The Roman Period and the Middle Ages
In ancient times, the Roman Empire held a great deal of the world in its iron grip. The Romans indulged in baths, swimming, and exercise facilities as well as soaps, cosmetics, exotic clothing, jewelry, and music imported from Greece. The Romans used geometry in their architecture, but did little to extend the discipline beyond the pioneering discoveries of Euclid and Pythagoras. The Romans had an interest in medicine, mostly because of its practical applications. The growing tension between Rome and Christianity would produce a later unification, one that would transform the Catholic Church into a dominant force during the Middle Ages. Historians searching the Middle Ages for intellectual stagnation or regression will find ample evidence. The Roman Period featured several schools of philosophy including stoicism, Epicureanism, skepticism, and neo-Platonism. In the fourth century, the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, issuing a declaration of religious freedom and restoration of church property.