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Cultural Studies I The Late Roman Empire, Judaism, and the Rise of Christianity October, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Studies I The Late Roman Empire, Judaism, and the Rise of Christianity October, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Studies I The Late Roman Empire, Judaism, and the Rise of Christianity October, 2010

2 Late Roman Empire Most of the late Emperors were ‘Romanized’ people from the provinces, not from Rome itself: – Trajan and Hadrian were born on the Iberian Peninsula near Sevilla in what is now Spain – Septimius Severus was African – Two following Septimius Severus were Syrian Rome remained the center of culture all others at the periphery imitated – throughout the empire, cities, amphitheaters, temples, roads, arches, fortresses, aqueducts, bridges, monuments and baths were all modeled on those found in Rome While Rome was the center of the empire, changes within the city were challenging Rome’s authority that would have lasting consequences for much of the world

3 Thamugadi [tham-uh-GAY-dee] The Roman city of Thamugadi in what is now Algeria (200 CE) What can you observe about this city based on its plans?

4 Thamugadi [tham-uh-GAY-dee] The Roman city of Thamugadi in what is now Algeria (200 CE) Represents the Roman sense of order:

5 Thamugadi [tham-uh-GAY-dee] The Roman city of Thamugadi in what is now Algeria (200 CE) Represents the Roman sense of order: – Efficient, highly organized – Based on the rigid grid of a Roman military camp – Divided into four quarters, along east-west, north-south axes – Broad avenues lined with columns – All amenities of Roman life available (14 public baths, library, theater, several markets)

6 Thamugadi is a good example of Rome’s decision to ‘Romanize’ the world, impose Roman culture (law, language, art, architecture, etc) everywhere they ruled. Despite the successful spread of Roman culture, many groups emerged to challenge the Roman Empire…..

7 Thamugadi and Pompeii are the two most thoroughly excavated Roman cities. What makes these cities perhaps not representative of Roman cities in general? Ancient Pompeii could be ruined by modern problems: Pompeii-could-be-ruined-by-modern-problems

8 Roman baths Baths were an essential part of Roman culture throughout the Roman Empire in Europe, Africa and the Middle East Baths were an important part of Roman social life – political and business deals were made in the baths, social connections were made Thanks to aqueducts, there was enough water for domestic, agricultural and industrial uses as well as for leisure – extensive bath complexes built in every city and in homes of the wealthy 900 baths in the city of Rome alone! Men and women tried to visit the baths every day (the workday in ancient Rome ended at noon!) Criticized as being places of extravagance and moral decay

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10 Visiting a Roman bath The baths were in large complexes that had a variety of functions: community center, restaurant, fitness center, bar, and also as a performance center, where a juggler, a musician, or even a philosopher might entertain Baths of Caracalla were the most extravagant Roman baths, covering 27 acres and accommodating 1,600 people at one time Roman baths were extremely popular: Roman affection for them was typified by the remark one Roman emperor made to a foreigner who asked why the emperor took the trouble to bathe once a day. "Because I do not have the time to bathe twice a day," he replied. Roman baths in Bath, England Baths of Caracalla, Rome

11 Toilets – Romans were not shy about bodily functions and used public, communal toilets Waste would have entered a sewer with running water and flowed out to a river

12 Exercise Before stepping into the bath, all visitors – young and old, male and female – would exercise in open courtyards. Moderate exercise worked up a light sweat recommended before a bath.

13 Change room Privately owned slaves, or one hired at the baths, would watch your belongings – many thieves If you were wealthy, you may bring along more than one slave to show off your status.

14 Romans did not use soap – they poured oil on their skin to loosen the dirt then used a curved metal tool to scrape off the dirt, sweat and oil.

15 You would then enter the Caldarium, the hottest room in a Roman bath, where you would take a hot bath. The hot water and steamy air would open your pores. The room and the water would be heated using a furnace stoked by slaves.

16 After your hot bath and maybe visits to other sauna-like rooms, you close the skin pores that have been opened by plunging into a cold bath. This bath is meant to refresh and is often the final bath of the visitor.

17 Entertainment at the baths would have included, juggling, gymnastics, jesters, and musicians. During Republican Rome, women and men were kept separate at baths. Later, women and men shared all facilities. Sinful opulence: colored imported marble floors and columns, brightly colored stucco wall paintings, glittering glass mosaics – many of these materials were taken to be used in later cathedrals In late Rome, baths degenerated into places of debauchery and orgies – Roman baths became a symbol of all that was wrong with the Roman Empire to emerging early Christians Legacy of Roman baths: foot-spa-oasis-at-caesar's-palace-in-las-vegas-

18 Reactions against Roman baths Bodily cleanliness was equated with the luxuries of materialism, paganism and the ‘monstrous sensibilities’ of Rome In response to the debauchery of Roman baths, the early Christian church frequently discouraged cleanliness. “To those that are well, and especially to the young,” Saint Benedict in the 6 th century commanded, “bathing shall seldom be permitted.” St. Francis of Assisi considered an unwashed body a stinking badge of piety. It is commonly said that Europe during the Middle Ages, went a ‘thousand years without a bath’

