Ancient Rome: Chronology


Figure 1.--

The history of Rome spans about a milenia, the impact of Rome of course is of course still felt today. Migrating Indo-European peoples cross the Alps and enter the Italian peninsula beginning about the 20th century. Rome in the 6th century the dominant the area around the city. The Roman state is a monarchy, but the powers are no absolute. There is an assembly made up of all male citizens of military age. A Senate is composed elders representing important community sects. The Romans led by Brutus expel Tarquinius Superbus and found the Republic (509 BC). Beginning with the founding of the Republic about two centuries of war commnce with the Etruscans, Greeks, and other inhabitants of the Peninsula. Two major construction projects, the Via Appia and Aqua Appia are begun (312 BC). Stoicism begins to become important among Roman intelectuals and influence the governing class in the mid-2nd century. The Third Punic War with Charthage occurs (149-146 BC). The war results in the complete defeat of Carthage. The Carthaginians are sold into slavery. The city is torn down and burned. Greece in 146 BC also fell to the Romans. Large numbers of Greeks were enslaved. Many wealthy Greeks used learned Greek slaves to teach their children. Rome as a result of the wars with Charthage and expansion ito Greece acquired an extensive empire consisting of virtually the entire western Mediterranean as well as Greece, Asia Minor and a dominant position in Egypt, the granery of the Meiterrean. Rome's transition into a imperial state had many domestic consequences. Class conflicts intensify, power struggles and assassinations occur and slave rebellions. These deviusions lead toninternal splits and brutal military rule. Maciys is followed by Sula. Ceasar seizes control and his assasinatiin brings civil war. He is followed by Augustus who brings disrder and the ax Romana. Even the tragic rule of the tyrants who fillow him cn not destroy the Roman state. Competent emperors rule in the 2nd century. Constantne legitimizes Christianity. Saint Augustine (354-430 AD) was one of the great leaders of the early Christian Church and perhaps the most important theologian of the medieval Church. Augustine as of Bishop of Hippo defended Church doctrines against the Manichean and the Pelagian sects. Rome unified Europe as never before or since. The end of classical antiquity is generally seen as the collapse of the Western Roman Empire the sacking of Rome. Rome had been in decline for some time, but in 410 AD the culminating event, that shattered the Rome's imperial pretentions was the pillaging of Rome by the Visigothic chief, Alaric. Other barbarians inckuding the Alans, Huns, Goths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Visagoths swept Imperial armies aside. Roman culture and learning as well as Roman fashion did not disappear at once, but this mark the beginning of Europe's descent to what some have termed the Dark Ages.The process of decline is not simple to follow, nor is it well recorded in the limited available written texts. Walpole complained of getting bogged down in Gibbon's account of the 5th and 6th centuries. Much of the process of a declining Rome can only be surmised from the expanding archeolgical evidence. What was shattered in the 5th century was the Pax Romana and the writ of Roman law only to be gradually replaced by the common Christain values of the developing medieval Europe.

20th-10th Centuries BC

Very little is known about pre-Roman Italy or Rome's early history with any certainty. Migrating Indo-European peoples cross the Alps and enter the Italian peninsula beginning about the 20th century. Only limited information is available on these people. Arecheologists know that they had horses, knowldege of the wheel and cart, and were skilled in bronze work. During this period many city states of varying size and importance were founded throughout Latium (ancient Italy). By far the most important was the enigmatic Estrucans.

