AFTER the miraculous victory obtained by the prayer; of the Christians under Marcus Aurelius, in 174, the Church enjoyed a kind of peace, though it was often disturbed in particular places by popular commotions, or by the superstitious fury of certain governors. This appears from the violent persecution which was raised three years after the aforesaid victory, at Vienne and Lyons, in 177, whilst St. Pothinus was Bishop of Lyons, and St. Irenæus, who had been sent thither by St. Polycarp out of Asia, was a priest of that city. Many of the principal Christians were brought before the Roman governor. Among them was a slave, Blandina: and her mistress, also a Christian, feared that Blandina lacked strength to brave the torture. She was tormented a whole day through, but she bore it all with joy till the executioners gave up, confessing themselves outdone. Red-hot plates were held to the sides of Sanctus, a deacon of Vienne, till his body became one great sore, and he looked no longer like a man; but in the midst of his tortures he was "bedewed and strengthened by the stream of heavenly water which flows from the side of Christ." Meantime, many confessors were kept in prison and with them were some who had been terrified into apostasy. Even the heathens marked the joy of martyrdom in the Christians who were decked for their eternal espousals, and the misery of the apostates. But the faithful confessors brought back those who had fallen, and the Church, "that Virgin Mother," rejoiced when she saw her children live again in Christ. Some died in prison, the rest were martyred one by one, St. Blandina last of all, after seeing her younger brother put to a cruel death, and encouraging him to victory.
According to Wikipedia:
According to his legend, when the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian began, Erasmus was called before a judge, beaten around the head, spat upon and "besprinkled...with foulness." He was then beaten with leaden mauls until his veins broke and burst. Erasmus suffered all of these punishments with tremendous willingness. Erasmus was then thrown into a pit of snakes and worms, and boiling oil and sulfur were poured on him but "he lay therein as he had lain in cold water, thanking and loving God." Then thunder and lightning came and electrocuted everyone around save Erasmus. Thus the saint was protected from the lightning. Diocletian had him thrown in another pit, but an angel came and slew all the vipers and worms. Then came the Western Roman Emperor Maximian who, according to Voragine, was "much worse than was Diocletian." Erasmus would not cease preaching the Gospel, even though he was "put into a pan seething with rosin, pitch, brimstone lead, and oil, [which were] pour[ed] ... into his mouth, [from] ... which he never shrank." A searing hot cloak and metal coat were both tried on him, to no effect, and an angel eventually carried him away to safety." "And when this holy man came before the false gods" to which he was to be forced to sacrifice, they "fell down and broke all in pieces, and consumed into ashes or dust." That made the emperor so angry he had Erasmus enclosed in a barrel full of protruding spikes, and the barrel was rolled down a hill. But an angel healed him. Further tortures ensued: His teeth were ... plucked out of his head with iron pincers. And after that they bound him to a pillar and carded his skin with iron cards, and then they roasted him upon a gridiron...and did smite sharp nails of iron in his fingers, and after, they put out his eyes of his head with their fingers, and after that they laid this holy bishop upon the ground naked and stretched him with strong withes bound to horses about his blessed neck, arms, and legs, so that all his veins and sinews that he had in his body burst." The version of the Golden Legend did not relate how Erasmus fled to Mount Lebanon and survived on what ravens brought him to eat, an interesting pre-Christian mytheme. When he was recaptured, he was brought before the emperor and beaten and whipped, then coated with pitch and set alight (as Christians had been in Nero's games), and still he survived. Thrown into prison with the intention of letting him die of starvation, St Erasmus managed to escape. He was recaptured and tortured some more in the Roman province of Illyricum, after boldly preaching and converting numerous pagans to Christianity. Finally, according to the legend, his stomach was slit open and his intestines wound around a windlass. This late legend may have developed from interpreting an icon that showed him with a windlass, signifying his patronage of sailors.