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The Reconquista (a Spanish and Portuguese word for "Reconquest"; Arabic: ????????? al-'Istirdad, "Recapturing") was a period of nearly 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula succeeded in retaking (and repopulating) the Iberian Peninsula from the Muslim Al-Andalus Province. The Islamic conquest of the Christian Visigothic kingdom in the eighth century (begun 710–12) extended over almost the entire peninsula (except major parts of Galicia, the Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country). After 500 years, in the thirteenth century, the sole remaining Moors ruling were the Nasrid dynasty in the Kingdom of Granada. They were defeated in 1492, which brought the entire Iberian Peninsula under Christian rule, thus completing the Reconquista.
A longbow is a type of bow that is tall (roughly equal to the height of the person who uses it); this will allow its user a fairly long draw, at least to the jaw (the average length of arrowshafts recovered from the 1545 sinking of the Mary Rose is 75 cm/30 in). A longbow is not significantly recurved. Its limbs are relatively narrow so that they are circular or D-shaped in cross section. Flatbows can be just as long; the difference is that, in cross-section, a flatbow has limbs that are approximately rectangular.
- Feudalism is a political and military system during the Middle Ages between the feudal aristocracy (a lord), and his vassals.
- In its most classic sense, feudalism refers to the Medieval European political system composed of a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs. Although derived from the Latin word feodum (fief), then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Medieval Period.
- There is no broadly accepted modern definition of feudalism. The term, which was coined in the early modern period (17th century), was originally used in a political context, but other definitions of feudalism exist. Since at least the 1960s, many medieval historians have included a broader social aspect, adding the peasantry bonds of manorialism, sometimes referred to as a "feudal society".
- Still others since the 1970s have re-examined the evidence and concluded that feudalism is an unworkable term and should be removed
- entirely from scholarly and educational discussion, or at least used only with severe qualification and warning.
A bayonet (from French baïonnette) is a knife-, dagger-, sword-, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle barrel or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear. It is a close quarter battle combat or last-resort weapon.
- The term 'Bayonette' dates back to the end of the 16th century, but it is not clear if the weapon at the time was the weapon as is known today or simply a type of knife.
- The weapon was introduced into the French army by General Jean Martinet and was common in most European armies by the 1660s.
The benefit of such a dual-purpose arm contained in one was soon apparent.
The early muskets fired at a slow rate (about 2 rounds per minute when loading with loose powder and ball, and no more than 3–4 rounds per minute using paper cartridges), and were both inaccurate and unreliable.
Bayonets provided a useful addition to the weapons system when an enemy charging to contact could cross the musket's killing ground (a range of approximately 100 yards/meters at the most optimistic) at the expense of perhaps only one or two volleys from their waiting opponents.
A cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Florence in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe.
encompassed a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform. Traditionally, this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man".
consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Tuscany in the 14th century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.
The Kaaba (Arabic: الكعبة / DIN 31635: al-Kaʿbah / IPA: [ˈkɑʕbɐ] / English: The Cube) is a cube-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam.
The building predates Islam, and, according to Islamic tradition, the first building at the site was built by Abraham. The building has a mosque built around it, the Masjid al-Haram. All Muslims around the world face the Kaaba during prayers, no matter where they are.
- One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime if they are able to do
- so. Multiple parts of the Hajj require pilgrims to walk seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction (as viewed from
- above). This circumambulation, the Tawaf, is also performed by pilgrims during the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage).
- However, the most dramatic times are during the Hajj, when about three million (officially) pilgrims simultaneously gather to circle the
- building on the same day.
- According to the Qur'an, the Kaaba was re-built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismāʿīl (Ishmael).
- Islamic traditions assert that the Kaaba "reflects" a house in heaven called al-Baytu l-Maʿmur (Arabic: البيت المعمور) and that it was first built by the first man, Adam and is believed that it is the first building ever built on earth. Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Kaaba on the old foundations
- The Holy Qur’an- literally “the recitation”) is the central religious verbal text of Islam, also sometimes transliterated as Quran, Qur’ān, Koran, Al-Coran or Al-Qur’ān. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the verbal book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic verbal text to be the final revelation of God.Islam holds that the Qur’an was repeatedly revealed from Allah to Muhammad orally through the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) over a period of approximately twenty-three years, beginning in 610 CE, when he was forty, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death.