8th Century BC

The Romans are an Italic people already established in the area south of the Tiber River. Rome appears to have been founded by Latin Colonists from Alba Longa. It is dated only in legenda (753 BC). The Romans believed that their coty was founded by Romulus and Remus, twin sons Rhea Silvia, a Vestal Virgin and daughter of King Numitor of Alta Longa. (Alba Longa was another city state of ancient Italy. It was located in the Alban Hills near Lake Albano about 20 kn southeast of Rome. It was an established city before 1100, several centuries before Rome appeared, and for several centuries in was the most imoportant Italic city. Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence, today is located there.) A subsequent lengend related the Romans to the Trojans and their leader Aeneas whose son Ascannius was the founder of Alba Longa. As with many legends, they carry some information of real interest to historians. Three tribes appear in the tales of Romulus and Remus, the Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. Some historians believe that these tribes may represent the latin, Sabine, and Etruscan whose fusion produced the Romans. Two additional peoples, the Greeks and the Etruscans, establish themselves in different areas during the 8th century BC. The Etruscans are believed to have migrated from Asia Minor (modern Turkey). They found cities along the northern and central coast. Eventually absorbed by the Romans, the Etruscans develop important asrchetecural innovations such as the arch and the vault. The Etruscans were also noted for gladitorial combat and the study of animals to devine future events. The Greeks establish city-states along the southern coast of Italy as well as Sicily. The Greek cultural contribution Rome is immeasurable. Rome adopted the Greek alphabet, religious concepts, and artistic concepts. Tradition reports that there were seven Roman kings in the 8-6 centuries BC. Romulus who founded Rome was the first king (753-715 BC). The second king was Numa Pompillius and the adoption of many religious customs are associated with his reign (715-676 BC). The names and reigns of these monachs are mostly lengendary, with little real historical evidence. The basic outlibe, however, is historically accurate. Rome in the 8-6th centuries was ruled by kings, the city wared with and gradually prevailed over neighboring city states. The incorporation of the population of these neiighboring city states into Rome was probably the source of the social division netween patricians and plebs as well as slaves. The patricians possessed political rights and collectively were known as tge populus or people, The plebs were clients with no polituical rights. The king was chosen from the patrician class and held the office for life. His officers or lictors were akso chosen from the patrician class and bore the faces or symbol of state authority. The king acted as a judge in civil and criminal cases. The Senatus or council of elders existed. It had great moral authority, but was only an advisory body and gave that advise only when consulted by the king.

7th Century BC

King Tullus Hostilius is considered the most warlike of the Roman kings (673-641 BC). Tradition indicates that Tullus Hostilius destroyed Alba Longa (665 BC). He While there is no actual hostorical evidence of this, it seems likely that Rome in the 7th century did war with and destroy or ansorn neighboring Italic city states. Tullus Hostilius is also known for waging war on the Sabines. Ancus Marcius is said to have built the port of Ostia and taken mant neighboring Latin towns and moved their inhabitants to Rome (641-616 BC). Lucioius Tarquinius Pricis was also known for his military victories against neighboring states and the coinstruction of public buildings (616-578 BC).

6th Century BC

Rome in the 6th century the dominant the area around the city. The Roman state is a monarchy, but the powers are no absolute. There is an assembly made up of all male citizens of military age. A Senate is composed elders representing important community sects. King Servius Tullius was known for a constitution he promulgated and further expansion (578-534 BC). His son Lucius Tarquinius Superbus became king (534 BC) He was known for his brutality . his son violated Lucreatia, a kinsman, scandalizing Rome. The Romans led by Brutus expel Tarquinius Superbus and found the Republic (509 BC). Some historians believe that Tarquinius actually represented the conquest of Rome by the Etruscans and their brutal rule. In fact, beginning with the founding of the Republic about two centuries of war commnce with the Etruscans, Greeks, and other inhabitants of the Peninsula. The Republican rule which appeared in the 6th century was in fact patrician rule and the eraly history of the Republic involves the struggle by the plebs to acquire political power. The king was replaced by praetores or leaders who later are called consules. To prevent a new monarchy, two praetores are appointed and their term is only for 1 year. Plebians wee accepted into the Senate, but they could not seve as magistrates. Archeologists believe that it is in the 6th century that the Germanic tribes begin to move onto the northwestern German plain, but it will be several centuries before Roman armies come into contact with them.

