Why were early Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire


Professor Briscoe

Midterm Examination

This exam is open-book, open note. You may use any sources you wish. However, you must document (with end notes or in-text references) all sources that you use. Write in your own words, quote (from primary sources) sparingly.

The Exam is due in your assignment folder by midnight (EDT), Sunday, September 16.

I. Choose five of the following terms or individuals and in short essays (of 2 or 3 paragraphs roughly 300 – 400 words) explain their historical importance and significance. (10 points each). [note: not a canned biography, but an evaluation of their historical significance—in your own words]

a. Epic of Gilgamesh

b. the Punic Wars (between Rome and Carthage)

c. Indo-Europeans

d. Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey

e. Peloponnesian War 431-404 B.C.

f. Pericles and the Periclean Age in Athens

g. Alexander the Great and Hellenism

h. Julius Caesar

i. Emperor Diocletian

j. The five “good emperors” (Roman Empire)

k. Paul of Tarsus

II. Major Essays. Choose two of the following questions and respond in essays of about 300-900 words (1-3 pages) each. [25 points each]

1. Compare the nature and characteristics of the major deities (gods) of the Greek world as presented in Homer and in Greek tragedies with the Judeo-Christian God as presented in the Hebrew and the Christian Bibles.

2. Compare and contrast the institutions of Periclean Athens with those of Sparta in the 400s BCE. What social and political forces help explain the distinctive institutions of Sparta?

3. Analyze the reasons for the collapse of the Roman Republic in the 1st century B.C.E. What new institutions did Augustus create and how successful was he in restoring stability to the Roman World?

4. Why were early Christians persecuted in the Roman Empire? How did Christianity spread through the Roman world to become the dominant religion in the late-Empire and after?

5. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the Roman Empire after the reign of Augustus. What structures or institutions of continuity from the Empire remained after the collapse of Roman rule in western Europe in the 5th century?

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