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the Constantinian-era necropolis uncovered by excavations under the Vatican in the 1950s shows why: it depicts the four-horse chariot of the sun (two of the horses obliterated by subsequent construction) driven by a Jesus whose image is superimposed over a sun that has beams radiating from it in the form of a cross.55 The context is undeniably Christian, but this is evidently the tomb of a Christian who found his way to the faith via the popular cult of sun worship. The fresco is thus a reminder that, however sincerely attached to and trained in the new faith, adult converts would inevitably have brought with them a range of beliefs and assumptions that, while not necessarily incompatible with their new faith, potentially threatened to take it in directions that, at least in the eyes of the host community, were unwelcome. This inherent tendency to destabilise, compounded by the heresy wars of the fourth century, greatly enhanced the role of the bishop as judge and protector of his flock. It is the place to look in order to understand how a message of love and forbearance came to be replaced by one of resistance and suppression.

Like all successful mass movements, Christianity has a multi-faceted message that can be adapted to changing circumstances. As important to Christians as the central commandment to love one's enemies is the duty to resist Satan and all his acts. Theoretically the two duties are not mutually exclusive; in practice, however, they may loosely be seen as prompting two different responses to the external world of non-Christians. To resist Satan is to look with suspicion at the world of non-believers, since this is the world where Satan lives. It is a practice that encourages exclusivity and isolation. Engagement with Satan's world, if it is to occur at all, will be confrontational, consisting in acts of resistance or even aggression. The commandment to love even enemies encourages a different dynamic: to reach out to non-believers and bring them God's message of love and salvation. To these Christians, the outside community is thought of as misled rather than evil. Broadly speaking, both messages were necessary for the triumph of Christianity: without the impulse to accommodate and convert, Christians would likely have remained a small, exclusive and isolated group, similar to that which authored the Dead Sea scrolls; without the well-established boundaries and limits set by rejecting Satan and his domain, they might instead have been absorbed into one or another of the syncretistic, monotheistic beliefs with which Christianity was in competition.

55 Mausoleum M (tomb of the Julii); see M. Wallraff, Christus Verus Sol, 158-65. On recent restorations: A. Sperandio and P. Zander, La tomba di San Pietro. Earlier: J. Toynbee and J. Ward Perkins, The shrine of St. Peter and the Vatican excavations, 72f.; A. Grabar, Early Christian art, 80.

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