- Followers of Islam further believe that the Qur’an was memorized, recited and written down by Muhammad's companions after every revelation dictated by Muhammad. Hafsa, Muhammad's widow and Umar's daughter, was entrusted with that Quran text after the second Caliph Umar passed away. When Uthman, the third Caliph, started noticing differences in the dialect of the Qur’an, he requested Hafsa to allow him to use the Qur’an text in her possession to be set as the standard dialect, the Quraish dialect aka Fus'ha (Modern Standard Arabic). Before returning that Qur'an text to Hafsa, Uthman immediately made several thousands of copies of Abu Bakar's Qur’anic compilation and ordered all other texts to be burned.
- This process of formalization of the orally transmitted text to Abu Bakar's Qur'anic text is known as the "Uthmanic recension". The present form of the Qur’an text is accepted by most scholars as the original version compiled by Abu Bakr.Muslims regard the Qur’an as the main miracle of Muhammad, as proof of his prophethood,and as the culmination of a series of divine messages. These started, according to Islamic belief, with the messages revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham),the Tawrat (Torah or Pentateuch) of Moses, the Zabur (Tehillim or Book of Psalms) of David,and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus.The Qur'an assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in Jewish and Christian scriptures, summarizing some, dwelling at length on others, and, in some cases, presenting alternative accounts and interpretations of events.
- The Qur'an describes itself as a book of guidance, sometimes offering detailed accounts of specific historical events, and often emphasizing the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence.
The Crusades were a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns waged by much of Latin Christian Europe, particularly the Franks of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
The specific crusades to restore Christian control of the Holy Land were fought over a period of nearly 200 years, between 1095 and 1291.
Other campaigns in Spain and Eastern Europe continued into the 15th century.
The Crusades were fought mainly by Roman Catholic forces (taking place after the East-West Schism and mostly before the Protestant Reformation) against Muslims who had occupied the near east since the time of the Rashidun Caliphate, although campaigns were also waged against pagan Slavs, pagan Balts, Jews, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites, Waldensians, Old Prussians, and political enemies of the various popes.Orthodox Christians also took part in fighting against Islamic forces in some Crusades. Crusaders took vows and were granted penance for past sins, often called an indulgence.
The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and were launched in response to a call from the Christian Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia.
The term is also used to describe contemporaneous and subsequent campaigns conducted through to the 16th century in territories outside the Levant usually against pagans, heretics, and peoples under the ban of excommunication for a mixture of religious, economic, and political reasons.
- Rivalries among both Christian and Muslim powers led also to alliances between religious factions against their opponents, such as the Christian alliance with the Sultanate of Rum during the Fifth Crusade.The Crusades had far-reaching political, economic, and social impacts, some of which have lasted into contemporary times.
- Because of internal conflicts among Christian kingdoms and political powers, some of the crusade expeditions were diverted from their original aim, such as the Fourth Crusade, which resulted in the sack of Christian Constantinople and the partition of the Byzantine Empire between Venice and the Crusaders. The Sixth Crusade was the first crusade to set sail without the official blessing of the Pope.
The Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Crusades resulted in Mamluk and Hafsid victories, as the Ninth Crusade marked the end of the Crusades in the Middle East.
The first record of the actual use of gunpowder in Europe is a statement by Bishop Albertus Magnus in 1280 that it was used at the Siege of Seville in 1247
Roger Bacon gives an account of gunpowder in his Opus Majus. (Actually his account was written in cryptic form. 1267
Edward III used cannon against the Scots 1327
Hand Cannon had appeared in the field of battle during the reign of Edward III in 1364
Hand guns were known in Italy in 1397, and in England they appear to have been used as early as 1375
The first mechanical device for firing the hand gun made its appearance in 1424
We hear of armour being penetrated by bullets and the hand gun showing signs of becoming a weapon capable of rudimentary precision by
Henry VII organized the corps of Yeomen of the Guard, half of whom were to carry bows and arrows while the other half were equipped with harquebuses. This represents the first introduction of firearms as an official weapon of the Royal Guard 1485
Columbus discovers the Americas 1492
The Reconquista ("Reconquest") is the centuries-long period of expansion of Iberia's Christian kingdoms.
The Reconquista is viewed as beginning with the battle of Covadonga in 722 and was concurrent with the period of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula.
