The Time is Near
Apocalyptic is a collective term designating those ancient visionary writings or parts of writings which flourished between 200 B.C. and A.D. 100. It is a distinctly Jewish and Christian phenomenon with roots back into the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. The origin of Apocalypse is ascribed to Hebrew prophecy, Iranian religion, Hellenistic syncretism (the combination of different forms of belief or practice), and Old Canaanite myths, with influence of an eastern as Zoroastrianism (a Persian religion characterized by worship of a supreme god Ahura Mazda who requires men’s good deeds for help in his cosmic struggle against the evil spirit Ahriman).
Therefore to understand apocalypse, its genre, style, idioms, imagery and the like, we must consider the historical setting and events which nurtured the genre. We must answer the question, “What occasions and events spawned apocalypses?” We must consider the broad span of time from the captivity of Israel in Assyria and Judah in Babylon, to the late second century A.D. of the Roman Empire.
Build a chronology of events, and determine the impact, if any, these events would have on apocalyptic thought and apocalypse. Below is a brief chronology from the time of the Divided Kingdom of Israel until the decline of the Roman Empire. Each events helps place the writing of an apocalypse in its proper context. Remember, the first century believers were aware of the past, the history of Israel from the beginning until Rome. Consider what events shaped the lives of those who dwelt in the provinces of Asia Minor.
The End of the Assyrian Empire
The House of Omri fell in 842 B.C. in Jehu’s bloody overturn, but in the very year of his accession to the throne of Israel, Jehu was forced to pay tribute to the Assyrian king, Shalmanesar III (858–824 B.C.). There was the threat of Assyrian expansion from as early as 853 B.C. Upon his return in 842 B.C., Shalmanesar III besieged Damascus and extracted tribute from Sidon, Tyre and Israel. A new Assyrian king, Adad-Nirari III (810–783 B.C.) resumed campaigns and again forced Israel to pay tribute.
The Assyrians were interested in plunder and tribute from subordinate states than in gaining territory. They were troubled by revolts and war with the Urata in eastern Anatolia. Uzziah of Judah (769–733 B.C.) built up his army and strengthened the defences of Jerusalem in anticipation of future Assyrian hostilities.
In the second half of the eighth century B.C, the Assyrians returned to Israel under Tiglath-Pilesar III (744–727 B.C.; the Pul of the Bible). He imposed direct rule over difficult areas by setting up provinces under Assyrian governors. Ahaz, King of Judah (737–727 B.C.) refused to join an anti-Assyrian coalition led by the Israelite King Pekah (735–733 B.C.). Upon the threat of invasion by Pekah and his allies, Ahaz called on Tiglath-Pileser for help, offering him treasure from the Temple. The Assyrian armies conquered cities in Philistria, Syria and northern Israel, and finally captured Damascus. Hoshea was installed in place of Pekah as the last king of Israel. Damascus was taken under direct rule and a system of provinces was set up.
Hoshea attempted to revolt after the death of Tiglath-Pileser in 727 B.C., seeking help from Egypt. This brought wrath from Assyria under Shalmaneser V (726–722 B.C.) against Israel. Samaria fell in 721 B.C., after a siege lasting two or three years.
The aristocratic and wealthy classes of Israel went into exile in different areas of the empire. At this time Israel ceased to exist as an independent kingdom and Judah stood alone.
Judah had a relatively peaceful history under successive kings of the Davidic line, from the division of the kingdom to the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians in the late eighth century. But after that things changed abruptly. Judah was now on the frontline of Assyrian attack. In 701 B.C. Assyria came and many Judaean towns and villages were destroyed. By the early seventh century there were signs of revival, but the advent of the Babylonians at the end of the century brought catastrophe and the final downfall of Judah.
After the destruction of Samaria many refugees from the areas taken by the Assyrians flooded south into Judah. Jerusalem expanded to absorb them and King Hezekiah set about refortifying the kingdom to prepare for attack from the new Assyrian king, Sennacherib. Before the Assyrian army arrived before Jerusalem, they sacked the cities of Hezekiah’s allies. Jerusalem somehow withstood the Assyrians and did not fall (2 Kings 19:35–37), but was besieged later. It was the Babylonians and not the Assyrians who conquered Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and its ancient Temple, and drove the people into distant exile.
From the death of Hezekiah to the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. there was enormous change in the Near East. Assyrians continued to exert power over the region in the reign of Menasseh (698–642 B.C.) and Judah still paid a heavy tribute. Sennacherib had to deal with rebellions in different parts of the empire and in 689 B.C. destroyed Babylon. The city was rebuilt under his son Esarhaddon (680–669 B.C.). He allowed Jerusalem to rebuild its fortifications.
His successor, Ashurbanipal (668–627 B.C.) was the last great Assyrian king. The end of the Assyrian empire came quickly. In 626 B.C. the Chaldaean chieftan Nabopolassar (625–605 B.C) captured Babylon and made it his capitol and declared independence. He allied with the Medes and in 612 B.C. combined armies attacking and destroying the Assyrian capital Ninevah.
The fall of the Assyrian empire happened with astonishing speed — from world domination to extinction within 40 years. Its fall represented only a political and not a cultural world. Her successors included the Babylonians, and the Medes with the Persians. The Babylonians had a common culture with the Assyrians. The others had adopted much from Assyria.
Nebuchadnezzar and the Destruction of Jerusalem
The pact between Nabopolassar and Cyaxares in 614 B.C. prepared the way for the orderly dismemberment of the Assyrian empire. The principal heir was Babylonia, with the Medes taking control of the most northerly area in Asia Minor and the regions east of the Zagros.
In 605 B.C., the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies were finally defeated at the Battle of Carchemish by the Babylonians under prince Nebuchadnezzar (604–562 B.C.), the son of Nabopolassar. He then marched south, destroying Ashkelon and seizing Assyrian lands. Judah became a vassal of the rising Babylonian Empire.
Jehoiakim rebelled against the Babylonians in 598 B.C., but died before Nebuchadnezzar arrived at Jerusalem to take revenge. His son, Jehoiachin, surrendered on March 16 597 B.C, as recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles. Nebuchadnezzar deported him to Babylon to ensure Zedekiah, his uncle, who was enthroned as the Babylonians client-king. But after decades of loyalty to the Babylonians, when Zedekiah planned an anti-Babylonian coalition with Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon, contrary to the advice of Jeremiah, Jer. 27:1–11, Nebuchadnezzar was provoked to lay siege to Jerusalem again. After two years despite an abortive attempt by the Egyptian king, Apries, to intervene, the Babylonians closed in steadily. Hill forts, and watch-ports in the surrounding hills were taken and walls were breached. The Temple fell in August 587 B.C.
The capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II in 597 B.C., followed ten years by the destruction of the Temple and the Exile in Babylon, formed a cataclysmic end to Jewish history as recorded in the Old Testament.
During 599-8 the Babylonians encouraged the Qedar Arabs, Moab and Ammon to invade Judah. Then on the second day of the month of Addar in his seventh year, he captured the city of Judah (Jerusalem) which he besieged. He seized its king and appointed there a king of his own choice. Heavy spoil was taken to Babylon. Documents from Babylon attest the presence of Jehoiachin there during the next 30 years.
The Babylonians ruled Judah through a local governor, Gedaliah, seated at Mizpah and responsible to a district governor at Samaria for territory which included Lachish.
At the capture of Jerusalem the Babylonians took a major group of army and skilled Judaeans (10,000) off into exile. At the fall of the city, there were further bands totaling 3,023, 832 and 745 prisoners, Jer. 52:28–30. The last of the history of the independent Judah is related in 2 Kings 24–25 and Jeremiah 40–43. Jeremiah wrote to the Babylonian exiles, exhorting them to remain faithful to their God while they were in a land of pagan deities.
Part of Syria and Palestine were still under Egyptian influence, and Nebuchadnezzar had to devote several campaigns between 604 and 586 to establishing his authority there.
The Persian Cyrus defeated his Median overload and became the ruler of the Median territories with a vigorous policy of expansion. The Babylonians were under considerable pressure from the Medes and Persians, and elaborate defences against any attack on the capital had to be prepared. The Persian army under the Guti governor Ugbaru took Babylon by surprise. Cyrus himself entered Babylon on October 30, 593 B.C., and brought Babylonian domination of the Near East to an end.
