Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Christianity in the roman empire.
#1
I have another question: When did the roman empire become christian? was it with emperor constantine? If so what time was this A.D?


Thankyou
______________
Hal Proudfot
Conor Maher
Reply
#2
Interesting question. It depends on what you mean.

When did the empire's inhabitants become majority Christian ?
When did the empire get its first Christian Emperor ?
When did the empire become officially Christian ?

All different answers to these questions.

Constantine was the first Christian Emperor but most of the empire remained pagan for several decades, perhaps up to a century.

Christianity becomes the official state religion under Theodosius I, the last sole Emperor of the empire. Unlike Constantine, he ruled as a devout Christian and was baptised long before his death.

The last remnants of paganism were finally suppressed by the reign of Justinian I.

Vale,
~Theo
Reply
#3
Thankyou, I think I was looking for when the majority of romans became christian.

___________
Conor Maher
Conor Maher
Reply
#4
Find an accurate date is going to be very hard to do. The histories from the region are going to have been santized. The church would not want anyone know how many pagans there were or how harshly the church persecuted them to "entice" them to convert.
Timothy Hanna
Reply
#5
Quote:Find an accurate date is going to be very hard to do. The histories from the region are going to have been santized. The church would not want anyone know how many pagans there were or how harshly the church persecuted them to "entice" them to convert.
That’s the most base assertion I’ve read to date coming from you. It rests on nothing more substantial than your antipathy toward the early Church.

You presuppose that the Romans conducted some kind of regular census that recorded everyone's religious affiliation. This was never done, hence there were no “histories” to be “sanitized” with regard to numbers which were at any rate notoriously unreliable in secular histories of the Later Empire.

Even more deplorable is your statement about the church “persecuting” pagans to stimulate its growth. The Church did not persecute pagans. Persecution was the province of the state which through several centuries of practice became refined into an art. Christians did not become a simple majority through persecuting pagans. The only pagans who were targeted by the state were those among the ruling classes - a tiny number. The rustics were not harassed in any way for their beliefs.

The growth of the Church isn’t hard to explain. First of all, Christianty from its earliest days was a missionary religion. It gainned converts at first from the lower classes but quickly began to spread into the higher social circles. Even pagans like Galen admired some of their mores. Secondly, practicing Christians refrained from abortion and birth control unlike their pagan counterparts. Finally, the Emperors’ new adherence to Christianity gave the Church a huge prestige boost. They made Christianity a socially and politically respectable alternative to paganism in goverment circles. Ambition, therefore, proved more efficacious than anything coercion might achieve. Though that isn't to say that advancement required one to be Christian. Even Theodosius appointed many pagans to high profile government positions.

~Theo
Reply
#6
Quote:Even more deplorable is your statement about the church “persecuting” pagans to stimulate its growth. The Church did not persecute pagans.
I strongly agree. The death of Hypathia is the obvious counter-example, but it must be noted that this was exceptional, and I am not sure whether the over-enthusiastic Alexandrian mob had orders from the Patriarch to follow the intelligent woman. Besides, I can not find a second example of a martyr for Paganism.

If the Church was intolerant, it was against fellow-Christians. Much more energy was devoted to the fight against Arianism than to the struggle against Paganism. And this is not just born out by our Christian sources, but is also proved externally: Arians, Nestorians, and so-called Monophysites settled in the Sassanian Empire, but there is no evidence for Pagan emigrants.

It should also be noted that to most Pagans, conversion was easy. Pagan intellectuals had, since the second century, developed ideas that behind the multitudes of divinities was one single God, and in the fourth century, Christianity presented itself in this fashion too. Becoming a Christian did not exclude the possibility to keep to certain Pagan cult practices. There was no thought police - yet: of course, by the end of the fifteenth century, the Inquisition had been founded.

Final remark: I deliberately let out the Church's attitude towards those Pagans who venerated, to judge from their material culture, Dionysus and the other gods, had "pagan" names, and lived in Palestine. After the fourth century, they were increasingly Judaised. It seems that Church and State unitedly acted to create a Jewish nation, even though its members had become fully integrated into Pagan society. I stress "seems" because this is the Schwartz hypothesis, and although I was impressed by his book Imperialism and Jewish Society: 200 B. C. E. to 640 C. E., I cannot judge the quality of his arguments.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
Reply
#7
Moderator note: Timotheus, you must cease your provocative religious attacks. Doing so offends other members unnecessarily.

You are entitled to whatever beliefs you wish to hold, but you may not make undocumented statements such as those you have made above, not on this forum. Please consider the rules to that effect, and adjust your posting accordingly. This a moderator's warning.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
Reply
#8
Quote: Pagan intellectuals had, since the second century, developed ideas that behind the multitudes of divinities was one single God,

Perhaps even earlier than that, if Diogenes Laertius is to be believed. He says that the father of Stoicism, Zeno, taught this in the third century BC.

