Caesar once said to Rabbi Tanchum, "Come, now, let us be one people."
"Very well," said Rabbi Tanchum, "only we, being circumcised, cannot
possibly become like you; if, however, ye become circumcised we shall be
alike in that regard anyhow, and so be as one people." The Emperor said,
"Thou hast reasonably answered, but the Roman law is, that he who
nonpluses his ruler and puts him to silence shall be cast to the lions."
The word was no sooner uttered than the Rabbi was thrown into the den,
but the lions stood aloof and did not even touch him. A Sadducee, who
looked on, remarked, "The lions do not devour him because they are not
hungry," but, when at the royal command, the Sadducee himself was thrown
in, he had scarcely reached the lions before they fell upon him and
began to tear his flesh and devour him.
THE TALMUD, _Sanhedrin_, fol. 39, col. 1.