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Byzantine Empire PPT

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Chapter 9
Civilization in Eastern Europe:
Byzantium and Orthodox Europe
Map of Byzantine Empire under
Justinian (527-565)
The Byzantine Empire
• After 476 C.E. Rome was under the control of
foreigners who themselves claimed to be
continuing the empire
• The Byzantine empire continued as before,
believing themselves to be the Roman Empire.
• Their empire was centered in Constantinople
– In the 4th century, Emperor Constantine established the capital
– It was able to hold off barbarian invaders
• Had a predominately Greek character
• Byzantines through the course of the first
millennium AD had to deal with cultural
influences and political threats from
European cultures, Asian cultures and,
primarily, Islam after the seventh century.
• The Byzantine Empire, with territory in the
Balkans, the Middle East, and the eastern
Mediterranean, maintained very high levels of
political, economic, and cultural life between
500-1450 C.E.
• The empire continued many of the traditions of
the western empire and spread its Orthodox
Christianity to most of Eastern Europe, Belarus,
Ukraine and Russia.
Justinian 527-565
Attempted to reconquer Western territory but without lasting success
Attacks from Slavs and Persian weakened frontiers
Serious financial pressures
Rebuilt Constantinople
– (Hagia Sophia)
• Justinian’s Code of Law(Corpus Iuris
- it was also the first systematic attempt to
synthesize Roman law
and jurisprudence with Christianity
- became the foundation of all European
law and legal practice (except for England).
• the persecution of heretical
Empress Theodora
• Byzantine empress and
consort of Justinian I
• According to Procopius, already been an actress, dancer
and courtesan when she won the heart of the ambitious
• She eventually became his mistress, wife and the
sharer of his throne (527)
• During the Nike Riots of 532, it was Theodora who saved
the throne or herself and her husband by her courage.
She lavished goods upon the poor, especially the
unfortunate of her own sex. Her character remained
exemplary until the appearance of The Secret History
(Historia Arcana) of Procopius (1623), whose chief aim
was to defame both Justinian and Theodora.
Hagia Sophia
Arab Pressures and the Empire’s
• Successors of Justinian’s concentrated on
the empire’s defense
• Revived empire withstood invasions of
Arab Muslims (however some important
regions were lost-Eastern Med./M.E.
• Free rural population was weakened
(those who paid taxes and served in the
• Strong rival
• Basil II, the Byzantine emperor, conquered
this kingdom in 1014
• At the close of the tenth century the
Byzantine emperor may have been the
strongest contemporary ruler.
Byzantine Society/Culture
• Relied on Constantinople's control of
• While classical studies, science, and philosophy
largely dissipated in the Latin West, Byzantine
education and philosophy still zealously pursued
these intellectual traditions
• Cultural life centered on Hellenistic secular
traditions and Orthodox Christianity
• Art and architecture was elaborate- domed
buildings, colored mosaics, and painted icons
expressed an art linked to religion.
Byzantine Politics
• Resembled earlier Chinese system
– (emperor (patriarch) ordained by God and surrounded
by an elaborate court ritual)
The “patriarch” ruled both church and state
Women occasionally held the throne
Elaborate bureaucracy
Careful military organization
Troops recruited locally and given land in return
for service
• Empire socially and economically relied on
Constantinople's control of the countryside
East/West Split
• Throughout the middle ages various differences in
political organization, culture and economic organization
and the various versions of Christianity help illustrate the
rift between east and west.
• Charlemagne in 800 was crowned Holy Roman Emperor
causing hostility
• 1054- final straw- Empire split due to the disagreement
over what bread to use in the mass and the celibacy of
priests caused the schism
• Although the two remained separate, there was still a
common classical heritage shared
Decline of Empire
• 11th century: a long period of decline
• Muslim Turkish invaders
• Manzikert 1071
• Independent Slavic states in Balkans
• 1204- Crusaders- Venetian merchants
sack Constantinople
• 1453- Ottoman Turks conquer
The Spread of Christianity
• Byzantine influence spread to the people
of the Balkans and Southern Russia
through conquest, commerce, and
• Cyril and Methodius- missionaries who
devised a written script (Cyrillic) for the
Slavic language providing a base for
literacy in Europe.
• What is a “borderland?”
• Competition between eastern and western
missionaries in the eastern Europe
• Roman Catholics succeed in Czechoslovakia,
Hungary and Poland.
• Poland, Bohemia and Lithuania developed
regional monarchies and ruled with a powerful
landholding aristocracy.
• Also, Eastern Europe received an influx of Jews
from the Middle East and Western Europe
– They were often barred from agriculture but
participated in local commerce
Kievan Rus
• Slavic Peoples migrated to Russia (during
time of Roman Empire)
• Mixed with and incorporated local
• Possessed iron and extended agriculture
in Ukraine and western Russia
• Animistic religion with rich tradition in
music and oral legend
Rurik and Vladimir I
• Danish merchant
• 885- established a monarchy
• Loosely organized they flourished until the 12th
century when Kiev became a prosperous
commercial center.
• Contacts with the Byzantines led to the
Conversion of Vladimir I (980-1015) to Orthodox
– Vladimir controlled church appointments and issued a
formal law code
Institutions and Culture
in Kievan Rus
• Borrowed much from Byzantine Empire
• Orthodox Christian practices
Devotion to God’s power and the saints
Ornate churches
• Cultural, social and economic patterns developed differently from
the western European experience
• Polygamy yielded to Christian monogamy
• Almsgiving was emphasized
• Art and literature were heavily influenced by the Orthodox religion
• Architecture was adapted from the Byzantines to fit local conditions
• Peasants wer free farmers, and aristocratic landlords (Boyars) had
less political power than the similar Westerners
Kievan Decline
• 12th century
• Rival princes established competing
governments while the royal family quarreled
over the succession
• Mongol invasions of the 13th century
incorporated Russian lands into their territories
• Mongol (Tatar) dominance spread even to the
western dominated areas of eastern Europe
• Mongols were tolerant in regards to religion and
did not interfere with local religion as long as
tribute was paid
End of Mongol control
• When Mongol control ended in the 15th
century, a Russian cultural and political
tradition incorporation the Byzantine
inheritance reemerged.
• The Russians claimed to be the
successors of the Roman Empire and
Byzantine states and declared Moscow as
“Third Rome”
The End of an Era in Eastern
• Difficult period for Eastern Europe
– Mongol invasions
– Russia decline
– Collapse of Byzantium
• Border territories (i.e. Poland) fell under Western
influence while the Balkans fell under the
Influence of the Islamic world of the Turks
(Ottoman Empire)
• Western and eastern Europe evolved separately,
with the former pushing ahead in power and
cross-cultural sophistication
Global Connections
• Byzantines- active in interregional trade
• Constantinople was one of the worlds greatest
trading centers (geographical location)
• When Byzantium declined and the Mongols
conquered Russia a period of isolation began
• By the 15th century, Russia began to regain
independence and faced decisions about how to
re-engage with the West
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