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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
VII. THE LATER EMPIRE: CHRISTIANITY IN THE ROMAN WORLD, 180-395 A.D.
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HOSTILITY TOWARD THE CHRISTIANS
The new religion from the start met popular disapproval. The early Christians, who tried to keep themselves free from idolatry, were regarded as very unsociable persons. They never appeared at public feasts and entertainments. They would not join in the amusements of the circus or the amphitheater. They refused to send their children to the schools. The ordinary citizen could not understand such people. It is not surprising, therefore, that they gained the evil name of "haters of mankind."
SUPERSTITIOUS FEAR OF THE CHRISTIANS
If the multitude despised the Christians, they sometimes feared them as well. Strange stories circulated about the secret meetings of the Christians, who at their sacrificial meal were declared to feast on children. The Christians, too, were often looked upon as magicians who caused all sorts of disasters. It was not difficult to excite the vicious crowds of the larger cities to riots and disorders, in which many followers of the new religion lost their lives.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy