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History of the Roman Empire
Final Exam
Tacitus (275 – 276 A.D.)
o Named emperor after the death of Aurelian
Probus (276 – 282 A.D.) [Illyrian]
o Proclaimed by the army as emperor
o Deals with revolt in Gaul
o Deals with defense issues on the Rhine
o Has the army engage in civil projects
 Soldiers become resentful, kill Probus
o Announces his two sons Carrinus and Numerianus are his joint heirs
o Carus and Numerianus murdered by Praetorian Prefect Aper
o Eastern armies put forth their commander Diocles  Diocletian
o Diocletian murders Aper
o Carrinus refuses to acknowledge this, engages Diocletian
 Carrinus is winning
 Carrinus is murdered by a military commander with whom his wife he’d
(Carrinus) been having an affair with
 Carrinus’ forces accept Diocletian as emperor
Back From The Brink
o It took a massive paradigm shift to save Rome from utter collapse
 Defense in depth
o Empire is experiencing a trend of localism
 Decentralization
o Emperors are becoming more and more deified
o Diocletian crystallizes and solidifies these trends
o From the Latin dominus (lord)
o Emperor transcends human affairs
o Emperor is viewed as god-like
o Emperor is an absolute monarch, a military dictator
o Sharp distinction from Pincipate (first magistrate of the people)
o All of the emperor’s old obligations to the people are swept away
o An Illyrian
o Gained experience militarily under Gallienus
o Wants to assert his authority as he takes the throne
 Ruthlessly puts down challenges, revolts
o Wants to re-assert Roman administrative authority in the recently re-incorporated
o Diocletian needs to re-centralize the authority of the empire
o Diocletian’s Solution
 Chooses a loyal lieutenant to rule with him
• Army commander Maximian
• Given the title emperor
 Wants a better way to re-assert the central authority of the Roman Empire
o Diocletian rules in the east, Maximian rules in the west
o Diocletian has started the trend of permanently dividing the empire
o By 395 A.D., the Roman Empire will be permanently divided into two parts
Diocletian starts a series of campaigns
 Tries to mop up some of the revolts
 Pushes Gaul, Goths, Germans back
 British commander Cauvasius rebels, declares himself emperor of Britain
• Put down
 Campaigns in the east
• Puts down revolts in Syria, Egypt
• Re-takes Mesopotamia
 293: Diocletian, Maximian each name a successor
• Diocletian names Galerius
• Maximian names Constantius Chlorus
 Senior emperors take the title Augustus
 Junior heirs take the title Caesar
 Territories are broken up into Prefectures
• Sub-divided into dioceses
 All emperors are ruling jointly
• However, emperors have separate territories, palaces, capitals
• Unified empire is something of a fiction
 297: Persians launch a major campaign
• Re-take Mesopotamia, Syria
• Galerius responds, throws the Persians back
o Captures Persian king’s wives, harem
o Forces harsh terms on the Persian king Narses
 Takes territories, half of the Persian treasury
• Persian border will be silent for next half-century
Diocletian’s Reforms
 Reorganizes provinces
• Doubles them: 50 to 100
• Does this to break up local control (Italy: 16 provinces)
• Governors are stripped of their military responsibilities, forces them to
provide for the military
• Professional commanders take charge for provincial defense
o Commanders are given the title dux (duke)
• Dux under the authority of comes (count)
 Military
• Increases the size of the army (to 500,000)
• Decreases legion size from 6,000 to 1,000
o Increases legion mobility
• Creates two major branches
o Defensive Line
o Border Guard
• Tries to increase mobility
• Extends recruiting to include sons of foreign settlers, barbarian tribes
 Fiscal Reforms
• Revalues coinage
• Recalls all old coins, issues new coins to stabilize the currency
• Revamps tax system
o Removes complicated taxes
o Introduces an income tax
 Paid in money or kind
o Published tax rates
 Sets rates based on the average wealth of a citizen of
a particular province
• Creates a budget
• Diocletian’s fiscal reforms last until the Middle Ages
 Imperial, Court Reforms
• Further attempt to signal the exalted status of the emperor
o Gain absolute loyalty
• Diocletian, Maximian refer to themselves as manifestations of Jove
• Galerius, Constantius refer to themselves as manifestations of Hercules
