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Early Middle Ages: Christianity, Roman & German Exchanges/Relations

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1)In the 4th century, we see a "triump of Christianity" in Western civilization that would last more than 1,000 years. (please explain)

2) How did increasing contact between Roman civilization and the Germanic barbarians transform both?

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Solution Summary

The solution provides an explanatory narrative on the so called 4th century 'Triumph of Christianity' and the effects of the contact between the Roman Civilization and the Germanic Tribes on each other.

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1. Christianity was, to coin a modern phrase, at the right place at the right time. After it became the State religion of Rome under Constantine, it spread rapidly as well as popularly; increasing the number of practicing Christians, until finally it was illegal not to practice Christianity. Christianity also took from many of the other religions of the time certain dates, symbols, rituals, and "Christianized" them to make it easier and more palpable for individuals to convert. For example, winter solstice was placed around Christianity's Christmas; Spring Equinox, Easter; December 25th, or thereabouts was the God Mithras' birthday, saints as minor gods, biblical stories that resonate with paganism, etc.

Christianity was also seen as a stabilizing factor for Constantine, to unify the empire in a way that it had not been in decades. Many scholars see the 325 Council of Nicea as the way Christianity was to focus for the next millennia. From the 4th ...

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