The Byzantine Empire

Describe the Eastern Empire's split from Rome, the rule of Emperor Justinian, and the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

A new Rome in a New Setting-Kanya Duran
Life in New Rome-Kendrick Abreu
creating the imperial capital-Steven Alvarez
The plague of Justinian-Eliecer Cruz
A religious Split-Claudia Franjul
Byzzantine Missionaries Converts the Slavs-Luis Restituyo
If there's anyone missing just choose a topic that no one has from chapter 11 section 1

East and West: Where does the division leave them in accordance to significance?

The Byzantine Empire, dated back to the early centuries AD, had numerous names to itself. Also being known as the Eastern Roman Empire, Romania, and the mere Roman Empire by its inhabitants, this empire was the remains of the empire previously discussed and researched. Byzantine became known as such when "in Western Europe in 1557, when German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ By­zantinæ, a collection of Byzantine sources," as far as my sources are informed. Now, as we know, Byzantine came to be due to the separation of the Roman Empire into two separate "regions" or divisions. The Western Empire lasted briefly before subsiding into oblivion. Luckily, the Eastern side "preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, but due to the increasing predominance of the Greek language, it was usually known to most of its western and northern contemporaries as the Empire of the Greeks," states Wikipedia.

As I was reading about Byzantine, I came across a paragraph which compelled me to think about the Western Empire a bit more, for I know now that the easterners were more well-preserved than the westerners. It makes me think of how far off the West was from the East:

"It is not possible to effectually distinguish between the later empire in Rome and the Byzantine empire centered around Constantinople. For the Byzantines were the Roman Empire, not simply a continuation of it in the East. The capital city, Constantinople, had been founded as the capital of Rome by the Emperor Constantine, but a uniquely Greek or Byzantine character to the Roman Empire can be distinguished as early as Diocletian. When Rome was seized by Goths, this was a great blow to the Roman Empire, but it didn't effectively end it. Although 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."

- Richard Hooker; World Civilizations, 1996.

As far as I am informed, the Roman Empire included every land conquered, including the West until its decline. Now, saying that the East isn't just a continuation of the empire, but the empire itself? Where does this leave the West? Do we remain oblivious to its significance? Does it have one? Was it really that important?

"Theodosius' death in 495 brought the Empire into the less skilled hands of his sons Honorius and Arcadius, who compounded their lack of statecraft by their deep personal animosity. Their personal hostility was resolved by a decision to divide the Empire irrevocably into two parts. Arcadius became Emperor of the Eastern Empire, which soon became known as the Byzantine Empire. Honorius assumed the throne of the new Western Empire."

In reference to the previous passage, it is possible that there is a theory of who-ruled-more-efficiently could occur. However, I believe it all comes down to the fact that there will usually be a more condensed area of cultural attachment. Stated in class, however, that no land has "more culture than another," there still could be the possibility that one side chose to hold on to it more than the other.

- Lily Sanchez

To differentiate between the later Rome Empire and Byzantine is seemingly impossible. This is because the Byzantines were the Roman Empire, not simply a continuation of it in the East. The capital city, Constantinople, had been founded as the capital of Rome by the Empire. Over the centuries, however, Byzantium evolved into a very different civilization. The eastern Empire had always had a predominately Greek character while the western Empire mainteained its Roman character. During the first millenium however, the Byzantine Empire had to deal with political threats from European cultures, Asian cultures and, primarily, Islam after the seventh century.

“Through the later Middle Ages, however, Byzantium both gradually declined politically and became more isolated from the rest of Europe. While the last centuries of the European Middle Ages saw the consolidation of the idea of Europe and the incorporation of European cultures into a larger, overarching European monoculture, Byzantium was left out of this new European concept. By the beginning of the modern period, when "Europe" had become a solid, cultural idea, Byzantine had come to an end with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.”

– Richard Hooker

Historians consider Justinian’s rule as marking a significant break with the Roman past. This is odd because Justinian considered himself the ruler of both sides of the empire and spoke Latin as his primary language.

