The fast day was established to commemorate the putting to death of Rabbi Chanina ben Teradeon, one of the ‘Ten Martyrs. He was burned at the stake, wrapped in a scroll of a Sefer Torah.
He wasn’t killed alone, the Romans ordered the death of his wife too. His daughter was forcibly put in a brothel, from which her brother-in-law – her sister Beruryah’s husband – Rabbi Meir, saved her.
It is interesting to note, that one of his sons joined a group of robbers whom he eventually betrayed, and therefore they killed him.
Sources: Tur & Shulchan Aruch 580, Avoda Zara 17b, Eicha Rabbah 3
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