Chapter 7: Late Antiquity and the Emergence of the Medieval World

  1. The Late Roman Empire
    I. The Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine
    a. Political Reforms
    i. Diocletian (284-305)
    1. Prominent military leader who became emperor after murder of emperor Numerian by praetorian prefect
  2. a. Political Reforms
    i. Diocletian (284-305)
    --2. Reforms: provinces
    • a. Created new administrative system for restructured empire
    • -----. # of provinces increased to almost one hundred by creating smaller districts superintended by more officials
    • 1. Provinces in turn grouped into twelve dioceses, each headed by a vicara. Twelve dioceses grouped into four prefectures
  3. a. Political Reforms
    i. Diocletian (284-305)
    --2. Reforms: division
    • a.  Entire Roman empire divided into two parts, east and
    • west                                                                                                                              .     
    • -- Each part contained two prefectures and was ruled by
    • an “Augustus”
    •            1. Diocletian ruled east

    •          2. Maximian, a strong military commander, the west                                                                                                                         ii.  Each “Augustus” assisted by chief lieutenant or
    • “vice-emperor” called a "Caesar” who would succeed to the position of Augustus
  4. a. Political Reforms
    i. Diocletian (284-305)
    --3. Reforms: new system
    • c. NEW SYSTEM CALLED THE TETRARCHY (rule by four)
    •      i. Diocletian believed one man was incapable of ruling enormous empire
    •               1. Each of two tetra resided in different administrative capital
    •               2. Despite the rule of four, Diocletian’s military seniority enabled him to claim a higher status and hold ultimate authority
  5. After Diocletian's retirement in __, a new struggle for power ensued:
    • 305
    • a. Victory of Constantine in 312= control of entire west
    •    i. Still continued to share imperial authority with Licinius, a fellow emperor
    •        1. In 324, Constantine’s army defeated Licinius’ forces--> Constantine as sole ruler
  6. a. Political Reforms
    ii. Constantine
    continued and expanded autocratic policies of Diocletian
  7. Under Diocletian and constantine:
    • 1. Roman Empire was transformed into system in which emperor had far more personal power than Augustus, Trajan, etc.
    •   a. Emperor clothed in jeweled robes of gold and bluei. Seen as divinely sanctioned monarch whose will was the law
    •   b. Government officials= humble servants required to kneel before and kiss robe of emperor
    •   c. Senate lost all power and as just city council of Rome
    • 2. Greatly strengthened and enlarged the administrative bureaucracies of Roman Empire
    •   a. Civil and military bureaucracies sharply separated
    •     i. Each contained hierarchy of officials who exercised control at different levels
    •       1. Emperor presided over both hierarchies and served as only link between them
    •            a. New titles of mobility were instituted to dignify holders of positions in civil and military bureaucracies
    •                  i. Ilustres
    •                  ii. Illustrissimi
  8. Military Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine
    • i. Army-->400, 000 men, including Germans
    • ii. By end of Constantine’s reign, new organization of army
    •    1. Military forces divided into two:
    •        a. Garrison troops on frontiers and first line of defense against invaders
    •        b. Mobile units located behind frontier but could be quickly moved to support frontier troops when borders threatened
  9. Diocletian and Constantine: Economic and Social Trends
    • i. Reforms greatly enlarged two institutions—army and civil service—that drained public funds
    •   1. More revenues needed to pay for military and bureaucracy
    •       a. Population not growing, so tax could not expand
    •   2. Diocletian and Constantine devised new economic and social policies to deal with financial burdens
    •       a. Based on coercion and loss of individual freedom
  10. Economic/ Social Trends 
    • 1. To stop inflation, in 301, he resorted to issuing an edict that established maximum wages and prices for the entire empire
    •     a. Applied mostly in east, but despite severe penalties, it was largely unenforceable
    • 2. Decline in coins of circulation-->collect taxes and make government payments in produce
  11. Economic and Social Trends
    Introduced new gold coin, the solidus, and new silver coins that circulated during his reign
  12. Economic and Social Trends
    3rd Century
    1. City councils declining

