Christianity originated in Rome, as the religion of the landless in the struggle against the Roman latifundists. The first prominent martyrs were the Gracchi, whom many followed, until a change came with Caesar, insofar as, although he was also murdered, his agrarian laws were not annulled, and he himself was elevated to God status whereby his land distributions remained sacred and inviolable. He is the Christ to whom the small Roman peasant owes his piece of land. When during the Spanish Holy Week the ritual saying «el Cristo es la tierra», «the Christ is the Earth» is sounded, nothing else is expressed than the memory of the great imperator who, by his sacrificial death, guaranteed to the small veteran his piece of farmland. This name Christós, in its original form Chrestós, «the good, the best, the useful one», corresponds to the compromise formula negotiated with the murderers, according to which the murder of Caesar was not to be judicially pursued, but all of his measures and decisions should nevertheless keep their validity: «because this served the best interest of the city.» For the friends of the pardoned murderers had, for their own safety, most emphatically insisted that Caesar’s measures should not so much retain their validity for legal reasons, but «because (they are) useful»: διὰ χρείαν—in which the root of χρηστός can be recognized, and by which Caesar had been declared «the useful one», i. e. «of outstanding merit to the state, meritorious».
The name expresses the same in Greek as that which was engraved on the base of the statue that Antonius erected for the murdered Caesar in the autumn of 44 BC: PARENTI OPTIME MERITO, which is ususally translated as «to the most meritorious father», although, at that time, «most meritorious» did not signify only the citizens who had rendered outstanding services to the state, but especially those who had given their lives, the moribund fallen in battle, the martyrs.
The inviolability of the Acta Caesaris, Antonius bought with the amnesty of the murderers.