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A LITTLE HISTORICAL CONTEXT…. Fall of Rome No official date Sometime during the 5 th Century the West collapsed. 410 Visigoths attacked Rome. Overthrew.

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Presentation on theme: "A LITTLE HISTORICAL CONTEXT…. Fall of Rome No official date Sometime during the 5 th Century the West collapsed. 410 Visigoths attacked Rome. Overthrew."— Presentation transcript:


2 Fall of Rome No official date Sometime during the 5 th Century the West collapsed. 410 Visigoths attacked Rome. Overthrew the western emperor in 493. The last 10 western emperors rarely sat for more than a few years on the throne before they were deposed by invading barbarians. The Roman Empire included pockets of Christianity. As the empire fell the Church was an institution which provided social order from the 5 th to the 8 th centuries as the old order of Roman law fell apart. The Barbarians brought their varied laws and customs to different areas throughout Europe. Many of these laws were primitive and unjust by today’s standards. The Franks even practice human sacrifice during this time.

3 The guiding light of the Church lit a path through the “Dark Ages.” This is not to say the Church “had it all together.” There were still heresies, confusion regarding the relationship between Church and State, economic decline, widespread illiteracy, and lack of communication between “churches” which caused countless problems. The intensity of the early Christian Church began to wane as Christianity grew and persecution lessoned. Some Christians mixed the faith with idol worship. Some even participated in drinking orgies on feast days of the saints! If games were held on Sundays, churches were often empty. Still, the Holy Spirit, as always, worked through the mess as the Church continued to grow and solidify.

4 Church Structure With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Church had to adapt herself to a rapidly changing culture as a force of unity and strength. Therefore, the Church’s organization reflected what the people already knew – the organization of the governing structure and territorials divisions of Rome. The rites of ordination, especially of Bishops, resembled the rites of coronation of emperors. Even the papal clothes mimicked the clothing of the Roman Emperor. Christians had assumed that the destiny of Christianity was intertwined with that of the Roman empire. With the invasion of the barbarians, this awakened their realization that the Church needed to adapt to the changing culture. This adaption process is done with the work of the Holy Spirit, especially through the magisterium. Not all traditions from early times changed, however. Some ancient traditions were kept as a sign identity particular to the Catholic Church. Some took hundreds of years to die out because of this.




8 Who was Mohammed? Arab man born in Mecca around 570. Orphaned by age 6. Raised by uncle. Lived along Arabic trade routes Practiced Paganism, but exposed to Judaism and Christianity. Influenced by Nestorian (Gnostic Heresy) monk. Married a widow. Age 30 he retired to a cave and around the year 612 announced that the archangel Gabriel had called him to be the herald of Allah (the Jewish God.) Over a period of time he wrote down Gabriel’s messages and this resulted in the Koran (Islamic scriptures.) Muslims believe they are descendants of Hagar and Ishmael from the Old Testament. At first Mohammed tolerated Christians. That changed as he and his followers became more militant. Jihads (holy wars) against the “infidels” began in 694.

9 Spread of Islam After the fall of Mecca the Jihads were waged along the caravan routes. Syria and Mesopotamia soon fell. Christian lands became the main target as the use of war united the Arab peoples. Within 80 years from Mohammed's death, Islam succeeded in establishing a strong and lasting empire. It spread from India, to parts of North Africa, and into southern Spain. Conversions were forced and the religion spread. Muslim forces began by defeating the Persians an sacking Jerusalem in 638. When Jerusalem fell, both the East and the West went into shock. This prompted Christians to launch a counterattack to try to retake the Holy Land during the Crusades. After attacking Jerusalem the Muslims spread westwards, sacking Christian Alexandria in 643. This opened the door to North Africa and by 698, all of North Africa was under Muslim rule. 600 years of North African Christianity, having been weakened by Nestorian and Monophysite heresy, fell quickly and was replaced by Islam. The Byzantine (Old Roman) Eastern Empire was now reduced to an area not much larger than Greece.

10 The Moors In 728 Spain fell to the Muslims as well and remained Islamic for the next 700 years until 1492. The Moors is the name given to the medieval Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta. In 717 and again in 740 the Moors invaded Christian Constantinople but both times were defeated by Emperor. After that the Muslims entered France where they were met in 732 by Frankish chieftain Charles Martel. The battle of Tours turned the tide and sent the Muslims into retreat.

11 Jerusalem When Jerusalem was captured in 638 by Muslims, the caliph Umar cleared the Temple Mount, the site of the previous two Jewish temples, and built a mosque. In 684 the Dome of the Rock was erected. Jerusalem is considered the 3 rd holiest city after Mecca and Medina. The only remnant of the Jewish temple left on the site is the Wailing Wall.

12 Feudalism After the death of Charlemagne, the Carolingian empire fragmented into thousands of principalities, counties and fiefs (landed estates – pronounced FEEFS.) An economic system called FEUDALISM arose. At first this system was very effective for the prosperity o the continent and the population expanded. As the population grew, those class distinctions widened and land became scarce. Landowners competed for land, superiority and lordship. They did this by going to war with one another. The feudal wars of the 10 th and 11 th centuries cruel, furious and unjust. It became so chaotic that the Church worked to reduce the violence through by forcing Christian warlords to abide by the “Peace of God” and the “Truce of God” laws of warfare.


14 The Seljuk (sell-jook)Turks The rise of the Turks during the 11 th century resumed Islamic expansion in the East.

15 This time period began a renewed persecution of Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem. With the defeat of the Byzantine army at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, it became clear that the Turks could launch full scale expansion of Islam into the remainder of the Christian world. Christians began to fear annihilation of something wasn’t done.

16 Crusades in Brief a0QKA

17 Military Orders in Brief m/watch?v=xvWmjFwgk XI m/watch?v=xvWmjFwgk XI

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