    •     a. Curiales (city councilors) forced to pay expenses out of own pocket when taxes they collected were
    • insufficientà wealth no longer wanted to serve in these positions
    •         i.  D and C responded by issuing edicts that forced the rich to continue posts as curiales, making it hereditary position
    •                             1. Some curiales realized fortunes would be wiped out and fled cities to escape imperial bureaucracy
  13. Economic and Social Trends
    • 1. Form underlying basis for numerous occupations in Late Roman Empire
    •   a. To maintain tax base and keep empire going despite labor shortage, emperors issued edicts that forced people to remain in designated vocations
    •       i. Jobs= hereditary
  14. Economic/ Social Trends
    • vi. Coloni—free tenant farmers
    •     1. Decline--> bound to land
    •         a. Large landowners took advantage of depressed agricultural conditions to enlarge estates
    •               i. Free tenant farmers depended on them and discovered that landlords obtained gov’t cooperation in attaching coloni to estates to guarantee labor
  15. Economic and Social Trends
    Lower class and Taxes
    • 1. Enormous taxes due to exemption of upper class from paying or evading through bribery
    •      a. Undermined lower-class support for the regime
    •            i. Visigoths= liberators
  16. Constantine's Building Program
    • i. Rome no longer imperial administrative center due to distance; symbolic capital
    • ii. 324-330: Constantine engaged in construction of new capital city in east, called Constantinople
    •      1. Developed for defensive regions
    •           a. Strategic location
    •      2. Officially dedicated on May 11, 330 and decked with palaces, amphitheater, and forum
    • iii. In Rome, he built public baths and triumphal Arch of Constantine
    • iv. First emperor to build churches for Christians in Rome, including the first basilica dedicated to St. Peter
    •      1. Also gave grants to Christian leaders in Rome, enabling more noticeable role in city
  17. Empire's New Religion
    • a. Christianity flourished with help of Constantine
    • b. Constantine
    •      i. Support began in 312, when he was about to fight a battle against Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge
    •            1. Saw a vision of a Christina cross with the words, “In this sign, you will conquer”
    •                    a. Won= converted
    •      ii. 313= Edict of Milan
    •            1. Officially tolerated existence of Christianity
    • c. After him, all emperors, except Julian (tried to restore Greco-Roman religion), were Christian
  18. Theodosius I "the Great"
    • 1. Christianity made official religion
    •       a. Christian leaders used influence and power to outlaw pagan practices
  19. Christian Church system of gov't
    • d. Christian Church developed system of government (4th century) based on territorial plan borrowed from Roman administration
    •      i. Bishop headed dioceses
    •          1. Bishoprics under archbishop
    •          2. Bishops of Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch important due to belief that original apostles founded their cities
    •     ii. Heresy caused this
    •            1. With rise came contradictions of doctrines, which also became political issues, creating political factions that warred
    •                   a. Teaching different from “catholic” beliefs of church
    •                            i. Ex: Jesus’ nature: divine vs. human
  20. Arianism
    • 2. Arianism
    •   a. Arius, priest from Alexandria
    •   b. Jesus human and truly Godc. Constantine was disturbed and called first ecumenical council of church
    •     i. Council of Nicaea in 325 Nicene Creed
    •       1. Jesus is same substance as God
    •       2. Did not end controversy
    •           a. Persisted and adopted by Germanic Goths
    •                 i. This created important role for Roman emperor in Church
  21. III. The End of the Western Empire
    a. Summary:
    • i. Constantine reunited Roman Empire and restored order
    • ii. Death--> division as fighting between Roman armies backing rival emperors
    • iii. 395: west and east= two independent states
    •     1. East: intact under Roman emperor in Constantinople
    •     2. West: collapsed and replaced by various Germanic kingdoms
    •       a. Causes:
    •              i. Power struggles
    •              ii. Aristocratic flip-floppers for greater security
    •              iii. Military failures
    •              iv. German invasions
  22. The End of the Western Empire
    • i. Rhine and Danube= boundary separating people of north (Germans= uncivilized barbarians)
    •     1. Reality: Different tribes and groups that frequently changed
    •       a. Sometimes formed larger confederations under strong warrior leaders
    • ii. Herders and farmers and traded with people along Rome’s northern frontiers
    •     1. Proximity--> some Romanization
    •       a. Familiar with Roman coins and gained knowledge of Latin language and Roman military matters
    • iii. Romans in contact with them
    •     1. Hired them to fight other Germanic tribes that threatened Rome or fight for Rome
  23. The End of the Western Empire
    German Migrations
    • i. Huns caused migration
    •   1. Visigoths asked (376) Roman Emperor Valens to allow them to cross Danube in return for providing troops
    •     a. Mistreatment of them by Romans
    •       i. Revolt
    •         1. 378: Valens and 40,000 fought--> emperor and 2/3 of army killed
    •     b. Theodosius resettled Visigoths and incorporated them into army
    •       i. Some= army leaders
    •       ii. 4th century: Roman policy allowed army units to be composed entirely of Germanic tribes called federates, or allies of Rome
  24. The End of the Western Empire
    German Threat and Alaric
    • i. Existence of federates= threat
    • ii. Alaric, leader of Visigoths
    •     1. 395-401: moved through Balkans and into Italy, seeking food and cash--> refused-->besieged city, causing senate to pay 5000 pounds of gold and 30000 pounds of silver for his withdrawal
    •     2. Two years later, Alaric wanted part of n. Italy and sacked Rome for three days
    •       a. Alaric died-->Visigothic followers left and moved into Spain and s. Gaul as Roman allies
  25. The End of the Western Empire
    Other Germanic tribes settling
    1.Burgundians in Southern Gaul

