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The Persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire - Coursework Example

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This` work "The Persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire" describes religion's power within the martyrdom of its people because of the persecution of the Christians. The author takes into account the psychology of Martyrdom, central causes for persecution, the growth of the number of believers…
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The Persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire
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Download file to see previous pages One of the ways in which to eradicate the belief, or so thought those of prominence within the Roman Empire, was to martyr believers. The problem with creating a martyr is that a rallying point is created. Thus, the martyrdom of Christians within the Roman Empire became an act that helped to promote the beliefs, rather than a way to eradicate them.
Because of the persecution of the Christians by the Romans, the religion found the power within the martyrdom of its people, thus giving it needed sympathy which allowed for the beliefs to be spread further. The Christians of the first centuries were the anti-establishment group that came up against a goliath of a political system that was defined by its ties to the ritualized worship of the Roman people to the pagan gods. Christians refused to participate, putting their own beliefs above Rome, thus becoming enemies of the state. An example of the persecution of Christians can be found through the experiences of Vibia Perpetua through the firsthand account of Tertullian. Through understanding the sympathy that is created through the terrible events of the persecution, the psychology of martyrdom can help to explain part of the way in which the plight of these early Christians helped to further the expansion of the religion.

Despite the desire to eradicate the Christians, this was not an action that originated because of an objection to that belief. Nero used the Christians as a scapegoat in order to find a plausible criminal element behind the fire in Rome, although Tacitus wrote that Nero had ordered the fire (Cairnes, 1996, p. 27). Tacitus (109 A.C.E.) stated that “Therefore to stop the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians” (p, 286). Christians were used, according to the belief of Tacitus, which suggests was the common belief of the time period, as a scapegoat in order to alleviate political pressures.

The first emperor of Rome to begin widespread persecution of Christians was Domitian, the last emperor of the Flavian Dynasty. The belief was not an issue with the Romans, but the refusal to honor the emperor through sacrifice and to confer to him proclaimed divinity provided a fuel with which to separate the empire from the Christian sect and to begin retribution for this insult (Peters, 2005, p. 246). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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