Oliver's Site

14. Rome and Byzantium (Nova Roma)

Table of Contents | 1. Earth | 2. The Origin of Life and Evolution of Man | 3. Civilisation | 4. Fertile Crescent | 5. Egypt | 6. Indus Valley | 7. Yellow River (Haung He/Huang Ho) | 8. Hittites, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Assyrians | 9. New World (B. C./Pre-Columban) | 10. Greeks and Persians | 11. Rome ( - B. C. - A. D. 96) | 12. Saul of Tarsus | 13. Rome ( - A. D. 275) | 14. Rome and Byzantium (Nova Roma) | 15. Islam | 16. Charlemagne | 17. Vikings | 18. Turks, Crusaders, Mongols, Moors, Explorers and Conquistadors | 19. Reformation, Enlightenment (1300s -1700s) | 20. Mid-1700s - early 1900s | 21. The Great War | 22. Inter-War Years | 23. The War in Europe and Africa | 24. Second World War | 25. War in the Pacific | 26. Defeating the Axis in Europe and Africa | 27. End of Japanese Imperialism | 28. Ending the War | 29. Conquest of Space | 30. Averting Nuclear War | 31. End of Empire | 32. Man on the Moon | 33. Arms Race and Limitation | 34. Lifting the Iron Curtain | 35. Outer Space | 37. | 42.

Continued from previous page, 13



Emperor Probus

Emperor Carus (282 - 283)

Co-Emperors Carinus (283 - 284) and Numerian (283 - 284)





R. 284 - 305

Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus Augustus (244 - 311) reigned as emperor from 284 to 305. Diocletian was from the Roman province of Dalmatia (the area of Albania and the former Yugoslavia) (called Ilyria in Greek and Illyricum in Latin).

The Emperor Carus named his sons Carinus and Numerian junior emperors with Carinus in the west and Numerian in the east.

Following the death of Carus, the brothers became co-emperors.

Numerian died on his way to Rome.

Diocletian, commander of the imperial body guard assigned to Numerian, was proclaimed emperor by the troops.

Carinus met Diocletian in battle and lost.

- Diocletian ended a long period of chaos in the empire (235 - 284) and reunited it.

Diocletian chose a Roman general, Maximian, to be the junior-emperor (285).   

- Established a diarchy (two-man rule) in the empire, with two co-emperors, one in the east and one in the west.

Diocletian promoted his junior emperor to the rank of subordinate co-emperor and assigned him to rule of the western half of the Roman Empire (286).

Diocletian ruled the East and Maximian ruled the West. 

- Diocletian established the capital of the eastern empire in Nicomedia (Izmit) in western Anatolia (286).

- Diocletian established the capital of the Western Empire in Mediolanum (Milan) in northern Italy.

However, Diocletian's co-emperor, Maximian, made his headquarters in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Germany.

The Tetrarchy

- Diocletian established the Tetrarchy (Greek: leadership of four), to govern four regions of the empire with two co-emperors, one in the east and one in the west, each with a junior emperor, one in the east and one in west, from four capitals (293).

As the paramount leader and ruler, Diocletian ruled the Eastern Empire from Nicomedia. His subordinate co-emperor, Maximian, ruled the Western Empire from Mediolanum.

Each emperor had a deputy emperor to rule two further "divisions" or regions of the east and west.

Each senior co-emperor was called the Augustus. 

Each deputy emperor was called the Caesar.

Thus, the empire was "divided" into four regions, two in the east and two in the west. The four regions were actually separate military spheres of influence, essentially for border defense, and not clearly defined geographic administrative zones.

Constantius, the junior emperor, the Caesar, in the west ruled from Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in Germany.

The junior emperor in the east, Galerius, ruled from (Simium) Sremska Mitrovica, a town near Belgrade in Serbia. Galerius married the daughter of Diocletian.

Of the two Caesars, Constantius, in the West, at Trier, was the senior. 

- Diocletian launched the last and harshest or most extensive persecution of Christians in Roman history (called the Great Persecution), from 303 to 311/313.

- Diocletian was the first emperor to abdicate on his own, during (or after) a long illness, and compelled his co-emperor in the West, Maximian, to abdicate at the same time. Both co-emperors (Augustii) retired (305).

Diocletian retired to his palace in Split in Dalmatia. He died in 312.

The junior emperors, Constantius in the West and Galerius in the East, were promoted to co-emperors.

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Map of the Tetrarchy: the Roman Empire divided into four military regions, each ruled by an emperor.

In the East, an Augustus with the capitol in Nicomedia (Izmit) and a Caesar at Simium (Sremska Mitrovica).

In the West, an Augustus in at Mediolanum (Milan) and a Caesar at Augusta Treverorum (Trier).  


A Quick Overview of Diocletian's Tetrarchy

The Roman "Rule by Four"




Episode from the documentary series Emperors of Rome


Diocletian built a palace for himself in Split.

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Tour of Split, Croatia




Related image

The Tetrarchs, porphyry sculpture taken from Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204 and today in the San Marco Basilica in Venice.

