Who was St. Januarius? And what is the origin of his cult? His figure has been much embroidered on, to the extent that it has become legendary, but his existence has real historical foundations. In fact he is mentioned in a 6th-century document, Acta Bononiensia, which recounts his martyrdom under Diocletian in 305. Januarius, the Bishop of Benevento, went to Misenum not far from Naples to visit Deacon Sossius who had recently been imprisoned and condemned to death. When Januarius and his companions reached the prison, they too were recognised as Christians and arrested. Since they did not deny their faith, they were condemned to death and beheaded at the Solfatara, an active volcano near Pozzuoli in the Phlegraean Fields.