Faith, Gender, and Power in the Roman Empire
by Jennifer A. Rea (Author), Liz Clarke (Illustrator)
Examining issues of power, gender, and religion in the ancient world, Perpetua's Journey: Faith, Gender, and Power in the Roman Empire is a graphic history set in Roman Africa in 203 CE that tells the story of the Christian martyr Perpetua.
The Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis, also known as The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, is the first extant diary authored by a Christian woman. Vibia Perpetua was a young mother who lived in Roman Africa and, at the age of twenty-two, chose to publicly proclaim her Christian faith. She died as a result of her actions, though she did not die alone; she was part of a group of Christian martyrs, including several slaves, who were placed in prison and then executed in Carthage during the birthday celebrations of Emperor Septimius Severus's son in 203 CE. Perpetua's diary contains her account of the days leading up to her martyrdom.
Perpetua's Journey occupies a space between the many works designed primarily for specialists and advanced scholars, who already know a great deal about Perpetua and the history of the Roman Empire, and lives of saints that are intended for general readers. Perpetua's Journey is unique because it combines both sequential art and historical and social commentary, and it places Perpetua's diary in the context of life in Roman North Africa in 203 CE.