    2.Franks in northern Gaul

    • 3. Vandals, under Gaiseric seized Carthage, the capital
    • of N. Africa, in 439

    • ii. With settlements of Germanic tribes came withdrawal
    • of Roman forces from provinces, reducing central authority of emperors

    •     1. 410: Honorius recalled last Roman legions from
    • Britain, which led to Saxon expansion of control in Britain
    • a, Another decad--> both Spain and Gaul free of imperial rule
  26. End of hte Western Empire
    Role of Masters of Soldiers
    • i. Mid- fifth century: western provinces of Roman Empire taken over by Germanic people who created independent kingdoms
    • ii. At the same time, in Rome, some imperial authority remained in Rome
    •   1. Real power behind throne rested in hands of important military officials called Masters of the Soldiers
  27. End of the W. Empire
    Masters of the Soldiers
    • 1. Controlled government, Dominated imperial court
    • 2. Three most prominent
    •    a. Stilicho
    •           i. German
    •           ii. Killed by Emperor Honorius
    •    b. Aetius
    •           i. Roman
    •           ii. Killed by Emperor Valentinian, who was later assassinated by group of his German bodyguards, who sought to avenge their betrayed leader
    •   c. Ricimer
    •           i. German
    •           ii. Natural death
    • 3. All three propped up emperors to maintain fiction of imperial rule, but also cooperated with Germans to maintain power
    • 4. Even they weren’t safe in bloody world of fifth century Roman political life
    • 5. Constant infighting added to instability of imperial rule
  28. End of W. Empire
    - Role of Masters of the Soldiers
    ---Mid fifth century
    • iv. Mid fifth- century: imperial authority in west operated only in Italy and some of Gaul
    •   1. Rome not safe
    •   2. 455: Rome broke treaty with Gaiseric, leader of the Vandalsa. Gaisaric sacked Rome (undefended)
    •   3. 476: Odoacer, new Master of the Soldiers, (German), deposed Roman emperor, the boy Romulus Augustulus
    •     a. Romulus’ deposition = end of Roman empire
    •     b. Empire remained as Odoacer presented himself as German king obedient in theory to the Roman emperor Zeno of Constantinople
  29. End of W. Empire
    - Role of Masters of the Soldiers
    ---End of fifth century
    • v. By the end of the fifth century, Roman imperial authority in west had ceased
    •     1. Intellectual, governmental, and cultural traditions lived on in Germanic kingdoms
Card Set
Chapter 7: Late Antiquity and the Emergence of the Medieval World
The empire is transformed into a new state, the Late Roman Empire, under Diocletian and Constantine.