A.P. Roman Empire Political and Cultural Changes and Continuities

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The final failure of the great civilization of Rome, was a slow, fatal, apparently irreversible process which seems to begin in the third century AD and is completed, at least as far as western Europe is concerned, in the fifth. During the long decline, great self-made figures, never from Rome but from the fringes of the empire, come forward and seek, by heroic efforts, to restore the unity, the security, the stability of the empire. They are famous figures in politics, religion, and art. The Roman Empire from 100 C.E. – 600 C.E. had many cultural and political changes as well as cultural and political continuities.

There were many political changes from the Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire. The Roman Empire had a Republic government where the power resided in an assembly of male citizens where the senate made policy and governed. The senate brought together the state’s wealth, influence and political and military experience. Rome’s success in creating a vast empire unleashed forces that eventually destroyed the Republican system of government. But during the Byzantine Empire, as the urban elite class shrank, the importance of high-ranking aristocrats at the imperial court and of rural landowners increased. In the Roman Empire they practiced paganism and worshiped the emperor as a god. Alexander the Great and Hellenistic kings were officially defied after death. But when Constantine became the ruler in 324 after winning a battle at the Milvian Bridge near Rome in 312 he converted to Christianity claiming he saw the cross in the sun before the battle. In 324 Constantine transferred the imperial capital from Rome to Byzantium. Unlike the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire retained its unity and became the Byzantine Empire, headed by an emperor who held both political and religious power. When Romans came into contact with Greeks in southern Italy they adapted Greek gods. But Constantine tried to unite the people under the Christian faith. Roman...
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