Discover more in these hand-picked books What you think;  what others say.
You are here. Ideas, rituals and myths Christianity boosted from the Pagans. Some of the Pagan's dying-resurrected godmen The Triumph of Christianity Discover mainstream scholarship about Christianity's Pagan origins What did the Christians borrow? So what?
Home > getting started > pagan, pagan, or paganancient religion for dummies | ancient religion syncretism
Let's clarify the jargon

Getting started
"Pagus" was an old Roman word meaning "the inhabitants of a village." A Paganos was a countryman or villager, the nuance suggesting hick.

Christianity's first success was in the cities. Emperor Constantine's conversion in 312 AD gave the Church unlimited power to tax, outlaw, regulate and otherwise suppress competing religions -- a power strongest in the cities. In the countryside, away from coercion the old religions hung on. In the villages. Among the Pagani.

Pagan, Pagan and Pagan
City Christians used the term to deride the old faiths, calling them Hick religions. "Pagan" comes down to us a pejorative, meaning uncivilized, un-Christian, or heathen.
Nowadays "Pagan" usually describes Mother-Earth venerating religions aimed at setting life in harmony with the rhythms of the seasons.
"Pagan" is also used to describe Ancient religion or civilization in general.

Which Pagan? At POCM, when you and I talk about Christianity's "Pagan" origins, we'll be talking about Ancient religion or civilization in general.