This three-page woodcut insert illustrates thirty-five distinct scenes of torture and suffering. Foxe titles the composite image, "A Table of the X. first Persecutions of the Primitiue Church vnder the Heathen Tyrannes of Rome" ["A table of the ten first persecutions of the primitive church under the heathen tyrants of Rome"]. Workers at John Day's printing house employed just three woodblocks to create the image, which contains three segments pasted together. Speeches attributed to martyrs in individual scenes are keyed to locations in Foxe's text. The longer passage that runs across the bottom of the image explains Foxe's apocalyptic perspective on Christian history. The composite image illustrates martyrdoms spanned by the reigns of emperors Tiberius and Constantine I. The greatly expanded second edition (1570) of the Book of Martyrs, in which this insert first appears, begins its account with these martyrs, in a deliberate act of historical appropriation whereby Foxe reconstructs the deaths of early Christians as proto-Protestant martyrdoms. This woodcut also appears in the fourth edition (1583), but it does not appear in the first (1563) or third (1576) editions. Because it could easily be removed and posted on walls or posts, the illustration is frequently missing in surviving copies of the work. Of all Foxe illustrations, it is perhaps the scarcest to survive to the present day. Luborsky and Ingram 11223/1A. JPEG file (17.9 MB).
"MD" (see "Soldiers drag two Christians by ropes" in this collection).
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