Christianity 's Domination Of The Roman Empire

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Some may credit Christianity’s domination of the Roman Empire to Constantine’s Edict of Milan. This edict was a continuation of the Edict of Galerius, which essentially stated that despite the disapproval of the Roman government, Christians were allowed to continue worshipping, as long as they prayed for the well being of the state and allowed the government some control of the magistrates (Knipfing 697). The Edict of Milan furthered this by granting “both to Christians and to all men freedom of choice in following such form of worship as they wish” (“The Edict of Milan” 1). However, due to evangelistic practices already in place, the Edict of Galerius and the Edict of Milan was superfluous to the rise and spread of Christianity. The Edicts of Galerius and Milan were decreed to stop persecution of the Christians that had lasted since the movement began. Persecution of Christians had begun as early as the Emperor Nero’s rule. “Persecution went on automatically, if sporadically…until the third century” (G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, “Early Christians” 15). Christians were persecuted simply for being Christians. At the beginning of their movement, many pagan Romans believed all Christians were incest and cannibals because of the secrecy of their rituals. Once the apologetic works of Augustine and others were written to defend the Christian practices that were the source of these ideas, the only claim against someone being a Christian was their questionable loyalty to the state.

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