Ancient Roman Religion Essay

Words: 3522
Pages: 15

Elizabeth Berninger
Statement of intent

Throughout the history of Rome, from the monarchy to the late empire, religion had played a great role in it's society and was involved in almost every aspect of the life of the Roman citizen. It was common for each house to have it's own patron god/gods and ,on special occasions, the head of the house would make a sacrifice to the personal gods of the family. Also, great festivals were usually held in honor of certain gods and would include spectacles like chariot races and Gladiatorial fights.
The religious practices of the ancient Romans are best remembered with grand temples, great festivals and Christian persecution to the final acceptance of Christianity within the Roman empire over the
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These persecutions were horrible and involved all sorts of barbaric tortures which included the victim being fed to the lions, crucified or being used as a human torch. These same persecutions which were meant to discourage christianity actually helped it to grow because it was believed that the Christians died for their religion (became Martyrs) which made them look even more nobel to the people.
Because of this persecution, many early Christians were forced to worship in the Roman Catacombs which was one of the few places they would be safe. The catacombs were sacred to the Romans because their dead were buried there and it was forbidden for them to kill anyone within their walls. It is also true that the crucifix was not always the symbol of Christianity but ,in fact, it started out as a Pagan Roman symbol. The fish was the identifying symbol among the early Christians and they identified with each other through that way.
The beginning of the third phase and of the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire occurred in 312 BC, upon the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. It is said that he had a vision from the Christian god before a monumental battle in which he was told that he would have victory if he painted the sign of Christianity on the shields of his men. He did what was told of him and was victorious and converted the empire to Christianity.
As soon as Christianity had taken a major hold in the