I am in the middle of reading an excellent book title "Greece: Places and History". Its really an excellent book except it doesn't give as much justice as it should to the byzantine era as it does to the classical era of Greece and as such it stated "...it was Christianity, imposed as the state religion by Constantine, that destroyed the very foundations of Hellenism." The author does not really give reasons why he says this just some Byzantine history.
Is this in any way true? I would think in a very minimal way: yes but for the most part: NO. Yes, because foe example during the early Chirstian times, converted pagans to Christianity sought to purge anything "pagan" from their culutre in an effort to Christianize it. In the Parthenon temple of Athena in Athens,the book states that the statue of Athena "mysteriously disappeared during Byzantine times." For all we know the gold used on Athena could now be an ancient censer on Mt. Athos. The author does not explicity state that this was the case. I'm just saying that this "disappearance" could definitely have been about Christianis getting rid of the pagan stuff. The same goes in Alexandria. In the great temple of Serapis, some greek philosopehrs were there including the mathametician Hypatia...while she was there the Patriarch ordered the destruction of the temple and the killing of the pagans inside including Hypatia.
I know someone will ocrrect me on some miniscule historical detial which I left out or lied about so I'm sorry...I'm not a historian, just an amateaur history buff
How far can we believe that Christianity was the demise of the Roman Empire? On the other side of the table, Christianity defintiely boosted the Roman Empire. Constantine the Great unified East and West, magnificent architecture like Agia Sophia was created, art thrived in the form of iconography and secular byzantine imperial art works such as frescoes of the imperial court or of village life and animals etc.
Perhaps people believe this because they see Hellenistic art at its height in the sculptures and paintings of the human form such as the Venus of Milo (the one with her arms cut off) which definitly had little or no place in the Byzantine christian era.
Are you lost yet? Yeah so just ignore my rambling and please tell me what you think.