Levi Roach

At Cross Purposes

The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World

By

Macmillan 305pp £20 order from our bookshop

The period between the conversion of Constantine the Great in AD 312 and the accession of Theodosius II in AD 408 witnessed one of the most dramatic changes in world history. The Roman Empire, the superpower of the ancient Mediterranean world, was Christianised. At the start of the period, no more than 10 per cent of its population was Christian; by the end, this may have been nearing 90 per cent. As Catherine Nixey’s long-awaited book demonstrates, these changes did not come about quietly but were effected by force. Non-Christians were systematically persecuted – their temples ransacked, their statues smashed, their bodies beaten and burned. Hers is a tale written from the perspective of the losers, a salutary reminder of the darker side of the rise of Christianity. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,