Unit 6 - Christian Roman Empire
Unit 6 - Christian Roman Empire Hist 101
Popular in European Civilization from Ancient Times to the Mid-17th Century
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Margot Clary on Saturday October 31, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to Hist 101 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Schor in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 39 views. For similar materials see European Civilization from Ancient Times to the Mid-17th Century in History at University of South Carolina.
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Date Created: 10/31/15
Section 6 The Christian Roman Empire Key Question How did the Roman world become Christian and what was its impact Podcast 6a Christians and the Roman State 34th c I The changing Roman Empire provincial dynasties universal citizenship O 0 End of 2Ild c CE marked end of shift in imperial politics Early 3rd c New dynasty Septimius Severus and family from the provinces N Africa and Syria Less interest in city of Rome Italy Severan emperors sponsor some provincial culture unfamiliar gods eg Sun god of Syria Biggest Change Citizenship extended to all free residents of provinces Hierarchy of wealth not origins The 3rd c Roman imperial crisis New Foes in Europe and Persia O O 0 Most serious crisis since age of Augustus N of Rhine and Danube R Germanic groups some familiar some new reorganized I Germanic warriors raided Roman provinces more often New dynasty Sassanids reunited Mesopotamia and Iran formed new Persian Empire in 220 s CE I Persian king claimed supreme God Ahura Mazda gave him power Zoroastrian teachings and magi as official Persian faith Sassanid Persia s bigger more aggressive army 0 Internal 3rd c Roman crises defeats plagues and usurpers O O 0 New epidemic diseases 160 s250 s due to more trade contact I Took chunk out of Roman population amp states ability to fund wars Longrunning problems of succession armies replacing emperors New Roman defeats raids led to questions did Roman rulers really have backing of Gods More usurpers wouldbe emperors local governors or army generals challenging existing emperors more civil wars I Major defeats Emp Decius killed in 251 CE Emp Valerian captured by Persians 260 CE I By 260 s 3 competing dynasties rule parts of empire Impact of Crisis Varied I More rulers made more debased coins in ation Some raids loss of life But large areas esp Rome were largely untouched Roman state responses to crisis new rituals of loyalty new military methods Reuniting of Empire by Emp Aurelian in 270 s CE Aurelian claimed support from the most powerful god Sun God 0 Roman imperial response to crisis Diocletian and his reforms O O 0 Biggest amp most successful reformer Ended the period of crisis by completely rearranging the Roman State doubled the size of the army Reforms esp by Diocletian 284305 increased size of imperial government OOOOOOO Expanded army to 450000 soldiers Hired 20000 bureaucrats spies Now 100 governors and new regional supervisors Raised taxes fairly price controls Diocletian sought stable succession 1 coemperor 2 Caesars tetrarchy Ideology one empire like one universe run by gods 0 Christians in the 3rd c Roman Empire Interaction tolerance and state persecutions 0 000000 Christians still a minority but quiet growth Learned Christian defenses of views New church organization priests bishops 250s Big state persecution all Romans told to sacrifice to gods Persecutions ended in 260 tolerance for Christians until 303 Diocletian s Great Persecution 303311 Christian reactions celebrate martyrs tighter organization of church 0 Constantine s rise to Power O 0000 Diocletian s succession plans failed new emperor died several tried to replace him by 308 7 wouldbe emperors trying to claim office 20 yrs intermittent civil war Constantine was a wouldbe emperor son of Diocletian s junior coemperor caesar C took over W empire in 312 the rest of empire in 324 Successors in 337 his 3 younger sons killed his own eldest son Constantine kept or extended most of Diocletian s reforms of gov t Constantine s proChristian policies and his personal religion 0 O O O Edict in 313 CE toleration for all religious groups church legalized Christians can reclaim property taken in persecution Constantine s favors to Christian esp Bishops donations legal privileges access Large public church buildings in Rome Lateran and Jerusalem Church of Holy Sepulchre Church councils to settle disputes Esp Cel of Nicaea in 325 Baptism on his deathbed in 337 Constantinople New Rome a second capital for the empire location access to troops churches in center selfglorification Constantinople a new Christian Roman Capital 0 O O O Built by Constantine as a second capital for the empire Built in the city of Byzantium Churches right next to palace most residents were Christians Built as a selfglorification presenting himself as the favorite of the gods of the universe 0 Constantine s early successors the Christian empire and its policies 0 000000 Constantine s 3 sons all Christians more favors to Christian church leaders More Christian symbols at court Some political instability bros civil war BUT growing backing for church building More government jobs for Christians Doubled size of senate old members rarely Christian new members majority Christian 361363 CE Constantine s nephew Julian supported polytheism Julian tried to cleverly undercut Christianity but no persecution I Julian s death in battle vs Persia I New Christian military emperors I Christian leaders blamed Julian s fall on his paganism Julian s attempt to restore paganism and the Christian response 0 O O 0 Power passed to Julian after Constantine s son his cousin died Raised as a Christian but educated by polytheistic philosophers who saw Christians as pagans Revealed he was no longer Christian once in power Proclaimed tolerance for all religious cults but worked subtly to undercut the rise of Christianity Supported Jews in effort to rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem Tried to organize Polytheism to give it clear set of doctrines amp leaders Killed in battle against the Persians Theodosius I and his successors Orthodox Christian Empire 0 000000 Disastrous Roman military defeat in 378 another dead emperor Then Theodosius I Gratian Emps Theo shows off Christian piety to win support Favors solely for Christian religion more Christian officials in gov t Jews allowed Jewish converts forbidden Pagan belief ok pagan public ritual illegal pressured to convert Christianity as official Roman religion by 390 s CE Podcast 6b The Partial Christianization of Roman Society and Culture 0 New in uence of bishops in a Christian Empire 0 O O O Rising in uence of church leaders with official backing bishops All bishops gained power locally unlike