Although he conquered North Africa and retook Italy from the Ostrogoths, this Gothic War drained the Byzantine Empire of much-needed resources. The economic destruction of Italy was so much that it destroyed Italian urban culture for centuries.Only three years after the death of Justinian, the Italian territories fell into the hands of another Germanic tribe, the "Long Beards".

-Erialbania Lopez

Constantinople's Hectic Peace

by ely
Merchants stalls lined the main street and filled the side streets. Products from the most distant corners of Asia, Africa, and Europe passed through these stalls. Everywhere, food stands filled the air with the smell of their delcacies, while acrobats and street musicians performed. As you could see, people back then seemed to have a very enjoyable, productive and hectic place to live or travel too, also because of it's beautiful creations like the Hagia Sophia and other rebuilding of crumbling fortifications of Constantinople.

Chariot-racing had been important in Rome for centuries. In Constantinople, the hippodrome became over time increasingly a place of political significance. It was where the people by acclamation showed their approval of a new emperor; and also where they openly criticized the government, or clamoured for the removal of unpopular ministers. In the time of Justinian, public order in Constantinople became a critical political issue. The Hippodrome held 60,000 spectators. Fans of different teams formed rowdy gangs named for the colors worn by their heroes.

-The 'Nika' Rebellion -

In January, 532, Justinian faced the greatest domestic challenge to his reign. In 6th Century Constantinople the populace was divided into factions (Blue or Green being dominant and Red and White secondary) dependent on which team they supported at the chariot races in the Hippodrome. This factionalism went far deeper than sport and fighting between the Hippodrome factions was common. The factions had their own quasi-military compounds whithin the city and were almost societies to themselves. Early in 532, however, there was an outburst of street violence which went far beyond what was acceptable, even in a society where brawling was the norm, and the authorities were forced to take action.…/Byzantium+under+Justin+and+Justinian+—+military+and+social+effects
World History Book , by: McDougal Littell

Byzantine Missionaries Convert the Slavs
Since the West and the East kept separating the two traditions of Christianity began competing to convert people, for example the missionaries from the Orthodox Church took their way of Christianity to the Slavs who lived in the forests north of the Black Sea. The East sent two of their most successful missionaries:
• Saint Methodius.
• Saint Cyril.
They worked among the Slavs during the ninth century, during this time Methodius and Cyril developed an alphabet for the Slavic languages, this meant that they could write a bible for the Slavs to read in their own language. As these pair of missionaries was converting the Slavs into Orthodox Christians, the Slavs themselves were creating a culture that would form what we now call Russia.

Division of the Christian Church

By: Claudia

Just as the Roman Empire was divided by Diocletian into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (later known as Byzantine Empire), the Christian church split into two branches in 1054. These were the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

As their names suggest, the Roman Catholic Church developed on the Western Roman Empire while the Eastern Orthodox Church developed on the Eastern Roman Empire (later known as Byzantine Empire). As I’ve learned while studying in class about the split of the Roman Empire, each side of the empire had different cultures since Greek influence was predominant in the East and Roman influence was predominant in the West. So I can conclude that the inhabitants of each empire had different languages and ways of seeing life. The differences between both empires were also clearly visible in the Christian churches that developed in both of them. Despite the fact that both churches derived from the teachings of Jesus (they had Christian principles), each side had developed different interpretations and practices- influenced by their culture. These differences among both sides of the church would work on a gradual process of dividing it and would create conflict later on. Just to mention one difference, the church of the west prohibited that its priests married, while the church of the east allowed the priests to marry.

A conflict that developed between both sides of the church, and that had lasting effects on the relationship between these two sides, emerged by hands of Cerularius who was a Byzantine Patriarch. Cerularius criticized some of the practices of the Western Church. As a response to this, the Western pope excommunicated Cerularius and in turn he excommunicated the pope and a cardinal. This event marked the split of the Christian church; it was divided into the Roman Catholic Church (Western Church) and Eastern Orthodox Church (Eastern Church).

Sources consulted:

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