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At the foot of a ladder is a serpent, which is faced first by Saturus and later by Perpetua (iv).
It survives in both Latin and Greek forms, and contains a first person prison diary of the young mother and martyr Perpetua.
At the demand of the crowd they were first scourged before a line of gladiators; then a boar, a bear, and a leopard were set on the men, and a wild cow on the women (xix).
Wounded by the wild animals, they gave each other the kiss of peace and were then put to the sword (xix).
Scholars generally believe that it is authentic although in the form we have it may have been edited by others.
The text also appears to contain, in his own words, the accounts of the visions of Saturus, another Christian martyred with Perpetua.
He also sees Bishop Optatus of Carthage and the priest Aspasius, who beseech the martyrs to reconcile the conflicts between them (xiii).