Friday, September 10, 2010
Rome had pretty much taken over the world by might, when another belief system was beginning that took over the "hearts and minds" of those living in the this Roman world. This small sect started in Jerusalem and began to attract attention from the Romans right from its very beginning. Early on, as Christianity spread, the authorities of Rome saw it as their duty to defend public order against these men and women who seemed to them traitors or irresponsible madmen. The real rub was that the Christian's refusal to accept the divinity of the emperor, and to sacrifice to him as a god. You can certainly imagine that "The Empire" was not very concerned with the details of the morals and faiths of its hundreds of component city-states, tribes, and nations. There were scores of gods and goddesses, innumerable spirits and demons, that filled the minds of the millions and millions under Roman rule. On the other hand, Christians were "monotheists" [only one god] and in fact they felt that an "Emperor" who pretended to be a god, was really a "devil". You can begin to see how this difference might generate a conflict, more and more as those who accepted this new belief increased in number, and spread throughout the Roman world. Early in this period, the imperial authorities did not consistently seek to "stamp out" the Christan religion. Persecutions were sporadic and came in several waves over three centuries. [ The persecutions were also subject to great local variations.] Each "wave" of persecution would force many of the Christian faith to the edges of the empire. The final edge was our families' little part of the world. Interestingly, there is a place called "World's End" located among a series of terraced limestone cliffs very near the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey. The limestone ridge can be seen from "Horseshoe Pass" on A542 in the heart of our Jones families' land.