The Christian army's victory over Muslim forces led to the creation of the Christian Kingdom of Asturias along the north-western coastal mountains.
Muslim armies had also moved north of the Pyrenees, but they were defeated by Frankish forces at the Battle of Poitiers, Francia.Subsequently, they retreated to more secure positions south of the Pyrenees with a frontier marked by the Ebro and Duero valleys.
In 739 Muslim forces were driven from Galicia, which was to host one of medieval Europe's holiest sites, Santiago de Compostela. A little later, Frankish forces established Christian counties on southern side of the Pyrenees; these areas were to grow into kingdoms.
These territories included Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia.Alcázar of SegoviaThe breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing Taifa kingdoms helped the expanding Christian kingdoms.
The capture of Toledo in 1085 was soon followed by the completion of the Christian powers reconquest of Spain's northern half.After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south.Marinid invasions from north Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries failed to re-establish Muslim rule.
Also in the 13th century, the Crown of Aragon, formed by Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands expanded its reach across the Mediterranean to Sicily. Around this time the universities of Palencia (1212/1263) and Salamanca (1218/1254) were established; among the earliest in Europe. The Black Death of 1348 and 1349 devastated Spain.
Ferdinand II and Isabella IIn 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. In 1478 began the final stage of the conquest of Canary Islands and in 1492, these united kingdoms captured Granada, ending the last remnant of a 781-year presence of Islamic rule in Iberia.
The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims.The year 1492 also marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus, during a voyage funded by Isabella.
That same year, Spain's Jews were ordered to convert to Catholicism or face expulsion from Spanish territories during the Spanish Inquisition. A few years later, following social disturbances, Muslims were also expelled under the same conditions.
As Renaissance New Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand centralized royal power at the expense of local nobility, and the word España, whose root is the ancient name Hispania, began to be commonly used to designate the whole of the two kingdoms. With their wide-ranging political, legal, religious and military reforms, Spain emerged as the first world power.
A knight was a member of the warrior class of the Middle Ages in Europe who followed a code of law called "chivalry". In other Indo-European languages, cognates of cavalier or rider are more prevalent (e.g. French chevalier and German Ritter) suggesting a connection to the knight's mode of transport.
Since antiquity a position of honour and prestige has been held by mounted warriors such as the Greek hippeus and the Roman eques, and knighthood in the Middle Ages was inextricably linked with horsemanship.
The Franco-British legend of King Arthur was popularised throughout Europe in the Middle Ages by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae ("History of the Kings of Britain"), written in the 1130s.
Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur ("The Death of Arthur"), written in 1485, was important in defining the ideal of chivalry which is essential to the modern concept of the knight as an elite warrior sworn to uphold the values of faith, loyalty, courage, and honour.
During the Renaissance, the genre of chivalric romance became popular in literature, growing ever more idealistic and eventually giving rise to a new form of realism in literature popularised by Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote.
- This novel explored the ideals of knighthood and their incongruity with the reality of Cervantes' world. In the late medieval period, new
- methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armor obsolete, but the titles remained in many nations.
- Some orders of knighthood, such as the Knights Templar, have themselves become the object of legend; others have disappeared
- into obscurity. Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in several countries, such as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, and the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.
Each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a head of state to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement.
The introduction of the stirrup not only made the mounted warrior supreme in medieval warfare, but may have initiated complex and far-reaching social and cultural changes in Europe.
The stirrup to the birth of feudalism and its subsequent spread into Northern Italy, Spain, Germany and into the Slavic territories.
- One theory suggested that the rising feudal class structure of the European Middle Ages derived ultimately from the
- use of stirrups: "Few inventions have been so simple as the stirrup, but few have had so catalytic an influence on history.
- The requirements of the new mode of warfare which it made possible found expression in a new form of western European society dominated by an aristocracy of warriors endowed with land so that they might fight in a new and highly specialized way."
- Most scholars, however, dispute this assertion, suggesting that stirrups may provide little advantage in shock warfare, but are useful
- primarily in allowing a rider to lean farther to the left and right on the saddle while fighting, and simply reduce the risk of falling off.
- Therefore, it is argued, they are not the reason for the switch from infantry to cavalry in Medieval militaries, nor the reason for the
- emergence of Feudalism.
