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Information about Byzantine

Published on January 19, 2008

Author: Savin


Some Musings Up Front:  Some Musings Up Front Big Questions: Why study Byzantium? How is it similar to and different from other civs.? What is its legacy? Rome Splits: It’s like a bad soap opera:  Rome Splits: It’s like a bad soap opera They meet, flirt, marry and settle in Rome: Roman Empire United the entire Mediterranean by the Pax Romana Things get tough, so they take a break: The Empire grows too unwieldy to govern as a whole. It splits in 286 C.E. into an eastern and western half. Theoretically, this is supposed to make the Empire easier to govern. They get back together in Constantinople: In 313 Christianity is accepted throughout the empire, and in 330 Constantine reunites the Empire only centers it in Constantinople, not Rome. However, it’s still the Roman Empire. The reconciliation doesn’t last. They grow more and more distant geographically and politically, but they hang on via the same religion. 395 the Empire splits again. The eastern half becomes known as the Byzantine Empire. The western half starts a long process of decline. 400 years later, during 800, the Holy Roman Empire forms in the West. They finally get a divorce. Even religion can’t hold them together as the west becomes Roman Catholic and the east becomes Christian Orthodox. 1054 the Church splits. The Roman Catholics consolidate power under the Pope. The Christian Orthodox keeps power with the Emperor. Slide4:  Constantine’s City--Constantinopolis Slide5:  The Roman Empire Divided in 294 Slide6:  Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire Slide7:  The city of Constantinople is one of the best protected cities in the world. While it has been attacked many times – its defenses have not be breached. Located on a peninsula, there is only one way to attack it on land. That land route is protected by a series of three walls, each of increasing strength. In order to protect the city from the sea, Constantinople’s navy uses “Greek Fire”, a burning liquid that it can spray onto enemy ships. “Bulwark of Civilization” Slide8:  Views of the City THE CITY OF CONSTANTINOPLE:  THE CITY OF CONSTANTINOPLE Slide10:  Constantinople: A Greek City (Istanbul Today) Slide11:  Sunset on the “Golden Horn” THREAT OF ISLAM:  THREAT OF ISLAM The emergence of the Islamic state Arab peoples conquered Sassanids, part of Byzantium Lost Egypt, North Africa, Fertile Cresent, Crete, Cyprus Prolonged sieges of Constantinople by Islamic armies Byzantine survived partly because of "Greek fire" Imperial organization Government run by trained bureaucracy, professional army The theme system strengthened Byzantine society Under rule of general, who ran army, civil bureaucracy Responsible for protecting peasants Themes were provinces organized on a military basis Local officials recruited troops from within theme Aristocrats limited by army, emperor, bureaucracy The revival of the empire Reconquered Syria, Crete, Cyprus: 10th century "Basil the Bulgar Slayer," crushed Bulgars in Balkans THE THREAT OF ISLAM:  THE THREAT OF ISLAM Slide14:  Emperor Justinian [r. 527-564] Slide15:  Age of Justinian Justinian ruled the Byzantine empire from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian recovered provinces that had been previously overrun by invaders. The Byzantine empire reached its greatest size under Justinian. launched a program to beautify Constantinople. The church of Hagia Sophia improved on earlier Roman buildings. reformed the law. Justinian’s Code was a model for medieval monarchs, the Roman Catholic Church, and later legal thinkers. used the law to unite the empire under his control Justinian ruled as an autocrat, or sole ruler with complete authority. He also had power over the Church. Slide16:  Empress Theodora Slide17:  Justinian’s Empire at its Peak Slide18:  Church of Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom] Slide20:  Interior of the Church of Hagia Sophia URBAN LIFE:  URBAN LIFE Urban Life The capital was the heart of the empire Housing in Constantinople Enormous palaces owned by aristocrats Less splendid dwellings owned by less privileged classes Attractions of Constantinople City of baths, taverns, restaurants, theaters, Hippodrome The most popular game - chariot races Greens and Blues The two factions of fans for chariot races Frequent fights in the street between them Joined together in a popular uprising, 532 The riot left Constantinople in shambles BYZANTINE ECONOMY:  BYZANTINE ECONOMY The Agricultural Economy The peasantry The backbone of the Byzantine army and economy Landless peasants worked as share-croppers Invasions of 6th, 7th century led to theme system Since 11th century, free peasants declined Consequences of the peasantry's decline