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Extra info for Tertullian's letter To The Martyrs
For you have engaged him in battle already outside the prison and trampled him underfoot. ' Let him flee from your presence, and let him, coiled and numb, like a snake that is driven out by charms or smoke, hide away in the depths of his den. Do not allow him the good fortune in his own kingdom of setting you against one another, but let him find you fortified by the arms of peace among yourselves, because peace among yourselves means war with him. Some, not able to find this peace in the Church, are accustomed to seek it from the martyrs in prison.
In fact, owing to the solicitude of the Church and the charity of the brethren, the flesh does not miss there what it ought to have, while, in addition, the spirit obtains what is always beneficial to the faith: you do not look at strange gods; you do not chance upon their images; you do not, even by mere physical contact, participate in heathen holidays; you are not plagued by the foul fumes of the sacrificial banquets, not tormented by the noise of the spectacles, nor by the atrocity or frenzy or shamelessness of those taking part in the celebrations; your eyes do not fall on houses of lewdness; you are free from inducements to sin, from temptations, from unholy reminiscences, free, indeed, even from persecution.
A victim of violence, she stabbed herself in the presence of her kinsfolk to gain glory for her chastity. Mucius burnt his right hand on the altar that his fair fame might include this deed. Nor did the philosophers act less courageously: Heraclitus, for instance, who put an end to his life by smearing himself with cow dung ; Empedocles, too, who leaped down into the fires of Mt. Etna; and Peregrinus who not long ago threw himself upon a funeral pile. htm Dido did so in order not to be forced to marry after the departure of the man she had loved most dearly; the wife of Hasdrubal, too, with Carthage in flames, cast herself along with her children into the fire that was destroying her native city, that she might not see her husband a suppliant at Scipio's feet.