• Emperors appear on Roman coinage with halos
• Imperial courts are declared sacred spaces
• Emperors make few public appearances
• Wear purple vestments with gold thread and encrusted with jewels
• Carry a scepter, wear a diadem (crown)
• Many of these reforms are modeled on the practices of eastern
emperors, especially the Persians
• You must kneel before the emperor, kiss the hem of the garment, leave
by backing out
o Diocletian, Maximian – Augusti
o Galerius, Constantius – Caesars
o Renews persecution of the Christians
 Reverses 40 – 50 years of relative peace
 Empire-wide
 Diocletian is concerned with how ubiquitous Christians have become
 Concerned with how they won’t worship the emperor, offer sacrifices
 Emperor’s claim divine status, doesn’t fit well in Christian ideology
 Persecution begins in 299
 Year 303  Requirements extend to the empire as a whole
• Churches should be destroyed, books burned, worship is banned, legal
rights restricted
 2 fires break out in Diocletian’s palace, strengthens his resolve
• Imprisons Christian clergy
• Offers release if they pay homage to the emperor
o Those that don’t are executed
• Debate over those who balk under the pressure ensues within the
o Should they be taken back into the church? Should they be
• Christian persecution varied throughout the provinces based on local
o Diocletian was virulent in his efforts
o 305 A.D.: Diocletian abdicates
 Requires Maximian to abdicate as well
 Maximian does so reluctantly
Galerius & Constantius
o Galerius  Maximinus Daia (Caesar)
o Constantius  Valerius Severus (Caesar)
o Diocletian’s system will ultimately break down
o Diocletian’s plan holds the empire stable, at least in the short term
o There is a succession struggle for power
Constantine’s Rise
o Son of Constantius and Helena (illegitimate)
o Grows up in the palace of Diocletian
o Upon Diocletian’s retirement, Galerius begins to gain power
 Junior emperors migrate towards Galerius
Constantius, seeing this, tries to bolster support by campaigning in Britain with
 306 A.D.
• Constantius dies, army proclaims Constantine an Augustus
• Constantine seeks recognition from Galerius, is rejected
• Galerius elevates Valerius Severus to Augustus, offer Constantine
• Constantine accepts
Maximian’s son Maxentius feels snubbed by Constantine’s succession
 Convinces his father to come out of retirement
 Convinces Valerius’ troops to revolt, desert
 Declares he, his father Augusti
Galerius tries to defeat both Maximian, Maxentius in Italy
Maximian marries his daughter to Constantine
 Maximian tries to usurp his son, fails, flees to Constantine’s court
308 A.D.
 Galerius calls all Augusti, Caesars to a meeting (including Diocletian)
 Results
• Maximian forced to retire again
• Valerius replaced by Licinius (supporter of Galerius)
• Constantine demoted to Caesar
• Maxentius declared an outlaw
310 A.D.
 Maximian turns against Constantine, is defeated, commits suicide
Constantine claims descent from Claudius Gothicus, wants to be an Augustus
 To further his claim, he begins to worship Sol Invictus
Goes to war against Maxentius, defeats him
311 A.D.
 Galerius decides Christian persecution is futile
 Issues an edict allowing Christian worship, practice
 Galerius dies, Maximinus Daia is elevated to Augustus, takes Maxentius as
Emperors are divided into two separate parties
Constantine, Licinius make a pact
 Tolerant of Christians
312 A.D.
 Constantine invades Italy to remove Maxentius
 Has a vision
• Saw a cross of light, with the words (In this sign, conquer)
• Ordered to make a replica
 Maxentius rebuilds Roman bridge, Milvian Bridge
 Defeats Maxentius
Constantine celebrates his victory in Rome
Attributes his victory to God and Christianity
Takes a while to fully convert
 Still likes to be worshipped
 Would not be baptized until he was on his deathbed
Constantine recognized as the ruler in the west
313 A.D.
 Licinius and his junior extend the Edict of Toleration
 Happens at the Conference of Milan
• Makes Christianity a legally recognized religion
• Kind of a back-handed way of doing it
 Licinius defeats Maximinus Daia
There is now a growing distrust between Licinius and Constantine
Will take about a dozen years to be resolved
Constantine becomes increasingly involved in church activities, Licinius somewhat
o 324 A.D.