Quote:They [Zeno and Chrysippus] also say that God is an animal immortal, rational, perfect, and intellectual in his happiness, unsusceptible of any kind of evil, having a foreknowledge of the world and of all that is in the world; however, that he has not the figure of a man; and that he is the creator of the universe, and as it were, the Father of all things in common, and that a portion of him pervades everything, which is called by different names, according to its powers; for they call him Dia as being the person (di hon) everything is, and Zeus, inasmuch as he is the cause of life, (tou Z?in), or because he pervades life. And Athene, with reference to the extension of his dominant power over the aether (eis aithera). And Hera, on account of his extension through the air (eis aera). And Hephaistos, on account of his pervading fire, which is the chief instrument of art; and Poseidon, as pervading moisture, and Demeter, as pervading the earth (G?). And in the same way, regarding some other of his peculiar attributes, they have given him other names.
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
Reply
#9
Quote:
Jona Lendering:2yuvhw2a Wrote:Pagan intellectuals had, since the second century, developed ideas that behind the multitudes of divinities was one single God,
Perhaps even earlier than that, if Diogenes Laertius is to be believed. He says that the father of Stoicism, Zeno, taught this in the third century BC.
Yes, and we might also recall the Hymn to Zeus by Cleanthes, another Stoic. I think there may be other examples as well; I recall Aristotle's idea about one transcedental God, but I do not remember the details. Yet, in my initial posting I was thinking of Neoplatonism, which was what Augustine and his companions used to present Christianity to the Pagans as a logical faith.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
Reply
#10
I can see this has sparked quite interesting debate here, so therfore I shall interfere as little as humanly possible in my quest to get answers to my questions. Am I correct in thinking that It is impossible to tell exactly when the roman empire became majority christian? If so then thankyou for your help if not please feel free to contact me and put me straight.

Yours Gratefully
Conor Maher
Conor Maher
Reply
#11
Quote:Am I correct in thinking that It is impossible to tell exactly when the roman empire became majority christian?
That is certainly correct, but I think that the reigns of the co-emperors Valentinian I and Valens (363-378) marks the final breakthrough. Constantine had protected and, when he conquered the eastern half of the Empire, used Christianity; according to his greatest fan, Eusebius, he was even baptized (no other evidence, though).

His sons were certainly Christians, and if you wanted to make a career, showing respect to Christianity was important; what you believed at home, though, was another matter.

Christianity did not really suffer from the persecution by Julian the Apostate (if there was a persecution; evidence is not so strong, I've been told).

During the reign of Valentinian and Valens, it became clear that the new religion was to stay. I think the return ot Christianity after Julian was the decisive moment.

Please take note of one question: to what religion did people convert? The main tenets of Christianity (as summarized in the Creed) were not established until the Council of Constantinople in 381 or so. During the reigns of all emperors mentioned above, conversion was easy, because there was no real consensus about what Christianity was about.

This started to change in the 380s, when the Creed was finally established and the Church was sufficiently strong to allow bishops to humiliate emperors: Martin of Tours speaking out against Magnus Maximus, and Ambrose insisting on Valentinian II and Theodosius I doing penance. In 392, Paganism was outlawed.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
Reply
#12
Not worth the effort.
Timothy Hanna
Reply
#13
Agreed. Pax vobiscvm.
M. Demetrius Abicio
(David Wills)

Saepe veritas est dura.
Reply
#14
I'm a Christian but I would stand up for Timotheus's post/opinion. Whether it is right or wrong, a great deal of people think that the church was always an evil torturer of non believers in its quest to convert the world. That was more applicable in the medieval times for sure, but some people get the idea that this was always the case before our "modern" times. If he is telling what he thinks was the case in this time, I wouldnt call it bashing Christians. It caused a good debate and revealed knowlege for sure.

-Nihonius
Nomen:Jared AKA "Nihon" AKA "Nihonius" AKA "Hey You"

Now with Anti-Varus protection! If your legion is lost for any reason, we will give it back! Guaranteed!

Carpe Dium
Reply
#15
I think you can call it whatever you want...the "church", the Boyscouts, the NBA, etc. etc. Any institution down to the lowest club or group is going to suffer from human nature and all of it's inherent human corruptions.
____________________________________________________________
Magnus/Matt
LEGIO II AVG COH VIII
It amazes me how quickly stupid people are out-breeding the smart ones.

"The greatest impediment of all is the square-jawed, flat-talking Tatum, who is so wooden he presents a fire hazard." - The Toronto Star on Channing Tatum in "The Eagle".

"I am on a drug. It\'s called Charlie Sheen. If you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body" - Charlie Sheen
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Christianity and the Late Roman Empire Valerian Pertinax 29 3,824 03-16-2013, 08:00 PM
Last Post: Alanus

Forum Jump: