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As Rome changed consuls every year, this created serious problems for Roman schoolchildren. Girls were trained by their mothers to cook, make clothes and to do other jobs that the Romans believed would make a girl into a "good wife". In the second century BC schools began to emerge in Rome. They were very small and were usually only one room. As well as reading and writing, children were taught elementary arithmetic. The Roman numeral system made arithmetic difficult and most sums were done by moving beads on a counting frame called an abacus.

The Romans were strong believers in corporal punishment. One popular saying was: Terence disagreed with this approach and argued: If he think's he can get away with something undetected, then he'll be back to his tricks. But the man who is attached to you by affection is anxious to treat you as you treat him, whether you're there or not A man who can't do this should admit that he cannot control children.

Many rich Romans preferred to employ private tutors to educate their children at home. It was usually cheaper to buy an educated Greek slave to teach children than to send them to school.

As most of the books used were in Greek, Roman children were brought up to be bilingual. Quintilian , an important Roman educationalist in the 1st century AD, believed that schools were better than private tutors. He argued that schools encouraged competition between children and in doing so improved standards. Quintilian also argued that children would do better at school if both the child's parents had also been educated. This encouraged some fathers to spend money on their daughter's education, but from the evidence that we have this was still fairly rare.

At the age of fourteen children of the rich went to a school where they were taught the skills of oratory public speaking. Pagans were probably most suspicious of the Christian refusal to sacrifice to the Roman gods.

This was an insult to the gods and potentially endangered the empire which they deigned to protect. Furthermore, the Christian refusal to offer sacrifices to the emperor, a semi-divine monarch, had the whiff of both sacrilege and treason about it. He refused, and although he was apparently eager to meet his death, beast-fighting had been declared closed for the day and so he was burnt alive instead.

General persecutions tended to be sparked by particular events such as the fire at Rome under Nero, or during periods of particular crisis, such as the third century. During the third century the turn-over of emperors was rapid - many died violent deaths. As well as this lack of stability at the head of the empire, social relations were in turmoil, and barbarian incursions were on a threatening scale.

The economy was suffering and inflation was rampant. Pagans and Christians alike observed this unrest and looked for someone or something, preferably subversive, to blame. It was hardly surprising that a series of emperors ordered savage empire-wide persecutions of the Christians. Although fourth and fifth century AD Christian narratives tend to describe the preceding centuries bitterly as a period of sustained and vicious persecution, there were in fact lulls. How can we explain this?

Well, the Roman empire was in the first few centuries AD expansionist and in its conquests accommodated new cults and philosophies from different cultures, such as the Persian cult of Mithraism, the Egyptian cult of Isis and Neoplatonism, a Greek philosophical religion.

Paganism was never, then, a unified, single religion, but a fluid and amorphous collection. But it would also be a mistake to describe Roman religion as an easy, tolerant co-existence of cults. The very history of Christianity and Judaism in the empire demonstrates that there were limits to how accommodating Roman religion could be, and these were not the only cults to be singled out for persecution.

Bacchic revels encouraged ecstatic drunkenness and violence, and the cult of Magna Mater involved outlandish dancing and music, and was served by self-castrating priests.

Under particular emperors, Christians were less liable to be punished for the mere fact of being Christians — or indeed, for ever having been Christian. Thus under Trajan, it was agreed that although admitting to Christian faith was an offence, ex-Christians should not be prosecuted. Historians have marvelled at this idea.

Emperors had historically been hostile or indifferent to Christianity. How could an emperor subscribe to a faith which involved the worship of Jesus Christ - an executed Jewish criminal? This faith was also popular among slaves and soldiers, hardly the respectable orders in society. The conversion was the result of either a vision or a dream in which Christ directed him to fight under Christian standards, and his victory apparently assured Constantine in his faith in a new god.