 Constantine defeats Licinius in a series of battles; Licinius is killed
o Constantine emerges as sole emperor, reuniting the empire
o Abandons Diocletian’s system
o Embraces Christianity
o Approaches to the church
 Directly involved in church affairs, theology
 Adjudicates disputes between Christians
• Disputes known as heresies
• If you lose, you are a heretic
• If you win, you are an orthodox
 Donatist Heresy
• What to do with Christians who have lapsed in their faith
• Constantine rules against Donatists (opposed lapsed faith)
• Allows them to re-join the church after making penance
 Arianism (Heresy)
• Deals with whether Christ is of the same substance of the father
o Homoosis (same) or heteroosis (different)
• Is Christ equal to the Father?
• In 325 A.D., Constantine calls Council of Nacia to resolve the issue
• Declares Arianism a heresy, makes Nicean Creed
• Nicean Creed: One substance with the Father
• Doesn’t totally end Arianism
o Founds a new capital
 Abandons Rome, founds a new capital Constantinople on the site of ancient
 Builds a new palace at Constantinople, makes the senate there
 Duplicates temples, buildings, old institutions
 Constantinople sits at the crossroads of Europe & Asia
o Divisions between East & West begin with Constantinople, the church
o Economic Challenges
 Massive inflation
• 700% in 20 years
• Due to continued decline in agriculture
• Decline in overseas trade
o Persian strength is increasing
 Controls eastern trade
o Political instability in China
 Flow over silk road is reduced
 Manufacturing decline
 Decline in urban life
• Less agriculture means harder to sustain urban life
• Society reverts to smaller towns
• Decline in the middle class
 Legislation is passed forcing trades people to remain in their trade
 Legislation is passed limiting those who can enter tax-exempt fields
• Civil service
• Church
Legislation is passed restricting small farmers from leaving their land
• They are basically serfs
 Decline in actual money being circulated
• Bartering is increasingly used
 Tremendous increase in imperial administration
• 100’s: Imperial staff constituted several hundred people
• 300’s: Imperial staff numbers around 30,000
o Multiple courts, provincial officials
o Constantine maintains the prefectures, assigns a Praetorian to
each section
 Super governors
o Everything associated with the emperor becomes ritualized,
requiring numerous attendants
 All these factors will culminate in the institutions of the Middle Ages
o Constantine the Man
 Represents the demise of Diocletian’s system
 Autocratic
 Despite his conversion, Constantine feels he still has divine sanction
• Retains the aloof nature
• Justifies his meddling in church affairs (his supposed divine sanction)
 Tries to stabilize the economy
 Tries to regularize the coinage
 Tries to stabilize the judicial system
• A humane approach
o Influenced by Christianity
• Abolishes crucifixion
• Abolishes branding
• Requires daily exercise for prisoners
 Establishing Constantinople as capital removes Rome’s political importance
• The capital is now in the trade-wealthy eastern part of the empire
• Eastern wealth grows faster, declining less than western wealth
 Constantinople becomes a religious capital as well
• Furthers the divide between the eastern and western part
• Christianity is practiced decidedly different in both parts of the empire
 Constantine was ruthless
• Ordered the execution of his son, suffocation of his wife
 Associated God with Sol Invictus
 Behaved with piety in court
 Extends rewards to Christians, encourages imperial citizens to convert
Movie Time (Christianity in the Empire)
o Early Roman empire is mostly pagan
o Cults of Isis, Mithras were early competition for Christianity
o Early Christianity was very diverse
 Coptic texts discovered in Egypt in 1945 eluded to the diversity
 Views of Christ varied throughout the ancient world
o Christians dodged and avoided pagan rituals
 Didn’t have the legal protection of Jews
 Their religion not viewed as a religion by Rome, more as a superstition
o 2nd century: Church is trying to find itself
 Many different teachings are floating about
 Numerous gospels are floating about
o Gospel of Thomas
 Supposedly contains saying of Jesus
 Spawns a new grain of Christianity: Gnosticism
 Leader of the early church
 Coined the term Orthodox
 Wanted 4 gospels only
o Roman religious tolerance is high
 Simply need to offer sacrifice to the emperor
 Christians won’t do it
o Christians cared for the poor, the destitute
 Contributed to the success of Christianity
o By 250 A.D., Christianity was becoming a state in a state
 Emperor Decius became concerned
 Made being a Christian a crime
 Laws were very harsh
o Diocletian also tried to wipe out the Christians
 Targeted those working in the civic administration
 Caused a large disruption in the government
o Constantine was an unlikely hero for Christianity
 Had vision of a cross on the sun
 Defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
 Relocates capital to Constantinople (ancient Byzantium)
 Gave money, support to Christianity
 Still minted money with images of the sun god
 Persecutes other groups of Christians (Gnostics, etc.)
