Christianity in Rome

Best Essays
Christianity and the Roman Empire

Religion played a key role in the daily life and social system of Ancient Rome. Religion included the worship of many gods and more gods were often adopted from conquered areas. Because most religions were polytheist at the time, the Romans rarely disallowed a cult from a conquered region to continue. A few cults ran into controversy and opposition from citizens or government, such as the cult of Deus Sol Invictus, and that of Isis. Romans were also not keen on monotheistic religion which explains their separation from the Jews. But above all other religions, the Romans disagreed with, persecuted and were threatened most by Christianity. The introduction of Christianity to the Roman Empire
…show more content…
There must have been a reason this religion spread to the noble classes, yet unfortunately there has not been an in depth study about this to date. With this spread Romans became very suspicious about the Christian cult. In fact in 35AD, the Senate decreed it a “strange and unlawful11. They did not like the idea of monotheism, believing to favor one God so highly above others would anger them. The idea of polytheism also supported the Roman Empire, as by worshipping the gods an individual in turn worshipped the emperor in a way and believed the signs of priests and words to the emperors to be directly from the Gods12. Christians also refused to pledge allegiance to the emperor believing their allegiance could only be sworn to God and Jesus13. Theophilius of Antioch described it as such “The emperor, given authority by God, must be honored with a proper respect, but he must not be adored. You see, he is not God; he is a man whom God has placed in that office not to be adored, but in order that he exercise justice on earth… As the emperor may not tolerate that his title be taken over by those subject to him, so no one may be adored, save God”14. Romans also found the idea that Christians did not make sacrifices to be very disturbing, especially when combined with the fact that they would gather to “drink the blood and body of Christ”15. Sacrifice was the norm throughout polytheism and the fact that Christians refused sacrifice of any kind, to
Get Access