The reign of Constantine the Great brought a new era to Rome. In the century A.D., Constantine changed the religion of the Romans to Christianity. When Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, Christianity would soon start to make a gradual acceptance in the lives of Romans and change in the lives of Christians then and the years to come.
Constantine’s pondering on Christianity most notably in a “battle against Maxentinus” (Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia). Before this battle, Constantine worshipped Sol who was sun god of the Romans. Before this battle, Constantine had a vision of Jesus Christ, who told him to engrave “XP”, the first two letters of Jesus Christ’s name in Greek, the shields of his soldiers. The next day, he saw what appeared to be a cross scorched on the sun. The cross was accompanied by the words “in this sign you will be the victor (Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia). Constantine became victorious in battle and thus came into power. On account of ...view middle of the document...
Heavy persecution led to his beheading because of the message he was preaching in Rome. When Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, the violent persecution of Christians was ended. This was joyous news to Christians because they didn’t have to go through daily life with the thought that someone might kill them for what they preached (Lord Vol. 4). For the Romans, the spread of Christianity and the sight of it would occur more often. The messages that the Christians could freely bring would lead to them to ponder it in their hearts and the eventual formation of Roman Catholicism.
The original lifestyle of the Romans was very spiritually different than this new way life that they were soon going to accept. The majority of Romans practiced Mithraism, which included the belief of many gods and cults. The reverenced these gods daily inside their home. Roman life included several gladiator fights in which usually two slaves would fight to the death and secular festivals honoring the pagan gods. This lifestyle took a different turn when Constantine legally recognized Christianity. Christians easily spread the new teachings and the Romans’ previous ways of living were suppressed. Secular festivals were stopped, gladiator fights happened less often, and pagan temples were transformed into churches. Yet, many traditional practices were done in secret because Mithraism and other pagan religions in Rome were present for a very long period of time (Cowell 194). Despite this, Christianity was able to make a lasting effect in Rome because eighty-one years after the Edict of Milan, paganism was completely forbidden by Emperor Theodosius sixty-seven years after the Edict Milan (Cowell 194).
Because of Constantine’s legal recognition of Christianity, the Roman Empire would soon find itself in a new era. Despite of the reason for Constantine’s decision, an unforeseen gradual change it brought gave the Romans a new way of thinking and safer life for the Christians of the empire.
Cowell, F. R.. Everyday life in ancient Rome. New York: Putnam, 1961. Print.
"Constantine The Great." (n.d.): Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Lord, John. "Constantine the Great: Christianity Enthroned ." Beacon lights of history ; Antiquity. New York: Fords, Howard and Hulbert, 1883. 40-51. Print.