Role of Christianity in the Fall of the Roman Empire

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Topics: Roman Empire
The first important factor that contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire is the introduction of Christianity. As the Roman Empire got bigger, new lands and people were taken into it, the conquered people added their Gods or religions to the Roman Pantheon. Before Theodosius made Christianity a main Roman religion, Roman religion was polytheistic. Through out the majority of the Empire’s reign, Christians had been treated with contempt and were looked upon as criminals. This is evident through out the Emperor Nero’s reign, when he blamed Christians for the fire of Rome and began to execute them in a sadistic manner; many of them were sent to the colosseum and were torn apart by wild animals, furthermore, Christians refused to worship the Emperor which was a crime, this had a major impact since the Emperor was a paramount of the society. The prosecutions had continued for a long period of time, until the Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity after winning a battle, Christianity then went further as becoming an official Religion when Theodosius converted the Empire in 380 AD.

By using various source reference and interpreting an opinion from historians such as Edward Gibbon and Rostovzeff, we can come to a proper conclusion and determine to what degree was Christianity a factor. Edward Gibbon suggested the influence of Christianity in his “decline and fall of the Roman empire” by a couple of statements. 1 “Christianity had some influence on the decline” from this we can deduce that Christianity was one of the main factors that contributed to the fall of the empire, however it wasn’t the main factor. Never the less, Christianity had a negative impact on the Empire since it’s theology and beliefs weakened the Roman Empire by decreasing of funds towards the Roman army when it was most needed, hence making it quite vulnerable, which contributed to the destruction of Rome’s defenses against the Barbarian attacks. Furthermore, from Gibbon’s quote “2 pay was

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