful men, he feared lest they should be withdrawn from the prison by some sort of magic incantations, Perpetua answered to his face, and said, “Why do you not at least permit us to be refreshed, being as we are objectionable to the most noble Caesar, and having to fight on his birth-day? Or is it not your glory if we are brought forward fatter on that occasion? “The tribune shuddered and blushed, and commanded that they should be kept with more humanity, so that permission was given to their brethren and others to go in and be refreshed with them; even the keeper of the prison trusting them now himself.

Cum a tribuno castigatius eo tractarentur, quia ex admonitionibus hominum vanissimorum verebatur ne subtraherentur de carcere incantationibus aliquibus magicis; in faciem respondit Perpetua, et dixit: »Quid utique non permittis refrigerare noxiis nobilissimi Caesaris scilicet, et natali ejusdem pugnaturis? Aut non tua gloria est, si pinguiores illo producamur?« Horruit et erubuit tribunus; et ita jussit illos humanius haberi , ut fratribus ejus et caeteris facultas fieret introeundi et refrigerandi cum eis; jam et ipso [Col. 0048B] optione carceris credente. 

06 The Martyr's Curse


The Martyrs' Curse: Roman Society




5.4. Moreover, on the day before, when in that last meal, which they call the free meal, they were partaking as far as they could, not of a free supper, but of an agape; with the same firmness they were uttering such words as these to the people, denouncing against them the judgment of the Lord, bearing witness to the felicity of their passion, laughing at the curiosity of the people who came together; while Saturus said, “Tomorrow is not enough for you, for you to behold with pleasure that which you hate. Friends today, enemies to-morrow. Yet note our faces diligently, that you may recognise them on that day of judgment.” Thus all departed thence astonished, and from these things many believed.

[Col. 0049A] IV. Pridie quoque, cum illa coena ultima quam liberam vocant, quantum in ipsis erat, non coenam liberam, sed agapen coenarent ; eadem constantia ad populum verba ista jactabant, comminantes judicium Domini, contestantes passioni suae felicitatem, irridentes concurrentium curiositatem, dicente Saturo: »Crastinus dies satis vobis non est, quod libenter videtis, quod odistis. Hodie amici, cras inimici. Notate tamen nobis facies nostras diligenter, ut recognoscatis nos in die illo judicii.« Ita omnes inde attoniti discedebant: ex quibus multi crediderunt.








Argument. From the Prison They are Led Forth with Joy into the Amphitheatre, Especially Perpetua and Felicitas. All Refuse to Put on Profane Garments. They are Scourged, They are Thrown to the Wild Beasts. Saturus Twice is Unhurt. Perpetua and Felicitas are Thrown Down; They are Called Back to the Sanavivarian Gate. Saturus Wounded by a Leopard, Exhorts the Soldier. They Kiss One Another, and are Slain with the Sword.

CAPUT VI. ARGUMENTUM.---E carcere in amphitheatrum hilares educuntur, maxime Perpetua et Felicitas; omnes renuunt vestes profanas induere; flagellantur; anhelant  ad bestias, objiciuntur; Saturus bis illaesus; dejiciuntur SS. Perpetua et Felicitas; revocantur in portam Sanevivariam. S. Saturus, a leopardo laesus, militem adhortatur; se invicem osculantur; gladio occiduntur





The Office of Readings, March 7


6.1. The day of their victory shone forth, and they proceeded from the prison into the amphitheatre, as if to an assembly, joyous and of brilliant countenances; if perchance shrinking, it was with joy, and not with fear.

I. Illuxit dies victoriae illorum, et processerunt de carcere in amphitheatrum, quasi in coelum, hilares, vultu decori; si forte, gaudio paventes, non timore.

