- Hardcover: 180 pages
- Publisher: Pauline Books & Media (August 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0819873446
- ISBN-13: 978-0819873446
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,888,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tiber Ran Red: The Age of the Roman Martyrs
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Within a decade or two of Christ's death, there were riots with Christians in the Jewish communities in Rome. By the early 60s, Paul was under custodia militaris--a kind of house arrest--before he was decapitated.
According to Tacitus, soon after the terrible fire in Rome, Nero had a "vast multitude" of Christians crucified or burned to death as living torches for his dinner parties. So within a mere 30 years after the death of Christ there were so many Christians in Rome that Tacitus could refer to those who died, not just as a multitude, but as a 'vast multitude.
And not only that, but all the classes were affected the Christ. "Tacitus implies that Flavius Sabinus, brother of the Emperor Vespasian...had accepted the message of Christ. The historians Dio Cassius and Suetonius both record that Emperor Domitian...ordered his own niece, Flavia Domitalla, into exile, for the crime of atheism" (p 31), meaning belief in Christianity.
By 110 or so AD, Pliny was writing to the Emperor Trajan that the temples in his area were 'practically deserted" before he began a systematic campaign of murdering every Christian who wouldn't renounce Christ.
Until the time of Constantine, Christians would undergo one persecution after another. Some would be thrown into prison. Recounted one prisoner "I was terrified. Never before had I known such darkness. Oh, that day of horror! The overpowering heat caused by the jamming in of so many prisoners! THe brutality of the guards'" (p 111).
The early Christians were careful to revere and care for the bodies of the martyrs.Read more ›
Protestants do not believe in saints, or even in the efficacy of praying for the dead (Martin Luther had the Book of Maccabees deleted from the Bible as it had been written, where this is specifically addressed).
No matter: Moving and inspiring to read of those who endured the persecutions of emperors (such as Diocletian, who visited horrors upon mere children who were loyal to Christ and His Church).
It should be noted that this is a Catholic book, intended for Roman Catholic readers. The author sees the early Christians as early Catholics, something Protestants and others will take issue with.