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The Byzantine Empire
Transcript of The Byzantine Empire
Reclaiming the Empire
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Byzantine emperor, Justinian I (527-565), dreamed of restoring the original Roman Empire.
Justinian began with lands in Northern Africa that had been lost, then moved on to reclaim Italy.
The Nika Riots
In 532, a chariot race between the Greens, who represented the lower classes, and the Blues, representing the upper classes, developed into a series of week long riots
Both sides wanted to get rid of Justinian and Constantinople ended up in flames.
By the end of the day, the race chants had changed from Green and Blue to “Nika,” meaning conquer.
Justinian wanted to flee, but his wife, Theodora, refused to back down and sent troops to slaughter the rioters.
About 30,000 rioters were killed and half the city of Constantinople was destroyed.
left the empire nearly bankrupt from taking back territory
expanded the empire beyond what the government could effectively administer
after his death, the western provinces fell to migrating tribes
Rebuilt Constantinople, include a church called Hagia Sophia ("Holy Wisdom" in Greek)
Set up a commission that codified (arranged) the empire’s existing laws into a clear system creating the Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law) and Justinian’s Code.