From the foundation of the city till the reign of the Emperor Gratian, the foot wore cuirasses and helmets. But negligence and sloth having by degrees introduced a total relaxation of discipline, the soldiers began to think their armor too heavy, as they seldom put it on. They first requested leave from the Emperor to lay aside the cuirass and afterwards the helmet. In consequence of this, our troops in their engagements with the Goths were often overwhelmed with their showers of arrows.

Nor was the necessity of obliging the infantry to resume their cuirasses and helmets discovered, notwithstanding such repeated defeats, which brought on the destruction of so many great cities. Troops, defenseless and exposed to all the weapons of the enemy, are more disposed to fly than fight.

What can be expected from a foot-archer without cuirass or helmet, who cannot hold at once his bow and shield; or from the ensigns whose bodies are naked, and who cannot at the same time carry a shield and the colors?

The foot soldier finds the weight of a cuirass and even of a helmet intolerable. This is because he is so seldom exercised and rarely puts them on. The final Gothic settlement was acclaimed with relief, [62] even the official panegyrist admitting that these Goths could not be expelled or exterminated, nor reduced to unfree status.

Goths attacked the emperor himself, but within a year Alaric was accepted as a leader of Theodosius's Gothic troops and this rebellion was over.

Theodosius's financial position must have been difficult, since he had to pay for expensive campaigning from a reduced tax base. The business of subduing barbarian warbands also demanded substantial gifts of precious metal.

In he forbade even private honor to the gods , and pagan rituals such as the Olympic Games. He either ordered or connived at the widespread destruction of sacred buildings. Theodosius had to face a powerful usurper in the West; Magnus Maximus declared himself Emperor in , stripped troops from the outlying regions of Britannia probably replacing some with federate chieftains and their war-bands and invaded Gaul.

His troops killed Gratian and he was accepted as Augustus in the Gallic provinces, where he was responsible for the first official executions of Christian heretics. Maximus boasted to Ambrose of the numbers of barbarians in his forces, and hordes of Goths, Huns, and Alans followed Theodosius.

There were heavy troop losses on both sides of the conflict. Later Welsh legend has Maximus's defeated troops resettled in Armorica , instead of returning to Britannia, and by , Armorica was controlled by Bagaudae rather than by imperial authority. He also appointed Arbogast , a pagan general of Frankish origin, as Valentinian's commander-in-chief and guardian. Valentinian quarreled in public with Arbogast, failed to assert any authority, and died, either by suicide or by murder, at the age of Arbogast and Theodosius failed to come to terms and Arbogast nominated an imperial official, Eugenius r.

Eugenius made some modest attempts to win pagan support, [77] and with Arbogast led a large army to fight another destructive civil war. They were defeated and killed at the Battle of the Frigidus , which was attended by further heavy losses especially among the Gothic federates of Theodosius. The north-eastern approaches to Italy were never effectively garrisoned again.

Theodosius died a few months later in early , leaving his young sons Honorius r. In the immediate aftermath of Theodosius's death, the magister militum Stilicho , married to Theodosius's niece, asserted himself in the West as the guardian of Honorius and commander of the remains of the defeated Western army. He also claimed control over Arcadius in Constantinople, but Rufinus , magister officiorum on the spot, had already established his own power there.

Henceforward the Empire was not under the control of one man, until much of the West had been permanently lost. The ineffectiveness of Roman military responses from Stilicho onwards has been described as "shocking", [84] with little evidence of indigenous field forces or of adequate training, discipline, pay, or supply for the barbarians who formed most of the available troops.

Local defence was occasionally effective, but was often associated with withdrawal from central control and taxes; in many areas, barbarians under Roman authority attacked culturally-Roman " Bagaudae ".

Corruption, in this context the diversion of public finance from the needs of the army, may have contributed greatly to the Fall. The rich senatorial aristocrats in Rome itself became increasingly influential during the fifth century; they supported armed strength in theory, but did not wish to pay for it or to offer their own workers as army recruits.