Pompey's Pillar, Alexandria, Egypt, Corinthian column erected in AD 297 in commemoration of Diocletian's suppression of a revolt in Alexandria. It had nothing to do with Pompey. Below are the ruins of the Serapeum, part of the Library of Alexandria (see below).


The Early Middle Ages

Two lectures by Paul Freedman from a course, The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), at Yale U., Fall 2011

Lecture # 1

Rome's Greatness and First Crises

The Roman Empire before the Crisis of the Third Century   -   Flaws of the Roman Empire.

You Tube:





Lecture # 2

The Crisis of the Third Century and the Diocletianic Reforms

Introduction and Logistics   -   Third Century Crisis and Barbarian Invasions   -   The Problem of Succession   -   The Problem of Inflation   -   The Ruin of the Local Elite   -   Diocletian and his Reforms

You Tube:






The History of Christian Thought and Practice

Lecture from the course The History of Christian Thought and Practice (1) by Jim L. Papandrea at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois (2012) 

Lecture 10.

Persecution and the Controversies over the Lapsed and Baptism


(see more lectures by Papandrea below)


Rome Redux:

The Tetrarchic Renaissance

Lecture by Diana Kleiner, # 22 of the course Roman Architecture HSAR 252, Yale U., Spring 2009 

-   Crisis in the Third Century and the Aurelian Walls   -   The Rise of the Tetrarchy    -   The Decennial or Five-Column Monument in the Roman Forum   -   The Senate House or Curia Julia   -   The Baths of Diocletian   -   The Palace of Diocletian at Split   -   Tetrarchic Palaces around the Empire

You Tube:



Yale U:









Ancient Rome and its Mysterious Cities

Docomentary from the Ancient Mysteries series with Leonard Nimoy

Brief description of the history of Rome from the Etruscans to Constantine.







Constantius I

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Marcus Flavius Valerius Constantius Herculius Augustus (c. 250 - 306), Constantius I, called Constantius Chlorus.

Constantius had one son, Constantine, by Helena, c. 272.

Constantius was junior emperor, or Caesar, in the west, with its capital in Milan and Constantius' headquarters in Trier, from 293 to 305.

In 289, Constantius, junior co-emperor (Caesar) in the West, married Theodora, the daughter of Maximian, the co-emperor (Augustus) in the West.

Upon the retirement of Diocletian and Maximian in 305, Constantius became the co-emperor, or Augustus, and ruled in the West. 

Galerius ruled the East.

Constantius was the senior of the two co-emperors (Augustii).

The junior emperors (Caesars) were Severus is the West and Maximinus in the East.

Constantius died in Eboracum (York) in the Roman province of Britain in the following year (306) and his troops proclaimed his son, Constantine, emperor (Augustus) of the West.

Galerius, who ruled in the East, and now the lone emperor, proclaimed Severus, the Caesar under Constantius, as the new Augustus in the west.

However, Constantius' troops proclaimed his son Constantine the new Augustus.  

Maxentius, the son of Maximian, fought and defeated Severus, forced him to abdicate and had him killed, and his forces gained control of Italy and Africa.

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Licinius (c. 263 - 325)

To settle the conflict of succession, in 308, Diocletian, Maximian and Galerius agreed that Licinius, the right-hand man of Galerius, would be the Augustus in the West, with Constantine as his Caesar.  

Galerius, emperor in the East, died in 311. His Caesar, Maximinus, succeeded him.


Constantine the Great

R. 306 - 337

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Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus (Constantine the Great) (Constantine I) (Saint Constantine) (AD 272 - AD 337), son of Constantius, and Constantius' first wife, Helena, a Greek.

Proclaimed emperor by the Roman legions of Constantius, in York, on his father's death in 306.

First Roman emperor (306 - 337) to convert to Christianity. There is some question about his conversion.

Moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium (Constantinople).



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Maxentius, son of the retired co-emperor Maximian, who had been Diocletian's co-emperor, was proclaimed emperor by the legion in Rome (306- 312).  

Constantine defeated Maxentius in Rome in 312.

Battle of the Milvian Bridge

Rome, 312 

Constantine defeats Maxentius

Constantine sole Roman emperor of the West

Kai-Rho (or Chi-Rho), the first two letters of the name of Christ in Greek, Christos, which means Messiah in Hebrew   -   the king and saviour of the Jews.

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The symbol on the shield on Constantine's soldiers. 


Licinius, emperor in the West, married the half-sister of Constantine in Mediolanum in 313.

Licinius, ruler in the West, defeated Maximinus, ruler in the East, in 313.

Licinius and Constantine agreed that Licinius would rule the East and Constantine the West.