any other local leader they had an independent base of authority Could hand out favors to set up charity systems for the poor give away jobs and serve as advocates for their towns Now bishops were asked to support empire emperors officials helped to choose bishops But bishops with sermons and followers could lobby emperors and officials Ambrose Bishop of Milan defied one emperor who told him to leave his church amp convinced another to seek penance for his sins reacting violently Bishops and emperors disputes over heresy and orthodoxy O O O O 0000 Biggest worry was proper teaching of the faith Bishops and emperors concerns for orthodox teachings suppression of heresy one catholic orthodox church But bishops constantly argued over what was orthodoxy Church was constantly divided into factions calling each other heretics ChristSon of God similar in substance or similar to God the Father Arian vs Christ Son of God same substance as God the Father Nicene The result was power feuds among Christians for control of bishops seats competing definitions of orthodoxy sometimes riots Emp Valens tried to push similar creed called Arian heresy by Rufinus But Valens was killed in battle in 378 CE Nicene Christian leaders said it was God s punishment for heresy So Gratian and Theodosius I supported Nicene party with a council new laws pressuring heretics even more than Jews and pagans Pagans and Jews in a Christian Roman Empire 0 O O Majority of Romans Christian and Nicene orthodox sometime in 5th c Heretics groups with alternate Christian teachings still continued New divisions took place Pagans polytheists still continued Some highly learned pagans grew firmer in resistance treasured philosophy of Plato Jews continued legal but disfavored Jewish identity solidified by resistance to Christian pressure to convert rabbinic leadership grew in many ways Jews thrived new wave of synagogue building more organized to counter pressures to convert etc Cultural impact of Christianity Christian family life and sexuality 0 0 Best guess majority of Romans were Christian by early to mid 5th c Basic structure of Roman family was highly resistant to change fathers had exceptional power over children men and women could write wills marriages still arranged by families divorce remained legal by mutual consent slavery as present as ever Some slow changes via Roman laws I Some abuse of children banned divorce made more difficult Biggest change new laws and attitudes about sexuality I Men and women free choice to marry or be celibate even slaves could refuse contact although this could hardly be enforced I Roman leaders more hostile to prostitution esp male and esp homosexuality Hermits and Monasteries in a Christian Roman Empire 0 O O 0000 Larger impact of Christian empire a new Christian culture of holiness centered on monks and monasteries Monk comes from Greek word for solitary person a Christian who sought to perfect his life and relationship with God Before Constantine this meant seeking martyrdom or maybe living simple life of poverty and celibacy within community By 4th c some Christians in Egypt Syria esp were leaving community to become hermits to live in extreme deprivation Symeon the Stylite fasted for days on end lived on top of 60 ft column Some 4th c monks practiced fasting vigils seclusion selfharm or life on the column By late 4th c most monks were living in communities monasteries Living by strict though less dramatic rules headed by abbots Cultural impact of Christianity Pilgrimage saints and relies O O O 100000s of people became monks by 500 CE men and woman but most Romans did not Other people sought holiness by reading about monks or by personal contact with holy people Pilgrimage became common to holy sites from Jerusalem to Egypt and beyond and to visit living holy people often at holy sites People sought contact also with dead holy people Christians started praying to dead holy people to help intercede with God saints Christians also visited tombs and collected relics remains to connect with holiness Classical and Christian literature in a Christian Roman Empire 0 Old Greek and Roman learned culture continued teachings and reading Homer Plato Cicero etc 0 Elite Christians homes still featured mythic scenes of old heroes and gods 0 Con icts about classical cultures in a Christian empire esp mid to late 4th c 0 Some purist Christians often monks and pagans often philosophers said Christianity not compatible with classical literature 0 Most Christian Romans wanted to keep classical culture but make it safe for Christians somehow 0 How much of Roman culture did Christianity really change Christianity did have some impact on wider culture and society Less abandonment of children more charity for poor Christian holidays plus 7day week More acceptable not to marry Less acceptable to divorce or have homosexual relations Gladiator shows were banned Greek athletics faded Old pagan feasts slowly replaced by new saints festivals But some church leaders pushed for many changes that did not occur prostitution gambling theatre all continued No one even really tried to reverse inequality limit state power or ban slavery 00000000 0 Podcast 6c Why the Rise of Christianity Competing Views 0 Was something special about Christianity and the Church 0 Something unique in Christian belief that had special appeal I Hard to find Christians were 0 NOT the only spreading religious movement 0 NOT the only monotheists 0 NOT the only cult promising salvation WERE often deeply divided and sharply marked themselves as NOT Jews and NOT polytheists I Something unique about Christian church organization 0 Perhaps Originally Christians were highly disorganized like other movements of the time 0 BUT 23rd c arguments over doctrine and other 3rd c persecutions led to tight network of powerful bishops 0 How much did the Roman State push Christianity 0 Constantine s support for church certainly had an impact 0 So did the near continuous support of his successors o Emps Gratian and esp Theodosius I 380 s390 s passed most laws to make empire officially Christian BUT o Emperors had other goals collect taxes keep power 0 Emperors responded to requestpressure from others esp bishops and monks 0 Larger political and cultural trends unforeseen consequences 0 Were other things changing in the empire trends that enabled the spread of Christianity Emperors pushing their own religious preferences started before Constantine With nonChristian cults Emperors claiming support from supreme God also started before Constantine s link to Christian God Roman s growing interest in holiness people places etc started before Chrsitian martyrs and monks Larger imperial government Diocletian s work made support for religion more effective Christian biological ideas shared With nonChristian philosophers