So writes Perpetua, young, beautiful, well-educated, a noblewoman of Carthage, mother of an infant son and chronicler of the persecution of the Christians by Emperor Septimius Severus.
Despite threats of persecution and death, Perpetua, Felicity (a slavewoman and expectant mother) and three companions, Revocatus, Secundulus and Saturninus, refused to renounce their Christian faith. For their unwillingness, all were sent to the public games in the amphitheater. There, Perpetua and Felicity were beheaded, and the others killed by beasts.
Perpetuas mother was a Christian and her father a pagan. He continually pleaded with her to deny her faith. She refused and was imprisoned at 22.
In her diary, Perpetua describes her period of captivity: What a day of horror! Terrible heat, owing to the crowds! Rough treatment by the soldiers! To crown all, I was tormented with anxiety for my baby.... Such anxieties I suffered for many days, but I obtained leave for my baby to remain in the prison with me, and being relieved of my trouble and anxiety for him, I at once recovered my health, and my prison became a palace to me and I would rather have been there than anywhere else.
Felicity gave birth to a girl a few days before the games commenced.
Perpetuas record of her trial and imprisonment ends the day before the games. Of what was done in the games themselves, let him write who will. The diary was finished by an eyewitness.