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How The Downfall of Rome in The City of God by Saint Augustine Was Influenced by Christianity

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In the City of God by Saint Augustine, Augustine uses the argument that Christianity lead to the downfall of Rome. The book describes why Christianity lead to the downfall of Rome and also what Christianity could have helped with Roman beliefs. Augustine comes up with this theory of how Rome fell, though there are many other theories that are controversial dealing with how the Empire fell to crumbles, Augustine’s theory is greatly supported. He points out all of the flaws of the Roman beliefs and tells the reader how Christianity could have saved the people of Rome if they accepted it. In the City of God by Saint Augustine, Augustine uses the flaws of Roman beliefs and the greatness of the Christian God to show how Roman failed in the religious aspect of their empire therefor leading the empire down a path of self-destruction.

The Roman Empire’s beliefs were flawed, over the years their inadequate religious views lead to mistrust and loyalty from their citizens. In the book City of God by Saint Augustine, he talks about how the Roman Empire could have held out long if it accepted Christianity into its culture. In the Roman Empire Christianity was very hush hush, because it was illegal to follow that religion. The citizens kept it very low key, on the outside they were to believe in the roman gods, but on the inside their heart belonged to Jesus. One of the mistakes that the Roman Empire failed to completely destroy was Christianity, and because of that rotted the empire from the inside out. Once the citizens learned of the greatness of this Christian god, their own gods became an embarrassment. Augustine addresses these man made gods, calling “All the gods of the nation are demons” ( 705 Augustine). The Roman gods are not necessarily very good role models, hence why some of the famous roman “heroes” are not necessarily great people. In any big community of people a good role model is a must have. Unlike the roman gods who were the opposite of a good role model they were vain, mischievous, and plain out rude. These man made gods came along with some very immoral ways, such as sacrificing virgins and animals, and also throwing parties for the “crimes of the gods” ( Augustine 243) though to the citizens they were not crimes. The roman people did not think of what they were doing was immoral, because it was the only culture they knew. To other people what the romans were celebrating was a crime, but because it was their god the romans would never view it as such a thing. This aspect of the book where the roman citizens believed in such mortal like gods interested me. All the roman people had to practice their religion was stories and festivals, they did not necessarily have a clear path to their afterlife. They believed in gods that committed such mortal like crimes, yet they still worshipped them as gods. In some sense I feel the roman people were tricked out of a real religion, because they were forced to believe whatever the senate came up with, they were just sitting ducks for whatever the senate wanted to drill through their heads, though the citizens do deserve a little credit sneaking Christianity into the empire and all. Christianity was hushed through the empire, because the senate would freak out if they found out that the citizens were secretly practicing Christianity. The roman senate was basically the popular girls in the school, if they thought there was something that would threaten their power (such as Christianity) they would go over power it and assert their dominance, and in roman times asserting dominance ment kill, pillage and kill some more, maybe the occasional crucifixion. The roman religion with all their gods died with the empire. But guess what came back once the empire was gone? Christianity. Christianity is an extremely popular religion, it is practiced basically everywhere. Just because the roman empire did not accept it into their society did not stop other others from quickly accepting the christian beliefs into their life.

Today Christianity is practiced everywhere. It is one of the largest religions today.. Many people like to talk about how church and state is separate. Though it is true that the church does not rule over state now that was not the case during the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages the church ruled over the state. The Pope was like the emperor, though no one would publicly admit that, he was able to control over the state with the emperor only being a figurehead not the real mind behind the operations. During this time the Church would do some messed up stuff yet used god as a buffer, Augustine addressed this by talking about how “the Church walks onward like a wayfarer stricken by the world’s hostility, but comforted by the mercy of God.” (Augustine 760). Many people became Christian crazed by becoming a crazy strict Christian and dedicating themselves to Jesus and the Church. Thought it is much different now than it was back then, but not saying there still aren’t strict christians, but just that there is a clear line between church and state when it comes to power. The church still has a effect of people today, though it does not control them like they use too, religion is still intertwined with today’s society. The powers of our country still talks about god in their speeches, they lowkey hint to religion because religion resides in everyone,some way good, bad or indifferent.

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How the Downfall of Rome in the City of God by Saint Augustine was Influenced by Christianity. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from
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