September 20th is the Feast Day of St Eustace, the patron saint of hunters and fire-fighters.
According to legend, St. Eustace was an officer in the army of the emperor Trajan (r. 98-117). Eustace's conversion to Christianity is said to have occurred while he was out hunting, when he was confronted by a white stag, which bore a radiant crucifix between its antlers. He heard a voice telling him that he would be sent many tribulations as a test of his new faith. The officer was baptised in the name of Eustace, having been born Placidus.
Eustace, his wife, and their two sons, are said to have been martyred circa 118. The manner of their death was particularly gruesome; all were roasted alive in a hollow bronze bull.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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