World Jewish History I
A ReviewMaterials History Review
Written by Ben Dweck
Three million Years ago, on the east shore of Kenya a group of people developed stone tools. The "Old Stone Age," Ended 10,000 years ago. People during the Paleolithic age were hunter-gatherers, and had no permanent villages. When their food supply ran out, they moved. They lived in caves or tents, and formed 30 or so person bands that shared with and trusted each other. They developed a spoken Language; fire, a mythical religion and they were prolific painters.
10,000 years ago, the "New Stone Age" occurred. Agriculture was developed; animals were domesticated, allowing permanent communities to form. Trade was heavy. Neolithic advancements include pottery, the wheel, the sail, the plow and ox yoke, metals (copper, bronze) and formal religious system.
5,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the two first civilizations were formed. They had cities, jobs, writing, governments, and irrigation. n.
Mesopotamia means, "Land between the rivers," the two rivers being the Tigris and Euphrates. The Sumerians spoke a strange language, and, in 3,000 BC became 12 city-states. Sumerians wrote on clay tablets (cuneiform), had brick houses, created weapons, formed irrigation, had money, schools, literature, art, a legal system, medical drugs and a calendar. City-states warred with each other, and were weakened by their lack of unity. In 2350 BCE, Akkad, led by Sargon, created the first empire. Sumerians disappeared, but left a legacy.
Religion was the center of life, and almost everything had a religious explanation. Gods were all-powerful. The Epic of Gilgamesh is a tale of a man who wants eternal life, but realizes he cannot get it. Sumerian government consisted of a council of elders, later evolving into a hereditary monarchy.
The Code of Hammurabi was the basic Sumerian legal system. Women were subservient to men, eye for an eye, etc. The code featured a "nobility system." Geometry advancements were made, and a Lunar calendar was formed.
The gift of the Nile, the Nile provided food, means of transport, and protection. The Egyptians believed in the afterlife, and constructed huge tombs for their Pharaohs, during the Old Kingdom (2686-2181). Pharaohs were man-gods. The Middle Kingdom (2040-1786) featured strong kings, and economic stability, The New Kingdom (1570-1085) was the height of the Egyptian empire, featuring strong rule, and Egyptian conquest.
Religion was central power of Egyptian Life; astronomy was scientific, but held back by religion. Pharaohs were god incarnations, who should not be disobeyed. In the New Kingdom, Pharaoh Atkhenaton inexplicably ordered all of Egypt to worship only the god Aton.
Lasting from 1500 BCE until 1200 BCE, the Hittites conquered Babylon, and Northern Syria. They also used Cuneiform. They refined iron, and were conquered by Indo-Europeans.
The Assyrians were Semitic people, who settled near the Tigris river, lasted from 800-612 BCE. They conquered everything from Iran until Thebes (a city in Egypt). They were ruthless. Assyria was destroyed by revolutions and Neo-Babylonians.
King Nebuchatnezzar ruled Neo-Babylonia at it’s height, 604-562. The major Neo-Babylonian accomplishment was the creation of the hanging gardens.
They settled in South Iran, had a huge empire, which was divided into 20 provinces ruled by Satraps. Spoke Aramaic, had Zoroastrianistic religion, stressed ethics and not myths or magic.
The Middle-Eastern Religions were almost solely mythical, and everything was explained by myths.
They migrated from Mesopotamia to Canaan. Canaan fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE. The great temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans in 586 BCE, Their Babylonian Exile lasted from 586 BCE until 539 BCE, they were completely monotheistic, People were not G-d’s slaves, women were people, not property.
The Major advancement of Greek society was rational thought, nature followed general rules, not the will of gods, human beings could think, and reason is the way of knowledge, and people are responsible for their own behavior.
Lasting from 2600-1250 BCE, the Minoans did not speak Greek, but they were the first "Greeks." They built huge palaces, but were soon conquered by the Mycenaeans.
Lasting from 2000-1100 BCE, they lived where the Greeks would later be. They had a complex class system, and consisted of several small states.
The Dark Age
During this time, 1100-800 BCE, Greece forgot all language, so this period is unclear. We know that the Dorians conquered the area where Sparta is now, and the Ionians settled in Athens. Greeks were poor, and insecure, all government failed.
The Hellenistic Age occurs now; it is the height of Greek society.
Homer was a poet living during the 700’s (BCE). His two epics shaped the Greek culture. Homer’s heroes strove for honor, and were always courageous. The Iliad, his first epic, deals with the Trojan War. The Hero, Achilles, is sensitive to the downfalls of war. In Homers novels, God and People play an equal role, and the gods do not control people, rather they can obstruct them.
Greek Religion During The Dark Age
During The Dark Age, religion was a mixture of cults dedicated to specific gods, and religion was more social than spiritual.
From 750-323 BCE, the Greek empire consisted of city-states. Most had fewer than 5,000 citizens, but Athens, the largest city-state, had 35,000-40,000. The citizens of the polis were generally close. Each Polis originally had its own god, but eventually, rational thinking took over.
Sparta was on the Peloponnesian Peninsula, and had only one colony. The Spartan arete was to be a perfect fighter; they started military training at seven, and were incredibly fit and athletic.
Athens was situated on the coast of Greece, and had an incredible navy. The Athenians wanted freedom politically, and they moved from a monarchy to an oligarchy in the 700s BCE. The system of aristocratic rule did not work for long, and Draco had to write a clarification of the laws.
Solon the Reformer
(640-559 BCE) Solon, elected chief executive of Athens in 594 BCE, concluded that the wealthy landowners almost caused a civil war. He did well for the poor, and weakened the nobles’ power. Although Solon felt that the rich ruined society, he did not think that Athens could survive with a government consisting of commoners. He established the "Council of Four Hundred," which anyone could be a part of. He also allowed the wealthy commoners to take high office.
Pisistratus the Tyrant
An aristocrat, he tried to take advantage of Athens’ weaknesses and become an emperor. He was not all bad though; he solved some of Athens’ water problems, and advanced Greece culturally.
Caleisthenes the Democrat
He fought against tyranny. One of his most famous accomplishments was ostracism. Every year Athens would vote on who they thought was the most dangerous man in Athens, and he would be thrown out of Athens.
