Still no paragraphs, so it'll have to be another big lump of writing...I've tried writing on Word first but the paragraphs disappear once I've pasted onto ipernity...it's a pain. I've been dabbling in Saints and Martyrs for an hour or so...triggered by a small book I've just finished reading about minor Saints and the mad dash to obtain a 'relic' once the Saint was dead. Selling slivers of bone was an exceedingly lucrative business and it didn't matter much where the bone came from either...in the year 600 C.E., a small party of Greek monks made their way to Rome, where they were caught red-handed digging up ordinary people to steal fingers and toes and such-like to take back to Greece to sell as Saints Relics.......but once I started on the Martyrs...especially those during the time of Elizabeth 1st...then I became increasingly alarmed by the religious fervour which beset them. Harbouring a Roman Catholic was punishable by death....a priest saying Mass was punished by death...even discussing the pros and cons of the Catholic faith needed to be carried out in conditions of utmost secrecy for fear of being overheard by Elizabeth's spies..........it is the strength of those peoples religion and belief which has me both admiring and puzzled. If someone threatened me with hanging, drawing, and quartering, I'm such a coward that I'd retract anything I'd ever said and swear blind I was a devout Protestant....always had been and always would be. But of course the Martyrs did no such thing....they stuck firmly to their Catholic faith and died a horrible death because of it.......perhaps part of my puzzlement is that I don't hold strong beliefs in the first place and I can't quite grasp the mentality of those did and were willing to die for those beliefs....................and I know you can't go round changing your religion willy-nilly but....I still have that niggle which makes me wonder whether they were incredibly brave or plain stupid. Elizabeth 1st was fond of hanging, drawing and quartering as a punishment for those who didn't fit into her society....I think the tally for her reign was around eighty people. Not all of them were given the distinction of Martyrdom...some were plainly bothersome and all too many were found guilty of crimes through the diligence of her spies....one man had been her Doctor but he was accused of plotting to poison members of her court and he was what was known as a Hidden Jew....Jewish people often hid their ethnicity behind Gentile names....so the combination of not only being a Jew but also a suspected poisoner .....no matter how good he'd been as Elizabeth's Doctor, was enough to seal his fate. It could simply be that I haven't explored the subject in any depth, but these people don't seem to have had anyone speaking up in their defence.....the Catholic Martyrs don't seem to have had a spokesperson to vouch for them....though being a defendant of an accused Catholic would have in itself been terribly dangerous I suppose....would you be willing to die for your religion? Would you have stood up in an Elizabethan Court of law and defended a friend....knowing you could meet the same fate?
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