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"Perpatua's Passion, The Death And Memory Of A Young Roman Woman" By Joyce E. Salisbury.

1201 words - 5 pages

"Perpetua's Passion", written by Joyce E. Salisbury, studies the third-century martyrdom of a young woman, Vibia Perpetua. Salisbury follows Perpetua from her youth in a wealthy Roman household to her imprisonment and death in the arena while describing conflicting ideas of religion, family, and gender. Based on her book, Salisbury explains why Romans persecuted Christians, why other Romans converted to Christianity, and why Christians refused to abandon their faith even faced with torture and execution.The book suggests that Perpetua was born into a well-educated Roman family and was brought up as a respectable young woman. Perpetua had a close relationship with her father who had a high place in the community. Perpetua had been carefully educated and guarded by her father to fulfill her roles to marry and bear children to continue the family line. People prayed for peace and opulence of the Roman Empire. For the safety of the emperor, people were to offer sacrifices that drew people together in a common hope. This hope was guarded by gods and goddesses who protected cities and regions in return. In time, political problems threatened to tear the Roman Empire into pieces.While Rome faced minor problems, a new religion, Christianity, developed. Romans viewed this new religion as threat to the stability of their ancient power. The Romans attempted to halt the spread of Christianity among the common people by persecution and oppression. Romans believed Christianity threatened to lay waste to traditional Roman values and practices and sabotage the very basis of Roman power. Romans justified their persecution by accusing Christians of breaking the peace of the gods, corrupting public morals, not following their ancestors, and many other issues.Christians were persecuted for a variety of reasons. First, Christians denied the basis for the Roman authority by advocating that their God was the only real God. This idea denied the existence of the pagan Roman gods. When Christians denied the existence of Roman gods, they attacked the foundation of Roman power. The Roman persecution of Christians was legal because Christians attacked and alienated the pax deorum, the peace that the gods brought to the empire. Romans believed this peace was essential to the continued security of Roman power. Since they believed that keeping of this peace was vital, it was offensive to them when Christians refused to sacrifice to those gods.Another reason for Christian persecution was that Romans believed that the presence of Christians was seen as a threat to peace and public order. In the Romans' eyes Christians were seen as antisocial by creating their own society. By not worshipping the gods of Rome, they defined the meaning of antisocial. Christian rituals were perverted in the eyes of the Roman populace so that people believed Christianity was an immoral religion. An example of Christian ritual was the day of their baptism. During this time women joined the community...

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