The Persian Wars
In 499 BCE, some Greeks rebelled against Persia, and Athens sent help. Athens defeated the Persian easily, but the Wars were far from over. Darius I, the King of Persia started another war in 490 BCE. Most of Greece united and defended Athens. Persia attacked most of Greece, almost obliterating Athens. Then, General Themistocles lured the Persian fleet into the narrow Bay of Salamis. The wide Persian ships were annihilated by Athens’ small, quick boats.
The Delian League
Right after the Persian wars, 150 city-states formed the Delian League to protect itself from Persia. Athens was the leader of the league, and used the league for its advantage.
After the Persian Wars, Athens was strong. They had a complete democracy, where every man was equal. Slaves, women and aliens had no such freedom though.
(495-429) Pericles was probably the greatest ruler Athens ever had. Athenians excelled in the arts, politics and thinking during the "Age of Pericles."
Unfortunately, all was not well in Greece, the city-states remained divided and a revolt against Athens was brewing in the Delian League.
The Peloponnesian War
Sparta and the rest of the Delian League were just about sick of Athens’ domineering attitude, and decided that war is the only answer. From 431 until 404 BCE Athens and Sparta fought. The first stage of the war was equal, and in 421 BCE a peace treaty was struck. Then, Athens decided it wanted to conquer Sicily, and it sent a huge army there. This army was defeated, but Athens deployed another huge force, when this army was about to be killed, the general Nicias saw a full eclipse of the moon, and decided to wait twenty-seven days before retreating. When they finally did retreat, the Sicilians killed almost all of them, and, when they got back to Greece, Sparta, with aid from Persia, attacked Athens. Both sides were weakened so badly by the Peloponnesian war, that Greece never returned to its past Glory.
Fourth Century Greece was a pathetic exhibition of how bad the Post-War Greece actually was. Eventually, Greece was conquered by the Macedonians.
Phillip of Macedonia
The king of Macedonia, Phillip conquered all of Greece swiftly, and left the city-states powerless, but intact.
The first Greek philosophers were the sixth century Ionian cosmologists. They wondered if the universe was really a product of god, and were the beginning of all Greek rational thinking.
(c. 624-547 BCE) Thales said that water was the basic element of everything, and the gods played absolutely no role in anything. He said that the Earth floated on water, and earthquakes were caused by waves. He also said that heavenly bodies moved in patterns, and was the first person to predict a solar eclipse.
(c. 611-547 BCE) Anaximander rejected Thales thinking, saying that one substance, which he called the Boundless, was the source of all things. He said that from Boundless, which contained heat and cold, emerged the world. The cold and wet condensed to form cloud cover, and the hot and dry formed the "fire," that we know as the sun, moon, and stars. He also said that the heat dried up the seas, and from this slime, first man came.
(?-c.525 BCE) Anaximenes said that air formed all things, and that rarefied air was fire, and clouds were condensed air. If it condensed further, water, dirt, and eventually stones were created.
The Ionians are called "Matter Philosophers" because they felt that everything originated from matter.
(c. 580-507 BCE) The Pythagoreans, who Lived in southern Italy, felt that everything can be interpreted through mathematics. Unlike the matter philosophers, they did believe in mystics and immortality.
(c. 515-450) from the city of Elea, he was the founder of formal logic. He said that an argument must be consistent and have no contradictions. He said that the universe could only be understood by the mind, and by reason. He also said that reality and the universe is unchanging.
In contrast to Parmenides’ view, he felt that the universe did change, and you could tell that from your senses. He felt that the world was made up of empty space and atoms. Eternal and indivisible, these atoms were constantly moving, and collisions accounted for every change in the world.
A doctor, not a philosopher, he felt that nature caused diseased not gods. In particular, the "Sacred disease," epilepsy. He formed the Hippocratic oath.
Professional teachers, who went from place to place teaching political skills, they insisted it was futile to think about the origin of the universe, and it was better to try to excel politically. In preaching reason, the Sophists taught that you should disobey religion, morals and authority. If Sophist thinking prevailed, there would have been a breakdown of everything in Greece. For instance, some said that the law was invented for the advantage of the lawmakers.
(c. 469 BCE – 399 BCE) One of the most extraordinary thinkers in history was Socrates. Socrates felt that knowing yourself is more valuable than knowing about the universe. Unlike the Sophists, Socrates believed in values. Socrates’ goal was to find out the perfection of human character. Socrates had no one ethical theory, rather he engaged in dialectics (logical discussions) with people, so they would realize their ignorance. Socrates version of arete was shaping ones life according to ethics. When he was seventy, in the troubled post-Peloponnesian war era, he was executed for corrupting youth.
(c. 429-347 BCE) A pupil of Socrates, Plato felt that people could not change the way Socrates wanted them to unless the community changed around it. He believed that perfection was unchanging, and that perfection existed in his "world of forms." Plato thought that if citizens are to live an ethical life, they must do it in a rational society. Plato’s monumental book The Republic, was a dialogue between two people regarding the perfect government. Plato did not like democracy because he did not feel that just anyone could run Greece. He also felt that people were being listened to for the wrong reasons, including how much of an adept speaker they are, and how good they look. He said that democracy cause people to fear control, as well. He thought that only philosophers should be kings, that the courageous should be soldiers, and that the masses should be producers. He said that a king’s reign should be infinite, and that although the people lose their right to govern their country, they gain a balanced, organized home.
(c. 384 BCE -322 BCE) Aristotle studied a Plato’s academy, and later became Alexander the Great’s tutor. Aristotle was probably the first person to ever conduct a full scientific experiment, he was trying to see how the embryo of a bird develops and he would break open many eggs a day. Unlike Plato, Aristotle felt that perfection existed in this world, but universal ideas are attained from examining things, not "forms." Like Socrates and Plato, Aristotle also felt that good ethics are derived from reason. Unlike Socrates, Aristotle placed his trust in law, rather than people.
Poetry and Drama
A poetess who lived on the Island of Lesbos, Sappho established a school to teach noble girls the arts.
(c. 518-538 BCE) Pindar was a male poet, who agreed with the aristocratic view of excellence.
(525-456 BCE) Aeschylus wrote more than eighty plays, and was an extreme conservative, who preached religion and traditional values.
