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Shortly about us

Martiria is an epic/doom metal rock band formed back in the '80s and re-founded (after a long pause) in 2002. Five album published (last one R-Evolution, with ex Black Sabbath Vinny Appice - 2014).

The band was formed back in the '80s. At the beginning the band was very much oriented towards Doom/Metal sounds such as: early Candlemass and Black Sabbath. After releasing just a few demos and featuring various musicians, in 1998 the members of the group decide to take a break for a while in order to experience different projects. (continue)

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Callistus Wake
(Menarini - Capelli)
from the album "Roma S.P.Q.R."

 

In the III century, Christians had spreaded widely in Rome, but still they were highly adversed by the public opinion, considering their faith a dangerous superstition. After the first persecution, started by Nero, many others had followed and more than one Christian had found a violent death in the hands of “justice”.
And strange indeed had to seem these men, who refused violence and money, didn’t care about career and power, that died under torture singing the name of God and refused to burn their dead, swearing that they were just asleep, waiting for the resurrection of the souls and the bodies.
Roman laws forbid to bury bodies in town, therefore they had to search for outer places where to bury and mourn their martyrs and bishops. So they began to dig into abandoned tuff rock caves, slowly turning them into undergound temples, kilometers of passages, alleys and crypts all devoted to prayer and memory, in hope of future resurrection.

Pope Callistus I (died 223)

 

Deep down the earth,
Full of faith.
So proud, so scared
rest and wait.
While we wake
Grows the name
That Rome will carry ‘way.

Callistus (1) digs,
Prepares his caves.(2)
Martyrs and Popes
Final homes.
Callistus digs
Removes the clay.
Then he rests and prays

We’ve a special guest tonight
Whose body here will lay.
(Oh) no, it isn’t right!

We’ve a special guest tonight,
For all she was a guide (3).
Light in the night.

Our children
Quietly
Sleep
West wing (4).
Small silent things.

Sometimes
I hear
Their steps,
I check
(but) all is quiet ’n’ dead.

And now she lies
On linen cloths
‘cause she didn’t
Break (her) oaths.
We mourn don’t weep
We know she sleeps.
It's a matter of faith.

Callistus digs
Raises his hat,
Cecily welcomes
With respect (5).

Callistus digs
Removes the clay
Then he rests and prays

Callistus is dead – and well he knows
Still there is too much to do
Dead or alive, he keeps on, goes.
Matter of faith, you know!
Wake and pray,
Do not go!

Inside the ground, down under Rome
Xantian marbles, rotten stones.
Thousands sleep, quiet ’n’ nameless
Heaven is two steps above,
You will soon
Cry for love. (6)

Cecily smiles
(And) closes her eyes.
Callistus digs again,
More room to claim.
For our wake is long
Dawn is far away.

(Menarini - Capelli 2012)



Ode to St.Cecilia

Henry Purcell (1688)

Callistus Wake Official Video


“hominem mortuum in urbe
neve sepelito neve urito”
(7)
from the Leges Duodecim Tabularum

Crypt of the Popes. St.Callistus Catacumbs ROME
Catacomb of Callixtus - Rome
Crypt of the Popes II - IV century
The Catacomb is believed to have been created by future Pope Callixtus I (died 223), then a deacon of Rome, under the direction of Pope Zephyrinus, enlarging pre-existing
early Christian hypogea.

Saint Cecily - Painted by Raffaello Sanzio
The Ecstasy of St Cecilia
painted in 1513 by
Raffello Sanzio
(1483-1520)
Bologna
National Gallery



(...) quod essent soliti stato die ante lucem convenire carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere secum in vicem seque sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria, committerent, ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent: quibus peractis morem sibi discedendi fuisse rursusque coeundi ad capiendum cibum, promiscuum tamen et innoxium; (...) Quo magis necessarium credidi ex duabus ancillis, quae ministrae dicebantur, quid esset veri et per tormenta quaerere. Nihil aliud inveni quam superstitionem pravam, immodicam.(8)

Plinius Traiano Imperatori Ep. 10.96
Plinius Traiano Imperatori

 

Notes

(1) Pope Callixtus I (died 223), also called Callistus I, was the bishop of Rome from c. 218 to his death in 223. He lived during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Elagabalus and Alexander Severus. He was martyred for his Christian faith (being thrown in a pit) and is venerated since as a saint by the Catholic Church.

(2) When callistus was a deacon of Rome, under the direction of Pope Zephyrinus, he directed the construction of a large subterranean structure along the Appian Way, just a few hundred meters after the Quo Vadis? chapel, enlarging pre-existing early Christian hypogea. This structure, known nowadays as The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus (also known as the Cemetery of Callixtus), is one among the most important Catacombs of Rome, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes (Italian: Capella dei Papi), which once contained the tombs of sixteen popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries and many Martyrs and early christians.
After Constantine Edict in 313, Christians could freely follow their religion and places like the Catacombs of Callixtus began to be venerated by pilgrims. After the IX century Barbaric Invasions, they were abandoned and slowly totally forgotten.

