Study of the Roman Empire is essential in order to gain a clearer understanding of the events and teachings found in the New Testament. Rome played both a positive and negative role in the early history of Christians delineated in the Bible. Even after the close of the New Testament, the histories of both Rome and Christianity would intertwine for many years to come.
On the positive side, the Roman Empire helped pave the way not only for Christianity to start but also to rapidly spread throughout the world. It was under the relative peace of Emperor Augustus that Jesus was born. Rome's influence, however, was many times negative. It was Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed ruler of Judea, who sought to kill a newborn Christ (Matthew 2). Later, Rome became a pawn in the hands of Jewish leaders, who used its authority to murder Jesus Christ (Matthew 27). Emperor Nero began the first of ten waves of persecution against Christians by killing both Apostles Paul and Peter.
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Rome in Pictures
|The Roman Coliseum |
The largest stadium built by Rome, it seated more than 50,000 spectators. It hosted gladiator games and even held naval battles within its walls.
|The Appian Way |
The Way was the Republic's first and most important road. Countless troops used the Appian Way. The crucifixion of the defeated slave army of Spartacus occurred on the road. The apostle Paul used the Way to go to prison in Rome.
|Circus Maximus |
The first and largest circus ever built, it could hold up to 150,000-seated visitors. It hosted games, festivals, chariot races and the martyrdom of countless Christians.
|The Forum |
The Forum was the center of public life. It held elections, trials, speeches, and business deals. It is the most FAMOUS meeting place in all of human history.