The sudden fall of the city hay have been in part due to a diversion of the river which subverted the defences. Belshazzar was killed and Nabondius was captured. The long absence of Nabonidus from Babylon, combined with economic problems and unpopular attempts at religious reform, produced internal opposition, as a result of which Babylon surrendered without resistance to Cyrus in 539 B.C. The surrender of the whole of Babylonia empire followed.
The Persian Empire
In the biblical tradition, the Persian period was remembered for three major events: the restoration of the Temple (520–516 B.C.), the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah (444 B.C.) and the promulgation of the Law by the priest Ezra. These were the key factors in the restoration of the Jewish community after the disaster of the Exile. There was a new awareness of the need to preserve the Jewish people and its way of life against external influences.
Ezra 1:2 reads, “Thus says Cyrus King of Persian: “The Lord the God of Heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” Cyrus of Anshan was a prince of the Achaemenid tribe of Persia and grandson of Astyages, king of the Medes. The Persians were vassals of the Medes.
By 546 B.C. Cyrus had conquered the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor. When in 545 B.C. the Persian king Cyrus the Great captured the Lydian capital, Sardis, from Croesus and the Persian troops looted the city, Croesus asked Cyrus, “What are those men doing?” “Plundering your city,’ replied Cyrus. “Not my city, but your,” said Croesus. This event brought Persian rule to the Mediterranean seaboard. It was not popular.
In 498 B.C. Sardis was burnt again when the Ionians rebelled. The Athenians, who were anxious to keep the Persians out of the Aegean, supported the rebellion. This led to the Persian invasions of Greece, and to the defeat of Darius’ army at Marathon (490 B.C.) and Xerxes’ fleet at Salamis (480 B.C.) For the next two centuries Greeks and Persians watched each other across the Aegean.
Persia helped Athen’s enemy Sparta in the Peloponnesian War (431–401 B.C.). In 401 B.C. some 13,000 Greek mercenaries marched from Sardis to help Cyrus depose his brother, Artaxerxes II of Persia. They were defeated at Cunaza and escaped north through Armenia to the Black Sea at Trapezus led by Xenophon.
The Greek cities of Asia Minor were always unwilling Persian subjects. The Persian satraps of these regions were frequently tempted to seek independence. In the 350s, the satraps of Asia Minor, Phoenicia and Egypt, relying on mercenary troops, all rebelled, but failed for lack of unity.
Phillip II of Macedon prepared to take advantage of the weakened empire, and when his son Alexander crossed the Hellespont in 333 B.C. with 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry, the Persian opposition was composed mainly of Greek mercenaries.
“And it happened, after that Alexander, son of Phillip, the Macedonian… had smitten Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead… and made many wars and won many strongholds, and slew the kings of the earth, and went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him… And he gathered a mighty strong host, and rules over countries and nations and kings, who became tributaries unto him,” 1 Maccabees 1:1–4.
The Grecian Empire and Alexander the Great
The spread of Greek civilization began with the Greek traders who carried the commerce of the Peloponnesus abroad. As early as 600 B.C. Greek musical instruments and weapons were known in Babylonia. Greeks fount in the armies of Cyrus.
It was given to Alexander to change the course of history. Born in 356 B.C, he was the son of Philip of Macedon. He distinguished himself as a general and his father’s ambassador to the Greek states. He travelled most of the known world east of Greece. He conquered a large part of it and changed the way of life and the patterns of thought of its peoples. The Hellenization of the East was greatly accelerated by the campaigns of Alexander the Great.
At the age of 20, his father was assassinated, and he came to the throne of Macedon His father Philip forged the Macedonians into a unified military state. At his death, Alexander inherited his policy and set to invade the Persian Empire. Alexander possessed his father’s aggressiveness and military genius. In 334 B.C., he crossed the Hellespont into Asia Minor and defeated the Persian forces at the battle of the Granicus River. Alexander broke the power of the Persian governors of Asia Minor, ad advanced unopposed across Asia Minor. He liberated the Hellenic cities of the coast. He routed the Darius III and the Persians at the battle of Issus, giving him the command of all Asia Minor. Then he turned southward down the Syrian coast into Egypt, where he founded the city of Alexandria. He subdued Syria and Egypt. Persian rule in Judah lasted until 333 B.C. According to Jewish tradition, Alexander was welcomed into Jerusalem by the High Priest, but there is no historical evidence to supports that he was in Judah.