The best known usage of military lances was that of the full-gallop closed-ranks and usually wedge-shaped charge of a group of knights with underarm-couched lances, against lines of infantry, archery regiments, defensive embankments, and opposition cavalry.
It is commonly believed that this became the dominant European cavalry tactic in the 11th century after the development of the cantled saddle and stirrups (the Great Stirrup Controversy), and of rowel spurs (which enabled better control of the mount).
Cavalry thus outfitted and deployed had a tremendous collective force in their charge, and could shatter most contemporary infantry lines.
Recent evidence has suggested, however, that the lance charge was effective without the benefit of stirrups.
Warfare in Europe
- Blunt weapons
- Horseman's pick
- HalberdLanceMilitary fork, the weaponized PitchforkPoleaxeSpear
- BowCrossbowThrowing axeThrowing spear and Javelin
- Body armour
- rtillery and Siege engine
- battering ramscatapult
- Camels in warfare
- Dogs in warfare
- Horses in warfare and
- Horses in the Middle Ages
- War elephant
In the Medieval period besieging armies used a wide variety of siege engines including: scaling ladders; battering rams; siege towers and various types of catapults such as the mangonel, onager, ballista, and trebuchet. Siege techniques also included mining.The Walls of Dubrovnik are a series of defensive stone walls, never breached by hostile army, that have surrounded and protected a maritime city-state of Dubrovnik (Ragusa), situated in southern Croatia.Advances in the prosecution of sieges encouraged the development of a variety of defensive counter-measures. In particular, medieval fortifications became progressively stronger — for example, the advent of the concentric castle from the period of the Crusades — and more dangerous to attackers — witness the increasing use of machicolations and murder-holes, as well the preparation of hot or incendiary substances. Arrow slits, concealed doors for sallies, and deep water wells were also integral to resisting siege at this time. Designers of castles paid particular attention to defending entrances, protecting gates with drawbridges, portcullises and barbicans. Wet animal skins were often draped over gates to retard fire. Moats and other water defenses, whether natural or augmented, were also vital to defenders.In the European Middle Ages, virtually all large cities had city walls — Dubrovnik in Dalmatia is an impressive and well-preserved example — and more important cities had citadels, forts or castles. Great effort was expended to ensure a good water supply inside the city in case of siege. In some cases, long tunnels were constructed to carry water into the city. Complex systems of underground tunnels were used for storage and communications in medieval cities like Tábor in Bohemia. Against these would be matched the mining skills of teams of trained sappers, who were sometimes employed by besieging armies.Until the invention of gunpowder-based weapons (and the resulting higher-velocity projectiles), the balance of power and logistics definitely favored the defender. With the invention of gunpowder, the traditional methods of defense became less and less effective against a determined siege.See also: Mining (military)
Pagans and Christians
Persecution under Nero, 64-68 A.D.Great Fire of RomeThe first documented case of imperially-supervised persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire begins with Nero (37-68). In 64 A.D., a great fire broke out in Rome, destroying portions of the city and economically devastating the Roman population. Nero himself was suspected as the arsonist by Suetonius, claiming he played the lyre and sang the 'Sack of Ilium' during the fires. In his Annals, Tacitus (who claimed Nero was in Antium at the time of the fire's outbreak), stated that "to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [or Chrestians] by the populace" (Tacit. Annals XV, see Tacitus on Jesus). Suetonius, later to the period, does not mention any persecution after the fire, but in a previous paragraph unrelated to the fire, mentions punishments inflicted on Christians, defined as men following a new and malefic superstition. Suetonius however does not specify the reasons for the punishment, he just listed the fact together with other abuses put down by Nero.Persecution from the second century to ConstantineBy the mid 2nd century, mobs could be found willing to throw stones at Christians, and they might be mobilized by rival sects. The Persecution in Lyon was preceded by mob violence, including assaults, robberies and stonings (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.1.7).Further state persecutions were desultory until the third century, though Tertullian's Apologeticus of 197 was ostensibly written in defense of persecuted Christians and addressed to Roman governors. The "edict of Septimius Severus" familiar in Christian history is doubted by some secular historians to have existed outside Christian martyrology.The first documentable Empire-wide persecution took place under Maximinus Thrax, though only the clergy were sought out. It was not until Decius during the mid-century that a persecution of Christian laity across the Empire took place. Christian sources aver that a decree was issued requiring public sacrifice, a formality