The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome were Christians martyred in the city of Rome during Nero's persecution in 64. The event is recorded by both Tacitus and Pope Clement I, among others. They are celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church as an optional memorial on 30 June.
Rome had a large Jewish population. The couple, Priscilla and Aquila, were tent makers from Pontus, whom Paul met in Corinth. They had lived in Rome until the emperor Claudius ordered all the Jews to leave the city. Suetonius mentions this as due to disturbances in the city between the Jews and the followers of "Christus".Claudius died in 54 AD.
There were early Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus, though they were not the converts of Paul. He had not yet visited them at the time he wrote his Epistle to the Romans in 57-58 AD. Paul wrote to a community of both Jews and Gentiles.
In July of 64 AD, Rome was devastated by fire. Largely made up of wooden tenements, fire was a frequent occurrence in the city. Rumor blamed the tragedy on the unpopular emperor Nero, who wanted to enlarge his palace. He accused the Christians. According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death "not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."
Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.
This feast first came into the General Roman Calendar in the 1969 calendar reforms. The intention of the feast is to give a general celebration of early Roman martyrs. Prior to the calendar reforms, there were dozens of relatively minor Roman martyrs celebrated or commemorated in the calendar. Several of these had scant historical evidence, but did benefit from immemorial tradition. This feast is a replacement for the many Roman martyr feasts, whose absence allowed for a less cluttered and more "dies natale" based sanctoral calendar of more major saints. It also permitted the greater celebration of ferias, partially enacting the Second Vatican Council's call for the Proper of Time to take a greater precedence. All of the early Roman martyrs retain their place in the Martyrology and can be celebrated in local calendars or privately unless impeded by a greater observance.
The placement of the feast is directly after the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, who are the principal patron saints of Rome. The subsequent martyrs are associated with this patronage. The feast day was formerly occupied with a Commemoration of St. Paul, and fell in the Octave of SS Peter and Paul.
Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, dominated Nero's early life and decisions until he cast her off and had her killed five years into his reign.
Pope Linus was the second Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church.
Tiberius was the second Roman emperor, reigning from 14 AD to 37 AD. He succeeded his stepfather, Augustus.
The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate, and the existence of early Christians in Rome in his final work, Annals, book 15, chapter 44.
The 50s decade ran from January 1, 50, to December 31, 59. It was the sixth decade in the Anno Domini/Common Era, if the nine-year period from 1 AD to 9 AD is considered as a "decade".
AD 64 (LXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 64th Year of the Common Era and Anno Domini designations, the 64th year of the 1st millennium, the 64th year of the 1st century, and the 4th year of the 7th decade. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Bassus and Crassus. The denomination AD 64 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, usually called Britannicus, was the son of Roman emperor Claudius and his third wife Valeria Messalina. For a time he was considered his father's heir, but that changed after his mother's downfall in 48, when it was revealed she had engaged in a bigamous marriage without Claudius' knowledge. The next year, his father married Agrippina the Younger, Claudius' fourth and final marriage. Their marriage was followed by the adoption of Agrippina's son, Lucius Domitius, whose name became Nero as a result. His step-brother would later be married to his sister Octavia, and soon eclipsed him as Claudius' heir. Following his father's death in October 54, Nero became emperor. The sudden death of Britannicus shortly before his fourteenth birthday is reported by all extant sources as being the result of poisoning on Nero's orders—as Claudius' natural son, he represented a threat to Nero's claim to the throne.
Saint Valentine was a widely recognized 3rd-century Roman saint, commemorated in Christianity on February 14. From the High Middle Ages his Saints' Day has been associated with a tradition of courtly love. He is also a patron saint of epilepsy.
The Great Fire of Rome was an urban fire that occurred in July, 64 AD. The fire began in the merchant shops around Rome's chariot stadium, Circus Maximus, on the night of July 19. After six days the fire was brought under control, and before the damage could be measured, the fire reignited and burned for another three days. In the aftermath of the fire, two thirds of Rome had been destroyed.
Claudia Acte was a freedwoman of ancient Rome who became a mistress of the emperor Nero. She came from Asia Minor and might have become a slave of the Emperor Claudius, following his expansion of the Roman Empire into Lycia and Pamphylia; or she might have been purchased later, by Octavia, Claudius' daughter.
Priscilla and Aquila were a first century Christian missionary married couple described in the New Testament. Despite prevailing modern Christian views that women did not teach men in the church in early Christianity, it is clear that Priscilla, along with Aquila, taught Apollos, an early Christian preacher who is likely to have been an apostle at the time he was taught Aquila is traditionally listed among the Seventy Disciples. They lived, worked, and traveled with the Apostle Paul, who described them as his "fellow workers in Christ Jesus".
As the Roman Republic, and later the Roman Empire, expanded, it came to include people from a variety of cultures, and religions. The worship of an ever increasing number of deities was tolerated and accepted. The government, and the Romans in general, tended to be tolerant towards most religions and cults. Some religions were banned for political reasons rather than dogmatic zeal, and other rites which involved human sacrifice were banned.
Pomponia Graecina was a noble Roman woman of the 1st century who was related to the Julio-Claudian dynasty. She was the wife of Aulus Plautius, the general who led the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 AD, and was renowned as one of the few people who dared to publicly mourn the death of a kinswoman killed by the Imperial family. It has been speculated that she was an early Christian. She is identified by some as Lucina or Lucy, a saint honoured by the Roman Catholic Church.
This article lists the feast days of the General Roman Calendar as they were at the end of 1954. It is essentially the same calendar established by Pope Pius X (1903–1914) following his liturgical reforms, but it also incorporates changes that were made by Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), such as the institution of the Feast of Christ the King, and the changes made by Pope Pius XII (1939–1958) prior to 1955, chief among them the imposition of the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary upon the universal Church in 1944, the inscription of Pius X into the General Calendar following his 1954 canonization, and the institution of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary in October 1954.
Flavia Domitilla, daughter of Domitilla the Younger by an unknown father, perhaps Quintus Petillius Cerialis, had the same name as her mother and her grandmother Domitilla the Elder. She was thus a granddaughter of Emperor Vespasian and a niece of Emperors Titus and Domitian. She married her cousin, the consul Titus Flavius Clemens, a grand-nephew of Vespasian through his father Titus Flavius Sabinus.
Marcus Cluvius Rufus was a Roman consul, senator, governor, and historian who was mentioned on several occasions by Tacitus, Suetonius, Cassius Dio, Josephus and Plutarch.
Paganism is commonly used to refer to various, largely unconnected religions that existed during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, such as the Greco-Roman religions of the Roman Empire, including the Roman imperial cult, the various mystery religions, monotheistic religions such as Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, and more localized ethnic religions practiced both inside and outside the Empire. During the Middle Ages, the term was also adapted to refer to religions practiced outside the former Roman Empire, such as Germanic paganism, Egyptian paganism and Baltic paganism.
Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire occurred intermittently over a period of over two centuries between the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD under Nero and the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, in which the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius legalised the Christian religion.
The Roman historian Suetonius mentions early Christians and may refer to Jesus Christ in his work Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Historians also put stock into Suetonius' work. One passage in the biography of the Emperor Claudius Divus Claudius 25, refers to agitations in the Roman Jewish community and the expulsion of Jews from Rome by Claudius during his reign, which may be the expulsion mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (18:2). In this context "Chresto" is mentioned. Some scholars see this as a likely reference to Jesus, while others see it as referring to an otherwise unknown person living in Rome.