Episode 1 AD 300-390


Alexander puts Darius to flight – Roman mosaic Pompeii c. 100 BC, The Roman Empire before Christianity

 The Roman Empire before Christianity

This opening episode asks the foundational question of the whole series: “Where did Europe come from?” The question itself historicizes the continent and its civilisation … Europe didn’t always exist, but it germinated within, and over a long period grew out of, a prior cultural realm – the Mediterranean world of Antiquity. Here we examine the period AD 300-390: The Roman Empire before Christianity, together with some brief impressions of what earliest Christianity was like and how it melded and itself was transformed, as it transformed the culture of the Roman Empire, that is, the ancient Mediterranean and the Near East.


  • A brief survey of the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean, as a cultural and political unity
  • An account of how that state was held together, and the stresses it was under
  • A consideration of the new factor of the 300s, the adoption of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine
  • The division of the political administration of the Mediterranean state into East and West
  • The relocation by Constantine of the political capital to his new city, Constantinople, and some of the long term consequences


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