Western Europe Religion Change and Continuity over Time Essay

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During the time period from the beginning of the Roman Empire to the Crusades, there were changes and continuities in religion. After Christianity became the main religion in the Roman Empire, it slowly changed as time went on and in some areas remained the same.

At the beginning of the Roman Empire the Romans were a polytheistic people. They believed in many gods, which they adopted from the Greeks in Southern Italy. The Romans copied many of the Greek gods and myths but gave them different names, for example, Jupiter was the Greek god Zeus and Mars was the god Greek god Ares. People began to worship emperors during the reign of Emperor Augustus, the first emperor. Augustus didn’t demand it but the people did it anyway. Emperor Caligula was the emperor to demand to be worshipped. A cult of the living emperor was developed as a way to increase the loyalty of the people.

Christianity developed in a small Roman province called Judea by a man named Jesus, a carpenter from Galilee. He preached for about 3 years before the Jewish leaders brought him to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. Jesus was imprisoned, condemned, and executed by crucifixion. Three days after his death, he rose up again. His followers, the Apostles, began to spread his word among the Jews trying to convince that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God and that he was resurrected. A man named, Paul of Tarsus, persecuted the Christian church at first but when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus, he began to believe. Paul became the greatest Christian missionary in the world. He preached to the mainly to the Gentiles and many people believed. For more than two centuries, the Christian Church grew slowly but steadily. Many of the first believers were poor people, women and slaves. As the church grew and prospered, they developed a hierarchy of priests and bishops. Christians were forbidden to worship other gods. So, many early Christians were persecuted by Roman officials, who regarded...
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