The Roman Empire Essay

The Roman Empire Essay

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Eras of Persecution
Throughout history, minorities have always been subject to persecution by countries and empires for a myriad of reasons. One prominent example occurred during Roman Empire with the early Christian Church. The Roman Empire, an empire infamous for its brutality and efficiency at conquering new lands and people, victimized the early Christian community. Even though it is quite evident that the Romans persecuted Christians, the reasons behind the persecution of Christians are more complicated than what they may appear at the surface. At its essence, the Roman Empire persecuted Christians and the Christian church because Christians posed a threat to the Roman government and the Roman way of life.
The history of persecution of Christians is a long and very convoluted one. Christians faced different treatments from different Roman Emperors throughout the years. From the initial persecutions from Emperor Nero around 64 CE (Harris 369) to the persecution under the reign of Emperor Valerian in 257 CE (Haas 139) and to the final major persecution in 303 A.D under Emperor Diocletian (Keresztes 381). Each emperor had different motives and circumstances that encouraged the persecution of early Christians. In examining the religious, political, and social aspects, it is possible to attain a better understanding why Christians were persecuted by some emperors and why they experienced periods of relative peace under others. For example, there was relative peace for the Christians in the beginning of Valerians rule, but once dire circumstances hit, so did the commencement of national persecution (Haas 135). Yet, each emperor was different and ruled under different circumstances. As a result, persecution of early Christians f...


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..., many have acknowledged the many aspects have contributed to the persecution of the early Christians. The Roman Empire was one of the greatest and largest empires of the Old World and had to instill harsh measures in order to maintain and assert its control over the different lands and people that it had conquered. As it grew, the Roman Empire strove to preserve the roman way of life and its citizens loyalty to their emperor and nation. And since Rome claimed leadership from their gods, the Roman Empire needed to have citizens loyal to the empire and to the gods. Not doing so could be viewed as threatening by the empire as it could demonstrate that a person was not loyal to Rome and to the gods. Since early Christians refused to partake in religious ceremonies, they not only posed a threat from a religious point of view, but from a social and political one as well.

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