Christianity & The Roman Empire Essay

609 words - 2 pages

The Success of Christianity in the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire, before Christianity, was a polytheistic culture. There were many gods and goddesses that were worshiped for different reasons. Even small communities within the Roman Empire recognized their own deities along with the more popular gods and goddesses. As time progressed, Roman Emperors were soon included with the polytheistic worship. Julius Caesar himself claimed to be a descendant of Venus, the sun god. Because Caesar was so popular, the idea of worshiping Emperors grew and was followed after his death. The Romans could worship Jupiter one day and Apollo the next with no conflict. The Romans felt, just as most followers of any religion, that by worshiping the gods and goddesses they kept threats at bay; such as natural disasters, a harvest from failing, famine, or a widespread sickness. They worshiped to prevent bad things from happening, so in essence they worshiped out of fear.

In approximately 330 CE, the Roman ruler Constantine said he had a vision in which God showed him the symbol of Christianity, the cross. He had his soldiers paint the cross on the armor and they were victorious in battle, therefore Constantine attributed their victory to God. During his rule, he urged his people to turn to Christianity but still allowed the polytheistic worship. After his death, eventually people of any religion other than Christianity were forced to be baptized and practice Christianity. Many Romans were accepting of this new faith however, many openly practiced and accepted Christianity but still practiced their own beliefs in private. Christainity might not have grew in popularity within the Roman Empire had it not been for Constantine, he was popular. If Constantine had not had his vision, I wonder how the path of Christianity within the Roman Empire might...

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