Roman History

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Describe the nature of Roman awareness of Christians before 100 AD (1st century AD)
They didn’t pay them too much attention because there really wasn’t a noticeable distinction between them and the Jews
Why did the Romans persecute Christians? Were Christians the sole target of Roman persecutions?
Because they rejected Roman citizenship and embraced Christianity; threatening stability of Roman rule; they were scapegoats for natural disasters. They were not the only target of Roman persecutions
What was the size of the Christian community in the Roman Empire c 200AD?
Just a small sect, size estimations varied
What was the Roman imperial policy towards the Christians, in general, in the first two centuries AD?
Don’t ask, don’t tell; they prefer to let Christians just do their thing as long as they didn’t pose a threat to Rome.
Who was Septimus Severus?
Roman emperor who was the first to persecute Christians in the name of unifying Roman state
Why did Septimius Severus enact laws that led to the persecution of Christians? Were Christians the specific target of these laws?
To strengthen Roman state and encourage unity; Christians were NOT the specific target of the laws (but those who claimed magical powers)
What part of the Christian community was affected by the Severan laws?
New converts and those perceived to have magical powers
Under what provision were Christians charged and condemned?
Refusing to sacrifice to the Emperor
What was damnatio ad bestias?
Condemnation at the hands of the beasts, thrown to the beasts in the amphitheater
Why was it important to the Christians to refrain from showing pain or fear?
To undermine Roman intentions and testify to one’s faith and the power of the Christian God and lead people in audience to conversion; serves as an example of faith; often caused many people in the audience to convert
Who was Diocletian?
Emperor who led violent persecutions against Christians,
Name two factors that contributed to the crisis of the 3rd century AD in Rome.
Military crisis (no central control ) and severe food shortages, famine, plague, economic crisis
What was the Plague of Cyprian?
Outbreak of smallpox
What attitude did Romans have toward traditional pagan cult in the 3rd century AD?
They had a renewed interest in it under Diocletian which led to the persecution of Christians
Who was Aurelian?
Emperor who built a wall around Rome and worshipped sol invictus
What divinity did Aurelian identify with?
Sol Invictus (sun god)
How did Diocletian come to power?
He was made emperor by his troops, provided some stability during his reign
Name two ways that Diocletian increased the tax revenue for the Roman empire.
Italy is no longer exempt from property tax; raised taxes and created better tax collection, and balanced the budget; established a yearly census to better do so
How did Diocletian reverse one of the most significant of Augustus’s military reforms? Why did he do so?
He used conscripted (drafted) soldiers instead of volunteers to provide an incentive salary and increased the number of soldiers.
What was the tetrarchy? Why was it created? What benefits did it bring?
Under Diocletian. A group of 4 rules, two augustuses and 2 caesars. It was created because the empire was simply too big for one person to rule. Dealt with problems more quickly, stopped rapid succession of emperors
Who was Constantine?
Emperor who embraced religious tolerance
How did Constantine emerge as the Augustus of the West?
After Diocletian retired, he forced Maximian to retire too. This made Constantius the Augustus of the West but he quickly died so his son was named successor by his father’s troops
How did Diocletian treat Christians living and working in the Roman Empire?
He stripped them of their jobs and titles, burned their churches and scriptures
Who did the Roman senate want to be Augustus after the death of Constantine’s father?
Maximian’s son, Maxentius
Who was Maxentius?
He was appointed Augustus of the West by the people, Praetorian Gaurd, and the Senate
How did Licinius become Augustus in the West? Who did he appoint as his Ceasar?
He was appointed Augustus by Galerius. He appointed Constantine as Caesar
Who fought at the Battle of the Milvian bridge? Outcome?
outcome was Constantine’s win (Max’s men drowned while he committed suicide) I think Max drowned as well, not suicide
When did Constantine hear “in this sign, you will conquer”? What did he do?
He had his men decorate their shields with the Chi-Rho, a symbol of Christ
Who issued the Edict of Milan? Why?
Constantine issued the Edict along with Licinius. It was issued to announce the alliance of the two. Because the Augustus in the East, Daia was persecuting Christians and they wanted to separate themselves from him and not alienate the Christians in order to gain their support
What function did the Edict of Milan have? What special provisions did it make for Christians?
To fight against Eastern Augustus Daia (who persecuted Christians); religious toleration policy that restored Christian property and legal status of churches so they could inherit legacies
Who erected the Arch of Constantine?
the senate
Name two emperors whose victory monuments were plundered to decorate Constantine’s Arch. Why was this are re-used?
MA-TH: Marcus Aureliu, Trajan, Hadrian
to compare Constantine to other triumphal/good emperors.
How did Constantine characterized Maxentius after his victory at the Milvian bridge?
By claiming the Basilica for himself, Constantine characterizes Maxentius by demonizing him and turning him into a tyrant.
Name one way that Constantine showed favor to the Christians.
> exempted clergy from civil obligations; funded construction of churches
What was Constantine’s attitude toward pagan religion? Toward animal sacrifice? >
he funded Greco-Roman religions and cults; banned animal sacrifice (but not in pagan temples)
Where did Constantine establish a new imperial capital? Name one way that it resembled Rome. >
Constantinople (Bryzantium); had own senate and magnificent public buildings
What was groundbreaking about Constantine’s participation in the Council of Nicaea?
It was the first time an emperor was asked to give his opinion on a controversial theological issue
When was Constantine baptized? Why then?
