Historians still question why Emperor Constantine decided to get baptized on his deathbed, converting him to a Christian just minutes before his passing- but his decision changed the fate of Christianity forever. In the Roman Empire, the only option was the belief in the Greek-Roman Gods, such as Apollo. Those who believed in Christianity were victimized for their beliefs, often killed, and were considered martyrs. However, after Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, it inspired more people to believe in Jesus Christ. Christianity became the foundation for Byzantine culture, and established order and control in the empire until its collapse in the 15th century.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, a new empire, the Byzantine Empire, arose out of the eastern half of Byzantium. Byzantium stood partway along the straits between the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea. It occupied the tip of a small peninsula, with a body of ...view middle of the document...
Until the 4th century the official religion of the Roman Empire was paganism, worship of many gods, such as Venus and Apollo. One of the many emperors of the Byzantine Empire, Constantine, is best known for religious reasons. Though it is unclear when Constantine converted, he eventually became Rome’s first Christian emperor. Constantine became heavily involved in religious politics, mediating disputes between different Christian sects and even leading some Christians into battle against others.
The power of Christianity united the empire, and all of the different kinds of people in it. Christianity provided an immensely powerful force of unification. Government and religious were combined in one all-powerful body. Christianity also brought people together in a common faith that they could follow with enthusiasm and devotion. This gave Byzantines a strong sense of identity, distinctiveness, and destiny. While the old Roman Empire sought to rule by law and military force, the new Empire would unite all mankind under Jesus Christ, The Prince of Peace. The Byzantines seemed to have complete faith that they could achieve it. The church of the Byzantine Empire is generally called the Orthodox Church. An Orthodox faith is a universally accepted doctrine of set of beliefs. Its greatest conflict during that time was over the use of icons. The emperors were able to put down isolated revolts before establishing a policy on icons that satisfied everyone within the empire. The Byzantine Empire was instrumental in the establishment of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the geographical divide of the Church largely exists today.
In the early seventh century A.D., Muhammad began to attract a group of followers in the Arabian Peninsula around Mecca. These followers believed that Muhammad was receiving revelations from God. Muhammad had established the new religion of Islam, but he had also established the foundation of a political force in close proximity to the Byzantine Empire. Even though the Arabs and Islam took over almost all ends of the world, the Byzantine Empire was a barrier between Christianity and Islam. Through their battles, the Byzantines believed their victories were granted by God.