In my first lecture, I was going to offer a 3-minute overview, but the lecture was running so long, I had to slash out everything that wasn't essential, but I still have my 3-minute outline:
You have the old testament period. We aren't even going to touch that because I hate Jews (smile).
Christ: 1 AD to 33 AD. ISH! Doesn't really matter.
Until 313, Christianity grows, then gets official recognition.
Starts to prosper.
476: “Fall” of the Roman Empire. Not accurate, which we'll touch upon, but remember the date anyway.
State disintegrates. “Nature abhors a vacuum.” The Church fills it. Thereafter the Church and politics are intertwined, which leads to pretty much every abuse thereafter that non-Catholics gloat over. Malcolm Muggeridge loves an ancient inscription that said, basically, there are two things in life, love and power, and no man can pursue both. Well, power was thrust on the Church out of necessity, which in many ways, threw it off course, BUT NEVER OFF THE RAILS. The mere fact that the Church survived all the flirtations and abuse with power for over 1,000 years is a testament to its status as a divine institution.
1076: Gregory VII, Hildebrand. Investiture crisis. Probably the peak of papal power: Crippled the secular arm's involvement in sacred matters, while the sacred keeping power in secular matters. After this point, the latter starts downhill.
So, anyway, 500-1500. Columbus: 1492
1789: French Revolution
1800s: Vatican I, 1870: Elimination of Papal States
1929: Lateran Accords, restoration of the Papal States . . . or rather Vatican City, an independent nation.