Why the Romans Convert to Christianity Assignment

Why the Romans Convert to Christianity Assignment Words: 940

Q: Why did the Romans convert to Christianity? Rome: Thought of as one of the most majestic and powerful places in the world. It’s composed of seven hills along the lush Tiber river and the Vatican City, St. Peters Cathedral, and the Pope all call this place home. To know more about present day Rome and its traditions we must first look into the past at its people. One of the most important events in Rome was the Late Antiquity. This was the period between the 3rd and 7th Century and was known as the beginning of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Christianity had been present before in Rome, but was not accepted until the Late

Antiquity. One of the reasons why it was not accepted before was because Christianity is the belief in Jesus Christ, who is the trinity (the father, the son, and the holy spirit. ) This ideology went against the principles of Rome and thus was believed to be a “subversive force” which led to the persecution of Christians. Though the Late Antiquity seemed drastic, this was exactly what Rome needed. The Roman people were in desperate need of a nurturing religion that was set up on stable morals and did not believe in self sacrifice and mutilation. They needed and wanted a basic religion for Rome for numerous reasons.

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During the Fall of the Roman Empire the corrupt Caesars in control were pagan and believed that they were a divine power and practiced intolerable acts such as self mutilation, Page 1 sacrifices, and persecution of those who would not grovel at the feet of the Roman Empire. Late Antiquity was an extremely unstable era where many religions were transplanted from other countries at the time religious cults were very prolific. One of the most prominent cults worshiped Mithras, who was very popular with men in the military. Mithras was a strong dominating character who believed in sacrifices.

Another popular cult was based off the Egyptian goddess Isis. This cult believed in a virginal birth and miraculous resurrections. Judaism and Christianity were present at this time but in very minute numbers. Judaism had become known by the soldiers because it was highly practiced in Judea and Palestine when the Romans conquered them. Tales of the practices of the Christians and Jews circulated back to the enraged Emperor Diocletian who began to persecute them. Though the Christians were being condemned now their “salvation” was near. Emperor Diocletians successor, Constantine, converted to Christianity in 312 and then in 13 legalized Christianity. This act put the Roman people on a path to hope. The legalization of Christianity boosted the number of Christians from 5 % in the 4th century to the majority of the people after 313. Then in 325 Constantine ordered the church council of Nicea to make one unified statement of the Christian belief. He also changed the architecture of the Christian churches. He built the first great basilicas and poured an enormous amount of money into building churches. The Christians once worshiped in catacombs in the dark and were buried in secret, now they were free to worship in public.

Following in his fathers footsteps, Constantines son, Emperor Constantius banned the pagan traditions and put out a decree that Page 2 anyone who followed in this corrupt practice would be put to death. The belief of Christianity in Rome differed than our present day Christian belief in the fact that they believed the Emperor would be “God on earth. “. The Christians were to unify together and take lead under the Emperor who would take them to the promised afterlife when the end of the world came. The drastic change of Rome becoming Christian is said to be anachronistic. This means hat it is historically out of place such as the takeover of Christianity. There are numerous reasons though why the Romans were attracted to Christianity among other religions. The Christian church was completely different that any other of the practices used at the time. The Christian church could offer complete guidelines of a way to life. Being a Christian gave a sense of purpose and made you part of a group that was productive and did not practice torturous acts. Also, the Christian church used the belief of egalitarian. This is the idea that all people are equal and can hold any position they want.

It is based off the idea “word hard and it will pay off” instead of a class system. The church became a promising community of believers. Neighbors could bond over a common goal and it promoted growth in groups. Christians would invest time with people (known as liquid capital) and would help the needy. By 250 the Christian church in Rome was helping over 1,500 people in need. The idea of Christianity was that people could leave there troubles and come worship and pray with a select group who had the same common goal: personal salvation. Lastly, Christianity was an incentive because in 250 gave its people ore protection then the Roman government would at the time. It is distinctly easy to see why the Late Antiquity: Rise of Christianity was such a important part of Romes history. The Christian church could give the Roman people something Page 3 they couldn’t have with any other cult religion, belief in a happy afterlife and a set of morals that are used to get there. The cults at the time could offer a feeling of community but its ideals were soiled and would not progress the believer to be a overall happier person. Thus concluding the reason why Christianity in Rome could be called a “godsend. “

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