The Rise of Christianity

Christianity’s emergence in the 1st century CE changed the Roman world. its rise was not without difficulty however, as the historian Tacitus shows in his account of Nero’s persecution.

By the 4th century, however, the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. The Edict of Milan in 312 CE granted Christianity equal status with other religions. In 380, the Emperor Theodosius would declare Christianity the official faith of the Empire.

Nero’s Persecution of the Christians
The Conversion of Constantine

Questions for consideration:

  1. What was Nero’s motivation for targeting Christians?
  2. From the brief excerpt, how does Tacitus characterize Christianity and Christians?
  3. What was Constantine’s reason for adopting Christianity?
  4. How does the account of his conversion illustrate the chaos of the late Roman Empire?