THE TEXTBOOK AND PRIMARY SOURCE IS: Cole & Symes' Western Civilizations, Volume 1 (published by Norton); please make sure you are using the 20th edition This grand question below is derived from your textbook (mainly chapter 7, but also you may find certain parts of chapter 6 useful--do the research in your book!) and has two parts. You should cover both parts in your essay. I. Christianity's success in the first five centuries of its existence was shaped by the Roman experience. Explain how a fringe Jewish sect that was illegal and persecuted became the official religion of the Empire. You should try to mention several important ideas/terms. Maybe not all, but most: Christian writings, missionary work, persecutions, heresy, Constantine, church fathers, the Petrine doctrine, monasticism, Eastern Christianity vs.Western Christianity. Afterwards, the second part of your essay is... II. Arguably, each of the civilizations (Byzantine, Islam, and the Barbarian West) could claim the mantle of the Roman Empire. In your view, briefly state which one has the strongest claim to carry forward the legacies of the classical past? What are the historical circumstances in which Islam emerged [here, you are being asked to spend a few paragraphs analyzing the early history of Islam--The Prophet Muhammad, Arab expansion, Sunni versus Shia, the Umayyad & Abbasid Caliphates]. Finally, what is the significance of the Merovingians, Carolingians, and the Vikings for the formation of Europe. You can end the essay at around the year 1000 AD. I want to emphasize to you that the question above has several parts. But you should construct your essay as one complete whole with a thesis, arguments, and conclusion. Please incorporate information (including primary sources) from chapters 6, 7, even 8 if you wish in this essay. Answer this question in your own words in 1,200-2,000 words. Be sure to include both facts and interpretation. In your essay, mention when appropriate people, places, concepts, ideas, battles, laws, etc. I'm not looking for a "fact puke" approach, but there needs to be some factual basis for any historical arguments.