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The Byzantine Empire

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Ben and Christine Mello-Hemsley

on 26 February 2014

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Transcript of The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire
Chapter 10: Section 1
A great trading center
Constantinople sits on the pathways to the Black Sea and Aegean Sea. It controlled the strait between these two seas (The Bosporus).

Through its position of power, Constantinople gained incredible wealth through trading.

Constantinople was also a target because of its location.

The city used its wealth to build huge walls
These walls stood unconquered for many hundreds of years
Remember that barbarians invaded Rome
And the empire split?
Constantine shifted the capitol of the Eastern Roman Empire to Byzantium

Later, it was renamed for Constantine:

Constantinople had access to trading in not only western and eastern Europe, but the Balkans (Greece, Bosnia, Serbia, etc.), the Middle East, and North Africa.

In fact, it became the center of trading in the region.

These walls included an elaborate system of earth, and water barriers in addition to the stone/brick walls of the city.
Center of the city: Emperors and rich traders lived in great splendor.

There were chariot races and many Rome-like buildings.

Constantinople was living up to its nickname - 'New-Rome'

Because the old name of the city was Byzantium, the Eastern Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire.
The Byzantine Empire reached its height under the Emperor Justinian.
Slowly, Roman cultures blended with local cultures and cultures from areas around Constantinople.
Ruled from 527 - 565
Justinian was determined to reconquered the lands once held by ancient Rome
Justinian's generals conquered North Africa, Southern Italy, and Southern Spain
These victories, however, left the Byzantine Empire's treasury emptied. They also left the Empire's eastern borders lacking in defense.
After Justinian, his successors lost all of Justinian's acquisitions.
532AD: during Justinian's reign:

Huge riots and fires swept the city

Many buildings were destroyed and many lives were lost.
In rebuilding the city, Justinian spared no expense

His crowning achievement was the
Hagia Sophia
Justinian's Code
Justinian set up a commission to collect, revise, and organize all the laws of ancient Rome.

This included laws passed by the senate, decreed by the emperor, and the writings of Roman judges.
These laws were organized into the "Body of Civil Law", also called '
Justinian's Code
Later, many western European monarchies modeled their own laws after Justinian's Code, and even modern international law has its roots there.
Justinian was an
- a ruler with complete authority. He was deemed "Christ's co-ruler on Earth."
As the economies of western Europe declined in the early middle ages, the economy of the Byzantine Empire stayed strong.

The Empire never lost their '
money economy
', and gold coins from the Empire circulated everywhere between England and China.
Because of their wealth, the Byzantine Empire's military was second to none. The army and navy were well armed and trained, and Byzantine forts seemed impenetrable.
In the early centuries of the middle ages, the Byzantine Empire acted as a buffer between invaded armies and Europe. The Byzantines repelled attacks from the Mongols, Turks, Vikings, Slavs, and Persians.
In the 600's and 700's, Muslim armies began to defeat Byzantine armies, and claim lands around the Mediterranean Sea.

Though smaller now, the Byzantine Empire held on, and remained a power during the rest of the middle ages.
Byzantine Christianity
While Christianity was the main religion of the Byzantines, it was practiced differently than it was in Western Europe.

This caused plenty of friction between the two regions.
Church Leaders:
West (Europe):

Pope claimed to be
the leader of
all Christians
East (Byzantine Empire):

is appointed by
emperor to as highest
church official. People reject
the Pope.

Priests could not marry

Priests could

Mass in

Mass in
The Eastern church put less emphasis on Christmas than did the Western Church.
Many Christians around the world used images of Jesus or Mary in their worship. These images are called

Eventually, a Byzantine emperor outlawed their use (he thought it violated the commandment against worshiping false idols).
This caused a great argument between east and west, with the Pope condemning the Byzantine emperor. This cause the people of the Byzantine Empire to hate the Pope even more.
1054: The Great
Due to these conflicts, the church split:
Western Church:
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Church:
Eastern Orthodox Church
Back to the time period....

The Pope excommunicated the Patriarch

The Patriarch excommunicated the Pope
Back to the Byzantines.....
1204: Crusading knights attack Constantinople and stole much of its wealth
The Empire never fully recovered.

Traders from Venice had taken most of the trading in Constantinople's absence - the city no longer had its old earning power.
1453: Constantinople falls to the
The city was renamed
and soon became a center of Muslim Culture
Why did Justinian want to conquer all of these lands?

Can you name a Frankish emperor who attempted to do the same thing?
How is the Hagia Sophia the same as this medieval European cathedral? Do you think it served the same function?
How is the Byzantine economy different from that of Western Europe (feudal system)?
Not - Constantinople
But - Istanbul
Eastern Orthodox Church Cross
West meets East
Pope and Patriarch
Eastern Orthodox Priest
Full transcript