This lesson contains 33 slides, with text slides and 1 video.
Lesson duration is: 45 min
Items in this lesson
The Time of Greeks and Romans
3.5 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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What we know about the life of Jesus mostly comes from the Bible. For Christians, the Bible is their holy book.
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His followers believed Jesus was chosen by God to spread God’s message. Therefore, most Christians refer to him as Jesus Christ (Christ means ‘the chosen one’)
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Jesus started to spread new ideas. For example: people should care more about each other. He also said that there is a life after death. He called this afterlife his future kingdom. This message gave hope to people, especially the poor. Now, they dared to hope for a better life.
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The Romans thought that Jesus meant to start a real kingdom by rebelling against them. Roman soldiers arrested Jesus
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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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After Jesus’ death, his followers continued spreading Jesus’ ideas. They called themselves Christians. Unlike the Romans, Christians believed in one God. The believe in only one God is called monotheism. Therefore, Christians refused to worship Roman gods and the emperor. This was against Roman law, so Christians were seen as criminals.
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Unlike the Romans, Christians believed in one God. The believe in only one God is called monotheism. Therefore, Christians refused to worship Roman gods and the emperor. This was against Roman law, so Christians were seen as criminals.
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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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Slide 20 - Video
Many years later, things changed drastically: a Roman emperor became a Christian. His name was Constantine the Great.
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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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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. Constantinople would later become capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine 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.