Perpetua was a young African woman who fell in with an obscure religious sect that must have seemed to outsiders like a kind of death-cult. She was arrested around 203 CE along with several other practitioners on unspecified charges. Given the opportunity to renounce the group and walk free, Perpetua chose execution in the arena.
Perpetua was a Christian. The Passiō, an account of her death, includes Perpetua’s prison diary, in which the already-radicalized woman describes her progressive alienation from her family. Perpetua was a prophet and a leader in her sect, and her narrative describes a series of visions: a ladder rigged with lacerating blades and tearing hooks, the torment of a family member, and a final climactic vision in which she becomes a man and fights hand-to-hand against the devil. Transgressive, radical, and determined to face down a violent death: Perpetua is a riveting read.
This edition aims to enable intermediate-level students of Latin to read the text in its original language. A substantial introduction provides background on the woman, her text, and her times. The Latin text includes a running glossary and grammatical commentary on every page.