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Rome Travel Guide

The Christian era

In 6 AD Christianity was at its peak, many people expected the arrival of the messiah who was supposed to free them from the Roman tyranny. In 34 AD a prophet named Jesus who was believed to be the son of God and to be the promised Messiah; he began to predicate the word of God, which caused him to confront political authorities so he was pursued by Romans. After he taught his beliefs for three years, he was arrested and crucified according to Roman law which was applied those who committed acts of sedition.

Although Jesus died, Christianity became stronger, so Christians began to propagate their belief throughout Rome. Romans tried to control the growth of the new religion, but they could not. Many Roman emperors took radical actions against Christians; the emperor who was known for his acts of tyranny against Christians was Caligula. In the first century AD, there were Christians who began building churches all around Rome. In the third century AD, the traditional religious started to decline, so that Christianity became a considerable force. When Constantine decided to accept Christianity in the early fourth century AD, his motives were political. He noticed that the other external conflict could be solved if he had had the internal control of Rome.

In the following years, Christianity would be formalized as the official religion of the Empire. The German invasion to the empire slightly modified the position of the Christian church in Western Europe when the pontificate of Pope Leo I (440-461) was established and the advance of Islam was very swift starting year 635.

The power of Islam was growing; the Christian church decided to take some action against it so Christians and Islamists began a period of wars. The Islamists got to invade part of Rome, Islam swept to power three of the five important cities of the Roman Empire (Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch), threatened Constantinople and Rome were affected. In the early eighth century the situation worsened. Instead of having a united church, disputes between Rome and Constantinople for the primacy put at risk the authority of the church and in many regions (Gaul and Spain) the churches were almost independent.

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