under the Antonines and Severi
Spread widely Greek philosophy in these centuries . In particular , of all the currents and schools of philosophy , had a great influence stoicism , he taught practical rules of conduct and was not inconsistent with the propensity of the Romans to the social life , public, political and civil , as opposed to Epicureanism , who preached the secluding and live in isolation , in achieving inner peace and a personal pleasure .
Also included stoicism an order on earth, due to the laws, and the universe, due to divine providence, in line with the traditional conceptions of Rome.
Even the emperor Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor just said , was stoic, and demonstrates in his memories of being able to exploit all men , as partakers of the divine wisdom , and collaborators in the journey of life. He expresses a kind of humanism and egalitarianism , which has notable similarities with other theories or religions that spread as a result .
The religion of Rome had always been a civil religion , as all were required to express in public worship to the gods , feasts and rituals , but they were then free to act as they saw fit in private. In addition , since the Romans themselves continued to accept new gods into their pantheon , they allowed the conquered peoples to continue to cultivate their rites , provided that their gods were integrating with the Romans, and in the East, the cult of the emperor .
Even the Jewish religion , although it is a monotheistic religion , was considered lawful by Caesar, when he came to Palestine. The problem for the Jews was political : the link between the Messianic prophecies and attempts aimed at the power plant caused a growing hostility of the Romans against the Jews, until the total destruction of Jerusalem by Hadrian in 135 AD, finally forced the Jews to get out of their homeland.
On the contrary , the Christian religion itself was not granted , illegal . However, the assertion of the Christians did not want to fight the power , or rather their acceptance of political superiority of the Romans and the emperors, on condition that they were to be regarded as gods , let them relative freedom of worship.
Pliny the Younger , who was governor of Bithynia , for example, does not understand them , but does not condemn to death the Christians , unless they openly confess their faith , or not contrary to the laws of Rome. The emperor Trajan approves his work in the famous rescript ( = response to a letter of Pliny ), which became a point of reference for many emperors after him.
Marcus Aurelius instead persecuted Christians , but only because some of them, heretics, Montanists , disdained the social life and military service .
However, the behavior of the Christians during the plagues and famines of the second and third century increased the estimate that all begin to bring the Christians, because they not only took care of other Christians, but they were busy for everyone.
Also next to the Diaspora Jews, Christians came and made their announcement throughout the empire, taking advantage of the ease of communication within the boundaries. Many Christian communities were founded primarily in the cities, even among the upper classes.
Since the middle of the second century. D.C. some intellectuals converted to Christianity write books to defend the Christians from the most frequent accusations. These writers are called, with a word of Greek derivation, apologists, that means precisely defenders.
One of the earliest and most famous was apologists Clement, who came from Alexandria, Egypt ‘s, then it is called Clement of Alexandria.
In contrast to the Montanists and others who believed Christianity irreconcilable with the pagan culture, Clemente first, then followed in subsequent centuries from Sant ‘Agostino and Dante, enhances the whole Greek and Roman culture, even philosophy. According to Clement, if philosophy teaches us to love the truth, can only come from God In fact, the philosophy and wisdom, as the Bible says, are good things, and can lead to faith shows through the demonstration, being good things , can only come from God