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Western Civilization -- Part 4

 by Michael Johnathan McDonald

Western Civilization Part 4

1) The Edict of Milan will start the beginning of the end of Christian persecution. And this will start the process of the conversion of the entire Roman Empire to Christianity. It will take a few hundred years -- into the 300s AD.
2) Summery the empire will be changing into a new wave of the future. It will become a Christian empire and this is a new fad. It was a powerful social fad (wave) that could not be stopped.
3) So the first Constantine does in office is to stop the persecution of Christians. This was called the Edict of Milan. Free the Christian Church to practice its worship openly. Releasing Christians from jail, give back their belongings. Build churches only in the suburbs at first and never in the city. (That will come later)
4) Edict of Milan causes missionaries to start to roam he empire to convert people to Christianity. They preached with a vengeance. This hurries up the transformation process and will take the rest of the 300’s to accomplish this feat. Constantine did not require his subjects to emperor worship. Diocletian divided up the empire into two regions. East is where the capital would be. Constantine did not want to divide the empire into but he did like the capital to be in the eastern end of the empire. The capital will be called. Constantinople. He moves the entire from Rome to Constantinople.
5) The city was built as a Christian capital.
6) This shift from the west to the east became like a neglected back yard.
7) Diocletion rules with total power in Constantinople, but he does favor Christians and is nice to them.
8) 318 AD a split develops in the interpretation of the many Christian documents (books) that were around. The basic argument is “What is the relationship of Jesus to God?”

Argument of Religion

1) This argument is between God and Jesus. And the difficult doctrine of the trinity.
2) Church officials allow Arius to argue if God and Jesus are of the same substance?
3) Arius is not sure if Jesus was of the same substance as God and some church officials though he was. Was this important? Yes! Arius thought Jesus was a mortal human being. Some officials in the Church took the opposite of the argument and said he was. Since the Church was starting to centralize its monopoly of tribute to finance its business dealings. So like in all history the big guy will squash the little guy.
4) The Church tells Arius to stop saying that! [Note: A freedom of speech issue. Here it is the church playing communist.]
5) Arius is threatened with excommunication. [Note: you will see how the Church controlled the entire Middle Ages with this absolute power.]
6) Arius is excommunicated. So he starts his own Church called the Arian Church. This is where the split happens. [Note: Old Testament splits between interpretation of the Laws of Moses and the other previous Hebrew teachings. And then the split remains into the current age over interpretation. This will pan out to be what is more convenient for the individual and impart what are ones inner convictions and inner truth to what he/she see inside them as the truth.
7) Arguments spread wide and far. The split is becoming recognizable to Constantine. He here about this and is disturbed. Because it will possibly cause a civil war and if not that it will weaken the unity of the nation. Some say it threatened to split the empire in half.
8) Constantine calls for the bishops to hold a conference, to see if Arius is right or wrong. He just wanted to put an end to the split as any king/emperor

