Pagan Temples Protected by Emperor Constantius II Hot

Pagan Temples Protected by Emperor Constantius II

Emperor Constantine the Great

Emperor Constantius II decrees that even though pagan religious practices have been prohibited, the temples located outside city walls should be left alone so they can be used by the people for entertainment events such as circuses.

The new law from Constantius says:

"All superstitions must be eradicated, but the temples outside the walls must remain untouched and uninjured.

Because some plays, spectacles of the circus, and contests originiate in some of these temples, these structures shouldn't be torn down — through them the Roman people enjoy the regular performance of long established amusements." [CTh 16.10.3]

This is an interesting example of trying to preserve the trappings of ancient pagan religion even while the substance is being suppressed and eliminated. It's likely that the Christian leaders in Rome know that if their policies serve to eliminate popular amusements, they will experience greater resistance to their program of Christianization. Thus it's better to leave people with some pagan-derived amusements so long as active pagan worship and religious rituals aren't occurring.

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