The Roman Empire is credited with many things due partially to their ability to share, spread, and adapt culture. Rome was successful because it both conquered and shared the fruits of conquest with the conquered. Religion was one part of the culture that demonstrated the tolerance of Romans. For example, at the time of Jesus’ birth, paganism could be divided into three spheres: the official state religion, the traditional cults of the hearth and countryside, and the new mystery religions from the East. Even though the official religion in the Roman Empire began as Pagan, it ended as Christianity when Emperor Theodosius declared it as the official religion in A.D. 380. The following examines two works of fiction that deal with religion
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The movie King Arthur also deals somewhat with Roman religion. The movie begins with this direct quote, “Historians agree that the classical 15th century tale of King Arthur and his Knights rose from a real hero who lived a thousand years earlier in the period often called the Dark Ages. Recently discovered archaeological evidence sheds light on his true identity”. The movie is trying to portray Lucius Artorius Castus, leader of a band of Sarmatian Knights, as the actual historical King Arthur. As Higham notes, without better information, the candidacy of Lucius Artorius to be the historical Arthur remains in the realm of speculation. Many historians have tried to deduce the origins of the King Arthur stories, and so the authenticity of this claim will not be discussed here. Additionally, the actual Pagan religion these Knights believed or participated in is not divulged in the movie. One can speculate that the Sarmatians may have been Zoroastrian in their beliefs, but the actual religion will not be reviewed here. Instead, the interaction between the Christian Arthur and the Pagan Sarmatian knights he leads will be discussed.
The story line of the movie is that these Knights have just concluded their 15 years of service to the Roman Empire. At the direction of the Pope, Arthur must lead his Knights on one final task in which they must travel beyond Hadrian’s Wall, into