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Emerging Europe and the Byzantine Empire. Chapter 5 First – read pages 18-19 in your textbook Next - Use the map on the next slide to visualize and analyze the importance of the Roman Empire and its location . Transforming the Roman World.

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emerging europe and the byzantine empire

Emerging Europe and the Byzantine Empire

Chapter 5

First – read pages 18-19 in your textbook

Next - Use the map on the next slide to visualize and analyze the importance of the Roman Empire and its location.

transforming the roman world
Transforming the Roman World
  • Germanic peoples had begun to move into the lands of the Roman Empire by the 3rd century
    • Visigoths occupied Spain and Italy until the Ostrogoths took control of Italy in the 5th C.
    • By 500 the Western Roman Empire was replaced with German kings
    • The merging of Romans and Germans took different forms in the various kingdoms

Roman influence grew weak especially in places like Britain where Roman armies had abandoned

    • The Angles and Saxons took over Britain and became the Anglo-Saxons (leads to many battles)
  • The Frankish kingdom was established by Clovis, the first Germanic ruler to convert to Christianity
    • His conversion allowed him to gain support of the Roman Catholic Church
    • “Jesus Christ, if you shall grant me victory…”
  • After his death, his sons divided his kingdom, which now covered modern day France and Germany, between themselves

Germanic customs became common, no longer German or Roman but a new society all together

    • If you committed a crime, it was considered a crime against the person, instead of the state
    • You were forced to pay a wergild (“money for a man”) which was a fine for the value of the person you wronged, meaning instead of the death penalty you paid for the person’s life
      • It was based on class
    • The trial was a physical trial, such as having to hold a red-hot iron – Divine Intervention
      • If you were innocent, they believed you would not be harmed, if you were harmed, you were guilty

Over time, one bishop—the bishop of Rome—began to claim that he led what was now called the Roman Catholic Church

    • Their belief was that Jesus had handed over the keys to the kingdom of Heaven to Peter, whom they believed to be chief apostle and the first bishop of Rome
      • Later bishops were viewed as his successors
      • They later became known as popes (papa, or “father”) of the Catholic Church

Western Christians accepted the pope as the head of the church, but didn’t agree on how much power he should have

  • Gregory I strengthened the power of the papacy (office of the pope)
    • He was not only leader of the church but political leader of Rome and its surrounding territories which become known as the Papal States
    • This gave him political and spiritual authority
transforming the roman world1
Transforming the Roman World
  • Gregory I created the monastic movement
    • A monk is a man who separates himself from ordinary human society to pursue a life solely dedicated to God (monasticism)
    • St. Benedict wrote a set of rules which has been used by many monastic groups
      • His rules divided each day into a series of activities including prayer and manual labor
      • The monks ate, worked, slept, and worshiped together

An abbot, or “father”, led the monastery (where monks live)

  • Monasteries were isolated and self-sustaining, yet monks were to fulfill their vow of poverty
  • Monks were the highest ideal of Christian society
    • They provided schools, hospitality, hospitals and taught peasants valuable skills
    • They were missionaries who tried to covert non-Christians
    • SDG: Soli Deo Gloria (Latin: To God Alone the Glory)

The Frankish kingdom came under the power of Charles the Great, or Charlemagne

    • He was a warrior, intellect, statesman and Christian
    • He ruled from 768-814 and expanded the Frankish kingdom, which became the Carolingian Empire
transforming the roman world2
Transforming the Roman World
  • In 800, Charlemagne earned a new title—Roman Emperor
    • His coronation ceremony was the symbolization of the coming together of Roman, Christian, and Germanic elements
  • Charlemagne promoted learning throughout his kingdom
    • His efforts are referred to as the Carolingian Renaissance, or rebirth of the culture from the Greeks and Romans
transforming the roman world3
Transforming the Roman World
  • In the monasteries, monks now worked on copying manuscripts
    • Monasteries developed scriptorias, or writing rooms, where monks copies the Bible and Latin classical authors
    • Most of the Roman works we have today exist because they were copied by Carolingian monks


  • The Roman Empire had become too big to control easily. Soldiers or families in distant parts of the Empire adopted local customs and the Empire was made up not only of natives from the Italian peninsula, but barbarians from the conquered lands. Corruption became rampant.

In 476, after being refused lands in Italy, Orestes' Germanic mercenaries under the leadership of the chieftain Odoacer captured and executed Orestes and took Ravenna, the Western Roman capital at the time, deposing Romulus Augustus. The whole of Italy was quickly conquered, and Odoacer was granted the title of patrician by Zeno, effectively recognizing his rule in the name of the Eastern Empire. Odoacer returned the Imperial insignia to Constantinople and ruled as King in Italy


In The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88), Edward Gibbon famously placed the blame on a loss of civic virtue among the Roman citizens. They gradually entrusted the role of defending the Empire to barbarianmercenaries who eventually turned on them. Gibbon held that Christianity contributed to this shift by making the populace less interested in the worldly here-and-now because it was willing to wait for the rewards of heaven.


This "Germanization" and the resultant cultural dilution or "barbarization" led not only to a decline in the standard of drill and overall military preparedness within the Empire, but also to a decline of loyalty to the Roman government in favor of loyalty to commanders.

economic reasons
Economic reasons
  • Causes of the Fall of Rome include economic decay through hoarding of bullion, barbarian looting of the treasury, and trade deficit; military decay through attrition and disorganization; and the lack of an effective military leader.
  • "One of the primary catalysts to the deterioration of the economy was the lack of circulating currency in the Western Empire. Two reasons for the lack of funds are wholesale hoarding of bullion by Roman citizens, and the widespread looting of the Roman treasury by the 'barbarians'. These two factors, coupled with the massive trade deficit with Eastern Regions of the Empire served to stifle the growth of wealth in the west."~ The Economic Collapse
  • The Empire was split not just geographically, but culturally, with a Latin Empire and a Greek one, the latter of which survived because it had most of the population, a better military, more money, and better rulers.