THE COMMONWEALTH OF BYZANTIUM Main Topics I. The early Byzantine empire II. Byzantine economy and society III. Classical heritage and Orthodox Christianity IV. The influence of Byzantium in eastern Europe I. The later Roman empire and Byzantium вЂў Fifth century, eastern half of empire remained intact while west crumbled Challenges: Sassanids and Germans Highly centralized state вЂў вЂў вЂ“ вЂ“ Emperor with aura of divinity-Caesaropapism Large and complex bureaucracy I. Justinian (527-565 C.E.) and his legacy; Theodora (empress) вЂў вЂў вЂў Rebuilt Constantinople, including Hagia Sophia Codified Roman law Corpus iuris civilis (The Body of the Civil Law) Sent Belisarius to reconquer the western Roman empire (didn't last) I. Islamic conquests and Byzantine revival вЂў The emergence of the Islamic state, seventh century вЂ“ Arab peoples conquered the Sassanid empire and part of Byzantium вЂ“ Prolonged sieges of Constantinople by Islamic armies вЂ“ Byzantium survived partly because of Greek fire вЂў Byzantine society reorganized вЂ“ Provinces (themes) under generals вЂ“ Armies of free peasants helped agricultural economy I. Byzantium and western Europe: ecclesiastical and political tensions вЂў The Iconoclastic Controversy of 710AD completed the break between Rome and Constantinople. вЂў Facing numerous defections to the Muslims along his southern border, and the creation of a Muslim Persia along his eastern border, Emperor Leo initiated religious reforms in an attempt to retain followers. вЂў The main item was a declaration that religious images were corrupt. This appealed to Eastern Monophysites and to Muslims who distrusted the worship of anything that came between the individual and the deity (saints), but it also resulted in the destruction of much Byzantine religious art. вЂў Reforms had political goals as well as spiritual goals. вЂў By purifying Christianity, they hoped to reduce the attractiveness of Islam to Eastern Monophysites and other religious opponents. вЂў By eliminating religious images, they hoped to undermine the worship of saints, including that of St. Peter, who was the ancestral founder of the Roman bishopric. вЂў Finally, by doing away with the worship of saints, the emperor also found a reason to close monasteries and confiscate their wealth for the Empire. II. Rural economy and society вЂў Large agricultural base to support cities Economy strongest when large class of free peasants (themes) existed Economy weakened when large landholders consolidated and made peasants dependent вЂў вЂў Byzantine Farm вЂ“ They do not have as much $$, so they do not spend as much. II. Industry and trade вЂў Constantinople was major site of crafts and industry вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂў Constantinople was clearinghouse for trade вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂў Glass, linen, textiles, gems, jewelry, gold, and silver Silk developed into major industry in sixth century; secrets came from China Bezant (gold coins) was the standard currency of Mediterranean basin Western anchor of trade route revived silk roads Banks and partnerships supported commercial economy II. Urban life вЂў Housing in Constantinople varied widely by class Attractions of Constantinople: baths, taverns, theaters (culture) вЂў вЂ“ вЂ“ Hippodrome used for mass entertainment Chariot races most popular; Greens and Blues rivalry III. The legacy of classical Greece вЂў Official language went from Latin to Greek вЂў State-organized school system trained workforce вЂ“ Primary education: reading, writing, grammar вЂ“ Later education: classical Greek, literature, philosophy, science вЂ“ Higher education in Constantinople: law, medicine, philosophy вЂў Byzantine scholarship emphasized Greek tradition вЂ“ Wrote commentaries on Greek literature вЂ“ Preserved and transmitted Greek thought to later cultures III. The Byzantine church вЂў Most distinctive feature was involvement of the emperor (Caesaropapism) вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂў Council of Nicaea (325 C.E.) in which Arianism was declared heresy Iconoclasm controversy (726-843) was started by Leo III Greek philosophy applied to Byzantine theology St Arius - Founder of Arianism III. Monasticism and popular piety вЂў Monasticism origins in early Christian ascetics (hermits) вЂ“ "Pillar saints" like St. Simeon Stylite вЂ“ St. Basil of Caesarea (329379 C.E.) organized monastic movement вЂў Mt. Athos, monastery in northern Greece from ninth century to present вЂў Monks/nuns very popular with laity вЂ“ Provided social services to the community вЂ“ Opposed iconoclasm Tensions between eastern and western Christianity вЂў Constantinople and Rome: strains mirrored political tensions вЂў Ritual and doctrinal differences, such as iconoclasm вЂў Schism in 1054--Eastern Orthodox versus Roman Catholic вЂ“ the East-West Schism was actually the result of an extended period of estrangement between Latin and Greek Christendom IV. Domestic problems and foreign pressures вЂў Generals and local aristocrats allied; new elite class challenged imperial (religious) power вЂў Western Europe took parts of Byzantium вЂ“ Normans in southern Italy and Sicily вЂ“ Crusaders carved out states and sacked Constantinople (1204) вЂў Muslim Saljuq Turks invaded Anatolia, defeated Byzantines at Manzikert, 1071 вЂў Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, the end of the empire IV. Early relations between Byzantium and Slavic peoples вЂў Byzantines began to influence Bulgarian politics and culture after the eighth century вЂў Missions to the Slavs вЂ“ Saints Cyril and Methodius, mid-ninth century вЂ“ Cyrillic writing stimulated conversion to Orthodox Christianity (syncretism) вЂ“ Education and religion tied together, led to more conversions Byzantium and Russia вЂў Mid-ninth century, Russians started to organize a large state: Kiev вЂў The conversion of Prince Vladimir, 989 вЂ“ Kiev served as a conduit for spread of Byzantine culture and religion вЂ“ Cyrillic writing and literature and Orthodox missions spread Byzantine culture вЂ“ Byzantine art and architecture dominated Kiev: icons and onion domes вЂў Princes established caesaropapist control of Russian Orthodox church вЂў Russian culture flourishes from eleventh century вЂ“ Moscow claimed to be world's "third Rome" вЂ“ Sent out many missionaries from sixteenth century on Summary вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў Eastern half of Rome became known as Byzantium Survived and, mostly, thrived for a millennium This culture blended Roman and Greek traditions Declined over centuries (slow fall)--culminating in its conquest by the Islamic Ottoman Turks in 1453. вЂў Several unique features of the Byzantine civilization contributed to its prosperity: вЂ“ A strategically located capital city called Constantinople that was one of the largest, most influential, and cosmopolitan urban centers in the world. вЂ“ A highly centralized and autocratic governmental structure consisting of an exalted emperor with an aura of divinity and a large and intricate bureaucracy. вЂ“ A rich Christian tradition elaborated by the emperor and the patriarchs that eventually evolved into an independent and separate faith referred to as Eastern Orthodox. вЂ“ An unusual and effective administration system whereby generals governed over free peasants who received small tracts of land to work in exchange for military service. вЂ“ The extension of Byzantine cultural traditions to eastern Europe and Russia through political, cultural, and economic relations.