The Roman Empire was a dominant power driven by leaders who transformed the Roman world. From 300 to 800 CE, religion ranged from monasticism to Christianity while the government varied from a tetrarchy to a diarchy and to a monarchy. Some rulers governed the province by controlling the relationship between religion and the state, while other rulers only moderately regulated the relationship between religion and state. However, both ways of governing had positive and negative impacts on the transformation of the Roman world. By examining the various primary sources, lecture notes, and textbook, I conclude that the Roman world was transformed by the way people understood the relationship between religion and the state during this period because each leader believed in a different way to bring success and dominance over Western Europe causing Christianity to evolve in the Roman Empire.
From 284 to 305 CE, Diocletian ruled as emperor of the Eastern Empire. Diocletian “appointed three men to share his rule” creating a tetrarchy government to provide more effectual governance over the empire by balancing authority and territory. He convened for Lactantius, master of Latin rhetoric, to teach rhetoric at the imperial government and to manage the “Latinity of the imperial court’s official documents;” thus making Lactantius an important eyewitness to Diocletian’s reign. According to Lactantius’s On the Deaths of the Persecutors, in February 303 CE, Diocletian launched the last persecution of Christians which denied Christians of all legal rights. The persecution continued until 311 CE when Galerius, who was the Caesar of the Eastern Empire and was deathly ill, struck a deal with the Christian God. Galerius instituted an edict which granted Christians freedom of worship in exchange for their prayers for him. This was a major transformation of the Roman world making Christianity tolerated among the Roman Empire.