Cristal Mateo West Civ Paper

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Cristal Mateo
Dr. Gilbert Stack
History 101-Western Civilization to the Reformation
17 October 2014
Persecute (pur’si kyoot’): To afflict constantly so as to injure or distress, as for reasons of religion, race, etc. (Webster’s 474) Chapter 6 in “Western Civilization” by Joshou Cole and Carol Symes begins with the story of a woman named, Vivia Perpetua, and the crime she committed; a crime so appalling that it was punishable by an even more awful death. The crime? She was a Christian in the time of the Roman Empire. (Cole & Symes 179-180) As we continue to read the text, a picture is painted of what it meant to follow Jesus trough out the year 30 C.E., a description of adversity and oppression lived by newly converted Christians. Today one might think that because many years have passed Christianity has become a well accepted religion through out the world and practice at no cost of suffering, one might think that humans have evolved and now have become more tolerant; but history repeats itself, and today some Christians might as well be living in the Roman Empire in the year 30 C.E. Founded by the Latins in 753 B.C.E., descendants of Indo-European people, Rome began as a republic. (Cole & Symes 147) Rome quickly developed into a powerful Empire with a tremendous 300,000 men army. As Rome continued their expansion, surely some things would change, this included their form of government and religion. Rome began as republic, but due to imperialism, (#2 the policy of forming and maintaining an empire, as by establishing colonies ((Webster’s 318)), new influences poured in, many of them being of Greek influence. As Rome progresses and flourishes trough their time of expansion, new challenges arise, and through out the vicissitudes of the empire; Roman citizens struggled to maintain their culture, values, philosophies and spiritual beliefs. (Cole & Symes 160) Those who acknowledge and approved the changes were said to be enemies of Rome itself. Vivia Perpetua, had become the enemy of Rome and thus deserve to die an abhorrent death. The roots of Christianity begin with one man who resided in Judea and Galilee, a powerful yet humble man, the Messiah, Jesus. (Cole & Syme 180) Born in 4 B.C.E., Jesus spent his adult life spreading his message and teachings of compassion and love, “you call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am” (Holy Bible: New Living Translation 2nd, John 13.13). Along with his teaching, he healed many people and performed various miracles. In the year 30 C.E., Jesus planned to enter the city of Jerusalem during Passover to spread his Evangelia, or good messages. However, he was arrested by religious officials of the city of Judea and brought to Pontius Pilatus, Roman Governor for sentencing. Jesus was then crucified; crucifixion was the punishment for sedition. After Jesus, died on the cross, he resurrected, spent 40 days on earth and later rose to heaven; this caused his disciples to believe firmly on the promises he made, especially the promise that he would one day come back to earth; and thus beginning the spread of Christianity. (Cole & Symes 181) At first Christianity was a minority religion, but as time progresses it begins to gain momentum and more and more Jewish and non- Jewish Roman citizens convert. Controversy arises and Christians are viewed as rebellious residents of the Roman Empire, “…Alleged that
Christians were political insurgents like the Jesus they worshipped, that they engaged in illicit act during ‘love feasts,’ or that they practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism.” An important figure of the spread of Christianity was Paul of Tarsus. Paul of set out to say the messages of Jesus, not everyone agreed with Paul and therefore he was sentence to death. Paul was beheaded in Rome on the charges of treason. (Cole &Symes 185)
Christian also faced oppression during the fourth century under the rule of Diocletian and his idea of unity within the empire,