Edict of Milan, 313

Universal Freedom of Worship

Initiated by Constantine and proclaimed with Licinius, Emperor of the East


The Civil War

Constantine and Licinius

314? 316? - Battle of Cibalae - Constantine victor

316? 317? - Battle of Mardia - Constantine victor

324 - Battle of Adrianopole - Constantine victor

324 - Naval Battle of the Hellespont - Constantine's son, Crispus, victor

The Battle of Chysopolis - victory for Constantine


Constantine defeated Licinius. Licinius surrendered in Nicomedia.

Constantine imprisoned Licinius in Salonika and had him hanged in 325.

Constantine ordered the death of Licinius's son (Constantine's nephew). 


The Colossus of Constantine and the Basilica Nova

The marble bust of the Colossus of Constantine

Pieces of the Colossus of Constantine in the Capitoline Museum

 Related image

An artist's restoration of the Colossus of Constantine in the western apse of the Basilica of Maxentius (Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine) (Basilica Nova) in Rome. The basilica, begun by Maxentius, has the structure of the frigidarium of a Roman bath.  

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Reconstruction of the Colossus of Constantine in the Basilica Nova.

Brief description



The Restoration (In Dutch)


The Basilica of Maxentius and the Colossus of Constantine



Constantine the Great

Discussion on the weekly Thursday BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

With Chrisopther Kelly, Lucy Crig and Creg Woolf

5 October 2017



Constantine the Great




The Arch of Constantine in Rome



Episode # 10 of the documentary series Ancient Rome  -  The Rise and Fall of an Empire




Constantine the Great 


Rise and Spread of Christianity in Rome



How Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire


National Geographic documentary






Constantine and the Early Church


Lecture # 3 by Paul Freedman from a course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) at Yale U., Fall 2011

Introduction   -   Constantine's Rise to Power   -   The Battle of the Milvian Bridge and Constantine's Conversion   -   Constantine as a Christian Emperor   -   The City of Constantinople   -   Constantine intervenes in Church Doctrine   -   Constantine and Diocletian


You Tube:













Episode # 2 of the 2009 documentary series Christianity: A History


Michael Portillo considers Constantine





Constantine and the Cross

1962 Hollywood movie (1:59:20)
Selling Christianity
Secrets of Christianity
Episode from the 2010 documentary series Decoding the Ancients with Simcha Jacobovici



Like many people at the time, Constantine was a worshiper of the sun   - Sol Invictus, the "Invincible Sun".  


Constantine decreed Sunday   -   Dies Sol, the Day of the Sun   -   a day of rest (321).

Constantine's mother, Helena, became a devout Christian.

Did Constantine really become a Christian? Was he indifferent to religion?

Did Constantine really have a vision before the Battle of Milvian Bridge? Was it really related to Christ? 

Did he really instruct his soldiers to paint a khai-rho (XP) on their shields before the Battle of Milvian Bridge? Or were many of his soldiers Christians?

It was claimed that he was baptised late in life and accepted Christianity in his last moments, on his death bed. 

Are these misunderstood events? Were they accounts of Constantine later invented or embellished by Eusebius of Caesaria Maritima?

Constantine built many churches in the empire, especially in Rome and Constantinople.

Constantine decreed the 25th day of December, the date of the winter solstice in the Roman calendar, celebrated by Romans as the day of the birth of the sun, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, as the Day of the Nativity   -   Christmas Day (325). 

The Sons of Constantine

Constantine + (305) Minervina =

Crispus (295 or 299 or 305 - 325) (executed by his father). A Caesar.

Constantine + (307) Fausta (289 - 326) (executed by her husband) =

Constantine II (316), co-emperor 337 - 340 (killed on campaign)

Constantius II (317), co-emperor 337 - 353 and sole emperor 353 - 361 (died of illness on campaign)

Constans (c. 323), co-emperor 337 - 350 (assassinated)


Image result for crispus son of constantine the great

Constantine's first son, Crispus, by his first wife, Minervina, was close to his father.  

Crispus was a Caesar, commanding Gaul from Trier, and a very competent general. He defeated the Franks and Alamanni. He twice defeated his father's rival Augustus, Licinius, in important land and sea battles, for which he received tribute, as in the Roman coins displayed above. He was popular with the soldiers. He was considered the likely heir of Constantine.

For reasons that are not clear, Constantine ordered the trial and execution of Crispus in 326.

At the same time, Constantine ordered the death also of his second wife, Fausta.     


The empire in the time of Constantine


Animated map displays the Roman Empire from the First Tetrarchy established by Diocletian in 295 to the defeat of Licinius by Constantine and the rule of the entire empire by Constantine as sole emperor in 324.


Constantine sole Roman emperor in the East and the West in 324.


Byzantium  -  Constantinople

Nova Roma (New Rome)   

The Second Rome




Greeks from Megara in Attica founded Byzantium, on the European shore of the Bosporous, in 667 B. C. In the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (r. 306 - 337), Byzantium was a small 1,000-year-old village of Greek-speaking Christians. Its inhabitants were called Byzantines. They called the empire Romania.

Constantine chose the village for the site of the new capital of the Roman Empire in 324. He called it New Rome   -   Nova Roma. It was on the European side of the Bosporous, across the straight from the Asian side and the empire's current capital, Nicomedia.