On his deathbed so he can to Heaven completely pure
What was Constantine’s relationship with the senate? In what way did he differ from Diocletian and others?
restored senate (opens offices) and elevates equestrians; differs in his support of senate
Why were several of Constantine’s blood relatives killed following Constantine’s death?
because he did not name a successor and there was a struggle for power
Who succeeded Constantine as emperor?
Constantius II
How did Constans die?
He was killed by forces loyal to Magnentius, a Usurper
Who was Magnentius?
A Usurper who had a hand in killing Constans. He also lead battles in Gaul against Constantius II; commits suicide because he lost series of battles.
Who was Julian?
Emperor who persecuted the Christans who drew on intellectuals, an example of a soldier intellectual
Why was Julian’s life spared in the palace bloodbath after Constantine’s death?
spared with his brother because he was a cousin of Constantius II and he was really young. Gallus was also spared.
Under what circumstances was Julian made Constantius II’s Ceasar in the West? How was a civil war between Julian and Constantius ultimately avoided?
Julian made Caesar because Constantius II needed help to run empire after Gallus became corrupt and was soon after executed. He was ultimately the replacement so to speak; war avoided by Constantius’s death
Where did Constantine establish a new imperial capital? Name one way that it resembled Rome.
Constantinople, had a senate
What did Julian do to honor Constantius after his death?
gave him Christian burial and laudatory eulogy.
Name one earlier emperor who served as a model for Julian.
MAH: Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius
How did Julian view animal sacrifice? Why was this particularly offensive to Christians?
Julian supported revival of animal sacrifice; offensive to Christians because they were against it and had replaced it with prayer instead. they distinguished themselves for not sacrificing animals like Jews
Name two examples of Julian’s anti-Christian legislation.
Banned Christian teachers from the classroom; took away tax breaks/privileges from clergy
What was Julian’s general attitude toward Christians? Did he practice open persecution?
Claimed tolerance but had subtle policy of harassment; avoided open persecution of Christians
What happened when Julian tried to rebuild the Jewish temple in Jerusalem?
Part of the problem was that every time they dug in the ground, “great balls of fire would shoot up”. Most likely natural gas from earthquakes
How did Julian die?
an arrow wound in the gut in 363 – battle against Persians
Describe two reasons why Julian’s efforts to revive paganism failed.
Out of touch with the average pagan, short reign, created hostility toward Christians which only made them more united
Why did the Goths leave their homeland and migrate westward into Roman territory?
they were being dislocated by the Huns that were moving westward as well.
Why did the Goths rebel against the Romans in the late 370s? What happened at Adrianople?
They were treated badly by Romans; Goths won and ? of Roman army was killed
Why was Alaric, leader of the Goths, angry with the Romans?
because Goth soldiers were being exposed to exceptional dangers
Who was Alaric?
Leader of the Goths
What relationship did the Goths and Romans have after Adrianople?
negotiated treaty of freedom and independence but loyalty to Rome in 382 Romans still abused them in a sense by making them be in the frontlines of military.
What did Arcadius do when Alaric and the Goths invaded Greece?
he made Alaric magister equitum (master of cavalry)
Who was Arcadius?
The Eastern emperor who made Alaric magister equitum
Who was Stilicho? Describe his alliance with Alaric. How did Stilicho die?
Vandal commander working under Honorius; stops Alaric in Italy and helps negotiate terms ; killed as result of court intrigue (Honorius didn’t like the power he was gaining)
Why did Alaric and the Goths siege Rome? What demands did Alaric make?
because the wives/children of Goths were slaughtered; demands command of western army and land for Goth people not being met
How did Honorius respond to Alaric’s demands? The Roman senate? Why was Alaric’s march on Ravenna unsuccessful?
? Honorius denied his demands because he didn’t really take Alaric seriously and didn’t have a care of the world. The Senate granted his wishes. The location of Ravenna allowed an eastern tribe to intervene and for Honorius to make a quick escape
Why did Alaric and the Goths finally sack Rome in August 410 AD?
Because Alaric realized Honorius would never agree to his demands primarily because of Sarus convincing him Honorius would never negotiate.
What did wealthy Romans do after Alaric’s sack of Rome?
> They left Rome
Why did Saint Augustine write the City of God?
to defend and provide explanation for the Christian God’s actions.
In Augustine’s view, what was suffering? Why did the Christian God allow the Roman Christians to suffer during the siege and sack of Rome?
God’s attempt to chastise and correct sinners; to attempt to chastise the Roman Christians and make them realize they have been sinning and make them realize their weakness (excessive pride) and the fact that they need their Christian God.
What event marks the traditional end of the Western Roman Empire? What event ended the Eastern Empire?
Romulus Augustus removed from ofice in 476, 1453 Fall of Constantinople
Which modern historian imposed a model of rise and fall on the history of Rome. Name two reasons he gave for the fall of Rome.
Edward Gibson, adoption of Christianity, reliance on mercenary troops, overexpansion, lead poisoning, and inflation
Describe the difference between models of fall and models of transformation.
A fall is a decline, transformation is the continuance of change
What role might taxation have played in the end of the Western Roman Empire?
? More and more barbarians took over the city and this weakened the tax base so Rome wasn’t able to get as much money out its citizens
Briefly describe the Heidenreich hypothesis. Does it seem to be a valid explanation for the end of the Western Empire?
Barbarian gang of striped cats, made landfall in Northern Italy (Ravenna), took imperial court, and infected humans; catastrophic cataclysm
Who were the three candidates for Augustus of the west and who were they appointed by?
Licinius was appointed by Galerius, Maxtenius appointed by senate, people and guard, Constantine appointed by his father’s troops

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