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Change and Continuity: Rome (100-600 AD)

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Change and Continuity: Rome (100-600 AD)
From 100-600 AD, the Roman Empire was the centerpiece of Western Civilization, although it experienced many changes along the way, including change of religion, customs, and political power, while keeping some continuity at the same time.

The most obvious change in Rome, in this time period, was the changing of polytheism to monotheism, specifically Christianity. Before 313 A.D., Christianity was illegal in the empire, until Emperor Constantine legalized it, and Christianity became the official religion of Rome by the end of the Fourth Century A.D. This caused the city of Rome to be the center of the Catholic world for many years later, and it is still today. More changes occurred when barbarians took over much of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire by 600 A.D., with the Franks occupying Gaul, the Anglo-Saxons in Britain, and many more barbarian groups in various regions.

Also, individual workers started to join guilds, which meant that these workers would stay with the same career, and their kids would do the same career, all within this guild, which is essentially the late Roman version of the workers union. This system would never have been imagined in 100 A.D.

The power of the emperor also increased, to the point that by 600 A.D., the Senate in Constantinople had virtually no power. The city of Rome itself declined during this period. After the Gothic War, in which Rome was sacked, the only importance of Rome was that it was the home of the Pope. Since the Roman Empire once spanned across much of Afro-Eurasia, these political and cultural changes effected most of the world.

There were few continuities in this time period, but one was that most of Europe still spoke Latin, the language of the Romans. Another continuity is that Christianity, specifically Catholicism, remained as the main religion of Western and Central Europe through the Middle Ages, and still is today, with the exception of some Protestants. The idea of an emperor, dispite the failure of the Roman emperors lasted, as the Byzantine Empire (Continuation of East Rome) continued to use emperors as the leader of the empire. The Byzantine Empire also continued to believe in Christianity, but instead of Catholicism, they practiced Orthodox after the Great Schism of 1054.

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