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October 19th, 2012, 15:09
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
The idea about Christian Persecutions go back to a tome by Eusebius known as "Acts of the Martyrs". Needless to say, this tome have been heavily analyzed and today it should be taken with a grain of salt as it's more political propaganda to justify the new church (4th century) than actual history. Many times the supposed persecutions probably never happen, or were carried out against Jews, not Christians. This piece of history can partially be seen as an extension of the religious beliefs in the religion itself.

I would recommend a Bart D Ehrman lecture on this known as "From Jesus To Constantine - A History Of Early Christianity".
I don't even know where to begin…. Christians were heavily persecuted in the Roman Empire, largely for the same reasons that Jews were persecuted (unwillingness to honor the Roman Gods as well, as required by law). Plenty of Roman historians make note of persecution of Christians, it doesn't just come from Acts of the Martyrs. Just off the top of my head:

Trajan declared that Christianity was illegal, though he also implemented a don't ask, don't tell policy on it. If a Christian was found out though, the punishment was torture to force a renouncement of faith, and failing that execution.
Marcus Aurelius was very anti-Christian, and order several specific instances of mass persecution. During his reign, in Lyon for instance, Christians were forbidden from " public areas such as the marketplaces, baths, etc." Eventually it lead to the Persecution in Lyon where a large number of Christians were tortured and executed.
Things culminated in the Great Persecution in the late 3rd, early 4th centuries. It resulted in the execution of thousands of Christians, and discrimination of hundreds of thousands. 10's of thousands were tortured, but escaped death for various reasons.

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