Council of Nicea
325 AD

1) The turning point in history! So the Bishops come from all over the known world and they argue for about a year.
2) A year is a long time so we can estimate the issue will fall to the more money side and influence. [See: Socrates]
3) Constantine senses that the argument can go on forever so he demands that time is up and “Lets vote.”
4) The vote goes against Arius. You should have known that by studding Socrates. Little guy squashed- big money trounces again.
5) OK! We know have a newly devised truth! The History of it all.
6) You hade to now recite the Nicene Creed to be a Christian by decree this was made and Arius had a choice as well or be excommunicated [For the second time] and become a labeled term now in use called a heretic.
7) A heretic is someone who goes against what the Church says and proclaims however wrong they may be.
8) Arius was given sixty days to repent. He does nothing but gathers his people and they became known as the heretical Church and would last until the 600’s AD, then fizzles out. But today many still do not believe Jesus was the flesh of God. More like a human with a regular body and a regular brain.
9) So in this time what made you a good Christian or not? Just to recite the Nicene Creed is all. And you are promise a place in Heaven. A vary easy way out of responsibility of your actions. This was the main sticking point through all time. Just receive Jesus and do as you would please with know retribution to anyone you harmed. The Democratic Judicial system would be opposite the Church in governing the rights to be forgiven for ones sins.
10) This was against what Arius was trying to teach that responsibility follows actions. But the rich who like to hurt the small people need not be bothered by Aruis’ doctrine of responsibility. So it seems that Constantine got his peaceful union empire back again. His wife was a Christian convert but being vary intelligent he never decided to become one. Now he was dieing and his people around him thought it a good idea that he should become a Christian before he dies. He was on his death bed and was passing away vary quickly. Arius was now banned and his reputation tarnished and his people were now called the heretical Church. This means that they officially could never get into heaven. No priest was nearby and Constantine wanted to be baptized before he passed out and died. So he sent a servant into the street to pick out the nearest Priest and summons him at once to the emperor’s chamber to baptize him and convert him to Christianity. As the servant went into the street she saw a black robbed man walking down by. She asked him if he was an ordained Priest and he replied, “ yes I am.” She immediately rushed him into the bedchamber and he performed the rights and Constantine died a Christian. Now Arius was now so humiliated a stroke of luck would shine upon him so that he would get the last laugh in all of this. It seems that the Priest who performed the rights on Constantine was indeed an ordained Arian Priest. ;) “ Who are you and what church are you from,” Asked the emperors people. “ I’m from an Arian Church and am a ordained Priest by them,” he exclaimed.”
11) So Constantine is in hell by his own actions. Poetic justice. Arius dies with a smile on his face. So Arius gets the last laugh.

