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What was the official religion of the Roman empire?

Question:

What was the official religion of the Roman empire?

The Roman Empire:

From 27 BCE to 480 CE, the Roman Empire dominated the Mediterranean world. It built roads and aqueducts across Europe and the Middle East, and with its transportation, trade, and military networks was crucial to the spread of religion as well.

Answer and Explanation:

Throughout its history, the Roman Empire was dominated by two religions: traditional Roman polytheism and Christianity.

When Rome became an empire, its people practiced a native polytheistic religion that melded Latin, Etruscan, and Greek influences. The Romans prayed to a number of deities, some of which were cosmic in scale and some of which were very personal, like the house gods and spirits. The Roman emperor played a major role in this as the head of the state religion, and priests were very influential figures.

In the first century CE, however, Christianity was introduced to Rome from the Levant and began to spread quickly. Christians were persecuted violently, but the faith continued to grow until finally it was legalized by Constantine in 313 CE. Christianity became the de facto religion of the empire soon after, and finally in 380 CE formally replaced Roman polytheism as the official state religion of the Roman Empire.


Learn more about this topic:

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The Conversion of Constantine and the Ascent of Christianity

from

Chapter 5 / Lesson 8
37K

Learn about the conversion of Constantine to Christianity, his issuance of the Edict of Milan, and his hosting of the Council of Nicea to standardize the religion.


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