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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

October 4

SS. Marcus, Marcian, and Their Companions, Martyrs

THE FOURTH edict of Dioclesian produced in the years 304 and 305 a frightful slaughter of Christians in Egypt, particularly in Thebais. Eusebius says, that after suffering scourges, tearing with iron hooks, disjointing of limbs, and many unheard-of torments; some were beheaded, others thrown into the sea, others burnt, many crucified, several nailed to crosses with their heads downwards, and great numbers were hung on gibbets in all parts of Egypt. Marcus and Marcian are named among these holy champions; in ancient Martyrologies they are called brothers. The same historian describes the cruelties of which he was an eye-witness, being then in Thebais. The usual torments there exercised on the Christians were to tear the bodies with iron hooks and potsherds, to hang them up naked with their heads downwards, &c. Many were hung by their legs on two thick boughs of trees drawn together, which being let go, their bodies were torn asunder. Some of these barbarous executions were continued for years together, and sometimes ten, twenty, sixty or a hundred suffered in one day, in the same place. Eusebius saw the executioners wearied, and their swords or other instruments blunted or shivered to pieces with their butcheries, yet the Christians still courting racks and death at their hands. Some of these martyrs were persons eminent for their birth, reputation, or learning and skill in philosophy. See Eus. Hist. l. 8, c. 8, 9; Fleury, l. 8, n. 32.  1