The peace of the Eastern Church was invaded by a swarm of fanatics, incapable of fear, or reason, or humanity; and the Imperial troops acknowledged, without shame, that they were much less apprehensive of an encounter with the fiercest Barbarians. The caricature of ascetic behaviour says as much about its author as the ascetics he pillories. A modern commentator cited it to illustrate the response of the world to those who chose to turn their backs on it. Philip Rousseau, Ascetics, authority and the Church in the Age of Jerome and Cassian. This sort of reaction also illustrates the uneasy relationship between society and its holy men and women, whose radically 'alternative' lifestyle choices, sets of values, and practices were open to misinterpretation, inducing anxiety and incomprehension. The same is true of another unusual approach to the human body, that of martyrdom. The migration from martyr to ascetic does more than reorient the observer's attention on the spiritual athlete.