o The Christian Church has now risen to prominence in Rome
o Not a great clash between Roman, uncivilized cultures
o Rather, highly Romanized Germanic tribes seeking to control the Roman system for
o Many subsidiary kingdoms would spring up
Constantine dies in 337 A.D.
o Did not outline his succession well
o Leads to a bit of a succession struggle
 Sons, step brothers, sons of step brothers
o Eventually succeeded by his three sons
Constantine’s Sons:
o East: Constantius
o Center: Constans
o West: Constantine II
o Constantine II killed in 340 A.D., Constans rules in the west
o Constantius occupied with Persians in the east
o 350 A.D., Magnentius, army commander, rebels, kills Constans
o 353 A.D., Constantius defeats Magnentius
 Rules as sole emperor over east/west until his death in 361 A.D.
o Devout Christian
o Worked zealously to stamp out Paganism
o A good general
 Attends to imperial defense
o Relatively good administrator
 Tried to stamp out corruption, had limited success
o Belonged to the Arian Christian sect (Arianism)
 Arianism: Is Jesus of the same substance as the Father?
• More important: Is He equal to the Father?
Arianism is ultimately viewed as a heresy, takes hold in the east, especially in
the Coptic Orthodox Church
o Refuses to designate a successor until it is too late
o Towards the end of his reign, Constantius feels the need for a second Augustus to handle
revolts along the Danube, in Gaul
 Names his cousin Julian as second Augustus
o Julian is so successful his army declares him as sole emperor
o Constantius dies in 361 before the decisive battle with Julian
Julian (360 – 363 A.D.)
o Julian the Apostate
 Called this because of his renewed push towards Paganism
o The sinful activities of his family lead him to this push
o Tries to form a monotheistic cult around a sun god
 More a moral, ethical movement
 Tries to mimic, emulate the structure of the Christian church
 Loses support when he moves towards a more magical stance
• Restores elaborate sacrifices, rituals
 Hardens the resolve of Christians
o Campaign against the Persians
 Pushes into Persia
 Gets close to the capital
 Speared, killed in battle
o His death spells the end of his cult
Jovian (363 – 364 A.D.)
o Recinds Julian’s cult, anti-Christian practices
o Sues for peace with the Persians
o Was a Christian officer
o Army selects two brothers, Valentinian and Valens, as emperors
Valentinian & Valens
o Valentinian: West
 Campaigns in Gaul from 365 – 375 against the Germans
 Dies in Gaul in 375
o Valens
 Forced to abandon a Persian campaign to deal with the Goths
• Goths being pushed into Rome by another barbarian group, the Huns
• Huns are a central Asian culture, probably descended from the
• Huns western migrations are putting pressure on Rome
• Migrations called Volkwanderung
 Goths do not want trouble as they enter Roman territory
• Want to settle down, farm Roman land, even help defend it
 Valens agrees, conditionally
• Potential new manpower source for the army
• Must come in unarmed
 Roman provincial officials take advantage of the Goths
• Push harsh taxes, bad food
• Goths even forced to sell their children to cover debts
 Goths rise up in rebellion in 377
 Goths win a huge and decisive victory against Valens in 378, he dies
 Goths run unchecked in the Balkans
 Valens succeeded by his tow sons
Gratium & Valentinian II
o Associate with a military co-emperor Theodosius
 Charged with handling the Goths
Makes a peace in 382
 Allowed to settle on Roman lands
 Allowed to be autonomous
 Agrees to supply food in exchange for border defense
o Gratium
 Enjoys high living
 Devout Christian
 Tries to stamp out paganism
• Influenced by Ambrose (bishop in Milan) and the Pope Damasus
• Remove altars in Rome
• Dissolves the Vestal Virgins
 Loses support with his troops by forming a body guard of barbarian soldiers
o 383 A.D.: Maximus, a usurper, defeats, kills Gratium
 Theodosius is campaigning in the east; must accept this
o Theodosius has been grooming Valentinian II for a future of border defense
o Sends Valentinian II to Gaul to study under Arbogast
 Master of Horses
 A barbarian
 Represents how thoroughly barbarians are integrated into the Roman military
o 392: Arbogast rebels, kills Valentinian II
 Tries to set up a puppet emperor
o 394: Theodosius heads West, defeats Arbogast
 Theodosius remains as sole emperor
o An ardent Christian
o Tries to stamp out pagan practices
o Issue emerges when a Roman mob destroys a Jewish synagogue in Milan
 Theodosius orders Ambrose to rebuild the synagogue
• Ambrose refuses, threatens ex-communication if Theodosius forces
Ambrose to comply
o Ambrose begins the trend of religious authorities having authority over the secular
authorities (at least, trying to exert their authority)
Theodosius dies in 395 A.D.
