NOTIUNCULAE MARTYROLOGICAE III SOME OBSERVATIONS ON THE MARTYRIA OF POLYCARP AND PIONIUS BY JAN DEN BOEFT AND JAN BREMMER We continue our series of notes on some of the Acta Martyrum with observations on two Smyrnean martyria, viz. of Polycarp and Pionius.' I Again we follow the order of Musurillo's edition. Martyrium Polycarpi 11-12. In these paragraphs the proconsul con- tinues his interrogation of Polycarp. Having first appealed to the bishop's old age, he now proceeds to the use of more threatening language: "I have wild animals, and I shall expose you to them if you do not change your mind" (c. 11.1, tr. Musurillo). However, after the herald had announced Polycarp's confession, the mob did not ask the proconsul for his animals, but they shouted and asked the Asiarch Philip to set loose a lion on Polycarp. Why did they not request the proconsul to do so? The mob knew, of course-and Polycarp himself must also have known this-that Roman governors did not travel around with a small zoo. For the execution of criminals they were always dependent on the cities in which they temporarily resided to put on wild beast shows. There is a nice parallel
Vigiliae Christianae – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1985
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