.    Instructor: Dave Tamm / Term: Spring 2008    .



VIRGIL AND ROME (Lecture 10)


Rome begins to powerfully influence the course of western civ in the

50 years after 200-150 BC, when they conquered Greece. They then

realized that they were the military and political superiors to the

greatest culture in the world. To their credit, they appropriated

greek culture en masse: greek art, lit, gods and pantheon... and

reconcepualized it. They conquered thereafter much of the old

conquests of alexander. hellenistic world. Graeco-Roman is the culture

that developed within Rome that was both Greek and Roman. East of

Italy? They spoke Greek, West? Latin. Urban elites spoke both. In that

culture... the romans played a role like the Americans in the

anglo-american relationship.


Really! The romans suffered from a sense of cultural inferiority just

like the americans. what they were better at were exactly those things

that americans are better at. technology. dumb public baths, clean

water, good roads, powerful building. nobody gets all mushy over

concrete. cinder blocks. ooohh... but they are durable, moldable etc.

that's great stuff! Law. Fantastic. Romans had a kind of contempt for

greeks that a chemical engineering major at purdue had for a classics

major at harvard. I can DO stuff, you can talk pretty.


Roman arts are: rule, military organization, organization in

general... and a self conception of virtue that is different from both

the Hebrew and Greeks. Its not about arete and personal fulfillment,

and not about righteouness and compassion. Its about Rome. Its about

duty and responsibility and decipline to get things done and done

right so the community gets well served. So when it came to a fight,

the Romans beat the Greeks, and beat the Hebrews too. Every time. That

is what their ethic was. They were American too, in that they were

practical. Socially a melting pot. Spaniards, Egyptians, etc. not

racist. It was a good idea to learn to be Roman. St. Paul was a Roman!

and a Christian, and a Jew! It was designed to be universal. Open in a

way Greek and hebrew society never was.


Virgil. The high point is when Aeneas hears from his father in the

underworld about what the mission of Rome is supposed to be: "Others

(Greeks) will cast more tenderly in bronze, and bring more lifelike

portraits out of marble. Argue more eloquently, use the pointer to

trace the paths of heaven accurately. But Roman, remember. By your

strength to rule earths peoples: these are to be your arts: to pacify,

to impose the rule of law, to spare the conqured and battle down the

crowd." Virgil elaborates it. The Romans were NOT about  fratricidal

warfare between city-states. Uncontrolled individualism ruined greece.

Rome rules now, and greece is better off, they would say!


So lets go to the uninterrupted classic: fundamentally different from

homer. Virgil wrote it in response to homer, to answer and to correct

homer, to give Rome its own epic that reflected roman values. It

mirrors and echoes and alters both iliad and odyssey. 1st six books

chronicle the journey of aneas who migrates with friends to a new

land- to Italy. Like the odyssey (with the difference that they are

going to a new home not their old). the very journey that is being

chronicled is the origin of Greco-Romanness. Where does rome come

from? troy... from the same world greece comes from! whether it

existed or not, this greco-romanness, it did exist in culture, and

partly because of this aeneid, so a self fulfilling prophecy! Just as

iliad ends with a battle: hector and achilles. so the andeid ends

battles between aeneas the founder of rome and the greatest "italian"

turnus. it even echoed individual lines. Yet... he is not on a mission

for his own kleos or arete. He is on another kind of mission: to found

a totally new nation. the gods have singled him out to found from the

ashes of troy a new nation. he is pios- like pius, devotion to duty-

doing what you are suppoed to do. nothing directly personal to him, to

his happiness, is primary to him. that is what makes him roman and fit

to found rome.


no achilles here- but thats why greece ended up the way it did and WE

romans know how to submit our personal will to the greater good- the

greeks didn't see a greater good than the individual to submit their

personal will to! its all about ME for the greeks- for the romans, its

all about US. Right from the beginning: trojans sailing along, and

juno appears and hates the trojans because of old paris picking Venus

over her in a beauty contest (venus is also aeneas mother). so she

gets the king of the winds and says sink them! and he does. she does

not want them to found a new place. aeneas says "I wish i were dead"

initially. But then he shuts up and hits the grindstone. he puts his

personal feelings under control and chains them. he leads. he bucks up

the people: its bad now, but we will prevail. we might even laugh. he

knows he is to found a nation that will bring order to the world. and

he will submit to this mission. Virgil wrote this after Augustus took

power: and just after


Ethnic stereotypes, gender sterotypes: "ROMANS! can you stand the

prospect of being ruled by a woman, an egyptian roman who has

emasculated the good roman antony? can you stand the overintellectual

and effeminate east taking over rome? Of our own gods being replaced

by the barking dog headed gods and bird headed gods of the egyptians?

can you? no. no you can't." Virgil desprately wanted Augustus to win.


He did... and the victory of octavian put an end to decades of civil

war. a war in which virgils family farm was taken to be given to

veterans of war. augustus tried to bring rome back to the old

values... and the Aeneid was written to help him. Aeneas the founder,

Augustus the re-founder. The renovator. The mission statement given to

Aeneas by his father- is a statement not of the past only, but of the

present too.  In a sense here, Augustus IS the hero of the Aeneid!

Virgil celebrates the triumph of augustus and the vision of heroism

and what that is about which is contrasted with the vision of homer.

and even discussed by plato and aristotle.


