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Essay on Third Century Christian Persecution

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The article, “3rd Century Christianity” by Graeme Clarke, discusses the history of Christian persecution. Section two, “Persecution AD 193-249” and section three, “The Persecution of Decius”, provide an in depth review of Christian persecution under the Roman Emperors’ Septimius Severus, Caracalla and Decius. However, the exact number of Christians persecuted and martyred for their faith will never really be known. Very few written records exist that chronicle events throughout the entire Roman Empire. At the start of the 2nd century, persecution of Christians was occasional, sporadic, and typically localized. Christians were harassed similar to other exotic groups, who were considered deviant (magicians,…show more content…
Memory of these groups was erased as the orthodox tradition emerged, and individuals were discredited or knowledge of them suppressed. The number of imprisoned Christians and subsequent confessors was often dependent on the discretionary powers of the provincial governors or by circumstances of events. Christians were generally granted an initial hearing, with pressure to deny their beliefs, followed by a period of imprisonment and eventual release due to recalcitrance. Arrest as a Christian did not always lead to a martyr’s death. Death of the Christian could be the result of crowd hostility or the religious views of a governor or judge, himself. Under Septimius Severus, the focus turns to Egypt and Mrica. All over the Roman Empire, Severus was stirring up chaos against the churches. Christians were being martyred throughout the empire, but with particular frequency in Alexandria. Ten specific individuals were named and cited as martyrs in Alexandria. It did not matter if these individuals were male or female, young or old and there was no popular form of attack upon them. They were often stoned or beheaded for being Christians. In Mrica, in the amphitheatre at Carthage, five youthful converts and their teacher were condemned to death fighting the beasts, at games celebrating the emperor’s young son. Of the five, there were two girls, Perpetua and
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