Severus is Scourged for Refusing to Worship Venus
Severus Denounces the Worship of Venus
Venud, goddess of love, was revered by the Romans as queen of the human heart. Emperors joined in worshipping her, held feasts in her honor, and the ablest of them, Julius Ceasar, proudly claimed descent from her, and from Mars, the god of war. The month of April, as the beginning of spring, was held to be the appropriate season in which to celebrate the triumphs of this goddess. Her temples were then thronged with worshippers, and marble statues, representing her in all the glory of perfect womanhood, lovely in form and feature, were decked with flowers.
It was against this popular idol that Severus, a Christian centurion in the Roman army, dared to raise his voice. Urged to join in a feast to be held in her honor, he not only refused to take any part in the heathen ceremony, but denounced Venus herself as representing all that was sensual and base in the human heart. Enraged to hear their favorite deity thus reviled, the populace seized Serverus and dragged him before the magistrate. Upon being questioned the prisoner repeated the words he had previously spoken, and was at once condemned to be taken before the temple of the goddess he had insulted, stripped, and scourged with the plumbete, a whip made of many leather thongs, each ending in a little ball of lead.
This sentence was at once carried out, and Severus was cruelly beaten by two strong men who were chosen to inflict the dreadful punishment. After this had been done in the presence of the angry crowd, he was delivered over to the public executioner, who cut off his head.
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