Lecture notes 1/25/16
Lecture notes 1/25/16 13340
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Andrea Bautista on Sunday January 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 13340 at New York University taught by Eugene McBride in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 50 views. For similar materials see Social Foundations II in Arts and Humanities at New York University.
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Date Created: 01/17/16
Andréa Bautista 1 Social Foundations II – Professor McBride Lecture (1/25/16) Color Code: Notable People Notable Dates Notable Definitions Items Written on the Board: • Persecution of Christians o Rome founded (752 BCE) o Millennial Celebration (248 CE) o Decius - Persecution (249-251 CE) o Diocletian Persecution (303-305 CE) West East 300 CE Augustus Maximan Diocletian Caesar Constantius Galerius 305 CE Augustus Constantius Galerius Caesar Severus Maximinus Maxentius v 306 CE Augustus Constantine Licinius • Constantine’s Conversion o Milvian Bridge (312 CE) o Edict of Milan (313 CE) o Victory over Licinius (325 CE) o Founding of Constantinople (330 CE) o Constantine’s Death (337 CE) o Edict of Thessalonica (380 CE) • Arianism o Nicene Creed (325 CE) o Ufila (Visigoth) Lecture Notes: • Introductory Background/Overview on the Fall of the Roman Empire o The Roman Empire fell in 476 BCE. o Why did the Roman Empire fall? § If you listen to Christian apologist, they would say “Rome fell because of corruption, violence, murder, bribery" § Roman Empire realistically fell for four reasons. (1) Decline of small farmers. (2) Population explosion in major cities. (3) Barbaric Roman Legions. (4) Cost of maintaining borders o Tiberius was a notorious pedophile and rapist. He appointed Caligula, also a rapist who raped and impregnated his own sister, to follow him in an effort to make him look better by comparison. Caligula had the child killed out of fear the boy would replace him as emperor. o These monsters were the emperors at the end of the first century. Andréa Bautista 2 o Later, people became emperors after being generals They were less interested in indulgence and more interested in political stability. o By the middle of the second century, the Roman Empire extended from Syria and Palestine (Palestine had control over Israel) to the Gates of Hercules, and from England all the way across the continent to North Africa (North Africa was the bread basket of the Roman Empire). There was great stability in the Roman Empire. They controlled the Mediterranean and could trade with the east to get goods from China. o Roman Empire was stable, wealthy, and was the birth of tourism. o However, starting in the end of the second century early third century, there were increasing problems in the Roman Empire. o The Roman Empire was based upon great cities, but faced a great issue of having millions of people to feed. Therefore, it was important to have prosperous farms in the countryside. o Equestrian class – originally identified with the cavalry. Equestrians had some money. Later, “equestrian” became a class title. o Patrician class – the highest class in Rome o For nearly 1000 years, you had small farmers. Equestrians were the backbone of the farmers. o (1) At the end of the second century, Patricians started buying up land in and around the major cities and made great estates (essentially plantations) that were farmed by 100-1000s of slaves. They pushed Equestrians out of their freehold right to property. o (2) Equestrians, along with people who worked with them, were then forced into the city —> explosion into the cities. o There was almost 2 million people in this ancient city. There was not enough work/money for all the people. Therefore, they were led to steal and be violent. o What did the imperial government do? Caesar Augustus invented the dole (welfare system) in which they brought grain from North Africa and gave it away on a monthly basis to people of Rome to use for bread. o First, there was a decline of small farmers, second, there was this explosion of population in the major cities, and third, the Roman Legions. o In the past, the Roman Legions were largely filled by Equestrians, but Equestrians were increasingly populating the city, and then became entrepreneurs and business people or fell to the bottom of society. They didn’t have motivation to join the army (legions). o Being in the Legions was a good deal because they had work, were fed, and built a pension, despite having to go to war a lot. In many cases, the government even gave them land. o (3) By the third century, the Roman Legions were being filled by “barbarians” – not Romans, but conquered peoples. o Patricians also used to be in the officer corps during days going all the way back to Julius Caesar (100s of years) and would join the Legions and serve —> Typically a path for political prosperity. o By third century, Patricians were no longer interested in the Roman Legions. So who become officers? Barbarians. Andréa Bautista 3 o Roman Legions officer corps became