The inhabitants of Nova Roma called the new city Constantine’s City   -   Constantinople. They considered themselves Romans. Westerners called them Greeks.


Academics divide the history of Byzantium (sometimes called the Eastern Roman Empire) into three periods:


Late Antiquity


1. Early Period (324 - mid-600s):


Foundation of Constantinople in 324

The Roman Empire, ruled from Constantinople, extended throughout the entire Mediterranean and was at its height in this period.


Late Middle Ages


2. Middle Period (mid-600s - 1060):

Islamic/Muslim/Mohammaden Arab Conquest of the eastern and southern Mediterranean in the mid-600s.


The Arab Conquest reduced the Roman Empire to Anatolia (Asia Minor), the Balkans, Greece and Sicily.


The Roman Empire faded into legend and became something to recall and try to emulate.


The Great Schism of 1053 split the Christian Church into the Orthodox in the east, centred at Constantinople, and the Catholic in the west, centred at Rome.


3. Late Period (1060 - 1453):

The 3rd or Late Period can be divided into three sub-periods

1. Arrival of the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia in 1064

The Seljuk Turks stormed through the Near East, taking Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and the holy city of Jerusalem. They occupied most of Anatolia. The Turks called their empire, the Turkish Sultanate, Rome (Rum).

The Byzantines appealed to the Pope in Rome for help to combat the Seljuk Turks. The Pope called for a Christian crusade against the Turks. Armies assembled and headed east. Three Crusades.

2. The knights of the Fourth Crusade laid siege to Constantinople in 1203, sacked it in 1204 and occupied it to 1261

The Crusaders founded the Empire of Romania (or Latin Empire of Constantinople), with a Roman Catholic emperor.


The Roman Empire dissolved and fragmented into small rival Greek and Latin states.


3. The Byzantines recaptured Constaninople in 1261 and held it to 1453.

The  Ottoman Turks laid siege to Constaninople and captured and sacked the city in 1453.

- The Turks called the inhabitants of Constantinople Romans.

- Constantinople was the capital of the Ottoman Empire until its dismemberment by the victorious Allies in the Great War (First World War) in 1922. The much smaller successor state of Turkey was created in 1922. The Turks moved the capital to Ankara in central Anatolia in 1923 and renamed the city of Constantinople Istanbul in 1930.    


- Byzantium as a term designating the eastern half of the Roman Empire with its capital in Constantinople was applied for the first time during the Renaissance, after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.



Eugen Weber lectures

The Western Tradition

1. Byzantine Empire


2. Fall of Byzantium



Engineering the Byzantine Empire

Episode from a documentary series with Peter Weller





Byzantium, the Lost Empire

Four-part documentary series with John Romer 

1. Building the Dream


2. Heaven on Earth


3. Envy of the world


4. Forever and Ever


All four episodes in one clip:








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The Hippodrome of Constantinople


Architecture of New Rome

Rome of Constantine and a New Rome

Lecture # 23 by Diana Kleiner from the course Roman Architecture (HSAR 252), Yale U., Spring 2009

-   The End of the Tetrarchy and the Rise of Constantine the Great   -  The Baths of Constantine in Rome and the Porta Nigra at Trier   -   The Basilica or Aula Palatina at Trier   -   The Temple of Minerva Medica in Rome   -   The Basilica Nova in Rome   -   The Arch of Constantine and the Enduring Impact of Roman Architecture

You Tube:


Yale site:






Constantine and Christianity

The nature of Jesus

Was Jesus a mere mortal, an extraordinary being who did exceptional things? 

Was Jesus, the son of God, divine?

Was Jesus a demi-god?

Did God send his son to die for man's salvation?

When filled with the holy spirit, at conception or baptism, did Jesus become God's instrument?

Was Jesus, like God, eternal?    



Arius (250 - 336), a priest in Alexandria:

'If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not.'

(Letter from Arius to Eusebius of Nicomedia.)

Thus, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, was not eternal.

For the Emperor Constantine, such question was irrelevant. But the dispute over it had to be addressed. 

Council of Nicea, A. D. 325




About the Council of Nicea




Council of Nicaea




Nicean Creed






Original Nicene Creed, 325

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father;

By whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth;

Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;

He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven;

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

And in the Holy Ghost.

But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable' — they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.


The Constantinopolitan Creed, 381

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten from the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of the same substance as the Father. Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son). With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.



The Nicene Creed

Discussion on the BBC weekly radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

27 December 2007


Senator GL2000 - Gold with Camel Velour Front Panel

The History of Christian Thought and Practice (1)

Course lectures 11 - 14 by Jim L. Papandrea at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois (2012) 

11. The Great Persecution and Constantine


12. The Arian Controversy


13. The Council of Nicaea


14. The Nicene Creed


Shield of the Trinity

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Athanasian Creed (c. 400):

'The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding.'

