In addition to the corruption of the people of leisure, all were brutalized by the gladiatorial games Augustus instituted, games in which ten thousand joined in deadly conflict. He also gave an exhibition on a lake in his gardens of a sea-flight in which 3,000 soldiers were engaged. These scenes of blood and cruelty could but have the effect of hardening the hearts of all and causing them to think lightly of taking human life.
With stately palaces and works of art, splendid bridges and aqueducts, and highways and vast wealth — with all her splendor of civilization, Rome was unspeakably corrupt and growing rapidly worse. In such an atmosphere, womanhood and virtue were lightly esteemed and even held in contempt.
Christianity was, in fact, greatly helped by the barbarians in elevating the morals of the empire. It should be stated, however, that multitudes of them had become Christians, through missionary work of the early church, before they crossed the borders and invaded the empire.
In order to witness the effects of Christianity in the elevation of woman, we turn to the time of Constantine and his successors. For more than three centuries, Christianity had been at work, though under ridicule, opposition, and persecution. At least ten great persecutions are enumerated by historians; and women were among the braves of the martyrs.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.