Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


23 February 303

Diocletian orders the persecution of Christians.

On this date 1700 years ago, Diocletian, the architect of the brief Roman renaissance of the 4th century and one of the most powerful emperors ever, began an empire-wide persecution of Christians. In Nicomedia, the city in which Diocletian lived, soldiers and city magistrates broke into the most important church in town and burned the Scriptures contained within and leveled the building. The next day Diocletian ordered the first of four famous edicts ordering the destruction of churches throughout the empire and the persecution of Christians in general.

Why did Diocletian do this? The 3rd century in the Roman world was a horrible time, and when Diocletian became emperor in 284, he immediately began reorganizing the empire and restoring order. By this time, Christianity posed a bigger problem to Roman order than it did back in Nero's time. Christians had spread across the Mediterranean world, and they had fractured into squabbling sects. Diocletian wanted public order, and Christians arguing over the nature of Christ was a threat to that. Christians, naturally, refused to worship Diocletian as a god, which was treason. So the persecutions worsened. In April 304, Diocletian's last edict commanded all Christians to worship Roman gods on pain of death. Naturally, this led to horrible slaughter across the Roman world.

Diocletian stunned his subjects in 305 when he retired to his villa by the sea in Anatolia. A year after that Constantine, another emperor who prized order, became ruler, and instead of slaughtering Christians, he decided to accept the inevitable and make Christianity the official religion of the empire. One wonders how the bishops who suffered under Diocletian acted with their new power. Oh, that's right - they simply turned on anyone who wouldn't worship Jesus. The irony was no doubt lost on them.


Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

And the persecution continues - no prayer in the schools, and God only knows what else.

23/2/06 3:36 PM  
Blogger Delance said...

Constantine simply made Christianity not to be persecuted, it was not the official religion, and the following Emperor was a pagan.

1/3/06 9:52 AM  

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