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Unformatted text preview: Week One Reading Questions Read: Chapter 1, pgs 19-30 (stop at Art from the Provinces to the Center) and pgs 39 (begin at The Barbarians)-54 Due: July 2 by 11:55 pm Post to Drop Box 1. In the last centuries of Roman rule over the Western Roman Empire many changes were made to the structure and organization of the military. Outline those changes and discuss how you believe they affected Roman rule. The Roman government began to expand the military in order to better protect itself from attacks from the northern barbarians and the eastern Persians. It became more mobile and reinforced, as they built more walls and towers. The normal population was not enough to support this growing army, so the Romans recruited Germanic warriors in exchange for land. For leadership, the senatorial aristocracy was forbidden to lead the army, so proven warriors were chosen instead. Obviously this affected how the Roman empire was ruled as it became more militarized instead of political. The Romans were a much stronger military power this way, but also less concerned with other issues, such as the economy, as can be seen with the change of the currency to silver, which produced severe inflation. 2. What was the appeal of Christianity as a new religion? The appeal of Christianty was mainly that of belonging and family, as well as being a "higher" society. With the strict class lines of the Romans, it was difficult to advance to the next wealth level, but Christianity provided the middle class with a way to become more, with its own form of education. Also for those provincials who had never been given a way to feel truely Roman, this new and universal religon made them all equal and provided them with a sense of belonging. 3. What changed the Roman relationship with the barbarians from amicable to adversarial? The barbarians, under pressure from the attacking Huns, asked for protection from the Romans, who gave them this. The tens of thousands of barbarians were too much for the land, and famine spread. The barbarians asked the Romans to open a market, which they also did, but greed made the Romans take everything the barbarians had, even their sons. The barbarians did not consent with this for long though, and rebelled. 4. In the early Middle Ages, there was a shift from urban life to rural life. How did this shift present itself? The barbarian kings that lead the people from the cities, charged taxes on everyone that they could. The urban middle class suffered from this and fled the cities, giving up their freedom to the rich landowners in the countryside who had bodyguards and simply chose not to pay taxes; in exchange for land and protection. 5. There were many elements that helped bring about the fall of the Western Roman Empire. What would you consider to be the most important cause? The most important element that brought about the fall of the Western Roman Empire is the lack of recogniton of the needs of the barbarians that the Romans invited in. The barbarians were part of the empire, and when their needs were not met, they took the land over from their hosts, the Romans....
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- Summer '08