.    Instructor: Dave Tamm / Term: Spring 2008    .




The curtain is down on the republic, 5 centuries and gone. civil

problems for a one hundred year time. political manipluation. military

ambition. so, when octavian came in, 31 bc to 14 ad, created a stable

system, from 30-180 is the pax romana. octavian controlled rome's

armies yes, but its also the genius. instead of seeing how far he

could be individually, he "gave" power, in a grand show, to the

senate. well, they were flummoxed, but realized that without octavian,

all would be chaos, so they made a grand show of their own- giving him

the 'senate's blessing', and calling him Augustus.


He called himself Princeps, 1st Citizen. Accident? No, princeps was

the old senatorial title for its senior (literally) member, who spoke

first (if he wanted to). He had other titles, consul as well,

sometimes. But he permitted elections so regular people could hold

offices too. He appeared to share power.


He ruled the food producing regions, and the wealthy provinces. He

maintained the threatening provinces, so that no upstart general (ie

marius, sulla, pompey, caesar) would challenge him. So, he controlled

$ and army. And offices he appeared to share.



Well he made a great show of the Roman tradition- be he really had

them himself. He valued them, though he was a living contradition of

them. But we can live with that. He appeared to hold power at the

blessing of the people and senate. But his system was... tough to hand

on to the next one, because what kind of regime is this?!? Carefully.

He had no heir, he had only one daughter, who had no kids. He adopted

Tiberius, the son of his 2nd wife. The return of civil war we would

have thought would have happened... didn't. Never before did this kind

of thing happen.


From 14-68, the Julio-Claudian family ruled rome. Tiberius was

suspicious, Caligula crazy, Claudius was handicapped and paranoid,

Nero an unbalanced genius. And... Caligula was assassinated, Claudius

was poisoned, Nero committed suicide. How did it hold on? Rome didn't

go back to chaos. If two aliens landed in Washington and the Midwest,

then came back and discussed, they would be on two different worlds.

Same with Rome and in provinces. The Augustian miracle was that it

really was ok, and something stable that didnt depend on the character

of the ruler himself. Britannia was brought into the empire. Finances

were sound, public life was successful. If we only looked at emperors,

we'd miss out.


Civil wars of 68: 4 generals competed and Vespasian one, claiming

throne. Flavian dynasty inaugurated. Titus, Dominitian. Effective, but

Dominitian earned assassination (I am a god! Call me a god!) Still,

after all this, Augustan stability held. After assassination, it still

held! Then the best set came: the Good Emperors: Nerva, Trajan,

Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. Lengthy reigns produce

stability and order. One long reign after another. They adopted each

other. Under Trajan, final expansion: Dacia- then the 300 year period

of expansion maxed out. Trajan's column in the forum now, carved in

bas relief (bah relief) the campaigns of dacia- the last.


Gibbon said: in the 2nd C, the empire comprehended the fairest part of

the earth and most civilized portion of mankind. Guarded by renowned

and discipline, peaceful inhabitents enjoyed and abused the advantages

of wealth and luxury. The image of a free consitution was preserved

with a decent reverence.


Historian Tacitus (1st C) said: the army can make and unmake an

emperor (there's a dangerous element there). Old Attalus of Pergamum

may have willed his kingdom to Rome, but he was the only one. Romans

believed that they should only fight if they were threatened.

'Defensive Imperialism'. So, Tacitus understood the reality: they

exaggerated the threat- and then conquered.


Social change: Senators did not try to restore the republic. Even

after Nero. Domitian. They preserved the order. No Caesar

assassinations. Sharing was ok. Old patrician families augmented in

Rome by other big families from around italy, even outside of it. Even

if Rome "conquered", it brought benefits: an enormous free trade zone.

agriculture flourished. The Persians did some of the same stuff.

Provincials were accorded protections, subject to victimization to

barbarians. Now they were protected. Lands. Territories.


Law- public courts, public justice, and this was throughout the

empire. Drive in britain, france and italy. those highways are roman.


