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By Hal Marcovitz

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The formerly pluralistic Roman society was now firmly tyrannical and intolerant. 64 The Ordeal of Blandina A s the emperors of Rome initiated persecutions against the Christians, many turned to martyrdom—they elected to die rather than renounce their faith. Of the many martyrs who died during the Roman persecutions, the story of Blandina provided many Christians with the strength to endure the tortures inflicted on them. Blandina was a 15-year-old Christian slave girl who lived in the Gallic city of Lyons.

Caesar used his new powers to eliminate Pompey, plunging Rome into four years of civil war. Caesar emerged victorious and pledged to rebuild the state. He did bring many reforms and benefits to the Roman people. For instance, he distributed land to the veterans of his army in payment for their service and enacted a partial abolishment of slavery. He expanded Roman colonies across Europe; in Egypt he used the Roman army to eliminate the enemies of the queen, Cleopatra, establishing her as sole ruler.

To help speed things up, the Romans would use catapults to fling the rotting carcasses of livestock over the city walls, spreading plague and other diseases. Rocks, spears, and other projectiles would also be hurled over the walls. 31 When combat occurred on an open field, Roman generals employed tactics they devised and recorded in military manuals. Among Roman generals, the most valued of these manuals was The Strategemata, written by Sextus Julius Frontinus (who also designed Rome’s water supply system).

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