Spread Of Christianity Dbq Essay

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Product Description

This Document Based Question (DBQ) was created for 9th Grade World History. It could also be used as a review for the New York State Global History and Geography Regents exam. The topic is the spread of Christianity in Ancient Rome. It follows the format of the New York State social studies testing requirements for writing DBQs. The DBQ packet has 4 pages total including nine primary or secondary source documents (one source is an image and one is a map) with constructed response questions followed by an essay question using the documents.

Part One has a total possible 25 points and has an answer key, and a scoring rubric is included for the essay (1-5).

SAVE MONEY! This DBQ is included in my Christianity in Ancient Rome Complete Lesson Plan Bundle.

I created this DBQ for my Global History I course. I knew this would be useful as it combined primary and secondary sources with analyses of maps and images. It does take considerable time to create these but I do know that they provide a strong outlet to apply the particular lesson involved. I hope you find them useful as well! Please leave feedback on your students’ ability to complete the tasks involved in this DBQ.

I’ve left the DBQ as a Word Document so that you can add more space for writing answers as needed.

This DBQ addresses the Common Core State Standards. It has been updated with a page outlining the English Language Arts/History/Social Studies grades 9-10 as outline at http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10 and http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RH/11-12.

All the images I've used are in the public domain, credited or created by myself.

The Common Core Standards were written and developed by The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

This product is the work of All Things History Lesson Plans. It is intended to support the implementation of the CCCSS. No approval by, nor association with, the creators of the CCSS is intended or implied.

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Teaching Duration

45 minutes

World History
Unit 2: Classical Civilizations: Rome

Document Based Question: Christianity

Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying documents (1-6). Some of the documents have been edited for the purpose of this exercise. This question is designed to test your ability to work with historical documents. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source and specifics.Write a well-organized essay that includes your analysis of the documents. In no case should the documents simply be cited or paraphrased. You should include specific historical details and you may discuss documents not provided in the question.

Historical Context: The Roman republic gave way to the Roman Empire after the coronation of Augustus in 39 BC. This began a period in history known as the Pax Romana. While this period is usually remembered as the Golden Age of Rome, not all of the developments that occurred proved easy to handle. This was certainly the case regarding the new religion of Christianity.


Prompt:How did the Romans react to the introduction of Christianity?
Document #1:



Document #1: Looking at the map, what was the purpose for building an extensive transportation network within the Roman Empire?





Document #2
"To all Gods beloved in Rome, who are called to be saint …I am eager to preach the gospel to you… For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith…God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us….If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. …For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him.."Epistle to the Romans, Paul of Tarsus, c 57 AD

Document #2: What does the author present to people that would compel them to accept/convert to Christianity?





Document #3"In order to put an end to these rumors, Nero provided scapegoats and visited most fearful punishments on those popularly called Christians, a group hated because of their outrageous practices. The founder of this sect, Christus, was executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilatus. Thus the pernicious superstition was suppressed for the while, but it broke out again not only in Judaea, where this evil had its origin, but even in Rome, [where] all obnoxious and disgraceful elements from everywhere in the world...receive[d] a large following….A vast multitude was convicted…because of their hatred of humanity. Their executions were made into a sport in that they were covered with skins of wild beasts and torn to pieces by dogs, or they were fastened to crosses or wrapped with inflammable materials so that ..they could be burned to serve as torches in the night…"Roman historian Tacitus describing events of 64 AD.

Document #3: According to this historian, how were Christians treated during the reign of Nero?





Document #4It was in the nineteenth year of the reign of Diocletian, in the month …called April by the Romans, about the time of the feast of our savior's passion, while Flavianus was governor of the province of Palestine, that letters were published everywhere, commanding that the churches be leveled to the ground and the Scriptures be destroyed by fire, and ordering that those who held places of honor be degraded, and that imperial freedmen, if they persisted in the profession of Christianity, be deprived of freedom.Such was the force of the first edict against us. But not long after, other letters were issued commanding that all the bishops of the churches, everywhere be first thrown into prison, and …be compelled to sacrifice [to the gods] .......Eusbius during the reign of Diocletian (284 AD-305AD)

Document #4: According to this document, what steps were taken by the government towards Christians?




Document #5Amongst our other measures for the advantage of the Empire, we have hitherto endeavored to bring all things into conformity with the ancient laws and public order of the Romans. We have been especially anxious that even the Christians, who have abandoned the religion of their ancestors, should return to reason…After the publication, on our part, or an order commanding Christians to return to the observance of the ancient customs, many of them, it is true, submitted in view of the danger, while many others suffered death. Nevertheless, since many of them have continued to persist in their opinions…we, with our wonted clemency, have judged it is wise to extend a pardon even to these men and permit them once more to become Christians and reestablish their places of meeting; in such manner,, however, that they shall in no way offend against good order…Edict of Emperor Galerius 311 AD


Document #5:What did Galerius want from the Christians? How did he ultimately decide to treat them?





Document #6It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue in the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it hath been preserved by faithful tradition…We authorize the followers of this [religion] to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgement, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the …name of heretics…They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation, and in the second the punishment, in accordance with the will of Heaven, [we] shall decide to inflict.Let them be entirely excluded from the thresholds of churches, since we permit no heretics to hold their unlawful assemblies in the towns. If they attempt any disturbance, we decree that their fury shall be suppressed and that they shall be expelled outside the walls of the cities…Code of Theodosius I 379-395AD

Document #6: According to this document, who were heretics and how were they to be treated by the emperor?

Using your answers to the above questions as guides, construct a five (5) paragraph essay that answers the question, "How did the Romans react to the introduction Christianity?"

Remember to include in your paragraphs the following:

  • Introduction (2-3 'building sentences' followed by your thesis statement)
  • Three (3) body paragraphs (one paragraph for each 'building sentence' in your introduction), plus support/evidence gained from your answers of the above documents
  • Conclusion (restatement - in another way - of your introduction and 'building sentences;' NOT identical to your introduction!)

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