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Perpetua

d.203. Young Carthaginian noble and martyr. Mother of a baby son, she was arrested with four fellow catechumens, all plausibly from one household, including Felicitas (perhaps a slave) who bore a daughter prematurely in prison. They were baptized and joined by their catechist Saturus, with whom four died in the amphitheater. The Passion of Perpetua incorporates accounts of their prison experiences, especially visions, by Perpetua and Saturus. Its compiler, probably not Tertullian, was Montanist like the martyrs, but both martyrs and Passion were revered in the African Church. The apocalyptic, movingly feminine Passion vividly reflects the eschatological conceptions, internal tensions, and liturgical customs of contemporary Carthaginian Christianity.

See Acts of the Martyrs; J. Quasten, Patrology 1 (1950), pp. 181-83; T.D. Barnes, Tertullian (1971).

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