JULIANA

[Juliana is a typical saint's life and less interesting than Andreas or Guthlac. It follows its Latin prose source fairly closely. The saint suffers the same torments, displays the same constancy, and wins the same glory of martyrdom as other saints whose lives were written and read throughout medieval Christendom.]


I

Lo! we have heard heroes declare, brave men announce, that which came to pass in the days of Maximian,1 the cruel king, the heathen war-chief, who stirred up persecution throughout the world, slew Christian men, pulled down churches, spilled on the grassy plain the blood of the saints, the worshippers of God, the doers of right. Broad was his realm, wide and excellent among the nations, nearly covering the whole spacious earth. Fierce soldiers went through the cities as he had charged them; often they did violence, perverse in their deeds, they who in their sinful power hated the Lord's law; they roused enmity, they raised idols, killed the saints, destroyed the learned, burned the chosen ones, persecuted God's warriors with spear and fire.

One was a wealthy man of noble lineage, a powerful prefect; he commanded cities; held his abode most often in the city Nicomedia, possessed store of treasure. Often against God's word, frequently in his zeal, he sought false gods and idols. He was called Eleusius; he had great and famous power. Then his heart began to love a maiden, Juliana -- desire was strong upon him. She bore in her spirit holy faith; she earnestly resolved to keep her virginity for the love of Christ unspotted by any sin.

Then the maiden with her father's consent was betrothed to the rich man; he knew not fully how things stood, how she, the young girl, scorned his affection in her soul. The fear of God was greater in her mind than all that treasure which was among the nobleman's possessions.

Then the rich man, wealthy in gold, was eager in heart for the wedding, that straightway the maiden should be prepared for him, the bride for his house. She firmly opposed the man's

____________________
1
According to the legend, Juliana suffered martyrdom at Nicomedia in the reign of Galerius Maximianus.

-165-

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