Roman Persecutions of Christians

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Topics: Roman Empire
Christians have faced persecutions since the very beginning of the Catholic Church. Until the Edict of Milan, in 313 AD, Christians were persecuted by their local authorities and the local Jews. The “secret meetings” held by Christians raised suspicions of the Jews and posed a threat to the Roman Empire. Emperor Nero is known for his extremely violent persecutions and setting fire to the center of Rome, deflecting the blame onto the innocent Christians. The line of emperors after Nero also took part in the persecutions. Christians faced difficult decisions involving their faith and their lives. Many of them were martyred during the early Roman persecutions, as they would not deny their beliefs. The first documented imperially supervised persecution is under the Emperor Nero. In the year 67 A.D., Nero was crowned the sixth emperor of Rome, and would be for five years. Over time, he became a more and more powerful ruler. As Christians continued to meet in private, he began to feel threatened by and suspicious of these secret matters. As a form of punishment to any Christian, or “follower of the way,” Nero had the tendency of inhumanely torturing the people. In his garden, he would tie a number of people to poles and line them along his pathway. At the break of night, he would light each of them on fire, as a light source for his evening walks. In addition to burning Christians alive, Nero is known for feeding them to his wild dogs and also crucifying them. Although many denied their faith in fear of these harsh treatments, most would rather die that denounce their one true God. Nero is mostly known for “the great fire of Rome” that began one night in 64 A.D. and lasted for five entire days before it could be tamed and finally put to an end. Rumors began to rapidly spread among the empire and the conclusion was drawn that Nero himself set the fire. Evidence supported the Romans’ suspicion because Nero had such a dire need for a new palace to be built there,

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