This lesson contains 31 slides, with interactive quiz and text slides.
Lesson duration is: 45 min
Items in this lesson
The Time of Greeks and Romans
4.5 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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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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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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In 285 AD, Emperor Diocletian decided that the Roman Empire was too big to manage. He divided the Empire into two parts, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire. Over the next hundred years or so, Rome would be reunited, split into three parts, and split in two again. Finally, in 395 AD, the empire was split into two for good. The Western Empire was ruled by Rome, the Eastern Empire was ruled by Constantinople.
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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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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.