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For more than two centuries, Christianity suffered under the Roman Empire. Christians were arrested, tortured, mutilated, burned, and starved. Christian buildings and the homes of Christians were torn down and their sacred books burned. The religious persecutions came to an end when Emperor Constantine ascended the throne. Unlike his predecessors, the emperor was a great patron of the Church. He built an extraordinary number of basilicas around the length and breadth of the empire, granted privileges to clergy, endowed the church with land and wealth, and even returned property confiscated from Christians by earlier rulers.

Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano

Battle of the Milvian Bridge by Giulio Romano, 1520-24.


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