The Eastern Empire Germanic invaders took over Western Europe. Imperial, or ruling, power shifted to the Byzantine Empire (the eastern part of the Roman Empire).
Byzantium was a small fishing village in the eastern empire.
Byzantium had a strategic location. Emperor Constantine made it his capital and renamed it Constantinople.
Constantinople was on a peninsula. It was between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Because of it’s geography, Constantinople was easy to defend. Also, it was a center for trade and it was part of the Silk Road.
Justinian became emperor in 527 A.D. He married Theodora and she helped him rule the Byzantine Empire.
Justinian’s Imperial Goal: Unity Justinian’s goal in the East was to centralize government. He wanted everyone to have the same laws. He wanted everyone to practice the same religion. One God One Empire One Religion
One Religion 380 A.D. Constantine, made Christianity the official religion of the eastern empire. Justinian also wanted Christianity to be the one central religion.
The Great Schism Eastern Orthodox ChurchRoman Catholic Church
One Law: Justinian’s Code Justinian standardized Roman law. Justinian’s Code influenced the laws in many parts of Western Europe today.
One Empire Strong Cities During Justinian’s reign, the empire was strong. It was strong because it had more than 1,500 cities. Constantinople was the largest city. It had 350,000 inhabitants (people) Constantinople was the cultural crossroads of Asian and European civilizations.
" Not since the world was made was there... so much wealth as was found in Constantinople. For the Greeks say that two-thirds of the wealth of this world is in Constantinople and the other third scattered throughout the world." --Robert of Clari, a French crusader who witnessed the pillage of the city in 1204, describing Constantinople. One Empire Strong Cities
Extensive Building Plans Justinian was an ambitious builder. He built the magnificent church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom). It was constructed in just five years (53237).
“For a king, death is better than dethronement and exile.” Empress Theodora Not everyone liked Justinian. In 532, many people protested and tried to get him to leave power. They burned down many buildings. Justinian won the battle and rebuilt the city.
The Byzantine Empire at Its Height The empire was at its height In 565, during Justinian’s reign. It included most of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.