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The Byzantine Empire

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Nick Guerrieri

on 16 October 2017

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Transcript of The Byzantine Empire

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Introduction
Much of the Byzantine Empire was a continuation of the Roman Empire.
In 330 C.E. emperor Constantine moved the capital from Rome to the city of Byzantium.
He called the city New Rome, but soon changed it to Constantinople, meaning "Constantine's City.
After the Roman Empire fell in the west, the eastern empire of Byzantium continued for another 1,000 years.
Over time the eastern empire developed its own church, called the Eastern Orthodox Church.
This would eventually cause a split between the east and the west, who still followed the Roman Catholic Church and the pope in Rome.
Constantinople
The capital city of the Byzantine Empire was chosen by its rule, Constantine, because it was easy to defend. The city was surrounded on 3 sides by water, and on its fourth side constructed massive walls and watch towers to keep out enemies.
It also stood at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and the many sea and overland trade routes linking east and west. These trade routes made the city extremely wealthy.
With a sewer system, city provided hospitals, homes for the elderly and orphanages; Constantinople was a much more comfortable city to live in then most of the other cities in Western Europe.
Justinian's Reign
Justinian the first was one of the greatest emperors in the Byzantine Empire's history.
He famously put down a rebellion, at the prompting of his wife (Theodora), in which two rival groups, the greens and the blues, united to overthrow him.
He wanted his city to be a modern marvel and provided his people with public baths, parks, hospitals and roads.
In an effort to expand the empire, he launched military campaigns to regain parts of the empire in Africa, Italy and Spain.
He is most famous for creating a body of laws known as Justinian Code.
Conflict between the East and West
The Byzantine Empire united over Christianity, but over time, the very different lifestyles of the eastern and western empire cause problems.
The west was heavily influenced by the Germanic and Frankish cultures of those who conquered those areas of Rome; while the east was mostly influenced by the Greeks.
The east was home to large cities, trade and wealth; while the west was mostly made up of poor farmers.
Aside from these problems, there were three larger issues that caused the empire to finally break apart.

The Byzantine Empire
The Eastern Orthodox Church
Religion was extremely important to the Byzantine Empire; over time they broke away from the Roman Catholic Church to form one of their own (the Eastern Orthodox Church.)
Religion and government were linked in the empire, the emperor was considered the living representative of God and Jesus Christ.
Religion had a massive influence on art and architecture in the Byzantine Empire; much of it inspired by the Greeks and Romans of the past.
East versus West
Crowning of the Holy Roman Emperor
- Pope Leo III did not believe in the Byzantine Empress Irene would make a strong leader because she was a woman; therefore, he crowned the Frankish King Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor. This angered many Byzantine citizens in the east who felt that their ruler had been overlooked.

Iconoclasm
- many followers of the Roman Catholic Church in the west used images and statues of Jesus, Mary and the saints in prayer; however, the Eastern Orthodox Church viewed this as the worship of false idols. The Byzantine emperors banned these objects, causing a huge divide between both sides of their empire.

The Final Break
- Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople, closed all Roman Catholic Churches in an attempt to take back control of religion in the empire. Pope Leo IX sent a Cardinal to the city and excommunicated (kicked out) Cerularius from the faith. This permanently divided the two churches for good.
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