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Chapter III.—The Nature of the Conflicts endured in the Persecution.

1. Then truly a great many rulers of the churches eagerly endured terrible sufferings, and furnished examples of noble conflicts. But a multitude of others,25082508    μυρίοι δ᾽ ἄλλοι. See the previous chapter, note 8. benumbed in spirit by fear, were easily weakened at the first onset. Of the rest each one endured different forms of torture.25092509    i.e. those who, when freedom was offered them on condition of sacrificing, refused to accept it at that price. It was desirous that the prisons which had for so long been filled with these Christian prisoners (see chap. 6, §9) should, if possible, be cleared; and this doubtless combined with the desire to break the stubbornness of the prisoners to promote the use of torture at this time. The body of one was scourged with rods. Another was punished with insupportable rackings and scrapings, in which some suffered a miserable death.

2. Others passed through different conflicts. Thus one, while those around pressed him on by force and dragged him to the abominable and impure sacrifices, was dismissed as if he had sacrificed, though he had not.25102510    See the previous chapter, note 8. Another, though he had not approached at all, nor touched any polluted 326thing, when others said that he had sacrificed, went away, bearing the accusation in silence.

3. Another being taken up half dead, was cast aside as if already dead, and again a certain one lying upon the ground was dragged a long distance by his feet and counted among those who had sacrificed. One cried out and with a loud voice testified his rejection of the sacrifice; another shouted that he was a Christian, being resplendent in the confession of the saving Name. Another protested that he had not sacrificed and never would.

4. But they were struck in the mouth and silenced by a large band of soldiers who were drawn up for this purpose; and they were smitten on the face and cheeks and driven away by force; so important did the enemies of piety regard it, by any means, to seem to have accomplished their purpose. But these things did not avail them against the holy martyrs; for an accurate description of whom, what word of ours could suffice?

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