The fifth-century Western emperors, with brief exceptions, were individuals incapable of ruling effectively or even of controlling their own courts. Without an authoritative ruler, the Balkan provinces fell rapidly into disorder. Alaric was disappointed in his hopes for promotion to magister militum after the battle of the Frigidus. He again led Gothic tribesmen in arms and established himself as an independent power, burning the countryside as far as the walls of Constantinople.

They showed no inclination to leave the Empire and face the Huns from whom they had fled in ; indeed the Huns were still stirring up further migrations which often ended by attacking Rome in turn. Alaric's group was never destroyed nor expelled from the Empire, nor acculturated under effective Roman domination. Stilicho moved with his remaining mobile forces into Greece, a clear threat to Rufinus ' control of the Eastern empire. He opted to enlist Alaric and his men, and sent them to Thessaly to stave off Stilicho's threat, which they did.

Stilicho was forced to send some of his Eastern forces home. On arrival, Gainas murdered Rufinus, and was appointed magister militum for Thrace by Eutropius , the new supreme minister and the only eunuch consul of Rome, who controlled Arcadius "as if he were a sheep". During the next year, , Eutropius personally led his troops to victory over some Huns who were marauding in Asia Minor. With his position thus strengthened he declared Stilicho a public enemy, and he established Alaric as magister militum per Illyricum.

A poem by Synesius advises the emperor to display manliness and remove a "skin-clad savage" probably Alaric from the councils of power and his barbarians from the Roman army. We do not know if Arcadius ever became aware of the existence of this advice, but it had no recorded effect.

The magister militum in the Diocese of Africa declared for the East and stopped the supply of grain to Rome. In , Stilicho sent his last reserves, a few thousand men, to re-take the Diocese of Africa, and he strengthened his position further when he married his daughter Maria to Honorius.

Throughout this period Stilicho, and all other generals, were desperately short of recruits and supplies for them. In , Tribigild 's rebellion in Asia Minor allowed Gainas to accumulate a significant army mostly Goths , become supreme in the Eastern court, and execute Eutropius. Some Goths at least built rafts and tried to cross the strip of sea that separates Asia from Europe; the Roman navy slaughtered them. In Stilicho travelled over the Alps to Raetia , to scrape up further troops.

Stilicho returned as soon as the passes had cleared, meeting Alaric in two battles near Pollentia and Verona without decisive results. The Goths, weakened, were allowed to retreat back to Illyricum where the Western court again gave Alaric office, though only as comes and only over Dalmatia and Pannonia Secunda rather than the whole of Illyricum.

However, in , Stilicho was distracted by a fresh invasion of Northern Italy. Another group of Goths fleeing the Huns, led by one Radagaisus , devastated the north of Italy for six months before Stilicho could muster enough forces to take the field against them.

Stilicho recalled troops from Britannia and the depth of the crisis was shown when he urged all Roman soldiers to allow their personal slaves to fight beside them. In Stilicho, hearing of new invaders and rebels who had appeared in the northern provinces, insisted on making peace with Alaric, probably on the basis that Alaric would prepare to move either against the Eastern court or against the rebels in Gaul.

The Senate deeply resented peace with Alaric; in , when Alaric marched into Noricum and demanded a large payment for his expensive efforts in Stilicho's interests, the senate, "inspired by the courage, rather than the wisdom, of their predecessors," [] preferred war. One senator famously declaimed Non est ista pax, sed pactio servitutis "This is not peace, but a pact of servitude". The empress Maria , daughter of Stilicho, died in or early and her sister Aemilia Materna Thermantia married Honorius.

In the East, Arcadius died on 1 May and was replaced by his son Theodosius II ; Stilicho seems to have planned to march to Constantinople, and to install there a regime loyal to himself. Before he could do so, while he was away at Ticinum at the head of a small detachment, a bloody coup against his supporters took place at Honorius's court.

