...The stories of "persecutions" are largely apocryphal - as I most definitely do spell out in my books, especially The Christ Conspiracy, in which I pretty much covered all bases. There is no evidence of the massive martyrdom claimed later by Christian apologists. During the first century, Christians were barely heard of, and the Neronian persecution is a myth unsubstantiated by any evidence.
My name is Littlejohn (Giannino in italian language). I'm from Italy and I live about 50 Km by Rome (N-E), in the historic Sabine country. I apologize for my not perfect english.
By over 14 years I am conducting studies and research much 'lockouts' about the true origins of Christianity, and after so many sacrifices and renunciation, which ended with the weigh on my family, today I feel legitimated to affirm that I understanding at least 95% of what there is to understand about the true origins of Christianity.
The cycle of my research has not yet concluded, as I expect to recover even more precious data, beyond those already recovered, in order fit out in a more complete way my exegetical reconstructions about the topic mentioned. Just such an effort will be completed, I think to put again my hands to the drafting of an essay 'ad-hoc', which began in late 2005 and subsequently interrupted for research needs.
With regard about that posted by kind lady Acharya, I must say that I am basically agree with she: at least on some points.«..There is no evidence of the massive martyrdom claimed later by Christian apologists»
The 'catholic-christian' worship(*
) was founded in Rome between 140-150s, and it was sponsored directly by the imperial power of the time, certainly in full agreement with the senatorial power: for once in 'love and harmony' with the imperial one!
The task of founding a new religion, initially called "Catholicum" (meaning 'universal') and later also 'Christian', for its obvious similarities to Judeo-Christianity, was entrusted to a 'team' of experts, which were certainly part Marcion, Valentinus, Aniceto, Polycarp of Smyrna, and others.
This team was equipped with about a fund of 200,000 sesterces, sent to them through Marcion: probably the head of the team, at least in the initial period, until it rose up the contrasts between Marcion and the rest of the team, who brought the same Marcion to move away from it. Thereafter, for almost similar reasons, Valentine also moved away from the team, which fell under the hegemony of Anicetus: first, true bishop of the roman catholic church.
On this basis, it is quite intuitive that the empire could never persecute the followers of a cult, like the catholic-christian one, whose birth had contributed directly! .. This would have been an absurd nonsense!
However, this does not mean that in the periods cited by the 'fathers' of the second century (also called 'forger fathers'), there were not actually of persecution: they simply weren't applied to the 'catholic-christian' followers, but those of the various gnostic sects, defined "heretical-christians" also.(**
Forger founders of the catholic-christian worship, don't you limited only to 'plunder' the Bible of the Jews in an attempt to extract from it improbable prophecies about the 'Messiah' Jesus, but even the content of the doctrine of the gnostic world also, whom Jesus belonged by natural 'birth'! (Jesus was the founder of the 'jesuan-gnosticism ' and NOT of the catholic-christianity, with whom he never had anything to do, even because also such worship was born about 70 years after his death, happened around the 72 year)
All this provoked a reaction and protest of the gnostics, who saw themselves defrauded of their 'sacred' texts and, more importantly, of their charismatic figure of reference: namely Jesus of Nazareth! Moreover, almost as a defiant challenge to the world jesuan-gnostics, the forgers of catholic-christianity crucified Jesus in a literary way, causing more and more violent resentment in jesuan-gnostics. (however, Jesus was not 'taken up into heaven' as the Gnostics claimed, but he died stoned by the Jews, after the Sanhedrin had issued the death sentence)
Because of this reaction and this protest, the most prominent people of the Gnostic world, were made to capture by the roman power, to protect the lies of the Catholic Church, and later martyred. Later, the catholic counterfeiters took 'possession' of these victims passing them off as 'martyrs of catholicism' (sic!). A striking example is the so-called one of the 'Martyrs of Lyon', in southern Gaul.
For now I will stop here, but I intends to return to comment on other passages of the interesting post of Mrs. Acharya and others as well.
My best regards and greetings,
(*) - specification absolutely necessary, because about 50 years before his birth, was founded in Antioch of Syria, around 85-90s, the 'Judeo-Christian' worship, who had nothing to do with the catholic-christian worship, if not for the fact that the founders of the catholic-christianity you inspired to the 'messianic' model of Judeo-Christianity.
(**) - is a misnomer, as these sects were not never 'christians', but, at most, 'jesuans'.