Rome and the Rise of Christianity
600 B.C.- A.D.500
• How did geography effect the development of Rome?
• How did Rome develop a republic?
• How did the Punic Wars effect Rome?
• Describe Roman government.
• What were problems in the Republic?
* How did Rome spread its power?
* How did Rome become an empire?
* What were problems in the Roman Empire?
* List Roman contributions to Western Civilization.
* Explain the rise of Christianity during Roman rule.
* What led to Rome becoming an Empire?
* Describe the decline of the Roman Empire.
Council of Plebes
Tribune of Plebes
Twelve Tables
Law of Nations
Julius Caesar
Pax Romana
New Testament
Simon Peter
Theodosius the Great
* Italy is on a peninsula divided by a
mountain range (Apennines), and
has large fertile plains that are good
for farming
* Mountains are less rugged than
Greece and good farmland
supported a larger population
* Two major rivers are the Po in
northern Italy and the Tiber that ran
through the city of Rome
* Italian peninsula is centrally located
on the Mediterranean Sea, it
allowed Rome to become a cultural
* From 1000 B.C. to 500 B.C. three groups
inhabited region- Latins, Greeks, Etruscans
* Latins built the original settlement of Rome
* Greeks established colonies along coast of Italy
and Sicily, brought Rome into contact with
Greek culture, taught Romans to grow grapes
and olives
* Romans borrowed religious ideas, system of
writing and engineering techniques from the
* Romans got rid of Etruscan king in 509 B.C. and established a
republic (leader is not a monarch, certain citizens have a right to
* Over the next 100 years Romans took control of the peninsula
* Rule of Italy called the Roman Confederation made many people full
citizens, let local communities run their own affairs
Why Romans were successful
•Romans were skilled diplomats, gave conquered people a stake in
Rome's success
•Law and politics were designed to respond to problems
•Rome had a skilled army, they built roads and fortified towns that
allowed troops to move quickly
* Early Rome divided onto two groups that competed for
power patricians, plebeians
Patricians –large land owners became ruling class
Plebeians- small farmers, larger group
* Men of both groups were allowed to vote and were
Chief officers of Republic were Consuls, Praetors
Consuls ran the government, led Roman army
Praetors were in charge of civil law
Senate- 300 members from the patrician class, advised
government officials, membership for life, very
Struggle between plebeians and patricians led to the
development of council of plebes, officials were called
the tribune of the plebes
The Roman system of law has influenced legal systems
in modern times
Rome’s first code of laws was the Twelve Tables it
protected citizens and was an advanced form of civil
law and established that all people had equal
protection under the law
As Rome began to expand new laws established called
the Law of Nations that applied to Romans and non
Romans that standardized justice and equality
* All citizens that owned land required to
serve in military
* Solider organized into large units called
* Calvary supported each legion
* Legions were self sufficient and did
their own construction of roads and
* Roman military organization and skill
were key to the rise of Rome
* Conquered people were given some
rights like full Roman citizens, some
were left alone as long as they paid
taxes and provided soldiers for the army
* After Romans conquered Italy
they had another threat to
deal with – Carthage
* Carthage had been founded by
the Phoenicians on the North
Coast of Africa, they were a
trading empire
* Empire included North Africa,
Spain, Sardinia, Corsica and
western Sicily
* Largest and richest state in the
* 246 B.C. Rome and Carthage
began a struggle for control of
the region-Western
* First Punic War- started in 264 B.C. Rome and Carthage
fought over Sicily. Romans had to build a navy to defeat the
Carthaginians. 241 B.C. Carthage gives up all rights to Sicily.
* Carthage wants revenge. Carthage added new lands in Spain
and the Romans encouraged a revolt against Carthage.
Carthaginian General Hannibal is sent to attack Rome
* Second Punic War- 218 B.C. Carthage attacked Rome
Hannibal came across the Alps with a huge army. Defeated
the Romans. Rome recovered and by 206 B.C. Romans
defeated Carthage and pushed them out of Spain
* Third Punic War- 146 B.C. Romans invade Carthage, burn it
down and destroy all buildings. All citizens were sold into
slavery and Carthage becomes a Roman province
* Results of the Punic Wars- gave Rome control of the
Mediterranean and allowed them to be the regions’ most
powerful state
* Second Century Senate was the most powerful political force, it was
controlled by a small group of wealthy powerful families.
* Many wealthy landowners had slaves that worked on their farms,
small farmers could not compete and they were bought out by large
land owners, small farmers drifted to the city
* There was a growing gap between rich and poor
* Gracchus brothers were aristocrats that tried to pass land reform laws,
giving land to landless poor
* Both brothers were assassinated because they were seen as a threat
to the Senates power. (133 B.C., 121 B.C.)