What else did virgil confront in the aeneid? We'll see. Also, there

was another not so pro augustus writer, who was in fact exiled to the

black sea, the end of the world... ovid.



last time we saw how law was so important. and how aeneas sacrifices

his personal inclinations to the mission of rome, and how augustus was

the embodiment of aeneas, making a new and better rome, which

expemplifies the ideals. true. And rome did value order, and law and

duty. All the things Virgil attributes to rome and aeneas and

augustus. But. There's another side... that makes the aeneaid

something more than a piece of singleminded puffery, jingoistic

propaganda. Virgil had a constant awareness of the cost... personal

and otherwise, of order, and the difficulty of imposing it. So, order

of the sort we want, is purchased by constant discipline. Of swimming

against the tide.


The final vision which Virgil exemplifies- and which was

characteristic of Roman paganism- is different from what we are used

to, and even more, different from what we would even consider

possible. How? Well, the two widest ranging visions that we can have,

that many adherents have, is either total theism, as in, God created

and governed by God, and so is completely coherent. Or, that the world

is completely random and we have overcome the self congradulatory view

that we are important, and the center of things, and that we are

actually in fact a random result of evolution on a small planet, one

no doubt of zillions of others, and which is not only the center, but

is nowhere. These are the alternatives. They are current. Virgil

ascribes to neither one. Rome did not either. No universal coherence.

All is made by God? well that's just not out there either! Nor the

vision of the random world out there. In the Aeneid, the world is run

by gods... sort of. In part. The world makes sense... sometimes. and

sometimes not.


The greek overlay on roman religion, (and those tables of zeus =

jupiter etc. are just an overlay). Roman religion was a reverence of

ancestors who are presiding presences- family gods. local gods,

touching huh? When romans went to a new place, they would go to

worship whatever gods ran that place. "we dont know your name and we

dont know who you are or what you want, but we respect you." "we come

from good will and we dont know who you are but we like you, here in

your sacred grove." They are there, but we don't know their

organization etc. so the spirit world is a little incoherent, but that

is how it should be. very different from us, we are totally skeptical

about everything, the Romans were more respectful of that.


In Dante at the end of divine comedy, there is a vision that

indirectly characterizes the roman perspective: "he on his travels in

his 'odysseus phase', encounters another trojan exile named hellenas,

a guy, who tells him "when you get to italy, you gotta consult the

sybill, who will show you what's to come in the otherworld." This

story in the aeneid is that there is a cybill in cumae: "when you land

in italy, you will find a spellbound prophetess who sings in her cave

of destinies- confiding symbols and words to leaves, writes them on

verses in leaves. and they are in order in her cave. but when a door

opens to read them, the leaves of destiny, they scatter by the winds.

she never cares to catch them and put them in order. visitors come and

hate the cybils shrine. the leaves are unaccessible. this is the

vision of the world, but the act of trying to access it, when the come

and open the door, disorders it. We cannot apprehend it!"


If you want order around, you have to bring it to the party. We have

to construct it. the deck is even stacked against us, hostile powers

etc. we just don't know. Does the world make sense? sometimes! We are

taught yes or no, but the real answer is sometimes! You can't get any

further than that as a human being. Virgil accepts this and finds its

true. So even if what you've been told in the underworld, its only

true sometimes. "There are two gates of sleep, one by horn (cow), the

others all white, gleamy without a flaw. But false dreams are brought

by ghosts by the gleamy one. The gleamy one of false hopes! Well what

does that say about Augustus' mission to roman rule? Remember that no

human effort is ever gonna succeed totally. To dream that it can is to

dilude yourself. does that mean the effort is not worth it? no. we can

make it less imperfect. we can make it less partial. its worth every



IN book II of aeneid, troy is destroyed . the greeks come out of the

horse and everything is destroyed and turned to ashes and its O V E R.

That is the precondition of the birth of rome, this horrible

irrevocable loss! Book IV chronicles a love affair between queen dido

of carthage (cleopatra to aeneas' augustus?) yeah, thats loaded.

carthage is in africa and egypt is too! carthage (as every roman knew)

came closest in the punic wars to destroying rome. it was the biggest

trauma rome ever faced. those elepants over the mountains, terrible.

at cannae, romans lost 50,000 soldiers. it was the bloodiest battle

EVER fought until Somme in WWI. and what did the romans do? they

raised two new legions and kept fighting. Then they lost 50,000 in two

more battles. This is costly. he wants to keep dido, but he must give

her up. order is difficult and costly and partial. but still, despite

all that, its worth having. aeneid presents order and what rome seeks

to achieve with open eyes, cause its gonna require sacrifice. its MORE

effective as being full and nuanced and by being seen with eyes open.

and romans appreciated that.


Now the anti epic. Ovid. Metamorphases. "you think there is PROGRESS?

you think there is ORDER? no. where are we going? NOWHERE. whats the

force that drives the world, its between the sheets. hint: its not

duty. ill tell you what makes the world go round... love and eros. we

live in a world of change. That is a contravention of the aenied and

augustus new it. Ovid would fit in very nicely in the cities of the

world today. he is urbane, likes the good life, luxury, women,

entertainment. LA and NY and London and Paris and some tropical

islands sometimes. To land in the middle of the country is a death

sentence. He is suave and skeptical. Ovid finds the old myths

charming, but not in a serious way. Like Oscar Wilde, lack of caring,

and thats a sign of sophistication. Augustus could not stand him, and

he was in a circle that one of augustus female relatives who had a

lurid sexual life with Ovid and so he was exiled by augustus to the

black sea. he wrote how crummy it was and about deep sea fishing in

the black sea. he did in exile there, unhappy.


But Ovid was loved rome and even later in Christian Europe! celebrated

for its terriffic stories. even allegorized into the life of Jesus

cause it was so entertaining. Ovid was a school text cause the latin

was not hard. He seeped into the cultural tradition. No lack of urbane

pleasure loving skeptical people around in western culture to read

him! they are responding to ovids example. and also ovid was part of

their stream of sophicated cultur.




