The Middle Ages, also known as the medieval era, is usually dated from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century to the beginning of the Renaissance in the fifteenth century. The dark ages are also a term used to describe this era as it was fortified by plagues and war. Feudalism, a form of political and social organization that was typical to Western Europe was prominent as well. It was characterized as strict division into social classes, based on contracts made among nobles, and although it was intricately connected with the manorial system; it must be considered as distinct from it.
Religion during the middle ages was dominated by the catholic church, but still very diverse and included practices other than orthodox Christianity. The medieval church condemned ancient tribal practices such as sacrifices to the god, spell work, etc. As the medieval period progressed, the church began to exert more control over people’s thoughts and practices. The process of Christianization was a slow one, and even towards the end of the Middle Ages, many people still practiced their traditional magic and beliefs. The existence of hell was deeply ingrained in the communal consciousness that it could not easily be ignored.
Which brings us to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross that is depicted in the national museum of Denmark. The artifact show is comprised of wooden material and shows a man’s hand and feet nailed to a cross. According to believers of the religion, the crucifixion of Christ is the only solution for the original sin. Just as through one man, Adam, sin entered the world and thus death spread to all men; All men will be saved based on the sacrifice of one man, Jesus. In the end the Roman authorities and the Jewish council wanted Jesus dead. According to them he was a political and social troublemaker.
Christians believe that Jesus was far more than a political radical. For them the death of Jesus was part of a divine plan to save humanity. The image of Jesus’ death as a sacrifice is the most popular. In the biblical tradition, sacrifice was a common practice or ritual. In making an offering to God or a spirit, the person making the sacrifice hopes to make or mend a relationship with God.
Crucifixion was an important method of capital punishment particularly among the Persians and Romans from about the 6th century up until the rule of Constantine the Great, who was the first Christian emperor. Constantine defended this position against different Roman factions. An account of his life states that following a vision he had, he then ordered a Christian symbol to be painted on his soldiers’ shields. Under this emblem, Constantine was successful in battle and entered Rome.
Constantine now became the Western Roman emperor. He definitively used his power to address the status of Christians. With that he issued the Edict of Milan in 313. This proclamation legalized Christianity and allowed for the freedom of worship throughout the empire. A few years later, he would defeat Licinius, who was ruled Eastern Roman. After that victory, Constantine took complete control of a reunited empire.
Constantine continued to proclaim his adherence to Christianity, and his reign established influence over religious conflicts within the church. Not wanting questions about the divine nature of Christ to sow discord; Constantine summoned church officials to the Council of Nicaea in 325. Out of this came the Nicene Creed, which affirmed that Jesus was a divine being.
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