[Not in the Liturgy of the Hours]


Perpetua followed with placid look, and with step and gait as a matron of Christ, beloved of God; casting down the luster of her eyes from the gaze of all. Moreover, Felicitas, rejoicing that she had safely brought forth, so that she might fight with the wild beasts; from the blood and from the midwife to the gladiator, to wash after childbirth with a second baptism [in their own blood].

Sequebatur Perpetua placido vultu et pedum incessu, ut matrona Christi Dei dilecta : vigorem oculorum suorum dejiciens ab omnium conspectu. Item Felicitas salvam se peperisse gaudens, ut ad bestias pugnaret, a sanguine, ab obstetrice ad retiarium, lotura post partum baptismo secundo.

And when they were brought to the gate, and were constrained to put on the clothing—the men, that of the priests of Saturn, and the women, that of those who were consecrated to Ceres—that noble-minded woman resisted even to the end with constancy. For she said, “We have come thus far of our own accord, for this reason, that our liberty might not be restrained. For this reason we have yielded our minds, that we might not do any such thing as this: we have agreed on this with you.”

Et cum delati essent [Col. 0050B] in portam, et cogerentur habitum induere i viri quidem sacerdotum Saturni, feminae vero sacratarum [Col. 0051A] Cereri: generosa illa in finem usque constantia repugnavit. Dicebat enim: »Ideo ad hoc sponte pervenimus; ne libertas nostra obduceretur. Ideo animas nostras addiximus , ne tale aliquid faceremus: hoc vobiscum pacti sumus.« 

Injustice acknowledged the justice; the tribune yielded to their being brought as simply as they were. Perpetua sang psalms, already treading under foot the head of the Egyptian; Revocatus, and Saturninus, and Saturus uttered threatenings against the gazing people about this martyrdom. When they came within sight of Hilarianus, by gesture and nod, they began to say to Hilarianus, “Thou judgest us,” say they, “but God will judge thee.” At this the people, exasperated, demanded that they should be tormented with scourges as they passed along the rank of the venatores. And they indeed rejoiced that they should have incurred any one of their Lord’s passions.

Agnovit injustitia justitiam: concessit tribunus, ut quomodo erant, simpliciter inducerentur. Perpetua psallebat, caput jam Aegyptii calcans. Revocatus, et Saturninus, et Saturus populo spectanti comminabantur de hoc. Ut sub conspectu Hilariani pervenerunt, gestu et nutu coeperunt Hilariano dicere: »Tu nos, inquiunt, te autem Deus judicabit.« Ad [Col. 0052A] hoc populus exasperatus, flagellis eos vexari pro ordine venatorum postulavit. Et utique illi gratulati sunt, quod aliquid et de Dominicis passionibus essent consecuti.





6.2. But He who had said, “Ask, and ye shall receive,” gave to them when they asked, that death which each one had wished for. For when at any time they had been discoursing among themselves about their wish in respect of their martyrdom, Saturninus indeed had professed that he wished that he might be thrown to all the beasts; doubtless that he might wear a more glorious crown. Therefore in the beginning of the exhibition he and Revocatus made trial of the leopard, and moreover upon the scaffold they were harassed by the bear. Saturus, however, held nothing in greater abomination than a bear; but he imagined that he would be put an end to with one bite of a leopard. Therefore, when a wild boar was supplied, it was the huntsman rather who had supplied that boar who was gored by that same beast, and died the day after the shows. Saturus only was drawn out; and when he had been bound on the floor near to a bear, the bear would not come forth from his den. And so Saturus for the second time is recalled unhurt.

II. Sed qui dixerat: Petite et accipietis (Joan. XVI, 24), petentibus dedit eum exitum quem quisque desideraverat. Nam, si quando inter se de martyrii sui voto sermocinabantur, Saturninus quidem omnibus bestiis velle se objici profitebatur, ut scilicet gloriosiorem gestaret coronam. Itaque in commissione spectaculi, ipse et Revocatus leopardum experti, etiam super pulpitum ab urso vexati sunt. Saturus [Col. 0053A] autem nihil magis quam ursum abominabatur: sed uno morsu leopardi confici se jam praesumebat. Itaque, cum aper subministraretur, venator potius qui illum aprum subministraverat , subfossus ab eadem bestia, post dies muneris obiit. Saturus solummodo tractus est. Et cum ad ursum substrictus esset in ponte, ursus de cavea prodire noluit . Itaque secundo Saturus illaesus revocatur.