o Divides the empire between his two sons
 Honorius: West
 Arcadius: East
The Roman Empire is now permanently divided
Honorius is 10, Arcadius is 18
o Real power rests with the military
The decrees of one emperor carry the weight of both
o Statues of both emperors are placed in both capitals
This unity is fictional, the divisions are obvious
The eastern empire becomes richer, more learned, more politically stable than the west
Eastern defense issues aren’t as burdensome as they are in the west
o Borders with the barbarians are less than those of the western empire
Constantinople has grown in wealth, power
Rome isn’t even the principle capital of the western empire any longer
o In decline
Western empire is poorer, more prone to barbarian attacks, has more barbarian integration into
society than the east
Eastern empire is Greek in nature, West is Latin in nature
o Will have significant affects on Christianity
Eastern Church
 More ceremony, more elaborate, more ritual
o Western Church
 Sparer, less ornate, more straightforward
Fall of the West
o Real power behind the throne is the barbarian military commander
o Cultural distinctions between Romans, Barbarians are almost gone
 Barbarians can’t become emperor
o Power Base: Pope
 Trying to establish themselves as first among equals with other bishops
 Vying for power with the emperor
o Power Base: Barbarian tribes
 Moving across Roman territories
 Romanized barbarians are being uprooted by less Romanized barbarians
o Power Base: Eastern emperors
 Try to influence decisions in the Western Empire
o There is still a fiction of unity of the two halves of the empire
 Decrees aren’t published in both halves
 West pulls away
o Military commanders are seizing power
 Stilicho: Master of Horses
• A Vandal
• Tries to advance his family by marrying off his son to the emperor’s
• Tries to carve out pieces of Illyria from the Eastern empire
• Brings him into conflict with the commander in the east Rufinus
o Engineers the assassination of Rufinus in 395
 With Rufinus gone, Visigoths under Alaric press the issue in the east
• Occupy territory in Greece and the Balkans
 With Visigoth incursion increasing, Stilicho decides he must deal with them
 Bogged down by a revolt in Africa
 Alaric enters Italy in 401 A.D.
 Stilicho defeats Alaric in 402 A.D., forces him to leave Italy
 Alaric invades again in 403 A.D.
• Ostogoths join him
 406 A.D.: Vandals, under Alans, invade Gaul
 Stilicho fights back, sometimes buying off barbarians
• Killed in 408 A.D. in a palace coup
 Alaric takes advantage, invades
• Honorius is ineffectual
• Senate agrees to pay a huge donative, can’t raise funds
• Alaric invades Italy, sacks Rome in 410 A.D.
o Takes his payment
o Torches part of the city
o First time in 800 years that Rome has been attacked by a
foreign power
• While campaigning in southern Italy, Alaric suddenly dies
• Roman army re-groups, chases Visigoths into Spain
• Facing starvation, Visigoths cut a deal
o Settle in Gaul
o Autonomous
o Aide in Rome’s defense
o Barbarians
 Vandals
• Establish themselves in northern and central Gaul
• Ally with Rome
• Establish their own independent kingdom
• 5th century: Merovingian’s
o Will eventually take over Roman rule in Gaul, rule for over
three centuries
o Merovingian history becomes very convoluted
 Angles, Saxons, Jutes
• Migrating from northern Europe
• Angles settle in Britain, along with Saxons, Jutes
• First invasions begin in 408 A.D.
