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The Byzantine Empire
Preview Questions
• What is the Byzantine Empire?
• What were the key elements of Byzantine Christianity?
• How did Justinian extend Byzantine power?
• Why did the Byzantine Empire collapse?
• What was the legacy and heritage of the Byzantine
Empire?
Terms and People
• Constantinople – formerly Byzantium; capital
of the eastern Roman empire
• Justinian – emperor of the Byzantine empire from 527 to
565, he rebuilt Constantinople and made reforms to the
law
• Justinian’s Code – The Corpus Juris Civilis,
or “Body of Civil Law”; a comprehensive collection of
Roman legal writings assembled by Justinian
• autocrat – a sole ruler with absolute power
Terms and People (continued)
• Theodora – empress of the Byzantine empire, Justinian’s
wife, and a fearless and powerful co-ruler
• patriarch – in the Byzantine and Roman empires, the
highest church official in a major city
• icon – holy image of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint
venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church
• Great Schism – the official split between the Roman
Catholic and Byzantine churches
The Byzantine Empire
• In 610AD, the Eastern Roman Empire officially became
known as the Byzantine empire.
• The capital city was Constantinople (formerly Byzantium)
– Center of the empire
– Favorable location for trade
– Wealth and splendor
Preserving Culture
• The Byzantine Empire promoted the
blending of Greek, Roman, Christian and
Middle Eastern cultures
• Over time, much of the art and
architecture reflected styles of Middle
East (Persia) while retaining the basis of
Rome.
• Most importantly though, the Byzantines
preserved the learning and writing from
Ancient Greece and Rome.
• Much of it had been lost or destroyed in
the West by the invasions of the
Germanic tribes.
• The Byzantines; however, wanted to
establish themselves separate from Rome.
• For example, they changed the official
language from Latin to Greek which
Byzantine Christianity
• Other ways in which the
Byzantine’s differed was in their
views of Christianity.
• While there are many
similarities, they did disagree on
a great many number of issues.
Similarities and Differences Between
Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
• Services conducted in Latin
• The Pope is authority over all
including kings and emperors
• Priests are celibate (cannot
marry or have children)
• Divorce is not permitted
• Icons are allowed in worship
Eastern Orthodox
• Services conducted in Greek
• The emperor claims authority over
the Patriarch and other officials
• Priests can marry and have
children
• Divorce permitted in certain cases
• Icons are forbidden (idols)
Similarities
•Both religions are based of the teachings of Jesus and the Bible
•Both have baptisms
•Both seek converts
Upheaval in the Church
• Since the split of the Western and Eastern Rome,
the Church also experienced a schism (split).
• The split cannot be traced back to one single event,
but many disagreements between Eastern and
Western viewpoints over cultural differences,
politics, the Pope, Church celebrations created a
divide in the Church that could not be repaired.
• This was known as the “Great Schism” or “East-
West Schism” made official in 1054 when the Pope
and Patriarch excommunicated each other.
You are
excommunicated!
You are
excommunicated!
Your mom is
excommunicated!
Your mom is
excommunicated!
The Age of Justinian
• Justinian was perhaps the
greatest Byzantine emperor
• He hoped his empire would be
as great as ancient Rome.
• Justinian wanted to recover the
lands lost to the invaders and
reconstitute the Roman Empire.
• Justinian was able to take back
much, but not all, of the territory
that had once belonged to
Rome.
Justinian’s Empire
Justinian’s Code
• For his empire, Justinian organized laws
– with over 4,000 written laws, they are
better known as Justinian’s Code
– This code was based on old Roman law
– These laws defined issues such as
citizenship, marriage, inheritance, slavery,
property rights as well as criminal acts and
punishments.
– This code is significant because it laid out
rules for a massive kingdom which helped
him both unify and control it.
– Many laws or legal systems today are based
off of Justinian’s Code.
Justinian the Builder
• Justinian also launched a
massive building program
in Constantinople.
• During his time, he built
massive walls to protect
the city.