(c. 496 BCE-406 BCE) Another Athenian playwright was Sophocles. He was an amazing writer, who portrayed characters well. His characters tried unsuccessfully, to escape their fate.
(c. 485 BCE – 406 BCE) One of the few playwrights who used rationality in his plays. He combined philosophical thinking with adept playwriting to create masterpieces which touch on major philosophical issues.
(c. 448 BCE-380 BCE) Aristophanes was the greatest Greek comic playwright. However, behind his comical tone is a message, a seriousness that deals with the issues head on. His most famous play Lysistrata is about women who stop having sex with their husbands in order for the war to stop, and when they don’t stop the war, they capture the treasury, and when the men come in, they pour water on the men’s heads.
Unlike the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and the Hebrews, the Greeks kept history without involving the gods. They asked people to recall events, and investigated situations in their entirety.
(c. 484 BCE–424 BCE) "The Father of History" wrote a historical recollection of the Persian Wars. He asked people to tell them stories about the wars, often ending up with fantastic, but often fictional, accounts. Herodotus was not just a storyteller because he realized that there is a value to studying the past, and he asked questions about the past.
(c. 460 BCE-400 BCE) Thucydides concentrated on the Peloponnesian wars, and he wanted the truth, only accepting firsthand accounts of the events. There were no myths or legends in Thucydides history books, just the facts. He also subscribed to the school of thought that if you forget your history you are doomed to repeat it.
The Hellenistic age proceeded the Hellenic age in Greek civilization. The Hellenistic people absorbed some Greek thought, and added in their own culture. Alexander The Great Conquered everything from Greece to India.
Alexander The Great
After his Father, Phillip of Macadamia, died, Alexander became king. He was smart and brave, and aimed to conquer the world. He started with the Persian Empire, and, when he was done with them, he moved on to Egypt, where they made him Pharaoh. After that, he conquered India. Alexandrian society was much different than the previous Greek society, forming one, huge nation rather than several weaker city-states. Although he never did conquer the world, he did reform world thinking. In 323 BCE, the 33 year-old Alexander died of a sickness.
After Alexander died, his generals divided his land into three parts. Ptolemies took Egypt, Seleucids took Asia and Antigonids took the powerful Macedonia. The Seleucidian and Ptolemian empires had an easy rule, in which the King was worshipped as a god, but the large Antigonian empire, which controlled several warlike peoples, was hard to control. Hellenistic society was a mingling of people, rather than the restricted polis system.
(c. 305 BCE-240 BCE) A great author and poet, who urged people not to imitate homer, and try to write "epics" rather right short and to the point stories.
(c. 342 BCE–291 BCE) A Sicilian poet who wrote about natural beauty with an uncommon style.
(c. 341 BCE-291 BCE) A playwright who wrote about Athenian life in the late fourth century. He wrote comedies about people obsessed with their private lives. He sympathized with human weakness, and wrote about overused characters.
(c. 200 BCE-118 BCE) Polybius was the leading historian of the Hellenistic age. He wrote about how Rome rose from a city-state to a world power. He also did not just write about what people did, he wrote why they did them.
Epicurus founded a school in Athens which taught his way of life, which was that you should always relieve stress and pain. He felt that even things like engaging in relationships were unnecessary.
The founder of Stoicism was Zeno. Stoicism, the most important philosophy in the Hellenistic world was that everyone was equal. Therefore, you should not let anything effect you.
Skeptics did not believe in god, and believed in following the majority. They also did not believe in competitions.
The Cynics walked in rags and did not bathe, because they felt that most things are hindrances to a free life.
The principle difference between Rome and Greece is that Rome wanted one, united world-state, rather than several, fighting, city-states.
The Etruscans were a group of people living near Rome. They took over Italy, and were the leaders of Rome until the 600s BCE when Rome overthrew them.
The Roman Republic
As with early Greece, the beginning of Roman government was regulated by religion. Eventually, the "Struggle Between the Orders" (the patricians and the plebeians) occurred, and a new government emerged. There were two assemblies. The Centuriate Assembly, and the Senate. The heads of the government were two consuls, who must agree on everything. In times of war, a dictator was appointed on a six-month term. The plebeians, tired of being dominated by the patricians, threatened to secede from Rome, which would devastate Roman society. The patricians eventually gave in, and started giving the plebeians rights, they gained an assembly, which had few rights, and the eventually the first set of laws was written.
The first code of Roman law, the twelve tables, tried to shut down plebian oppression.
In 287 BCE, the Struggle Between the orders ended, when the Tribal assembly gained the right to make laws on its own. However, in reality, Rome was ruled by the rich. By 146 BCE, Rome was the dominant state in the Mediterranean world.
Eventually, Rome took over all of Italy, with an organized, powerful military. When Rome captured a land, it did not take in its residents as slaves, rather as citizens, eventually creating a huge empire. After they took over Italy, they only feared Carthage. Eventually Rome and Carthage’s problems developed into a war.
The Punic Wars
From 264 BCE until 241 BCE, Rome and Carthage fought in a war, which was won by Rome. Devastated by the war, Carthage appointed the military genius Hannibal (218 BCE-201 BCE) to run the Carthaginian army. Carthage attacked Rome in The Second Punic War, (218-201 BCE) this time winning the battle of Cannae (216 BCE) by a large margin. After this, a hatred and fear of Carthage developed in Rome, and Romans prepared for a major attack on Carthage. In 202 BCE, Rome defeated Carthage in the battle of battle of Zama. After this, Rome was the worlds major power, but the hatred of Carthage, now merely an afterthought still existed. In 146 BCE, in what was the first sign of Senatorial stupidity; Rome annihilated Carthage in the Third, and final, Punic War.
Because of Rome’s dominance, it became extremely wealthy, and many, many people joined Rome.
A Roman slave-gladiator, he led a 150,000 slave rebellion, which defeated much of southern Italy.
(c. 254-184 BCE) The best playwright of Rome, Platus imitated Greek comedy. His place had Greek localities and characters, but also had characteristics of the short farces, enjoyed so much by Romans
(c. 185-159 BCE) Another Roman playwright with Greek style, Terrence was a better writer than Platus, but his jokes were flat.
(c. 84-54 BCE) One of the world’s greatest poets, Cattalus wrote a lot about his love, Clodia.
