After a decade as emperor

After a decade as emperor, with doctrinal disputes put to rest, Theodosius felt he was in a position to crack down. In 391, he issued the formal imperial edict banning traditional sacrifice and religious ritual. The mandate was enforced by imperial troops, by social fear, and, here and there, by the partially approved thuggery of Christian zealots. Theodosius died in 395, and it was only in 399 that real temple busting came to Roman Africa, for example; and when it did come, it was quick and decisive. Not since Caracalla, who conferred full Roman citizenship on all free inhabitants of the empire in the early third century, had a single emperor done so much to affect so many lives, irreversibly. Ramsay MacMullen has noted the supreme confidence of the Christians at that time, leading to a nearly complete cessation of serious efforts to proselytize for their religion.26 Henceforth, Christianity was a matter of requirement, and persuasion was irrelevant. Pope Gregory’s mission to con