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The Fall of Rome. Or, why I learned to stop worrying and love Christianity…. What is going to cause the collapse of Rome?. Internal And External Causes. Internal Causes.

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the fall of rome

The Fall of Rome

Or, why I learned to stop worrying and love Christianity…

internal causes
Internal Causes
  • Rome suffered from Poor Leadership after the death of the last “good emperor” because his successors were unable to control the Empire
  • Overspending by wealthy Roman citizens and the government depleted the wealth of the Roman Empire
  • The government raised Taxes to deal with the poverty taking over the Empire
  • Disease spread throughout Roman cities
  • Loyalty to the Empire was lost by Roman Legions who supported their generals over their Emperor
  • Latfundia’s diminished work opportunities.
economic collapse
Economic Collapse
  • Nobles considered it unworthy to engage in business and squandered money.
  • Latfundia’s and slavery encouraged a lack of job growth or manual labor.
  • Weak employment meant that little was purchased
  • Gov’t kept price of grain artificially low to keep masses happy – encouraged farmers out of business.
  • Essentially, privileged classes benefitted, no one else
social collapse
Social Collapse
  • Romans began losing faith in religion, citizenship ideals, reason. Became bored with politics.
  • Desire for new religions brought on obsessions with occults, alchemy, magic.
  • Eastern religions take hold, especially ones with conversion rituals.
  • Neo-Platonists emphasized attaining truth through knowledge of the one, in a reality beyond our world.
  • Citizenship extended to almost all in empire by 212 ACE, which killed some provincials desires.
external causes
External Causes
  • Foreign Barbarians and Mediterranean Pirates disrupted the trade routes once dominated by the Romans
  • Christianity comes in and rocks the empire.
  • 376-476 Germanic Tribes overwhelm Roman Legions along northern borders
  • Asian Mongol Nomads, called Huns, invaded western territories in the late 4th century A.D.
  • The Visigoths, led by King Alaric, invaded Rome in the early 400s A.D.
  • The Vandals sacked the city of Rome in 455 A.D.
military collapse
Military Collapse
  • With everyone having citizenship, no need to join army to better self.
  • Internal fighting for control of the empire in 200’s ACE, which led to invasion as the military fought among itself for control.
  • With a lack of soldiers to fill the ranks, Rome was forced to get mercenaries from the provinces.
  • When those same provinces decided to gain patriotic freedom by the end of the 300’s, the mercenaries turned on Rome.
diocletian 285 305 ace
Diocletian (285-305 ACE)
  • Attempted to contain disunificationby centralizing society.
  • Ruled more like Eastern kings, eliminated much of the local control of cities.
  • Drafted prisoners of war, bought out mercenaries.
  • Forced unskilled workers to stay in jobs for life and hand them down – virtual serfdom
  • Huge bureaucracy paid for by hereditary tax collections (curiales)
  • Drove people out of cities
  • Split empire in half – West and East
constantine 306 337
Constantine (306-337)
  • Continued Diocletian’s ideals.
  • Proclaimed religious freedom in empire, because he was a Christian.
  • Established Constantinople on the Bosphorus as a new capital.
  • For a time the two emperors brought stability.
  • If economics had returned or they didn’t face such difficulties, Rome may have survived…but…..
invasions of the 300 s and 400 s
Invasions of the 300’s and 400’s
  • In the late 300’s the Huns invaded from Russia and decimated the Germanic peoples and forced them back into Rome.
  • The Visigoths pushed into Rome and defeated them at the Battle of Adrianople – signaled that cavalry was significant in war.
  • Eventually under Alaric, they end up destroying Rome itself (the city) in 410 ACE.
the end of rome
The End of Rome
  • During the invasions, Roman economics came to a crawl – no trading, cheap food, road repair.
  • People sought refuge on huge plantations from violence and became indentured servants.
  • In 451 ACE, Attila almost made Europe a Mongol province.
  • By 455, after Vandal invasions, Rome crowned a Germanic chieftain Emperor, and that was the end of Rome in the West.
what lessons can we learn from rome
What lessons can we learn from Rome?
  • 1. Don’t overstretch your borders.
  • 2. Make sure you keep up your loyalty.
  • 3. Don’t overtax your people
  • 4. Avoid plague at all cost, cuz it leads to population and tax declines.
  • 5. A loyal, well trained army is worth everything.
  • 6. Bread and Circuses foster laziness.
  • 7. Make sure you produce something.
  • 8. There is no substitute for a good, wise leader.