• By 428 A.D., large groups of Angles and Saxons settle o the British
• Last remnants of a Roman garrison are removed from Britain in 442
• Leads to the story of King Arthur
o A Romanized Briton
o Fighting against the invasions of the Angles and the Saxons
o Fought out of Camulodinum (modern-day Colchester)
• Angles, Saxons and Jutes become settled by 6th century
o Organize into 7 kingdoms: Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Mercia,
Northwuhia, Kent, ?
o Modern kingdom of England emerges in 8th century under
pressure from Dames/Vikings
 Burgundians
• Enter Gaul in early 400’s A.D.
• With concurrence of Emperor Honorius they settle in Gaul
Honorius’ Rule (395 – 423 A.D.)
 With Stilicho gone, looks for a new Master of Horses
 Settles on Constantius
• Marries the emperor’s sister
• Have a child, named by Valentinian
 Constantius dies in 421 A.D.
 Honorius’ sister takes off for the East
 Honorius dies childless
Usurper named John takes the throne
Eastern emperor Theodosius II feels Valentinian is the legitimate heir to the throne
John is deposed in 425 (423 – 425 A.D.)
Valentinian III installed (425 – 455 A.D.)
 Aetius: Military commander in the West
• Real power behind the throne
• The “Last Roman”
 Forced to deal with the Huns
 Mongolian – descent
 Steppes of Asia
Originate in eastern Europe
Move into Gaul, eventually Spain
Contest with the Visigoths in Gaul
429 A.D.: Cross the straight of Gibraltar and establishes a kingdom in
North Africa
Established as a client state by Rome in 442 A.D.
Forced the migrations of other tribes
433 A.D.: Attila assumes control
 Huns want to create a large state of their own, won’t settle down
 Aetius campaigns against eh Huns in Gaul
• Wins some battles, still Huns invade Italy
 453 A.D.
• Pope Leo goes out to meet Attila
• Pays a donative to Attila
• Rome, infested with plague, doesn’t sack Rome
 Attila dies in 454 A.D.
 Huns disperse
o Valentinian III dies in 455 A.D.
o Succession struggle ensues between military, eastern empire
o Military commander: Ricimer
 Rules from 456 – 472 A.D.
 Half Visigoth, half other barbarian stock
 The “puppet master”, controlling emperors
 Effectively defends Rome
 Puts down revolts in North Africa
 Succumbs in a palace coup
o New Master of Horses: Orestes
 Last years involve Orestes vying with the east for the throne
 Last Roman Emperor: Romulus Augustulus
• Son of Orestes
 Deposed in 476 A.D.
 Product of a new barbarian ruler
• Odoacer
• Rules Italy from 476 to 493 A.D.
• Rules directly
o Italy and the Roman Empire are passing into Medieval Europe
o Ostrogoths displace Odoacer in 493 A.D.
 Theodoric rules Italy now
o Empire is breaking up into different units that form the basis for Medieval Europe
Byzantine Empire
o Lasts until 1453 A.D.
o Eastern empire
o Eastern Empire Persists
 Greater wealth
• Trade
 Barbarian border aren’t as extensive
 Persian Empire is easier to deal with
• Organized
 Ethnically Homogeneous
• Cultural stability
 Eastern empire relied on a class of freedmen, slaves: professional
• Not nobility
• Worked for a preservation of the system, not for their own ambitions
like western nobles
 Empires in the east were longer reigning, more stable than their western
Arcadius (395 – 408 A.D.)
Theodosius II (408 – 450 A.D.)
o Grows into a very capable, very astute emperor
Tried to interject into Western affairs
Somewhat scholarly
 Organized the law code
o Rebuilt the city walls of Constantinople
o Very successful militarily
Marciun (450 – 457 A.D.)
Leo I (457 – 474 A.D.)
o Buys off barbarians, pits them against each other
o Tried to influence affairs in the west, fails
Zeno (474 – 491 A.D.)
o Military commander of Leo I
o Capable commander
o Menophysite Heresy
 Over Christ’s nature
• Divine? Human? Mixture?