In its structure and origins and subsequent history, bespeaks the

interaction of hebrews greeks and romans and is the primary channel in

which the culture of antiquity was transmitted to the middle ages, and

finally to us.


Roman contribution to the West is one of order. Law and order. Idea of

duty, country. And the West is about order. Now the Christian Bible.

By historical process, the vehicle by which all that we have studies

was transmitted to the current West, was Christianity. Greeks, Romans,

Hebrews. All.


What kept literacy alive in the West from 600-850 was Christian

monasticism. A new testament, a new covenant. A fulfillment of an

already existing powerful tradition. A perfection of an ancient



But none of this would have existed without Jesus of Nazareth. The

message. Hellenistic Judea and then Roman Judea was a politically

troubled, as much as today. Things in flux. Different views of how

things should be. Greek, Roman, Jewish ideas contested there.

Alexander's greeks were the rulers, then Romans. Usually left Jews



Maccabean result was the most famous instance of assimilation issues.

Well in 60 BC the Romans took over the hellenistic kingdom. there were


greek speakers

jews who cooperated with rome

samarian (samaritan) jews (looked down on cause they had not undergone

babylonian exile)

romans themselves

jews who were against greeks and romans! in Jesus childhood (6 AD)

there was a revolt where romans crucified jews!

pharisees who wanted to live the law as fully as possible

zealots who wanted to take on roman rule head on

essenes who foresaw end of the world and went to monastic communities in desert

saggicies who cooperated with rome and worked the temple


a polyglot situation. then comes Jesus. and john the baptist. one of

the few incontrovertible instances in the gospel, that even the

hardest skeptics agree on, is that Jesus was indeed baptized by John

the Baptist in the Jordan River.


Character of preaching: universalized it. its clear that his ministry

is "first to the children of israel. but, not only." There is

something special about the Jew, they are the chosen people. Mary was

chosen. But everyone can be in the kingdom of God. A roman centruian,

an officer, asks for Jesus help. "Speak the word and my servant shall

be healed." This is not something he would ask any Jew. Luke gives

parable of the good samaratan. loving your neighbor and asks "who is

my neighbor?" a certain man went to Jericho and thieves came and

mugged him, a levite priest passes by and does nothing, then the

samaritan helps him. which of these three was neighbor? he who showed

mercy. go and do likewise." Thats who is your neighbor.


Be kind to everyone. spread the word. raise the bar on it. the 10th

commandment thou shalt not covet is totally different from the others.

not about actions, but about what's inside you. Jesus interiorizes it,

take the impulse at looking at the character inside from which conduct

stems. Master not only actions, but character!


Sermon on the Mt. in Matthew. Can you do this?


"You've heard it said, "Thou shalt not kill." But he who hates his

brother is in bad temper is also in sin. You've heard it said not to

commit adultery. I say whosoever is in lust with women has already

done so. You have heard 'an eye for an eye.' I say he who strikes you

on one cheek, turn the other to him as well. You have heard it said

love your neighbor, but I say love not only your neighbor, but your

enemy too. Pray to God for your enemy's salvation too! for them to see

the reality of the kingdom of Heaven". Internal perfection, to master

your desires, is the demand. Even if you enjoy doing evil things, or

even thinking them, Master that. Master your lustful desires, your

anger, hostility."


By raising the bar to the absolute hight of goodness a human being can

attain, Jesus calls on us to be children of God. To seek the divine in



Also, a new kind of love.


affectionate love (for cats etc.)

love of friends (phile, philadelphia)

eros (between love and lust, erotic love)

married love of a special person that if you are with and know so well


but Jesus brings a new kind


agape- generalized active goodwill to everyone (like being a good

person as a deep and fundamental way of life, benign intentions toward



This is new. Jesus comes not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.

Why war is at root- though maybe a necessity, an evil, whether they

deserved it or not. We have that as the cultural default setting of

Western culture. Goodwill towards all in action. Everyone is

valuable... the first thing in the Declaration of Independence: Life.


Even in democratic athens- women were 2nd class, slaves were slaves

and its not an issue. All societies are hierarchical, and never has

there been an equality among people, until Jesus. Odd, distinctive,

new, and revolutionary.


Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

those who morn for they shall be comforted

the meek for they shall inherit the earth. what? the meek? Rome rules the earth!

who hunger for righteousness for they shall be fulfilled

are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy

are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.


Lifespans of the Christians who were poor were longer than any other

group. Because they took care of the sick. Because of this love.


For hundreds of years the Jewish people yearned for a just world, not

in heaven but here. As if God himself would sit on Caesar's throne. It

wasn't happening, but they chanted that god would overcome, someday.

That was the dream that would keep the memory of Jesus alive. For

unlike those before him, Jesus did not fade away. Thanks to a small

band who knew that Jesus was the true messiah. That he would usher in

God's kingdom on earth. For against the odds, their story is almost as

remarkable as Jesus own, in the face of incredible opposition, and

persecution and dissent, they carried Jesus' name out of obscurity

into the mighty empire itself. There were barnabus, persilla, james,

titus, steven and most famously of all, there were Peter and Paul. One

need not find miracle in the raising of Lazerus, a miracle is that

Christianity was spread by nobody from nowhere.


Luke wrote the tale of Christian beginnings. Peter was not at the

burial. He was shattered and left. The crucifixion cast a shadow over

all the rebels, all the followers of Jesus were in danger. The women

who found the tomb empty 3 days later were told to find Jesus in

Galilee. Where his movement took root in Gaililee right after the

crucifixion. The poor illiterates of Galilee repeated his message and

passed them on.