and finally christianity
And Finally…Christianity
  • Basic Background of Judaism in First Century BC….
    • Four Principle Religious Groups in that time
      • Sadducees – Strict interpretation of Torah, temple ceremonies important, rejection of afterlife.
      • Pharisees – more liberal interpretation of Torah, believed in afterlife, the most important at the time and influenced later Judaism, Messianic teachings
      • Essenes – Monastic, rejected temple priests as corrupt, tied the afterlife to God’s kingdom coming (some argue that Jesus was an Essenic because of teachings)
      • Zealots – anti-Roman patriots
important information about jesus
Important Information about Jesus
  • He was a Jew, living in a Jewish province, teaching Jewish law and scripture.
  • We have no direct writing from him, nor do we have contemporary writings / artifacts
  • Golden Rule becomes more central
  • Considered a prophet by followers – 12 Disciples
  • It was the resurrection that helped create a new faith – otherwise just Jewish sect.
st paul
St. Paul
  • Taught about Christ not to Palestinians, but to the Jewish Diaspora around Rome.
  • Free movement because citizenship.
  • Good roads and transporation.
  • Spoke Greek
  • First taught salvation over sin through Christ.
  • It was here that Jesus becomes recognized as the Messiah
  • Preaches universalism of the faith – all invited.
so why does rome buy in
So Why Does Rome Buy In…
  • They are morally bankrupt in later stages of empire.
  • Instantly creates community that was lacking when people stopped believing in Rome.
  • Religion stressed intellect and individual reliance – things no longer preached.
  • Poor and suffering were the keys to a better life in future – Rome had lots of those people.
  • Adopted Greek philosophy into teachings.
how do the emperors react
How do the Emperors React…
  • Early in first century, largely ignored.
  • By end of century however, Christians were considered disloyal citizens (nonviolent, didn’t go to gladiatorial games, anti public baths, did not worship Emperors)
  • Christians fed to lions, killed in Coliseum, starved, etc.
  • Many Christians embraced this as a way to emulate Christ’s death
as the religion continued to spread
As the religion continued to spread
  • In 313 AD Constantine issued Edict of Milan which granted religious toleration.
  • By 392 AD, Theodosius I made Christianity the official state religion.
    • Christianity stops being persecuted and suddenly begins persecuting.
    • Anyone following old faiths or different ones persecuted.
christianity struggles to form identity
Christianity Struggles to Form Identity
  • Conservative church leaders oppose philosophy at all.
  • Eventually, more liberal ideas win out as Christ is equated with divine “logos” or reason.
  • Stoics bring universalism to Christianity.
  • Plato’s forms and anti-sense perception fall in line with religion.
  • Bishops establish themselves in large towns.
  • By late in the empire, the bishop of Rome becomes primary leader. (St. Peter, the Rock of Church, martyred in Rome)
  • Monasticism developed by St. Basil and St. Benedict.
the christian bible
The Christian Bible
  • Developed after Christ’s death by at least 100 years (although pieces of it began to be written 40 years after death)
  • Contained certain accounts of Christ and not others: Paul’s Epistles, Four Gospels (M,M,L,J), acts of Apostles, Revelations.
  • Many other things, including Gnostic Gopsels not included.
  • Council of Nicaea settles dispute about divinity of Christ in 325 AD.
great christian thinkers
Great Christian Thinkers
  • St. Jerome – Translated Old and New Testaments in Latin
  • St. Ambrose – urged an end to wealth desire by priests, separation of Church from state.
  • St. Augustine – really important
    • Wrote City of God in reaction to Visigoth invasions and concern of Roman Chritians.
    • Said ideal state can only be realized in heaven.
    • Argued that new cities must conform to Christian ideals.
    • Said not all getting into heaven; city on earth (sinful) vs. heavenly city (perfection) constant fight.
    • Said you can not gain wisdom with reason alone, must include faith.
    • Knowledge was used to understand Christ, not secular world.
impact on a post roman world
Impact on a Post Roman World
  • Christianity creates a fundamental shift in ideology – no longer is humanism and life about achieving excellence in this world, it is about salvation in a heavenly city.
  • People could withdraw from society because salvation was individual.
  • When Rome falls, people willing to go to feudalism to protect secular self because religious life is individually determined.
  • Classicism – dies for a long time as reason, a nonlinear view of history, and philosophy die.