This is the assignment page for the topic "The Tradition of Christian Empire" for J. B.
Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, Foundation of
Western Civilization. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to
provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.
You may return to the course
main page or to the course
The Tradition of Christian Empire
ID: Octavian/Augustus (r. 27 B.C.E.-14 C.E.), Roman Law, Soldier Emperors (235-285),
Diocletian (r. 284-305), Constantine (r. 307-337), so-called "Edict of Milan" (313), Council
ofNicaea [Isnik] (325), Arian Heresy, Nicaean Creed, Council of Chalcedon (451), Theodosius I,
the Great (r. 378-395), edict against heresy/heretics (381), edict closing pagan temples (391),
Theodosius II (r. 408-450), Codex Theodosianus (438), Justinian (r. 527-565), Codex
- Why did Octavian (r. 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.) leave in place basic republican institutions when
he took control of Rome's government?
- Why did the Roman imperial government from the reign of Augustus (Octavian) to that of
Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-180 C.E.) leave so much administrative authority in the hands of
prominent landowners in each local area of the Empire?
- Why did a concern for judicial administration and the rule of law become such an important
attribute of Roman cultural environment during both the Republican and Imperial periods?
- Why did the Roman Empire become so unstable in the third century C.E.?
- On what bases did Diocletian (r. 284-305) seek to restore effect administration to the Roman
- What advantages did Constantine derive from his patronage of Christianity?
- Why did the Emperor Theodosius (r. 378-395) prohibit all non-Christian cults when
Constantine and other 4th-century emperors had allowed them to exist?
- Why were Christians able to make theirs the dominant religious movement in the
Mediterranean Basin by the death of Augustine of Hippo (died 430)?
- Why did the Emperor Justinian (r. 527-565) make the codification of Roman Law one of the
primary projects of the early years of his reign?
- Why did the Christian Church in the areas under the direct authority of the Emperor in
Constantinople develop and function under close secular supervision?
Kishlansky, 75, 95-100, 110-121, 130-132; Owens, chapter 6 ("Church Reform and the Struggle
for European Cultural Leadership" from the section "The Christian Empire" until the section
"Investiture Controversy Overview").
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J. B. Owens
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Revised: 11 May 2006