Byzantine EmpireBy: Zakaria Alabudi And Brendan Price
How do different types of government affect an empires strengths and weaknesses?
The Beginning of the Empire
The Byzantine Empire began when the emperor of Rome Constantine I created a new Rome in Byzantium in 330 A.D. As the western half of Rome fell in 476 the Eastern side survived for 1000 more years.
Religion in the Byzantine Empire
The main religion was Christianity introduced by Constantine I in 330 A.D. The Hagia Sophia was a very big church and built way ahead of its time. The roman architects spent many years building this gigantic building which they worshiped in. The Byzantine Empire was the first empire to not only have been founded on worldly power but also the church.
In what way do you think Christianity influenced peoples everyday lives?
Government in the Byzantine Empire
The senate in the Byzantine was a continuation of the Roman senate but as time went buy it became less and less important to the government. It eventually disappeared in the 13th century. However the main system of government they had was bureaucracy and aristocracy, this was also carried over from Rome. There was an emperor and under him was a number of officials. Then there was many rich families and aristocrats that had power. The emperor controlled everything in the empire, finance, administration, judiciary, and as well as armed forces.
How was the Byzantine government different from that of other big empires?
Who was Justinian
Justinian was a Christian emperor considered to have been the best Byzantine emperor ever. It was his mission to revive the Roman empire and repair the broken pieces. He did many things like taking back the western half of Rome and even collected all of the remaining Roman laws and put them together into the Corupus Iurus Civilis or Justinian Code. This collection of laws contained every law that was still present in the empire and put it into 4 books. Justinian was emperor for almost 40 years from 527 A.D to 565 A.D. During this time he defended the Christian Orthodoxy and restore the empire to their former power and glory. He built the biggest church for 500 years called the Hagia Sophia along with taking back western lands that were taken from them by Germanic tribes. He wanted to rebuild the capital in Constantinople to the way it was 10 years earlier and give it the glory it deserved.
Do you think the empire would have lasted quite as long without an emperor like Justinian?
Greek influence on Byzantium
There were many ways that the Byzantine Empire were very similar to the Greeks. For one, most people in Byzantium spoke Greek. Also their bureaucracy was largely based on that of the Greeks. Many people wore Greek styled clothing and had Greek culture that was created by the conquests of Alexander the Great. Lastly, the Byzantine army fought very similar to the Spartan and Athenian armies.
The capital of Byzantine was Constantinople and is located in present day Turkey. It was in the middle of many trade routes which allows for much trade. As well as it was located right on the coast so they set up ports. The location of the capital was in a very strategic location easy to defend. Because of this location, in the many attempts to be taken it lasted for 1000 years weathering many attacks. Constantinople is present day Istanbul
On April 6, 1453 the Byzantine empire fell to the Ottoman Turks commanded by Mehmed II. After 7 days of fighting the great city fell to the Turks. Constantine XI and his army were not enough to defend Mehmed II and his powerful army. This defeat ultimately put an end to the great Roman Empire which lasted for over 1500 years. For many historians the end of the Byzantine Empire marked the end of the Middle Ages.
The Byzantine Empire left us with many things after its fall. The Eastern Orthodox church is the second largest church in the world and is one of the biggest things Byzantine gave us. The Hagia Sophia continues to amaze people today although it was turned into a Mosque. It was also the base for the spread of learning in Europe.
EQ: How do different types of government affect an empires strengths and weaknesses?
Now take this quick quiz!
CTQ: How would the empire have changed if they did not have a bureaucracy?
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"Middle Ages for KidsJustinian's Code." Justinian's Code. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.
"Code of Justinian (law)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.
Dalby, Andrew, "Byzantine Empire." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.. 2014, "Byzantine Empire." World Encyclopedia. 2005, John Daintith, and "Byzantine Rite." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed.. 2014. "Byzantine Empire." Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2003. Web. 17 Dec. 2014
Spielvogel, Jackson J. Glencoe World History. New York, NY: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2005. Print.