Author(s) unknown, first attributed to Athanasius (296/8 - 373), Orthodox Patriarch/Bishop of Alexandria (328 - 373).  

Related image

Athanase d'Alexandrie

La Foi prise au Mot



Constantine and Athanasias

Chapter 10 of the lecture series on Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Books that Matter by the Great Courses

Leo Damrosch


The Trinity


God, the Father;

     Jesus, the Son;


          the Holy Ghost/Spirit


The Trinity

Discussion on the weekly BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

13 March 2014




Source: The Orthodox Life  -  The Twenty Ten Theme  -  Blog at WordPress.com


Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity

Episode from the documentary series Religions of the World






Constantine died in Nicomedia in 337.


Image result for first depiction of the labarum

The two sides of a coin minted in 337, the year of Constantine's death. Profile of Constantine on the left and the labarum, with the Kai-Rho on top, on the right. On the left: CONSTANTINUS MAX AUG. On the left: SPES PUBLICA CONS.


The five major patriarchates of the Christian Church, in order of importance, in 381, were

(1) Rome, considered the centre of the church in the western half of the Roman Empire;

(2) Constantinople, centre of the church in the eastern half of the Roman Empire;

(3) Alexandria,

(4) Antioch and

(5) Jerusalem were the other major centers of the church in the eastern half of the Roman Empire.

The five patriachates eventually divided into two churches   -  

the Catholic Church, also referred to as the Western Church and Roman Catholic Church, centered in Rome,


the Orthodox Church, also referred to as the Eastern Church and Greek Orthodox Church, centered in Constantinople.

The patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch split with Constantinople in 451;

thus, the Coptic (Egyptian) Church, centered in Alexandria, and the Assyrian (or Syriac) Church, centered in Antioch, became the Oriental Orthodox Church.

Emperor Justinian I (r. 527 to 565) gave the five patriarchates the designation of the Pentarchy in 531.






The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity

24-lecture Course by Kenneth W. Harl

The Great Courses



1. Religious Conflict in the Roman World


2. Gods and their Cities in the Roman Empire


3. The Roman Imperial Cult



Julian the Apostate

Julian the Philosopher

Julian the Hellene


Bronze coin from Antioch with the Emperor Julian   -   Julian the Apostate (Julianus Apostata)   -   from 360 - 363.

Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus (331/332 – 363), nephew of Constantine the Great; called Julian the Apostate and Julian the Philosopher; junior emperor in the West (355 - 361); proclaimed emperor by his troops in 360; challenged Emperor Constantius II, who fell ill and died and left Julian sole emperor (361); the last non-Christian emperor, he restored traditional worship of the Greek and Roman gods as the state religion

Julian attempted to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (363).

Killed at the Battle of Samarra against the Sassanids.




 Image result for timeline of the christian church during dicletian and constnatine" 


Theodosius the Great

r. 379 -395

Flavius Theodosius Augustus (347 - 395), Theodosius I, Theodosius the Great, Saint Theodosius, last Roman Emperor (379 - 395) to rule an united empire, with both the eastern and western halves.

Theodosius made Eastern or Orthodox Nicaean Christianity the Roman Empire's official religion. He is considered a saint by the Orthodox Church. He terminated the Olympic Games in Greece.


Brief biography:



The Christian Roman Empire

Lecture # 4 by Paul Freedman from a course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210) at Yale U., Fall 2011

Introduction   -   Julian the Apostate   -   Essential Heresies: Arianism and Donatism   -   Essential Heresies 2: Manicheanism   -   Roman Emperors and Christian Heresies   -   Introduction to St. Augustine's Confessions   -   Platonism



Saint Ambrose

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Aurelius Ambrosius (Ambrose) (337-340 - 397),
an Orthodox Catholic and Nicene Christian,
Archbishop of Mediolanum (Milan) (374 - 397).

Mosaic portrait of Saint Ambrose in the Basilica di Sant'Ambrogio in Milan.

Conflicts with the Arians and Emperor Theodosius. 

Saint Amboise de Milan

La foi prise au mot

30 - 11 - 14  



Decline and Fall of Rome

Two lectures by Eugen Weber of UCLA from the 1986 lecture series The Western Tradition  


Decline of Rome 


Fall of Rome 



The Fall of Rome


Episode from the German documentary series Fall of Great Empires (50 min.)






library of Alexandria

Artist's conception of The Library of Alexandria.

Little is known about the library, its actual location in Alexandria, if it was one large library in one place or several libraries in several places, if it was actually a library, and what it contained or what books or scrolls it held. Was it destroyed? Was it destroyed by Caesar, or by Christian mobs, or conquering Arabs? Or was it neglected over time and fall into disuse?        

The Lost Treasure of the Alexandria Library

Episode from the documentary series Ancient Mysteries narrated by Leonard Nimoy (1996) (46:33)


The Library of Alexandria

Episode rom the documentary series In Search of History (43:33)


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Serapis, Greco-Egyptian deity of the sun.


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The Burning of the Library of Alexandria in A. D. 391.

