BECK index

ROMAN EMPIRE 30 BC to 610 has been published. For ordering information please click here.


Empire of Augustus and Tiberius

Rome Under Augustus
Virgil's Aeneid
Horace and Propertius
Ovid's Art of Love
Ovid's Metamorphoses
Rome Under Tiberius
Judea under Herod and Caesar
Essene Community by the Dead Sea
Philo of Alexandria

Jesus and His Apostles

John the Baptist
Jesus According to Mark
Jesus According to Matthew
Jesus According to Luke
Jesus According to John
Thomas and the Gnostics
Peter, James, and the Church
Paul and Christianity
Christian Fathers and Martyrs to 180

Roman Decadence 37-96

Caligula 37-41
Claudius 41-54
Nero 54-68
Seneca's Tragedies
Seneca's Stoic Ethics
Judean and Roman Wars 66-70
Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian 70-96
Roman Literature in the First Century
Quintilian's Education of an Orator
Apollonius of Tyana

Rome Under Better Emperors 96-180

Nerva 96-98 and Trajan 98-117
Dio Chrysostom's Discourses
Plutarch's Essays
Epictetus' Stoic Discourses
Hadrian 117-138
Antoninus Pius 138-161
Marcus Aurelius 161-180
Stoic Ethics of Marcus Aurelius
Literature in the Second Century
Lucian's Comic Criticism

Roman Empire In Turmoil 180-285

Commodus 180-192 and Pertinax
Severus Dynasty 193-235
Roman Wars 235-285
Judah and the Mishnah
Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, and Cyprian
Clement of Alexandria and Origen
Plotinus and Neo-Platonism
Literature in the Third Century

Roman Power and Christian Conflict 285-395

Diocletian's Reforms 284-305
Constantine's Religious Revolution 306-337
Constantine's Sons 337-361
Julian's Pagan Revival 361-363
Valentinian, Valens, Gratian, and Theodosius
Antony, Arius, and Athanasius
Basil and Two Gregorys of Cappadocia
Martin, Ambrose, and Prudentius
John Chrysostom and Jerome

Augustine and the Fall of Rome 395-476

Augustine's Confessions
Augustine and the Catholic Church
Augustine's City of God
Roman Empire Invaded 395-425
Macrobius and Cassian
Roman Empire Reduced 425-476
Orosius and Salvian
Leo, Patrick, and Severin

Goths, Franks, and Justinian's Empire 476-610

Zeno, Anastasius, and Theodoric's Ostrogoths
Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy
Frank Kingdom of Clovis and His Sons
Benedict's Monastic Rule
Justinian's Imperial Wars to 540
Justinian's Imperial Wars after 540
Justinian and Roman Law
Roman Empire Disintegration 565-610
Frank Civil Wars and Brunhild 561-613
Saxon Kingdoms in Britain 476-616
Pope Gregory's Reforms 590-604

Summary and Evaluation

Roman Domination 30 BC to 180 CE
Roman Decline and Christianity 180-610
Evaluating the Roman Empire


Chronology of Europe to 1400
World Chronology 30 BC to 750 CE


After the ambitions of men such as Pompey, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian Caesar caused civil wars and destroyed the republican institutions of Rome, Octavian as Augustus established the Roman empire under
his dictatorship. For the next six centuries most of western civilization was dominated by this empire and the development of the Christian religion, which was founded by the spiritual teachings of Jesus and the organizational ability of Paul. It took nearly three centuries before some Roman emperors stopped persecuting the Christian believers. Constantine converted to win control of the empire and made Christianity the Roman religion. Yet imperial power continued and faced numerous challenges by invaders while Christians fell into conflicts with each other over theology. Western law is based on Roman models and the extensive writings during Justinian’s empire in the sixth century. Bishops of Rome such as Leo and Gregory developed the religious authority of the papacy.

Since much of the world is still influenced by western civilization, the history and ethics of this era have much to
teach us about Christian cultures. Recently some politicians in the powerful United States are even flirting with the idea of emulating the “Pax Romana” or Roman peace by using overwhelming military power to control the world. Yet this history clearly shows the contradiction between the original teachings of Jesus and the use of Roman imperial force which caused him to suffer crucifixion. The examples of the early Christians demonstrate that love can be more effective in changing people than brutal force. The decline of the Roman empire reveals the limits of militarism and the constant wars that result from trying to dominate other people. The books of the New Testament and the writings of Augustine and others are still the basis for much ethical discussion by Christians.

I hope that readers will study this history and these ideas so that we can act more wisely in the future. The Summary and Evaluation chapter at the end is a good place to get an overview. The Chronological Index of Events and the Alphabetical Index of Names make this a useful reference book for looking up facts and understanding the important ideas conveyed in philosophy and literature that pertain to ethics.

I pray that we will learn how to get along with each other so that everyone can live in relative peace and harmony, because we have been able to develop institutions that establish justice and protect human rights while respecting human diversity.

BECK index