5th Century BC

Rome by the 5th century, in part due to successful campaigns during the royal era, was emerging as the dominant power in Latium. Rome and its allies fought wars with the Etruiscans, Volcians, and the Aequians. Rome military expansion became even more aggresive in the second half of the 5th century. The history of Rome is in part the class conflict between the patricians and plebians. The plebeians are Rome's working class, mostly composed of small-scale farmers, craftsmen and tradesmen, many with foreign backgrounds. The patricians are the Roman aristocracy. The Plebians obtain their first victory when they achieve the right to elect officers, tribunes, with the power to veto any unlawful acts of the magistrates. The office of tribuniv plebis is created. He is elected annually and becomes the spokesman for the plebs and acquire the right to veto acts of the patrician magistrates. The first secession of the Plebs is held (494 BC). The Lex Publilia Voleronis, the Concilium of the Plebs and tribunes, is recognized (471 BC). Rome enacts the Law of the Twelve Tables. This is a major step in the development of Roman law, one of theprincipal Roman contributions to Western Civilization. The Twelce Tables are publically posted written law which informs the plebeians to lnow the provisions of the law (450 BC). (This is a concept not fully accepted in Europe until after the French Revolution.) The second secession of the Plebs is held. Valerian-Horatian laws define rights of tribunes and set the number at 10 (449 BC). The Quaestors elected by Plebs (447 BC). The Peloponesian War (431-404 BC) takes place between Sparta and Athens and involves virtually all Greek City States as well as Sicily, but does not involve Rome. Quaestorships increased to four, opened to plebeians (421 BC). As originally envisioned, Rome was to be goverened by the preaetors or counsels, but as their term is only 1 year, it is the Senate that becomes the preminent forse in the Roman Republic. Senators are elected for life. A new aristocracy develops in Rome composed of patricuans and wealthy plebians. Service in the Senate becomes virtually a heredirary right for these families.

4th Century BC

The Romans take the Etruscan city of Veii which effectively ends the independence of Eturia (396 BC). Other Estruscan cities hasten to make their peace with Rome. The Celts sack Rome (about 387 BC), the Eoman state quickly recovers. Successful campaigns against Volscians, Latins, and Hernicans place Rome in cintrol of most of central Italy. . The Licinian-Sextian laws are passed to limit the amount of public land that can be held by any private individual (367 BC). The Romans elected the first plebeian consul to the assembly (367 BC) The plebeians also become eligible to serve as lesser magistrates. This was an office which had only been open to the aristocratic class. Rome's expamsion bring them into conflict with the Samnites of souther Italy. The first of three wars begins (343 BC). An ancient tradition permits magistrates to be promoted to the Senate. Thus exclise patrician membership in the Senate is ended. The Lex Publilia is enacted to cancels the patricians' right to veto acts of the Comitia Tributa (339 BC). The Romans dissolve the Katin League a confederation of Latin cities oif historic origins (338 BC). A coalition forms at this time. In the north Etruscans Umbrians, and Guals in the north and Lucanians, Bruttans, and Samnites in the south to challenge Rome in Latium. The Lex Poetilia is passed to prohibit the sale of individuals into slavery because of their debts (probably 326 BC). Two major construction projects, the Via Appia and Aqua Appia are begun (312 BC). The priestly colleges are opened to plebeians (300 BC). The Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, conquered most of the then known world and proceeded to Hellenize large areas of the eastern Mediterrean.

3rd Century BC

The wats with the Samnites of southern Italy are finally concluded (290 BC). The Romans introduce a system of coinage (287 BC). The norther coalition is finally defeated (283 BC). The southern coalition sucums soon after. War is conducted with the Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus of attempts to assist the southern cities of Latium against Rome (280-275 BC). He fails and soon Rome commands almost all of Italy as far notyh as the Rubicon and Arno rivers. Livius Andronicus arrives in Rome (272 BC). Rome is challenged in the 3rd century, by Cathage, a powerful city state located in North Africa (modern Tunisia). Carthage was a rich oligarchic state, controlling North africa from modern Tunisia to the Strait of Gibraltar. With its navy, it was at the time the dominant military poewer in the Mediterrean. The war begins when Carthage attempts to seize control of Greek colonies on Sicily. The First Punic War with Carthage occurs (264-241 BC). To fight Carthage, Rome is compeled to build a navy and after several defeats at sea, destroys a great Carthiginian fleet off the Aegates Islands (242 BC) Carthage is eventually compeled to surrender its control over western Sicily which becomes a Roman province. Sardinia and Corsica are also taken. Rome now is an imperial power with colonies. Roman literature begins with the translation and adaptation of Greek epic and dramatic poetry (240 BC). Rome stages the first gladiatorial exhibition (264 BC). Construction of the Via Flaminia begins (220 BC). The Second Punic War with Carthage occurs (218-201 BC). Carthage unwilling to challenge the Romans at sea, crosses into Spain and begins to build a power base there Rome concerned about the consequences declares war. Carthaginian general Hannibal with a polygot army of Gauls, Spaniards, Numidians and Carthaginians crosses the Alps from Spain and defeats superbly equipped Roman armies (218 BC). The Battle of Cannae was a dissaster for the Romans (216 BC). He proceeded to ravage Italy and defeat a series of superior Roman armies for years, but is unable to seize Rome. Carthage is invested by Rome. Hanibal is called back, but is defeated Publius Cornelius Scipio (Africanus Major) at Zama (202 BC). Carthage finally defeated and has to surrender all its territory to the Romans, except the city itself, and pay a huge indemnity. Rome now has an exyensuive Mediterrean empire. Rome also begins treating the Italian cities that sided with Hanibal harshly, reducing them to colonies. A sumptuary law, the Lex Oppia is enacted (215 BC). The First Macedonian War occurs (214-205 BC). Ennius is brought to Rome (204 BC).

