Finance by the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem, a place of suffering and death, and for oppression of Christians. Success out of excess.
A saint banished to the island of Patmos, a history wound around a column, and a megalomaniac emperor strangled in his bath by a professional wrestler.
Paintings of gladiatorial combat and martyrdom in the Colosseum had also been quite different before Gérôme’s ‘Ave Caesar’. Examples from Artemisia Gentileschi and others.