2018HSSL_FlipBooks

2018_FlipBook_Getlein_LivingWithArt_12e

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355 According to tradition, Jesus, known as the Christ or "anointed one," was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Emperor Augustus. In time his followers would become so influential in world affairs that our common calendar takes as its starting point the presumed date of Jesus's birth, calling it "year 1." As a matter of fact, the 6th-century calendar-makers who devised this plan were wrong in their calculations. Jesus probably was born between four and six years earlier than they had supposed, but the calendar has nevertheless become standard. The faith preached by the followers of Jesus spread with remarkable speed through the Roman Empire; yet, that empire itself was about to undergo a profound transformation. Overextended, internally weakened, and increasingly invaded, it would soon disintegrate. The western portion would eventually reemerge as western Europe—a collection of independent, often warring kingdoms united by a common religious culture of Christianity. The eastern portion would survive for a time as the Byzantine Empire, a Christianized continuation of a much-diminished Roman Empire. The Near East, Egypt, North Africa, and most of Spain, meanwhile, would become the heartlands of yet another new religious culture, Islam. (We will discuss the arts of Islam in Chapter 18.) This chapter continues the story of the Western tradition with the rise of Christianity, the arts of Byzantium, and the formation of western Europe. The Rise of Christianity Christianity was but one of numerous religions in the late Roman Empire, but it quickly became one of the most popular and well organized. Rome's attitude toward this new cultural force within its borders varied. Often, the faith was tolerated, especially since it came to attract an increasing number of wealthy and influential people. At other times, Christians were persecuted, sometimes officially and some- times by mobs. One reason for the persecutions was that Christians refused to wor- ship the gods and goddesses of the state religion, including the emperor himself, in addition to their own god. Clearly, such people were a threat to the political stability and well-being of the empire. Christianity's situation changed abruptly in the year 313, when the Roman emperor Constantine issued an edict of tolerance for all religions. Not only were Chapter 15 Christianity and the Formation of Europe In this chapter, you will learn to LO1 describe the art made to support the rise of Christianity, LO2 explain the art and architecture of Byzantium, LO3 discuss the objects and buildings made in Europe during the Middle Ages, and LO4 identify the characteristics of art that anticipated the Renaissance.

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