(c. 96-55 BCE) The leading Roman Epicurean philosopher, Lucretius yearned for peacefulness among the world, and disapproved of war in any form.
(106-43 BCE) the greatest speaker in Rome, the Stoic Cicero spoke in the senate. He felt that the greatest thing to have would be a world empire, united under Rome.
Cato the Elder
He said that Rome would fall apart if not under constant war.
When Rome was the central power in the world, the Republic began to fall apart. The wars weakened agriculture, and large plantations, called latifunda were formed.
(163-133 BCE) Tiburius, a tribune of Rome, enacted a law which barred the latifunda from dominating the farm world. The upper class of Rome feared Tiburius, and thought he would bring the commoners to power. Eventually, he was murdered
(153-121 BCE) A younger brother of Tiburius, Gaius favored the rich plebeians, and enabled the poor to buy grain at a discount. Arousing the patricians anger, he and 3,000 of his followers were killed in a civil war.
The murders convinced Rome that violence was the answer, and there was a lot of political violence during this period. The senate turned into an oligarchy.
(157-86 BCE) Marius, a militant consul elected in 107 BCE, destroyed the republic by filling his army with poor people, who fought only for the money. The army became loyal to Marius, and not to Rome.
King of Pontus, he invaded the Roman part of Asia, and massacred 80,000 Italians.
(138-78 BCE) Military dictator of Rome, Sulla’s power was taken away by supporters of Marius, and, when he refused to lose power, he marched on Rome. Nevertheless, when he left on a war, Marius took power again, and a civil war broke out. Marius died shortly after. Sulla took power again, and made the senate’s rule infinite, thinking this was the only route to a better Rome. He also increased the senate’s size to six hundred.
(c. 100-44 BCE) In 60 BCE, Caesar, a political genius, Pompey, a general, and Crassus, a banker, tried to take over Rome. Caesar was the leader of the three, and an oligarchy developed. The charismatic leader took control of Gaul, and invaded Rome from there. Meanwhile, Crassus died, and Pompey and Caesar grew apart. It was then that Caesar marched on Rome. He appointed himself dictator for the good of Rome, creating revolutionary reforms, which brought Rome out of its state of chaos. In 44 BCE, republican extremists assassinated Caesar.
After Caesar’s assassination, there was a civil war in Rome, and thousands died.
Caesar’s adopted son, Rome’s first emperor, brought order to Rome, and after his reign, Rome saw a golden age. He brought a strong monarchy to Rome, but did not abolish the assemblies; he used them to disguise his rule. To prove that he was not a tyrant, in 27 BCE, he offered to resign, but the senate would not let him. He took the title Princeps, meaning "first citizen." He made himself commander in chief of the army. He reformed Rome, from creating a new government, to refining the waterways. He was the greatest ruler Rome ever had.
The Pax Romana
The Julio-Claudian Dynasty
The four empires after Augustus were related to him, and formed the Julio-Claudian dynasty. It ended when Nero, a tyrant, committed suicide. After a civil war, and the execution of two emperors, Vespasion took control
From 69-79 CE, Vespasian was the ruler of Rome. He improved the military, and discouraged revolutions. He built the Coliseum a center of entertainment for Romans,
(79-81) A son of Vespasian, he ruled well, and his rule was marked by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, on Pompeii and Herculaneum.
(81-96) Ruling after Titus, Domitian executed many high-ranking Romans after a small revolution, which got himself killed.
Selected by Rome to succeed Domitian, Nerva’s reign (96-98) was uneventful, but he started a precedent, adopting sons to proceed him as rulers.
The adopted son of Nerva, Trajan eased taxes, enlarged his army, and helped children, and tried to conquer the east.
The emperor after Trajan, Hadrian abandons the eastern expeditions, and fought against a Jewish revolt (132-135), and created many harsh rules against the Jews.
After Hadrian, he ruled from 138 until 161, and was a good ruler, who fought for humanity. Under him was a peaceful empire.
(161-180) A stoic philosopher, Marcus fought the Parthians, and won, but he brought with him a disease that killed many Romans.
The great Pax Romana was ending. The issue of Roman unity came into question. Were all of the different nationalities still loyal to Rome, each with their own culture and religion? There were many people who felt the need to separate from Rome, especially Egypt, Gaul, and the Jews. Even during the Pax Romana, the economy suffered terrible blows, when the rich were content with their wealth, instead of investing it into future businesses. The Roman Government was forced to lower grain prices, so people would not starve. Roman religion was also problematic, resorting to mystery religions. Almost all mystery religions had similar aspects. There were initiation rituals (sometimes painful ones), and you had to swear to secrecy.
The worshipping of the god Mithras. Mithras’ goal was to rescue humanity from evil. He was born on December 25th.
Mystery religions provided what reason, rationalism, and law could not. A way to overcome pain.
The dominant school of philosophy after Stoicism, Neo-Platonism is a radical change in philosophy. Instead of using reason, you are supposed to immerge yourself in spirituality.
(c. 205 - c.270) The most active Neo-Platonic proponent, Plotinus tried to achieve junction of the soul with god. He interpreted Plato’s "World of Forms" as a place only achievable through the souls "rising." He did retain the rationalism preached by Plato, but only for the physical world. He also felt that unless the soul was totally pure, they couldn’t understand "The One (Plotinus’ name for god)." Another preaching of Plotinus was that if your soul was not pure, you were doomed to stay in the physical world, which was terrible.
Third Century Crisis
By the third century, everything good about the Pax Romana ended. Rome was in military anarchy, and was being attacked by Germanic tribes. It got so bad, that from 235-285 Rome had 26 emperors, 25 were murdered. What caused this? Perhaps it was that in 212, citizenship was granted to everyone. People were more loyal to their particular section of Rome rather than Rome itself, as evidenced in the attempt to break away by Gaul. This had horrible economic repercussions. Cities were plundered, and the emperors resorted to stealing, but that only lead to more inflation and devaluation of currency. Currency became so invaluable that barter became the principle method of acquisition. There was also a spiritual/philosophical crisis caused by the mystery cults, in which people just did not want to learn.
