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Lecture

September 18-20 -- Chronology - 1-1500.docx


Department
History
Course Code
HIS220Y1
Professor
Isabelle Cochelin

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HIS220 Introduction: Chronology Tuesday September 18th 2012
1 500: Roman
500 1000: Barbarian
1000 1500: Christian
Act 1: 1-500 AD
- Roman Empire is a Mediterranean Empire, the highway around which the Roman Empire rose
- It’s an urban culture; the city is crucial
- Rome, Carthage, Byzantium (founded later), Alexandria, Jerusalem, etc.
- These are “civilized” places, cities
- The Barbarians, however, are living on the other side of the Rhine and the Danube rivers
- Christianity was initially not tolerated in the Roman Empire
- Constantine and his mother, St. Helena, in 306, is serving in the army in the north of England,
and he hears that one of the four Emperors has died and his troops have proclaimed him
Emperor, so he rushes down to Rome to claim his title
- In October of 312, he fights a battle against one of his co-Emperors, but before he fights the
battle, he apparently hears a voice telling him that he will be victorious if he fights under a
Christian symbol, so he is victorious and decides to follow Christianity, eventually making it one
of the tolerated religions in the Roman Empire
- His mother goes on to the Holy Land to discover holy spots, and Constantine builds the first
Christian churches on the place Jesus was born, crucified, and died
- Constantine decides to establish a new Rome, a new great city, to the east in Byzantium
(Constantinople)
- Rome is in decline (tax problems, crisis in population [under population], people are leaving the
cities for the countryside, etc.)
- Roman infrastructure, government, is struggling, and gradually it’s the new Christian church in
these old Roman cities that begin to take over
- It’s the Bishops that begin to take over spiritually and politically (making sure walls are kept up,
people are fed, etc.)
- The Barbarians begin crossing over the boundaries into the Roman Empire, launching raids and
attacks, after 350
- These Germanic tribes start replacing the Roman aristocrats in these Roman cities with their
own aristocrats and governmental structures
- The last Roman Emperor is deposed by the Ostrogothic king in 476, and after that there are only
kings of the Ostrogoths, Franks, Visigoths, Vandals
- The fall of the Roman Empire begins to collapse, especially in the west, but the empire in the
East around Constantinople still has a bit of strength left in it
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