Roman Persecution Essay

1998 Words 8 Pages
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 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 …show more content…
Rome’s treatment of the Gaelic tribes helps foreshadow later treatments and attitudes towards Christians. The Gauls “were not only notorious for their hatred of Rome, but were most detested for their…crude and barbarous practice of slaughtering human victims and consulting the entrails about future events” (Janssen 148). Through conquering and expanding their empire to an unprecedented size up to that point in history, the Romans had to develop methods and attitudes in order to maintain domination and stability over the regions they had acquired. Roman conquest signified Roman domination. People under Roman control were required to adhere to a Roman way of life, a way of life that constantly reminded them that they were a conquered people who had to kowtow to the superior Roman force. This Roman way of life included religion, which consisted of public ceremonial sacrifices and ceremonies that Roman citizens had to partake in. The Gauls and their priests, the Druids, where heavily oppressed by the Romans as the Romans viewed them as a threat to the Roman Empire. The Druids “preached the coming fall of the Roman Empire and a new era of Gaulish hegemony” (Janssen 148). The Gauls wanted to liberate themselves from Roman control, and with their religious leaders prophesying the collapse of the Roman Empire; the Gauls were converted into a dangerous force that the Roman …show more content…
Even though there some Gentiles who were Christ followers, the early church predominately consisted of Jews. According to church tradition, Nero was “the first emperor to persecute Jesus’ followers…executed the apostles Peter and Paul in the mid-60s CE” (Harris 428). Even though the emperor at the time persecuted Christians, it was relatively concentrated and more sporadic compared to the Great persecution that was still to come. The Roman Empire was confused about early Christianity. Since the early church consisted primarily of Jews, the Roman Empire probably considered Christianity to be more of a Jewish sect than a new religion. As a result, since Christianity was considered more of a sect, it became comparable to the Gaul’s pagan religion (Janssen 153). Since the early Christian church started off small, the Roman government did not really interfere with the early church and left it relatively undisturbed. Yet, when Jews revolted against Roman control, the “Jerusalem Temple was razed in 70 CE, Rome became the new Babylon in the eyes of many Christians” (Harris 369). The Roman Empire was keen on maintaining its control of its entire empire and the people that inhabited it. The Roman Empire ruled ruthlessly and made sure to quickly strike down any rebellious people before they could threaten the stability and rule of the Roman Empire. Therefore, early

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