Also called The Burning of the Serepeum.

Did it really happen?





Hypatia of Alexandria


ca. A. D. 350-370 - A. D. 415


Related image

Hypatia, Greek philosopher,

mathematician and astronomer

in Alexandria

Carl Sagan on Alexandria and Hypatia


Excerpts from the series Cosmos 







Movie about Hypatia of Alexandria (2009)

(2 hrs. 7 min. 8 sec.)


Part 1.




Part 2.






Part 1.




Part 2.




Entire film  -  dubbed in Spanish:







Review of the movie Agora on History Buffs 




Alexandria - The Greatest City 


Episode # 1 from the documentary series The Ancient Worlds with Bettany Hughes


Includes scenes from the 2009 movie Agora




Sifting the Myths

Lecture by Fenny Smith

Gresham College (2015) (39:36)






Eine aussergewöhnliche Philosophin der Antike



The Astrolabe


Astrolabe (TW en long)







Saint Jerome
Related image
St Jerome (c. 347 - 420)
Jerome translated the Hebrew Bible into Latin and revised the Old Latin Gospels by the oldest Greek versions. His translation of the Bible was eventually known as the Vulgate and, by the 1100s, it was the common Bible.
Saint Jérôme

La Foi prise au Mot


Thine is the Kingdom
Part 5 of 7 of the documentary series Testament with John Romer (1988)

Rome, Byzantium and the Barbarians

Romans, Germans and Huns





Documentary with Terry Jones



Dark Ages


Les invasions barbares

Bruno Dumézil

Aix-en-Provence, février 2015



A Germanic people probably from southern Sweden and northern Poland. The Goths spread southward to the Black Sea, east to the Urals and west into the Balkans.

Despite the Nicene Creed, many of Constantine's relatives, high government officials and religious authorities remained Arian. Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia, an Arian, was the emperor's religious advisor. Eusebius baptised Constantine.

The Goths were the first Germans to become Christians, in the mid to late-300s. The Goths were Arian Christians.

The Goths split into Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths), in the Balkans, and Visigoths (Western Goths), in Gaul.

The Goths invaded northern Italy and in 402 placed Mediolanum under siege.

The Imperial capital moved to Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast.

Goths sack Rome, A. D. 410

The Goths

Episode from the Barbarians documentary series

Roman Emperor Theodosius; General Flavius Stilicho (359? –408); Alaric I, King of the Visigoths (370 - 410); and Artulf, Visigoth general



The Fall of Rome

Episode 6 of the BBC documentary series Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire



The Barbarian General - Flavius Stilicho

Episode # 11 of the documentary series Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire



The Savage Goths

Episode from the documentary series Terry Jones' Barbarians



Les wizigoths 

Bruno Dumézil

Aix-en-Provence en mars 2015


In the East, the Ostrogoths remained in large force north of the Black Sea but they were eventually assimilated by the Lombards in Italy in the 700s.  

In the West, the Visigoths settled in the Iberian Peninsula and formed kingdoms from the 500s to 700s.





The Vandals were a Germanic people, believed to have come from Scandanavia and settled in Poland. They moved south until stopped by the Goths. They settled along the Danube.

The Vandals became Christians in the mid to late 300s. The Vandals were Arians.

The Vandals were forced westward by the Huns into Gaul and Iberia in the 400s. They clashed with the Visigoths and forced south into North Africa and eventually ruled the Balearic Islands, North Africa, Sardinia, Corsica, Malta, and Sicily.   

The Vandals sacked Rome in 455.


The Vandals

Episode # 2 from the documentary series Barbarians




The End of the World

Episode # 4 of the documentary series Terry Jones' Barbarians


The Vandals of North Africa

Excerpt from The End of the World (episode # 4 of the documentary series Terry Jones' Barbarians)





Saint Augustine of Hippo

(A. D. 354  -  A. D. 430)

Bishop of Hippo Regius (Annaba, Algeria)

Saint Augustine in his Study painted by Sandro Botticelli, 1480, Italy

St. Augustine 

2009 Italian movie



In English:

3 hrs 19 min. 4 sec.



Clip 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltUxyOUN6Yo

Clip 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy7kishOwv8


St. Augustine in his Study painted by Vittore Carpaccio in 1502.

