Domitian was the Roman emperor from 81-96 and the instigator of the second persecution. The emperor Domitian condemned his relatives Clemens and Domitilla, together with others he suspected of conspiracy, on a charge of Atheism and Jewish manners, an association of ideas which could properly applied only to Christians. The persecution not of long duration.

Fox - The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty first slew his brother, and then raised the second persecution against the Christians. In he rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some through malice and others to confiscate the estates. He then commanded all the lineage of David to be put to death.. martyred Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified and St. John, who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos.. law was made "That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, would be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion." If famine, pestilence, or earthquakes afflicted any of the Roman provinces, it was laid upon the Christians. Nicodemus, a benevolent Christian of some distinction, suffered at Rome. Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the church until Timothy severely reproved the procession as idolatrous, they fell upon him and beat him with clubs, expired of the bruises two days after. The apostle St. John was arrested in Rome and immersed in a cauldron of boiling oil from which he emerged unscathed.

We find that already before Pliny became governor of Bithynia it was generally recognized as a capital crime to be connected to the church, and it had been the custom to put an accused Christian to the test by requiring him to sacrifice to the image of the emperor. Just when this custom arose, we do not know, but there can be little doubt that it had its origin during the reign of Domitian. He was like a second Nero, which grew up only after his character as a bitter persecutor had become well established. The church of Asia was in the midst of an awful and bloody persecution which was resulting in the torture and death of multitudes of Christians.

An edict of Domitian's in 92 in the interests of Italian wine-growers ordering half the vineyards in Asia Minor and other provinces to be uprooted. The opposition was so strong that it was revoked before it was put in effect. Naturally inclined to cruelty, Domitian first slew his brother, and then raised the 2nd persecution against the Christians. Commanded all the lineage of David to be put to death. He was the last of the emperors commonly called the 12 Caesars. During this first century, Spain. Africa and Gaul began to grow their own grapes, Italian vintners lost one provincial outlet after another, and glutted their domestic market in one of the few "overproduction" crises of Roman economy. Domitian tried to ease the situation, and restore cereal culture, by prohibiting the further plantings of vines in Italy and ordering half of all the vineyards in the provinces destroyed. These edicts aroused a fury of protest and could not be enforced. In the second century the wines of Gaul and the oil of Spain, Africa, and the East began to crowd Italian products out of Mediterranean markets, and the economic decline of Italy began.

Late in the reign of Domitian, the emperor-worship which had prevailed in some parts of the Empire since the time of Augustus began to threaten the peace of the churches. Earlier emperors had for the most part let it take its course, but Domitian found divine honors so congenial that he came to insist upon them.. Worshipping numerous gods, they did not much object to accepting one more. With the Christians it was very different, and the scattered churches of Asia, where the matter first became acute, now witnessed the disappointment of their cherished hope of freedom to worship in own way.

The Jews and Christians refused to adore the godhead of Domitian. Domitian executed some Christians for refusing to offer sacrifice before his image; according to tradition these included his nephew Flavius Clemens. Domitian killed his secretary Epaphroditus because 27 years before, he had helped Nero commit suicide. Other servants felt threatened and together with the Emperor's wife Domitia conspired to kill him. When the appointed moment came, Domitia's servant struck the first blow; four others took part in the assault; and Domitian struggling madly met death. When the news reached the Senators, they tore down and shattered all images of him in their chamber, and ordered that all statues of him, and all inscriptions mentioning his name, should be destroyed throughout the realm.
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