Peter went to Gaililee too. And he went to fish and at night they

caught nothing. And in the morning Jesus stood on the shore. Stood as

the Lord. Jesus had been crucified. The staggering vision... Jesus was

raised from the dead, and God and Rome were colliding. Ancient

prophecies were happening now, and the world were about to see that

God and not Caesar ruled. The scattered apostles were brought back

together by the risen Christ, who had a new sense of mission- that

Jesus was not dead, and that the crucifixion was not a tragedy, but a



Not only Jesus but the faith was resurrected.


Jerusalem had the temple, and after seeing the risen Jesus, the

apostles came to Jerusalem, because that is where God would come.

Apocolpyse means not the end of the world, but the end of evil.

Peter's group did not wait for God to destroy evil, Peter directed his

companions to start living that ideal world right away. Peter built a

model society of communal living "to each according to his need."

Peter tries to convince Jews that the kingdom of god is here! But they

had no 'religion' to convert to, only a way of life that was to be

lived 'as if' the kingdom of god was at hand. For each other, with the

charity Jesus taught.


Well and good, but on the day of Pentecost after Jesus' death, wind

filled Peter's communal house, and the holy spirit came inside, and

blew... and many Jews began speaking in tongues. Some people thought

they were nuts, others were convinced they were in the presence of

true prophecy. This is the beginning of the Christian church.


Peter was now... ready to proclaim a new king. Trouble began for the

Jerusalem Jesus group when they began attracting followers. Stephen

proclaimed his reverence for Jesus... and was stoned. Crisis followed.

Luke says Saul started a communal purge, who hunted down Jesus

followers. Brought havoc to Peter's small flock. Dragged people to

jail. People scattered except for a very few. Peter was brutally



Scattered faithful. In the mid 30s, followers of Jesus were only 100.

Still led by Peter in Jerusalem... but now a new phase. His followers

blew like seeds around the Roman empire. Pushed by enemies at home.

Saul approached the high priest and asked for permission to bring any

Jesus follower back to Jerusalem in chains. Its written.


He went to Damascus, a Greek speaking Jew from outside Judea, a

Phaisee committed to old Jewish law. "Around midday a bright light

from heaven flashed around me and said "Saul why do you persecute me?"

Who are you? "I am Jesus, of Nazareth." This is one of the turning

points of not only Paul's life, but all of history. He is filled with

the idea that he must spread Jesus message.


When Peter and the others heard Saul was in town they were scared. He

tried to join them, and they feared him and did not believe him. Peter

earned his living with his hands, Saul was educated in Greek. He

revealed to them an astounding mission, to pronounce Christ's message

to Jews and non-Jews alike of Rome's vast empire. And further, he

declared he had been assigned this mission by God himself. Paul who

had never met or seen Jesus, was now telling the people who did that

he was now more important then they, and their leader!


But to Rome? Paul's vision was enormous. The task, daunting. In the

1st Century, Rome's size and power and authority occupied the

circumference of the world. In provinces and towns they practice their

own rites and worships local gods. Corinth, Athens, Ephesus were its

nerve centers. A Jewish Jesus movement there?


3 Years after Paul and Peter met, Paul went to Antioch. Pilate's

imperium was based there. But, Antioch was a trading town. 250k

people. All religions mixed, many gods were there. So, a Jesus sect

could base there. Barnabus, a Greek, asked Paul to come to lead them.

Paul says "When God's kingdom comes, only the faithful will be saved.

And you must renounce the Greek and Roman gods and only take the real

Jewish God." This is a problem, the gods prevented earthquakes and

floods. Risk of offense of the vast majority. But in Antioch they were

not bothered. Converts from Jewish and non-Jewish... a group so

distinctive, it came to be called Christian.


For 10 years they preached in Antioch. Year after year, God's kingdom

failed to arrive. Some of the converts wondered why. Jesus does not

come back. The message must be changed- God's grace allowing Paul and

his followers to bring in many followers to elevate them to grace. It

was all part of God's plan. Paul and Barnabus travelled tirelessly,

across Turkey and Greece, and charity and communal support. And that

the kingdom was at hand. Fire and hunger and disease, were mediated by

communal love.


Hostility to governors, tempers flare easily. They go to the synogogue

in Epheses. And the Epheciseans were part interested and part angered.

Paul was attacked at the end of the town by Jews who felt paul was

pulling gentiles toward their god, and 5 Years after setting out from

Antioch, the two came back. In Antioch, arguments about how to bring

in gentiles created a schism.


--------------- Caesar died, and a young new one, Caligula, came into

power. One of his subjects is Peter. Who had guts, but who lost his

nerve when Jesus was arrested, who denied him to save his life, but

who is now the rock after the crucifixion. Rome's new emperor would

come after him, through his new 'king of Jewish territory', Agrippa.


Agrippa knew he had to please the emperor. Surprise! He struck a

messianic pose in the theater in Jerusalem. But Peter's group called

the Crucified Christ Lord. Rome understood it to be caesar's title,

and the Christians saying 'you are not.' Rome's client king, Agrippa,

took action. James killed with a sword. Peter was caught. Arrested and

destined to die the next day. The followers of Jesus stood on the



And then something like divine intervention. An angel of the lord

appeared to Peter in his cell, and Peter followed the angel out, when

the angel opened his chains. Peter's escape was a pivotal moment. He

survived. But he had to leave, the rock had to leave. He was replaced

by James. The first major persecution was survived.


