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as visionaries, from all offices of public trust. He refused them the benefit of the laws to decide their differences, because their religion forbade all dissensions; and they were debarred the studies of literature and philosophy, which they could not learn save from


authors. Julian was slain in an expedition into the heart of Asia against the Persians, whom he, however, defeated, and died at the age of thirty-one, after a three years' reign, A.D. 363.

Jovian, his successor, who reigned but seven months, favored Christianity, and restored its votaries to all their priviieges as subjects. Valentinian was chosen emperor by the army. He was an able general, and defeated the Persians in many bloody engagements. The Christian religion was favored by him, a contrast to his brother Valens, who shared the throne with him, and who intemperately supported the Arian heresy. The Goths now came into prominence, and later the Huns of Tartar origin, before whom the Goths fled incontinently. Valens, in fighting the Ostrogoths, was defeated and slain. The Goths now ravaged Achaia and Pannonia.

Gratian succeeded; but his colleague Theodosius, deservedly named the Great, on the death of Gratian, ruled with justice and ability.

He successfully repelled the encroachments of the barbarians, and secured, by wholesome laws, the prosperity of his people, having succeeded in restoring peace to every part of the empire. He died, after a reign of eighteen years, assigning to his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, the separate sovereignties of East and West, A.D. 395.

peculiarly needed, the state of the world was remarkably favorable for the extensive dissemination of the doctrines it conveyed. The union of so many nations under one power, and the extension of civilization, were favorable to the progress of a religion which prescribed universal charity and benevolence. The gross superstitions of Paganism, and its tendency to corrupt instead of purifying the morals, contributed to explode its influence with every thinking mind.

Even the prevalent philosophy of the times, Epicurism, more easily understood than the refinements of the Platonists, and more grateful than the severities of the Stoics, tended to degrade human nature to the level of the brute creation. The Christian religion, thus necessary for the reformation of the world, found its chief partisans in those who were the friends of virtue, and its enemies among the votaries of vice.

The persecution which the Christians underwent from the Romans has been deemed an exception to that spirit of toleration which they showed to the religions of other nations: but they were tolerant only to those whose theologies were not hostile to their own.

The religion of the Romans was interwoven with their political constitution. The zeal of the Christians, aiming at the suppression of all idolatry, was not unnaturally regarded as dangerous to the state; and hence they were the object of hatred and persecution. In the first century the Christian church suffered deeply under Nero and Domitian; yet those persecutions had no tendency to check the progress of its doctrines.

It is a matter of question what was the form of the primitive church, and the nature of its government; and on this head much difference of opinion exists, not only between the Catholics and Protestants, but between the different classes of the latter, as the Lutherans and Calvinists. It is, moreover, an opinion, that our Saviour and his Apostles, confining their precepts to the pure doctrines of religion, have left all Christian societies to regulate their frame and government in the manner best suited to the civil constitutions of the countries in which they are established.

In the second century the books of the New Testament were collected into a volume by the elder fathers of the church, and received as a canon of faith. The Old Testament had been translated from the IIebrew and Greek, by order of Ptolemy Phila



The reign of Theodosius was signalized by the downfall of the Pagan superstition, and the full establishment of the Christian religion in the Roman empire. This great revolution of opinions is highly worthy of attention, and naturally induces a view of the condition of the Christian church from its institution down to this period.

It has been frequently remarked, because it is an obvious truth, that the concurrence of circumstances at the time of our Saviour's birth was such as, while a divine revelation seemed to be then more


