Ptolomaeus and Lucius

(d. c. 150)

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St Justin Martyr (c. 100—165) Christian philosopher


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(d. c.150),

martyrs. Their early date, their Acts written by Justin, and the circumstances of their deaths make these saints unusually interesting. Ptolomaeus converted to Christianity an unnamed married woman who with her husband had previously indulged in unspecified sexual sins. He, however, persisted in his evil ways and she wished to have a divorce. Her friends persuaded her to remain with him, hoping for his amendment, but hearing that in Alexandria he had behaved worse than before, she issued a repudium (declaration of dissolution) and left him. Before her conversion she had indulged in drunkenness and ‘every sort of vice with servants and hirelings’, but not for this but for her leaving him without consent did her husband file a complaint against her, alleging also that she was a Christian. He persuaded the centurion who had previously arrested Ptolomaeus for a crime for which he had been punished by Urbicus, the city-prefect of Rome, to ask Ptolomaeus whether he was a Christian. Being a truthful man, he admitted that he was; whereupon the centurion put him in chains and kept him in prison for a long time.

When he was brought to Urbicus, he was again asked simply if he were a Christian. ‘Fully aware of the benefits he enjoyed because of Christ's doctrine’, he confessed that he was indeed a Christian. So Urbicus ordered him to be executed. A Christian bystander called Lucius protested that Ptolomaeus had not been convicted of adultery, fornication, murder, clothes-stealing, or any crime whatsoever, but had been condemned only because he was a Christian. ‘Your sentence, Urbicus, does not befit the Emperor (Antoninus Pius) nor his philosopher son (Marcus Aurelius) nor the holy senate.’ Urbicus answered: ‘I think you too are one of them.’ Lucius responded: ‘Indeed I am.’ So he too was executed on the same charge. Feast: 19 October.

A.C.M., xvi–xvii, 38–41; Propylaeum, p. 462.

Subjects: Christianity.

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