Church Fathers
12) End of the 300’s a majority of the population will become Christians. By 390 AD this is the case.
13) Theodosius 390 AD. He makes the Christians the official religion of the empire. No more pagan heritage will do. The new fad takes over. More easier to go to heaven with a simple recite.
14) All other temple and Churches must go! Big money plays a heavy hand.
15) The only other religion allowed will be Judaism, but the old pagan religions had to stop. The Christians had to put a new ban on their rivals.
16) So now Rome is a Christian Empire. Baptizing was a superficial thing, but to really be converted one had to change their inner personal views. Change your thinking. This was the good thing about Christianity and Judaism. Not many in the seats of power did this even though they called them selves Christians; it was more business as usual. Trampling the little guy for monetary profits. So come to adjust your thinking was too tough for most.
17) The contrast in the religions: Roman gods were tough and had valor with military might. A strong theme of being a man and taking care of the families and wife and friends and nationalistic leanings. Where as the new Christianity was more portrayed as meek will rule, passive and compliant a more of the same. A different value system was said needed to be learned. Still the powerful needed the meek to produce the food and sweep the streets. So more of the same seemed to fit the bill. Aggressive is out and passive is in. A nation or an empire that relies on pacifism always succumbs to a more aggressive foreign nation. You will see Rome start to fall gradually from their pagan power base that made them a world super power.
18) Adjusting to the New roman religion would be the strange names and places they all had to learn. The teachings were different. [See: More passive] New heroes has to be adopted like King David, and Hebrew who the Romans never heard of. And Creation of the World was a new concept of this invaded religion. [Note: When a established empire is taken over by a foreign culture it falls] And this new religion is a new culture.
19) The Greeks and Romans always thought that the physical universe was always been there. Now it was the first time that they were taught that a small tribes [The Hebrew] god had created it all. (?) They were being brained washed and it worked. All this had to be adjusted to.
20) In 390 AD there were just the upper class and the poor and all the poor converted and the upper class held a topical shield of acceptance of the new religion as a deferment to public criticism. [Note: Communism has the same formula- a small rich society and a massive poor populace. Communism does not survive and neither will the empire.]
21) Jerome: He was intellectual, had a good education. He became one of the top writers in the empire. The Bishops requested him to translate the Bible into Latin. He accepts and heads off to the Holy Land to live in a cave and work. He acquires a lion for company.
22) For the translation he consults the Greeks and rabbi’s to come up with the vision called the “ Vulgate Bible.” It’s pretty good. And this book that Jerome translates will be the standard for the next thousands years. [Note: You will see why when western civilization collapses and all hell breaks loose and illiteracy runs the gamut across western civilization nothing will be done to upgrade the translation.]
23) He writes other things called articles on the Bible as well. Basically his thoughts. These are seen as commentaries on the Bible and were used later by writers of prophecy and church doctrine. As the books were translated into Latin, the Bible and other works such as new updated translations of pagan books were a form of entertainment to the people out side of church practices.
24) Jerome thought that his translation of the Bible was not that good. He desired to read pagan books. [There vary more entertaining to him] Jerome became so ill because of his desire that it turned into a crisis for him. So much so that he fell into a coma. While in a coma he had a vary scary nightmare. In the dream he is sick in bed and Jesus Christ appears to him. “ I can’t possibly save you because you are not a Christian- You read pagan book!” Jesus said. Jerome then continues the dream and Jesus is now whipping him and beats him vary hard. Jerome cries out “ I love you, I love you,” but Jesus takes hot irons and burns out both his eyes. [Note: The fear that the Church put on non believers]
25) So after the dream and he recovers from sickness Jerome repents for two years. After this he gets over it. He starts back to reading and enjoying pagan books.
26) He reads Exodus from the Bible and questions it. He makes an allegory of Romans as Christians. They are the same bad people as us he justifies the book. This part of the Bible gives him reassurance that going back to read pagan books is OK! He sees that after the Egyptians free the Israelites, they loot Egypt. So definitely after they do this it was OK for him to read pagan books. [ See he didn’t see it as bad as robbery]
27) Ambrose of Milan: He was the governor of all northern Italy. Almost the right hand man of the emperor. He came from a high patrician family.
28) He was not interested in Christianity at all, until a crisis stood to disrupt a city under his governorship.\ in Milan. It seemed a large number of Arians saw a chance to get their own guy into a position of bishop vacancies that had opened up. Both sides wanted it vary bad. The Christians and Arians still a rival group vied for the job. A crowed emerges in the central market place and rock throwing erupts. At any moment a riot will break out. Things are looking vicious. Ambrose goes down to the market place to see what happening. His sudden arrival takes the crowed by surprise. The crowed silenced for moment. Then a child screams- let Ambrose be the Bishop. He was neutral to the whole episode. The crowed starts chanting his name and they start to lead him by the hand to the Church and perform the rights and make him bishop. They baptize him, give him instructions over the week and keep giving him rank until he passes enough levels to be ordained as a rightful bishop.
29) So it took only a week for him to become a bishop. He changes his mind and decides to give up his governorship and take his job seriously. He was a great administrator as a governor and this will rub off onto rag-tag run Church in its infancy. He creates administration structures called hierarchy. He rights these administrative codes down and writes commentary on the Bible as well. He generates allot of Christian literature. His administrative hierarchy becomes a model for the Church administrative structure.
30) Augustine of Hippo: Mother was a Christian and father was a Pagan. He studies at Carthage an equivalent of a community college. Then he moves to Milan. He hears the best public orator of the day Ambrose speaking and picks up good idea’s on public rhetoric.
31) He becomes a major writer.
32) At first he thought Christians were impossible. “ You must leave your brain at the door when you enter the Church,” Augustine said.
33) He goes through a crisis in his mind. He cannot make up his mind. It was an emotional decision. He decides to convert to Christianity. He thought the Church teaching were Mickey-Mouse. So he starts to ponder and write. He invents arguments that substantiate Christian doctrine.
34) He writes many-many books and became a great writer. He wrote on difference of Churches and Christian doctrine, as well as the state. He created the Autobiography. For over 1000 years his theology dominates all issues of Christianity.
35) Summery of Church Fathers: Writing in Latin. A revival of the empire. (More solidarity I think. Empire seems more solid and is revived and will go on and not collapse just yet.
36) Theodosius died in 395 AD. On Theodosius death the empire was now divided. A western empire and a eastern empire. This is called the divided empire.