He moved eastward and inflicted a final defeat upon the Persian army at Arbela. He succeeded in occupying Babylon and the capitals of Persia, Susa and Persepolis.
The next three years he spent consolidating the new empire. He encouraged the marriage of his soldiers to oriental women. He began the education of 30,000 of the Persians in the Greek language.
In further campaigns in India he extended the borders of his domain to the Indus River. He established numerous colonies. Upon his return to Babylon, Alexander prepared for the invasion of Arabia, but he was not destined to complete them. He took on more and more of the attitude of the oriental despot and became increasingly arbitrary and suspicious.
The Near East and Judah was ruled by Greeks and their Greek language and customs were widespread. New self-governing cities sprung up everywhere such as Ptolemais (Acre), Neapolis (Shechem), Sebaste (Samaria), and Philadelphia (Amman). The communities were mixed with Greeks and Macedonians along with local people. The Greeks were not easily accepted by their conservative and religious Jewish neighbors.
The luxury and the revels of Babylon weakened his constitution so that he contracted fever and died in 324 B.C. at the age of 32. His empire did not long survive his death. He left no heirs capable of managing it. The empire was partitioned among his generals. Ptolemy took Egypt and southern Syria. Antigonus claimed most of the territory in northern Syria and west Babylonia. Lysimachus held Thrace and western Asia Minor. Cassander ruled Macedonia and Greece.
Seleucus I after the battle of Ipsus in 301 B.C. took Antigonus’ territory. The kingdom of Lysimachus was also absorbed in the realm of the Seleucidae. Seleucidae of Syria and the Ptolemies of Egypt kept Palestine under constant hostility. Palestine was sometimes under dominion of one and sometimes under that of another.
The Seleucidae in Syria
The Seleucid dominion in Asia Minor gradually diminished as the local people asserted their independence and founded kingdoms of their own.
In Syria, the rule of the Seleucidae was maintained and their influence was potent in the political affairs of Palestine.
In 201-200 B.C. Antiochus III of Syria, called the Great, defeated the Egyptian army at the battle of Panias, near the springs of the Jordan. In two years he gained control of all of Palestine and became the new overlord of the Jews. He attempted to hellenize the Jews provoking the Maccabean revolt that resulted in the revival of the Jewish commonwealth. Their rule ended when Pompey made Syria a Roman province in 63 B.C.
The effect of the Seleucid dominion was tremendous. Antioch, the capital of their country, became the third largest city of the Roman empire. It was the meeting place of the East and West. Greek language and literature were widely disseminated through the Near East. It afforded a common medium of culture for oriental and western peoples.
The Ptolemies of Egypt
The reign of the Ptomlemies in Egypt was similar to that of the Seleucidae. The rivalry between the two kingdoms was bitter and caused numerous wars. With the death of Cleopatra in 30 B.C. the last of the Ptolemies perished, and Rome annexed Egypt to serve as her granary.
The city of Alexandria grew in importance and became an outstanding mart of commerce and a center of education. With the patronage of the Ptolemies a great library was founded. The Jewish influence in Alexandria was strong from the founding of the city. Alexander himself assigned a place to Jewish colonist and admitted them to full citizenship.
Under Ptolemy, Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) the Jewish Scriptures were translated into Greek, known as the Septuagint. It became the popular Bible of the Jews of the Diaspora and was generally used by the writers of the New Testament.
In 200 B.C. a battle was fought at Panias near the headwaters of the River Jordan. The Ptolemaic army was defeated and the Seleucids annexed Palestine. Initially Seleucid rule was popular according to Josephus. King Antiochus II eased taxation burdens considerably. Unfortunately, he soon came into conflict with Rome and was defeated more than one. By the Treaty of Apamea, signed in 189 B.C., he gave up most of Asia Minor and was forced to pay a large annual indemnity to Rome, which meant he had to tax his empire far more heavily. From this point the Seleucid popularity began to wane in Judah.
Antiochus was killed in 187 B.C., raiding a temple treasury in Elam in order to pay off the Romans. Seleucus IV was his successor. He continued this policy by unsuccessfully plotting to rob the Temple treasury in Jerusalem. In this period the rise of Jewish opposition to Seleucid rule came forward and the gradual emergence of a nationalist movement.
