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Western Civilization -- Part 3

History 101 McDonald
Part 3

The Decline Roman Empire
Continued from part 2

1) Elegabolus 222 AD He spoke a broken language, and he was Syrian Priest. He becomes the next Emperor of Rome. He is also from outsider of Rome. He worships the pagan Sun god, and not roman god.
2) He has a religious agenda. When he becomes emperor, he has a parade threw the streets of Rome walking backwards, people were stunned. Because he was followed by a Idol on a float of his Sun god he worships. That was his big deal to introduce his pagan god to Rome. He only lasted four years and then was assassinated.

Barrack Emperors
235-284 A.C.E.

1) 26 emperors who ruled one after another and all averaged about two year apiece. The next emperors assassinated each one.
2) Barrack Emperors were military men who became military emperors. They were all generals who seized the throne one after the other.
3) They caused the system of Rome’s government to collapse. All were assassinated.
4) About year 260 internal fighting caused vary bad things to occur. As generals leave their posts to go to Rome to try their hand at emperor, they leave gaps in the boarder posts. The Germanic tribes get through these gaps about 260 AD. So they fear that the Germans were coming to Rome caused the city out of fear to build a wall around it.
5) Thus economic inflation occurred, and good money was gone.
6) Large amounts of people unemployed.
7) The emperor provided free food, because “they will do mischief towards you,” he said he said to the general public and councils. The poor will turn on you if you do not feed them. (Probably leaned something from the Salve revolt.)
8) At this time Rome was disintegrating from within.
9) The infrastructure was eroded, so the emperor put it to the citizens to run things by there own money. (Like today we have people or companies who sponsor highway cleanups along the freeways.) Also volunteers were offering services to help out.
10) Late 200’s Rome would need just one more small crisis and the whole empire would come crashing down.

History 101 McDonald
Part 3 page 2

Diocletioan: 284-305 AD

1) Diocletian was born a peasant and he had joined the Army. The military was a way to say to the public that one can defend Rome and be a part of the defense of the state.  He becomes a general.
2) He didn’t seize the throne for aggrandizing himself. What he wanted is to stop the decline of the empire.
3) He will postpone the decline about 200 years.
4) So Diocletian stops the decline temporarily.

Late Empire

1) Doicletian wanted to make repairs. He was a tough guy who increased the military pay. He controlled the military.
2) He was an autocratic ruler, which meant all power to him was wielded. He was kind of like a king. Though he didn’t ride roughshod over the Empire, but he saw that things needed change.
3) The first thing he did was to increase the military pay. And then, that prevents himself from being assassinated. One of the first things he looks into right away is about how he can change things so he doesn’t become assassinated like the others before him. He decides to move the offices were he will do his work from out of Rome and into the country, away from the mad people of Rome.
4) He was always well guarded and only appeared in Rome on special occasions, but with heavy security around him.
5) He starts to say that to assassinate an emperor would to be anger the gods.
6) Thus he starts what is known as emperor worship. He invents this religion of worship to himself as an idol. He makes statues of himself appear everywhere through the empire. He makes special priests force citizens to sacrifice in the temples and to attend worship church. (He knows he is not a god.) If you refused not to worship, you were fingered as a dissident. In the services you had to touch the sacrificed animal on the head.
7) Diocletian was strange to say the least. He imitated the Persian governments dress. He wore robes of silk, which had all kinds of jewels. (That sparkled like Elvis Presley costumes.) He would wear long hair and earrings and rings on his fingers, and a long beard. In his palace he would have a sparkling thrones to give the idea he was superhuman. This was all done to protect him.
8) Any group who refuse to worship the Emperor will be persecuted. The Christians did not worship him, so guess what? He persecuted them.
9) Dioclecian saw the Christians as political dissidents. “Get rid of them,” he said. He started official persecution of the Christians.
History 101 McDonald
Part 3 page 3

10) Diocletian institutes price controls, which make inflation. (Price controls never work-even now) After a while he didn’t enforce them.
11) He did recognize that what was needed was a smaller government. So he streamlined it, made it more concentrated. More concentrated made the government smaller. This help now with cutting the tremendous tax burden on the citizen. (This will help the recovery of the declining period, which will vanish due the streamline of government.)
12) Taxes remained high because Diocletian kept the emphasis on miniaturization. But he succeeded in repairs and rebuilding the empire and he stopped the assignation cycle.