Divided Empire
395-476 AD

1) There are joint administrations in the two empires. East will hold together a fare much better than the west in the next eighty-one years.
2) The western empire is less capable at this time to hold together. Diversity is not working; the religious revival is not changing the leaders in power minds. (Stated above of Christianity mind set change to goodness)
3) All the vast problems shown before that corrupt government and society return and so Christians did not change things at all. The same all same all continues. What happens I that the weakened infrastructure starts to crumble and from a 1st World Empire will now become a run down 3d World Empire as what is happening today. This will cause massive barbarian invasions that will collapse the western empire. Most generational citizens did not want to fight for a country who didn’t take care of their veterans and over taxed them to pay for illegal immigrants who immigrated into the regions of the empire who worked for less and lived like third world countrymen and thus underbid the middle class out of jobs. The rich and upper middle class would hire these immigrants and pay them less because they had no choice because the congress was taxing them so much to pay for programs for the immigrants that they had no choice. This wheel that is a downward spiral will lead to the collapse the western empire. The eastern side will do fine for a 1000 more years.
4) Barbarian invasions: At the late empire was doing a little better. (Just holding on) Then came a total breakdown of the boarders. Rome Empire is a split kingdom and the west will have to fend for its self.
5) Fast war horses with a battle cry! It swill seem a prophetic stanza would have read no different than this reality. No one dreamed they would come out from the east. The first invaders were the Huns. Pre-Mongolian tribes from the region of the east.
6) Huns were nomadic warlike people living in Mongolia region. They are always on the move. They use to attack the Chinese empires. The Chinese tiers of this from about 100 years before Jesus Christ that they made the Huns shift westward until late 300 AD they would run into the Germanic tribes in the south –eastern Europe.
7) The Germans were in the path of the Huns. This will start simultaneous migrations of many different tribes into the Roman Empire. Already vexed and over populated in the cities- this will over burden them. (More taxes)
8) Everyone was afraid of the Huns. They were described as doing everything on horseback- even taking naps and eat their meals. They also scared their face with knives when children on purpose. To deform their face they looked even scarier. They would knife their cheeks to make scares.
9) 406 AD The Rhine: Migrations of the 10,000 Vandals will roll across the river.
10) 408 they get to Spain. There was no military presence in Spain at the time. “ Hea’! Lets just take over,” Vandals said. So the Vandals take over part of Roman Empire and make their kingdom in Spain.
11) Results: Rome has no loyalty and no military everyone is over taxed and overburden with too many laws. No freedom no empire.
12) The tribes of Visigoths and Ostrogoths. Visigoths means western Goths and Ostrogoths means eastern Goths. The eastern Goths gets mostly- not all- concord by the Huns.
13) Visigoths were allowed to stay in the Empire after forced out by the Huns. [Most likely Roman could do nothing about it at this point.] Why you ask? Well the Visigoths start to loot Roman regions and Rome cannot do anything about it.
14) They go through Greece and loot it, but they proclaim they are Christians. So they don’ slaughter people indiscriminately. [Go figure that out] They take everything they get their hands on. They leave the native people with nothing. Rome can do nothing but watch.
15) 410 AD they arrive in Italy. No army there in Italy. So they head off to Rome. They have no problem and they loot Rome. Just a start of the looting of Rome to proceed in this once1st World Empire. The roman army goes out to meet the Huns so no Army is protecting Rome. So for two weeks the Visigoths loot Rome and strip everything. All the gold in Rome is taken. After they finish they move out looking for a place to settle.
16) Reason: Rome does not have enough military. [Explained why above] At this point the western empire is scared out of their wits. [To say the least]
17) The Emperor plays off the German tribes offering tons of money that already will have bankrupted what Rome had left. They are basically standing without a leg to stand on. The invaders recognized this. “ Take care of the Visigoths,” Emperor said to the Germans. Well the Visigoths loaded up with lot head off to Spain and kick out the Vandals and take Spain for themselves and stay there until year 711 AD.
18) Empire is now collapsing. The empire decides to abandon Briton. They cannot afford to run it. To many areas for their military to govern. [Reason: No one want to fight for a corrupt senators and establishment] All the administrations leave Briton. So Roman citizen Briton’s are left on their own. Once the word gets out. The Germans say “ What’s is there good to get in Briton for the picking’s, Lets go there.” They loot it and Rome receive another bruise to its pride.