2nd Century BC

The Roman legions began the conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean in the 2nd century AD. They move north of the Rubicon. The Celts in the Po Valley are conquered. They are judged inelible for Roman citizenship. The Second Macedonian War occurs (200-197 BC). King Philip V attempts to gain control of the Aegean, but is defeated by the Romans who proceed to "liberate" the Greeks fromn the Macedonians. Thus Rome added Greece to their growing empire. The Romans encountered n Greece a culture with literature and sculpture that surpassed their own. The coinquest of the Greeks brought Rome into contact with the Syrians. King Antochus III is defeated at Magnesia (190 BC). This added further possessions, including Asian Minor, to the Empire. The war against King Perseus of Macedon known as the Third Macedonian War occurs (171-168 BC). The Battle of Pydna concluding the Third Macedonian War occurs and King Persus' forces are routed Pydna (168 BC). Macedonia ecentually becomes a Roman province. Stoicism begins to become important among Roman intelectuals and influence the governing class in the mid-2nd century. The Third Punic War with Charthage occurs (149-146 BC). The war results in the complete defeat of Carthage. The Carthaginians are sold into slavery. The city is torn down and burned. A Greek revolt by the Achaean League is supressed and Cornith destroyed (146 BC). Large numbers of Greeks were enslaved. Rome as a result of the wars with Charthage and expansion into Greece acquired an extensive empire consisting of virtually the entire western Mediterranean as well as Greece, Asia Minor and a dominant position in Egypt, the granery of the Meiterrean. Rome's transition into a imperial state had many domestic consequences. Class conflicts intensify, power struggles and assassinations occur and slave rebellions. The severe class conflicts begin with the tribunes Tiberius Gracchus tribune of the plebs (133 BC). Marius becomes consul (107, 104-100). He rules Rome through command of the army. Marius reorganizes the Army (104 BC). A slave rebellion breaks out in Sicily (104 BC).