The Sack of Rome AD 411

Lecture from the course The City of God

Books that Matter from the Great Courses series

Charles Matthews


St. Augustine's Philosophy and Theology

Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy (Chapter 4 of Book 2)


St. Augustine's Confessions

Lecture # 5 by Paul Freedman from the course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), Yale U., Fall 2011

- Why we read The Confessions  

- A Brief Biography of Augustine

- The Problem of Evil

- Fears and Augustine's Conception of Sin 

- Perfectability, Sin, and Grace

You Tube:






Saint Augustine's Confessions

Discussion on the weekly Thursday BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

With guests Morwenna Ludlow, Kate Cooper and Martin Palmer

15 March 2018



Saint Augustine

From the documentary Western Philosophy



Saint Augustine of Hippo's writings on display in Rome



The History of Christian Thought and Practice 1

Lectures by Jim Papandrea

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois (2012)

Lecture 17. Augustine and Donatism

Lecture 18. Augustine and Pelagiansim

Archaeological site of Hippo







Theodosian Walls of Constaninople




Theodosian Walls built by Theodosius II  (Theodosius the Younger) (early 400s)






Transformation of the Roman Empire

Lecture # 6 by Paul Freedman from a course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), Yale U., Fall 2011

Introduction   -   Catastrophe   -   The Roman Army and the Visigoths   -   Another Kind of Barbarian: The Huns   -   Accomodation   -   Decline

You Tube:












The Huns may have been Asiatics from China and Mongolia or Central Asia. They inhabited Central Asia and Eastern Europe from the 300s and 500s. By 430 the Huns dominated most of the border lands north and east of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Huns were strongest under their king Attila. The Huns were stopped in Gaul in 451 and Italy in 452 and faded after Attila's death in 453. The Huns were not Christians.  


Documentary from the Barbarians series



Horse Warriors

Episode about the barbarian invasions from the documentary series War and Civilization narrated by Walter Cronkite




Attila the Hun ( - 453)

19th-century depiction of Attila the Hun



Biographical Documentary

(3 clips)

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJoPW1xBtnk&feature=related

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFPI_Z5rDsY&feature=relmfu

3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QaBbIBcNtU&feature=relmfu


The Real Attila the Hun




Attila the Hun


1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2f3_IOHW3I&feature=relmfu 

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSNIuACv3KA&feature=relmfu

3. ?

4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrhRUaMn86k&feature=relmfu


Roman General Flavius Aetius and Attila



Battle of the Catalaunian Plains

(Battle of Châlons sur Marne)

Hun westward advance stopped


The Huns crossed the Rhine and got as far as Aurelianum (Orleans) in 451. They broke off their siege and retreated when the Romans approached.

An army led by the Roman General Aetius and Visigoth King Theodoric I fought a big battle against an army led by Attila without a clear victor. There were Burgundians, Franks and Goths on both sides. Saxons with Aetius and Theodoric. Theodoric was killed.

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PqTspSrp54&feature=related

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgWjCf9psoY&feature=relmfu


1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMZHovydSFQ

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBkNuZ6rySA&feature=relmfu 


2001 Movie ( 3 hrs.)


Huns and Vandals

Chapter 14 of the lecture series on Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Books that Matter by the Great Courses

Leo Damrosch


Barbarian Kingdoms

Lecture # 7 by Paul Freedman from the course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), Yale U., Fall 2011

Introduction   -   Tacitus and the Nature of the Barbarian Tribes   -   The Barbardian Kingdoms   -   Intellectual Life after the Fall of Rome   -   The Barbarian Tribes: Vandals, Moors, Angles, Saxons, and Visigoths   -   The Burgundians and the Burgundian Code

You Tube:


Yale U.:




Puppet Master
Ricimer, Roman general of Suevi and Goth origins, paramount power from 456 to 472 

Episode # 12 of Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire documentary series 






Last Roman Emperor   


End of the western empire


Orestes, Roman general (  -  476); his son, Romulus Augustus (460 - 476), last emperor; and the German chief, Odoacer (433 - 493), first King of Italy    


Episode # 13 of the documentary series Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire   





The Fall of Rome


Episode from the German documentary series Fall of Great Empires (50 min.)













Clovis, First King of the Franks

Clovis was the first Frank to become a Christian.

Baptism of Clovis in Reims, 496; painting by François-Louis Dejuinne, 1837

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGLsZUIJH1c

2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=029m5aLd5TU&feature=related


In the Sign of the Cross

Episode from the documentary series The Germanic Tribes

The Franks, Childeric, Clovis and Christianity



Clovis and the Franks

History of the Frankish Merovingian kings by Gregory of Tours

Lecture # 10 by Paul Freedman from the course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), Yale U., Fall 2011

You Tube:





Frankish Society

On the history of the Frankish Merovingian kings by Gregory of Tours

Lecture # 11 of the course The Early Middle Ages, 284--1000 (HIST 210), Yale U., Fall 2011

You Tube:



Gregory of Tours (539 - 594)


History of the Franks: Books I-X


(Abridged) edited by Paul Halsall, Medieval Sourcebook, Fordham University












Justinian the Great


482 – 565

Emperor Justinian, centre, and Byzantine General Belisarius, on the right, in a mosaic in the Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna.


Under Justinian I the Roman Empire reconquered briefly its former possessions in the west for the last time.

Brief intro:


Justinian the Great


A clip by a blogger from edits of a documentary



Justinian I -


"Deus Judex Justus" ("God is just")


Images of Justinian assembled by a blogger





Clips (2) by a blogger edited from a documentary with Peter Weller, Byzantium - Engineering an Empire


1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbvCF9Jj40&feature=related 


2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iVAzzQfXO0&feature=related



The Plague of Justinian


A clip from the documentary Dark Ages by a blogger





The Ravenna mosaic


Justinian and his attendants   -   6th century mosaic in the Basilica San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy; Justinian at centre and Belasarius behind him, on the right.




