Why Did Rome Start Persecuting Christians?

The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1863–1883, Walters Art Museum)

Rome was known for many things but religious persecution was not one of them. While Rome had a state religion and an imperial cult it did not generally outlaw foreign religion or religious practice. Doing so would have been disastrous. At its peak the Roman Empire stretched from England to Persia…

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