Cities- a set of urban amenities were given to cities. A panoply of

great public buildings. forums, baths, aqueducts, and cities were

important. a key element in the roman system. Stabilizing forces. Not

like Greece or Sumer! Easy to collect taxes, easy to maintain loyalty.

They asked people not to harm Rome's interests. No worse, actually

better, than any other administration.


Government: only a few hundred. thats all. all the administrators. the

army was not used as a police force. used only to defend the

frontiers. the roman presence was absent. most people will have never

laid eyes on a roman official or soldier. certainly not the emperor.

So, adopt latin, volunteer to be loyal, and people throughout the

empire slowly but surely romanized themselves. People learned how to

retain their romanization and couple themselves with rome.


What happened? the augustan principate will at one point fail.

shouldn't blind us to the achievements of the Empire of Rome.



High cultural achievement during the peace. But, this is not a

necessary thing. Great wealth. State was wealthy, individuals were

wealthy, and the mediterranean was wealthy. Financing buildings,

supporting artists and writers etc. was a noble goal.


Nostalgia was there for old rome, but no one was willing to put down

their lives anymore. A great age of poetry came up, in the Golden Age

of Rome.


Virgil: immortals. read in his time and ever since, always known by

educated people. Aeneid. Story of Aneid. He was an idealized roman.

There were a few incomplete lines, and Virgil wanted it destroyed.

Emperor Augustus violated his will and saved it. Praised the

countryside, appealed to Roman citizens traditional happiness. Theme

is somber in Aeneid: not boosterism: Romes great! great! No, it was



In line 33: Oh what a job it was to found the Roman people. OH what a

JOB it was to found these Roman people. But we stuck it out. Aeneis is

carrying his pater out of the burning Troy. A burden even then. A

mission from which he will not waver.





After the 1st Century, apologists wrote not gospels, but definitions

of the new religion.


Justin Martyr -

St. Ignatius -



Its fundamental teachings were wonderful. Compelling nature of its

basic teachings. Its what antiquity's best writers pointed to.


Heroism of the matyrs. Domitian illegalized it, and even before,

Christians were harrassed. And after. The way Christians faced their

fate and oppression won the admiration of many.


The universality of it. Renouncing all other allegiances, no other

gods. A dream of the brotherhood of all people. Understanding

universal right and wrong. It sounded very nice.


A historical faith- not mythical. Not one more myth placed back in

time, but Jesus walked there! He was there! He was crucified!


Women- Christianity valued marriage, union of men and women, and

valued women's needs. No pagan cult ever had that.


Structure of the Church. No pagan cult illicited such a strong sense

of conviction and cooperation. Unity.


Peace of the Pax Romana.


Now, the Empire was geared for a shock- and Christianity and the

empire would intertwine their fates forever.




-Immoderate greatness, supersition, barbarian invasions (look at what

happened in and to the roman world)



-Civilizational catastrophe? It didn't lose everything, but a lot changed.

-Institutional agency? gone for the most part- but changed.



31bc to 180 ad is the pax romana

180-284 is the crisis (to diocletian)


violent transfers of power, army rules- armies saw themselves as in

service of the general, not the roman state. if your general is

emperor, you are glorious and you are favored. After Trajan and Dacia,

Rome ceased expanding. In the east and north, determined foes struck

at the empire unpredictability - and it changed the roman psyche. Roma

was now on the defense!


Inflation, prices rising, prosperity of the pax romana was

disappearing. 3rd century evinces gloom everywhere. in wills, in

literature, in everything. no more bouyancy of the great pax romana.

public building stops. the confidence of the civilizaiton is gone. The

roman world is in trouble. But then, something else happens.



Interesting dimension of the process of change- Rome managed its own

transformation. Diocletian was a reformer. Long reign. From Dalmatian

family and rose in military. Decicive In 293 introduced Rule of 4.

Roman world so big, so threatened... increasingly disorderly. To

Emperors, and their underlings. 4. Possibilities for succession

changed: Emperor dies, his succesor is known. Reorganized provinces:

doubled their number for better administration. Increased imperial

administration (previously a few hundred men) to a new one of

thousands. With 50m people, still small, much smaller than in the US

today in relations to people. Prefectures, and diosces into that.

