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The Christians V04 - Darkness Descends

V04

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Darkness Descends / AD 350 to AD 565 / The Fall of the Western Roman Empire / Volume Four of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years History Series

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Darkness Descends

Volume 4: A.D. 350 to 565
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire

In the fourth century one man – Athanasius – saved Christianity from near-destruction by a surge of “Arianism,” a heresy denying the divinity of Christ. The story of Christianity then shifts to the complete destruction of the western Roman empire by successive hordes of barbarians invading from forests and steppes to the north and east. In many ways the equivalent of an all-out nuclear war, this catastrophe brought to an end the ancient world, and ushered in the beginnings of medieval Christendom. There are chapters on Augustine, Patrick and the Irish reconversion of barbarian Europe, the kingdom of the formidable Franks, and the founding of the Byzantine Christian empire in the East.

Chapter One

Athanasius–the man who stood against the world

  • The rising power of holy women

Chapter Two

Victim becomes victor in the ancient world's biggest-ever manhunt

  • The artist's challenge: Depicting the face of Christ
  • The trio who came to the rescue
  • The truth about creeds
  • Anthony leads the exodus to the wilderness

Chapter Three

A disaster foreshadows he last man to govern both East and West

  • The man who ruled the ruler
  • The Golden Mouth is silenced

Chapter Four

Civilization crumbles as the barbarians roll over the West

  • A great city's humble origins
  • The attack of the half-human Huns

Chapter Five

Rome might be gone but Augustine offers a city destined for eternity

  • The Bible's testy translator
  • Pelagianism: Can we be good if we try hard?
  • Benedict: Western monasticism finds a guide

Chapter Six

Church unity shatters over the personhood of Jesus

Chapter Seven

The Chalcedonian Council answers the question but splits the church

  • In stormy seas, Judaism sails on

Chapter Eight

The Franks become the improbable ancestors of Christian Europe

  • A Spain that was, and would be again
  • A soldier becomes the most popular French saint ever

Chapter Nine

With Britain doomed, the faith takes root in barbarous Ireland

  • The real and fabled king
  • When everyone's Irish
  • Brendan's Atlantic voyage
  • A monk, a cat and a poem

Chapter Ten

The unlikely marriage that shaped the destiny of Europe and the faith

  • The Roman-Gothic Empire that never was
  • The vanishing Vandals
  • Hagia Sophia, Justinian's masterpiece