Legacy of Rome and Christianity

Good Essays
Legacy of Rome and Christianity

Christianity came into existence almost 2000 years ago. Christianity, like

Judaism, rose from obscurity to become the dominant religion of Western culture. Christianity also became the dominant faith of Rome at the end of fourth century A.D.

(Matthews 157.) Both Christianity and Rome influenced Europe in a number of ways.

Christianity soon became the greater part of the empire. Between 284 and 476, Roman civilization went through two stages. One stage involved Diocletian's reforms -- paganisms last pinnacle, and the second part, when the empire began to fall after Constantine's reign -- the vibrant Christian age. (Matthews, 174) After this last stage, both secular and Christian writers competed for the attention of educated Romans. Christian writers deemed Rome worth saving; they looked towards a new future and new hopes. Secular writers on the other hand, did not experiment with new styles and consequently, Christian literature dominated the era.

Some of the best-known writers that explore religious writings are Augustine and Dante. Augustine's Confessions is a spiritual autobiography. Augustine talks directly to God and he includes a constant sense of awe at the grace and mercy of God. (Norton, 1004) "…Since all good things are from You, O God, and from God is all my health… let Your truth assure me… Thy gift who hast mercy on whom Thou wilt and wilt have compassion on whom Thou wilt" (Norton, 1005, 1008, 1031) Augustine's writings are a clear example of the common literature of this time. This form of literature carried on into what became known as the High Middle Ages, where Dante was prominent. Dante's writings are another example of religious writings. His work b...

... middle of paper ...

...ns and the Christian church. Sculpture was popular in Diocletian's time, long before Christians influenced art. (Matthews, 181) Sculpture consisted mostly of sarcophagi carvings and portrayings of feasts e.g. The Imperial Bounty. (Matthews, 183) Later, sculpture consisted more of religious portrayals "Christ in Glory with Four Evangelists" (Matthews 235) The Ascension and the Mission to the Apostles. (Matthews 238)

In a sense the Christian church within the Roman Empire influenced Europe. The literature and architecture of Rome was influenced by the presence of the Christians. The influence of this is still regarded today. We regard these works today -- e.g. paintings and architecture as marvels of fine art. Even today, the (Catholic) church is still prominent in Europe, particularly Rome. And even today, in the Vatican City, its influence is still felt.
Get Access