Atheism in Pagan Antiquity

Atheism in Pagan Antiquity

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Atheism in Pagan Antiquity by Anders Björn Drachmann

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1922

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Atheism in Pagan Antiquity

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Book Excerpt

annot ask for a clearer proof that it is apostasy as such, denial of the gods, against which action is taken. It is in keeping with this that, at any rate under the earlier Empire, no attempt was made to seek out the Christians at their assemblies, to hinder their services or the like; it was considered sufficient to take steps when information was laid.

The punishments meted out were different, in that they were left solely to the discretion of the magistrates. But they were generally severe: forced labour in mines and capital punishment were quite common. No discrimination was made between Roman citizens and others belonging to the Empire, but all were treated alike; that the Roman citizen could not undergo capital punishment without appeal to the Emperor does not affect the principle. This procedure has really no expressly formulated basis in law; the Roman penal code did not, as mentioned above, take cognizance of denial of the gods. Nevertheless, the sentences on the Christians were considered by

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