In the third century, the Roman Empire was being invaded by Goths. At the same time, the Plague of Cyprian, probably smallpox, broke out killing at its height 5,000 people a day. So many died that the Roman army was depleted of soldiers. Needing more soldiers to fight the invading Goths, and believing that men fought better if they were not married, Emperor Claudius II banned traditional marriage in the military.
Emperor Claudius II quelled internal rivalries resulting from the previous Emperor Gallienus’ assassination by having the Roman Senate deify Emperor Gallienus to be worshiped with the other Roman gods. Citizens were forced to worship the Roman gods by placing a pinch of incense on the fire before their statues. Those who refused worship of the Roman gods were considered “unpatriotic” enemies of the state and killed. Emperor Decian’s persecutionThis post was originally published on this site