By William S Davis
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Extra resources for A History of France
When a great apostle of the Western Church, St. Martin of Tours, went up and down the land converting whole districts to the new faith. Still it is certain that when Constantine the Great (306- 337) and his successors showed Christianity indulgence and then made it the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Gallic lands accepted the change fairly readily. D. " What is more it was "Catholic" and "Orthodox" Christian: that is to say, the bulk of its people accepted the famous Nicene Creed and the forms of belief supported by the Church of Rome and the other great centers of theological leadership.
The Roman Empire, and Gaul with it, received another hundred years' respite. During these silent years a new force was penetrating Gaul as everywhere else in the Empire. D. Christianity begins to show itself in these provinces. D. there were enough Christians in Lyons to warrant a wholesale persecution by the pagan priests and governor. Presently we hear of churches in Autun, Dijon, and Besançon. About 251 one meets traces of Christianity in Limoges, Tours, and even Paris (still a second-class city).
Then it was too late. Cæsar had grasped the points of vantage and penetrated deep into the country. The Gauls found indeed an able and inspiring chief in Vercingetorix, who rose to the level of a true national hero. He fired nearly the whole land so that it blazed up against Cæsar in desperate revolt, but his hundreds of thousands of ill-disciplined levies were no match for the legionaries' javelins and short swords. Cæsar presently drove him into the stronghold of Alesia (not far from Dijon), beat back all attempts to throw in succor and starved him into surrender.