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Ancient Rome and Roman Government

By katkolin Nov 07, 2012 580 Words
Thesis Paragraph:

From 100 to 600 CE, the Roman Empire experienced a number of political and cultural changes and continuities. While Rome experienced political change in terms of the impact of Christianity on the Roman government, patriarchy continued politically as the mainstay of the Roman governmental and law systems.

From 100 to 600 CE, the Chinese empire experienced a number of political and cultural changes and continuities. While China experienced political changes in terms of the fall of the Han Empire, the centralized government continued politically as remaining under and holding a heavily Confucian influence.

Change 1:

One political change that Rome experienced from 100 to 600 CE was the rise and effect of Christianity on the Roman government, through the development of the papacy and the reforms of Constantine, who made Christianity a legally accepted religion in 313 CE, by signing the Edict of Milan, Rome gradually established a religion-based monarchy as opposed to its former ruling aristocratic class. Christianity, brought over by trade with the middle east, was appealing to people of all backgrounds and social standing—it gave them a promise of a pleasant afterlife, preached the importance of brotherhood, and set guidelines that were unvaried based on social class, as opposed to the tenants of Greco-Roman paganism, which differentiated in rule sets based on social status. As a result, Constantine’s Byzantine Empire was able to be united under one belief system. In general, by 600 CE, monotheistic religions were flourishing in all of Asia and the Mediterranean, with the influence of Daoism and Judaism already prominent.

Continuity 1:

A political continuity that Rome experienced during this time was the prolongation of a patriarchal Roman government, evident in the rigid dictatorship of the paterfamilias on a smaller family scale, having the total right to land and property within the family, as well as the fact that solely men had the right to hold political positions in the senate as well as other governing bodies. For example, Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic, had his sons put to death by his own command due to their disobedience. When women started gaining a stronger foothold in power around 200 BCE, and divorce rates skyrocketed, there was a large surge in the power of children consequentially when the paterfamilias lost power. However, Augustus revived the patriarchal values of Rome by passing reforms, making adultery a public crime and forcing Romans to marry and have a certain number of children. At the time, Daoism in China as well as the Indian caste system simultaneously encouraged patriarchal societies.

Change 2:

One cultural change that Rome experienced from 100 to 600 CE was the installation and eventual fall of the Pax Romana, a time of road-building, lawmaking, and expansion of trade that lasted roughly 200 years until 180 CE. This change was allowed by the termination by Octavian of the civil war in Rome prior to Julius Caesar’s murder. His policies provided stability for the basis of the Pax Romana. The evident prosperity during this time allowed the Roman Empire to reach a massive 70 million population as well as a massive expansion, pushing its borders from England to Morocco to Iraq: the product of ongoing wars during the Pax Romana. The expansion of Mediterranean trade routes as well as the silk roads and the Roman army’s amazing ability to conquer is what allowed this change on a global scale.

Continuity 2:


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