Perpetua's Passion: The Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1997-12-03
  • Publisher: Routledge

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In 203 AD a group of Christians in Carthage, North Africa, were sentenced to the beasts in the arena. One of these, a twenty-two year old young mother, wrote a diary while she was imprisoned awaiting execution; later, this diary was completed by an observer who described her death in the arena. This poignant and personal narrative is the focus of this study of the conflict that resulted in the martyrdom of Perpetua. Perpetua's Passionstudies the third-century martyrdom of a young woman and places it in the intellectual and social context of her age. Conflicting ideas of religion, family and gender are explored as Salisbury follows Perpetua from her youth in a wealthy Roman household to her imprisonment and death in the arena. The author explores the ideas that shaped Perpetua's experience and the memories that appeared in her dreams and text, including metaphysical reflections, Carthaginian ideas of sacrificial suicide, and early Christian praise of prophecy and passion.Perpetua'sPassionalso encompasses more earthly dilemmas such as family, gender roles and motherhood, using the experience of this young martyr to explore these conflicting ideals and the conflict of ideologies. This book examines concepts of martyrdom and memory as her prison diary was preserved and read for centuries. Perpetua's Passionprovides insights into early Christian communities and the spiritual aspirations that shaped the converts, and will be of interest to classicists and medievalists, church historians and anyone interested in spirituality and the origins of Christianity.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1(4)
one Rome
Home and Hearth
Empire and Emperor
Longing for the Divine
two Carthage
The City
Life and Culture
Sacrifice and Suicide
three Christian Community
Presence of the Divine
Christian Life
Confrontation with Authority
four Prison
Prison and Trial
Dreams and Visions
The Confessors' Dreams
Final Preparations
five The Arena
The Amphitheater
The Spectators
The Martyrs
six Aftermath
Rome and Carthage
The Christian Community
Memory and the Text
Notes 181(28)
Bibliography 209(14)
Index 223

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