Rome and the Rise of Christianity

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1 Rome and the Rise of Christianity Marcus Aurelius Last of the 5 good emperor Died in 180 A.D. Conflict & confusion followed Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius Quotes The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature. The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing. Political Upheavals Civil Wars Septimius Severus ( ) Restored stability Dismissed the Praetorian Guard Created a new guard 2x the size Advice to his sons: Get along with each other, enrich the soldiers, and ignore everyone else. The Decline Throne occupied by whoever had the military strength to take the position 22 emperors Most met a violent death 1

2 Invasions Sassanid Persian from the east 3rd century Continued for 400 years No clear winner Invasions Germanic tribes entered the Balkans, Gaul, & Spain 3rd 7th centuries Carved away at the Roman Empire & created own kingdoms Economic & Military problems Civil wars, invasions, & plagues nearly caused an economic collapse Decline in trade Labor shortage Farm production declined Economic & Military problems Armies needed more than ever Financial strains made it difficult to pay the army Mid-third century Germans hired to fight under Roman commanders Reforms of Diocletian ( ) & Constantine ( ) Diocletian divided Rome into 4 units each with its own ruler 2

3 Reforms of Diocletian & Constantine Both strengthened & enlarged the administrative bureaucracies Enlarged the army to 500,000 Both devised economic & social policies Based on control & coercion Froze wages & prices Ordered farmers not to leave their jobs 324 Constantine sole ruler of the empire Built a new capital on the site of the Greek city of Byzantium Renamed the capital Constantinople 324 Constantine sole ruler of the empire Renamed the capital Constantinople New Rome Built a forum, large palaces, & a vast amphitheatre Center of Eastern Roman Empire Present-day Istanbul, Turkey Reforms temporarily successful, but stifled vitality The restored empire limped along for more than a century divided into the Western & Eastern Empires Major breakthrough of invaders in the 2nd half of the fourth century Huns from Asia put pressure on Visigoths Visigoths crossed the Danube into Roman territory Visigoths settled in Roman territory as Roman allies 3

4 Major breakthrough of invaders in the 2nd half of the fourth century Visigoths settled in Roman territory as Roman allies Visigoths revolted Battle of Adrianople (378) Roman Army defeated Emperor Valens killed Battle of Adrianople (378) More Germans cross the frontier Visigoths sack Rome (410) Vandals enter Spain & Africa Vandals sack Rome (455) Emperor Romulus Augustus deposed by the Vandal king Geiseric Eastern Roman Empire (aka Byzantine Empire) continues to thrive until 1453 when the Ottoman Turks conquer it Theories explaining the decline & fall Christianity s emphasis on spiritual kingdom weakens Roman military virtues Traditional Roman values decline as non- Italians gain prominence in the empire Lead poisoning through leaden water pipes and cups caused a mental decline in the population 4

5 Theories explaining the decline & fall Plague wiped out an estimated 1/10 to 1/3 of the population (perhaps as many as 5 million people) Rome failed to advance technologically due to slavery & stifling economic reforms Rome was unable to put together a workable political system that did not rely on military strength 5

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