The Byzantine Empire

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  • Christian Church has become an important political, economic, spiritual and cultural force in Europe Leading officials of Church were the bishops of Rome ( Pope ) and Constantinople ( Patriarch ) As influence grew, laws were passed to forced people to become Christians and banned heresy (holding beliefs that contradict the official religion) Fines were given against heretics, then harsher penalties and even death Eventually, conversion by force Eventually in 11 th Century, Church split into two independent branches Eastern Orthodox (Greek) based in Constantinople and Roman Catholic in Rome
  • Met and fell in love before he held the throne Law barred government officials from marrying actresses Est. monophysite monastery in Constantinople for refugee bishops Some suggest it was really her who ran the empire – churches, orphanages, public works.
  • See p. 499 in textbook Constantinople’s hippodrome – fans at chariot race Riot between fans, authorities put it down but brutality unites fighting factions in anger at Justinian Rebellion when 2 factions joined by others who don’t like emperor – city on fire Justinian was ready to flee bc. Dangerous Theodora’s fiery speech – stand your ground. According to historian Procopius: “ For an emperor to become a fugitive is a thing not to be endured; the purple makes a fine winding sheet.” Justinian is strengthened and crushes the rebellion by herding 30 000 - 40 000 rebels into the Hippodrome and slaughtering them.
  • The Byzantine Empire

    1. 1. The Byzantine Empire The “Dark Ages” 310-1000 CE (approx.) Were they dark?
    2. 2. Dark Ages or Middle Ages? <ul><li>Dark Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Gibbon’s book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1788) set the tone </li></ul><ul><li>Roman/ Greek civilization was best </li></ul><ul><li>Barbarians were forces of darkness </li></ul><ul><li>No culture or unified society in Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Middle Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Newer understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Medium aevium – latin for middle age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Source of English word medieval </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Seen as a time of change rather than decline </li></ul><ul><li>Society is fragmented – local cultures flourish </li></ul>
    3. 3. The Byzantine Empire
    4. 4. Legacy of Rome <ul><li>Roman model of government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Military governors, bureaucracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Imperial army (mercenaries) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taxes and monopolies </li></ul></ul>Flag of the Greek Orthodox Church <ul><li>Language, laws, culture spread rapidly after Roman rule </li></ul>
    5. 5. The Church in Control <ul><li>Pope (means father) </li></ul><ul><li>Bishops of Rome </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent of military </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Patriarch (means father) </li></ul><ul><li>Bishops of Constantinople </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Under firm control of Emperor of Byzantium </li></ul></ul>Pope Gregory of Rome b.540 d.604 CE St. John Chrysostom Patriarch of Constantinople b.344 d.404 CE
    6. 6. Heresy and Heretics <ul><li>Heresy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>holding beliefs that contradict the official religion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Established with the Nicene Creed in 325 </li></ul></ul>11 th Century Zodiac Magic Soothsaying Astrology Council of Nicaea 9 th century Greek Testament
    7. 7. Theodosius on Heresy (380 CE) <ul><ul><li>We command that those persons who follow this rule [belief in the single Deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit] shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom we adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas … and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of Our own initiative, which We shall assume in accordance with the divine judgment. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Justinian the Great ruled 527-565 CE <ul><li>Unity through Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>Suppressed all heretics including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monophysites - Christ has a single divine nature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arians – Christ and Holy Spirit are secondary gods, mediating between Father and world </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Unity through military conquest </li></ul><ul><li>Recaptured Rome in 554 </li></ul>
    9. 9. Justinian Code <ul><li>Codified all Roman laws in the Justinian Code or “Body of Civil Law” </li></ul><ul><li>Basis of all law even today </li></ul>Mosaic of Justinian in San Vitale, Ravenna
    10. 10. Empress Theodora <ul><li>Appropriate? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plebian not Patrician </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Former actress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Justinian had law changed so he could marry her </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monophysite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Never gave up her beliefs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Legal changes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevent sale of girls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reformed divorce laws to protect women </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Nika Riot <ul><li>Nika = victory </li></ul><ul><li>Anger turns into rebellion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rebels proclaim new emperor – city on fire </li></ul></ul>“ The Purple makes a fine winding sheet” - Empress Theodora <ul><li>Theodora’s fiery speech </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Justinian kills 30 000 rebels in Hippodrome </li></ul></ul>Hippodrome of Constantinople
    12. 12. Greek Language <ul><li>After Justinian-565 CE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greek becomes common language of Byzantium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Latin in western empire </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Another end of Roman Empire </li></ul>Song of Seikilos Found in Byzantium, dated to 100 CE Be, as long as you live, a sunshine, do not be sad. Cause life is surely short, and time demands its toll
    13. 13. Iconoclastic Controversy <ul><li>Iconoclasts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Image destroyers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>730 CE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>emperor bars icons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>persecutes worshippers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>destroys 700 years of art </li></ul></ul><ul><li>787 CE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>images re-established </li></ul></ul><ul><li>815 CE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>banned again </li></ul></ul><ul><li>843 CE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>icons restored for good </li></ul></ul>Page from the iconoclastic psalter 9 th century
    14. 14. Was this the “Dark Ages”? <ul><li>What is “Dark”? Criteria: </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments for Dark Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments against Dark Ages </li></ul>

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