Objectives Why is the Byzantine Empire important to history? Who was Justinian and how did he rebuild Constantinople? What was the Justinian Code? How did a fight over statues cause a split in the Catholic Church?
A New Rome in a New Setting Remember how Rome was split by Constantine in 330 AD? Rome to the West Byzantium (capital city of Constantinople) to the East Constantinople began to flourish as Rome declined. The Eastern leaders still saw themselves as Roman Emperors
Justinian: A New Line of Caesars In 527, a Byzantine nobleman Justinian succeeded his uncle, Constantine, as Emperor. He decided to claim the land lost to the West (old Rome) back from the Vandals and Ostrogoths. He sent his best general, Belisarius, on the task. After numerous campaigns, Belisarius’ armies took back all of Northern Africa, Italy, and parts of Spain. Justinian now ruled almost all the territory that Rome had ever ruled.
The Emperors Absolute Power Like the Caesar’s before him, Justinian and his successors ruled with absolute power. Controlled Church and State Their rule was brutal and many Emperors met brutal ends. Of 88 Byzantine emperors, 29 died violently and 13 were forced from their position.
Building the New Rome Ruling such a large empire turned out to be difficult (just like it had it the past) Justinian set out to create a new set of laws The Justinian Code consisted of 4 works: The Code contained nearly 5,000 Roman laws, which the experts still considered useful for the Byzantine Empire. The Digest quoted and summarized the opinions of Rome’s greatest legal thinkers about the laws. This massive work ran to a total of 50 volumes. The Institutes was a textbook that told law students how to use the laws. The Novellae (New Laws) presented legislation passed after 534. This code served as Byzantine Law for 900 years
Creating the Imperial Capital Justinian was determined to rebuild the Byzantine Empire. He began by building baths, aqueducts, law courts, schools, and hospitals. His greatest contributions included: Rebuilding Constantinople’s fortifications The Hagia Sophia Preserved Roman and Greek Literature and knowledge
The Walls of Theodosius( Constantinople’s fortress) were double layered. The inner wall was 16 feet thick and 40 feet tall. It had 96 staggered towers that were 70 feet tall. The external wall was 6.5 feet thick and 28 feet tall. In between the two was a ditch 65 feet wide and 20 feet deep
The Hagia Sophia Pronounced (HAY•ee•uh soh•FEE•uh), Justinian rebuilt this church, which replaced a version that was burned down during the Nika Riots. Means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek The most splendid Church in the Christian World at the time Built in just 6 years Included many architectural innovations, including triangular pendentives, which allowed builders to put a dome on top of a rectangular building.
Justinian rebuilt the Hagia Sophia (HAY•ee•uh soh•FEE•uh), which replaced a version that was burned down during the Nika Riots. Means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek The most splendid Church in the Christian World at the time Built in just 6 years Included many architectural innovations, including triangular pendentives, which allowed builders to put a dome on top of a rectangular building.
Used to call Muslims to prayer. Ottoman Muslims erected them after capturing Constantinople in 1453. Minarets
Byzantium The Hippodrome Held 60,000 spectators Used much like the Greek Coliseum, but also for Chariot races In 532, a riot between the “Blues” and “Greens” (named for they colors they wore to support their teams) erupted. Known as the Nika Rebellion Rioters were mad at the government for being too harsh on citizens involved in a previous rebellion. Belisarius and his troops had to “silence” the crowd, by trapping them in the Hippodrome and killing 30,000 rioters!
Preserving Learning Focused on Education Children attended school and learned from Greek and Roman literature. Without the Byzantine Empire, much of our knowledge from Greece and Rome would be lost.
The Empire Confronts its Enemies Constantinople remained rich and powerful for centuries However, the empire faced countless setbacks leading up to ( and following) Justinian’s death in 565.
The Mysterious Plague Similar to the bubonic plague Probably brought from India on ships infested with rats 10,000 people died a day Destroyed a large percentage of the Byzantine population Left the Empire exposed to attacks by enemies.
The Empire faced many attacks from the East, West, and North. Byzantines used bribes, diplomacy, and political marriages to prop up their shaky empire. However, this was not enough The Empire slowly shrank By 1350, reduced to the tip of Anatolia and a strip of the Balkans Constantinople still held out for another 100 years, but finally fell to the Turks in 1453
The Church Splits During this time, distance and lack of contact slowly caused the doctrines and rituals of Western and Eastern Christianity to diverge. The Church would eventually split into the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
Emperor Leo III banned the use of icons in worship. An Icon is a statue or painting that represents an idea or object. The Mustang Jesus statue These icons were used by eastern Christians to aid their worship. Iconoclasts, or “icon-breakers” broke into churches and destroyed these images. The people rioted and the clergy rebelled. The situation came to a head when the Pope and the patriarch( the leading bishop in the East) excommunicated each other.
Excommunication means they kicked each other out of the church. Excommunication was a big deal back then. It formally sentenced that person to damnation (hell). Created the Great Schism, or split within the Church. Still today, the Church is divided into Roman Catholic Church in the West and the Orthodox Church in the East.