Chapter 7 Rome Section 4: A New Religion: Christianity
Introduction • To begin with, the followers of Christianity were mainly poor and slaves. Roman rulers tried to stamp out Christianity by killing its followers. Over time, it spread throughout the entire Roman Empire.
The Beginning of Christianity • The Romans were tolerant of people they conquered by allowing them to follow their own religions and traditions as long as they showed loyalty to the Roman gods and their emperor. • Most of what we know about Jesus is from stories told by his most loyal 4 disciples called the Gospels. • He taught that you should love your neighbor as yourself and that if you believed, you would have everlasting life. • This alarmed many people and the Romans feared Jesus was more powerful than the emperor, so he was crucified.
Christianity Spreads • Most educated people in Rome spoke Greek. The Greek word for Messiah, or savior, is Christos, so the Romans started calling Jesus , “Christ” and people who followed him, “Christians”. • This fast-growing religion alarmed the Roman officials so much that they started to view Christians as the enemy. • The emperor Nero, started a campaign to blame the Christians for anything that went wrong in Rome. He allowed the torture and death of Christians to try to stop the growth of Christianity.
Stopping Christianity • The Romans tormented Christians off and on for the next 250 years. • During this time, the Roman Empire started to lose power due to weak and inadequate leaders. To explain this, the Romans blamed the Christians. • The more the Roman emperors tried to kill the Christians, the more people viewed them as martyrs or as people who were willing to die for what they believed in and the stronger the religion grew. • By 300 AD; 1 in 10 Romans believed in Christianity.