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Christianity and the Roman Decline
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Christianity and the Roman Decline


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  • 1. Judeo-Christian Tradition Prologue Sec. 2
  • 2. Judaism in the Empire  As Rome secured Judea under Augustus  Jews believed a messiah would save them  Jewish Judea revolts lead to unrest in Destruction of the Temple 70 A.D.
  • 3. Jesus of Nazareth A Jew who proclaimed that God’s rule was close at hand preached acts of kindness  Disciples believed he was messiah
  • 4. Jesus of Nazareth  Jesus’s teachings offended many Jewish leaders  Romans viewed him as an instigator  Executed by crucifixion
  • 5. Spread and Persecution of Christianity  Disciples claimed Jesus had risen from the dead and was the messiah  Converts like Paul spread religion throughout Mediterranean  Peter brought Christianity to Rome  Many believers were martyred by the Romans
  • 6. Early Christianity in Rome  Rome’s early tolerance of religions and transportation routes allowed for Christianity to spread  Rome began to view Christians as a threat and persecuted them Christian Martyrs in Rome  Christians served as a scapegoat for the problems in the Empire
  • 7. The Early Church  According to legend, Constantine accepted Christianity in 312 after a battle  Edict of Milan granted all religious freedom  Theodosius made Christianity Rome’s official religion in 392
  • 8. The Early Church  Church was set up in a hierarchy by the 400’s and the bishop of Rome had taken a leadership role as the pope  Latin churches-Roman Catholic  Greek churches-Eastern Orthodox  “Legacy of Monotheism” p. 15
  • 9. Roman Decline
  • 10. Empire’s Problem  After Marcus Aurelius, there were 28 emperors in 90 years  Instability opened Rome up to attacks from “Barbarians”  Warfare led to poor crops, inflation, and extreme financial hardship for the empire
  • 11. An Empire Divided  The west part of the Roman Empire was being constantly attacked  Diocletian and Constantine tried to implement reforms to slow economic decline unsuccessfully  Theodosius decreed that the empire should be split in 395
  • 12. Reasons Barbarians Attacked  Sought warmer, southern climate  Wanted Rome’s wealth  Inability of military to contain Visigoths led to further uprisings from Franks, Vandals, Goths, Huns and others Visigoths Sack Rome
  • 13. Fall of Western Empire  Vandals destroyed Rome in 455  Franks and Goths divided Gaul  In 476, Odoacer defeated the last Roman Emperor  This German general accepted Latin culture and Christianity
  • 14. Reasons for Roman Collapse  Collapse took hundreds of years  Decline in Morals (Gladiators, Prostitutes)  Barbarian Invasions  Inflation and Military Spending  Political Corruption  Public Health
  • 15. Roman Legacy Preserved Greek Culture  Latin became the base language for many other languages throughout Europe  Roman Law and Gov’t became the core for many western countries today  The western world’s major religion, Christianity, was greatly influenced by Rome 