The Death Of The Roman Empire Essay

The Death Of The Roman Empire Essay

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Different from the Decian persecutions, Valerian wanted to take out the Christian church by simply banning it’s activities altogether. Beginning with the first edict he ordered, the church’s property and religious ceremonies were to be seized by the imperial officials and any religious ceremonies that would have been halted, or if continued, members would have most likely been arrested and sent to trial. This has been implied through the later rescript of toleration that Gallienus would eventually put out to the empire. Even while the property of the church was being seized and the edict was also causing public ceremonies to be halted, the Christians would have continued to hold their religious activities in secret and away from the public. The damage to the Christians in the Roman Empire before the second edict, would have been mainly the confiscation of church property and the issue of a constant state of worry among those that did participate in the secret ceremonies and activities. There must have also been many that defected after this edict was produced, or at least ceased to practice their monotheistic religion. However, those that continued to participate and the influx of clergy trials, caused the imperial officials to request the guidance of the emperor and this is when Valerian issued the death penalty to all those that held the major titles in the church and those whom denied the Roman polytheistic practices. Now would be the appropriate time to discuss the deaths of pope Sixtus II and Cyprian. In the sources presented, it is known that pope Sixtus II was one of the first significant clergy member to be martyred in 257, under the first edict. Described as a “violent change in temper,” Sixtus and four of the deacons ...

... middle of paper ... obvious that he would want to either exile or execute them before there was any chance of defiance. It could have also been directed at the upper social classes of Rome because of the antoninanus, suffering a “catastrophic devaluation” during the campaigns against the invaders. The campaigns took a toll on the finances of the Roman Empire, which practically became bankrupt. The part of the second edict, dealing with the confiscation of property, could have been an economical move by Valerian to help the finances of Rome. Each of these theories have one fault or another in them and continued to be argued for being the true motivation behind Valerian’s persecutions. The most likely motivation behind the persecutions would be the combination of all three and possibly even more, that are missing in sources that aren’t in existence anymore or haven’t been found yet.

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