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Strana et Illicita - Senatorial Decree, 35 CE. History, Christianity and the Transformation of the Classical World 100 BCE – 100 CE. A . Century of Turmoil. Social Wars 91 BCE optimates v. populares Spartacan Revolt 73 BCE

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strana et illicita senatorial decree 35 ce

Strana et Illicita- Senatorial Decree, 35 CE

History, Christianity and the Transformation of the Classical World

100 BCE – 100 CE

a century of turmoil
A. Century of Turmoil

Social Wars 91 BCEoptimates v. populares

Spartacan Revolt 73 BCE

New Men in power 59 BCE- 1st Triumvirate Crassus, Pompey, Caesar

b crossing the rubicon
B. Crossing the Rubicon
  • Julius Caesar d. 44 BCE- Gallic conquests
  • & Cleopatra- Ptolemies
c the end of the republic
C. The end of the Republic

1. Second Triumvirate 42 BCE

- Octavian, Marc Antony, Lepidus

- Battle of Actium 31 BCE

age of the emperors
Age of the Emperors

Octavian changes name to Caesar Augustus

“Invisible Monarchy”

Senate remains, but republic is lost

d the roman soul in crisis
D. The Roman Soul in Crisis
  • Mystery Cults- secret rituals- required initiation- ecstatic response / presence of god- eternal life
  • Monotheism? Gaia – “Mother Earth”

Cicero106-43 BCEStoicism – duty to one’s role divine providence

a traditions in conflict
A. Traditions in conflict

Judah the Maccabee Hasmoneans 165-63 BCE- Hebrews v. Hellenism- cosmopolitan v. traditionalist Seleucid Kingdom

b hebrew resistance to rome
B. Hebrew Resistance to Rome
  • Pompey & the Pirates
  • Judea 63 BCE

Pompey in the Temple of Jerusalem

3. Division- Sadducees qualified interaction written law- Hasidim cultural purity

Pharisees prophetic visions life after death Hillel the Elder “Golden Rule”

Zealots (6 CE)

4. Grassroots fervor

- John the Baptist

“generation of vipers!”

Critic of Hebrew leaders

c joshua ben joseph ca 6 30 ce
C. Joshua ben Joseph ca. 6-30 CE
  • Populist- Jewish tradition- miracle worker

Messiah (?)


- Sermon on the Mount [Matthew]

- appeal to/for the powerless, despised

“spirit of the law”

a the cult of christ
A. The Cult of Christ
  • Maintained cult as Jewish sect

- circumcision; Torah

- conversion to Judaism

- baptism; eucharist


Messiah?- Again with the Gentiles

- stumbling block: the crucifixion

  • We’re not with them- Roman / Hebrew War, 66-73 CE- Gospels: blame the Jews


Pagans for Jesus- mythologyOsiris, Tammuz, Dionysus, Horus

- women & slaves

- the End is near (look busy)

5. Appeal and threat

- Decius r. 249-251

b paul of tarsus 5 67 ce
B. Paul of Tarsus 5-67 CE
  • Paul’s vision

- completion of Jewish history

- scripturally based: “Old” (Hellenized Jews)

“New” Testament

Gospels (second-hand)Epistles (letters of instruction)Acts (Church history)Revelation (crisis literature)

Break from Hebrew tradition

- salvation was gift (grace)

- salvation open to non-Jews

- salvation dependent on faith, membership, & ritual



- patriarchates

- bishops; presbyters; deacons/deaconesses

- ecclesiae

Roman model

Limited role of women (1 Corinthians)- subordinate to Church- subordinate to husbands

Roll call of the damned – 1 Corinthians

- creation of the “other”- paganism; fornicators (homosexuality ?)

- Roman decline

- echo of Augustus

emphasized Greco-Roman concept of jurisprudence

- spirit and letter of the law

Salvation always in peril – the Devil

- Zoroastrianism Ahura Mazda – singular; all goodevil exists independently

- demons n’stuff

- problems of perfection

Paul organized early Christianity and made it appealing to a wide array of people...

…but it was Roman oppression that gave Christians an added sense of identity through shared hardship

why an emperor
Why an Emperor?
  • [Rhetorical] defense of Republican virtues
  • Reform / civic peace
  • The Pax Romana31 BCE - 192 CE
a invisible monarchy
A. Invisible monarchy
  • What’s in a name?

- Consul, Augustus 27 BCE, Governor

- Imperium Maius, imperator

- princeps civitatus

  • Reform the Senate

3. Build Equestrian class

b army reform
B. Army reform
  • Addition by subtraction

- 60 to 28 legions

- dispersal

- Praetorian Guard

2. The Legionnaires

- standing army / navy

- long tours

- chance for promotion

- veterans benefits

  • The Auxiliaries

- chance for citizenship

Army was a crucial instrument in spreading influence

c make the world rome
C. Make the world “Rome”

Little Romes

- fusion of cultures

- loyal patricians

- bureaucracy

d moral regeneration
D. Moral Regeneration
  • The “family values” Emperor

- tax breaks for kids

- stiff penalties for adultery, the unmarried “virtue”

2. Pontifexmaximus

- “Cult of the Genius of the Emperor”

What links the Empire together?