* Their attempts at reform showed the instability of the Roman
* Political struggle in Rome was between the Senate, the military and the
popular assemblies
*Army started recruiting soldiers from the
landless poor by promising them land.
*Soldiers fought for pay and owed their
allegiance to their commander. They replaced
citizen soldiers who fought for the republic
*Military commanders could now use the army
to take over by force
*Civil Wars and slave uprisings were common in
Rome in the first century B.C.
*Ambitious leader Julius Caesar took control
and for the next ten years Rome was ruled by
three political leaders (Caesar, Crassus,
Pompey) known as the Triumvirate (three
rulers with equal power)
* Caesar was a brilliant military commander and
in 59 B.C. he conquered Gaul, modern day
France, in a ten year campaign
* These conquests made him popular with
Romans. Pompey jealous of his success ordered
him back to Rome
* Caesar took his army back to Rome and
attacked Pompey’s forces. They fought a three
year war across the western Mediterranean
* In 46 B.C. Caesar returned to rule Rome
* Caesar gave citizenship to many in Rome’s
provinces, launched public works program,
introduced a new calendar based on Egyptian
knowledge (Julian calendar, still in use today)
* 44 B.C named emperor for life
* Caesars enemies were worried about growing
power. March 15, 44 B.C. Caesar was
assassinated in the Roman Senate
* After the death of Caesar their was a struggle
for power between Marc Antony and Caesar’s
great nephew Octavian over who would hold
* Octavian defeated Antony and became ruler of
Rome and took the title Augustus
* He named himself princeps, first citizen, he
became an absolute ruler
* Augustus reigned from 31 B.C. to 14 A.D. and
was the most capable leader: he stabilized the
government, ended the civil wars, glorified
Rome and created a system of government that
lasted for centuries
* Augustus proclaimed the restoration of the
Republic, but he only gave the senate
limited power, became Rome's first emperor
* Army was chief source of power, only
citizens could serve in the army
* Stabilized Rome’s frontiers and conquered
new areas
* Established the praetorian guard to protect
the emperor
* Augustus’ reign began a period known as the
Pax Romana that lasted from 27 B.C. until
A.D. 180. When Rome was at its peak of
power and prosperity
* Death of Augustus in A.D. 14, led to series of
new emperors that ruled Rome
* Augustus developed a system of selecting
successors from his natural or adopted family
* Four emperors after Augustus- Tiberius,
Caligula, Claudius, Nero- all were related to
* Emperors took more power from the Senate
and they became more corrupt over this period
* Beginning of the second century series of new emperors – Nerva,
Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius and Marcus Aurelius
* These emperors stabilized the empire, helped citizens of the
empire (education, building public works), brought economic
* Trajan expanded the empire to Mesopotamia and Dacia (Romania).
Later emperors during this period began to pull back and strengthen
the borders of the empire
* Covered 3.5 million square miles
* Population 50 million
* Roman army drew upon provinces for military
service- allowed people to learn Roman
customs and became citizens when dischargedarmy spread Roman way of life
* 212 A.D. all free people in the empire became
* Peace allowed trade to grow. Roman
legions protected trade over roads. The
Roman navy kept order on the
* Trade expanded beyond the frontiers of
the empire- trade with India, Africa and
along the Silk Road
* Romans used common currency
throughout the empire, allowed for
easier trade- denarius
* Trade expanded in the empire as well
spreading ideas and knowledge
* Romans built more than 50,000 miles of
roads throughout the empire
* Romans adopted many styles of Greek
art and architecture
* Copies of Greek statues and Greek
buildings were found throughout the
* Romans used the architectural forms
the arch, dome, vault that were
influenced by other cultures
* Romans were the first people in
antiquity to use concrete for building
* These design elements allowed the
Romans to build huge buildings
* Most distinguished poet Virgil wrote the Aeneid
about the ideal Roman
* Horace , wrote Satires that made fun of
society and people
* Livy was a historian, wrote History of Rome
that was 142 books, 35 survive
* History
celebrates Rome’s greatness, Livy
wrote about morals of history, not always
* Roman family was dominated by father
* Ruled household, authority over all
members of family
* Children lived at home, boys were
preferred over girls
* Upper class boys were educated at
home- usually by a Greek tutor- some
upper class girls were educated at
* Girls were usually married by 15 to
much older men
* Women in Rome had more rights than women in
* By the time of the empire women were almost
social equals with men, had more personal
freedom than any women up until the 1800’s
* Could own property, testify in court, center of
household asocial life, attended public events,
could get divorced
* Women could not participate in politics
* Significant part of Roman life, important to the economy
* Used more slaves for many tasks than any other previous people
* Possibly one third of Roman population
* Most slaves were conquered people brought back from other parts of
the empire
* Greek slaves in the highest demand- more educated
* Slaves built roads and worked on public projects
* Were slaves mistreated?
