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Family Letters Relating to the Persecution of Diocletian



About the book:

“Worship an ass’s head? Never!”

Daughter of a noble Roman family, Agnella had heard tell of the vain beliefs and foul practices of the Christians. Everyone knew that they murdered infants and drank their blood from silver vessels. They venerated a criminal who died ignominiously on a cross. They worshipped a god with the head of an ass. What good person wouldn’t despise such a vile sect? Yet Agnella had experienced of the rites of Aphrodite herself, and knew perfectly well the shameful behavior encouraged by her own gods.

When Diocletian Augustus declared in AD 303 that all men and women must offer sacrifice to the immortal gods or be punished, Agnella’s father, Marcus Acilius Dolabella, præfect of Histria, was quick to put the emperor’s command into effect. Little could he imagine that the death of a single elderly slave from his own household would not only upset his plan, but also lead his own daughter down a path where her actions would provide seed for the burgeoning Christian Church.

Hearkening to the ancient and authentic acts of early Christian martyrs like Saints Perpetua, Felicity, Agnes, Lucy, Cecilia and Crispina, The Daughters of Pola is a beautiful novella written in the learned yet captivating style of John Mason Neale. Cleverly crafted as a sequence of personal letters among the characters during the Great Persecution, the story follows Agnella as she discovers that holding fast to the truth demands a heavy cost and the courage of a gladiator who stands alone in the arena.

This edition of a classic originally written in 1861 includes a new preface to help introduce the historical aspects of the tale to modern readers, a brief biography of the author, and three beautiful antique illustrations by Giovanni Piranesi showing the impressive Roman ruins of the city of Pula as they existed in the 18th century.

About the author:

John Mason Neale (1818-1866) was a poet, hymnodist, novelist, and scholar of the ancient classics. He is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics of the Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas, but was also responsible for the translations into English of the well-known carols, In Dulce Jubilo (Good Christian Men Rejoice) and Veni, Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel). Though an Anglican priest, Neale's interest in patristics and his foundation of the Sisterhood of Saint Margaret in 1854 brought
regular accusations of sympathy for the Catholic Church during his lifetime. At one point, he and his wife were even physically attacked as "agents of popery." A prolific writer, Neale penned several works for young readers similar to The Daughters of Pola, including: The Egyptian Wanderers, Exiles of the Cebenna, The Quay of the Dioscuri, and many others.

2017 ~ 152 pages
4 illustrations ~ paperback
978-1-935228-16-5 ~ $13.95
with 10% discount: $12.56

To order The Daughters of Pola in paperback with a 10% discount using a credit card, click the button below.

Centurion's Daughter
Order these novels about Christian Rome together and save!
The Daughters of Pola and Centurion's Daughter, a tale of fall of Roman Gaul and the rise of Catholic France in the 5th century AD by Justin Swanton

The Daughters of Pola + Centurion's Daugther = $31.90 $27.00 (a savings of $4.90)

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