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ByzantiumSocial Studies for 10th E.G.B. Teacher: Mauricio Torres
BackgroundAt its height the Roman Empire included all the landaround the Mediterranean Sea. It went from England toEgypt and all the way into the Syrian desert.External and internal threats started to decimate theempire. Emperor Diocletian considered the empire to big to be ruled, so he named a co-emperor to rule the western half, while he ruled the eastern half.Christianity was now the official religion in the empire.
Division of the Empire When Diocletian left power, Constantine reunited the empire for a short time. He also moved the capital to the east, into what is now Turkey. The new capital was rebuilt into a grand city, which he named Constantinople (which means the City of Constantine). Even though the capital now had moved out of Rome, it was still called the Roman Empire.
Decline of RomeNorth-European Barbarian tribes started toinvade the Roman Empire in the 200s. A centurylater, these bands began to raid inside the heartof the Empire.The Romans fought desperately to keep thesetribes (Goths, Huns, Vandals, Saxons, Franks,etc). They even paid some of them bribes not toattack.In 408 AD, the Visigoths marched into Rome,sacked it and almost destroyed it.In 476 a foreign general in the Roman armyoverthrew the last Emperor of Rome anddeclared himself king of Italy. This is considered by historians as the end of the western Empire.
A new Eastern EmpireDespite the fall of Rome, the eastern empire grew inwealth and power. Its people created a new society thatwas different from the society in the west.
Justinian For the emperor Justinian (527-565) reuniting the Roman empire was a passion. His armies conquered Italy and much of the land around the Mediterranean. His other passions were: the law and the church. He ordered officials to remove any out-of-date or unchristian laws. He organized the whole legal system called Justinian’s Code. By simplifying Roman law, fair treatment for all was guaranteed.
JustinianDespite his successes, Justinian made many enemies. In 532, an uprising almost drove him out from Constantinople. His smart and powerful wife, Theodora convinced him to stay and fight. He took her advise, crushed the revolt and ruled effectively for the rest of his reign.
Fall of ConstantinopleAfter Justinian’s death, theeastern empire began todecline.Invaders took over all the landJustinian had gained. The empire continued to shrink for the next several hundred years.In 1453, the Ottoman Turkscaptured Constantinople,bringing and end to theEastern Roman Empire.