1st Century BC

Epicureanism another of the many Greek influences on Rome becomes increasingly important in Roman thought. The Social War with other Italian city states occur (91-89 BC). Sulla marches on Rome (88 BC). Cinna rules (87-84 BC). Marius dies (86 BC). A civil war occurs between the supporters of Marius and Sulla (83-81 BC). Sulla emerges victorious and is appointed Dictator. He conducts a blood bath of anyone preceived as an ememy (82-79 BC). Sulla dies (78 BC). Spartucus leads a slave revolt (73-71 BC). Sulla favored the the aristocracy. Julius Caesar and Pompey unite to seize control of the government, but in the process become rivals. Pompey and Crassus rule as consuls (70 BC). Pompey fights pirates and Mithridates in the Eastern Mediterrean (67-62 BC). Horace's works come to be seen as an attempt to unite the philosophical traditins of Epicureanism and Stoicism. Cicero becomes consul (63 BC) The Catiline conspiracy occurs (63 BC). Julius Caesar is elected Pontifex Maximus (63 BC). Pompey returns from the East in triumph and disbands army (62 BC). The First Triumvirate (Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar) governs Rome (60 BC). Ceasar campaigns in Gaul and defeats the major tibes in a ruthless campaign (58-50 BC). Ceasar's campaign in Gaul is incredibly ruthless, but places a Roman stamp on Gaul. The great orator Cicero defies Ceasar. The second consulship of Pompey and Crassus occurs (55 BC). The Parthian decisively defeat a Roman army led by Crassus forces at Carrhae in Mesopotamia (53 BC). Pompey is elected as sole consul by the Senate (52 BC). Cisero believes that Ceasar threatens th Republic and is instrumental in having him declared an enemy of the Roman Republic. Caesar still in Gaul marches south, crosses the Rubicon and takes Rome (49 BC). Caesar and Pompey wage civil war and meet in battle at Pharsalus in Greece (48 BC) Caesar campaigns in Egypt and Asia Minor. He meets Cleopatra in Egypt and helps install her in power. Ceasar is appointed Dictator and takes effective control of the state from the Senate (56 BC) Senators led by Brutus are onvnved that Ceasar pland to end the Republic and declar himself king. To prevent this they assasinate Caesar in the Senate (44 BC). Octavian returns to Rome intent on claiming his inheritance. The Second Triumvirate (Antony, Lepidus, Octavian) rules Rome (43-33 BC). Octavian becomes First Consul (43). Ceasar had forgiven Cicero, but Octavian orders him executed (43 BC). He allies himself with Caesar's friends, Mark Antony and Lepidus. They proceed to overthrow the aristocrats responsible for killing Caesar. Octavian and Mark Anthony support Caesar's deification. Octavian and Anthony defeat Casius and Brutus at the battle of Philippi (42 BC). Antony becomes enchanted by Cldeopatra (41 BC). A rivalry develops between Octavian in the west and Mark Antony in the East, supported by Cleopatra. Octavian publishes the terms of Anthony's will to descredit him (32 BC). Octavian becomes consul. War wages between Octavian and Anthony. Octavian defeats the combined forces of Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium (31 BC). The battle is one of the most significant in history. Antony and Cleopatra commit suiside (30 BC). Octavian becomes tribune (30 BC). Octavian returns to Rome and receives a three-fold triumph. Octavian's victory begins a period of Roman history, the Principate or Early Empire. The Senate and army bestow the name of Augustus and emperor "victorious general" upon Octavian. He is now known as Augustus or Ceasar Augustus. The Arch of Augustus in dedicated in the forum (29 BC). The Legislation of the Augustan Principate is issued (27 BC). Augustus changes his legal position. He resigns the consulship and is granted tribunician powers for life (23 BC). Augustus concerned about declining moral standards issues the Julian Laws on marriage and morality (18 BC).

1st Century AD

Two major religious/intelectual traditions can be noted in the 1st century Rome. The dominant inluence at the time during the Principate is Stoicism which first appeared in the 2nd century BC and is Hellenistic in origin but evolved over time. The Roman Stoics are more involved in political thought, although with significant ethical and religious content. Thre are three principal Roman Stoics. Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) was Nero's tutor. Few tutors have failed so gloriously. Epictetus (60-120 AD) was a slave. Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) was an emperor. The ultimate goal of Roman Stoicism was a kind of inner peace and the personal realization that real happiness in life can be achieved only by submitting to the order of universe. The other principal tradition obstensibly begins in 1 AD. The Christian Church has set Jesus' birth at 1 AD, although his actual birth date is unknown. Jesus is crucified (?? AD). The Apostle Paul of Tarsus plays a major role in shifting Chrisianity from a small Jewish sect to a universal religion that allows the Gospel to spread thoughout the Mediterranean world. Paul dies (67 AD). Lucius Caesar dies (2 AD). Gaius Caesar dies (4 AD). Augustus adopts Livia's son Tiberius. Tiberius adopts Germanicus (4 AD). The Julian Laws of 18 BC are updated (9 AD). A huge dissaster befalls Rome with the German tribes destroy the better part of three legions in the Teutoburg Forest (9 AD). Augustus dies (14 AD). He provided Rome with 44 years of stable rule, in contrast to the civil war which preceeded him and the misrule that followed him. The conquest of Britain is finally achieved (43 AD). Some of the most morally corupt rulers in Western history followed Augustus. With the single exception of Claudius (41-54 BC), Rome for much of the 1st century is without competent rule. It is a testimony to the strength of the Roman state that Rome continues to prosper. One reason for this is that for about two and a half centuries from Augustus through Marcus Aurelius, the Pax Romana is maintained for a huge area straching from Hadrian's Wall on the border with Scotland to Rhine in northern Europe and Persia in the Middle east there was peace that enabled the economy to prosper and the artifacts of civilization, archetecture, the arts, and literatre to develop. Caligula (37-41 CE) and Nero (54-68) are two especially brutal and incompetent, perhaps mad, emperors. Rome builds the fabled Colosseum, the building most associated with Rome, as a place of public entertainment, especially gladiatorial combat (75-80 AD). Finally with Nerva Rome gets a competent if short term emperor (96-98 AD).

