2.10 Christianity & Fall - TEACH

The Time of Greeks and Romans
2.10 Christianity and the end of the Roman Empire
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This lesson contains 47 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 6 videos.

time-iconLesson duration is: 45 min

Items in this lesson

The Time of Greeks and Romans
2.10 Christianity and the end of the Roman Empire

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Around 100 AD the Roman Empire had reached its largest size.
Jesus was born in 1 AD in the province Judea (today Israel)

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Lesson 2.10: Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire
  • The Romans had a polytheistic religion: they believed in              many gods  (poly = many).
  • The Jews lived in the Roman province Judea (today: Israel). 
  • They had a monotheistic religion. They believed in just one God (mono = one).
  • The Romans were tolerant. They accepted all different religions...
  • ...as long as people also worshipped the emperor.
  • The Jews refused to do this.

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Jesus had followers like Petrus, Paulus, Judas, Lucas and Marcus. These are also known as the apostles. After Jesus' 
death the apostles spread Jesus' teachings across the empire.

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Jerusalem in the time of Jesus. 
In 70 AD this temple was destroyed by the Romans after a failed Jewish uprising. Today, only the Wailing Wall remains.

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Jesus was arrested for rebellion against Roman rule.
He was sentenced to death by crucifixion by the Roman governor of Judea: Pontius Pilatus.

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Jesus was crucified in 33 AD, together with two criminals

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The crucifix became the main symbol of the new religion: Christianity

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Probably, jesus was crucified by putting nails in his wrists rather than through the palms of his hands.

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Romans did not like Christians for a few reasons:

1. Christians didn't follow Roman social norms  
2. Christians refused to worship the emperor

Especially 'weaklings' found the religion appealing: woman, poor, slaves = 'caring for the weak'

Jesus provides food for the poor

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Slide 14 - Video

Very gradually, more and more people in the Roman Empire became Christians

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Emperor Nero, who ruled from 54 till 68 AD, is known for burning Rome and persecuting the Christians

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Several Roman writers claim that  Nero sang the "Sack of Ilium (Troy)" in stage costume while the city burned. But historians today believe this did not really happen.

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Rumor had it that Nero started the fire himself. Therefore, to blame someone else, he accused the already unpopular Christians for starting the fire. He had them arrested and killed in the arena.

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With Nero, the time of the "persecution of the Christians" began. This would last for more than 2 centuries, in which being a Christian was punishable by death. Despite of this, Christianity did not disappear.

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Emperor Constantine would become the first Christian emperor. This ended the persecution and caused Christianity to spread further very quickly.

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The night before an important battle Constantine had a dream. In the dream his was told that he would win the battle if he fought under the sign of the Christian cross.

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Some accounts say that Constantine saw the Greek letters Chi and Rho in his dream and not the cross. Chi and Rho represented the spelling of Christ in Greek.

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The next day he had his soldiers paint the Christian symbol of Chi Rho on their shields.
And guess what? His army won the battle.

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Slide 27 - Video


Finish the first 5 questions of the practice questions

Jesus provides food for the poor

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Lesson 2.10: Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire
  • The Christian calendar starts with the birth of Jesus. 
  • That's the year 1 AD
  • Jesus was jewish and lived in Judea
  • He was crucified by the Romans
  • After his death, his followers spread Jesus' teachings around the Roman Empire.
  • This is how a new monotheistic religion started: Christianity. 
  • Christians also refused to worship the Roman emperor

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n 330 AD Constantine established a new capital of the Roman Empire. He built it on the location of the ancient city of Byzantium. The city was named Constantinople after Emperor Constantine. 

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In 395 AD, the empire was split into two parts The Western Empire was ruled by Rome, the Eastern Empire was ruled by Constantinople.

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The Fall of Rome didn't happen in a day, it happened over a long period of time. There are a number of reasons why the empire began to fail. Here are some of the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire: 
  1. The politicians and rulers of Rome became more and more corrupt. They were more interested in power and wealth than in the prosperity and safety of the empire.
  2. Attacks from barbarian tribes outside of the empire such as the Visigoths, Huns, Franks, and Vandals. 
  3. The Roman army was no longer an invincible army. 
  4. The empire became so large it was difficult to govern

source 2.9.7
Modern map showing the barbarian invasions in to the (mainly) Western Roman Empire

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In the 4th and 5th centuries, Germanic tribes, like the Goths, Vandals and Franks invaded the Roman empire.
The Romans called these Germans "barbarians".

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Especially the Western Roman empire was attacked, conquered and plundered by different Germanic tribes.

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In 410 AD the Visigoths attacked and plundered the city of Rome. In 455 the Vandals did the same and plundered the city for two weeks.

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In 476 AD, a Germanic barbarian by the name of Odoacer took control of Rome. He became king of Italy and forced the last emperor of Rome, Romulus Augustulus, to give up his crown. Many historians consider this to be the end of the Western Roman Empire.

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The Eastern Roman empire continued under the name Byzantine Empire for another 1000 years.
The Western Roman empire was gone. Germanic tribes had created their own kingdoms here. 
Rome had always provided a strong government, education, and culture. Now much of Europe fell into barbarianism. The next 500 years would be known as the Early Middle Ages, or Dark Ages of Europe.

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Lesson 2.10: Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire
  • 476 AD: official date of the Fall of the Western Roman Empire
  • In Western Europe, a new age started: The Middle Ages.

  • The Eastern Roman Empire continued however as the Byzantine Empire.
  • It lasted as a Christian empire until 1453.

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imperial palace

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Slide 43 - Video

The Christian symbol that Constantine had
his soldiers paint on their shields is known
as "Chi-Rho"
Explain this symbol by finding out the meaning of Chi-Rho.

Slide 44 - Open question

toetsweek question?

Slide 45 - Open question

solve the rebus

no capital letters,
no interpunction

Slide 46 - Open question

the pope is the leader of the catholic Church
The gospels are the first part of the Old Testament 
an early Christian symbol was a fish
The Romans saw Jesus as a rebel
Christians accepted Roman gods
"gentile" people were non-Romans
Jesus called Heaven the "kingdome come"
Christianity started as a cult within Judaism
Diocletian was the first Christian emperor
in 476 AD the Eastern Roman empire ended
the Byzantine empire is the former western Roman Empire
Constantinople replaced Rome as the capital city
emperors like Nero persecuted Christians
Visigoths, Franks and Vandals were Germanic tribes
Both the eastern and western Roman empire ended in 476 AD
The late Roman army was well trained and organised
In 410 AD, the Visigoths invaded and sacked Rome
Constantinople is present day Istanbul 

Slide 47 - Drag question