Diocletian & Constantine
Diocletian and Constantine had their work cut out for them. They had to organize an army, feed the poor, and prevent all hell from breaking loose in Rome. They decided to strengthen the government, and extort taxes, asserting Roman national power. Diocletian wore robes and jewels, and decreed that he must be bowed to. He also abolished local government. He drew from POWs and mercenaries for the army, and forced people to turn their job over the their sons when they died. The problem with that law was that embezzlement by the tax collectors would not stop. To guard against a civil war, Diocletian divided the empire into two parts, and appointed someone loyal to rule Western Rome, while he ruled Eastern Rome.
A strong Mongolian army, the Huns attacked the German Visigoths to flee to Rome. The Romans mistreated the Visigoths, and a war broke out. Rome was decimated. They lost 2/3rds of their army, and their emperor died. It was clear at this point that Rome had lost much of its famed power. The Visigoths attacked again from 406-409, with the aid of other Germanic tribes, and in 410 became the first foreign military to attack for 800 years.
Atilla the Hun
(c. 406 – 453) A general of the Huns, Atilla almost turned the entire continent of Europe into a Mongolian state, but in 451, suffered his only defeat at the hands of some Germans and Romans.
This was not the end of Roman danger, in 455 the Vandals attacked Rome, and it was ransacked. In 476, the Roman Empire was ended when German officers overthrew the emperor Romulus and placed a German on the throne. The empire of Rome left a lot of contributions to the modern world. The dream of one united empire continues even to this day.
In 37 CE, a Jew named Jesus (4 BCE –37 CE) was executed during the reign of Tiberius. In the 1st century BCE, there were four sects of Judaism.
Made up of the Kohanim, and the Jewish upper class, the Sadducees insisted on strict observance of Jewish law.
A more liberal group, the Pharisees allowed discussion and different interpretations of the Torah, as well as "granting authority to oral tradition." They believed in life after death, a concept which was not mentioned in the Torah. They had the support of most of the Jews.
"The Essenes established a semimonastic community near the Dead Sea."
The Zealots were not loyal to Rome at all, not paying taxes, and rebelling in 66-70.
(4 BCE – 37 CE) Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, he combined elements from all Jewish sects, as well has people’s need for repentance, and amassed a large following, especially among the lower class. There are no documents contemporary to Jesus’ lifetime. Jesus preached a Judaism, in which rituals were more important than laws, and the ethical purification of the soul was of utmost importance. Jesus did not intend to convert people from Judaism, rather to start another interpretation of it. What Jesus was preaching, "setting the authority of his person over Mosaic Law [was an] unpardonable blasphemy in [the Jewish Leaders’] eyes." The Romans also feared Jesus, because they felt he could lead the Jews into a rebellion. In 37 CE, Jewish leaders turned Jesus over to the Romans for execution.
The Twelve Disciples
Even after his death, some still followed Jesus. The most active of these followers were The Twelve Disciples. They believed that three days after his death, Jesus was resurrected, to lead his people to heaven.
There is no evidence that Jesus wanted to start a new religion, which was accomplished by his followers.
(c. 5 – c. 67) Born Saul, St. Paul was a Jew who lived outside of Palestine. He was a member of the Pharisees, and a student of Raban Gamliel. Originally against Christianity, he underwent a radical change of faith; he changed his name to Paul and began spreading the ideas of Christianity to non-Jews. He traveled through Rome, and wrote pro-Christian articles. He taught that all Jews were suffering because of Adam’s divine defiance, and that Jesus would come to redeem them.
Christianity became popular in part because it was a "real" religion. Jesus existed, Rome existed, very little was left to the imagination. Paul soon made it so that no Jew or Gentile would be bound by Jewish law if they followed Christianity. As Christianity grew, Rome felt that it was a threat to their empire. In from 250-260 CE many Christians died because of Roman restrictions. In 303 CE Diocletian issued a horrible edict which led to the brutal deaths of hundreds of Christians. Christianity lived on. In 313, Constantine, a follower of Christianity, issued the Edict of Milan.
Edict of Milan
Issued by Constantine in 313, the Edict of Milan granted Christian toleration.
In 392 CE, Theodosius I made every religion other than Christianity and Judaism illegal. For the first time, Christianity was the accepted religion, and Paganism was the target of persecution. Christians used Greek rationalism to explain the presence of a god. It even fit Stoicism; All people were equal through Christ. Christians soon abandoned their ties with Judaism, and a rivalry of sorts was formed. St. John Chrysostom said "[the Jews are] the most miserable of me, inveterate murderers, destroyers…"
(c. 329 – c. 379) Bishop of Caesarea, he established the rules for Monasteries, including: They must partake in manual labor, they were not allowed to own property, and, for the most part, they were not allowed to talk.
(c. 480 – c.543) The founder of a successful monastery, Benedict required his monks to live poorly, study, labor, obey the abbot, pray often, and work hard. This discipline
He wrote down everything he knew from Christian oral tradition.
St. Matthew & St. Luke
They also wrote Gospels based on Mark’s. The three Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke were called synoptic because they were very similar.
St. John also wrote a Gospel, which differed from the synoptic ones.
The Council of Nicaea
A council of bishops set up to rid Christianity of the controversy arisen by the beliefs of Arius (A priest who believed that Christ was less of a god than a man). They wrote the Nicene Creed, The official doctrine of the church.
(340-420) Living as a hermit in is early life; Jerome became a priest in his late-twenties. When he went to Rome, he became a secretary to the Pope. He was forced to flee from Rome, and he established a monastery. There he translated the Bible into Latin.
(340 – 397) Bishop of Milan, Ambrose was a proponent of the poor, and felt that Christians should not pursue wealth. He fought for the power of church over state.
(354 – 430) The bishop of Hippo, Augustine wrote two books. His first, Confessions, was an autobiography, and his second City of God, said that the Christians should not be so concerned with the city of Rome, rather a heavenly city. He said Christian progress should be judged spiritually, not by the progress of a physical world. He also felt that people can not just neglect the physical world. He felt that although the "City of Man" was evil, it would not be replaced by the "City of God on Earth." He also felt that heaven was not open to everyone, just a select few. Contrary to Socrates, he felt that reason could not be the proper guide to life. You need divine guidance, because a human can not grasp perfection.
Although the western Roman kingdom fell the eastern kingdom remained. Called the Byzantine civilization because their capitol, Constantinople was built where the city of Byzantine was. It had a Roman government, and Greek culture.