6.3. Moreover, for the young women the devil prepared a very fierce cow, provided especially for that purpose contrary to custom, rivalling their sex also in that of the beasts. And so, stripped and clothed with nets, they were led forth. The populace shuddered as they saw one young woman of delicate frame, and another with breasts still dropping from her recent childbirth. So, being recalled, they are unbound.

III. Puellis autem ferocissimam vaccam, ideoque praeter consuetudinem comparatam , diabolus praeparavit: sexui earum etiam de bestia aemulatus. Itaque despoliatae et reticulis indutae producebantur. Horruit populus, alteram respiciens puellam [Col. 0054A] delicatam, alteram a partu recenti stillantibus mammis. Ita revocatae discinguntur. 

The Office of Readings, March 7


        Perpetua is first led in. She was tossed, and fell on her loins; and when she saw her tunic torn from her side, she drew it over her as a veil for her middle, rather mindful of her modesty than her suffering. Then she was called for again, and bound up her dishevelled hair; for it was not becoming for a martyr to suffer with dishevelled hair, lest she should appear to be mourning in her glory.

Inducitur prior Perpetua; jactata est, et concidit in lumbos: et ut conspexit tunicam a latere discissam, ad velamentum femorum adduxit, pudoris potius memor, quam doloris. Dehinc requisita, et dispersos capillos infibulavit: non enim decebat martyrem dispersis capillis pati, ne in sua gloria plangere videretur.

So she rose up; and when she saw Felicitas crushed, she approached and gave her her hand, and lifted her up. And both of them stood together; and the brutality of the populace being appeased, they were recalled to the Sanavivarian gate. Then Perpetua was received by a certain one who was still a catechumen, Rusticus by name, who kept close to her; and she, as if aroused from sleep, so deeply had she been in the Spirit and in an ecstasy, began to look round her, and to say to the amazement of all, “I cannot tell when we are to be led out to that cow.”

Ita surrexit; et elisam Felicitatem cum vidisset, accessit, et manum ei tradidit, et sublevavit illam. Et ambae pariter steterunt, et, populi duritia devicta, revocatae sunt in portam Sanavivariam. Illic Perpetua a quodam tunc catechumino, Rustico nomine, [Col. 0055A] qui ei adhaerebat, suscepta, et quasi a somno expergita, adeo in spiritu et in ecstasi fuerat, circumspicere coepit, et stupentibus omnibus ait: »Quando, inquit, producimur ad vaccam illam nescio .«

And when she had heard what had already happened, she did not believe it until she had perceived certain signs of injury in her body and in her dress, and had recognised the catechumen. Afterwards causing that catechumen and the brother to approach, she addressed them, saying, “Stand fast in the faith, and love one another, all of you, and be not offended at my sufferings.”

Et cum audisset quod jam evenerat, non prius credidit, nisi quasdam notas vexationis in corpore et habitu suo recognovisset, et illum catechuminum . Exinde accersitum fratrem suum, et illum catechuminum allocuta est eos, dicens: »In fide state, et invicem omnes diligites; et passionibus nostris ne scandalizemini.«





6.4. The same Saturus at the other entrance exhorted the soldier Pudens, saying, “Assuredly here I am, as I have promised and foretold, for up to this moment I have felt no beast. And now believe with your whole heart. Lo, I am going forth to that beast, and I shall be destroyed with one bite of the leopard.” And immediately at the conclusion of the exhibition he was thrown to the leopard; and with one bite of his he was bathed with such a quantity of blood, that the people shouted out to him as he was returning, the testimony of his second baptism, “Saved and washed, saved and washed.”

