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Copy of Byzantine Empire

Overview of the Byzantine Empire, including the split of Rome into Eastern & Western halves, the Rise of the Byzantine Empire, Justinian (including expansion and the Justinian Code), and the split of the Christian Church. Created for 10th Grade World Hist

Nicholas Bedward

on 4 March 2015

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Transcript of Copy of Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire
•The Western Roman Empire fell to German barbarian invasions in the 5th century
•The Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, repelled the invasions and went on to survive for 1000 more years, preserving and spreading the culture of ancient Greeks and Romans
Constantine and the move East
The threat to the Roman Empire was already apparent in the 4th century as Emperor Constantine rebuilt they city of Byzantium (a port city) on the Bosporus straight
2 reasons as to why he built here:
-He could respond to the danger of the Germanic tribes
-He could be close to his rich Eastern provinces
Geography of Constantinople
Located on a peninsula that overlooked the Bosporus Strait
Controlled movement between Mediterranean & Black Seas
Key trade center between East & West
Known as the Golden Horn
-Natural protection from invaders: water on 3 sides
-Triple Walls fortified open side
Became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the New Rome
Center of power shifted East and as a result the eastern provinces began to develop independently of the declining west
Communication difficulties officially divided the Empire in 395
New Empire
Byzantine emperors ruled with absolute power like old Caesars
They headed the state and the Church (appointed and dismissed bishops at will)
Justinian was a 6th century Byzantine Emperor, considered one of its greatest rulers & his wife Theodora was very influential in his reign
In 527, he succeeded the throne from his uncle
Described as a serious, even-tempered ruler who worked from dawn till dusk
Justinian made good on his claim to be the head of the whole Roman Empire, East and West
Belasarius Expands Empire
Belasarius was a peasant with little military experience but he was a friend of Theodora’s
Appointed general of Byzantine armies, which fought a series of wars against the Vandals, Ostrogoths & Visigoths
Byzantines conquered these Germanic groups and extended their rule in the West
Justinian Code
Such a complex society needed some regulation, so Justinian set up a legal panel of ten experts to comb through 400 yrs of Roman law and legal opinions
Goal of the panel was to create a single, uniform code for Justinian's New Rome, as many of the previous laws had become outdated or contradicted themselves
Result was a body of civil laws known as Justinian Code
Code consisted of 4 works:
1. The Code- contained nearly 5,000 Roman laws, which experts still considered useful for the Byzantine Empire
2. The Digest- quoted and summarized the opinions of Rome's greatest legal thinkers about the laws (50 volumes)
3. The Institutes- a textbook that told law students how to use the laws
4. The Novellae (New Law)- presented legislation passed after 534
Decided legal questions that regulated whole areas of Byzantine life: marriage, slavery, property, inheritance, women’s rights, crimes
Even though Justinian died in 565 his code served the Empire for 900 years
Creating the Capital
Even though it had split, rulers in the East continued to think of themselves as Roman emperors
Citizens thought they shared Roman traditions, but in actuality few spoke Latin (most spoke Greek and belonged to eastern branch of Christian church)
Justinian and Theodora
Sent his best general Belisarius to take North Africa from the Vandals, Rome from the Ostrogoths, parts of Spain and nearly all of Italy
By this time Justinian ruled almost all the territory that Rome had ever ruled
Theodora was concerned with improving the social standing of women; urged Justinian to give women more rights
Justinian had ambitious public building program
Church building was his biggest passion
Hagia Sophia (“holy wisdom”) 523-537: decorated in mosaics, lamps, & candles; remained Christian until Ottoman Empire took over Constantinople (1453) & converted it into a mosque; today, museum
City becomes unparalleled w/baths, aqueducts, law courts, schools, hospitals
Free entertainment @ the Hippedrome (“horse track”); held 60,000 people
Conflict in the Christian Church
Argument over use of icons (religious images) in worship
AD 726 Emperor Leo III orders all icons removed from churches b/c he believed they encouraged superstition and the worship of idols
Emperor’s supporters known as iconoclasts (image breakers)
Church leaders resisted order and were supported by the Roman Pope
Christian church in East and West argue over source of religious authority
Pope in Rome said he was supreme leader of church
Patriarch of Constantinople opposed this claim
Eventually led to a schism (separation) in 1054
Roman Catholic Church in West and Eastern Orthodox Church in East
Diffrences between two Christian Churches
Roman Catholic
Eastern Orthodox

Services are conducted in Latin

Pope has authority over all other bishops

Pope claims authority over all kings/emperors

Priests may not marry

Divorce is not permitted

Services conducted in Greek or local language

Patriarch & other bishops head the church as a group

Emperor claims authority over patriarch & other bishops

Priests may marry

Divorce is allowed under certain conditions
Game changer
Full transcript