Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences


This thesis examines the traditional view of Domitian 's reign, particularly as it relates to his alleged persecution of Roman Christians. In the light of recent revisionist studies, which offer alternative views, this alleged persecution needs to be reassessed. In order to reevaluate this topic, it will be necessary to examine the opinions of the traditionalists and the revisionists, argued from the pagan primary sources together with views expressed in Christian primary and secondary sources. The study of the development of the Domitianic tradition, which involves accounts from a variety of primary and secondary sources, will involve a re-examination of literary texts that discuss Domitian's reign. The authenticity and applicability of some texts to the discussion about Domitian will also be considered. Some attempt has also been made to include archeological aspects into this topic and recent studies will also be considered to determine if anything substantive may be found. This thesis will argue that Domitian was not as bad as the biased primary pagan sources portray him and that it is unlikely that Domitian ever persecuted the Roman Christians. This examination of traditional and revisionist points of view will provide a more up to date assessment of Domitian's reign.

Included in

Religion Commons