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Byzantine Empire

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Brian Roberts

on 28 October 2013

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Transcript of Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire
Constantine builds capital at Byzantium
Geographic: location is easy to defend
A continuation of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Justinian's Code (528-533)
Body of Civil Law was based on the Roman Twelve Tables of Law.
Strong central government that made law, efficient military, effective land distribution, strong bureaucracy.
Empire was divided into themes (military districts) and military generals appointed to rule.
Became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, the New Rome
Officially divided the Empire in 395
In 527, he assumes the throne
Serious, even-tempered ruler who worked from dawn till dusk
By this time Justinian ruled almost all the territory that Rome had ever ruled
Code consisted of 4 works:
1. The Code-contained nearly 5,000 Roman laws
2. The Digest-summarized great legal thinkers
3. The Institutes-law textbook
4. The Novellae (New Law)-amendments
Creating the Capital

Hagia Sophia (“holy wisdom”) 523-537: 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 Hippodrome (“horse track”); held 60,000 people
Justinian and Theodora

Theodora was concerned with improving the social standing of women; urged Justinian to give women more rights
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
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 the Great Schism (separation) in 1054
Roman Catholic Church in West and Eastern Orthodox Church in East
Differences between
Christian Churches
Roman Catholic
Eastern Orthodox

Services 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 vernacular

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
Origins of the Byzantine Empire
Location on the Mediterranean contributed to strong trade throughout the empire.
Silk worms were smuggled out of China which allowed a Byzantine silk industry to develop.
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