The Romans put down the rebellion that erupted on Herod’s death in 4 B.C. Ten years later they deposed Herod’s son as king of Judea and installed the first Roman prefect. By this time, there were at least three parties distinguishable among the Jews of Judea: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. The Romans took advantage of this divisiveness to maintain their rule over Palestine.
Why did Christianity triumph in the fourth century? It began as a despised sect in a rich, well-organized, sophisticated society, yet it took over that society. In general, we might postulate the need for a religion of peace in the savage and insecure world of Rome. Jesus’ teachings gave Christianity certain advantages over the mystery cults. For example, the cult of Isis lacked a missionary priesthood and was chiefly for women. The complexity of its rites and the lack of a great leader or teacher to make clear the ideas associated with the cult gave it little sustained popular appeal.
In recent years Historians have often asked whether the best unit for study is a society or a nation, since many questions relating broadly to demography and society cannot be properly addressed within a single nation’s bor
In the West pagan literature declined and virtually disappeared, while in the East a few passionate devotees of the old gods still made their voices heard. Christian writings increasingly took the center of the stage. In the East, writers devoted much energy to polemical statements on doctrinal questions and disputes. In both East and West the best minds among Christians faced the problem of how to treat Greek and Roman literature. At first, a few thinkers, mostly in the West, advised against reading anything but Scripture.
The areas of Europe to the west of the Adriatic Sea and the Elbe River were changing from the more subsistence- oriented economy of the early Middle Ages to a money economy, from an economy based in good measure on home-grown produce paid for in kind to one relying heavily on imports paid for in money or letters of credit.
The Christian clergy could hardly have attained their great power had they not been essential intermediaries between this visible world of actuality and an invisible other world that, to the devout Christian, is as real as this one. In Christianity certain important ideas about the other world are embodied in ritual acts called sacraments. These sacraments, administered by the clergy, are central to an understanding of Christian doctrine.
Ultimately more significant was the Dardanelles campaign of 1915. With the entry of Turkey into the war on the side of the Central Powers in November 1914, and with the French able to hold the western front against the Germans, a group of British leaders decided that British strength should be put into amphibious operations in the Aegean area, where a strong drive could knock Turkey out of the war by the capture of Constantinople.
As the direct agent of God, the emperor was responsible for preserving the tradition of Roman law. Only the emperor could modify the laws already in effect or proclaim new ones. Thus he had on hand an immensely powerful instrument for preserving and enhancing power.
This regime was well designed to carry on the chief preoccupation of the emerging Roman state war. The Roman army at first had as its basic unit the phalanx- about 8,000 foot soldiers armed with helmet, shield, lance, and sword. But experience led to the substitution of the far more maneuverable legion, consisting of 5,000 men in groups of 60 or 120, called maniples, armed with an iron-tipped javelin, which could be hurled at the enemy from a distance. Almost all citizens of Rome had to serve.
The revolutionary wave of the 1830s confirmed two major political developments. First, it widened the split between the West and the East already evident after the revolutions of 1820. Britain and France were committed to support cautiously liberal constitutional monarchies both at home and in Belgium.
On the other hand, Russia, Austria, and Prussia were more firmly committed than ever to counterrevolution. In 1833 Czar Nicholas I, Metternich, and King Frederick William III formally pledged their joint assistance to any sovereign threatened by revolution.