equivalent to a testimonial of allegiance to the Emperor and the established order. Decius authorized roving commissions visiting the cities and villages to supervise the execution of the sacrifices and to deliver written certificates to all citizens who performed them. Christians were often given opportunities to avoid further punishment by publicly offering sacrifices or burning incense to Roman gods, and were accused by the Romans of impiety when they refused. Refusal was punished by arrest, imprisonment, torture, and executions. Christians fled to safe havens in the countryside and some purchased their certificates, called libelli. Several councils held at Carthage debated the extent to which the community should accept these lapsed Christians.Some early Christians sought out and welcomed martyrdom. Roman authorities tried hard to avoid Christians because they "goaded, chided, belittled and insulted the crowds until they demanded their death." According to Droge and Tabor, "in 185 the proconsul of Asia, Arrius Antoninus, was approached by a group of Christians demanding to be executed. The proconsul obliged some of them and then sent the rest away, saying that if they wanted to kill themselves there was plenty of rope available or cliffs they could jump off." Such seeking after death is found in Tertullian's Scorpiace or in the letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch but was certainly not the only view of martyrdom in the Christian church. Both Polycarp and Cyprian, bishops in Smyrna and Carthage respectively, attempted to avoid martyrdom.
Pagans and Christians
The persecutions culminated with Diocletian and Galerius at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth century. The Great Persecution is considered the largest. Beginning with a series of four edicts banning Christian practices and ordering the imprisonment of Christian clergy, the persecution intensified until all Christians in the empire were commanded to sacrifice to the gods or face immediate execution. Over 20,000 Christians are thought to have died during Diocletian's reign. However, as Diocletian zealously persecuted Christians in the Eastern part of the empire, his co-emperors in the West did not follow the edicts and so Christians in Gaul, Spain, and Britannia were virtually unmolested.This persecution lasted, until Constantine I came to power in 313 and legalized Christianity. It was not until Theodosius I in the later fourth century that Christianity would become the official religion of the Empire. Between these two events Julian II temporarily restored the traditional Roman religion and established broad religious tolerance renewing Pagan and Christian hostilities.The conditions under which martyrdom was an acceptable fate or under which it was suicidally embraced occupied writers of the early Christian Church. Broadly speaking, martyrs were considered uniquely exemplary of the Christian faith, and few early saints were not also martyrs.The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that "Ancient, medieval and early modern hagiographers were inclined to exaggerate the number of martyrs. Since the title of martyr is the highest title to which a Christian can aspire, this tendency is natural". Estimates of Christians killed for religious reasons before the year 313 vary greatly, depending on the scholar quoted, from a high of almost 100,000 to a low of 10,000.
Pagans and Christians
Decline of polytheism
- In AD 313 with the signing of the Edict of Milan, Christianity was no longer outlawed and now tolerated in the Roman Empire. Although Constantine allowed public Pagan practices, specific Pagan temples were torn down upon his orders, while in other cases temple treasures were confiscated
- After the death of Constantine in 337, two of his sons, Constantius II and Constans took over the leadership of the empire. Constans, ruler of the western provinces, was, like his father, a Christian.
- Constans was killed in 350, and soon after his brother became the sole emperor of the entire empire three years later.But it wasn't just the emperors who persecuted the Pagans. Lay Christians took advantage of these new anti Pagan laws by destroying and plundering the temples. Theologians and prominent ecclesiastics soon followed. One such example is St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
- When Gratian became Roman emperor in 375, Ambrose, who was one of his closest educators, persuaded him to further suppress Paganism. The emperor, on Ambrose's advice, confiscated the property of the Pagan temples; seized the properties of the Vestal Virgins and Pagan priests, and removed the statue of the Goddess of Victory from the Roman Senate.When Gratian delegated the government of the eastern half of the Roman Empire to Theodosius the Great in 379, the situation became worse for the Pagans. Theodosius prohibited all forms of Pagan worship and allowed the temples to be robbed, plundered, and ruthlessly destroyed by monks and other enterprising Christians.In the year 416, under Theodosius II, a law was passed to bar Pagans from public employment. All this was done to coerce Pagans to convert to Christianity. Theodosius also persecuted Judaism, destroying a number of synagogues.With the gradual Christianization of Europe the Christian views of marriage replaced more permissive, Pagan views.