1) Christianity religion: It all started from Judaism.
2) Judah is destroyed 587 BC and captive in Babylon. They remain 15 year under Babylon rule in Babylon. During this time the Persian Empire started to erupt. They intern take on the Babylonians and capture them in 539 BC.
3) Now Babylon is gone.
4) A Persian Army Ruler named Cyrus decides that the captivity to the Judah’s is not necessary that they are small and unthreatening and they can go back to their home and rebuild their lives. We they return, well most of them. The ones who set up footing and established something in Babylon stay! But, large number will return.
5) Back in Judah, the Jews resume their way of life. The Persians allowed them to rebuild and establish their own kingdom as long as they pay their taxes. (Also called tribute)
6) The restored Jewish state has a theocratic society and government, called the “Rule of God.”
7) The head priest becomes the head of state. And many priests become council.
8) Moses Laws are enacted and called it the Temple State. The Bible was their constitution. They rebuild the temple from the original ruins.
9) The people swear to uphold [observe] the laws of Moses and make a covenant.
10) Alexander concurs the Persian Empire and started the Hellenistic Age. Now Judah passes under Greek rule. The Hellenistic rulers see Judah all along and figure they are no threat. They allow autonomy in the larger government of the rulers. (Of the Hellenistic rule.)
11) The Judeans get attracted to the Hellenistic culture. (Remember; Rome was a moral and ethical place before Greek sent ambassadors over there and inflicted their culture of wantonness’ and greed and sloth.)
12) Thus Hellenistic Jews came out of this. Once a generation passed they spoke Greek and forgot Hebrew.

History 101 McDonald
Part 3 page 4

13) The desire to keep every law of god developed into a crisis. There were Zealots who wanted everyone punished if they failed to obey God. “ Better to go overboard than to suffer disobedience”, they said. This left to new problems; as people became literate, the Bible was translated into Greek so they could read it. They started to study the Bible intensely and led many to interpretational problems. “ What did God say?” What did God mean by saying that?” They said.
14) Most have become literate, and the general public starts to read the Bible for themselves. This made the translation from individual to individual different.
15) From the priests, who interpretive the Bible started to argue between themselves. They started to question of what purpose of certain laws? This started disagreements that arose. A high priest goes into a field to harvest a piece of grain he cuts and takes it to the temple to wave before god. Then the priest argues which way to wave the piece of grain before god. Was it to be waved up a down from north to south, or was it to be waves side ways from east to west. (This is usually how major wars get started.)
16) Well all of this starts different sects to come into existence. All were united in obeying gods laws, but none could interpret the Bible and agree on one thing.
17) Sadducee: Priests of the temple. They were the religious mechanics. They were vary conservative and smug, and considered themselves to the Jewish aristocracy. They studied the Bible, but said, whatever we express is what God said.
18) Pharisees: Arose in the Hellenistic times. They were not in the Old Testament. Educated laymen, who wanted to obey god. Careful reading of the scriptures and believed that the Sadducees were in error. They were practical. They became unofficially laymen teachers of the Bible, and were more realistic, and practical. They started to grow in numbers, and the Sadducees started to resent them. The Pharisees tried and wanted vary much to find error in the Sadducees.
19) Essences: “ we are the only true sects,” they said. They believed they only have the right understanding of the Bible. They thought everyone else was living in sin except them. They didn’t mix well with the community. They dressed in all white robes, and lived like monks. Spent all their time reading and studying the Bible. They though all prophecy referred to none other than them. The also believed the end of the world was near. Pacifists as well, but they had a military arms stashed away.
20) The Essences planned to concur Jerusalem, tear down the temple and rebuild it to their specifications. They believed that the temple was built wrong according to code of the Bible. The code they got it from was called the temple scroll, and it was directly given by god to King David in which a tower to worship the Sun was called for. After they did this the kingdom of god would be established on Earth.
21) So strict were they on the Sabbath that they would not even go to the bathroom, because they deemed that as work. This came out of the desire to please god and the lengths that people take to please god.
22) Samaritans: Claimed they were the real Jews. They had their own scriptures to suit their own needs. They also said that the temples should all be moved out of Bethlehem.