The constant wars of the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies brought radical increase in taxation of their lands. So severe was this financial drain on the public treasury that the peasants were reduced to abject poverty. The Punic wars of Rome destroyed Egypt’s western markets and consequently trade languished.
The Hellenistic Kingdoms and the Roman Empire
Rome’s conquests absorbed the Greek colonies which had been established along the seacoasts of Gaul and Spain, in the island of Sicily, and on the mainland of the lower Italian peninsula.
Rome’s conquest of Achaia, ending with the sack of Corinth, 142 B.C., brought vast treasures of art deported for their own villas. Greek slaves, many of whom were more learned than their masters, became part of the Roman households. They were not employed in menial tasks, but were teachers, physicians, accountants, and overseers of farms or of businesses. The Greek universities of Athens, Rhodes, Tarsus, and other cities were attended by aristocratic young Romans who learned to speak Greek.
The History of the Roman Empire
Tradition tells of the founding of Rome by Romulus in 753 B.C. and of rule by the Tarquin family, the Etruscan royal house. Ancient Rome was built on the east, or left, bank of the Tiber River. The seven hills of the ancient city are the Palatine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine. The young city was probably under Etruscan rule until c.500 B.C., when the Romans overthrew the monarchy and established the Roman republic.
The Foundation of Rome and its Royal Age (753–509 B.C.): According to Legend, Rome was founded by Romulus (753–715 B.C.), brother of Remus, on April 23 753 B.C. From that date until 509 B.C., seven kings are said to have reigned under Tarquinius Priscus (617–579 B.C.), Etruscan domination of Rome and expanded toward Campania began. The society was divided between patricians and plebeians.
The Republic and the Patrician-Plebian Conflict (753–509 B.C.): The Roman Republic was introduced after the expulsion of the Etruscans from Rome and the election of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus. There was a long period of serious social strife between the patricians and plebeians. In 493 B.C., Rome joined the Latin League. In 494 B.C., the Tribunes of the Plebs were created and the comitia tributa instituted to defened the rights of the less wealthy classes. The rival city of Veii was destroyed in 396 B.C. Rome was plundered by the Gauls in 390 B.C., but quickly recovered and continued to pursue its expansionist policy.
The Conquest of Italy and the Punic War (343–146 B.C.): Between 343 and 341 B.C., the Romans fought the first ware against the Samnites, whose rule extended over southern Italy. In the Second Samnite War the Romans were defeated at the Caudine Forks, but in 290 B.C. Rome was victorious. As Rome expanded it clashed with Carthage. At the close of the Second Punic War in 201 B.C., Rome controlled the Mediterranean. In 146 B.C., Carthage was leveled, and Rome annexed Greece and Macedonia.
The crisis facing the Republic (146-78 B.C. In 130 B.C.): The province of Asia was instituted. Social conflict plagued the republic. Tiberius Gracchus challenged the authority of the Senate and looked to introduce some agricultural reforms, but was assasinated. His Brother, Caius Gracchus, Tribune of the Plebs in 119 B.C., confirmed the law proposed by his brother, but was murdered. Southern Gaul was conquered between 121 and 125 B.C. Caius Marius was victorius in the Jugurthine War in 105 B.C. From 91 to 88 B.C., Rome fought the Allies’ War against its Italic allies, who were eventually granted Roman citizenship. General Lucius Cornelius Sulla became dictator and reformed the constitution, reestablishing the absolute authority of the Senate.
The Age of Caesar and the end of the Republic (78–44 B.C.): Rome underwent a period of great social upheaval, while the senatorial oligarchy was increasingly weakened. Pompey, elected consul in 70 B.C., conquered Pontus, Bithynia and Palestine in 64 B.C. In 63 B.C., Cicero foiled Catiline’s conspiracy. Caesar, Pompey and Crassus set up the First Triumvirate, a coalition against the power of the Senate in 60 B.C. Caesar conquered Gaul between 58–51 B.C. In 49 B.C., the Senate ordered Caesar to dissolve the legions, but he crossed the Rubicon and marched on Rome, intiating Civil War. In February of 44 B.C. he was appointed dictator for life, but was assassinated on March 15 by conspirators led by Brutus and Cassius.