Rome Collapsing

1) The German tribes the Angles and Saxons loot the coasts.
2) This is the time in Mythology that King Arthur (Of the Round Table) was supposed to have defended Briton. He is said to have fought against the Germanic tribes and wins some and loses some but in 460 he is said to have died in battle.
3) The Angles part of Briton land name is where we get the term English today.
4) Back to the Vandals who were defeated by the Visigoths and told to leave Spain travel to North Africa. [Part of Roman Empire now collapsing] They concur all of North Africa and dominate so completely that the sea around it is called the Vandal Sea. They start to gather up more people and Armies and go back to Rome in 445 AD and loot it yet again. [Any capital that is looted is a miserable thing.]
5) Huns are now attacking everything and everywhere and Rome is just being looted in every region. Roman administration will due anything now. They gather up 3000 pounds of gold and take it to the Huns not to attack Rome.[ Who is in charge of the world now?]
6) 448 AD The King of the Huns dies.
7) Attila is the New King. Attila as a child was a hostage of Rome. He learned Latin, was ambitious, and was a vary learned man. He will be called Attila the Hun.
8) He used a lame excuse in 451 AD to start a war because he was board and was just sitting around.
9) He takes 100,000 men and invades Gaul.
10) Rome asks the Germans to form a quick coalition against Attila and a big battle is the result, but no conclusive results come out of it. It was said the streams in the area were running in blood. Attila seeing this said it is not worth it and withdrew. The Huns now change and head back toward Rome to loot it. “ You are nobody if you do not loot Rome,” the barbarians said. He looted Rome in 452 AD.
11) He camps in northern Italy. The empire takes no steps in protecting Rome. Leo I bishop in Rome takes a box full of money and gold and pleads with Attila not to attack Rome. This was the first act of a bishop that acted more like a Pope. So this is where the First Pope will look for his position later in history. This is international diplomacy. [Today Presidents of America and Congress give much money to other countries not to build nuclear missiles and military war machines.]
12) Leo talks to Attila a few days on his attack on Rome. Attila sees a cute girl named Hilga. (German) He marries her in a lavish wedding complete with ceremonial celebrations and that night she literally sexed him to death. [Yes! That can happen. And it did.] A broken vessel was the cause and was broken during sex and Attila bleed to death. So no attack on Rome.
13) The next king of the Huns ensues in a big civil war between the tribe of the Huns. From al the deciding and fighting they manage to kill themselves off. After a hundred years they are depleted of infrastructure and decide to head back home. In this sense they vanish into history. They are no more until they reunite under a different name 600 years later calling themselves the Mongols. [Mongols means: Brave men from the east.]
14) Summery of the Huns. If they never showed up, then history would be vary different. Rome had fallen and was on the brink of total collapse. Yes it was splintered and many citizens left to start other movements and nations and out of this will come the Franks.


