The Political And Religious Cond
The accession of Septimius Severus, A. D. 193, marks a change in the
condition of the Empire. It was becoming more harassed by frontier wars,
not always waged successfully. Barbarians were gradually settling within
the Empire. The emperors themselves were no longer Romans or Italians.
Provincials, some not even of the Latin race, assumed the imperial
dignity. But it was a period in which the Roman law was in its most
flourishing and brilliant stage, under such men as Papinian, Ulpian, and
others second only to these masters. Stoic cosmopolitanism made for wider
conceptions of law and a deeper sense of human solidarity. The Christian
Church, however, profited little by this (§ 34) until, in the religious
syncretism which became fashionable in the highest circles, it was favored
by even the imperial family along with other Oriental religions (§ 35).
The varying fortunes of the emperors necessarily affected the Church (§
36), though, on the whole, there was little suffering, and the Church
spread rapidly, and in many parts of the Empire became a powerful
organization (§ 37), with which the State would soon have to reckon.
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