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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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the Christian widow of a martyred tribune. Hadrian had built a temple at Tibur (Tivoli), and was about to dedicate it with religious ceremonies when he learned that Symphorosa was a zealous Christian. He caused her, with her seven sons, to be summoned, and sought by persuasion to induce her to offer sacrifices. On her refusal, the emperor threatened her, and had her carried to the Temple of Hercules at Tivoli, wherea she was beaten with fists, hung up by the hair, and afterwards taken down and drowned. Her brother Eugene, a councilor of Tivoli, recovered the body and buried it in the suburbs. On the following day her sons were brought before the same temple and impaled in various modes, after which their bodies were thrown into a deep pit, which subsequently became known as the pit ad septem biothanatos. The persecution then rested for a year and a half, during which period the remains of the martyrs were interred on the Via Tiburtina and honored as they deserved. The natalities of Symphorosa and her sons are observed on July 18 (see Ruinart, Acta Primorum Martyrum, p. 18). The legend exists in manuscript form among the writings falsely ascribed to Julius Africanus, and may have originated in the third century, though the contents do not harmonize well with the known ordinary conduct of Hadrian. Ruinart supposes the probable period of the occurrence to have been A.D. 120. See also the Acta SS. sub July 18. Herzog, Real- Encyklop. s.v.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Symphorosa'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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