Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Review of Post Biblical History (2)

This is part 2 of chapter 8 of my book, Biblical Glasses.

What happened after the apostles died?

What happened to Rome? From 14–68 A.D., Caesars Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero ruled the Roman Empire. There was a great fire in Rome in 64 A.D., and Nero blamed it on Christians, thus intensifying already harsh persecution against Christianity. As the Jews revolted against the Romans from 66–70 A.D., Emperor Titus, who succeeded Nero, destroyed Jerusalem, including the precious Jewish Temple in 70 A.D., fulfilling Biblical prophecy. In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii; the Colosseum in Rome was inaugurated the next year.

During a three-year Jewish uprising from 132–135 A.D., Judea was eliminated from maps and the term Palestine, although originally coined by Herodotus in the late fifth century B.C., was first used by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to describe the region. The Roman Empire reached its peak around 160 A.D. If you have seen the movie, Gladiator, with Russell Crowe, then you may recall Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. They were real people ruling the Roman Empire from 161–192. The next 200 years of Roman history were dominated by civil war and political assassinations.

Christian persecution was extremely harsh from the time of Caligula until 253, when it was officially, but temporarily, ended by Gallienus. The Roman Empire was slowly declining, but Diocletian, infamous for severe and ruthless persecution of the rapidly growing Christian faith, led Rome in a revival from 284–305. Emperor Constantine ruled Rome from 312–337, and as mentioned in chapter one, he forced Christianity upon the entire empire in 324. His capital, along with the Christian Church headquarters, was moved from Rome to Constantinople in 330. Upon his death, the Roman Empire found itself with an east and a west, although the separation was not recognized until Rome was invaded by the Goths in 390. (The formal split into east and west came in 395.) In 361, Emperor Julian reinstated paganism as the official religion, and Rome continued its demise.

The Roman Empire lost control over Britain in 407 and faced several barbarian invasions over the next 70 years, including one by Attila the Hun. The Western Roman Empire, with its capital at Rome, fell in 476, and the Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, became the dominant world power under the moniker of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire flourished early under Justinian, then suffered declines and enjoyed revivals for nearly a millennium. The Byzantine Empire experienced its golden age under the Macedonian dynasty from 868–1025, and it fell in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks.

During this thousand-year period of time, China was developing under its myriad dynasties in relative seclusion, uniting with the help of Buddhism in 581 and eventually surviving persecution under Taoist regimes because of its Buddhist foundation. India had its golden age under the Gupta dynasty. The ancient city of Teotihuacán in Mexico was flourishing in the shadow of the Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest pyramid in the world. A nation-state was established in Sweden, from where the Beowulf tale comes. Persia maintained its existence from Biblical Old Testament times and would remain stable until being captured by Arab Muslims.

Many violent tribal states vied for significance by attacking each other and other larger nations throughout all of Europe and Asia. Charlemagne ruled the Germanic region in the late eight and early ninth centuries, keeping close ties with the pope to ensure blessings on his leadership. Japan was rising up as well, late into the first millennium A.D. Vikings founded Russia in the mid-ninth century. William the Conqueror became king of England in 1057 and built the Tower of London, which still stands today, in 1066.

That was just a quick overview of the world in motion during the first millennium A.D. All of the information shows that ever since the incident at the Tower of Babel people continued to spread out and form unique civilizations, cultures, and societies with different rules and regulations and traditions. In a vast majority of cases, the people altered or abandoned Biblical foundations and rebuilt on manmade ideas, thus adding to the turmoil that engulfed the world during that time.

Before moving on to the second millennium A.D., we need to examine the rise of Islam, which battled so-called Christianity during the Crusades. It is important here to note that while Arabs founded Islam, all Arabs are not Muslims, and all Muslims are not Arabs.

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