Landowners shifted taxes to peasants Landowners raised forces on estates Pool of military recruits shrank Industry and Trade Manufacturing enterprises Byzantine craftsmen had high reputation in various industries High-quality silk became important industry; imperial monopoly Trade Constantinople, important for Eurasian, Mediterranean trade Solidus was the standard currency of the Mediterranean basin Byzantium drew enormous wealth from foreign trade Banks and partnerships supported commercial economy Rome vs. Byzantine:  Rome vs. Byzantine Roman Empire Byzantine Empire Latin Language Columns and Arches Geographically Expansive Overextended Less Defensible Less Cohesive Greek Language Domes and Mosaics Centered in East. Heavily influenced by Greek and Persian Cultures Geographically Contained More Defensible More Cohesive BYZANTIUM & WESTERN EUROPE:  BYZANTIUM & WESTERN EUROPE Tensions between Greeks and Latins Ecclesiastical tensions Constantinople Greek was religious language Caesaropapist emperors Rome Latin was chief language Autonomy from imperial authorities Rivalry for conversion of Slavs Political grievances First Franks then Germans claimed imperial authority Charlemagne received imperial crown in 800 Otto of Saxony claimed himself an emperor in 962 Byzantines felt they were only legitimate emperor Rivalry over Southern Italy and Sicily East vs. West:  East vs. West Western Europe Byzantine Empire Centralized and unified political structures More Localized Religion Secular Empire with an official state religion attached. Authority vested in Emperor Greek and Hellenic culture dominates (with heavy influences from Persia, Muslim world, etc. Cosmopolitan, commercial, “mosaic of cultures”, known for silks and textiles. Fragmented, localized political structures More centralized Religion Religious Empire with subservient political units Authority vested in Pope Latin still official language. Called the “Dark Ages” for a reason. Agrarian, manorial system, Feudal, economies of war. MAP OF THE EMPIRE:  MAP OF THE EMPIRE TWIN LEGACIES:  TWIN LEGACIES Byzantine education State-organized school system, Schools trained government bureaucrats Private education for aristocratic families Basic literacy was widespread even among lower classes Citizens constantly engaged in intellectual disputes Scholarship Emphasis on humanities, classics Arts, architecture important for state, church Natural science generally ignored Educated considered heirs of classical Greece Christianity (Church) was other legacy BYZANTINE CHURCH:  BYZANTINE CHURCH Church and state Church's close relationship with the imperial government Constantine actively participated in religious debate Under emperors, church was department of state Iconoclasm Controversy over use of icons in religious services Old Testament prohibition on false images, Islamic influences Iconoclasts wanted to purge all churches of icons Ban inaugurated by Emperor Leo III in 726 C.E. Unpopular policy sparked protests, riots throughout the empire Opposed by Western Christians, Pope The iconoclasts abandoned their effort in 843 C.E. Much protest, excommunications from pope Emperors worried Greek Philosophy and Byzantine theology Examine theology from philosophical point of view Debate about Jesus's nature, a philosophical issue Arian Heresy Monophysite Controversy ICONS:  ICONS The word of God in art used for prayer: Iconographers read Bible passage, paint as a prayer. Icons follow certain styles using specific colors, images. Trying to find a way to explain success of the Muslims, a controversy arises: Are Icons false idolatry? Muslims say yes. Iconoclasts say yes = don’t use Icons. However Icons are huge part of Byzantine art and culture so a massive controversy arises.) MONASTICISM AND PIETY:  MONASTICISM AND PIETY Asceticism Extreme asceticism, self-denial by some Christians Many famous, wealthy retreated to monasteries "Pillar saints" Byzantine monasticism and St. Basil Earliest monasteries of dedicated hermits, ascetics Monasticism began in Egypt area Reforms urged by St. Basil, 4th century C.E. Monasteries provided local social services Hospitals, orphanages, poor relief Heavily endowed by wealthy Not centers of learning THE GREAT SCHISM:  THE GREAT SCHISM Constantinople and Rome Political rivalry in Central Europe, Balkans, Southern Italy Popes supported anti-Byzantine Normans, Hungarians Papal missionaries active in Greek areas Iconoclastic movement in the east criticized by the west Emperors vs. Popes Who is head of the church – pope or an emperor Ritual, doctrinal differences Leavened vs. unleavened bread Marriage of priests Liturgy in the vernacular Council rule versus the monarchical style of the pope Filoque controversy: Holy Spirit – from who does it proceed? Schism Power struggle led to mutual excommunication, 