(Reign: 527 – 565) The first great Byzantine ruler, Justinian appointed a group of people to codify Rome’s laws. The result was the Corpus Jurus Civilius, the official code of law of the Byzantine Empire. He tried to gain more land, and succeeded in getting North Africa, and some of Spain. Those wars drained the treasury, and took precedence over the defense of what Byzantine did have.
In the early seventh century the Persians tried to take the lands of Syria, Palestine and Egypt from the Byzantines.
(610 – 641) Emperor of the Byzantines, he defended Byzantine, and crushed the Persians.
After that war, the Arabs captured Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and part of North Africa. A tribe of Muslims also tried to conquer Constantinople, but was crushed by a powerfully equipped Byzantine army. They had discovered a primitive Napalm, Greek fire. The Muslim threat was over, but the Turks took Asia Minor. The Byzantines enlisted the help of Eastern Christendom, and the crusades were called. They were all unsuccessful, and on the fourth crusade, the crusaders were overcome with greed, and they sacked Constantinople. It took over 220 years to drive the Crusaders out of Constantinople. Other attacks by the Ottoman Turks destroyed Byzantine, in the early 1400’s; the great empire was reduced to Constantinople. In 1453, Byzantine civilization was over, after over 1000 years. The Byzantine legacy included the legal system left behind by the Corpus Jurus Civilius, and the philosophy, science and culture of ancient Greece.
Islam was a culture which originated in Arabia.
(c. 570 – 632) A merchant in Mecca, Muhammad was visited by the angel Gabriel when he was 40. Gabriel told him to recite the name of the lord, and he was convinced that he was a prophet. He founded Islam, meaning, "Surrender to Allah."
Islam is a synthesis of Judaism and Christianity. They believe that Jesus is a prophet, but not divine, and that the Jewish prophets were legitimate. The Islamic Code of Living is outlined in the Koran. They believe that the god is Allah, and Muhammad is a prophet, and not anything divine. Islam is based on five pillars of faith.
The Five Pillars of Faith Quoted directly from the book
In 622, the Muslims were chased from Mecca to Medina in what was called Hegira. During his stay at Medina, he gained notoriety as a judge, and was rejected by the Jews, and at one time, he beheaded 600 Jewish men, and enslaved women and children. In 630, Mecca surrendered the Muslims. Soon thereafter all of Arabia embraced Islam.
The successors to Muhammad, the caliphs were spiritual leaders of Islam.
Under the first four caliphs (632 – 661), invaded and conquered Byzantine and some of Europe. Muslim warriors believed in a Jihad, a holy war to spread Islam. In 717 and 732, the Muslims were defeated in Constantinople, and France, respectively.
The major Muslim sect, the Sunnis followed traditional Muslim teachings.
They felt that the true Caliphs were the descendants of Muhammad, starting from his cousin, Ali, the fourth Caliph. Ali was murdered in 661, his older son was murdered in 669, and his youngest son in 680. To the Shi’ites, the anniversary of the death of Husain, the youngest son of Ali, is the holiest day of the year. To the Shi’ites, the sons of Ali were the holiest of men, incapable of wrong. They were called Imans. Some feel that there were twelve Imans, but the twelfth is in hiding, and will return as a messiah.
The Muslim Golden Age
In the eighth and ninth centuries, Muslim civilization was in its golden age. They translated Greek works into Arabic, and preserved original Greek thought. The Muslims used the concept of "zero," and became skilled doctors.
(c. 870 – 950) Wrote commentaries on how Aristotle proved the existence of God.
(980 – 1037) A poet, a doctor, a scientist, and a philosopher, who wrote on Aristotelian thought.
(9th C.) He headed the hospital for Baghdad in the ninth century. He wrote a medical encyclopedia, which was later translated into Latin to be widely consulted in Latin Christendom.
(1126 -1198) Also known as AverrØ es, the Ibn-Rushd held that the Koran encouraged philosophy and that the Greeks had discovered "truth."
By the eleventh century, Arabic dominance began to dwindle. The Turks conquered some Arabic lands, and the Christian knights took Sicily and Spain in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In the thirteenth century, the Mongols invaded Asia. Led by Genghis Khan, all of the Eastern Muslim Empire was taken. Even after his death in 1227, the Mongols were threatening to take Central Europe, while others concentrated on the Near East. In 1258, the Mongols killed 50,000 in Baghdad, including the last Abbasid Caliph. Two years later, they were stopped. In the late 14th century, the Mongols, under Tamerlane, attacked the Near East. Tamerlane went so far as to build pyramids out of the souls of his prey. When he died in 1404, the Ottoman Turks took over his territory. The Ottoman Empire was at its peak in the 16th century. The Ottoman Empire developed an effective government, but without the Muslim culture it eventually faded.
Latin Christendom, a European civilization, was a synthesis of Christian, Greco-Roman, and German thought. During the Early Middle Ages (500-1050) Latin Christendom was far behind the two other civilizations, but caught up in the twelfth century.
Theodoric The Great
(474 – 526) An Ostrogoth (Germanic) ruler of Italy, Theodoric was attracted to Europe, and liked Roman culture. He retained the Senate,
Civil Service, and schools of Rome. He also placed Noble Romans in government positions.
(466 – 511) A Frankish ruler, he wore Roman colors, and took Roman titles. He converted to Christianity in 496, which was significant because some other kings adopted the heretical Arian form of Christianity.
All of the Germanic kingdoms used Roman systems of Taxation. The Germanic kingdoms were riddled with internal problems, evidenced by the destruction of the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, and the Visigoths. Germans found Roman law strange, as they were used to trial by ordeal and tribal law over national law.
(480 – c. 525) Decendant of nobility, he received education at the Platonic academy. He learned Latin and Greek, and tried to save Greco-Roman heritage. In 524 or 525 he was ordered to be executed by Theodoric on charges of treason. He wrote The Consolation of Philosophy
Isidore of Seville
(576-636) He compiled Etymologiae, an encyclopedia. It served as a standard reference work for many centuries although it contained many mistakes. His works kept intellectual life form dying out in the Early middle Ages.
(c. 490 – 575) Serving three Ostrogoth kings, Cassiodorus wrote History of the Goths, and compiled a "monastic library containing Greek and Latin manuscripts."
