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Week 1 Notes

by: Molly McGeeney

Week 1 Notes HST 102 01

Molly McGeeney
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i. The Legacy of the Roman Empire ii. Historiography and Periodization in History
Introduction to European Civilization
Class Notes
history, European civilization




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Molly McGeeney on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HST 102 01 at Grand Valley State University taught by Houser in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 68 views. For similar materials see Introduction to European Civilization in History at Grand Valley State University.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
History 102.01: Introduction to European Civilization NOTES: i. The Legacy of the Roman Empire ­ Founded in 509 BCE ­ Until 27 BCE Rome went to one city state to conquering more land (Rise of the Roman Empire (no longer a republic- now an empire) to 476 is the fall ­ Thousand year period a. Achievements of Rome 1. Concept of Empire  The Romans knew there was more to the world, but they didn’t care. Beyond the wall were barbarians (uncivilized people – to the Romans) with nothing the Romans wanted. 2. The “Pax Romana”  Roman peace that lasted 200 years (others tried to achieve this in history)  Rome at its height  31 BCE-180 CE  Idea of controlling all the land and there will be peace 3. Roman Law  Principles of Roman Law include:  Laws are not laid down with reference to particular individuals, but for general application.  It is better for the crime of a guilty person to be left unpunished than for an innocent person to be condemned  No one suffers a penalty for what he thinks  See powerpoint for more examples  These laws have some similarities to ours today  Not the first legal system but many ideas from these laws are still found today (influence all of Europe’s legal system)  Laws shouldn’t change from one country to another 4. Spreading of Greek Culture  (See map for example)  Think of modern imperialism  Romans liked Greek culture- did not think that the roman way was the only way they accepted and even praised Greek culture (philosophy, math, art, astronomy, history)  Rome was stronger but the Greeks are smarter  They adapt Greek culture and make it their own and spread it through the entire empire  Greco-Roman culture  Example of sculpture: the four statues are focusing on the human body, in their best form (ideal image of beauty), more modest in Rome than in Greece,  Greek Culture was Humanistic  Humanism means:  Put humans at the center of attention (not God centered)  Glorification of humanity  The idea (philosophy that asserts) that this life is worth living for its own sake  Shown Roman Sculpture: less peaceful, more about human struggles, not beauty or grace, more about intelligence than about athletics, tells a story, realistic, humans at the center of attention but not idealistic  Architecture 5. Spread of Christianity  Constantine- told to put the symbol of the Christians on the shields in a dream  End of his reign has made Christianity the religion of the empire- became law  Jesus and unity of Rome has spread the religion to become the most popular religion in the world  Even after Rome falls Christianity remains ii. Historiography and Periodization in History A. Historiography ­ history is about the interpretation of facts, not about the facts themselves, history of writing ­ For any event, there is an ocean of facts (For any event in history there are many different interpretations of what happened)  The question is:  What is important? Who decides this? B. Periodization ­ the act of dividing time into segments, or periods  example: 20 century (way of thinking) now in the post 9/11 world ­ in European history, the largest periods are ancient, medieval and modern  When did the Roman Empire “fall” and the middle ages begin?  Depends on what facts we think are the most important  Odoacer deposes Romulus Augustulus (textbook view thinks 476 because of the empire)  Are they looking at the wrong facts to determine the timeline? This is how historians challenged the view: o Germans have been making and unmaking the Roman Empires o Reign of Constantine (306-337)  In the year 312 Constantine claimed to have converted to Christianity making it the official religion of the roman empire (this is an important fact to consider, this helped spread the empire)  Could look at this as the key fact therefore 312 was the official start o Emperor Theodosius (378-395) outlawed “Paganism” also made final the division of the roman Empire into two halves (see powerpoint for picture)  Theodosius made Christianity the only legal religion in the empire. Paganism (defined as the worship of gods other than the Christian God) was outlawed. Ever since Constantine, there had been two Roman emperors – one in the west at Rome and the other in the east at Constantinople; after 395, the decisions of one emperor did not require the approval of the other. o 410- sack of Rome  People aren’t wanting to live in towns and cities because of the barbarians and the people leave and become ghost towns  Key fact is military: Roman army can’t defend their people o 529- Emperor Justinian closes the Philosophic School of Athens  Ancient Humanism is dealt a death blow. The search for universal ideals of justice and reason is over, if it conflicts with Christianity.  Closed the philosophic school in Athens- people would travel to learn and ask questions- but now there was Christianity that answered all the questions o 565- Death of Justinian, the last emperor to insist of Latin as the language of government  Language is the key event that changed and led to the middle ages o (1862-1935) Pirenne Thesis- believed it was economics that caused the shift  The Mediterranean sea led to trading and economics  Trade still continued even after the fall of the Roman Empire  Islamic culture begins to spread (Umayyad)- Mediterranean common wealth starts to fall o 814 the empire of Charlemagne  Barraclough Thesis: the crucible of Europe (1979)  Charlemagne conquers a European Empire- controlled enough land to be recognized  Called Holy Roman Emperor  After the death of Charlemagne the Holy Roman Empire falls apart (this is the key fact- the development of countries that never used to be there)  Don’t need to know these dates but understand the idea that there are different ways to interpret the facts and which ones are key to history and the most important


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