delphus, two hundred and forty-eight years before tected by the laws. Even the Christian emperors Christ. The early church suffered much from an held, like their Pagan predecessors, the office of absurd endeavor of the more learned of its votaries Pontifex Maximus. Gratian was the first who reto reconcile its doctrines to the tenets of the Pagan fused that ancient dignity as a profanation. In the philosophers; hence the sects of the Gnostics and time of Theodosius, the causes of Christianity and Ammonians, and the Platonizing Christians. The of Paganism were solemnly debated in the Roman Greek churches began in the second century to form senate between Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, the provincial associations, and establish general rules champion of the former, and Symmachus, a celeof government and discipline. Assemblies were brated Roman orator, the defender of the latter. held, termed Synodi and Concilia, over which a The cause of Christianity was triumphant; and the Metropolitan presided. A short time after arose senate issued its decree for the abolition of Paganthe superior order of Patriarch, presiding over a ism, whose downfall in the capital was soon followed large district of the Christian world; and a subordi- by its extinction in the Provinces. Theodosius, nation taking place even among these, the Bishop with able policy, permitted no persecution of the of Rome was acknowledged the chief of the Patri- ancient religion, which perished with the more archs. Persecution still attended the early church, rapidity that its fall was gentle and unresisted. even under those excellent princes Trajan, Adrian, Symmachus not only failed in his conference and and the Antonines; and in the reign of Severus, the debate with Ambrose, but met with another oppowhole provinces of the empire were stained with nent in Prudentius, the favorite of Honorius, the the blood of the martyrs. It was impossible for emperor's son. Christianity to enter into competition with the ten- The doctrines of the Platonic philosophy seem to ets and rites of Paganism without offending many have led to the notion of an intermediate state of prejudices, interfering with many interests, exciting purification, to the celibacy of the priests, ascetic many alarms, and giving a handle to all persons in mortifications, penances, and monastic seclusion. power or otherwise, who wished to be free from moral restraint, to proscribe it as a religion incom

EXTINCTION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN THE WEST. patible with the course and stability of worldly It was during the reigns of Arcadius and Honoaffairs.

rius, the sons and successors of Theodosius, that the The third century was more favorable to the barbarian nations gained foothold in the frontier progress of Christianity, and the tranquillity of its provinces, both East and West. Theodosius had disciples. In those times it suffered less from the committed the government to Rufinus and Stilicho civil arm, than from the pens of the Pagan philoso- during the minority of his sons; the former as phers, Porphyry, Philostratus, etc.; but these at- guardian of Arcadius in the East, the latter of tacks called forth the zeal and talents of many able Honorius in the West; this fatal dissension gave defenders, as Origen, Dionysius, and Cyprian. A every advantage to the enemies of the empire. The part of Gaul, Germany, and Britain, received in this Huns, actually invited by Rufinus, who had a keen century the light of the Gospel.

eye to the Byzantine throne, overspread Armenia, In the fourth century, the Christian church was Cappadocia, and Syria. The Goths, under Alaric, alternately persecuted by the Roman emperors. ravaged the borders of Italy, and laid waste Achaia Among its oppressors we rank Diocletian, Galerius, to the Peloponnesus. Alaric, now styled king of and Julian. Among its favorers, Constantine and the Visigoths, prepared to add Italy to his new dohis sons, Valentinian, Valens, Gratian, and the ex- minions. An able Vandal general, Stilicho, made cellent Theodosius, in whose reign the Pagan a brave stand against the Visigoths, but Alaric with superstition came to its final period.

a torrent of Goths poured into Italy, sweeping From the age of Numa to the reign of Gratian, everything before him, and in the year 410 he the Romans preserved the regular succession of the sacked and plundered Rome; but unwilling to several sacerdotal colleges, the Pontiffs, Augurs, destroy the world's mistress, he withdrew his forces Vestals, Flamines, Salii, etc., whose authority, on the sixth day, and, professing Christianity, he though weakened in the latter ages, was still pro- | spared all the churches. He was preparing for the

conquest of Sicily and Africa when death snatched him off; and Honorius, instead of profiting by this event to recover his lost provinces, made a treaty with his successor, Ataulfus, ceding him a portion of Spain, and gave him his sister in marriage. The claim of the Burgundians to their conquests in Gaul was now recognized, and thus the Western Empire was gradually crumbling from beneath the dominion of its ancient masters.

In the East, the mean and dissolute Arcadius died in the year 408, and Honorius in 423, to be succeeded by Valentinian III., under the guardianship of his mother Placidia.