Christianity was a major force in the middle ages. "The church was a healthy and vital institution… In a dying world, the church was the only institution capable of reconstructing civilized life." In the monasteries of England and Ireland, learning persisted. Irish monks were fluent in Latin, and tried to keep Greek works alive.
The Venerable Bede
(673 – 735) A monk, Bede wrote scripture commentaries, and translated St. John’s Gospel into Anglo-Saxon English. His finest work is Ecclesiastical History of the English People, one of the most outstanding medieval histories.
Pope Gregory I (The Great)
(Papacy: 590 – 604) A descendant of Roman nobility, and a monk, Gregory used Roman methods to strengthen the papacy. He extended papal jurisdiction to include Byzantine bishops, and formed closer ties with monks. He also wrote commentaries, and formed ties with the Franks for military purposes.
During the fourth and fifth centuries, the Frankish tribes expanded into Roman territory. After Clovis’ death the kingdom was divided. The Merovingian (named after a legendary ancestor of Clovis, Merovech) rulers had a civil war.
Pepin II Of Heristal
A Merovingian ruler, he triumphed over his foes and became the ruler of Frankland. He founded the Carolingian dynasty.
(Reign: 717 – 741) Son of Pepin, he strengthened Carolingian rule. His kingdom restricted the Muslims to the Iberian Peninsula in 732, in the Battle of Tours.
Pepin The Short
Charles Martel’s son, Pepin was crowned king by St. Boniface. Pope Stephen II formed a bond with him, finishing the process started by Pope Gregory I. He was pronounced "King of the Franks" by the church.
(c. 500s) The last Germanic peoples to settle in once Roman lands. They invaded Italy in the second half of the sixth century and seized much territory from the Byzantines. This invasion gave the Papacy the chance to free themselves from Byzantine domination.
(Reign: 768 – 814) The namesake of the Carolingian rule, Charlemange expanded the Frankish kingdom and destroyed the Lombards. He conquered Bavaria, and captured the Saxons, and a region in northern Spain. He divided his kingdom into 250 counties, ruled by a count. To keep the counts straight he created royal messengers (two men and a member of the clergy), to make annual journeys to the counties. On December 25th, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemange "Emperor of the Romans." This meant that there still was a world empire, and that the emperor was responsible to defend Christianity. This signified the "merging of German, Christian, and Roman traditions… The essential characteristic of Medieval civilization." Charlemange raised the educational level of the clergy, to make them teachers.
Alcuin of York
(735 – 804) He was appointed by Charlemange to head the palace school.
Louis the Pious
After the death of Charlemange, his father, Louis realized it would be very hard to run the Empire, for his father was the glue that held it together. He had to deal with greedy nobles, and his rebellious sons.
Treaty of Verdun
The treaty divided Louis’ empire between his three grandchildren. Louis the German got Germany, Charles the Bald got France and Lothair got the Middle Kingdom.
Scandinavian sailors, who sailed in long, open, wooden ships to raid European cities. They settled in Iceland, Greenland, and North America. They excelled in craft and poetry, and revitalized trade.
A system of economy in which a village community (manor), consisting of serfs, in which peasants worked the land.
A system in which the knight (vassal) pledged loyalty to his lord. He would fight for the lord, and would receive a fief, a small portion of land sufficient for his needs in return. The vassal would also provide services for the lord, such as judging cases, and providing shelter.
Feudal law was local law determined by precedent. It involved (mostly) agreements in vassalage.
A nun, she wrote poetry, histories, and plays. It was rare for a women to do much of anything at that time. She was a nun.
The High Middle Ages (1050 - 1300) were a period of great growth. An agricultural revolution took place, in which a heavy plow was invented, a collar harness, which worked on horses, not only oxen, the horseshoe was developed, and the three-field system. This produced grain surpluses, which consequently meant more livestock, which lead to more meat. A trade revival was witnessed, after the end of Viking plundering, and the formation of trade fairs.
The Republica Christiana was a world vision of the church in which there was a vast Christian commonwealth, governed by an emperor who was loyal to the pope. This did not succeed, because the system of people being ruled by a king was commonplace, and accustomed to.
After Rome, the Germanic Angles and Saxons invaded England, and divided it into small provinces. In the ninth century, the Danes conquered most of England. One colony survived. Wessex. A Saxon kingdom.
Alfred the Great
(871 – 899) Powerful ruler of Wessex, he strengthened his army and fleet, to resist the Danes. He founded a palace school, and translated works into Latin. He eventually conquered the Danes, and England reverted to Anglo-Saxon control.
Vikings who raided and settled France, the Normans defeated the Anglo-Saxons, and became masters of England.
William the Conqueror
(1027 – 1087) Duke of Normandy, William kept a sixth of his land, and distributed the rest. He divided his land into Shires, which were ruled by Sheriffs. He published census results in his Domesday Book.
During the reigns of Henry I and Henry II Royal there was a traveling judges system. Their decisions were based entirely on precedent. Eventually, a common law emerged. There was also a "trial by jury" system implemented.
(1199 – 1216) He was fighting a costly war with France, and imprisoned his vassals for a ransom. He also punished vassals without a proper trial. He wrote a Magna Carta.
Signed by King John in 1215, the Magna Carta granted trial by jury, taxation with representation, a prohibition against wrongful arrest, and equal justice for all.
After Charlemagne’s death, there were civil wars, and Viking raids all over France. The great lords were forced to choose a king.
(Reign: 987 – 996) Chosen by the great lords to run France, Capet strengthened the French monarchy by having the lords elect his son as co-ruler. This practice continued for a long while.
(1180 – 1223) A French King, he attacked King John, and recovered a lot of French land, and became stronger than any French Lord.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
(c. 1122 – 1204) The most powerful medieval queen, Eleanor married Louis VII, but had the marriage annulled, and she married King Henry II of England. She bore him eight children, and because of intermarriage, the kingship of England and France were intertwined.
(1226 – 1270) A lover of peace, was the best loved French king. He issued peaceful ordinances.
Under Louis IX and his followers, the power of the French monarchy continued to expand.
Phillip IV (The Fair)
He tried to assert royal power, of that of the churches and established an unsuccessful council, the Estates General. It failed.
After Charlemagne’s death, the dukes would elect their own king. However, outside of their duchy, these kings were powerless.