• These walls helped protect
the city from attack for
over 1,000 years.
• He also had many bridges,
aqueducts and churches
built.
The Hagia Sophia
• The greatest building achievement; however, was
the church of the Hagia Sophia meaning “Holy
Wisdom” in Greek.
The Hagia Sophia
• The Hagia Sophia is important for both
religious and architectural reasons.
• It is renown for is domes and was the
largest cathedral in the world for nearly
1,000 years.
• The Hagia Sophia was the center of
Eastern Orthodox Christianity and was
known as the “Vatican of the East.”
• It was later converted to a Muslim
mosque in 1453 after the Ottoman
Turks took control of Constantinople.
• It remained a mosque until 1935 when
the Turkish government made it into a
museum.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations
The Hippodrome
• Another building worth
mentioning was the Hippodrome.
• While not built by Justinian, it was
impressive to say the least.
• Throughout the Byzantine period,
the Hippodrome was the center of
the city's sporting and social life.
• Horse and chariot racing was a
popular pastime of the ancient
world.
• In fact, the work Hippodrome
come from the Greek hippos
(horse) and dromos (path).
The Hippodrome
• At it’s largest, the
Hippodrome sat over
100,000 spectators!
• It was said to have
been elaborately
decorated with works
of art and tapestries.
• It also featured
glorious bronzed
statues of horses,
gods and former
emperors.
Theodora
• Justinian was married to
a beautiful woman
named Theodora.
• She was very intelligent,
decisive and strong
woman.
• From all accounts,
Justinian treated her as
an equal and frequently
relied on her for advice.
The Nika Riots
• In 532, a chariot race at the
Hippodrome got out of hand and
violence and chaos flooded the streets
of Constantinople.
• Several senators saw the chaos as an
opportunity to overthrow Justinian.
• In fact, Justinian was scared for his life
and was ready to flee the city in fear.
• However, his wife Theodora
proclaimed, “it is better to die a ruler
than to live as nothing.”
• Justinian instead sent an army and the
riots were put down.
• It was Theodora’s courage that is
credited with saving her husband’s rule.
Theodora
• After the revolts, the city of
Constantinople had to be rebuilt.
• Theodora aided in the rebuilding
and the construction of aqueducts,
bridges and churches which
culminated in the creation of the
Hagia Sophia.
• She also led a series of reforms and
laws that elevated the rights, status
and promoted equal treatment of
women throughout the empire.
• For all this, she is the most famous
woman in Byzantine history.
The Fall of the Byzantines
• After hundreds of years of glory, fortunes
changed in the Byzantine Empire
• The empire was almost continuously plagued
by different groups along it’s border seeking
more territory.
– Many attacks came from groups such as the Turks,
Persians, Slavs, Vikings, and Mongols
– Muslim armies started to gain control of much of
the Mediterranean.
The Crusades
• In 1095, the Byzantine emperor Alexius I
appealed to the Pope for help defeating the
Muslim invaders.
• Seeing a great opportunity to gain back
power in the East after the Great Schism,
the Pope agrees.
• While temporarily successful, the Crusades
were an abject disaster.
• In fact, during the 4th
Crusade, the Western
armies didn’t even make it to the Holy Land
to fight the Muslims. Running out of
supplies, they attacked Constantinople
instead.
– This just illustrated how bad the feelings were
between the East and West.
• The empire never really recovers after this.
Crisis and Collapse
• Constantinople Falls
–Ottoman Turks
captured
Constantinople in
1453 and renamed it
Istanbul
–Muslim influences
replace Christian ones.
• Hagia Sophia is converted
from a church to mosque.
Why should we remember the
Byzantines?
The Legacy of the Byzantine
Empire• Longevity: The empire lasted more than 1,000 years, a
rare feat throughout history.
• Cultural Diffusion: The Byzantines blended Roman
culture, Greek learning with Christian beliefs and Middle
Eastern influences
• Preservation: Classical learning of the Greeks and
Romans which otherwise would have been lost in the fall
of Rome was continued in the Byzantine Empire.
