Been spending a lot of time learning about Emperor Nero. He was a pretty vicious and cruel emperor and he really didn’t like the Christians. In A.D. 64 there was a great fire in Rome and it destroyed much of the city. Although many people thought Emperor Nero himself set the fire, he blamed the Christians. At the time they were a relatively small population in Rome and were an easy target.
As a result, they were rounded up and persecuted. Many were fed to the lions in large events held at the one remaining amphitheater in Rome. Others were scorched and burned alive in the streets, used as human torches to provide light. Kind of gross, right?
Unfortunately for Nero and the Roman Empire, this only emboldened the Christians. Their refusal to abandon their beliefs and the bravery they showcased at death only furthered their cause, turning them into martyrs. Within just 300 years, the popularity of Christianity in the Roman Empire became quite large and under the rule of Emperor Theodosius, it became the official religion.