Otto The Great
(936 – 973) A German king determined to control his dukes, Otto established an alliance with the high-ranking German clergy, and in 951 tried to assert his influence on northern Italy. Ten years later he returned to protect the Pope. In 962, he was crowned "Emperor of the Romans."
From then on, the relationship between Germany and the Papacy was very good.
A contribution of the Middle ages, Representative institutions, or parliaments, were instituted by Leon, a Spanish Kingdom. They grew because the king would consult them on his every decision.
In the High Middle Ages, there was also a spiritual growth, as well as an economic one. The Christian community was joined together by the Crusades, and the Pope was becoming more of an influence than ever before.
The Sacraments were rights of passage for any Christian. Anyone who did not follow them was to be excommunicated. They were:
The Gregorian Reform
In the tenth century, the church was at both a high and a low point. They owned the most European land, but they office of the pope was reserved for nobility. Local lords, entrusted with the power of crowning bishops, certainly were not helping. The Benedictine monks tried to help this, and worked towards the education of all monks. Pope Gregory VII, in 1073, tried to, and succeeded in, reforming the way the church worked. He eliminated clergymen who had bought their jobs, excommunicated bishops who did not get their jobs from the pope, and tried to get the power to appoint bishops. However, "Holy Roman" Emperor Henry V opposed this. There was a war between the church and Henry, but eventually an agreement was reached.
The Concordat of Worms
An agreement reached between Gregory and Henry to put an end to the "investiture controversy," the Concordat of worms stated that Bishops were to be selected by the church, given their staff and ring by the church, and given the scepter and fief by the king.
The Crusades, or holy wars against Muslims, were called to unify the Christians. In 1087, the Muslims were kicked out of Sardinia, in 1091, out of Sicily, and in 1248, the only thing in Muslim control was the small kingdom of Grenada.
Pope Urban II
In 1095, at the Council of Clermont, he exaggerated the dangers confronting Christianity by the Turks, and called a crusade.
The knights were encouraged by the possibility that they would be able to own land, an in 1099, the members of the First Crusade (1096 – 1099) they broke through to Jerusalem and slaughtered Muslims and Jews. In 1144, the Muslims attacked, and captured, a Christian land in Syria. Pope Eugenius II called the Second Crusade, and they were massacred by the Turks.
In 1187, the brilliant Muslim commander, Saladin, attacked Jerusalem, and took it back. He permitted no slaughter
(1189 – 1192) Some of the prominent English took part in this crusade, which resulted in the capture of Ace and Jaffa, but not the elusive prize of Jerusalem.
(1202 – 1204) Called by Innocent III, the fourth crusade was called to demonstrate Christian power. In 1202, ten thousand crusaders gathered in Venice, ready to leave, but the Venetians did not provide the services they promised because they did not receive enough money. The Venetians came up with a new plan; they tried to get the crusaders to attack Zara, a rival of Venice. The crusaders refused, but were enticed by the offer proposed by Alexius IV, which involved the attacking of Constantinople, a Christian city. In 1204, the crusaders went on a rampage, stealing, killing, and weakening Christian faith in the church.
There were other crusades, including two amazingly unsuccessful children’s crusades, initiated by Stephen of Cloyes. In 1291, the last lands captured by the crusaders fell. The failed crusades added to the decline of feudalism, and strengthened the faith in the king. The one positive repercussion was the revival of trade with the Near East.
Founded by Peter Waldo, a rich merchant who gave up all is wealth to the poor. The Waldenisians gave up all of their wealth to the poor, and preached that Christianity should be taught in the language of the learners, rather than Latin.
A radical form of Christianity, the Cathari felt that the world was evil, so they didn’t produce offspring or benefit from any of the fruits of offspring, including eggs, milk, meat, and cheese. This was only expected of the perfect ones, the rest could marry, and eat whatever they pleased.
The Fransiscans condemned the church for their moral wrongs. St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1181 – 1226) wandered through towns, preaching and teaching the poor. He attracted many followers, called "The Little Brothers." Pope Innocent III befriended the Fransiscans, and allowed St. Francis to continue.
Founded by St. Dominic (c. 1170 – 1221), a Spanish nobleman, Dominic insisted his followers become well learned, and become preachers. They were known as "Hounds of the Lord."
(Reign: 1198 – 1216) Innocent III made the church the center of European life. He "asserted the theory of papal monarchy." He took part in the affairs of Kings, and said that the pope is lower than god, but higher than man. He even forced King John to accept his candidate for Archbishop, and threatened to use his influence to get England invaded if his will was not met. He called the Fourth Crusade, as well as a crusade against the Cathari.
The Fourth Lateran Council
Innocent’s brainchild, the Fourth Lateran Council was comprised of 1200 influential people and passed ordinances that prohibited taxes on clergy, and passed anti-Semitic laws.
In 1290 Jews were expelled from England, and in 1306 from France.
In the late eleventh century, there was a cultural revival in Europe. Schools and cathedrals sprung up, and Roman authors were studied again. Some Greek works were translated. The factors behind the "Twelfth-Century Awakening" were the revival of trade, and the growth of towns.
Centers of high learning, early universities were places formed by students, who controlled the teachers. Students attended lectures, and earned degrees in grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry astronomy, music, medicine, church law, and theology. There was turmoil inside of universities, because law did not apply there.
Medieval Philosophy, Literature, Science, and Art
Medieval philosophy applied reason to revelation. It clarified Christian teachings, and used reason to clarify faith.
(1033 – 1109) An abbot, Anslem argued that without faith, there was no knowledge. He argued that we cannot think of anything greater than God, but if he only exists in thought, he is not truly perfect, so he must exist in actuality as well. He accepted God’s existence,
(1079 – 1142) A teacher of philosophy, Abelard was best known for his affair with a student he tutored. He was eventually confined to a monastery.
There was also a revival of Aristotelian thought. The church feared that Aristotle’s works contradicted Christian thought, and, at times, placed were bans on his works.
St. Thomas Aquinas
(c. 1225 – 1274) A philosopher, Aquinas asserted the value of human knowledge. He wrote Summa Theologica, and tried to restore Aristotelian thought. He also felt that only some truth could be proven, and others must be accepted (e.g. the redemption). He also felt that faith and reason went hand in hand.