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Saint Sebastian

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File:San sebastiano.jpg
San Sebastiano by Maestro degli Occhi spalancati

Saint Sebastian (died c. 288) was a Christian saint and martyr. He is said to have been killed during Roman emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians. He is usually depicted in art and literature tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows which did not kill him.

According to legend, Saint Sebastian was born in Gaul (modern France, Belgium, western Germany, and northern Italy), went to Rome, and later joined the army of emperor Carinus where he became a captain under the Roman emperor Diocletian.

When it was discovered that he was a Christian who converted many soldiers, Sebastian was sentenced to be killed with arrows. The archers thought he was dead, but a Christian widow, Irene of Rome, nursed him back to good health. Saint Sebastian visited emperor Diocletian again and criticized him. This time he was condemned to death by beating. His body was thrown into a sewer and later found by another woman who dreamed that Sebastian told her to bury his remains near the catacombs as a martyr. A martyr is a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs. It is believed that he was buried in the Basilica of San Sebastiano. Many painting exists of Sebastian’s martyrdom which was a favorite subject of Renaissance artists that often showed him as a handsome youth being shot by arrows.[1]