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Seven Sleepers

Seven noble youths of Ephesos, who fled in the Decian persecution to a cave in Mount Celion. After 230 years they awoke, but soon died, and their bodies were taken to Marseilles in a large stone coffin, still shown in Victor's church. Their names are Constantine, Dionysius, John, Maximian, Malchus, Martinian, and Serapion. This fable took its rise from a misapprehension of the words, “They fell asleep in the Lord” —i.e. died. (Gregory of Tours De Gloria Martyrum, i. 9.) (See Koran, xviii.; Golden Legend, etc.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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