In the first century, around 110 A.D., St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote seven letters on his way to martyrdom. He would be eaten by lions in Circus Maximus, which was a stadium where chariot races were held, among other things, obviously.
In his letter to the Romans, as he willingly made the journey to his death, he said:
“Only pray for me that I may have strength both inward and outward; that I may not merely speak but have also the will; that I may not only be called a Christian but may also be found to be one. For if I be found to be one, then I can also be called one and be deemed faithful even when I am no longer visible in the world.”