Hinduism and Buddhism which were founded rather early, Christianity
was only founded perhaps in 4 BC (as historians predicted), the
year when its founder, Jesus Christ, was born. It is a religion
that stresses on doing good to others and developing in oneself
qualities such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and
patience. It is also important for every Christian to be able to
forgive and forget. It is as we know today, a religion that is excepted
by most and widely practised by people all over the world. It was
not exactly the same case as in the past, however, especially in
ancient Rome. The following is a story of how and why this was so…
years after the death of the Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar, the
new emperor Nero came to the throne at the age of sixteen. He was
a wildly extravagant leader, taxing the people heavily to support
his personal projects. He was also a wicked man.
the year 64 A.D. a terrible fire raged for days in the slum districts
of Rome, killing thousands of people and leaving thousands more
homeless. Nero is thought to have started the fire as a sinister
way to rid Rome of both the slums and their occupants. However Nero
used the young community of Christians as his scapegoats, saying
that they had started the tragic fire. He ordered many of these
Christians to be massacred in -the amphitheatre and elsewhere.
official Roman dislike of Christianity was surprising, for the Romans
were usually quick to adopt the gods of other faiths into their
own religion. For instance, when Rome conquered Greece, the Romans
readily accepted the Greek gods and goddesses and their myths, and
altered many established Roman deities to resemble their Greek counterparts.
The Roman god Jupiter, for example, took on many traits of Zeus,
the Greek god of the heavens. Thus, why then could they not accept
reasons were because…
Romans also declared their emperors to be gods, beginning with Augustus
Caesar. However, the Christians refused to take part in the worship
of emperors and were as a result, so disliked by the Roman State!
were also seen as subversive enemies of the state in their fervent
desire to make converts. Despite the persecutions, particularly
under the emperors Nero and Diocletian, the number of Christians
increased and, in 313 A.D., the emperor Constantine granted the
Christians freedom of religion.
we can now understand why Christianity was not well received by
the Romans. The Christians refusal to follow the rules of the Romans
definitely angered the Romans much. Christianity was even considered
to be an illegal religion and Christians were even alleged to practise
black magic and even cannibalism!
early 5th-century mosaic in a semicircular portion of a church in
Rome shows Christ, the apostles, and the four evangelists (represented
by the beasts).