A BORDER SCENE CUT FROM A BIOGRAPHICAL ICON OF SAINT GEORGE

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The warrior saint shown tortured for refusing to offer the prescribed sacrifice to the Roman gods, North Russia, perhaps Vologda, early 17th century. According to a life of St. George compiled between the 10th and 11th centuries, the warrior addressed his tormentor Diocletian in these words: O king, do you really think that I have reached such a state of exhaustion after so little suffering and will renounce my faith? You may be sooner exhausted torturing me than I being tortured!' Then Diocletian ordered a great wheel to be brought under which pieces of wood were placed full of iron spikes like swords, knives and spears; some of them were straight while others were bent like fish hooks . . . torn to pieces and smashed like a branch George bravely bore his tortures . . .