galls, Goths, and North Africans…very strange thing for Rome. o (4) The cost to maintain Rome’s boundaries was burdensome. Rome’s borders stretched thousands of miles, and the Legions had to defend them all. It was also costly to supply the Legions with weaponry, food, and clothes. o All of a sudden there was tremendous taxation to compensate for those expenses. Rome was burdened by the imperial government through taxation. o What happens? By the third century, Christians were like “When we were Pagans, we were corrupt. Now since becoming Christians, we’ve separated ourselves from the corruption of society." o It wasn’t really corruption that brought down the Roman Empire. It basically imploded because the Legions were barbarians and the cost was prohibitive. • Rise of Christianity in Rome o Christianity becomes the religion of the Roman Empire by the end of the fourth century. o Imperial Christianity imposed by Pontifex Maximus (Pontiff – old office of head of Roman-Pagan religions) o Christianity started at the beginning of the first century and was incredibly small. In the Roman Empire there were only about 10,000 Christians…very small o By 200 CE, there was about 200,000 Christians à second century Christianity clearly explodes. Then, by 250 CE, there was 1.1 million Christians, and by 300 CE, there were 6 million Christians. o For the Roman Empire as a whole there were about 60 million people, so Christianity was still a minority. o Paul wrote a letter to the very small Roman Christian community. o Romans didn’t really like Christians because Christians believed in one god. Jews believed in one god. They were monotheists. Romans had a huge pantheon of gods. o Every time Romans conquered a people, they said “We’ll incorporate you into the Roman economic system, you can keep your culture and still speak Greek. We respect your gods and include them in our pantheon, but you must revere our gods as well. We’re incredibly tolerant.” When it came to Christians, they would not worship other gods. They wouldn’t worship Roman gods. Roman Pagans didn’t like Christians for that reason. o However, despite that, persecutions of Christians were few and far between. In the second century, there was some indications of persecution in Lyon. o There was also some persecution in 64 CE when Nero was emperor o Nero decided he wanted to build the Golden Palace in central Rome, but Rome was completely built up. o According to Suetonius, Nero planned to burn the center of Rome, and he did. There was a great fire in Rome, and some people suspected that Nero might have done it himself. Nero needed a scapegoat, and he chose to blame Christians. So they were persecuted, not for their religious faith, but because they were seen as criminals. That decimated Christianity. Romans tied Christians to posts, and at night they lit them. (Probably how the Apostle Paul died.) Andréa Bautista 4 o But in terms of persecution, a conscious persecution of Christians didn’t happen till the middle of the 4th century) • Roman Persecution of Christians o Rome was founded in about 752 BCE. o The Millennial Celebration is in 248 CE. The emperor at the time was Philip the Arab (who was not hostile and somewhat sympathetic toward Christians). Phillip decided to have a celebration throughout the Empire. But Christians refused to participate because to do so, they would have to participate in sacrifices to the gods. o In Alexandria, Egypt (part of the Roman Empire), the citizens went on a rampage, killing Christians. o Philip died in 249 CE. Decius became the new Emperor, and he hated Christians, and forced them to worship the Roman gods. He sent for Christians to come forward and compelled, on threat of death, to sacrifice to the Roman gods. If they did it, they got a certificate called a Libelli o Christians by the thousands recanted their faith and sacrificed to the Roman gods. o How would one know who was/wasn’t Christian in the cities? Neighbors turned them in. o There were those who said they wanted to remain a Christian, but still wanted a Libelli. They developed a black market so that Christians could buy them. It divided the Christian community. o Also, if one owned a Libel, they were accused of not being Christian. o Decian persecution occurs between 249-251. o Real persecution, however, occurs during Diocletian in 303-305. o The Roman Empire split into Eastern and Western. Eastern Rome was far wealthier because it was closer to the Silk Road. Diocletian decided to be emperor of the East and call emperors “Augustus.” He appointed co-emperors, and each emperor had junior emperors, whom he called “Caesar.” In the West, the co- emperor, or Augustus, was Maximan with the Caesar, Constantius. o Augur - In the ancient world, they had soothsayers who would predict the future by looking at the sky to see how birds were flying or if there were eagles or through sacrifice by reading the entrails of the animals. The priests of Rome found they couldn’t get good readings—why? Because Christians were present, which upset the Roman gods. o The emperors