Empress Theodora (center) (Ravenna mosaic)



Justinian - Der Letzte Römer








Early Middle Ages


Two of 22 lectures by Paul Freedman from the course Early Middle Ages, 284--1000, Fall 2011, Yale U.  


Lecture # 8. Survival in the East


- Introduction

- Procopius’ Secret History

- Circumstances of the Survival of the East

- Christological Controversies – Nestorianism and


- The Rise of Islam, the Persian Threat, and

  Barbarian Invasions

- Iconoclasm

- Conclusion


You Tube:








Lecture # 9. The Reign of Justinian


1. Primary Sources: Procopius and Gregory of Tours
2. The Emperor Justinian
3. Procopius as a source on Justinian
4. Background on Justinian
5. The Circus, the Blues and the Greens, and the Nika Riots
6. Justinian’s Wars
7. Justinian’s Law Code  -  the Corpus Iuris Civilis


You Tube:













The Secret History of Procopius


A translation by Richard Atwater (1927)


I. How the great General Belisarius was hoodwinked by his wife, whose lover became a monk


II. How belated jealousy affected Belisarius's military judgment, to the joy of the enemy


III. Showing the danger of interfering Wwth a woman's intrigues, especially when the woman is the friend of an empress 


IV. How Theodora, revenging her dear Antonina, humiliated the conqueror of Africa and Italy . . . . . . .













Behind the Scenes:

The Return of Justinian the Great


A computer artist recounts her search for Justinian the Great on the Internet






Hagia Sophia, built by Justinian I in A. D. 537. Minarets added after the Ottomon siege of Constantinople in 1453


Hagia Sophia 3D



Hagia Sophia, the most beautiful church of the Byzantines





A reading of an excerpt from The Buildings by Procopius






Travel Guide





The Glory of Byzantium

Episode 2 from the BBC documentary series Art of Eternity







Last of the Germanic invaders, under Alboin, conquer Italy (568 – 774)

Episode from the Barbarians documentary series






Avar graves

documentary about Avar graves found in Croatia in 2011




Edward Gibbon



Portrait of Edward Gibbon (1737 – 1794) by Henry Walton



by Edward Gibbon (1788 - 1789)

Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Lecture 31 of the Great Courses series The Great Books
Rufus Fears

Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Leo Damrosch on his lecture-course 


Chapter 40
Elevation of Justin the Elder — Reign of Justinian: — I. The Empress Theodora — II. Factions of the Circus, and Sedition of Constantinople — III. Trade and Manufacture of Silk — IV. Finances and Taxes — V. Edifices of Justinian — Church of St. Sophia — Fortifications and Frontiers of the Eastern Empire — Abolition of the Schools of Athens and the Consulship of Rome
Chapter 41.
Conquests of Justinian in the West — Character and first Campaigns of Belisarius — He invades and subdues the Vandal Kingdom of Africa — His Triumph — The Gothic War — He recovers Sicily, Naples, and Rome — Siege of Rome by the Goths — Their Retreat and Losses — Surrender of Ravenna — Glory of Belisarius — His domestic Shame and Misfortunes
Chapter 42.
State of the Barbaric World — Establishment of the Lombards on the Danube — Tribes and Inroads of the Sclavonians — Origin, Empire, and Embassies of the Turks — The Flight of the Avars — Chosroes I. or Nushirvan King of Persia — His prosperous Reign and Wars with the Romans — The Colchian or Lazic War — The Æthiopians
Chapter 43.
Rebellions of Africa — Restoration of the Gothic Kingdom by Totila — Loss and Recovery of Rome — Final Conquest of Italy by Narses — Extinction of the Ostrogoths — Defeat of the Franks and Alemanni — Last Victory, Disgrace, and Death of Belisarius — Death and Character of Justinian — Comet, Earthquakes, and Plague
Chapter 44.

Idea of the Roman Jurisprudence — The Laws of the Kings — The Twelve Tables of the Decemvirs — The Laws of the People — The Decrees of the Senate — The Edicts of the Magistrates and Emperors — Authority of the Civilians — Code, Pandects, Novels, and Institutes of Justinian: — I. Rights of Persons — II. Rights of Things — III. Private Injuries and Actions — IV. Crimes and Punishments 


The Collapse of the Roman Empire in the Fifth Century 
Lecture by Discussion in the weekly Thursday BBC radio programme In Our Time hosted by Melvyn Bragg

18 March 2004

With guests Charlotte Roueché, David Womersley and Richard Alston


The Roman Empire in Relation to Culture
A reading of a chapter from Bertrand Russell's
History of Western Philosophy (1945)

The Last Romans
Excavation of Sagalassos, a city abandoned in the 600s A. D., in southeastern Anatolia


Church History

From AD 33 to the Present


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