History 101 McDonald
Part 3 page 5

23) Hellenistic times End of the world Prophecies: A prophetic book made its rounds, or came into being. The Book of Daniel. Vary specific indications that the end of the world was coming. (Or least the Jewish world coming to an end.)
24) Daniel had a series of Empires: Babylon-which came and gone; Persia-which came and gone; Greece- which came and gone; and a fourth empire-which would be greater and contain even worse than the three to start to oppress the Jewish people.
25) Then Rome arose and made Judea a protectorate. Everyone thought that the Roman Empire was the fourth empire. (Little did they know.)
26) 1 AD: Rome put Jerusalem under their rule and rulers. Everyone thought Daniel was being fulfilled. Evidence we have found that all the sects of Judea believed that the end of the world was here. (See: Jesus emotion)
27) Nazarenes: Followers of Jesus. “Repent and be baptized for the kingdom of god is at hand,” said Jesus. This means Jesus thought it too to be the end of the world.
28) Nazarenes were and end of the world sect.
29) Jesus puts stricter laws and different interpretation on the laws of Moses.
30) Working on the Sabbath was a big deal, but to Jesus it was ok to due work on the Sabbath.
31) Jesus was a Jew. (I believe he was Greek and Turkish)
32) Jesus keeps all the laws. (Note: Maybe not all true.) He observes all the Jewish festivals and pays the temple tax.
33) Jesus disciples preach after his death to only the Jews.
34) Apostle Peter received messages from God to baptize Romans. Surprised after touching unclean-common people. After Peters message they star to preach to non-Jews.
35) Paul of Tarsus: Hellenistic Jews ( I don’t think so.) Born in Greece, went to Greece school. He preached in Italy, Greece, Asia-Minor, and to the Hellenistic Jews. (?) He also baptized non-Jews.
36) Pagan to Christian: Priests said what should we do, so they asked leaders in Jerusalem. They made them customs with Judaism-Moses. Then they can be regarded as Christians. “No,” said Paul. Why keep the laws of Moses to prove they are good Christians. (You can see the split-taking place.) In a big meeting Paul wins the argument. “ they do not need to know the Laws of Moses,” Paul said. (What he is saying the do not need to know the Ten Commandments.) Just be baptized and follow Jesus.
37) Now you have two Jewish ways of life. Paul splits the Jewish nation into two! And he was not a original disciple of Jesus. Judaism-Moses and Christianity-Jesus.
38) Then an errant verse that separated the Jews and Christians forever. It was a passage in the Book of Daniel.
39) It called for a deliverer who was a descendant of the House of David, who would become the Messiah. This deliverer would defeat the fourth empire, and Denial prophesied down to the year. “483 years, Daniel said. By 1 AD everyone was counting, but it was not clear it was said in 358 the Jewish returned home to build their temple. There was three different times that were contended in what was said by Persian kings. So the date was is not exact.

History 101 McDonald
Part 3 page 6

40) Scholars 6-60 AD: Many individuals claiming to be the messiah, some were criminals and some just plain crazy. There were catalogued 64 individuals by the (?) This was a tremendous messianic expectation at the time.
41) 66 AD A revolt started by the Priests of the temples who rose up against the Romans and butchered a roman garrison. This spread and the Jews wanted independence. They were vary mad, or this was madness? The Jews fought valiantly. They were convinced because they said they had god on their side.
42) First the Romans concur Judea in summer of 70 AD. Jerusalem fell. The temple of god caught on fire and burned to the ground. On the day that Rome broke into the city on temple day. Some on that day calculated Gods intervention from some charismatic Jewish leader in the temple.
43) Jewish communities perished and were gone, and all that was left was the Christian churches outside of Jerusalem.
44) Christian communities is where apostle Paul started then from all his travels.
45) Now Christian churches change from what was said originally by Jesus. Also the Sabbath was moved to Sunday.
46) So the original Jewish-Christians are gone.
47) Summery: Roman Empire savior cults spring up. Christian numbers began to grow. At first the official roman attitude was not to prosecute them.
48) Why was Christianity growing? Vary attractive social appeal. Social ethic of Love. “Everyone love your neighbor,” Taught the gospel of love and kindness. Women were treated better in the communities.
49) Individual salvation from the outside world. Other gods were mythical, now Jesus was seen as physical god on Earth. He appeared in a historical time, and on the map.
50) Jesus was more of an authentic figure. Son of god who lived on the earth. Jesus new how we feel. (Clinton new how we feel. Notice the emotions.)
51) The New Testament: It was an impressive large volume. All documented in there.
52) Christians were open about their teachings, where other clubs you had to join before you knew what they taught. Other sects say, “Come and join us then we will tell you” (So Christianity was more attractive.)
53) Christianity goes throughout the Hellenistic Age; they go as far as Briton. The religion is on the move.
54) Enmity started: Christianity will take converts away from the established religious churches of the time. They spread lies. (This is one reason why a movement to persecute the Christians arose.) This may have started at local levels. Then this starts to grow in Diocletians reign to 5% who were now Christians.
55) Diocletian stars official persecution: He starts persecuting the Christians, because they did not follow the law to worship Diocletian. (Emperor worship.)
56) So impressed were some persecutors that they converted on the spot and became martyrs. So Christianity grew in numbers.

History 101 McDonald
Part 3 page 7

Diocletian – Rome

1) Diocletian gets the people back on their feet.
2) He saved Rome from collapse, and now he is getting old.
3) Diocletian did something unusual, in that he stepped down. (Abdicated his seat of power.) In old age he left behind four men in the day-to-day running of the empire.
4) He grooms four individuals.
5) He sees the empire is too large, so he divides up the empire to deal with it. There’s a western empire and a eastern empire with the capital in the eastern half.
6) He put two emperors to rule, one in each half, and in 305 he abdicates the throne.

W Capital E

Empire Empire

7) The four men start fighting to be the only ruler. This cause 17 years of civil war.
8) After the war only one emerges as the emperor and was Constantine 312-339.
9) He was a son of one of Diocletian’s generals. He was an army brat. He calls Constantine the great. (?)
10) The vary first thing he does in office comes as a big surprise. The edict of Milan, calls for the freeing of the Christian-Jews from persecutions. Spot persecuting the Christian-Jews are given the same rights as everyone else with no probations. They can hold public meetings and go out a get converts.

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Copyright © 1999 - 2013 Michael Johnathan McDonald