Christian History Institute

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31 Aug 1990

Persecution in the Early Church: A Gallery of the Persecuting Emperors

by Mark Galli | Issue 27

From A.D. 30 to A.D. 311, a period in which 54 emperors ruled the Empire, only about a dozen took the trouble to harass Christians. Furthermore, not until Decius (249–251) did any deliberately attempt an Empire-wide persecution. Until then, persecution came mainly at the instigation of local rulers, albeit with Rome’s approval. Nonetheless, a few emperors did have direct and, for Christians, unpleasant dealings with this faith. Here are the most significant of those rulers.

Claudius (41–54)

Perhaps the first to persecute...

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