Pagans and Christians
By the mid-2nd century, mobs could be found willing to throw stones at Christians, and they might be mobilized by rival sects.
The Persecution in Lyon was preceded by mob violence, including assaults, robberies and stonings.
- Lucian tells of an elaborate and successful hoax perpetrated by a "prophet" of Asclepius, using a tame snake, in Pontus and Paphlygonia. When rumor seemed about to expose his fraud, the witty essayist reports in his scathing essay
- ...he issued a promulgation designed to scare them, saying that
- Pontus was full of atheists and Christians who had the hardihood to
- utter the vilest abuse of him; these he bade them drive away with
- stones if they wanted to have the god gracious.
Further state persecutions were desultory until the 3rd century, though Tertullian's Apologeticus of 197 was ostensibly written in defense of persecuted Christians and addressed to Roman governors.
The "edict of Septimius Severus" familiar in Christian history is doubted by some secular historians to have existed outside Christian martyrology.
- After annexations in Parthia, Severus's son Bassianus (Caracalla) was accorded a triumph "over the Jews", and when the emperor visited Alexandria in 202 he issued an edict forbidding Jewish proselytising and conversions to Judaism, which has
- been interpreted as having applied to Christians as well.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia states that the edict "forbade conversion to Christianity under the
- severest penalties," immediately adding that "Nothing is known as to the execution of the edict in Rome itself nor of the martyrs of the
- Roman Church in this era."
- The first documentable Empire-wide persecution took place under Maximinus Thrax, though only the clergy were sought out.
- Christian sources aver that a decree was issued requiring public sacrifice, a formality equivalent to a testimonial of allegiance to the
- Emperor and the established order.
Decius authorized roving commissions visiting the cities and villages to supervise the execution of the sacrifices and to deliver written certificates to all citizens who performed them. Christians were often given opportunities to avoid further punishment by publicly offering sacrifices or burning incense to Roman gods, and were accused by the Romans of impiety when they refused. Refusal was punished by arrest, imprisonment, torture, and executions.
Christians fled to safe havens in the countryside and some purchased their certificates, called libelli. Several councils held at Carthage debated the extent to which the community should accept these lapsed Christians.
The persecutions culminated with Diocletian and Galerius at the end of the third and beginning of the 4th century.
Their persecution, considered the largest, was to be the last major Roman Pagan persecution, as Constantine I soon came into power and in 313 legalized Christianity.
It was not until Theodosius I in the latter 4th century, however, that Christianity would become the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Fall of Roman Empire
The decline of the Roman Empire refers to the societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, military, and other social institutions of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom. The English historian Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) made this concept part of the framework of the English language, but he was not the first to speculate on why and when the Empire collapsed. "From the eighteenth century onward," Glen W. Bowersock has remarked, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." It remains one of the greatest historical questions, and has a tradition rich in scholarly interest. In 1984, German professor Alexander Demandt published a collection of 210 theories on why Rome fell, and new theories have emerged since then.This slow decline occurred over an estimated period of 320 years which many historians believe finally culminated on September 4, 476 when Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire was deposed by Odoacer, a Germanic chieftain. To an extent any such date must be arbitrary; Julius Nepos, the legitimate emperor recognized by the East Roman Empire continued to live in Salona, Dalmatia until he was assassinated in 480. Some modern historians question the relevance of this date, as the Ostrogoths who succeeded considered themselves as upholders of the direct line of Roman traditions, and note, as Gibbon did, that the Eastern Roman Empire was going from strength to strength and continued until the Fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453.Some other notable dates are the Battle of Adrianople in 378; the death of Theodosius I in 395, the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified; the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes after the withdrawal of the troops in order to defend Italy against Alaric I (such invasions had occurred many times previously but this time it was successful); the death of Stilicho in 408, followed by the disintegration of the western army; the Sack of Rome (410), the first time in almost 800 years that the city of Rome had fallen to a foreign enemy; the death of Justinian I, the last Roman Emperor who tried to reconquer the West, in 565; and the coming of Islam after 632.Many scholars maintain that rather than a "fall", the changes can more accurately be described as a complex transformation. Over time many theories have been proposed on why the Empire fell, or whether indeed it fell at all.