The Vandals, under Genseric, subdued the Roman province of Africa, having been invited thither from Spain by Bonifacius. The Huns, in the East, extended their conquests from the borders of China to the Baltic Sea. Under Attila they laid waste Moesia and Thrace; and Theodosius II., after a dastardly attempt to murder the barbarian general, ingloriously submitted to pay him an annual tribute. It was in this crisis of universal decay, that the Britons implored the Romans to defend them against the Picts and Scots, but received for answer that they had nothing to bestow on them but compassion. The Britons, in despair, sought aid from the Saxons and Angles, who seized, as their property, the country they were invited to protect, and founded, in the fifth and sixth centuries, the kingdoms of the Saxon Heptarchy.

Attila, with an army of 500,000 men, threatened the annihilation of the empire. He was successfully opposed, A.D. 451, by Aetius, the greatest general of the age, and called by some “the last of the Romans.”


83. Futile attack of Domitian on the Germans.

86. Beginning of the wars between the Romans and the Dacians.

98—117. Trajan, emperor of Rome. Under him the empire acquires its greatest territorial extent by his conquests in Dacia and in the East. His successor, Hadrian, abandons the provinces beyond the Euphrates, which Trajan had conquered.

138—180. Era of the Antonines.

167—176. A long and desperate war between Rome and a great confederacy of the German nations. Marcus Antoninus at last succeeds in repelling them.

192—197. Civil wars throughout the Roman world. Severus becomes emperor. He relaxes the discipline of the soldiers. After his death in 211, the series of military insurrections, civil wars, and murders of emperors recommences.

226. Artaxerxes (Ardisheer) overthrows the Parthian, and restores the Persian kingdom in Asia. He attacks the Roman possessions in the East.

250. The Goths invade the Roman provinces. The emperor Decius is defeated and slain by them.

253—260. The Franks and Alemanni invade Gaul, Spain, and Africa. The Goths attack Asia Minor and Greece. The Persians conquer Armenia. Their king, Sapor, defeats the Roman emperor Valerian, and takes him prisoner. General distress of the Roman empire.

268—283. The emperors Claudins, Aurelian, Tacitus, Probus, and Carus defeat the various enemies of Rome, and restore order in the Roman state.

285. Diocletian divides and re-organizes the Roman empire. After his abdication in 3C5 a fresh series of civil wars and confusion ensues. Constantine, the first Christian emperor, reunites the empire in 324.

330. Constantine makes Constantinople the seat of empire instead of Rome.

363. The emperor Julian is killed in action against the Persians.

364376. The empire is again divided, Valentinian being emperor of the West, and Valens of the East. Valentinian repulses the Alemanni, and other German invaders from Gaul. Splendor of the Gothic kingdom under Hermanric, north of the Danube.

375–395. The Huns attack the Goths, who implore the protection of the Roman emperor of the East. The Goths are allowed to pass the Danube, and to settle in the Roman provinces. A war soon breaks out between them and the Romans, and the emperor Valens and his army are destroyed by them. They ravage the Roman territories. The emperor Theodosius reduces them to submission. They retain settlements in Thrace and Asia Minor.

395. Final division of the Roman empire between Arcadius and Honorius, the two sons of Theodosius. The Goths revolt, and under Alaric attack various parts of both the Roman empires.

410. Alaric takes the city of Rome.

412. The Goths march into Gaul, and in 414 into Spain, which had been already invaded by hosts of Vandals, Suevi, Alani, and other Germanic nations. Britain is formally abandoned by the Roman emperor of the West.

428. Genseric, king of the Vandals, conquers the Roman province of North Africa.

441. The Huns attack the Eastern empire.



A.D. 43. The Romans commence the conquest of Britain, Claudius being then Emperor of Rome. The population of this island was then Celtic. In about forty years all the tribes south of the Clyde were subdued, and their land made a Roman province.

58–60. Successful campaigns of the Roman general Corbulo against the Parthians.

64. First persecution of the Christians at Rome under Nero.

69–70. Civil wars in the Roman world. The emperors Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, cut off successively by violent deaths. Vespasian becomes emperor.

70. Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans under Titus.


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