How Christianity came to Roman Hispania –

Christianity was a channel for all those evicted from the system, especially during the crisis of the third century that hit the cities so hard. Within its context, it served as a moral support in a historical period commonly described as a decadence for Rome. But,How Christianity came to Roman Hispania? We explain it to you.

Historical context of Hispania and Christianity

It must be taken into account that, broadly speaking, Rome maintains the trends that were already found in the Iberian Peninsula, this means few changes economically, although it does have new discoveries. There are changes in the organization of work and property because Rome was interested in the accumulation of benefits through taxes as it is a profitable way that also allows wars to be avoided.

Returning to the resources, we know that the rich, prestigious metals will be managed by the emperor and related high officials, more specifically gold and silver. For those “less noble”, such as iron, copper, lead, tin, we know, through epigraphy and texts such as Strabo, that Rome created private companies for the management of the mines, in which there is also part of public capital apart from private.

The population movement is also documented, more precisely of individuals who seek new seams and who see an opportunity in that system, thanks to funerary epigraphy we know that they came from the Italian area, that is, immigrants who settle in Hispania and are related to oriental and indigenous, but who are responsible for the mining areas.

Initially, Rome did not accept the religious path, in fact, it rejected it. It is perfectly seen in passages of Roman texts, which describe them as poor, humble, illiterate people and with whom it is difficult to argue since they do not work through the empirical path, but from the path of belief.

Already with Nero we see that the so-called “sect of Christians” (which is not important from the intellectual point of view) generates disturbances. At the same time we begin to have evidence of a more stable cult: Irineo de Lyon begins to speak to us very limited and with little detail of Iberian churches (ekklesia) around 180 AD.

The presence of monks also begins to be documented, beginning the proselytizing work, evangelization and attempt to convince others. This is Pauline Christianity (of convincing people). A little later, these monks begin to point out the previous customs as pagan, which ends up equivalent to false, in many cases, heresies arose within Christianity out of ignorance.

Already around 200 AD we see the opinions of Tertullian, a natural lawyer from the city of Carthage and who is temporarily located between the years 155 and 220 AD Of a visceral or passionate character and influenced by especially dogmatic or radical sects (they lived in a difficult way , facing hunger and need, is a way of approaching Christ and his life from the perspective of the Montanist sect), he will be a Christian intellectual.

In addition, it will launch a sentence that the researchers classify as an excess: all the peoples of Hispania have converted to the faith of Christ. Experts say that it is rather what Tertullian would like because missionaries are constantly being sent from North Africa.

However, a moment of regression is documented with the Emperor Deciuswho wanted to make changes in the religious sphere and one of them is stop the advance of Christianity seeking to return to paganism (for him, from the philosophical point of view, it has been the time that has given the most success and importance to Rome).

In 250 AD Decius issued an edict demanding a certificate of paganism. From such persecution arises the figure of Felix of Caesaraugustaone of the first martyrs. The Hispanic poet Prudencio (348 – 413 AD) dedicates hymns to the martyrs, which allows us to see the mentality of the martyr. It means that suffering has a payment, the idea of ​​holiness. Prudentius is quoted by Saint Augustine, who uses him as a model to follow.

To him 3rd century bishoprics begin to raise the idea of ​​establishing a church system as firm as possible in which its authority not only has religious weight, but also political and cultural-educational weight.

Then the conciliar tradition will begin:

  • Council of Elvira: primitive, in it the church is institutionalized and hierarchized in the manner of civil servants and is becoming increasingly solid and channeler of faith, creating rules of conduct.
  • Council of Nicea of ​​the year 325 AD

Constantine in 315 AD. legalize christianity so that there is less crisis, moreover, it is a reaction to seeing that there is a significant amount of the population that is becoming Christianized and that paganism meant going against the new forces and, therefore, against stability .

already with Theodosius I becomes firmer in official Christian religiosity and initiates a clear interrelationship between religious and temporal powers.

Early Christianity and influences

We can define it as a mixture of trends since, like any idea, however new it may be, has an important part of its foundations in previous ideas, in the case of Christianity we see that its original environment, Judea, develops a series of philosophical and intellectual currents from the following areas:

  • Phoenicia
  • Egypt
  • Syria
  • Persia
  • Greece (Hellenic world)
  • Rome

Thus, it is the result of the sum of beliefs, customs and philosophies that reflect the economic problems of the area. So Christ synthesizes different cultural trends and influences.

How and when did Christianity arrive in Hispania?

Experts in the field are considering two possibilities or, rather, trends, because it is not ruled out that they worked at the same time:

  • North African area: in the North Africa a strong Christianity emerged and solid, very sectarian, divided into sects that understood the New Testament in different ways.
  • Areas of the Mediterranean: arrival through merchants, soldiers, who are influencing and that permeates especially in humbler sectors, since it was understood as a “rebellious” response to the establishment and the generated elitist world.

And about Christianity, we invite you to continue learning history with the following post where we study Greek and Roman goddesses:

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