Heraclius Came to power amid military disaster Avars, Slavs, and Persians were all attacking the empire at once Raised enough money from the church to wage war on the Persians in 622 This left the army financially depleted and the military was exhausted
Territorial Losses to Muslims It was a century before the Byzantines could take the offensive In the process they lost Syria and Egypt Was this a positive or negative for the Empire?
Military Revival under Leo III Finally in 717 and 718 Leo III beat back a Muslim attack on Constantinople. This ushered in the 9 th and 10 th century rulers known as The Great Warrior Emperors They defeated the Bulgars in the Balkan Peninsula (modern day Bulgaria) The 9 th and 10 th centuries were a time of wealth, stability, and artistic glory.
In 988, the Byzantine Empire was convulsed in one of its all-too-frequent civil wars. The Emperor, young Basil II, appealed to Vladimir the Great, Prince of Kiev for assistance. In return for the hand of Basil’s sister, Anna, in marriage the Rus sent 6,000 warriors to assist Basil against his enemies. At the battles of Chrysopolis and Abydos, Basil’s Varangians played a key role in defeating the rebel armies and guaranteeing Basil’s reign.Basil II,
Not trusting the traditional Byzantine guard units to keep his person safe, Basil retained these fierce warriors as his new bodyguard; quartering them at the Imperial Palace at Constantinople. Basil christened this new unit the Tágma tōn Varángōn, the “Varangian Guard”. (Though there is some dispute as to when this name actually came into use: the first written mention does not occur until 1034, some forty five years later). Though the Byzantines used the word Varangian to indicate any Scandinavian/Rus warrior, the word likely derives from the Old Norse, ‘var’, meaning “pledge”. Thus the Varangians were the “pledged men” of the Emperor’s guard.
Leo III and Iconoclasm Leo III stabilized the military but his religious policies tore the empire apart Iconoclasm: image breaking Why did Leo III take this view to images? What was it influenced by?
Results of Iconoclasm Helped to widen Eastern and Western Churches Part of the reason the Pope named Pepin the Short as king of the Franks, he needed his protection
Byzantine Diplomacy The position of the emperor was sacred He was a holy figure and head of the state Despite this his theological role was limited He had absolute authority with the help of a civil service 10% tariff on trade Profit from state monopolies
The Eastern and Western Churches EAST Greek Orthodox Holy Spirit comes only from the father Divorce because of adultery Married men can be priests, not bishops Welcomed vernacular languages Churches developed in isolation WEST Roman Catholic Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son No divorce No marriage between priests or bishops Did not welcome vernaculars Churches developed with centralized control
Missionary Activities The two churches came into direct conflict in the Balkans. 862- Cyril and Methodius were sent by the Eastern Church to convert the Slavs. Cyril developed a Slavonic script based on the Greek alphabet called the Cyrillic Alphabet The Western church relied on Frankish rulers to expand the boundaries
Education A Palace School: primarily for laymen, it trained civil servants in language, law, and rhetoric A Patriarchal School: instructed priests in rhetoric and theology Monastic School: taught young monks Everyone else learned from their guilds
Art and Architecture Iconoclasm was rejected in the 9 th century and pictures made their way back into art Byzantine artists were summoned all over
What their art tells us 1. Emperor is an august figure 2. Christ is never suffering, fully God 3. No movement in mosaics which shows human frailty
The Decline of the Byzantine Empire 1. Social Transformation 2. Defense of the Empire 3. The Seljuk Turks
Social Transformation It went from a disciplined society of peasant warriors under a strong central government to a society with dependent peasantry, strong landlords, and a weak central government.
Defense The Empire lost their peasant defense and had to turn to mercenaries that were not reliable. In many cases the mercenaries overthrew emperors (Varangians) But they did have Greek Fire!
The Seljuk Turks Penetrated beyond the Eastern borders of the Empire into Asia Minor They shattered the Mercenary Army They took the Emperor captive in 1071 Suleiman then established his home right outside Constantinople in Nicea