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All religious traditions had been tolerated under the Roman Empire, although Christians suffered to some extent because of their sedition.They stated openly that they desired the destruction of the Empire, encouraged soldiers to desert, aparantly assassinated oponents, vandalised sacred monuments and statues, and tried to destroy the city of Rome by means of arson.Bands of violent monks were deployed to ensure the domination of the orthodox line. As a modern, devout Christian, historian says: The monks were often formed, or formed themselves, into black-robed squads for the execution of the Church's business, first to smash up pagan temples, later to rampage through the streets in time of doctrinal controversy.Monasticism attracted misfits, bankrupts, criminals, homosexuals, fugitives as well as the pious; it was also a career for raw peasant youths who could be drilled into well-disciplined monkish regiments to be deployed as an unscrupulous bishop might think fit1 Other recruits included draft-dodgers, runaway slaves and lunatics. The pattern continued until Julian was declared emperor in 360.As part of its campaign books were burned, works of art destroyed, families dispossessed, and temples desecrated.Christians delighted in their victory, and seized opportunities for destruction of everything others held holy.The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was set back by a mysterious fire, possibly one of the many instances of arson carried out by Christians.There is more than a suspicion that Julian's untimely death was attributable to disloyal Christians.
Christians were keen to emulate selected Jewish practices.
He restored Jerusalem to the Jews, revoked anti-Semitic legislation and authorised the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple.
His toleration was not appreciated by Christians, who insulted and destroyed new temples in Syria and Asia Minor.
Constantius II passed laws against pagans in 341, and in the following years further laws were passed to the effect that all superstition (i.e. Soon, anyone performing traditional sacrifices would be liable to the death penalty.
In town and country, temples were demolished or seized and turned into churches.