Map Exercise 3: The Roman World    (This exercise includes 7 maps)

While the Greeks expended enormous effort to dream about what kind of world they wished to inhabit, it was the Romans who set about building that world. The proof is the Roman Empire, a vast territory that eventually encompassed the entire Mediterranean, the coast of North Africa, as well as most of the Near East and the continent of Europe. First under the Republic, and then later under the Empire, the Romans were able to fashion a centralized government for a united and stable world. The Romans also adapted themselves to the Greek legacy and created the Greco-Roman tradition of thought and activity that would become the heart of western civilization of modern times.

The age of the Roman Empire also marks the appearance of Christianity, first as just another mystery cult and later as the state religion of the Roman world. The Roman world shaped the history of Christianity and the early Church in profound ways. Christianity approached the classical tradition as a double-edged sword: although the classical tradition offered the Christian world much that was good, there was also much evil that needed to be avoided.

Some topics to consider as you go through this exercise include:

  • The intersection of the Hellenistic world with that of Rome
  • The importance of Diocletian's division of the Roman Empire
  • The impetus for and reaction to the great waves of barbarian migrations
  • The spread and triumph of Christianity
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