Joshua Dotto History 130 Midterm

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Updated: Apr 19, 2021
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The fall of the Roman Empire was due to a number of reasons. Let’s look at some of these reasons that significantly contributed to the fall of the Empire. First, Overexpansion and military overspending. The vastness of the Empire prevented the Romans from communicating effectively or quickly enough to manage their assets. It also made it hard to deploy enough troops and resources to defend the Empire’s frontiers from local rebellions and outside attacks, and as more funds went into the military, Rome’s civil infrastructure declined. Second, the rise of the Eastern Empire. When Emperor Diocletian split the empire into two halves to easily govern it, the result was the drifting apart of the East and West due to failure to adequately work together to combat outside threats. Third, weakening of the Roman Legions.

Emperors hired foreign soldiers (Barbarians) who had little to no loyalty to the empire. So, since they were power-hungry, they often turned against their Roman employers. Fourth, the invasions by Barbarian tribes. A series of raids by Goths kept weakening the Western Empire up to when King Aleric I sacked the city of Rome in 410 CE. Raids continued until Emperor Romulus Augustulus was dethroned by a Germanic leader in 476 CE, and from then on, no Roman emperor would rule from a post in the Western Empire. The Eastern Empire was still standing because its city (Constantinople) was fortified and well protected, which diverted invasions to the west. However, the Eastern Empire was later attacked and conquered by the Ottoman Empire. 2) The roles of women in ancient Sparta and ancient Athens were different in certain ways. In Athens, women were considered a lot weaker than men and their legal rights were very limited in some cases.

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So, their main role was to run the home, raise children, and teach them at home until the age of 6 to 7 when went to private school masters. They managed slaves who did the majority of chores and they also managed all of the finances. Wealthy women were forced to stay at home and they sent out slaves to do any of the shopping. These women would then spend the majority of their time spinning cloth. Poor women who had no slaves to help them run errands or take care of their chores were out shopping at the market, and they helped their husbands with the farm work. Athenian women did attend some events but they had to be accompanied by a man in their family. On the other hand, Spartan women were famous in ancient Greece for having more freedom than elsewhere in the Greek world. They could legally own and inherit property and they were usually better educated. Child bearing and raising was considered the most important role for women in Spartan society and it was regarded as equal to male warriors in Spartan army. Women had to raise healthy and strong children who would become good soldiers. Sparta was a strong city-state whose main focus was on the military. So, men spent much of their time living in barracks or at war. In absence of men, women were in charge of households and they were preoccupied with governance, agriculture, logistics, and other sustenance tasks.

Since its toleration in the Edict of Milan that was announced by Constantine I and Licinius I in 313 CE, the Christian church went through a series of changes and reforms. Ecumenical Councils, Investiture Controversy, and crusades are some of the important elements in the development of the Christian church. First, Christological disputes during the time when Christianity was the state religion of Rome were discussed in Ecumenical Councils. Under the reign of Theodosius I, the church took the same provinces for administration as the imperial government and called them dioceses. Dioceses were headed by the Bishop of Rome whose title was pope. So, during this time, bishops would meet in councils to discuss matters of church doctrine and practice, and the result would be some sort of change. For example, in the two Councils of Nicaea (324 CE, 382 CE), Arianism was denounced and Nicene Creed was produced. Arianism was a doctrine which taught that Jesus was not God, and this violated the Holy Trinity. So, Nicene Creed which supported that Jesus was the Lord and the Son of God was used to defeat it. Also, the Council of Chalcedon (541 CE) was another important council that disapproved of Monophysitism.

The Council affirmed that Jesus was fully God and fully man instead of having a single divine nature. Several other councils took place and they helped reform Christianity. Second, Investiture Controversy was important in the journey of the development of Christianity. As kings and emperors consolidated their power in the High Middle Ages, popes did the same through a series measures that made the church more independent of secular control. This caused conflict between secular and religious powers in terms of who would control appointments of the bishops. Pope Gregory VII vigorously expanded papal power. He denounced clerical marriage and simony and ordered excommunication for those who disagreed. He believed that the pope, as the successor of Saint Peter, was the vicar (representative) of God on earth and that papal orders were thus the orders of God. So, this changed the church in such a way that the clergy could no longer buy offices and men were required to be unmarried in order to be ordained. However, Henry IV and other kings protested, which led to Henry’s excommunication by Gregory. Henry later apologized and was forgiven and the issue was settled at a conference held at Worms. Third, Crusades were aimed to expand Christianity and recover the holy city of Jerusalem.

Crusades were sponsored by the papacy and they reflected the church’s new understanding of war against its enemies as a religious duty. After the Great Schism, the pope thought about invading the Byzantine Empire in which Christians would fight Christians, which indicated that popes supported armed conflict if it worked to their advantage. So, people were encouraged to join crusades with the promise of spiritual benefits (indulgences) and the first crusade was initiated by Pope Urban II in 1096 after the attack of Seljuk Turks. In conclusion, many events occurred during the development of Christianity. Matters of church doctrine and practice were discussed in ecumenical councils. The issue of Investiture Controversy enhanced papal power and at the same time permitted rulers to participate in ecclesiastical elections, and crusades occurred as a way of protecting Christian kingdoms against non-Christians.

Joshua Dotto History 130 Midterm essay

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