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The Byzantine Empire in Postclassical Times

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Presentation on theme: "The Byzantine Empire in Postclassical Times"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Byzantine Empire in Postclassical Times

2 Origins Roman Emperor Constantine moves capital to Byzantium (Constantinople) CE Roman Empire divided CE In 7th century CE Greek adopted by Byzantine Empire

3 Why did the Eastern Roman Empire survive?
Large cities (Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch) Productive agriculture (Egypt) Capital Constantinople easy to defend Shorter borders with Asiatic nomads and Germanic peoples Eastern Rome wealthier, more urbanized, stronger military than Western Rome

4 Constantinople

5 Government – What is old
Referred to themselves as Romans (even after switch to Greek) Preserved Greek and Roman culture wore Roman style robes and sandals Preserved Roman law Kept up Roman roads Roman taxation system Church – Christianity Centralized government, thousands of bureaucrats in Constantinople, bureaucrats come from land owning elite Elaborate court life

6 Government – What is new
Caesaropapism: emperor is head of both church and state Emperor has absolute power Church legitimizes absolute rule of the emperor (anointed by God) Generals in the provinces have also civil authority, raise armies from land owning peasants in times of war

7 Justinian Emperor Justinian (527-565) regained much territory
codified Roman law, became basis of legal systems in West (Justinian´s Code) large building program in Constantinople (Hagia Sophia)


9 Constantinople and International Trade
Constantinople one of the largest cities in the world Sits at cross roads of trade routes Important both as market and manufacturing center (jewelry, linen and woolen cloth, silk, dyes) Government control silk production Byzantine gold coins used widely in trade in Mediterranean



12 The Demise of the Empire
Loss of possessions in North Africa and Syria to Arab empire Balkan Peninsula invaded by Slavic tribes and tribes from Asia (Bulgarians, Magyars, and others) Loss of Anatolia to Seljuk Turks (Battle of Manzikert 1071) 1204 Constantinople invaded and conquered by crusaders, Constantinople shrinks 1453 Constantinople conquered by Ottoman Turks (size of Constantinople: )

13 Byzantine Influences and Eastern Europe in the Postclassical Era

14 Schism between Catholic and Orthodox Church in 1054
Pope crowns Emperor of Holy Roman Empire Popes, bishops often interfere in politics All priests are celibate Monasteries Centralized organization Church service in Latin Emperor nominates patriarch, church under political control Monks and village priests, who can marry monasteries Decentralized organization Localized churches, church service in local languages

15 The Christianization of Eastern Europe
Emperor and Orthodox Church sponsor missionaries to Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe Most of Balkan region (Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Bulgaria) and Russia converted to Orthodox Christianity Cyril and Method, invent script for Slavic languages (based on Greek letters) Orthodox Church decentralized, church service in local languages, church leaders appointed by political leaders

16 Kievan Prince Vladimir converts to Orthodox Christianity
Byzantine priests, artists, architects invited Have big impact on Eastern European art and architecture (churches, mosaics, icons) Russia follows different path than Western Europe (Byzantine-Greek, but not Latin)

17 Byzantine Icon (St. George)
Russian Icons (Sts. Boris and Gleb)

18 Byzantine influences on early Muslim architecture, Dome of the Rock 691 CE

19 Byzantine Empire in 1450

20 The Rise of Russia Eastern Europe settled by Slavic speaking tribes
Viking traders in 9th century founded state of Rus in Kiev, only small minority Become Orthodox Christians Close ties to Byzantium (trade, religion, culture) destroyed by Russian princes and Asiatic nomads



23 Society in Kievan Russia
shifting cultivation, low agricultural production no manorial system few large cities, based on trade artisans higher status than peasants taxes on trade main income for government

24 Mongol Invasions and the Rise of Moscow
Mongols conquer Russia in 1240 Rule from afar, only interested in tribute Moscow became the main power to extract tribute Russia culturally isolated, follows different cultural path than rest of Europe pressure to pay tribute leads to increased serfdom, more organized and efficient state

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