• Law: Justinian’s Code preserved Roman law and became
the basis of many laws today.
• Spiritual: Eastern Orthodox Christianity still exists in
areas such as Eastern Europe, Greece and Russia.

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The Byzantine Empire

  • 2. Preview Questions • What is the Byzantine Empire? • What were the key elements of Byzantine Christianity? • How did Justinian extend Byzantine power? • Why did the Byzantine Empire collapse? • What was the legacy and heritage of the Byzantine Empire?
  • 3. Terms and People • Constantinople – formerly Byzantium; capital of the eastern Roman empire • Justinian – emperor of the Byzantine empire from 527 to 565, he rebuilt Constantinople and made reforms to the law • Justinian’s Code – The Corpus Juris Civilis, or “Body of Civil Law”; a comprehensive collection of Roman legal writings assembled by Justinian • autocrat – a sole ruler with absolute power
  • 4. Terms and People (continued) • Theodora – empress of the Byzantine empire, Justinian’s wife, and a fearless and powerful co-ruler • patriarch – in the Byzantine and Roman empires, the highest church official in a major city • icon – holy image of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church • Great Schism – the official split between the Roman Catholic and Byzantine churches
  • 5. The Byzantine Empire • In 610AD, the Eastern Roman Empire officially became known as the Byzantine empire. • The capital city was Constantinople (formerly Byzantium) – Center of the empire – Favorable location for trade – Wealth and splendor
  • 6. Preserving Culture • The Byzantine Empire promoted the blending of Greek, Roman, Christian and Middle Eastern cultures • Over time, much of the art and architecture reflected styles of Middle East (Persia) while retaining the basis of Rome. • Most importantly though, the Byzantines preserved the learning and writing from Ancient Greece and Rome. • Much of it had been lost or destroyed in the West by the invasions of the Germanic tribes. • The Byzantines; however, wanted to establish themselves separate from Rome. • For example, they changed the official language from Latin to Greek which
  • 7. Byzantine Christianity • Other ways in which the Byzantine’s differed was in their views of Christianity. • While there are many similarities, they did disagree on a great many number of issues.
  • 8. Similarities and Differences Between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Roman Catholic • Services conducted in Latin • The Pope is authority over all including kings and emperors • Priests are celibate (cannot marry or have children) • Divorce is not permitted • Icons are allowed in worship Eastern Orthodox • Services conducted in Greek • The emperor claims authority over the Patriarch and other officials • Priests can marry and have children • Divorce permitted in certain cases • Icons are forbidden (idols) Similarities •Both religions are based of the teachings of Jesus and the Bible •Both have baptisms •Both seek converts
  • 9. Upheaval in the Church • Since the split of the Western and Eastern Rome, the Church also experienced a schism (split). • The split cannot be traced back to one single event, but many disagreements between Eastern and Western viewpoints over cultural differences, politics, the Pope, Church celebrations created a divide in the Church that could not be repaired. • This was known as the “Great Schism” or “East- West Schism” made official in 1054 when the Pope and Patriarch excommunicated each other.
  • 10.
  • 11. You are excommunicated! You are excommunicated! Your mom is excommunicated! Your mom is excommunicated!
  • 12. The Age of Justinian • Justinian was perhaps the greatest Byzantine emperor • He hoped his empire would be as great as ancient Rome. • Justinian wanted to recover the lands lost to the invaders and reconstitute the Roman Empire. • Justinian was able to take back much, but not all, of the territory that had once belonged to Rome.
  • 14. Justinian’s Code • For his empire, Justinian organized laws – with over 4,000 written laws, they are better known as Justinian’s Code – This code was based on old Roman law – These laws defined issues such as citizenship, marriage, inheritance, slavery, property rights as well as criminal acts and punishments. – This code is significant because it laid out rules for a massive kingdom which helped him both unify and control it. – Many laws or legal systems today are based off of Justinian’s Code.