Paul was still in Antioch. James in Jerusalem, and James did not want

believers killed or persecuted, or drawing attention to themselves.

Paul is drawing attention preaching to synagogues. James' advisors

went to Antioch. "If you are not circumsized, you cannot be saved." It

was to keep Jesus following Jewish. Paul was angry, and went to

Jerusalem, "I lay down the good news before them, and against

circumcision for gentiles, God wanted a united movement of Jew and

gentile together." Arguments were many. James is unwilling, Peter

mediates, Paul demands gentiles be admitted. Peter supported Paul, and

the Rock lived up to his name. Titus was not circumcised. Paul's

special mission was to the gentiles and Peter and James with the Jews.


In 40, Josephus says the new emperor Caligula wished to be

acknowledged as a god. He demanded grovelling worship. This annoyed

the romans, but devestated the jews. Caligula wanted to test it for a

special punishment. Caligula sent an army to set up statues in the

temple of himself. They must kill them one by one. "If caligula wants

to set up statues, he will have to kill all jews." Luckily, he was

killed in Rome. Christians lived in fear in the 40s of the power of



In Antioch widespread conversions of gentiles went on. Judaic laws

were abridged and customs set aside. Some Jewish Christians, were

unhappy. "If gentiles outnumbered Jews, how would the church be run?"

In 49, Peter came from Jerusalem. He ate at non kosher tables and

didn't mind gentiles. New men came from Jerusalem sent by James, and

they were angry. Non kosher food? Against the laws of Moses. Now Paul

is saying that all that can be skipped? Not acceptable.


Paul vs. Peter now. Peter was ok with eating non kosher, but then

others came from James and made him stop. Paul was angry. Paul vs.

James, Peter mediated. Paul turns back on Barnabas. Paul knows there

can only be one church, not two. Paul answered "no", but he would not

give up. He knew the entire world must hear the kingdom of God. Time

is running out for Paul too, and soon the defenders of roman order

would strike.


In the 50s, the infant communities outside Jerusalem had a gulf with

the Jerusalem Jesus followers. Paul went to Corinth. He was the first

Christian there. Stephanus converted. Paul made Corinth's assembly a

special one... one single one, man and woman, slave and master, rich

and poor. 2 Years later he left, and went on. But a man had come to

say "Paul your church in Corinth has come apart." He returned to find

he was outnumbered by other preachers. He went to Ephesus,

demoralized, and was arrested.


He was thrown in jail just as he was getting to the end of the road,

and maybe he was not to fulfill an evangelical role, he suffered much,

and he wrote after two years... he was ready to die and resigned to

it. But he did not, despite his long record for disrupting the peace,

he was released. In his life he had suffered much for the faith. Now,

he was out, and found out something amazing: the communities he

founded were working together! They had made a collection for the poor

of Jerusalem!


Paul brought it in person. A rich offering. They gave freely beyond

their means, pleading that those in Jerusalem take them and cement

them into the faith. A united church. James is not commenting about

the collection... he did not accept it. It is suppressed in Luke and

Paul. Paul failed with the collection. He was attacked for ushering in

gentile recruits into the Temple. They seized Paul and dragged him

outside the temple to kill him. Roman authorities intervened and were

about to flog him, but then surprise! Paul revealed he was a citizen!

So he was able to ask for a trial. The Tribune sent the case to Rome

to the emperor.


Paul was allowed to work freely in Rome. Starting now, Luke is writing

his own interpretation of events. St. Paul did write to the Romans, to

accept him and his followers. Luke claims Paul was in Rome for 2

years. If he did or did not, his followers certainly did.


But disaster struck. The fire of Rome. Nero's reprisals. Arrests of

Christians. Convicted of arson and hatred of mankind. Tacitus

describes the terribleness of christian purges:


Nero executed them as a public spectacle, torn apart by dogs, set

aflame and used as lamps, they evoked pity because they were not done

for the public good, but instead at the whim of one man and his



Peter and Paul were martyred here. Paul beheaded, Peter crucified

upside down. The faith of the two apostles would thrive in Rome... but

not until after the final showdown between Jerusalem and Rome. Full

scale rebellion for 4 years, and finally the Roman army torched the

sacred temple and Jerusalem. So too did the Jesus movement there.




its members belonged to something bigger than their local church.

christians were a united group, and st. peter was the first. no pagan

cult had any kind of organization like this. catholic = universal. the

church interacted with roman state. did it help or hinder it? a

universal religion?



How did Ecclasia, a called community, gathered l'leglise, ecclasie

Kirche, church = the lord's house. an abstract idea of solidity. both

ways let us see the creative tension.


Bishops were just pious people, then from higher social origins, and

as roman state became more intrusive and claimed people's loyalty

less, they directed it to christianity and the christian authorities

got more of that authority.


distinctive clothes were introduced. patronage, property wealth,

intervention in legal and heveanly affairs. Well, in the 400s they

came from same families as their traditional roman secular

counterparts. continuity and change both. emergence of bishops of

rome, and pope is a term of endearment (daddy). papa.


succession of apostles who, as matthew tells, 'go forth and teach,'

hand on the imperative to successor after successor. all bishops reach

back to apostle by their lineage (i learned from x who learned from x

who learned from John. add an x in each generation).


Matthew says: Peter is the rock upon which which i will build my

church. the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I shall give

unto thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven. whose sins you shall bind

on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whose sins you loose are loosed

in heaven. Vatican flag has keys on it.


