But in that gap between Constantine and Theodosius something very important

But in that gap between constantine and theodosius

  • McGill University
  • HIST 214
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  • GeneralFreedomFalcon7498
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But in that gap between Constantine and Theodosius, something very important happened. Ofelas (spelling?) started converting the Germanic tribes, but to Arianism. So the Germanic tribes were already Christian, but not the branch of most of people inside the Empire. So this created an ambiguous situation where the Germans are not com-
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pletely barbaric, they are Christians, but they’re not like us. Some of the German Christi-ans converted to Catholicism, but not all of them. So this is a lesson in how tangled up politics and religious belief can be tangled up. Our story today is about how what used to be the Roman Empire, unifed and strong, breaks up in the Old Western Empire, no longer under the authority of the Roman Em-peror, becoming kingdoms under Germanic kings, though the type of governance is the same, hence the word “subRoman”. The Eastern Empire will stay the Empire, its bound-aries are going to change after the 7th Century when Islam appears on the scene, and eventually we shall call it the Byzantine Empire. They never called themselves this-they always called themselves Roman. The Arabs/Turks who eventually came unto the scene called it (basically) Rome. By the time we get to the first quarter of the 6th century, there is really a dividing line between the East (‘proper’ Roman empire) and West (the Kingdoms).How did all of this happen?Rome fell.It fell because of the Barbarian invasions.But what does all of this mean? Who were the Barbarians? A lot of these debates about what happened at the transition between the Western Roman Empire and the new king-dom comes down to a debate about what we’re going to call this whole period. Shall we call it Late Antiquity? It implies that there’s a continuity of Antiquity that’s fading into the twilight..in a way, the people who have promoted this label definitely think that way, like Peter Brown at Princeton. He sees Late Antiquity as a continuation of Antiquity but with its own character. Others, looking at what’s happening in the West where Roman gov-ernmental power is no longer there and there are Germanic kings, prefer the term Sub-Roman because they say it’s not Antique anymore, and yes there are Romans forms continuing, but it’s not the same, so let’s call it SubRoman. But this is a bit complicated. How can you compare Italy under Theodoric with Anglo Saxon England...it’s very differ-ent. Then people like to call it the Early Medieval period, because there will never be again a central Roman power, and we are dealing in fact with a whole new set of condi-tions that have to do with the creation of the nations in Europe. Now to the piece of jewelry we see on the powerpoint slide...it’s a sort of medallion (bracteate). What do we make of it? It looks a bit like one of the Emperors, it’s all etched in. It does look like Constantine looking up. It could also be Lady Rome, Roma the God-dess. So either an emperor or an allegorical figure of Rome. Underneath is a wolf-the
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