History of the Devil
By Paul Carus, 
THE IDEA OF SALVATION IN GREECE AND ITALY.
Part 1 Here
In the days of Augustus and his successors the people were taught to expect salvation, the dispensation of justice, protection, peace, and prosperity from the emperor; and just as we have to-day monarchies where the king regards himself as the Anointed One by the grace of God and a representative of God on earth, so the Roman emperor arrogated to himself divine honors, and even philosophers such as Seneca did not hesitate to acknowledge the claim. The practical significance of this view is that the government should be regarded with religious awe, and its officers, as such, are divine. The Christians who refused to worship before the emperor’s images must have appeared to the Romans of those days as anarchists and rebels. But when Nero committed matricide and other most outrageous crimes, the belief in the emperor’s divinity dwindled away, and the idea of the suffering God, the man who died on the cross because he would rather be than appear just, gained ground among the people.
Christianity was not the only religion which promised deliverance from evil through the saving power of blood and by means of a vicarious atonement, for we know of the immortality-promising mysteries, and especially of the cult of Mithras, which had embodied many ideas and ceremonies that are also met with in Christianity. Continue reading