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Ancient Rome: The
Rise of Christianity
World History
Entering a Time of Peace
Under Julius Caesar, Rome became an empire.
Octavian Augustus was the first emperor of
Rome became too powerful to be challenged
and entered a time of peace in the empire,
known as the Pax Romana or “Roman Peace.”
Allowed ideas to spread across the world.
How Powerful Was Rome?
million square
 80 million
 1 million
residents in city
of Rome.
The Rise of a New Religion
In 63 BC, Rome took over
Judea, the home of the
Jewish religion.
Judea was controlled by
King Herod, a Jewish
governor for Rome.
After Herod’s death,
fighting broke out among
his sons.
Rome sent troops to create
peace in Judea.
The Birth of Christianity
Judaism was tolerated by the Romans at first.
First Monotheistic Religion: Only one
supreme god.
Jesus of Nazareth was born under the rule of
Octavian (Caesar Augustus)
Grew up preaching the idea of one true god
 Spread a message of peace, love, forgiveness.
Many Jews believed that Jesus was the
Messiah or Savior, from the Romans.
Jesus was called Christ which means “savior” in
How do We Know About Jesus?
Followers of Jesus wrote about the
teachings and experiences that
occurred during his life.
These writings were called Gospels,
meaning ‘good news’
Can be found in the New Testament of
the Christian Bible.
 The Old Testament is used by the Jewish
faith which does not believe Jesus was
the true Messiah.
The Pros and Cons of Christianity
Why did Christianity appeal to people?
Embraced All people
 Promised life after death for
ALL people.
 Appealed to poorer people
who were not wealthy like Romans.
Because of the Pax Romana, these ideas of Christianity
were able to spread quickly through the empire.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
The popularity of Jesus with the poor angered
the Romans and the Jews.
Jesus was called the “Son of God” and a “King”
 Jews feared Jesus’s preaching would anger the
Jewish leaders turned Jesus over to the Roman
governor of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate to be
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to
Golgotha- “Place of the Skull”
After the Apostles
*Followers of Jesus became known as Christians.
Much of what is known about Jesus comes from
the writings of his Apostles.
*Apostle means “One who
Apostles traveled, spread Christian teachings,
and wrote the Gospels of the Bible.
Peter and Paul were two very influential
The 12 Apostles
Roman Persecution of Jews and
Why did the Romans hate Christianity/Judaism?
Monotheism vs. Polytheism
 Christians/Jews didn’t recognize the emperors as
 Blamed for any problems in Roman society.
 Emperors such as Nero crucified and tortured
Christians and Jews as traitors.
 Many Jews fled their homeland to escape- Known as
the Jewish Diaspora- or “spreading out”
Christians and Jews became Martyrs: Dying for their
The Jews Strike Back
66 AD- Jews rebel against the Romans.
70 AD- Romans stormed Jerusalem and destroy
their temple, leaving only the Western Wall a.k.a
the “wailing wall”.
73 AD- Jews and Romans fight at the Battle of
Masada. Over 500,000 Jews died in this battle,
mostly of suicide.
Today- The Western Wall is Jerusalem’s holiest
The Victory Arch of Emperor
Titus over the Jews in Jerusalem
Hilltop Fortress at Masada
Jerusalem’s Western Wall
The Martyrdom of Peter
Peter the Apostle traveled to Rome
and was crucified upside down by
Believed to be the first “Bishop” or
Pope of the Christian Church.
 Today, all Popes are believed to be
descendants of St. Peter.
 We now call this the “Catholic” church
which means “Universal”.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
The Vatican
The Tomb of Saint Peter
Christianity Under Constantine
In 312 AD, Constantine became
Emperor of Rome.
During Battle, he saw an image of a cross
and won.
313 AD- Constantine issues the Edict of
Milan making Christianity a legal religion
in Rome.
To strengthen the religion he called the
Council of Nicaea to establish the core
beliefs of Christianity, leading to the
Nicene Creed.
Finally Official
In 380 AD, Emperor Theodosius declared
Christianity the Offical Religion of the Roman