Religions in Conflict: From Polemics to Wars (Late Antiquity - 18th Century)
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Christians against Christians: The Earliest Stage of a Long History

Dimitris Kyrtatas, University of Thessaly

The Christian community of Rome was actively involved in the disputes and conflicts that challenged the Christian movement empire-wide from the late first century. Its interference in the affairs of other communities is most evident in the anti-heretical campaigns launched by its leaders as well as in the efforts these leaders made for the foundation of a universal church. I shall restrict myself to the second century and, as much as possible, to its first half. This period has not been much investigated due to the lack of reliable evidence. But since it seems to have been most crucial for the understanding of later developments, it is worth some close scrutiny. I shall argue that the leaders of the Christian community of Rome started developing from a very early time an ambitious plan and that they consciously pursued it in a most persistent manner. To facilitate the discussion I have grouped my arguments under five headings. I deal first with examples of what we may call clear cases of direct intervention. Second with the means employed and the weapons used in such interventions. Third with the reasons that led Rome to intervene. Fourth with the strategy and the aims of the interventions. And finally with an estimate of the results, the successes and failures of the endeavour.

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2004: Univeristy of Thessaly - Department. of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology