Did the Roman Empire really wage a war against Christians and their God?

Dr. James Corke-Webster

History remembers the persecution of early Christians as a clash between the Roman state and its traditional gods, and the new Christian cult and its upstart God. But is that really all there is to the story?

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The persecution of Christians under the Roman Empire has always been remembered as a clash of religious ideologies – a war between the Roman state and its traditional gods on the one hand, and the new Christian cult and its upstart God on the other.

But is all as it seems? And if not, what actually occurred?

One of our favourite Garden Fellows, James Corke-Webster from Kings College London, is the historian who's going to help us work it out. Has history misunderstood not just how this persecution worked, but even who was actually responsible for it?

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50 minutes



About the Fellow

Dr. James Corke-Webster

Dr James Corke-Webster is a Senior Lecturer in Classics, History and Liberal Arts, and Co-Director of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies.

Persecution Collection

Throughout history, humans have found ways to oppress and malign those they feel they're in opposition to, whether because of ethnicity or beliefs. In this collection, we're exploring the legacy of persecutions past, and why they're such a recurring theme.