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Unit 8, Part 5: Roman RELIGION RELIGION • Actually a very religious people and held many festivals in honor of their gods. • Didn’t think that they could be sure which gods did or did not exist, so in order to avoid offending any gods, so they allowed people they conquered to keep their beliefs, and they even prayed to a wide range of gods adopted from the people they had conquered. • For example, many Romans worshipped the Olympian gods of Greece, whom they learned about when they conquered Greece. They became the main gods of Rome, though they were known by Roman names. • Many Romans also adopted gods from the Egyptians, Gauls, or Persians. THE PANTHEON • Romans built many temples to honor all the gods. These temples were called pantheons. • The most famous, known as the Pantheon, was built in the 20s BC in Rome. • It is the best preserved ancient Roman monument, and is particularly known for its impressive, huge dome. • Pantheon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=305niNDG8c4 ROMANS & JEWS CLASH • • • • • • • The only time Rome banned a religion was when it challenged the government and created a political problem. Conflict with Judaism for both religious and political reasons: Religious Conflict Jews believed their God was the only god, and some Romans thought the Jews were insulting their gods by not praying to them. Political Conflict Jews only wanted to be ruled by Jews, not by outsiders. In the AD 60s many Jews rebelled but were defeated Masada – Refusing to accept defeat, about 1,000 Jews locked themselves in a mountain fortress called Masada and held off the Romans for 4 years. In the end, the rebels killed themselves to avoid surrendering to the Romans Masada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t38sBuQ7pQ ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY • In the 1st century AD, before the Jews’ first rebellion, a new religion appeared in Judea. • Christianity – religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. • According to Jewish prophecy, a Messiah (Hebrew for “anointed”), who was a descendent of King David, would one day come to lead the people and restore the greatness of David’s ancient kingdom, Israel. • When the Romans took over Judea in 63 BC, many Jews thought the Messiah was coming. • Several prophets, such as John the Baptist, wandered throughout Judea announcing that the Messiah was coming. JESUS OF NAZARETH • • • • • Most of what is known about Jesus comes from the part of the Bible known as the New Testament. Birth – Born in small town of Bethlehem at the end of first century BC (his birth marks the shift from BD to AD) to Mary, who was married to a carpenter named Joseph. Christians believe God, not Joseph, was Jesus’s father. Life – grew up in Nazareth and likely studied to be a carpenter. At about age 30, he began to travel and teach, drawing many followers. Death – His teachings challenged the authority of political and religious leaders who had him arrested, tried, and executed by crucifixion, a type of execution in which a person was nailed to a cross (common practice in the Roman Empire). Resurrection – Christians belief he rose from the dead three days after he was crucified and appeared to several of his disciples, or followers, and that he stayed and taught them for 40 days before he finally rose up into heaven. People began to call him Jesus Christ, coming from the Greek word for Messiah. JESUS’S ACTS &TEACHINGS • • • Miracles – According to the New Testament, he performed many miracles such as turning water to wine, healing people who were sick or injured, feeding a crowd with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish, walking on water, and even raising people from the dead. Parables – He often taught through parables, stories that teach lessons about how to live. These linked his teachings and complicated ideas to people’s everyday lives in a way they could understand. (Ex: The Prodigal Son) Message – love God and love all other people, even their enemies, salvation comes from living God’s commandments. JESUS’S FOLLOWERS • Apostles - From his followers, Jesus chosen 12 to receive special training carry on his work. They travelled throughout the Roman world telling about Jesus and his teachings. They wrote the books of the New Testament known as the “Gospels.” • Peter – became the leader of the group after Jesus died. Eventually went to live in Rome. • Paul – Never met Jesus and actually started out persecuting Jesus’s followers. Eventually he did more to spread Christianity than anyone else. Known for writing long letters that he sent to communities throughout the Roman world to explain and elaborate on Jesus’s teachings. CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION • • • • • At first Christians worked to spread Jesus’s teachings only among Jews, but soon some apostles, including Paul, began to introduce Christianity to non-Jews in the Roman Empire. This growth began to concern some Roman leaders. Many local officials arrested and killed Christians, including Peter and Paul, who refused to worship Rome’s gods, making them martyrs, or people suffered death for their religious beliefs. Although most of Rome’s emperors allow Christians to worship as they pleased, a few in the 200s and 300s feared they would cause unrest and banned Christianity. This led to several periods of persecution, or punishing a group because of its beliefs. Many Christians were tortured and executed in terrible ways, often as part of the games in the Colosseum. It is reported that Emperor Nero sometimes even had Christians crucified and then lit on fire and burned as torches to light the Colosseum at night. Others were stoned or ripped apart and devoured by animals. Because of the ban, they were often forced to meet in secret. They used secret symbols, such as the fish, to identify other Christians. ROME TURNS CHRISTIAN • • • Emperor Constantine – became a general and led his army in many successful campaigns. He came to power in 306 after fighting and defeating many rivals. According to legend, he was preparing for battle against one of these rivals when he saw a cross in the sky. He thought the vision meant he would win the battle if he converted to Christianity, He converted, won the battle, became emperor of Rome, and removed the bans against Christianity. Council of Nicaea – In 325 AD Constantine called together Christian leaders to clarify and standardize church teachings. 60 years after Constantine died, Emperor Theodosius I actually banned all non-Christian religious practices.