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Constantinople: At the Crossroads

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1 Constantinople: At the Crossroads


3 Originally founded as the Greek colony “Byzantium” c. 670 B.C.E
Made capital of Eastern Roman Empire by Constantine c. 306 B.C.E Now known as Istanbul, Turkey. It is at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

4 Asia Europe Africa

5 When Emperor Diocletian divided the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western sections, he ruled the East. Imperial administrators relocated from Rome to Constantinople. Preserved Greco-Roman ideals of government and law.

6 Emperor Justinian, ruled 527-565 CE.
Determined to revive grandeur of ancient Rome. Under Justinian, the Byzantine Empire reached its height in culture and prosperity. He also pushed his generals to reconquer former territories, moving all the way from Northern Africa to Italy and Southern Spain.

7 Justinian’s Code Emperor had all the laws of ancient Rome collected, revised, and organized. Known as “Corpus Juris Civilis”. Became basis for Western European law in 1100’s CE. Used today as basis for international law.

8 Constantinople’s strategic location meant that trade between Asia, Europe, and Africa could easily be controlled. Trade  Money  Power. The bezant circulated from England to China. Eastern Europe maintained “money” economy; Western Europe reverted to “barter” system. Distant from Germanic invasions to the West Easily defended—on a peninsula with a natural harbor

9 Lasting Contributions to Art & Architecture
Hagia Sophia. Noted for it’s use of domes, and later minarets. Use of massive arches provides a huge, domed interior. Mosaics elevated to a new art form. Made of small pieces of tile, glass or enamel, arranged to form a picture. Used to portray emperors, religious scenes and martyrs.

10 Language & Religion Spoke Latin Greek and others considered “barbaric”
Rome (Western Empire) Constantinople (Eastern Empire) Spoke Latin Greek and others considered “barbaric” Roman Catholic Headed by Pope (Bishop of Rome) Spoke Greek Latin, Arabic and other languages used. Not considered “barbaric”. Eastern Orthodox Headed by Patriarch (Bishop of Constantinople)

11 The West no longer worships idols, but the East does!
The Great Schism: Cultural diffusion led to differences in how Christianity was practiced in various regions. Churches split in 1054 CE. Western Roman Empire Eastern Roman Empire Roman Catholic Church Priests cannot marry Worship of icons allowed illiterate people needed pictures to understand Bible Eastern Orthodox Church Priests allowed to marry Worship of icons not allowed Literate population, violation of 10 commandments The Great Irony? The West no longer worships idols, but the East does!

12 Importance of Trade Routes
Trades routes connected the Byzantines to the Russians. Cultural diffusion occurred along routes between Black Sea and Baltic Sea. Increased contact brought closer political (military) & cultural ties.

13 Influence #1… Orthodox Christianity
Prince Vladimir I of Russia converted. Marries the daughter of the Patriarch of Constantinople. Vladimir forced his people to convert to the faith as well.

14 Influence #2… Cyrillic Alphabet
Slavs had no written language; needed one to translate the Bible Greek Cyrillic

15 Influence #3… Onion Dome
Based on Roman dome, but with Russian adaptations

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