Peter. Peter is designated the leader, he explains apostles decisions,

and is always listed first. so those who followed Peter followed in

his leadership role. Peter went to Rome and died there, and his

successors were the bishops of Rome.



played out in 4th and 5th centuries- between cities like alexandria

and antioch, and constantiople, etc. and these guys would appeal to

the bishop of Rome. this was turned into a right to speak in the first

place. then a precedent.


emperor theodosius promoted pope. one emperor, one pope one religion.

Pope Leo I (440-461) is the great theoritician of papal leadership.

the idea is spelled out and finalized. so in 5th, he can take for

granted he is leader of all christians viewed as a community. Gregory

I the Great (590) takes over responsibility in Rome for everything.

the food and water supply, the defense against Lombard barbarians.

Quasi emperor or king of rome. but should it be just the pope? sole

ruler? collegial view says no, monarchical view yes. collegial way

says 'all cardinals should vote'.


popes like Leo could not really impose their will all around the




Christians encountered the Roman state through persecution. blood of

martyrs is the seed of the church. Nero scapegoated them. Domitiian

outlawed them. So now they were not persecuted, but prosecuted! Pliny

wrote about it to Trajan, from asia, "what am i supposed to do about

christians?" and trajan said "they are around there, so well, oh well.

don't worry about them too much. So, no systematic relentless

persecution. But there were pogroms. round ups. passions of the

martyrs were drawn on model of passion of christ. martyr is someone

who gives witness. not dies. Decius later, in 200s really persecuted

them. sporadic until Diocletian, who persecuted them further. Part of

an overall ideological program. He had everyone denounce christianity

and burn incense to the roman gods.


Constantine's mother was catholic, but he didn't convert till he was

an old man. In 313 edict of milan granted toleration and tax

exemptions and fiscal privilages to the church. He donated and had

built the Original Church of St. Peter, St Paul outside Rome, and

Lateran Basilica.


Some pagan revival, but it was clear that paganism was on the way out.

Theodosius 378 made christianity the state religion. In late 500s,

Jolasius wrote to rome: when the church is in conflict with the state,

the church must take prescedence because it is concerned with men's

eternal souls, while the state is concerned with their earthly bodies.


jesus stood before pilate, jolasius stood before emperor- "my office

is more important than yours". took 5 centuries but it happened.


A canon of scripture was formulated: what scriptures? rabbis already

compiled the jewish part, the hebrew scriptures. should christians use

them? of course. it became the old testament. catholic bibles today

have septuagent books, from the greek translation, but the protestants

do not. they use the hebrew.


how about the New Testament? it was written in greek, but rome spoke

latin. latin versions appeared and St. Jerome made an official one for

all the scriptures. he made the vulgate bible in 382. so, basic texts

are made up. church did it!



exposed when freedom came with edict of milan. 3 in 1? oh my gosh. 3

persons in one God? Well, Arius taught that Jesus was subordinate to

God the father. In 325 the Council of Nicaea- developed the Nicene

Creed. Many Germans converted to Arianism.


Another problem: is Jesus true God or true man? How does a God die? In

451 it was decided that yes, Jesus was true both. The man had to die,

the God was reborn. Already we have a long history for Christianity!

500 years.


A certain number of christians opted out of the visible institution,

the urban life. those who became monks and nuns.



a group of thinkers called church fathers, patristic age. there is no

matrist. not my fault, you'll have to take that problem up with



church fathers addressed questions like 'How does one live as a

Christian in a pagan world?' we looked at christian intellectualism

but also art and architecture. first of all though, doctrines and

understanding scripture.


pagan conceptual framework had no way to talk about a single

metaphysical being that was both god and man, so christianity had to

figure out how. also, what does christianity have to do with classical

culture? what has athens to do with jerusalem? christianity came up

near the end of a long cultural stream!


Fathers: Ambrose 339-397. nobleman in milan, becomes a bishop, and is

a speaker for the roman tradition, now the christian. unifier. bridge

builder, he opened up the world of greek-christian thought to the

latin people. he used allegory in the latin west as a mode of biblical

interpretation, like origin of alexandria. some passages in the bible

were contradictory, or didn't make sense. Ambrose builds the idea that

many passages are symbolic, hiding layers upon layers inside them.

what is on the surface is important, but it conceals something deeper,

that one can extract through allegory. Learned persons can do this.

what is on the surface shouldn't be ignored, but is never going to

exhaust the meaning of a passage of scripture. Ambrose introduces

allegory, and this is crucial.


Jerome: translator of the vulgate bible, but here we have another

roman blue blood! his letters explained complex problems. built a

salon society, where noble romans including women came to see him.

Renaissance people sought Jerome for his superb latin usage. they did

not leave classical culture behind!


and the greatest: Augustine. he rises through talent, no silver spoon.

he studied and taught rhetoric, and moved to Rome, greener pastures.

then Milan. knew Ambrose there, and told him "Paul's letters are not

written very well, and the old testament is full of old wives tales

and shouldn't be taken seriously!" But he heard Ambrose speak, and

came away converted. the was won over somehow.


and augustine became the champion who stood against the crises and

problems of the day. in the confessions, he chronicles his own

conversion. it was the first work of introspection. even marcus

aurelius' meditations were concerned with politics and philosophy.

bears out his soul, bears out his quest for God. in polished,

beautiful moving, language. ON Christian Doctrine related how that you

will have to learn your Latin and rhetoric, history etc. then you will

understand it. And then, City of God. 410 as we said, was a

distressing year. IN the grand scheme Rome does not matter. SHOCK!

Recall Virgil, who everyone knew, and who said "I place for them no

end in space or time, they will rule forever." In the Roman psyche,

emperors and rome will be here forever. we believe that about america.

can we imagine a world without america? or something like "america

falls?" they couldn't, but rome was sacked and burned. augustine told

people that from the creation to the judgement day, we have a single

line, a linear history. history marches on, in a direction, to

ultimate redemption.


