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The Idea of Europe and Rome 20/07/2007 12:07:00

what is western civilization?

• the term Europe comes from ancient Greece
• during the roman empire they carried it out to it’s present course
• civilization comes from the term civitas (of the citizens)
• original idea from where we draw western civilization from comes
from Mesopotamia between Tigris and Euphrates rivers (modern
day Iraq)
• the people living in this area maintain a complex system of
agriculture, canals for aggregation and built cities to concentrate
• they collaborated for survival without having to move from one
place to another
• with Mesopotamia we have a first example of code of law
• the ancient Greeks had a similar system
o more a collection of villages surrounded by a wall that were
o the Greeks cities (city-states) as they fight one another and
grow larger armies
 the farmers started to being drafted
o you have an open forum to debate the choices of the leaders.
A counsel
o ancient Greek city states had very large slave pop.
 Most often capture through conquest
 In 5th century BC. Athens had a pop. Of 350k.
 Only about 17% were citizens
 about 1/4 were slaves
o basic idea of heritage, culture, philosophy
• western civilization takes its most descendent from ancient Rome
o it began as a collection of villages on the tigres river
o by 27 BC it occupied most of the known world
 the world known to them
o Rome was able to expand through its highly disciplined army
 borrowed ideas of citizenship from Greece
 shared governing power
o two elected counsels to rule
o the senate was only allowed to the elite (access to it)
o the system of the roman republic allowed for people,
individuals in the republic to acquire great political following
and was not really able to stem a lot of infighting and strife
 after a series of civil wars a man named Augustus
became the single ruler of roman
 Caesar tried to do this, but was assassinated
 Augustus was able to do this because he was a skilled
 gave the senate a sense that they were governing
when they really weren’t
 the era of the roman empire we usually think of
 the roman government was highly organized
 extensive codes of law
 system of taxation
 the roman empire as a whole rewarded people
that did not rock the boat
 local rulers enjoyed a great deal of power as long
as they inferred to the emperor
 they also had slaves
• acquired from conquests
• bought from sellers
• people with great deal of debt and could not
pay them off they would become slaves
• some slaves could buy their way out (almost
never happened)
 the Romans practiced many gods
• Augustus started a religious cult around the
emperor himself
o you could pray to the emperor as a
 by 300 AD the empire had gotten so large that an
emperor named gaoclitian decided to divide the empire
into two administrative spheres
 eastern and western roman empire
• it became two separate empires
 the roman emperor Constantine converted to
Christianity in the 4th century AD (312 AD)
 until then Christianity was banned
 he begins to give bishops state authority
 Constantine was fine with other religions
• his predecessors did not and persecuted
those NOT Christians
 Christians grow from 5 to 30 million people
• Part of it was the missionaries
• the amount of money given to the
governing bishops to built schools, and
• and soldiers persecuting non-believers
 Rome did not last forever
 The roman empire ceases to exists because the
barbarians were able to overthrow the roman
empire and establish their own rule
 the roman empire technically lasted for much
longer, however, they had to real power over the
• it was a gradual decline
o the legacies of ancient Rome
 the father was the head of the household
 maintained financial control of the land until it
was passed on to his son
 the roman system of law continued to be influential well
into the middle ages
 the existence of a distinct ruling class based on land
ownership is the predecessor to mid-evil aristocracy
 left behind an extensive infrastructure
 Christianity
 dominant religion in the European continent
 hierarchy of church remained intact
 clergy were one of the only people able to read
and write and helped govern after the collapse of
the roman empire
• it became a unifying force
• people might speak different languages but
if they were Christians they could live
20/07/2007 12:07:00
20/07/2007 12:07:00