• Some said He had two: divine and human
o Separate
• Others said inexplicably joined together
 Result: Divine nature sublimates the human nature
Anastasius (491 – 508 A.D.)
o Campaigns against the Persians
o Deals with Bulgars
 Mongol descent
 A problem for centuries
 Settle in modern-day Bulgaria
Justin (518 – 527 A.D.)
o Military commander
o 66 years old at his ascension
o Associates with his nephew Justinian
o A capable emperor
o An ardent Christian
 Battles Menophysite Heresy
o On the verge of launching a Parthian invasion when he dies
Justinian (527 – 565 A.D.)
o Most educated Roman Emperor since Marcus Aurelius
o Best training since Constantine
o A scholar
 Legal training
o An ardent Christian
 Continues the campaign against the Menophysite Heresy
o Likes order, efficiency
 Wants to tidy up civic affairs
o Advances the court ceremony
 Pushes the aloof, super-human nature of the emperor
o His wife, Theodora, is his greatest aide
o Theodora
 Daughter of a bear trainer
 Marriage is a love marriage
 Causes a stir when she marries Justinian
 Becomes Justinian’s aide
• Involved in decision making
• Even has her own authority
o Popular Revolt
 Justinian plans to flee after a sports brawl
 Theodora holds her ground, as does Justinian because of her
 Manages to put down the revolt
 Religious
• Tried to suppress, compromise with Menophysites
• Confiscates Menophysite property
• Reconciliation policies fail
• Attempts to restrict Jewish rights
• Justinian closes down the Academy in Athens
o Founded by Plato in 500 B.C.
o One of the last bastions of paganism
 Administrative
• Removes paying to get office
• Cleans up provincial management
• Stamps out corruption
• Increases taxes
• Tries to eliminate wasteful expenditures
• Eliminates some military expenditures in the east
 Judicial Reforms
• Collects, organizes, and collates judicial announcements
• Weeds out inconsistencies, stabilizes rulings
• Justinian Code: published in 534 A.D.
o List of laws
o Commentaries & precedence
o Previous practices
o Forms the balance of Eastern legal precedent
Embarks on a campaign to re-conquer the west
 Begins when a Vandal king is overthrown (ally)
 Justinian invades North Africa in 532 A.D.
 Campaign led by Belisarius
 After a couple of years, North Africa is conquered
 When Theodoric dies in Italy, Belisarius attacks
• Conquers Sicily, Illyria
• Captures Rome
• By 540, Justinian has re-conquered most of Southern Italy
 Persians choose this moment to invade in the east
• Justinian forced to recall Italian armies
• Loses most of Italy
• Belisarius dies, Narses takes over
• Settle with the Persians
o Empire enters into a 50-year truce with the Persians
 Between 552 – 562, Justinian’s army re-conquers much of Italy
 Conquest won’t last long after Justinian’s death
• New barbarian group, Lombards, attack Italy
• By 590, Lombards have thrown out the eastern soldiers
In the end, Justinian is regarded as a throwback and a failure
 Throwback: The Roman imperial culture is vastly different in both parts
• A foreign power conquering another rather than re-unification
 Failure: Efforts have weakened the Roman Empire in the east
Last consuls appointed in 560
Roman history often stops with Justinian’s death
Only a few decades after Justinian’s death, a new challenge emerges
• Mohammed’s religious reform movement
• Uses a monotheistic, moral religion to fuse the Arabian tribes
• Sweep across the Middle East; Mediterranean (eastern)
 Egypt lost in 619 A.D.
 North Africa conquered
 Muslims challenge Persia, sweep into Mesopotamia
 By 700 A.D., Muslims invade Spain
• Rule Spain for 6 – 7 hundred years
o Iconoclast Controversy
 Certain elements of the eastern church move to eliminate depictions of icons,
human images
 Various emperors will either oppose or support the movement
 Nearly tears the empire apart
 750’s A.D.: Resurgence
• Stall the Muslim advance
• Re-take territories
o 860’s A.D.: Basil I
 Re-builds army, navy
 Re-takes some territory from Muslims
 Very successful emperor
o 1300’s: Ottomans take control of Arabs
 Last few centuries of the Eastern Empire are spent facing Ottoman challenge
 In mid – 1500’s, Ottomans are besieging Vienna
By the end, Easter empire is just Constantinople
In 1453, Ottomans take Constantinople; Eastern empire comes to an end
Roman Empire evolved into four systems
o Barbarian Kingdoms
 Gaul, France, Germany
o Papacy
 A power base
 Middle-Ages: Popes position themselves as supreme power (try to)
o Byzantium
 Very different in structure from the old empire
o Islam
 Arab conquests
During the Roman Empire, there was s cultural unity surrounding the Mediterranean
o Both sides go on a very different path