Eugène Delacroix
The Justice of Trajan

1840
Oil on canvas
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen

According to the Golden Legend, the woman seen here in the lower left corner accosted the Emperor Trajan with the words, "Be good enough, I beg you, to avenge the blood of my son, who was put to death though he was innocent" (Ryan I, 178). Trajan replied that he did not have the time, was off to war. The woman pointed out that he could die in the war, "and what good will it do you if someone else rights my loss?" This question caused the emperor to reconsider. He took the time to judge the case and saw that the innocent was avenged.

This is the episode that came to St. Gregory's mind when he resolved to pray for Trajan even though the man was long dead and a pagan.

More of St. Gregory

Source: Wikimedia Commons