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

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Isabelle Cochelin

HIS220 Introduction: Chronology Tuesday September 18 2012 th 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 HIS220 Introduction: Chronology Tuesday September 18 2012 th Act 2: 500 – 1000 AD - The second Act begins with a fallen western Roman Empire - the Barbarians are in control politically, but Roman and Christian culture continues in the roman Empire - What’s new in Act 2 is that the Barbarians will eventually become Christian - The Franks in particular become very Christian - The Goths cease being heretic Christians and convert to Orthodox Christianity - A global cooling occurs during this time, meaning that people can’t support themselves agriculturally and flee the cities for the countryside - This is followed by an outbreak of the plague in the 6 century, devastating Europe - This happens just in time for a political revolution - Death of the prophet Mohammed and the birth of Islam, starting in Mecca - Within 100 years of the death of the prophet, Islamic armies capture most of the Holy Land and expand throughout the Middle East - They then capture all of the old Roman cities in North Africa, and cut off the southern part of the Mediterranean from the rest of the old Roman empire - They stop at the gates of Constantinople in 717, conquer Spain and France - But they are eventually stopped in 732 by the grandson of Charlemagne - They chase them back behind the Pyrenees mountains - If in Act 1 the Roman culture is a based on the center, the barbarian culture flees the centre, the disliked cities and cultivated local values vs.a large and centralized operation - Charlemagne becomes the leader of a culture where he can still appreciate the Roman way but still maintains those barbarian values -
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