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SEPTEM FRATRES:  text is taken from Caxton's English version of the Golden Legend (Ellis edition)

Lives of the Seven Brethren.

Here follow the Lives of the Seven Brethren.

The seven brethren were the sons of S. Felicitas, whose names be Januarius, Felix, Philip, Silvanus, Alexander, Vital, and Marcial. All these were called by the commandment of the emperor Anthony, tofore Publius the provost. And then the provost counselled the mother that she should have pity upon herself and on her sons, who answered and said: Neither for thy flattering ne thy blandishing words thou mayst not draw me to thy desire, ne with thy threatenings thou mayst not break me. I am assured of the Holy Ghost, whom I have, that I shall alive overcome thee, and better shall vanquish thee when I am dead. And then she turned her to her sons, and said: My sons, see the heaven and look upward my dearest children, for Christ abideth you there. Fight ye strongly for Christ, and show you faithful and true in the love of Jesu Christ. And when the provost heard that, he commanded that she should be smitten and buffeted. And as the mother and her sons abode most constantly in the faith, the mother seeing and comforting them, they were slain with divers torments. And S. Gregory calleth this blessed Felicitas more than a martyr, for she suffered seven times death in her seven sons, and the eighth time in her proper body, and he saith in his homily that S. Felicitas in believing was the handmaid of Christ, and in preaching was made the martyr of Christ. And she dreaded to leave after her, for to live, her seven sons in prison, like as worldly friends dread lest they should die in prison. She childed and bare them by the Holy Ghost, whom she had borne to the world of her flesh; and them whom she knew well of her own flesh, she might not see die without sorrow. But it was the force of the love withinforth, that overcame the sorrow of the flesh. And I have said by right this woman to be more than a martyr, that so oft hath been extinct in her sons, in which she hath therein multiplied martyrdom. She overcame the victory of martyrdom, when for the love of God her only death sufficed her not. And they suffered death about the year of our Lord one hundred and ten, under Decius the emperor.

© The segmented texts, annotations and audio files at are copyrighted by Laura Gibbs, 2006. No copyright is claimed for any images.