Last modified on 28 November 2012, at 17:06

Saylor.org's Ancient Civilizations of the World/Emergence of Christianity

Pontius Pilate tries Christ
An early depiction of Christ

The Roman Empire plays a crucial role in the rise of Christianity. At the most basic level, it is in the Roman-controlled province of Judea that the events of the New Testament take place. Judea came under Roman control in 6 CE during the reign of Augustus and thus it is under Roman authority that Jesus Christ was said in the New Testament to have been tired and crucified. The judge at Jesus' trial was said to be the Roman Prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate. Although Pilate ultimately "washes his hands" of Jesus' death, Jesus was executed by crucifixtion, a notable form of Roman execution. Therefore, even the cross, the most powerful symbol of Christianity, owes itself to this facet of the Roman Empire. As this section will show, Christianity spread across the Roman Empire, challenging and supplanting the tradition polytheistic religion of Rome.