2nd Century AD

Rome during the 2nd century AD gets a series of competent rulers under whom the Empire prospered. These rulers are often referred to as the "five good emperors" (96-180 AD). The era is a return to the firm, competent rule that Augudstus embodied. These five emperors and the years of their rule are Nerva (96-98 AD), Trajan (98-117 AD), Hadrian (117-138 AD), Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD). The Empire during this period stips expanding and consolidatesc its borderes. The economy prospers under peace and competent rule. The death of Marcus Aurelius begins what many historians believe is the beginning of the decline of the Empire. Beginning with Nerva, the eperors began choosing competent successors rather than their sons. Marcus Aurelius decided to revert to previous practice and designates his son Commodus who rules as an especially brutal tyrant. Commodus is killed in a conspiracy (192 AD). For the first time since the days of Ceasar, civil war broke out again. Septimus Severus emerges as the victor (193 AD) and rules as a military dictator until his death (211 AD). This sets the pattern for the rest of the Empire's history. The days of Senatorial authority have long past. Rome is now ruled by the stroingest military commander. In addition Barbarian uprisings become increasingly troublesome on the eastern border with Germany.

3rd Century AD

Rome was in crisis durng the 3rd centyry. Rome is confrnted with chaos during much of the mid-3rd century. ntury. There is an approximate 50 year period with 26 military rulers (235-284 AD). Rome is racked by civil war and foreign assaults and disaters. The chaos only ends when Diocletian seized control (284 BC). Diocletian reorganizes the Empire and begins the final era of imperial stability. He turns away from Rome and rules from Nicomedia in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Diocletian adopted the title dominus (lord) which was thde title of an Oriental potentate never befor used by a Roman leader. His sought to separate the Empire's military and civilian administration. He devided the administration of the Empire into two halves. The Western half of the Empire was entrusted to a personal friend Maximian. Diocletian also adopted new agricultural laws and an entirely new tax system. Diocletian ends the chaos, but the focus of the empire is shifted east. The reorganization as well redistributes wealth to the East and thereby weakens the Western Empire. Historians classify the era beginning with Diocletian's rule to 610 AD as the late antiquity, separating the Roman from the Medieval era. A new intelectual tradition emerges in the 3rd century, perhaps in pat bcause of the crisis which enveloped the Empire. Plotinus becomes the inspiration for Neoplatonism, a philosophy attempting to synthesize the word of Plato, Aristotel, and Stoics. Some see the influence of Oriental mysticism in his principal work The Enneads. He greatly influence St. Augustine and through him the theology of the Medieval Church as well as the humanist thinkers of the Renaissance. Plotinus died in Rome (270 AD).

The 4th Century

Diocletian constructed the great baths in Rome (303 AD). In the Balkans he withdraws south to Yugoslavia (305 AD). Civil war breaks out again and continues for 7 years until Constantine finally prevails (312 AD). One of his first acts is the Edict of Milan which adopts a policy of toleration for Christians (313 AD). Constantine unites the Eastern and western Empires (324 AD). The Christian Church is betset by a great diversity in belief. Constantine convenes the Council of Nicaea and acts as the presiding officer (325 AD). The council is made up of 300 bishops to resolve the theological controversies. The principal controversy was the dispute between Arians and the Athanasiansover the nature of Jesus and his relationship between God the Father. Constantine erects a new capital, Constantinople (330 AD). This continues the shift of the empire east. Constantine passes rule to his three sons after his death (337 AD). Differences develop btween them and fighting breaks out. St. Basil (330-379) lays the foundation for eastern monasticism. He incourages monks to devote themselves to religious meditation and to submit to poverty and humility and discourages self-torture. Saint Augustine (354-430) was one of the great leaders of the early Christian Church and perhaps the most important theologian of the medieval Church. Augustine as of Bishop of Hippo defended Church doctrines against the Manichean and the Pelagian sects. During the doctrinal struggle against these important sects, Augustine developed doctines cincerning sin, divince grace, and predestination that have been at the center of Church beliefs and contine important in both Catholic and Protestant theology. His most famous work is the City of God. There is one last attempt to supress Cristianity and restore the pagan religions. Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus known as the "the Apostate," attempts to suppress the Christian Church, but dies after only a few years and is unable to achieve his goal (361-363). The Germanic Visigoths defeat a Roman army at Adrianople. Theodosius suceedes in making allies of the Visigoths (378 AD). Theodosius I is the last Roman emperor to command a united empire. After defeating two rivals, Theodosius founds a dynasty whch endures until 450 AD in the Eastern empire. Theodosius I declares Christianity the sole religion of the Roman Empire (380 AD).

