When he had secured the greatest power, therefore, he directed his mind toward the disruption of the world which he had opened out before himself. For after the defeat of the Persians (whose rite and practice it is to devote themselves as slaves to their kings and whose kings use their people as a slave-household), that nefarious man wished to introduce their custom into the Roman world. From the time of his victory, he praised it shamelessly. Because he could not practice it openly, he acted in such a way that he himself would take liberty away from men. First of all, he took the honors of public office. Not only de-curions were tortured by him, but also the first men of cities, distinguished and very perfect men, and, indeed, for quite unimportant and purely civil cases. If they seemed deserving of death, crosses were ready for them; if not, shackles were prepared. Mothers of families, freeborn and even noble girls, were seized for the gynecaeum.' If someone were to be beaten, four stakes were fixed in an enclosure upon which no slave even was ever stretched.
Why should I relate his sport or his distractions? He had bears, very much like himself in fierceness and size, which he had selected throughout the whole time of his reign. As often as he wanted to be amused, he ordered each one of these, selected by name, to be brought forward. Men were thrown to them, not to be eaten, but to be swallowed down. When their limbs were strewn about, he laughed quite delightedly, nor did he ever dine except in the presence of human blood.
Fire was the punishment of those who did not have dignity. This is the type of death which he had at first directed against the Christians, when the laws were made, so that, after torture, the condemned might be burned with slow fires. After they had been bound, a light flame was applied first to the feet for so long a time until the flesh of the soles, contracted by the heat, would be pulled away from the bones. Then torches, lighted and immediately extinguished, were applied to the individual members of the body, so that no part of it was left untouched. During all of this, the face was sprinkled with cold water and the mouth was washed with a liquid, lest, the jaws becoming stiff with dryness, the breath would leave too quickly. This would take place finally, only after all the skin had been roasted away throughout a long day, when the force of the fire had penetrated to the inner organs. Then they made a pyre, and the already charred bodies were cremated. The bones, ground and reduced to powder, were tossed into the rivers and the sea.
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