It was led by Stilicho's own creature, one Olympius. Stilicho had news of the coup at Bononia where he was probably waiting for Alaric. His Gothic troops massacred the Hun contingent in their sleep, and then withdrew towards the cities in which their families were billeted. Stilicho ordered that these troops should not be admitted, but, now without an army, he was forced to flee for sanctuary, promised his life, and killed. Alaric was again declared an enemy of the Emperor. The conspiracy then massacred the families of the federate troops as presumed supporters of Stilicho, although they had probably rebelled against him , and the troops defected en masse to Alaric.

As a declared 'enemy of the Emperor', Alaric was denied the legitimacy that he needed to collect taxes and hold cities without large garrisons, which he could not afford to detach. He again offered to move his men, this time to Pannonia , in exchange for a modest sum of money and the modest title of Comes , but he was refused as a supporter of Stilicho.

In , there was no equivalent of the determined response to the catastrophic Battle of Cannae in BCE, when the entire Roman population, even slaves, had been mobilized to resist the enemy. Alaric's military operations centred on the port of Rome , through which Rome's grain supply had to pass. Alaric's first siege of Rome in caused dreadful famine within the walls.

It was ended by a payment that, though large, was less than one of the richest senators could have produced. With promises of freedom, Alaric also recruited many of the slaves in Rome. Alaric withdrew to Tuscany and recruited more slaves. Sarus was an enemy of Ataulf, and on Ataulf's arrival went back into imperial service. In Olympius fell to further intrigue, having his ears cut off before he was beaten to death. Alaric tried again to negotiate with Honorius, but his demands now even more moderate, only frontier land and food [] were inflated by the messenger and Honorius responded with insults, which were reported verbatim to Alaric.

Honorius's court made overtures to the usurper Constantine III in Gaul and arranged to bring Hunnic forces into Italy, Alaric ravaged Italy outside the fortified cities which he could not garrison , and the Romans refused open battle for which they had inadequate forces.

Honorius, sensing weakness, flatly refused. Alaric moved to Rome and captured Galla Placidia , sister of Honorius.

The Senate in Rome, despite its loathing for Alaric, was now desperate enough to give him almost anything he wanted. They had no food to offer, but they tried to give him imperial legitimacy; with the Senate's acquiescence, he elevated Priscus Attalus as his puppet emperor, and he marched on Ravenna. Honorius was planning to flee to Constantinople when a reinforcing army of 4, soldiers from the East disembarked in Ravenna. He had Constantine's principal court supporter executed and Constantine abandoned plans to march to Honorius's defence.

Indeed, Attalus's claim was a marker of threat to Honorius, and Alaric dethroned him after a few months. In Alaric took Rome by starvation, sacked it for three days there was relatively little destruction, and in some Christian holy places Alaric's men even refrained from wanton wrecking and rape , and invited its remaining barbarian slaves to join him, which many did.

The city of Rome was the seat of the richest senatorial noble families and the centre of their cultural patronage; to pagans it was the sacred origin of the empire, and to Christians the seat of the heir of Saint Peter , Pope Innocent I , the most authoritative bishop of the West. Rome had not fallen to an enemy since the Battle of the Allia over eight centuries before.

Refugees spread the news and their stories throughout the Empire, and the meaning of the fall was debated with religious fervour. Both Christians and pagans wrote embittered tracts, blaming paganism or Christianity respectively for the loss of Rome's supernatural protection, and blaming Stilicho's earthly failures in either case.

Augustine in his book " City of God " ultimately rejected the pagan and Christian idea that religion should have worldly benefits; he developed the doctrine that the City of God in heaven, undamaged by mundane disasters, was the true objective of Christians.

Generidus did this with unusual effectiveness; his techniques were remarkable for this period, in that they included training his troops, disciplining them, and giving them appropriate supplies even if he had to use his own money.

