Christians and the Roman Empire

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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.

Roman Maps and Timelines

How did Rome start?
Animated Map of the RISE
and FALL of Rome
Was Rome the Greatest
power in HISTORY?
Roman power at its peak   View
The power of Diocletian and Constantine  View
Which rulers heard Paul preach?  View
Rome in the First Century A.D.  View
Rome and Old Testament Events Timeline   View
Byzantine Empire in 1025 A.D.  View

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.

Life in the Empire

Why was it difficult to get citizenship?  Article
Did Caesar have a child with Cleopatra?  Article
What did Christians think of Roman games?  Article
Was apostle Paul a citizen of Rome?   Article
What laws did Jesus BREAK?  Article
Did Apostle Paul DIE in Rome?  Article
How long was Paul a prisoner?  Article
Did Jesus give Peter the keys to heaven? Article
The Nazareth Inscription Stone
A marble tablet, dated shortly after the death of Jesus in 41 A.D., contains edict from Caesar showing the early preaching of the gospel.
Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel
The Last Judgment fresco, on the altar wall of the Sistine chapel, is considered Michelangelo's crowning work. It is the largest fresco painted in the 16th century. It depicts several beliefs including an eternal hell. It also displays a humorous caricature of one of his harshest critics.
St. Peter's Square
The square, ruled by the Roman Catholics, is the centerpiece of Vatican City. It is within an area that is the world's smallest state.

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