The Roman Empire influenced the Byzantine Empire’s culture, mainly through the religion of Christianity. Christianity first appeared in the Roman Empire, with the birth, teachings, and supposed resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the beginning years of it’s arrival, Christianity was not tolerated and Christians were mainly, and most often brutally prosecuted. However, with Constantine’s Edict of Milan, Christianity was officially tolerated, and under Theodosius, it became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire inherited this relatively new religion, continuing to follow the beliefs and traditions of the church, as well as spreading the word of Jesus Christ and the message of god. Churches sprung up in the empire, such as the mighty Hagia Sophia. Located in Constantinople and built by Justinian, this church especially exemplified
Eusebius provides a translation of the decree by Constantinus and Licentius granting religious freedom. In this decree they reason that whatever spirtual forces exist, they would be well served if they were on their own side. They will therefore allow people of any faith to freely worship in the hopes that one of these sects will grant divine blessing to the empire. Furthermore any places which had been taken from the Christians are to be immiediatly restored, those resotring them being compensated
Because Christianity could not be completely purged by the Empire, it created an opportunity for Christians to display how strongly they were devoted to the religion. The way in which they responded made all the difference. Under pressure, they would not submit, and this was proof of the force and influence of Christianity.
The Pax Romana allowed Rome to expand, and created a period of peace that would spread the important religion of Christianity throughout the strong empire. The new religion of Christianity was Jesus’ interpertation of monotheistic religion, Judiasm. Christianity was unlike the polytheistic Roman religion which infuriated many Roman rulers. Despite the hatred of rulers it spread quickly throughout the empire and continued even after Jesus died. Although Christianity followers were persecuted they felt strongly about their beliefs and eventually the Edict of Milan was passed whih meant that Christianity was a religion approved by the emperor. Christianity changed from a sect of persecution to a state religion within the Roman Empire because
Factors Which Led to the Spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire Christianity was not born in a vacumn. There were many social, geographical, historical and religious issues prevailing at the time of Christ and all of which were favorable to the spread of Christianity. Geograpicly, Christianity came into being in the Meditation world, the largest of the various centers of civilization at that time. Israel stands almost central to the five continents, dividing the east and west.
Once Constantine became the ruler of the entire Western Roman Empire, he met with Licinius, the co-emperor of the eastern empire, in Milan in 313. The intended purpose of this visit was to secure an alliance between the two rulers by the marriage of Constantine's half-sister Constantia to Lucinius. It was at this time that the emperors established what is now known as the Edict of Milan. It granted the freedom to pursue any religion within the empire, not just Christianity. Christianity was merely made legal at this point, not the state-sponsored religion. The edict also granted the return of properties seized from Christians by governors. Maximinus Daia, who was the co-ruler of the eastern empire invaded Lucinian territory in the Balkans and was defeated by Lucinius' army. After a time, relations soured between Constantine and Lucinius. Lucinius eventually went back on the agreement made during the Edict of Milan and in 322 and began persecuting Christians once again (Constantine I). This led to the conflict between him and Constantine in 324, which was viewed as a war of religious beliefs in which Lucinius and his army of Goth mercenaries represented ancient pagan beliefs, and Constantine and his army of Francs represented Christianity. The opposing armies met at Adrianople on the third of July and eventually led to Constantine besieging the city of Byzantium with his ground troops and naval fleet.
Christians went from being persecuted to dominating Rome rather quickly. In a world where separation between church and state does not exist, a Christian becoming the sole emperor of Rome symbolized a huge turning point in history. The power switched and the Pagans in turn became persecuted. Christians rose up and took control of all aspects of Roman society. The Pagan past was destroyed, banned, or forgotten about. Those Christians that did not agree with how things were being run either left the empire and became monks or formed their own sect. All of Rome changed.
Christianity is something that has stirred up a lot of controversy through the ages. During the Roman era, people like Emperor Trajan and Pliny, a Roman governor, did not appreciate Christianity since Christians did not follow the Roman religion. On the other side, Origen defends Christianity by debunking Celsus’s view of it. While Trajan and Pliny found fault in Christianity, Origen saw the potential religion that would allow humans to become better people.
In order to lessen the amount of crime along the Roman roads Rome employed an immense amount of highway patrols whose primary task was to ensure the safety of travelers along the roads. The patrols were made up of special detachments of military troops that were stationed an array of different positions throughout high traffic areas. Rome utilized police posts and watchtowers to keep an eye out for vulnerable travelers and dispatch patrols quickly if needed in order to protect its citizens. The patrols also received assignments such as watching out for escaped slaves, relaying messages, and even collecting tolls. These tolls were often collected at bridges or passes with the funds being used primarily to fund further developments for the road. This dynamic system of safety patrols used throughout the Roman roads kept many citizens safe and because of this safety, many early travelers were able to traverse peacefully amongst the Roman countryside (Andrews, 2014).
During the 700’s a new civilization was developing within the outer domains of the forgoing Roman Empire. Inside the British Isles and Scandinavia, the pagans, Roman and Christians were all mixed together. In the time of Charlemagne’s rule he wanted all Romans to convert to Christianity. Charlemagne was so set on Romans converting to Christianity that he threatened death to any and all that did not want to convert.
According to the sources the Christians were hated by the people of Rome. According to a source, that was written by Tacitus in 64 AD, they were “ a class hated for their abominations, who are commonly called criminals......... an immense multitude was convicted, not so much on the charge of arson as because of hatred of the human race.” (Tacitus, Annales 1a). They were convicted of crimes due to the fact that the Romans hated them. The
The relationship between Christianity and the Roman Empire is interconnected with each other in different ways. Heaps of commotion and perspectives were constructed, and it caused several disputes to form all over Europe. In addition to this, there was also a large amount of seclusion, death and persecution during the time. Events such as the Fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, the rise of Christianity, and its expansion throughout the Europe were a result of the political conflict. Due to the actions of many individuals and groups that influenced the course of major events, the relationship between the Roman Empire and Christianity was quite tense, problematic and confrontational.
In the Roman Civilization where the prevalent worship of roman gods were impersonal and did not provide a moral base or a message of hope, in the fourth century Christianity was formed, born as a movement within Judaism Christianity emphasized the personal relationship between God and people slowly spread through the Roman Empire until ultimately dominating the western culture. Three of the several factors that aided to the growth of Christianity in the Roman Empire were; the central beliefs and value of Christianity, prominent figures, and Christianity appeal to women.
In my Theatre of History class, we briefly discussed Rome and the fall of the Western Roman Empire as it related to theatre but I was intrigued to learn more. It didn’t seem sensible that the fall of the Western Empire would be placed, even a little, on the rise of Christianity during that time. It didn’t seem sensible for two reasons. The first reason is that Jesus Christ, in whom the Christians believed, had been born, lived, and crucified over 400 years before the Empire fell. His lifetime spanned only until the second emperor of the Roman Empire, before Rome’s crooked ways became noticeable and uncontrollable. The second reason is because the Western Roman Empire that fell was officially, as declared by an emperor, a Christian Rome. In this paper I will present and argue the many contributing factors of Rome’s demise, and answer the question was Christianity responsible for the decline of theatre as a practice in the Western Roman Empire and ultimately its fall?