Lately, I find I've been increasingly interested in a particular time/place/subject of history. I'm wondering if any readers of this may have ideas of books (fiction and non), movies, DVDs (again, fiction or documentary), to keep me occupied during this current obsession.
What I'm interested in is the Roman Empire and early Christianity. Specific topics include:
The rise of the Roman Empire
Everything relating to the Roman Empire from government to buildings to religion to daily life to food to wars to entertainment and so on
The naming of Christianity as an approved state religion (or sponsored state religion or whatever the status was that it was granted)
The splitting of the Roman Empire into 2
The fall of each of the Roman Empires
The post-Roman Empire vacuum that was created after the 2 kingdoms fell - i.e. what happened next? Dark ages and so forth
Basically, everything there is to know about the rise, the fall, and the effect of The Roman Empire, and every concievable thing in between.
Early Christianity - post Christ's Resurrection and Ascension
The early history of The Vatican - how did it come to hold the power of the Christian Church in most of Europe until the Protestant Reformation?
Eastern Orthodox Christianity - when the Roman Empire split, what was happening in Constantinople wrt Christianity?
History of the early Popes until the middle ages, what each pope did, etc
Beliefs and practices of Christians until the middle ages, and how beliefs and practices changed during that time
When did people converted to Christianity and what was their religion before that? And what did they bring to Christianity? For example, as far as I know, the Norse were among the last to convert. The beautiful Stave churches
were their local contributions to Christianity. They may have been used as Christian worship houses, but their original purpose was possibly more related to their Heathen religion that they practiced before converting. Also interested in who was the first group to convert, what year, etc
Basically, everything that there possibly is to know about the Christian church from about 40AD to 1100AD.
So, what books, DVDs, etc would you recommend?