* Slave revolts were a constant threat- Spartacus ( 73 B.C.)
*Rome had a population of over
one million by the time of
* Overcrowded, filthy and
*Poor lived in apartments
called insulae.
*High rent forced entire
families to live in one room
*Wealthy lived outside of the
* Romans excelled in
engineering. They built
huge public buildings and
supplied Rome with
water provided by
* Wealthy had water piped
into their homes. Public
baths were important
social centers
*Entertainment- chariot
races, gladiatorial
*Unemployment was high
and many Romans
received a free hand out
of grain
*To distract the masses the
emperor would put on
free games, by 250 A.D.
150 days per year- known
as “bread and circuses”
* Roman state religion was based on Greek gods
* believed that success in empire was a sign of
favor from the gods
* Romans tolerant of other religions
* Many Romans drawn to religions of the east
that provided more spirituality, life after death
and entry into a higher reality
* A.D. 6 Romans controlled
Judea. Unrest was common,
Jews differed about their
direction under Roman rule
* Jewish revolt in A.D. 66 lasted
four years
* A.D. 132 another Jewish revolt,
Romans destroyed Jewish
state, many Jews left and
spread out across the region
*Jesus a Jew began to preach
around A.D. 30
*Taught inner transformation
important, not rituals or laws
*Love God and each other
*Virtues would shape Western
Civilization- humility, charity,
love of others, forgiveness
*Many saw Jesus as a
revolutionary, turned him over to
Roman authorities and crucified
* After reports that Jesus had overcome death,
Christian movement won followers
* Teachings of Jesus spread by apostles-Simon
Peter and Paul were two early leaders
* Paul –from Asia Minor, never met Jesus had a
* Jesus was sent to save all people
* Established many Christian communities
* Paul wrote epistles (letters) to record Christian beliefs
* Other sayings of Jesus were collected, between A.D. 40
and 100 the Gospels appeared.
* Gospels told of Jesus’ life and teachings, formed the
basis for the New Testament
* By A.D.100 many Christian communities appeared in the
Eastern Mediterranean
A. Pax Romana and road network allowed for the
spread of ideas
B. Tolerance, in the beginning, of religion by the
C. Welcomed all people to join
*Romans began to persecute Christians during the
reign of Nero because Christians would not
recognize Roman gods- a capital crime
*By second century (after 100) persecution declined
* Persecution made Christianity become more
organized. Control over communities was by bishops.
* There was a distinction between clergy (church
officials) and regular church members.
* Head of the church was the bishop of Rome or the
* Appeal of Christianity
* Personal
* Offered life after death and salvation
* Embraced all people
* Fulfilled need to belong
* Attractive to poor and powerless because all were equal
* A.D. 312 Constantine the Roman emperor had a
vision of god before battle and became a
* A.D. 313 the Edict of Milan officially sanctioned
* 325 Constantine calls church leaders to Nicene
in Anatolia to write Nicene Creed that defined
the basic beliefs of the church
* In 380 Theodosius the Great made Christianity
the official religion
*Weak emperors and a period of civil wars occurred in
the 3rd century
*235-234 50 emperors ruled Rome, 25 died violently
*Citizens lost sense of patriotism, indifferent to the fate
of the empire
*Commanders fought for power
*Soldiers were loyal commanders not the emperor
*Military began to hire mercenaries (non- Roman
soldiers, cost less money
*Discipline and loyalty declined
* Roman empire attacked by Persians and Germanic tribes
(barbarians = all non Romans)
* Economy
* Invasions and wars were expensive
* Many wealthy Romans spent money on luxury goods from
* Wars interrupted trade
* Tried to print more money, caused inflation
* Farm production declined and a plague caused a labor
* Population began to drop
* Diocletian became emperor in 284 made changes to
restore empire
* Issued wage and price controls
* Did not let farmers leave their land, sons had to follow the occupation of
their fathers
* Divided the empire in two parts (east and west)
* Constantine emperor in 306 continued Diocletian’s
* Expanded the civil service and army
* Granted toleration of Christianity
* Established capital at Byzantium- changed name to Constantinople
*Reforms ultimately did not help keep the empire
*Policies of these two emperors were based on coercion
and control they stifled the ability to revive Rome
*The ultimate downfall of Rome was caused by internal
problems and outside invasions
* Decline took place over many years- problems internal
and external
* Germanic invaders 376-476 poured into Roman territory
* Huns from Central Asia pushed Germanic tribes out of
their homes and across the empire
* 410 Rome is invaded, 476 last emperor is deposed
* Empire survived in the east- based in Constantinople
* Latin language was the official language of the Catholic
Church, language influenced other languages (Romance
languages- Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese)
* Roman architectural forms have remained popular ( U.S.
* Roman legal ideas- equal treatment under the law, person
innocent until proven guilty, basis of many legal systems