Fatal Charades: Roman Executions Staged as Mythological Enactments

@article{Coleman1990FatalCR,
  title={Fatal Charades: Roman Executions Staged as Mythological Enactments},
  author={Kathleen M. Coleman},
  journal={Journal of Roman Studies},
  year={1990},
  volume={80},
  pages={44 - 73}
}
  • K. Coleman
  • Published 1 November 1990
  • History
  • Journal of Roman Studies
Tertullian, illustrating the sacrilegious nature of pagan religion, records that in an auditorium he saw a person being burned to death in the role of Hercules and another being castrated as Attis; both of these examples he adduces to substantiate his assertion to his pagan audience that ‘criminals often adopt the roles of your deities’ (‘et ipsos deos vestros saepe noxii induunt’). The practice that Tertullian here deplores is the subject of this paper: the punishment of criminals in a formal… 

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