Persecution is the mistreatment (bad treatment) of an individual or group by another group. People can be persecuted for any reasons; it is usually because of their religion, ethnicity, politics, sexuality, gender or gender identity.
Religious persecution is persecution of people that are part of a religion, or who are not part of a different religion. The most important organization to persecute people was the Christian Church.:201 For about three hundred years there was persecution of Christianity in the Roman Empire. During the next three hundred years, the Christian Church started to have a great effect by becoming the most important persecuting organization in human history.:201 Persecution by Christians began in the 4th century Anno Domini, and the Christian Church was the most important persecuting organization for 1,500 years.:201 The Christian Church was very active in the persecution of Christians – especially Christians the Church said were heretics – and in the persecution of Jews.:201 In classical antiquity, the Roman Republic started to control the religion of Bacchus in 186 BC. Although the Roman Senate did not make the religion illegal, it stopped some parts of the cult.:234 The Roman Empire's persecution of Christians, and then its persecution of non-Christians were both motivated by the religions of the persecutors (paganism and Christianity).:203
- "Persecution - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- de Ste. Croix, G. E. M. (2006). Whitby, Michael; Streeter, Joseph (eds.). Christian Persecution, Martyrdom, and Orthodoxy. Oxford University Press. pp. 201–252. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199278121.003.0005. ISBN 978-0-19-927812-1.