1) Franks cross Roman boarders from north into Gaul.
2) 400 AD England, Spain, Gaul, North Africa are all gone. Only left is Italy of the Roman Empire.
3) The new roman generals are the Germans. [No Roman citizen would be involved in a corrupted ways of the administration] Germans are all mercenaries.
4) 476 AD a 14-year-old kid inherits the throne. He is the son of the current emperor. His name is Romulus.
5) This will be the Last western emperor. And as a fitting conclusion to the now ended Roman Empire. The first leader of Roman in their mythology was named Romulus and so will be the last.
6) One of the roman generals Odoakar, who was half German and half Hun. [Half of the Roman military were Germans] He is a good guy. Odoakar decides to rule on the kid’s behalf. He disposes Romulus because he is just a kid. He doesn’t kill him. He just tells him to leave.
7) Germans were superstitious and never called themselves emperors. So he calls himself administrator of the west.
8) At this time the Senate is still functioning and Gladiator games are still staged. The Pope even owns some of the gladiators. After the death of Attila, Rome is a little peaceful and a little well. But not for long.
9) A few year later the Ostrogoths, now reenergized take a good look around and start to migrate into Italy.
10) “ We need a share of Rome,” Say the Ostrogoths. They are as big as a nation.
11) Odoakar says, “ Does not to be a war with this German nation?” Ostrogoths set up a meeting in 486 AD with Odoakar. They get Odoakar drunk at a celebration party; they hug him and make him feel at ease. After Odoakar is drunk they assassinate him.
12) Ostrogoths rule now. They decide to keep the Roman Senate. And give them halve the decision-making capabilities.
13) By this time and all this warring, less and less people are able to read and write. War takes up too much time of the mind and physical survival. Literacy will become more and more until it vanishes all together and only a few handful of monks will harbor the books and knowledge of reading and writing.

500 AD
The Middle Ages

1) Imperial administration is no more. we enter what is known as the Middle Ages, Dark Ages, or sometimes by the Church the Age of Faith.
2) After all of this the eastern empire was basically untouched by the Germanic tribes. The eastern empire is doing fine, everything is holding together well.
3) Early 500 AD: Justinian the Great 527-565
4) He thought he was great in his own mind. He thought he was a great Christian king. He was arrogant.
5) He builds the biggest church in Constantinople and he almost breaks his arm with congratulations of building the biggest church by padding himself on the back.
6) He takes a look at the western front. He sees barbarians. He sends notes to the German kings telling them to acknowledge him as emperor. He gets no reply. So Justinian launches a war to reestablish the Roman Empire.
7) In 533 AD with good generals he launches with allot of resources, money and men.
8) He attacks the Vandals. And the Vandals have a creed of not aloud to give up. So this is an extinction battle. Many civilians killed, and allot of disease. Some places like Africa become depopulated.
9) Next he is the Visigoths in Spain, but he couldn’t do it. The geography of Spain is so hard to move armies making it close to impossible. He gives up Spain.
10) Launches attacks against Ostergoths in Italy. 20 years later, still in war, the results are both armies are sea sawing back and forth. All the war does is wreak real long lasting damage to Italy. After 20 years, he wins Italy, but it is so damaged it wasn’t even worth it. [What did he get out of it?]
11) 554 AD announces victory. But in reality he only won back Italy and North Africa. His reconquest of the Roman Empire only hastened the collapse of the west. He just accelerated it.
12) Justinian dies 11 years later.
13) 568 AD is another German invasion. A tribe is called Lombard. [Lombard’s name is a corruption of ‘long beards.’] They are from vary far north. They are totally uncouth. They had long hair and scraggily beards.
14) The Lombards take over Italy. This will be the vary last of the west.
15) Now total Darkness is over the west. It is the Dark Ages. No more Senate, no more culture, no more literacy. Everything hits rock bottom!
16) Summery: Eastern empire carries on.
17) When asked why did the Roman Empire collapse. You first need to say? Which half.
18) Why did the west fall? When you look at all the details I laid out- its all there. The Roman Eastern Empire will last another 1000 years longer than the west.
19) The eastern empire adopts Greek in administration changes and names the empire Byzantine. This will last till 1453. And the capital will remain as Constantinople.
20) In the Dark Ages everything collapses, but the Church continues.
21) Illiteracy is rampant as is probably why the Church rises and its power will dominate the Age.
22) Latin Language survived because sermons are conducted in Latin.
23) The Church preserves some of the writings, art, and history. But most is eaten by bookworms and rot and lost for all time.
24) Fear fills the dark ages because of so much war and basically the outside world, so many look to the after life and heaven as a place of peace.
25) Monasteries and covenants offer protection from the outside troubled world.
26) Church will preserve writings and reading and books in monasteries. So culture and history is preserved this way of the past civilizations.
27) End of Second Unit


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