For this [the Cross] it was whereon the Saviour of the World, bursting the bonds of death, did vanquish that cunning serpent, the Devil, and by His sufferings earned for His servants so great fortitude as that they were ready in gladness of spirit to endure the most arduous hardships of every sort, even, if need were, to the shedding of their blood and the most cruel lopping off of all their limbs. ? Chapter 1.
_Tortures and Torments of the Christian Martyrs_ was written by Roman Catholic priest Reverend Antonio Gallonio in 1591 and dedicated to Pope Clement VIII. The book relies heavily on previous martyrologies as well as histories of the church and the lives of the saints. The purpose of the book is to show the believing Christian soul the glory won for him by the steadfast belief of his predecessors in faith, who stood firm against the tortures and torments of their captors, enduring till the end and never breaking with the faith, winning for themselves the crown of martyrdom. The book includes gory details of the various implements of torture ? from the Cross itself to the rack, the wheel, the wooden horse, etc. ? used by the Roman heathen or the Jews against the early Christian believers. In addition, various woodcuts are provided detailing with exactitude the bloody nature of these torturing implements. Much is recounted from the lives of the saints and martyrs who were offered up to God as sacrifice, remaining steadfast in their faith. Many blessed Christian virgins were defiled by the heathen?s armies, and many Christian soldiers were put to the test. The cruelty of the Roman emperors to the early Christians is thoroughly seen throughout. The book also details other manners of torture including torment by scourging and fire, as well as being fed to the wild animals (the notorious lions and wild beasts to which the early Christians were made to suffer). The book includes details of the martyrs being sent into exile or made to work under harsh conditions in the mines, blasphemed against, or made to blaspheme their God by means of idolatry to the Roman emperor. In addition, the author also notes how Catholics in his own day were made to suffer under the Anglican schism, providing details from the lives of martyrs in England referencing the works of Sanders (_Origins and Progress of the Anglican Schism_). For the Christian believer, this book provides countless images of cruelty inflicted upon Christian souls suffering in countless lands before tyrannical governments. The author prays, ?Here on earth, most gracious Lord God! let the torments of the body be multiplied an hundredfold, that there in paradise gladness and peace may be increased. Oh! breasts burning with the flame of love divine, oh! hearts kindled with the ardour of the Holy Spirit!? The book includes an introduction by the translator A. R. Allinson. In addition, this Feral House edition is supplied with an appendix detailing the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ written by noted medical specialists. This appendix/essay was used by Mel Gibson in his making of the recent film, _The Passion of Christ_.