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The Emperor Valerian Flayed by Order of Sapor, King of Persia

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   This tyrant, who had persecuted the Christians for more than three years, was taken prisoner by Sapor, kin of Persia, who carried him into his own country, and there treated him with the utmost cruelty. Sapor made him kneel down before him as if he were his meanest slave, and used him as a footstool when he mounted his horse, saying in a tone of taunting contempt, "This crouching form of him who was once on emperor, shows which way the victory went, better than all the pictures the Roman artists can draw."

    Having kept Valerian for the space of seven years in this pitiful state of slavery, Sapor then ordered his eyes to be put out. Valerian was now blind as well as a captive, but his cruel master's revenge was far from being satisfied even then; for soon after he ordered the unfortunate emperor to be flayed alive, under which torments he expired.

    Gallienus, the son of Valerian, succeeded him, and during his reign the empire suffered many commotion's, particularly earthquakes, pestilence, inudations, and attacks of barbarians. This emperor, reflecting that when his father favored the Christians he prospered, and that when he persecuted them he was unsuccessful, determined to stop the persecution. Therefore, except for a few outrages, the church enjoyed peace for some years. The chief of those who suffered was Marnius, a centurion, who was arrested as a Christian, and given but three hours in which to choose whether he would sacrifice to the heathen gods, or die. Wavering during this interval, a Christian companion placed the gospel and a sword before him, and asked which he would choose. Marnius took the sword without hesitation. On coming again before the governor, he made a noble confession of his faith, and was soon after beheaded.











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