Last of the fathers: Gregory I ran the city of Rome after the fall,

and he also wrote biblical commentary, lives of saints. the Pastoral

Rule. it was a manual of how to be a bishop. what kind of person you

ought to be, how you ought to do things, and it was profoundly



EASTERN FATHERS: Basil the Great (330-379) was a formidable biblical

scholar who laid down the fundamental trinitarian doctrine. John

Crystostom was patriarch of constantinople, of enormous skill. wrote

how a Christian may live a moral life while still functioning in the

world. took position that one should criticize wrongdoing.



Some turned backs on wealth, intellectual achievement... there had

always been asctetics, most religions have them. So in human

communities, some of us believe that if i deny myself, if i deny

myself food, companionship, sex, power, i may purify myself, and that

is as being close to God. Sometimes they were solitary, some

communities of monasticism. It rises in the 4th C., in Egypt. Aramitic

monks (desert) who go off on their own). Anthony was a solitary, who

had followers visit him.


Then there were senobitic monks, living a common life together. Monks

(monakoi = lone ones). a wonderful paradox. Lone ones who live

together. they live in a monestaria, a house of lone ones!


After 'Life of St. Anthony' was written, people read it and respected

the idea. st. Jerome led the monastic life, and popularized it and

wrote about it. people went to visit these religious masters, and went

back and taught what they learned, like visiting yoda.


In Gaul, St. Martin of Tours popularized it. Spread to Ireland through

St. Patrick. And finally came St. Benedict (480-550), who went to

Monte Cassino and started something that would set the standard. He

wrote the Benedictine Rule at Monte Cassino: prayer and work.


He didnt intend to start a religious order (way of life), but he did,

as this Rule of St. Benedict spread through Pope Gregory to anglo

saxon england, and to the franks, where Charlemagne will impose it.



Chruch fathers and monks. they enriched greek-roman culture with

providing for it a new conceptual framework in which to work.

Christians used greek and latin, preserving them. they added much to

the vocab of both languages. The Christians took much from the

classical world, but they did not bow to it, succumb to it or

compromise with it. Christian patronage began a building boom of

churches and cathedrals. These became the centers of all the towns.

inside peoples homes, that used to be floral or other, many now used

mosaics and frescos and the themes were.... christian. a christian art

would come out. Christian poets carried on classical tradition. the

spiritual deepness of christians gave them great poetic powers.


It gave celebate men great authority, in a world of sin that may be

forgiven. martyrs (great for how they died) and saints (great for how

they lived), were a new kind of hero. Before you had the strong, the

heroes of the illiad, great because they were strong in power. Now,

you could be a hero of the spirit. A new morality secured women a

place in society, the same morality applied to them, Christian ethics

come into use pervading secular law! So the law is going to marked by



So Italic - German kingdoms appear, and the early medieval age,

Christendom, is born.



3 Heirs of the Roman empire: Islam, Byzantium, Germanic West.

Really, heirs. they bequeathed to inherators. East Rome will have some

kind of future: yes, Byzantium. Western half will transform into

germanic kingdoms.


What no one could have predicted, was the emergence of the Islamic

faith and the Arab peoples. Tribal groups. Arabs south of the

Byzantine and Persian Empires. Arabs had been subject to

Judeo-Christianity. But they were not


MOHAMMAD 570-632

From an old and wealthy Mecca family, entered caravan trade. earned

good reputation for being reliable. married a noble woman older than

him. retired to a cave near mecca and was visited by the angel

gabriel, who taught him about Allah. based on this, preached to his

family and friend about it, this monotheistic faith. Also in Mecca to

others. encountered trouble. contrary to traditional religions. arabs

had many polytheist cults that acknowledged a strange shrine in mecca,

containing a black stone, surrounded by a black kaaba. now inside the

great mosque.


people made pilgrimages to mecca to visit this. mecca's nobles thought

mohammad was 'bad for business' (people would no longer visit mecca).

IN 622 he left for Medina, the Hidera, the 'flight'. Medina had a

problem with religion, many sects. Mohammad was viewed as a unifier

with his religion.


Koran; scriptures, Hadith 'sayings' of the prophet, and the sunna

(good practice). becomes the practice of 'Sunni' muslims.


Koran is the work of Allah, through Mohammad, who did not author it.

Allah authored it. Like that... bible... but most of the biblical

authors are known. isiah, gospel of john etc. but in the koran,

allah's word is handed to mohammad straight.



People have to make Al-Islam, the surrender, to Allah. Completely. A

person who has made Islam, is a Muslim, a surrenderer. 5 Pillars.

Profession of Faith. In christianity, the Nicene creed is very long.

IN Islam, very short. Other 4 are practices. Like 10 Commandments. 2.

Fasting during Ramadan. 3. Prayer facing Mecca. 4. Alms, giving to the

poor, Mohammad is building responsibility to community. 5. Go to

Mecca. Hajj. Was it a concession to Mecca's elites. Yes. Stress laid

on conduct, not your intellectual ascent to a doctrinal teachings. No

popes in Islam, no clergy, etc. no rabbi types.



community of everyone who has made al-Islam. a community that

transcends all borders. There is no successor to Mohammad. He is the

last prophet.



successor to prophets political, miltiary leadership. over time,

caliphs would begin to be custodians of the faith.  Apostates fell

away from Islam, and by 634 brought them all back by force. Then, over

the course of one century, the armies of Islam fought tremedously.



