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310

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - Pencil Sketches in Rome - 3. The Colosseum

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3 lO ROMAN DA YS.
written thick Latin tomes about the robes of the Virgin
Mary, and such matters—the reader’s servant found an
essay written by Del Rio, the cruel judge of witches, on
the question, wherefore the divine barrier that guarded
the martyrs against fire, water and wild beasts, was with-
drawn from them, when their executioners seized the
iron ; and he tries to explain it by this, that " the iron is
the legal means of punishment." A Frenchman has re-
cently taken the same question into consideration, and
given answer on it, that an old unchristian prejudice lies
at the bottom of the church traditions about it : the pre-
judice, namely, that the soul, being of the nature of fire,
is extinguished in water, and the resurrection of the flesh
is made impossible, if the body is burned or enters as
food into the bodies of animals.
But to return to the Flavian amphitheatre. It is
both possible and probable, that its sandy ground has
drunk the blood of Christians ; but full historic certainty,
we have only of one martyrdom in that place, and then
the executioners were themselves—Christians. Rome’s
conversion to Christianity did not hinder the bloody
games of the amphitheatre from continuing long. One
day, about the year 450, among the spectators sat a
.stranger, a monk from Syria, by the name of Telemachus.
He had wished to see the much talked-of splendor of the
amphitheatre, and the pleasures to which his Christian
brethren there gave themselves up. The good monk,
who in the Oriental cloister has lived more in pious
dreams than in reality, cannot believe his eyes when the
gladiators march into the arena, to divert the people with
combats for life or death ; but when the ground is deluged
with their blood, and the spectators are jubilant, when a
" secutor " thrusts his sword through the breast of a

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