The Birth of Christianity
During the first century CE, a new
religion took hold in Rome. It was called Christianity. The followers
of Christianity were called Christians. Christians believed in one
god. They refused to worship the Roman gods. In ancient Rome, that was
against the law. Christians were hunted as criminals.
In spite of
persecution, Christians grew in numbers rapidly. Christians actively
looked for converts. They told others about the benefits of being
Christian. Christians came from every walk of life in ancient Rome,
but Christianity had great appeal to Rome's poor.
After Death: Christianity
after death in heaven. In the Roman religion, only gods went to
heaven. Emperors were considered gods. Everyone else went to the
Christianity promised equal
opportunity. You had to be born into the nobility. You could join
Christianity and be equally a Christian.
After nearly 300 years of
persecution, in 313 CE, Emperor Constantine ruled that Christianity
was legal and that Christians would no longer be persecuted for
This does not mean that Rome had religious freedom. It meant only that it was now legal to worship Roman gods or to be Christian. Every other religion
was still illegal.
lack of religious
freedom in ancient Rome contributed to the fall of the Roman
Nero Goes Insane (cartoon presentation for kids)
Christian Fish Symbol