Perpetua's Journey Faith, Gender, and Power in the Roman Empire

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Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2017-07-17
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $31.99

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Examining issues of power, gender, and religion in the ancient world, Perpetua's Journey: Faith, Gender, and Power in the Roman Empire is a graphic history set in Roman Africa in 203 CE that tells the story of the Christian martyr Perpetua.

The Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis, also known as The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, is the first extant diary authored by a Christian woman. Vibia Perpetua was a young mother who lived in Roman Africa and, at the age of twenty-two, chose to publicly proclaim her Christian faith. She died as a result of her actions, though she did not die alone; she was part of a group of Christian martyrs, including several slaves, who were placed in prison and then executed in Carthage during the birthday celebrations of Emperor Septimius Severus's son in 203 CE. Perpetua's diary contains her account of the days leading up to her martyrdom.

Perpetua's Journey occupies a space between the many works designed primarily for specialists and advanced scholars, who already know a great deal about Perpetua and the history of the Roman Empire, and lives of saints that are intended for general readers. Perpetua's Journey is unique because it combines both sequential art and historical and social commentary, and it places Perpetua's diary in the context of life in Roman North Africa in 203 CE.

Author Biography

Jennifer A. Rea is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Florida. Her research interests focus on legendary figures from antiquity and in modern science fiction and fantasy. She is the author of Legendary Rome: Myths, Monuments, and Memory on the Palatine and Capitoline (2008).

Liz Clarke is a professional illustrator based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Table of Contents

Maps and Figures

Part I: The Graphic History
Chapter One: Carcer et Praetorium "The Prison and the Palace"
Chapter Two: Chrisiana sum "I am a Christian"
Chapter Three: In viridiario "In the Garden"
Chapter Four: Damnatio ad bestias "Condemned to the Beasts"

Part II: Historical and Social Context
The Roman Empire
Carthage before Rome
Roman Africa
The Emperor Septimius Severus
Roman Religion and Early Christianity
The Roman Senate
Religion in the Empire
Emperor Worship
The Cults of Ceres and Saturn
Christians in Imperial Rome
Magic and Religion
Christian Persecution
Severus and Christian Persecutions
Christianity after 203 CE
Roman Education
Slaves and Christianity
Felicity: Portrait of a Slave in Roman Africa
Prison Life
Gladiatorial Combat
The Amphitheater
Constructing Status in Antiquity
Gender and Power in the Passio
The Visions of Perpetua and Saturus
Perpetua's Death

Part III: The Translation
About the Translation of the Passio
A Brief History of the Text
The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity

Part IV: Conclusion
Futher Interpretations of the Text
The Passio after 203 CE
Further Reading
The Making of the Graphic Portion of this Text
Timeline of Events in History (Rome and Carthage)
Timeline of Christian Persecutions

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