  • 15. Justinian the Builder • Justinian also launched a massive building program in Constantinople. • During his time, he built massive walls to protect the city. • These walls helped protect the city from attack for over 1,000 years. • He also had many bridges, aqueducts and churches built.
  • 16. The Hagia Sophia • The greatest building achievement; however, was the church of the Hagia Sophia meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek.
  • 17. The Hagia Sophia • The Hagia Sophia is important for both religious and architectural reasons. • It is renown for is domes and was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly 1,000 years. • The Hagia Sophia was the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and was known as the “Vatican of the East.” • It was later converted to a Muslim mosque in 1453 after the Ottoman Turks took control of Constantinople. • It remained a mosque until 1935 when the Turkish government made it into a museum.
  • 19. The Hippodrome • Another building worth mentioning was the Hippodrome. • While not built by Justinian, it was impressive to say the least. • Throughout the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the center of the city's sporting and social life. • Horse and chariot racing was a popular pastime of the ancient world. • In fact, the work Hippodrome come from the Greek hippos (horse) and dromos (path).
  • 20. The Hippodrome • At it’s largest, the Hippodrome sat over 100,000 spectators! • It was said to have been elaborately decorated with works of art and tapestries. • It also featured glorious bronzed statues of horses, gods and former emperors.
  • 21. Theodora • Justinian was married to a beautiful woman named Theodora. • She was very intelligent, decisive and strong woman. • From all accounts, Justinian treated her as an equal and frequently relied on her for advice.
  • 22. The Nika Riots • In 532, a chariot race at the Hippodrome got out of hand and violence and chaos flooded the streets of Constantinople. • Several senators saw the chaos as an opportunity to overthrow Justinian. • In fact, Justinian was scared for his life and was ready to flee the city in fear. • However, his wife Theodora proclaimed, “it is better to die a ruler than to live as nothing.” • Justinian instead sent an army and the riots were put down. • It was Theodora’s courage that is credited with saving her husband’s rule.
  • 23. Theodora • After the revolts, the city of Constantinople had to be rebuilt. • Theodora aided in the rebuilding and the construction of aqueducts, bridges and churches which culminated in the creation of the Hagia Sophia. • She also led a series of reforms and laws that elevated the rights, status and promoted equal treatment of women throughout the empire. • For all this, she is the most famous woman in Byzantine history.
  • 24. The Fall of the Byzantines • After hundreds of years of glory, fortunes changed in the Byzantine Empire • The empire was almost continuously plagued by different groups along it’s border seeking more territory. – Many attacks came from groups such as the Turks, Persians, Slavs, Vikings, and Mongols – Muslim armies started to gain control of much of the Mediterranean.
  • 25. The Crusades • In 1095, the Byzantine emperor Alexius I appealed to the Pope for help defeating the Muslim invaders. • Seeing a great opportunity to gain back power in the East after the Great Schism, the Pope agrees. • While temporarily successful, the Crusades were an abject disaster. • In fact, during the 4th Crusade, the Western armies didn’t even make it to the Holy Land to fight the Muslims. Running out of supplies, they attacked Constantinople instead. – This just illustrated how bad the feelings were between the East and West. • The empire never really recovers after this.
  • 26. Crisis and Collapse • Constantinople Falls –Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and renamed it Istanbul –Muslim influences replace Christian ones. • Hagia Sophia is converted from a church to mosque.
  • 27. Why should we remember the Byzantines?
  • 28. The Legacy of the Byzantine Empire• Longevity: The empire lasted more than 1,000 years, a rare feat throughout history. • Cultural Diffusion: The Byzantines blended Roman culture, Greek learning with Christian beliefs and Middle Eastern influences • Preservation: Classical learning of the Greeks and Romans which otherwise would have been lost in the fall of Rome was continued in the Byzantine Empire. • Law: Justinian’s Code preserved Roman law and became the basis of many laws today. • Spiritual: Eastern Orthodox Christianity still exists in areas such as Eastern Europe, Greece and Russia.

Editor's Notes

  1. Autocrat: A sole ruler with complete authority