303: The Great Persecution

 Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883): The Christian Matyrs’ Last Prayer (Public Domain)


The emperor Diocletian launches ‘The Great Persecution’ in the winter of 303. Edicts prohibit Christians from meeting and Bibles are burnt in public. Next year, all subjects are ordered to sacrifice on pain of death. According to estimates of modern historians, between 2,500 and 3,500 are killed in the persecution.