Procopius mentions a story in which Honorius, on hearing the news that Rome had "perished", was shocked, thinking the news was in reference to his favorite chicken he had named "Roma". On hearing that Rome itself had fallen he breathed a sigh of relief:. At that time they say that the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna received the message from one of the eunuchs, evidently a keeper of the poultry, that Roma had perished. And he cried out and said, "And yet it has just eaten from my hands!

Alaric then moved south, intending to sail to Africa, but his ships were wrecked in a storm and he shortly died of fever. His successor Ataulf, still regarded as an usurper and given only occasional and short-term grants of supplies, moved north into the turmoil of Gaul, where there was some prospect of food. His supergroup of barbarians are called the Visigoths in modern works: They may have been trying to get away from the Huns, who about this time advanced to occupy the Great Hungarian Plain.

The remaining troops in Britannia elevated a succession of imperial usurpers. Constantine's power reached its peak in when he controlled Gaul and beyond, he was joint consul with Honorius [] and his magister militum Gerontius defeated the last Roman force to try to hold the borders of Hispania.

It was led by relatives of Honorius; Constantine executed them. Gerontius went to Hispania where he may have settled the Sueves and the Asding Vandals. Gerontius then fell out with his master and elevated one Maximus as his own puppet emperor. He defeated Constantine and was besieging him in Arelate when Honorius's general Constantius arrived from Italy with an army possibly, mainly of Hun mercenaries.

Constantius continued the siege, defeating a relieving army. Constantine surrendered in with a promise that his life would be spared, and was executed. In , the Roman civitates of Britannia rebelled against Constantine and evicted his officials. They asked for help from Honorius, who replied that they should look to their own defence.

While the British may have regarded themselves as Roman for several generations, and British armies may at times have fought in Gaul, no central Roman government is known to have appointed officials in Britannia thereafter.

In , Jovinus rebelled and took over Constantine's remaining troops on the Rhine. He relied on the support of Burgundians and Alans to whom he offered supplies and land.

In Jovinus also recruited Sarus; Ataulf destroyed their regime in the name of Honorius and both Jovinus and Sarus were executed. The Burgundians were settled on the left bank of the Rhine. Ataulf then operated in the south of Gaul, sometimes with short-term supplies from the Romans.

The imperial government was quick to restore the Rhine frontier. The invading tribes of had passed into Spain at the end of but the Visigoths had exited Italy at the beginning of and settled themselves in Narbo. Heraclianus was still in command in the diocese of Africa, the last of the clique that overthrew Stilicho to retain power.

In he led an invasion of Italy, lost to a subordinate of Constantius, and fled back to Africa where he was murdered by Constantius's agents.

The choir at the wedding included Attalus, a puppet emperor without revenues or soldiers. There his infant son by Galla Placidia was buried, and there Ataulf was assassinated by one of his household retainers, possibly a former follower of Sarus. In Wallia reached agreement with Constantius; he sent Galla Placidia back to Honorius and received provisions, six hundred thousand modii of wheat. After retrenchment they formed another barbarian supergroup, but for the moment they were reduced in numbers and effectively cowed.

In , by agreement with Constantius, Wallia's Goths accepted land to farm in Aquitania. Constantius had married the princess Galla Placidia despite her protests in This earned him the hostility of the Eastern court, which had not agreed to his elevation.

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The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire and Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, which had been founded as Byzantium).It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire .

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The Fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called Fall of the Roman Empire or Fall of Rome) was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which it failed to enforce its rule, and its vast territory was divided into several successor Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over . Summary and Introduction The Emperor Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (A.D. ) put an end to the disastrous phase of Roman history known as the "Military Anarchy" or the "Imperial Crisis" ().

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Essay by Dr. Jeffrey Becker The festivities of the Roman state religion were steeped in tradition and ritual symbolism. David L. Vagi's "Coinage and History of the Roman Empire" is perhaps reminiscent of the god Janus, facing in two directions at once. Volume One is squarely focused on history, Volume Two on coins.