decided to get rid of the Christians and ordered the citizens to turn in religious texts and renounce their faith. They arrested the priests and threw them in jail (there was not even enough room for all the priests). There was terrible persecution in the east, but it was not as bad in the west—why? Largely because Maximian didn’t have as big of a problem with Christians and Constantius’s sister was a Christian. o In 305, Diocletian decides to retire from emperorship and Galerius, his former Caesar, became the new Augustus. Constantius in the west became the new Augustus. o In 306, Constantius died, and there was a question over who is going to be the new Augustus. o Severus was killed so he’s out. Constantius died, so he’s out. Andréa Bautista 5 o In the East, Licinius became Augustus, leaving Maxentius or Constantine to be Augustus in the West. o Constantine, son of Constantius, was declared emperor, and decided to march all the way to Italy to go to war against Maxentius. Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 CE) o Before the battle, there was a story that Constantine had a dream (other stories say this really happened) that he looked up and saw a Cairo symbol, the first two letters of Christ in Greek, superimposed over the sun. He was told by some of his advisors that it meant “by this sign, conquer." o He was told to put the Cairo symbol on the shields of all his Legion armies. The next day, he fought on Milvian Bridge. Maxentius was pushed off the bridge and drowned, and Constantine became emperor of the West. Who does he have to thank for this? Christ. o Constantine was a sun worshiper, and may have confused Sun worshiping with Christianity. They worshiped on Sunday, prayed toward the east where the Sun rises, they celebrated Christmas on the solstice. o Constantine ruled over the empire for the next 12 years. Licinius persecuted Christians. He was defeated by Constantine. Then by 325, Constantine was the sole emperor of Rome. o In 313, there’s the Edict of Milan (just after Constantine became emperor), an edict by Licinius and Constantine which proclaimed toleration of the Christian community. o Constantine decided in the late 320s to move the capital of Rome to Byzantium (known today as Istanbul between the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea). When he moved, so did all the Patricians and Equestrians, all moving with the emperor. He built this new city in 330 in Constantinople. o Constantinople was known as new Rome, and Constantine built a lot of churches and built a colossus. o The Coliseum was named because of a giant statue of a sun god. o Constantine built a new statue, a colossus, with his own face on it, to the sun god. o He also built a shrine to the mother goddess of Asia, Cybele. So there are pagan gods represented as well in Constantinople. o He built the empire, controlled the empire, and in 337 Constantine died. On his deathbed, he converted to Christianity. o In early Christianity, it was believed that you could not have blood on your hands if you worked for the state and held a state office. It was a mortal sin; you would go to hell. o As a consequence, those who followed Jesus, who help political office, and had the imperium, power to kill people, weren’t baptized till their death bed. o He was so beloved for actually establishing Christianity in the empire, that later on in the Middle Ages, he is declared a saint by the Greek Orthodox Church. Saint Constantine. o After he died, the Roman Senate decided to do what they frequently did with emperors. They made him a god. People prayed to him in this life. Constantine is probably the only man who is simultaneously a saint and a god. Andréa Bautista 6 o Later on in the fourth century, there existed a man named Theodosius, not to be confused with Theodoric the Great. o Theodosius was a Christian and decided in 380 CE to create the Edict of Thessalonica, which said Christianity is the official religion of the Roman Empire, no other religion is permitted. o Old families, Patrician and Equestrian families, often didn’t convert to Christianity. It was upsetting to them, especially when, for example, Theodosius ordered the Temple of Vesta to be extinguished. § Vestal virgins – Priestesses at the Temple of Vesta § Vesta is the Goddess of the Hearth who protects women in childbirth, and protects the home. § There is an eternal flame that burns in the Temple of Vesta. The vestal virgins are charged with keeping the flame lit. If it is extinguished, the punishment for the virgins is to be buried alive. § The eternal flame had burned for thousands of years o Theodosius took this holy place and said “distinguish the flame.” o There also existed the Alter of Nike in the Roman Senate. § Nike is the Goddess of Victory § The Roman Pagans (Patricians, Equestrians) thought that they needed Nike for all wars. o Theodosius said, “Remove the Alter of Nike from the Roman senate.” o The Romans then thought, "This is the end of Rome! We have offended the gods!"
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