Virgin and Martyr: Divine Protection from Sexual Assault in the Peristephanon of Prudentius

Schroeder argues that the earliest martyrdom accounts sensitively acknowledged the sexual assault of Christian martyrs. Later accounts, written after persecution had ceased, stressed the inviolability of the virgin martyr, who remained passive and was protected by Christ, her jealous bridegroom. Thus the literary virgin martyr who was truly faithful could not be raped against her will.