The 5th Century AD

The Christian Church by the 5th century has established a hierarchy including priests, bishops, metropolitans (archbishops situated in larger cities), and patriarchs (bishops whose rule oversees larger and older cities such as Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome and Constantinople). Rome unified Europe as never before or since. The end of classical antiquity is generally seen as the collapse of the Western Roman Empire the sacking of Rome. Rome had been in decline for some time, but in 410 AD the culminating event, that shattered the Rome's imperial pretentions was the pillaging of Rome by the Visigothic chief, Alaric. Other barbarians inckuding the Alans, Huns, Goths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Visagoths swept Imperial armies aside. Roman culture and learning as well as Roman fashion did not disappear at once, but this mark the beginning of Europe's descent to what some have termed the Dark Ages, although some historians object to the negative connotations. In fact, the fall of Rome was not a catacylsmic event, but rather a gradual event that occurred over centuries. [Brown] There are many indicators by the 3rd centuray and more pronounved indications by the 4th century that Roman civilization is declining. By the 5th century it is patently obvious, Almost all of the monumental structures are from an early period. The quality of workmanship begins to decline, not only in archetecture, but metelurgy, glass blowing, jewlery, art, and many other areas. The Roman legions gby the 5th century no longer as well equipped as they have been. The process of decline is not simple to follow, nor is it well recorded in the limited available written texts. Walpole complained of getting bogged down in Gibbon's account of the 5th and 6th centuries. Much of the process of a declining Rome can only be surmised from the expanding archeolgical evidence. What was shattered in the 5th century was the Pax Romana and the writ of Roman law only to be gradually replaced by the common Christain values of the developing medieval Europe. Theodoric the Great succeeds his father as king of the Ostrogoths, eastern relatives of the Visogoths (474 AD). Theodric had been educated in Rome from the age of 7. Odovacar, the leader of the united German tribes, takes the title of king of Rome (476 AD). This is the date cmost commonly given for the fall of the western Roman Empire. After 476 AD there are no longer any western emperors. A Benedictine monknamed Cassiodorus influenced by St. Augustine believes that knowledge of the Greek and Latin classics is necessary to understand the Bible. He and the Benedictine monks he guided preserve many of the classics that have survived to the modern world. St. Benedict ( -547 AD) founded a monastery in the West and persues monastic rule like those of St. Basil in the east (480 BC). The Benedictine monks play a major role in spreading Christianity to England and Germany. Theodoric the Great of the Ostrogoths seizes control of Italy. He attempts unsuccessfuly to preserve Roman culture and political system (493 AD). We have tombstone images from the early 5th century.

The 6th Century AD

Theodoric arrests and tortures to death the philosopher Boethius (480-524 AD). He is the last important Roman philospher and writer. Justinian becomes emperor in the East (527 AD). He revises and codifies the legal system. The Corpus Juris Civilis becomes the foundation of Medieval European law, exception in England. Justinian constructs the great church of St. Sophia in Constantinople. He closes Greek schools of philosophy, including Plato's Academy, to support the Church. Justinian succeeds in conquering the Vandal kingdom in northwest Africa in an effort to reconstruct the old empire (533 AD). Next he invades Italy (536 AD). His armies are welcomed by the Catholic Italians, but fighting with the Ostrogoths rulers continues for nearly 30 years until finally ending (563 AD). By his death Justiaian controls much of the Mediterrean world ascfar west as coastl Spain (565 AD). The Lombrds, another Germanic tribe, invade Italy (568 AD). The Lombards seize control over large areas of Italy. This leaves Italy divided into areas controlled by the Lombards, the Eastern Empire, and the Papacy which has emerged as a temporal as well as a religious entity.








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Created: August 14, 2003
Last updated: 6:46 PM 7/6/2013