Author’s Background

Trajan (AD 53 – 117), Imperator Caesar Divi Nervae Filius Nerva Traianus, was one of the most famous Roman emperors of all time. His reputation as a successful military strategist is demonstrated by his military exploits which expanded the Roman boundaries to the Persian Gulf. The quote below is a reply to Pliny, who had asked for directions in how to treat the Christians.

Caesar Trajan Historical Quote Image

Reference To Jesus Christ

The method you have used, my dear Pliny, in investigating the cases of those who are accused of being Christians is extremely proper. No search should be made for these people; when they are accused and found to be guilty they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that when the individual denies he is a Christian, and gives proof that he is not (that is, by adoring our gods) he shall be pardoned on the ground of repentance, even though he may have formerly incurred suspicion. Documents without the accuser’s signature must not be admitted in evidence against anyone, since this introduces a very dangerous precedent, and is by no means consistent with the spirit of the age. – Pliny letters X, 97

Conclusion

Caesar Trajan reveals several key things:

  1. Christians were being punished for religious reasons.
  2. They could save themselves by worshiping “our gods” – other gods.
  3. Christians were being turned in by other citizens.