Pretorians managed the prefecture, and then by masters of the

soldiers. Size of Army increased from 300 to 450 thousand.


Froze wages, prices, jobs. That didnt work. Enhanced the aura of

magisty to the empire. He retires to the great palace of Split,




306-337 reformer II, extended Dios military reforms. Mobile field

armies developed- based away from the man to man all the way around

the frontier. now on the inside, to respond better. battle groups.

Economics: the solis- based in gold. great addition. Founded

Constantinople based on Byzantium.



The roman world became an armed camp. now, people knew soldiers. they

lived with them, unlike before, when they didn't know one. military

establishment became foreign. The government became intrusive, yet was

less protective... things changed from the time when peripheries were

induced to become roman through rome's strength and protection. When

they voluntarily came over to Rome's side. East and West became rivals

too. Danube barbarians came in and the east bribed them to move west.




By 476, the west is gone. who did it? The germanic kingdoms were

rome's last creative act. Barbarians, what are they?


Greeks divided up into Greek vs. Barbarians. Babababa the sound.

blabbing. those people who are different than us through language.

Rome picked it up and made the empire one unit, and the people outside

the empire as foreign barbarians.


Myth: swarms attack a peaceful roman settlement and thats it. Rome in

fact traded and spied and made treaties with them. They were not a

surprised. Warred with them. Actually, they were people who spoke

germanic languages. We're dealing with Germans. Barbarians were



Myth: swarms attack with predisposed goals, like a conquest. Romans

incountered barbarians a thousand times. not much pattern. Romans

wrote about tribes: saxons, visigoths, ostragoths, burgundians, etc.

Romans gave them names and assigned them to territories. They brought

order. What did they thing beyond the frontier? well, we dont know,

they didnt write anything down. But, the people were a polyethnic

confederations. Visigoths were a confederation. Tribes that signed up

under a common leader. They formed, unformed and reformed all over and

again. Their past is shrouded. They migrated but we really don't now,

we infer what brought them into contact with one another. They were

not really nomads either. They were settled agriculturalists.

Nevertheless, we go from roman provinces to barbarian kingdoms from

410 to 500s.


Example: Visigoths. Loose confederation of German tribes. Lived along

central Danube, north side, in 300s. Constantine federated them,

making them frontier guards. Assigned military responsibility over the

area. After 50 years, they asked Roman emperor to cross the river and

settle in Roman territory. Why? They were being pressed by the Huns.

Migratory peoples from Asia.


Roman gov't is in a pickle. They just lost Valerian in Mesopotamia! WE

are losing on that frontier today. They allowed them to enter en bloc.

Visigoths crossed in mass anyway, without permission, in 376. They

wanted land to settle on and farm, and legal status. Government

panicked, and Valens came to Adrianople, fought the Visigoths and

defeated him. Killed him. Romans traded dogmeat for Visigoth children-

they were farmers and needed food while their first year crops grew.



Now, Goths want after 30 years, a position for their king in the Roman

hierarchy. They moved to the West in the 406, moved to Italy in 408,

and sacked Rome in 410. Cataclysmic event, St. Jerome in Bethlehem and

St. Augustine decried it, the latter writing City of God.


They wanted to go to North Africa, but had no boats. So they went to

Gaul and settled round south of france. Their 325 treaty is modified

and they now have to protect the coast of Gaul, from brigiands from

people in northern Spain... supposed to stop piracy off Gaul. Now this

barbarian people worked on behalf of Rome.  But they were autonomous.


Is that an invasion? Roman policy had as much a role in it as 'invasion!'


Another Example: Burgundians in Gaul. Romans hired Huns to fight the

Burgundians. Huns realized what mercenaries already know: that if you

need to hire us, we are probably more powerful than you.


Then in 451, the Huns went on a rampage, and the Romans coalition with

visigoths and franks, and at Chalons, the Huns were defeated. "Romans"

defreated them.


In 476, barbarian general Odoacer, Romulus Augustus is chased out,

sends his imperial insignia to Constantinople. That's all that

happened. So when did the Roman empire fall? Well... here.


By 500.



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.


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