19 Resistance to Rome: Judaism and early Christianity In order to understand the Christian opposition to Rome, we must first examine Judaism in the late Roman empire The Jewish religion became increasingly messianic – it prophesized that the world would end in apocalypse, the coming of God on the day of judgment, and the post-apocalyptic world would be led by a Messiah in ever-lasting peace For several hundred years Judea (now Israel) was deeply unsettled – large numbers of people claimed to be the Messiah and many apocalyptic preachers roamed the area Judaism also became more sectarian at this time – some sects followed laws of purity that made physical contact (such as a handshake) forbidden The Jewish sect gradually became known as Christianity – first known as one of many competing religious sects of Judaism

20 Relationship between Greeks, Romans and Jews Apocalyptic views were stoked by Greek oppression of Jews: – Greeks tried to impose their religion on Jews – Places a statue of Zeus in the Second Temple of Jerusalem – Allowed pigs to be sacrificed in the temple Jews were outraged that their sacred temple was converted into a shrine and defiled with the slaughter of pigs - revolted Romans tried to be more sensitive in dealing with Jews – they installed a nominally Jewish King, Herod, who tried to reconcile Jews and Romans through promoting religious tolerance and a massive building campaign – Herod rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, built a large port, constructed a mountain fortress above the Dead Sea at Masada

21 Masada Rome became less and less tolerant of the Jewish faith – Jews revolted until the Temple was sacked. Masada was held by a band of zealots for several years.

22 Romans eventually took Masada using an earth ramp.

23 Christian Rome The Roman Empire had always been a polytheistic state – dozens of religions were tolerated. How do you think this approach to religion helped or hurt the Roman Empire? As Christianity became a more and more dominant force in the Empire, Rome found it threatening to their power and identity. Why did so many people in the Roman Empire adopt Christianity?

24 Christianity gains strength: thank you, Diocletian Emperor Diocletian led a brutally violent persecution of Christians, that lasted 8 years Diocletian rose to power after a period of anarchy in the Roman Empire – he implemented a tetrarchy, a four-part monarchy that divided the empire Each monarch was equal – represented as being identical Diocletian deified the role of the Emperor, presenting himself as a divine manifestation of the gods, rather than a leader of a citizen-state. Dioletian dressed in robes of blue and gold silk, wore jewels, had his fingernails gilded, gold dust sprinkled on his hair to create the sense of a halo, servants sprinkled perfume behind him, all kneeled in his presence and addressed him as dominus (‘lord’) Claimed his right to rule was derived not from the people but from God. Diocletian forbade Christian worship, ordered churches destroyed, burned books, arrested bishops, Christians forced to make sacrifices to the emperor (whom non-Christian Romans now saw as divine) Those who refused were martyred, thus advancing the Christian cause What should have Diocletian done differently?

25 Early Christian art No very early Christian art – images were seen as idol worship First art illustrated the bible for illiterates Extensive use of symbols to deceive the hostile Romans Symbols are still widely used in Christianity Shift away from the realism and naturalism of Greek and Roman sculpture What is the source of these symbols? Why did early Christians come up with symbols to represent their faith?

26 The Good Shepherd, 300 CE

27 What are some similarities and differences between this sarcophagus and earlier Roman art?

28 Jonah Swallowed and Jonah Cast Up, 3 rd century, marble

29 Spread of Christianity Not everyone was convinced by the concept and ideas of Jesus – Many viewed Christians as a wacky cult – Many blamed Christians for bad events – Roman authorities wanted Christians to also worship the Roman gods along with Jesus 313 CE – Roman Emperor Constantine made it legal to be Christian The Christian church was never united – much variation in how Christianity was practiced across the Mediterranean The Great Schism of 1054 CE – the church split into two branches: 1) Eastern Church, based in Constantinople and lead by the patriarch 2) Roman church, lead by the pope Patriarch of Eastern Orthodox church, Bartholamew I Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Catholic church

30 Early Christian architecture Old St. Peter’s, Rome, 333 CE

31 Old St. Peter’s, Rome – the ‘new’ St. Peter’s replaced this structure in the 16 th century. How do we know what the old St. Peter’s looked like if it was replaced in the 16 th century?

32 Old St. Peter’s, Rome – the ‘new’ St. Peter’s replaced this structure in the 16 th century. How do we know what the old St. Peter’s looked like if it was replaced in the 16 th century? -modern archaeological finds -written descriptions -drawings made before and during its construction -surviving churches it inspired

33 Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, 430 CE -located on the site of a temple dedicated to a Roman goddess -long axis draws eye towards the altar -post and lintel construction = limited space -wood ceiling = constant threat of fire -drab exterior, elaborate interior meant to be admired What similarities do you see with ancient Roman temples?

34 Architecture developments in early Christian culture Domed roofs began to be built: Santa Costanza, Rome, 350 CE Central (round) rather than axial plan Dome, rather than post and lintel, offers uninterrupted space

35 Architecture developments in early Christian culture Domed roofs began to be built: Santa Costanza, Rome, 350 CE Central (round) rather than axial plan Dome, rather than post and lintel, offers uninterrupted space Plain, unadorned brick exterior

36 Architecture developments in early Christian culture Domed roofs began to be built: Santa Costanza, Rome, 350 CE Central (round) rather than axial plan Dome, rather than post and lintel, offers uninterrupted space Plain, unadorned brick Exterior Interior: ornate, rich materials Light enters through clerestory windows, ambulatory features mosaics Santa Costanza’s basic layout was used by later Byzantine architects

37 Early Christian Era Sculpture and Painting Very little sculpture was made during this period – considered idol worship Jesus the Good Shepherd, 3 rd century CE, marble, Rome


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