Augustus and the Julio-Claudian Dynasty (44 B.C.–A.D. 68): The battle of Actium fought between the armies of Octavian and those of Antony and Cleopatra ended the fight to succeed Caesar, and initiated the Imperial Age. Octavian received the title of Augustus from the Senate in 27 B.C. He totally reorganized the political structures of the State and concentrated all the major powers in his own hands. The role of the Senate was limited. He reorganized the provinces, strengthened the borders and the economy. Upon his death in A.D. 14, Tiberius, a good administrator and skilled diplomat succeeded him. After the insane reign of Caligula, Claudius undertook the bureaucratic and financial reform of the State and the Romanization of the provinces. Nero followed, known for his excesses and the burning of Rome.
The Flavian Dynasty and the Adopted Emperors (A.D. 68–192): After the death of Nero, a period ofmilitary anarchy began, during with the Emperors Galba, Otho and Vitellius reigned in succession. Vespasian seized power, and conquered Judaea and reorganized the administration of the State. Titus’ reign was brief. Domitian followed and consolidated the Roman conquests in Britannia and Germanys. Nerva’s adoption of Trajan initiated the series of adopted emperors. The Empire reached the peak of its expansion under the rule of Trajan, due to his military victories. With Hadran, the expansionist policy of Trajan was renounced. He built Hadran’s wall in Britannia. The reign of Antoninus Pius ushered in a long period of peace. Marcus Aurelius had to put down a number of revolts in Africa, Spain and Britannia. The accession of Commodus brought a serious political crisis.
The Severus Dynasty and the Period of Anarchy (A.D. 193–284) Pertinax’s reign was short-lived. Spetimius Severus became emperor with the support of his legions. Discontent was created and the economy was weakened by his accentuation on the Romanization of the provincials to government office and by the increase in militray expenditure. His bloodthirsty son Caracalla became emperor upon his death. In order to rule he bought the favor of the army, which further depleted the State coffers. In A.D. 212, with the Constitutio Antoninian, he granted Roman citizenship to all free citizens of the Empire. He was assassinated by Macrinus, who reign lasted a short time. Heliogabalus introduced the worship of Eastern gods to Rome. Alexander Severus warred agains the Persians. The year 235 A.D. maked a period of military anarchy. The title of emperor was disputed by numerous generals, while the barbarians massed at the borders.
The Late Empire and the division of power (A.D. 284–337): Diocletian began his reign in A.D. 284. He initiated a series of reforms, culminating in the division of the Empire and the institution of the Tetrarchy. He retired to Split, having persuaded Maximian, whom he entrusted the West. However the succession failed, and a struggle for power began. Constantine and Maxentius battled in A.D. 312. Constantine emerged victor, and proclaimed freedom of worship for the Christians in the Edict of Milan. Civil war broke out, when an agreement with Licinius, Augustus of the East, was short-lived. In A.D. 324 Constantine eliminated his rival and took the title of the sole Augustus. In A.D. 330, he proclaimed Constantinople the capital of the Empire.
On his death, the Empire was divided between his sons.
The decline and Fall of the Empire in the West (A.D. 337–476): Constantius II long fought the Persians. Julian the Apostate succeeded him, and attempted to resotre paganism. Valens was killed at the battle of Hadrianopolis (A.D. 378) against the Goths. Theodosius reunited the Empire and allowed numerous barbarian communities to settle inside its borders as allies. In the Edit of Thessalonia (A.D. 380), he proclaimed Christianity to be the only state religion. On his death, the Empire was divided between his sons. Honorius took the West, and Arcadius the East. The western capital was transferred to Ravenna (A.D. 402). Rome was sacked by the Goths in A.D. 410. Valentinian III reigned under the regency of his mother, Galla Placidia, but by this time, the unity of the Empire in the West was falling apart. In A.D. 452 the Huns invaded Italy. The deposition of Romulus Augustulus (A.D. 476) marked the end of the Roman Empire in the West.
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Frank, Harry Thomas, Hammond’s Atlas of the Bible Lands. New Jersey: Hammond Inc,, 1984.
Liberati, Anna M., and Boubon, Fabio. Ancient Rome, History of a Civilization that Ruled the World, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2000.
Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity. 2nd ed. Michigan: Williams B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, 1993.
Bell, Albert A., Jr. Exploring the New Testament World, An Illustrated Guide to the World of Jesus and the First Christians. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998.
Harris, Robert L., The World of the Bible. London: Thames & Hudson, 1995.