Fall of Rome

Week 1: The Fall of Rome & Beginning of Dark/Middle Ages

K – 3: The fall of Rome and the beginning of the Dark Ages is a concept that may be a bit complicated for this age group. I would recommend skipping this lesson for students in these grade levels, and moving on to next week’s lesson about the Vikings.

View 4 – 8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr2oj9hxszY&feature=c4-overview&list=UUgo_JRKFa39Tr3D-fbOqoWw  AND download this chart to fill in while watching the Youtube video: Compare Roman Empire & Dark Ages Worksheet (doc) or Compare Roman Empire & Dark Ages Worksheet (pdf).

Read: NOTE (see below)

Note:  This semester we will be studying the Dark & Middle Ages. It is also sometimes called the Medieval Era. It is called the Middle Ages because this time period lies between two great periods of cultural advancement: the Roman Empire and the Renaissance. (You will learn why it is called the “Dark” Ages from the youtube video above.)

The youtube video listed above gives an excellent, concise history of the fall of the Roman Empire and an overview of the Dark Ages. However, it should be noted that for many, many years Roman citizens worshiped Roman gods and goddesses. When Jesus brought the message of the gospel, he was crucified under the authority of Roman leaders. Later many of his disciples were also persecuted or killed for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and promoting Christianity. The Roman Empire began in approximately 30 B.C. with the rule of Augustus Caesar. Christianity didn’t become the official religion of ancient Rome until 312 AD.  This was during the reign of the emperor Constantine, when he himself became a Christian. That means for almost 350 years, Christianity was NOT the official religion of Rome.

The Roman Empire fell in approximately 476 A.D when the Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed by a Germanic King. The time of the Middle Ages began when the Roman Empire fell and lasted about 1000 years. We will be studying three cultures that prospered during the Middle Ages: the Vikings, the European Feudal society, & the Arab Empire.

Discuss:

  • Why is this time period known as “The Dark & Middle Ages”? (Few cultural advancements, time of many invasions, fewer people were educated at this time, fewer historical documents remain from this time period. This age is located in the “middle” of the Roman Empire & the Renaissance.
  • Why did the Roman Empire fall? (Overrun by invading outsiders)
  • How do the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages compare in terms of culture? (Roman empire had created great works of architecture, poets, writers of great literature; Dark ages had very few of these “cultural advances”.)
  • How did the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages compare in terms of education? (Roman Empire: many citizens could read and write; Dark Ages: only very wealthy or certain members of the church could read & write)
  • How did these two time periods compare in terms of trade? (Roman Empire: bustling trade, great network of roads; Dark Ages: very little trade)
  • How did these two time periods compare in terms of religion? (Roman Empire initially worshiped many, many gods and goddesses. These deities were similar to those of the ancient Greeks. During the latter part of the Roman Empire, Christianity became official religion. Dark Ages: Christianity.)
  • Why did the Roman Empire change its official religion? (The emperor Constantine became a Christian and then changed the religion of the empire.)
  • Were the Ancient Romans always kind to Christians? (No, Jesus himself was crucified under the authority of Roman rule; many Christians were killed or persecuted for their beliefs in Jesus until the time of Constantine.)
  • Who were the protectors of the citizens of Ancient Rome? (Roman Army)
  • How did people living in the Dark Ages find protection? (from Feudal Lords)
  • About how long did the Middle Ages last? (1000 years)
  • Name 3 great cultures of the Middle Ages? (The Vikings, & European Feudal Society, & The Arab Empire.)

Activities – 4 – 8: Complete the attached chart (Compare Roman Empire & Dark Ages worksheet) as you follow along with the Youtube video  (see above): Compare Roman Empire & Dark Ages Worksheet (doc) or Compare Roman Empire & Dark Ages Worksheet (pdf).

Copyright June 12th, 2014 by Gwen Fredette

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