Emperor Decius's Reign

249 ce - 251 ce

Harsh to Christians:

  • All imperial residents were to sacrifice to the emperor to receive a document recording their compliance.


260 - 340

greek historian on Constantine's vision

Emperor Diocletian's Reign

285 ce - 305 ce

Harsh to Christians:

  • All imperial residents were to sacrifice to the emperor to receive a document recording their compliance
  • Legislated wages, prices, military matters, and religious beliefs => Christians became martyrs.

Arius introduces Arianism

320 ce

Arius, bishop of Alexandria, argued that Jesus was created by God and is not the same as God. This view divided Christians all over the Roman Empire.

church father Jerome

348 - 420

traveled with chaste women and founded monasteries


354 ce - 430 ce

He used to be an unclean man but converted. This influential church father complained that people used to risk persecution because they wanted to become Christian so much, but now they converted only to impress the rich and powerful.

wrote 'city of god' and 'confessions

Emperor Valens's reign

364 - 378

Confronted Gothic troops, where he and Roman army was killed. Roman Empire is not invincible.

Bishop Ambrose's Reign

374 ce - 397 ce

Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, Italy, challenged the emperor's power.

In 390 BCE:
- excommunicated Emperor Theodosius for massacring rebellious citizens, forbidding him to participate in church services until he repented
- Theodosius followed Ambrose's commands so he could attend church again

Emperor Theodisius I's Reign

379 ce - 395 ce

He forbid the public worship of the old Roman cults and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Those who remained loyal to traditional Roman religious beliefs were called pagans.


Nero Began the Persecution of Christians

64 ce

Nero persecuted the Roman Christians (possibly including apostles Peter and Paul), blaming them for a huge fire in Rome instead of himself.

Catacombs were Dug

100 ce

Catacombs were dug under Roman cities to bury dead Christians, who expected their bodies to be resurrected, instead of the former Roman belief that dead bodies were worthless.

Christians Met Publicly

300 ce

Christians met publicly in luxurious churches instead of underground in catacombs.

Christian Persecutions Ended

313 ce

Emperor Constantine ended the persecution of Christians when he issued the Edict of Milan, tolerating all religions of the Roman Empire.

Arianism is born


Jesus was created by God, they are not the same.

5000 are Desert hermits


live in suffering, convinced its purity and will give them a better afterlife and connect with god. torture themselves for holy life
OR withdraw to worship god in peace away from society simple

Council of Nicaea


are god and christ the same? yes (Constantine and bishops)

City of God is written

413 - 427

by Augustine trying to address new complexities of religious and state-involved christianity

Western Roman Empire

Milan as capital


West accepts Germanic tribes


Visigoths settled in empire to become allies. Romans treated them badly. Latifundia became self-sufficient and had little to do with capital (Constantinople).

Ravenna as capital


Emperor Honorius fled from invading Visigoths to Ravenna, made it capital because it was easily defendable behind marshes. Rome was plundered by Visigoths. Romans fled to Africa and the East.

Western Roman Empire ends


so many invasions by northerners/germanic tribes (visigoths)
dwindling population
economic problems
reliance on slave labor
civil warfare
moral decay

Byzantium Empire

Emperor Constantine's Reign

306 ce - 337 ce

Vision: "In this sign, conquer." He converts to Christianity.
He disbanded the praetorian guards.
313: He issued the Edict of MIlan, tolerating all religions of the Roman empire. Christian martyrdoms ended.
330: Built capital Constantinople on old Byzantium. Easily defended, located along eastern trade routes.
Supported the Christian church:
- returned property to prosecuted Christians
- gave tax advantages to Christian priests
- let Christian advisors into his court's inner circle
- built beautiful churches
- restored the Holy Places at Jerusalem and Palestine, including where Jesus was born and died (Helena located them)
- Christians made pilgrimages to Jerusalem
Constantine withdrew support for traditional pagan shrines, confiscated their gold, and standardized currency.