IV. Idem Saturus in alia porta militem Pudentem exhortabatur dicens: »Adsum certe, sicut promisi et praedixi; nullam usque adhuc bestiam sensi. Et nunc de toto corde credas. Ecce prodeo illo, et ab uno morsu leopardi consumar.« Et statim in [Col. 0055B] fine spectaculi, leopardo objectus, de uno morsu ejus tanto perfusus est sanguine, ut populus revertenti illi secundi baptismatis testimonium reclamaverit: »Salvum [Col. 0056A] lotum, salvum lotum.«

        Manifestly he was assuredly saved who had been glorified in such a spectacle. Then to the soldier Pudens he said, “Farewell, and be mindful of my faith; and let not these things disturb, but confirm you.” And at the same time he asked for a little ring from his finger, and returned it to him bathed in his wound, leaving to him an inherited token and the memory of his blood. And then lifeless he is cast down with the rest, to be slaughtered in the usual place. 

Plane utique salvus erat, qui hoc spectaculo claruerat . Tunc Pudenti militi: »Vale, inquit, et memor esto fidei meae; et haec te non conturbent, sed confirment.« Simulque ansulam de digito ejus petiit, et vulneri suo mersam reddidit ei, haereditatem pignoris relinquens illi, et memoriam sanguinis. Exinde jam exanimis prosternitur cum caeteris ad jugulationem solito loco. 

And when the populace called for them into the midst, that as the sword penetrated into their body they might make their eyes partners in the murder, they rose up of their own accord, and transferred themselves whither the people wished; but they first kissed one another, that they might consummate their martyrdom with the kiss of peace.

Et cum populus illos in medium postularet, ut, gladio penetrante in eorum corpore, oculos suos comites homicidii adjungeret, ultro surrexerunt et se quo volebat populus transtulerunt: ante jam osculati invicem, ut martyrium per solemnia pacis consummarent.

07 Perpetua's End


Perpetua's Heroic End




        The rest indeed, immoveable and in silence, received the sword-thrust; much more Saturus, who also had first ascended the ladder, and first gave up his spirit, for he also was waiting for Perpetua.

Caeteri quidem immobiles et cum silentio ferrum receperunt: multo magis Saturus, qui et prior [Col. 0056B] scalam ascenderat, prior reddidit spiritum; nam et Perpetuam sustinebat.

     But Perpetua, that she might taste some pain, being pierced between the ribs, cried out loudly, and she herself placed the wavering right hand of the youthful gladiator to her throat. Possibly such a woman could not have been slain unless she herself had willed it, because she was feared by the impure spirit.

Perpetua autem, ut aliquid doloris gustaret, inter costas puncta exululavit; et errantem dexteram tirunculi gladiatoris ipsa in [Col. 0057A] jugulum suum posuit . Fortasse tanta femina aliter non potuisset occidi, quia ab immundo spiritu timebatur, nisi ipsa voluisset.

        O most brave and blessed martyrs! O truly called and chosen unto the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ! whom whoever magnifies, and honours, and adores, assuredly ought to read these examples for the edification of the Church, not less than the ancient ones, so that new virtues also may testify that one and the same Holy Spirit is always operating even until now, and God the Father Omnipotent, and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, whose is the glory and infinite power for ever and ever. Amen.

O fortissimi ac beatissimi martyres! o vere vocati et electi in gloriam Domini nostri Jesu Christi! quam qui magnificat et honorificat et adorat, utique et haec non minus veteribus exempla in aedificationem Ecclesiae [Col. 0058A] legere debet, ut novae quoque virtutes, unum et eumdem semper Spiritum sanctum usque adhuc operari testificentur, et omnipotentem Deum Patrem, et Filium ejus Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum, cui est claritas et immensa potestas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2001....x....  .