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First Martyrs of Rome

The names of the first martyrs are known only to God.

In July AD 64, during the tenth year of Nero's reign, a great fire engulfed the city of Rome. It was only stopped after six nights and seven days, when several buildings were demolished. Strangely, the fire restarted in the garden of Tigellinus the next day. It was rumoured Nero himself ordered the fires, since he seemed to have taken so much joy in them. Reports of strange men torching houses saying only that they had orders, fueled the idea Nero started them. It may serve to note that many fires had afflicted Rome over its history, but as with the others it is generally thought that this fire started accidentally as well.

Nero, nonetheless, sensing the growing suspicion, declared the "Christians" had started the fires. No one thought that they had, but they were rounded up anyway. Some were sewn up in wild beast skins and fed to wild dogs while still alive. Some were covered in pitch and wax and after being more or less impaled with stakes, set alight.

Though most were hardened to the utterly savage and barbaric life of the Roman empire, it is noted that many were horrified at the treatment of those first Christians.

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