Lightning campaigns compared to Rome which took 5 centuries to expand,

Islam did it in one. how? Their main enemies were worn out. Persia and

Byzantium fought each other and their armies were spent. There was an



Raiding and plundering had been a way of life for centuries. Now,

Islam taught to raid and pillage others, not Muslims. And finally,

Jihad. Dar al Islam, and the Dal ar Hab: House of War. It was

understood that Christians and Jews were "peoples of the Book" so they

were not forced to convert, though the Quaryza Massacre and others

were done. Usually they just had to pay taxes. Infadels were pagans

and non peoples of the book.


And it was extraordinary: Muslims ruled Arabia under Mohammad, Took

Mesopotamia, Levant, half of Anatolia, Caucasus, Persia and Egypt and

Libya by 661, and took the rest of North Africa, Iberia and Bactria,

and the Indus Valley by 750. Fought Persians, Byzantines, Egyptians,

Spaniards and the Franks.


In 661, Abu Bakr's family died out and a new family of caliphs took

over, from Damascus Syria, the Umyyads. They created tax collecting

procedures and roman style bureaucratic organization. Capital moved

from Mecca to Damascus. Ruled for a century. Many peoples along

frontiers, and a revolution. Abbasids then took over, and they built a

new city: Baghdad. Great houses of study were built, and like at

Alexandria, a scholarly center. Greek science and philosophy was

popular. Abbasids were the 'golden age' of Islam. By the 800s, a new

universal faith, a new chosen people, the Arabs, and a new holy book,

the Koran. One deeply rooted in the ideals of classical antiquity.



If the arab islamic power growth was the most unpredictable, the

Byzantine Empire was the most predictable. that "Rome" goes on was

somehow. East Rome had less frontier problems, unlike west with the

long Rhine and Danube. Yet, serious ones did exist in the east, but

not contemporaneously. plus, east had good rulers, west did not. east

was more prosperous. the Romans chose to take their stand in the east!

and it did stand for a thousand years.



Orthodox (right believers) and Monophysites (the one nature of Christ) not 3.

In 5th C, no one believed they were anything but Roman. but east and

west christianity began to drift. contintinel drift, slow. but they

would split in 1054.



He waged a series of wars, vs. vandals, ostrogoths visigoths of spain,

to recover the lost western provinces. we can see this was not fully

successful, but he tried, and to him it was desirable to do this.

recover lost imperial glory. separation between civilian and military

power is eroded, not on the side of civilian rule, but military.



IN 529 he issued 'Body of Civil Law'. Now, Theodosius revised Roman

law, and Justinian is the next reformer, but the last great ancient

collection and publisher of new law. This was the most influential

legal collection in human history. Wow, bold but true. Some ironies:

issued in Latin and had to be translated into Greek. So, Justinian

looked back to the wellsprings of Rome, and what is more roman than

law, his collection in Latin had to be translated into Greek in order

to be useful. So, if Rome means Latin, and now it's law is in Greek,

something is changed indeed.


Monophysite stressed divinity over humanity of Christ. He is just God.

Justinian and his advisors tried to find a theological formula to

reconcile monophysites with orthodox. Cohersion was out. He ignored

pope, who said "leave it alone." well. east is willing to make its own

way in matters of theology, to put it mildly. Division is begun.



Justinian's symbolic masterpiece was this. "Solomon, I have outdone

thee." Mathemeticians designed it. It's huge. It nods to traditional

roman architecture. Arch, dome, details were roman, decorative detail,

etc. All Roman. But, the sense of space, color, marble stone of green,

purple, beige, brown. It also speaks to the east. Armenia, Georgia.

This is something new.


HERACLIUS hera-k-leus

The other great emperor of byzantium, 610-641, faced the persians.

Then, faced the muslims. Terrible irony: fought a brilliant campaign

against the Sassanid Persians. defeated the empire, exhausted the

military and treasury, and was defenseless when the armies of islam,

by surprise, from the south, in the mid 600s. The war vs. persia and

islam taught byzanines something: it was the eastern frontier that was



The balkans were byzantine, and that frontier was threatened under

heraclius by south slavs and bulgars. less of a problem than east

problems, but little attention could be paid to western rome. it

couldn't. East Rome carved into military districts and soldiers were

paid with land to settle, in a new reworking of roman military

structure. "Themes" they were called, and they were headed by a

"strategos" (general), from which we get the word strategy. No more

paying pro soldiers with roman taxes, now its more basic: a more

military than civil establishment. Heraclius called himself 'Emperor

of the Romans'. big deal, except he did it in Greek.



Byzantium was ruled by Leo III "Isaurian" and then his son Constantine

V "Isaurian" in 700s. Wars fought only in Anatolia and Balkans. Themes

went on. In 726 Leo issued a new law code, which abridged Justinian's




Neither Greek nor Latin Christians admited the other existed as

different from their own. But they slowly parted, first in liturgy.

Rupture still 200 years away, and no one wished for it. Byzantines:

Priests can marry. Bishops no. Latin's no marrying. Byzantines used

leavened bread, Latins unleavened. Monks's hair was cut in Latin from

the back, in Byzantium, from the front. and Icons. beautiful religious

pictures that in the east were not only beautiful pictures, but that

they were holy in themselves. they embodied the power the aura of the

holy person they 'were'.


So, Byzantines we call them, but they called themselves Romans.



In 800s, they rolled back the muslim advance in anatolia, they won

eastern europe's new barbarians slavs to christianity, and won the

russians to orthodoxy as well This threatened realm ushered in a

serious identifying characteristic of eastern europe by doing so.




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