1054 Rivalry between pope, patriarch Papal ambassador excommunicated patriarch; vise versa Origins of Eastern Orthodox & Roman Catholic churches It was really post-1054 actions were made split permanent Christianity in East and West:  Pope controlled Church affairs People accepted pope’s claim to authority over all Christians Clergy prohibited from marrying Latin was language of the Church Christmas was main holy day Use of holy images permitted. Byzantine emperor controlled Church affairs People rejected pope’s claim to authority over all Christians Clergy kept right to marry Greek was language of the Church Easter was main holy day Emperor outlawed the use of icons, or holy images Western European Christianity Byzantine Christianity 1054 – Differences between east and west provoked a schism, or permanent split, between the Eastern (Greek) Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. Christianity in East and West 1 DOMESTIC PROBLEMS AND FOREIGN CHALLENGES:  DOMESTIC PROBLEMS AND FOREIGN CHALLENGES Social problems Generals, local aristocrats allied, a challenge to imperial power Free peasants were declining in number and prosperity Imperial government had fewer recruits, many fiscal problems Challenges from the east Muslim Seljuk Turks invaded Anatolia, defeat Byzantines, 1071 Also took control of Abbasid Caliphate, Holy places in Jerusalem The loss of Anatolia sealed the fate of the Byzantine empire Challenges from the west Norman army expelled Byzantine authorities in southern Italy Normans, western Europeans mounted a series of crusades The fourth crusade sacked Constantinople Byzantine forces recaptured the capital in 1261 Byzantines never recovered Turks gradually push Byzantines out of Asia; into Europe MAP OF BYZANTINE PROBLEMS:  MAP OF BYZANTINE PROBLEMS Decline of the Byzantine Empire:  Decline of the Byzantine Empire EASTERN EUROPE:  EASTERN EUROPE Slavs, Avars, Magyars (Hungarians), Vlachs (Rumanians) As Germans moved west, Slavs moved into vacuum Pushed into Balkans, Greece, Central Europe Generally agriculturalists, favored trade Avars and Magyars were pastoral nomads who invaded area Settled in Pannonia, area of Danube plain outside Byzantine control Split Northern or Western Slavs from Southern of Jugo-slavs Vlachs: Latin speaking agriculturalists, herders in Transylvania Eastern Europe Byzantine ruled area up to Danube, into Bosnia Slavs settled inside imperial boundaries Maintained close contact with Byzantium from the 6th century The peoples included Serbs, Croats, Macedonians Rise Bulgars Bulgars were Turkish pastoralists Conquered, settled in Danube area; adopted Slavic traditions Formed very powerful kingdom, threat to Byzantines Missions to the Slavs Byzantium sent missionaries to Central Europe, Balkans The mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius, mid-9th century Cyrillic writing stimulated conversion to Orthodox Christianity Split Allegiance of Eastern Europe Pope: Magyars, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Croats, Slovenes Patriarch: Serbs, Bulgars, Macedonians, Russians, Romanians SLAVIC MIGRATIONS:  SLAVIC MIGRATIONS RUSSIA:  RUSSIA Rise of Russia Area inhabited by Slavs Varangians (Vikings) arrived, used river system Set up state based on trade, conquest around 9th Century State founded by Rurik, people called Rus; capital Kiev The conversion of Prince Vladimir, 989 Converted for trade, commercial reasons Elites baptized by order of prince, often against will Served as conduit for spread of Byzantine culture, religion Conversion led to literacy, use of Slavonic; Greek traditions Byzantine art and architecture dominated Kiev The growth of Kiev Princes established caesaropapist control of church After 1453 claimed to inherit imperial crown of Byzantium State divided into provinces ruled by princes/boyars Landed nobles called boyars, constant strife with princes Kievan rule was very decentralized Constant threat, war with steppe nomads MEDIEVAL RUSSIA:  MEDIEVAL RUSSIA The Byzantine Heritage:  The Byzantine Heritage For 1,000 years, the Byzantines built on the culture of the Hellenistic world. Byzantine civilization blended Christian beliefs with Greek science, philosophy, arts, and literature. The Byzantines extended Roman achievements in engineering and the law. Byzantine artists made unique contributions that influenced western styles from the Middle Ages to the present. Byzantine scholars preserved the classic works of ancient Greece. They also produced their own great books, especially in the field of history. Byzantine culture and religion spread into Eastern Europe and Russia, heavily influencing the development of Slavic and Russian societies. Byzantine Empire was a bulwark against the spread of Islam and barbarianism.

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