Key Events/Developments of Rome, Christianity, and Medieval Europe

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Romulus and Remus

753 BCE

According to legend, Romulus and Remus were twin brothers who were raised by a wolf and who founded the city of Rome (Natorp Anderson). The story goes that Remus was lazy and made fun of all of the hard work that Romulus was putting in to build the city (Natorp Anderson). This made Romulus angry, so he killed Remus (Natorp Anderson). After Remus had been killed, Romulus realized that he needed citizens for his city, so he invited anyone who wanted a place to live to come and live in his city of Rome (Natorp Anderson). The people who came to live in Rome ended up being all sorts of convicts and criminals because it was a safe place for them to live (Natorp Anderson). However, there was a serious lack of women in the city, and so the new citizens of Rome captured women and forced them to live Rome (Natorp Anderson).
This legend shows Rome's power (Natorp Anderson). The fact that in this story the citizens of Rome are mostly criminals/convicts, and those who are not are captured women, is intimidating and it gives people the idea that they had better not mess with Rome. It is also important because Romulus and Remus were the founders of the city of Rome, which later evolved in to the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, both of which have had, and continue to have even today, a large impact on the world (Natorp Anderson).

Founding of the Roman Republic

509 BCE

This is a time when Rome changes from being a city-state run by a king, to a Republic run by elected officials (Natorp Anderson). When Rome made this change, it also instituted a constitution that gave power to two consuls, both of whom were elected by a noble class called the Patricians (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 154). This distinct class had not existed before the Roman Republic, and therefore the Roman Republic gave birth to the two main classes of Roman society: The patricians (wealthy/noble people) and the plebeians (common people) (Natorp Anderson). Furthermore, the fact that only the patricians had a say in government affairs sparked great tensions between these two classes (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 154). But the Roman constitution also provided stability and strong leadership, which strengthened Rome greatly and was a large part of what made the Roman Republic such a a well administered and strong power (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 154).

Punic Wars

264 BCE - 146 BCE

The Punic wars were three wars fought between Rome and its greatest rival, Carthage, a huge power located in Northern Africa (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 155-156). After defeating the Carthaginians and completely destroying their city at the end of the third Punic War, Rome emerged as the authority over the lands that Carthage used to have control over and became an even greater economic power (Herrick, "Punic Wars").

Octavian

31 BCE - 14 CE

Octavian was Julius Caesar's nephew who held power after the death of Caesar (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 157). Although at the time his government was considered a Republic, Octavian had total power and control over important government affairs, so it was really a monarchy (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 157). During his rule, Octavian reorganized governmental systems and ultimately his rule created much of the imperial structure of the Roman Empire (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 157). Furthermore, Octavian established Pax Romana, a period that brought integration of the Roman Empire ("Pax Romana")(Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 157).

Pax Romana/The Roman Roads

27 BCE - 180 CE

A relatively peaceful time period in the Roman Empire (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 157). This period gave Rome a chance to better integrate it's empire, which it partly accomplished by building the Roman Roads that connected all parts of the Empire by about 100 CE (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 157). These roads allowed for rapid travel and communication, an essential part of the Roman Empire's integration and power ("Roman Roads: Building, Linking, and Defending the Empire").

Jesus of Nazareth

4 BCE - 30 CE

A Jewish teacher recognized by Christians as their savior (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 161). Jesus taught love of all people, and devotion to God (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 161). Romans took Jesus's message that "The Kingdom of God is at hand," as a threat to their authority in Palestine, so they executed him (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 161). However, Jesus's followers believed that Jesus had survived death and risen from his grave (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 161). They began teaching that Jesus was God's son, and that those who are faithful to God would also survive death and be brought to God's kingdom of heaven (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 161). Jesus and these beliefs formed the backbone of Christianity, a greatly influential and widespread religion both in the past and in the present.

Paul/Saul

100 CE

Saul was a Roman persecutor of Christians who ended up becoming Christian because he claimed to have been visited by God in a sort of an epiphany and that God told him that Jesus IS his son and that Saul needs to become Christian (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). Following this epiphany, Saul not only became a devout Christian, and changed his name to Paul, but he also became a huge christian missionary and converted thousands of people to Christianity (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). Without Paul, it is likely that Christianity and the story of Jesus would have disappeared (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values").

Edict of Milan

312 CE

The Edict of Milan was an edict instituted by Constantine that made Christianity a legal faith in the Roman Empire (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 180). This edict later lead to Christianity becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire and was an important step in making Christianity as widely spread as it eventually became (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 180).

Roman Catholic Church (Date of Legal Recognition)

313 CE

A Christian church yielding great power and control, particularly during Medieval European times (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 181). In Medieval Europe, citizens looked to the church for insight on how to live their lives, and in this way the church shaped society (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 181-311). Furthermore, the church was in many ways more powerful than the medieval kings ((Stearns, Gosch, and Grieshaber 229-234). Church leaders held considerable control over Roman government and other affairs (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 181-311).

St. Augustine

354 CE - 430 CE

St. Augustine was a Christian bishop who lived in Northern Africa (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 180). He reconciled Christianity with the philosophical traditions of the Greeks and the Romans, and his works played a big role in making the Christian faith a legitimate alternative to other popular religions/philosophies, for the more educated classes in particular, which contributed to Christianity's popularity (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 181).

Feudalism

500 CE - 1100 CE

Refers to the agreements that were made during Medieval European times between big land lords and lesser land lords for fiefs (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). From these agreements, the big land lords gained protection, respect, loyalty, a source of income, and someone to administer their land (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). The lesser lords gained a castle (or castles) that gave them protection and income/other types of payment from farmers on their fiefs (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). Therefore, these agreements helped both parties involved and these parties were both loyal to one another (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). Feudalism was what much of Medieval European society was built on: the complex relationships and loyalties between lesser land lords and big land lords (Herrick, "Christianity/Christian Values"). Feudalism provided order in Medieval Europe, which supported great economic and population growth (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 305). This growth helped put Europe back as an active participant on the world stage (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 305).

Regional States

980 CE - 1300 CE

Without imperial authority, princes and other authorities began establishing regional states (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 302-303). Although these regional states were often fighting over territory, they also managed public affairs, brought order to society, and provided strong administration and organization in Medieval Europe (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 304).

Population Growth

1000 CE - 1300 CE

As new technologies increased agricultural productivity, European population grew considerably (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 306). This rapid population growth strengthened European towns and played a role in expanding trade (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 307).

Cathedral Schools Appear

1000 CE

Cathedral schools were schools located within cathedrals that developed during medieval times because of the demand for educated scholars who could logically attempt to solve increasingly complicated societal issues (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 313). Cathedral schools made for a more educated society and eventually they evolved to become universities (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 313). Furthermore, cathedral schools made Christianity's influence on society even greater in that all of the people who were taught at cathedral schools were being given a Christian education (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 313-319)

Guilds

1200 CE

Associations that controlled a given jurisdiction's production, sale, and trade of goods (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 310). Members of guilds often provided each other with friendship and support, which grew to such a level that guilds started to form a social foundation of medieval European society (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 310). Furthermore, by 1200 CE guilds had gained large amounts of power over Europe's economy (Bentley, Ziegler, and Streets-Salter 310).