Crisis of the Third Century
The Roman Empire could not be ruled by a single empire because of its size. Therefore, in the third century, a crisis emerged between the Persians and the barbarians as they claimed the leadership. ‘’Crisis of the third century’’ is a term that focused on wars that broke in the empire in addition to political succession crisis that lead to the death of more than twenty men as they claimed for emperor title between 235 AD and 284 AD (Rosenwein 4).
The traditional structure of the empire was threatened and many insightful changes were also witnessed. Many provinces also backed out from Roman power. The crisis was however put to rest when Constantine and Diocletian split the kingdom into four groups but they were later on reduced to two groups. ‘‘Late Antiquity,’’ period began because of Constantine rule and the empire was transformed because of religion and culture.
How Christianity Changed the Roman Empire
The success of Christianity in Roman Empire was an important historical event. As attacks and civil wars blemished the central government in the empire, provinces also began to withdraw from the empire. The formal state religion focused on the worship of gods and goddesses and therefore, it was not quite strong. Christianity initially was a minority religion in the empire having originated from Jewish people (Weller 21).
Christianity was also very different to the Romans because they were too dedicated to their gods. The Romans surprisingly did not command the provinces to abandon their beliefs because they included formal Roman gods into their pantheons. It was after the Emperor Constantine embrace of Christianity that significant changes helped to enhance the relationship between the state and the church.
Constantine also led to end of Christian persecution and formalized it as a state religion. The Roman Empire also experienced cultural and social change in the times of Constantine. A new capital was also created by the name Constantinople. Christianity also became powerful and it rose from periphery to the center.
‘‘Church Fathers’’ safeguarded Christina faith via theological and apologetic works during the age of Constantine. Many people also joined Christianity when it was declared a formal religion by Constantine. They also considered Christianity as a new approach worth pursuing. Many cities in the Roman Empire also ceased to succeed during the third century crisis even though they remained to be religious and political hubs.
Many people became followers through churches that were built in the outskirts of cities. Christians also created monasteries in deserts designed for meditation and prayer. Non-Christians were threatened because of the spread of the religion as they endured persecutions. Even though Christianity was declared to contain divine power, government’s authority became really weak as people sought salvation and God as a source of their inner strength.
The economy of Roman Empire became bumpy because churches were exempted from paying taxes. Christianity on the other hand created upheaval and chaos in other religions thus resulting in the downfall of Roman Empire. The Barbarians after 150 years of declaration of Christianity became encroached in western parts of the empire (Adair 272). Increased power of the Pope was also witnessed in the west due to poor leadership.
Later Antiquity defined a period when religion and culture made a significant change in the provinces that constituted the Roman Empire. Christianity acceptance in the empire also benefited many Christians but it led to the downfall of the empire. After a period of many persecutions, Christianity was declared a legal religion.
Even so, the administrative system of the government became weak and many turned to God for spiritual power and help. Germanic tribes on the other hand took advantage of the government by taking over the western side of the empire. Christian traditions and Barbarians also created foundations that led to the present European culture.
Adair, James. Christianity: The E-Book. Providence, Utah: Journal of Buddhist Ethics Online Books, 2007. Internet resource.
Rosenwein, Barbara H. A Short History of the Middle Ages, Volume 1: From c.300 to c.1150, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014. Print.
Weller, Paul. Time for a Change: Reconfiguring Religion, State, and Society. London: T & T Clark International, 2005. Print.