(3) St.Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, AD 230. St.Cecila was a native of Rome, and of good family, and educated in the principles and perfect practice of the Christian religion. In her youth she by vow consecrated her virginity to God, yet was compelled by her parents to marry a nobleman named Valerian. Him she converted to the faith, and soon after gained to the same his brother Tiburtius. The men first suffered martyrdom, being beheaded for the faith. St. Cecily finished her glorious triumph some days after them. Their acts, which are of very small authority, make them contemporary with Pope Urban I., and consequently place their martyrdom about the year 230, under Alexander Severus.
(Rev. Alban Butler (1711-73). Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.)

Stefano Maderno St.CeciliaApparently the executioner after the three "legal" strokes didn't manage to kill her and left her agonizing in her own blood with her head still connected to the body. Pope Urban the I assisted to her death and had her translated in the tomb of the bishops. The body was translated in 831 in Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. Inspected in 1599 they were still well conserved and a statue was sculpted by Stefano Maderno to show the exact position in which the body was found. The same statue that can still be seen in the church.

St. Cecila has become the protector of musician and she is often depicted with musical instruments, but probably this tradition comes from a mistaken interpretation of the sentence: Cantantibus organis, Cecilia virgo in corde suo soli Domino decantabat dicens: fiat Domine cor meum et corpus meum inmaculatum ut non confundar - While the instruments were singing, virgin Cecily was singing in her heart for the Lord, saying: Lord, let my body and my heart conserve their innocence so that I am not confused. The "organibus" were most certainly the torture instruments, and we can imagine how they were singing... but since middle age this mistaken traduction started a tradition that finally consecrated her has protector of the musician.
Her feast day became an occasion for musical concerts and festivals that occasioned well-known poems by John Dryden (1631-1700) and Alexander Pope (1688-1744), and music by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) (Ode to St. Cecilia), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) (Ode for St. Cecilia's Day) and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), who was born on her feast day, (Hymn to St. Cecilia).


(4) In the western wing of S.Callistus catacombs there are smaller tombs probably used to bury children.

(5) Callistus died in 222, Cecily in 230, but I liked to imagine that his ghost keeps digging in the catacumbs, an old man minding forever the bodies of those that lay there, waiting for resurrection.

(6) You may have noticed (or not) that the first letters of the lines of this strophe, if read in sequence, form the acronym IXTHYC (ichtùs) in greek alphabet, that means "fish", but also: Iesùs Christòs Theòu Uiòs Sotèr (Jesus Christ Son of God the Saviour). The first Christians lived in a pagan society that was totally hostile to them, so they used to hide themselves under a complex symbology. They used to mark tombs and catacombs with cryptic symbols painted or engraved in marble. One of them was, indeed, "the fish", IXTHYC in greek as explained above. Others were "alpha" and "omega" (the first and the last Greek letters, symbolizing the beginning and the end), X (chi) and P (ro) Jesus monogram (first two letters of Christos) or the "good" shepherd.

(7) "Corpses shall not be buried nor burnt inside the city walls."
Since this rule was clearly stated in the Law of the Twelve Tables (Latin: Leges Duodecim Tabularum or Duodecim Tabulae), early Christians had to found burial places outside the city. They picked pre-existing structures like stone caves or early Christian hypogea nearby the main consular roads and enlarged them successively, according to their growing population. The first place to be referred to as catacombs was the system of underground tombs between the 2nd and 3rd milestones of the Appian Way in Rome, where the bodies of the apostles Peter and Paul, among others, were said to have been buried. Catacombs where used for the first centuries of the Christian Era and then forgotten during the Middle Age, just to be rediscovered in XVIII and XIX century by modern archeologists.

(8)(...)they had met regularly before dawn on a certain day to chant verses antiphonally amongst themselves in honor of Christ as if to a god, and also to bind themselves with an oath, not in a criminal conspiracy, but to abstain from fraud, banditry, and adultery, to commit no breach of trust, and not to renege on a deposit. After completing this foolishness, it was their custom to disperse and reassemble later to take food of an common and innocuous type (…) . This made me decide it was all the more necessary to extract the truth from two female slaves-whom they call "ministers"-by means of torture. I found nothing but a degenerate sort of superstition carried to immoderate lengths.

From the "letter regarding Christians" written around 112 by Pliny the Younger (61-113) to imperator Traianus (Trajan 53-117) while Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia-Pontus (now in modern Turkey). It's a quite famous letter because its contents were, in the view of many historians, to become the standard policy toward Christians for the rest of the pagan era.

 


The rights of this song are exclusive properties
of MARTIRIA and are protected by SIAE

The lyrics of the album "Roma S.P.Q.R" have been written by Marco R.Capelli,
if you want to know more about his activity as poet and writer (and if you speak italian)
you can give a look to this website: WWW.PROGETTOBABELE.IT

 
 
 

 

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