Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire:
the New Rome
Things to remember about the
Byzantine Empire: rise and fall
312 CE: ____________ converts
333 CE capital of Rome moved to _________________
476 CE Rome falls in the _______________
527 J_____________n Rule
622 founding of _____________
1054 Great _____________
1071 Battle of Manzikerk where Seljek Turks defeat Byz
1453 Ottomans capture Constaninople
And their “so whats” . . . .changes and continuities and why
Things to remember about the
Byzantine Empire: geography
The Roman Empire during the reigns of Leo I (east) and
Majorian (west) in 460 AD. Roman rule in the west would last
less than two more decades, whereas the territory of the
east would remain static until the reconquests of Justinian I.
The Byzantine Empire at the accession of
Leo III, c. 717. Striped area indicates
land raided by the Arabs
At its greatest extent under _________
Constantinople falls
to the Ottoman
Turks in 1453A
But hey it lasted
over 1000 years!
Constantine’s City--Constantinopolis
•Protection of the eastern frontier
• Distance from Germanic invasions in the western empire
• Crossroads of trade
• Easily fortified site on a peninsula bordering natural harbor
Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire
Constantine’s Rule
• Edict of Milan: established toleration for
Christianity throughout the empire in 313
• The empire continued to be ruled by Roman
law and political institutions, with the elite
communicating officially in Latin.
• Yet the population, now Christian, also
spoke Greek. (lang of New Testament)
art of the Early Byzantine period has from roots in
Classical Greece and Rome seen in its naturalism and
classical subject matter.
The Beauty of Constantinople!
• Constantine lavished on his
new capital a university, 2
theaters, 8 public and 53
private baths, 52 covered
walkways, 4 law courts, 14
churches, and 14 palaces. He
imported staggering
quantities of the best GrecoRoman art from throughout
the empire.
Sunset on the “Golden Horn”
Constantinople: A Greek City
(Istanbul today) --the new capital
• Greco-Roman knowledge preserved in libraries
Emperor Justinian [ruled 527-564 CE]
Icon depicting the Emperor
Constantine (centre) and the
bishops of the First Council of
The enlargement of the Eastern
Roman Empire's territory between
the rise to power of Justinian (red,
527) and his death (orange, 565)
The expansion of existing empires—including China, the
Byzantine Empire, and the Caliphates—as well as new
empires—like the Mongols—facilitated trans-Eurasian
trade and communication as new peoples were drawn into
their conquerors’ economies and
trade networks.
Byzantine Trade Routes
Merchants in
got quite wealthy
through their
control over the
trade routes
between Europe
and the East and
the shipping
lanes connecting
the Black and
Byz. businessmen
made more use
than predecessors
of :::
Justinian’s Empire at its Peak;
“restoration” of the Empire
credited with influencing many reforms, including:
expanded rights for women in divorce and property ownership,
exposure of unwanted infants forbidden, and prohbitions
against the killing of a wife who committed adultery .
Justinian’s Code
Studies, and then
codifies Roman Law so
you can know it today
Corpus Juris Civilis
Church of Hagia Sophia [Holy Wisdom]
Interior of the Church of Hagia Sophia
Imperial Administration
The emperor was considered the
representative of Christ by his
subjects and he served as an
absolute ruler.
The emperor centered the government
at his palace and had thousands of
educated bureaucrats throughout
the empire carrying out imperial
legislation and operations, including
the tax and justice systems.
Look! A mosaic
Theme System
For administrative and military purposes; started in the 7th century
Byzantine & Sassanid Empires, 6th c.
War a Constant
Contrast these maps
and dates
Icon literally means image in Greek & came to
be a definitive characteristic of Byzantine
art. An icon was a depiction of a sacred
person or scene which was treated as holy.
Growing tension b/w Eastern And
Western Christianity
Iconoclastic controversy: West sees as appropriate aids to
devotion; don’t like Byz saying otherwise
the role of the emperor in matters of faith: in Western Europe,
Pope was supreme in matters of faith ; The Byzantines,
inherited the Roman idea that the emperor was near divinity
and practiced a form of Christianity where enormous church
and theological authority was vested in the emperor.
Other diffs: Byzantine theology emphasized the divinity of Christ, the
non-celibacy of priesthood, held services in vernacular instead of Latin)
had beards, used unleavened bread, date of Easter
Culminates in . . . . Schism in 1054
A permanent split in
Byzantine Architecture
Domes & arches
Byzantine Mosaics
Used glass mosaics which catch the light(Romans
had used tiny stones)
Highly decorative, symbolic, and flattened
representations of Christian saints.
The gold backgrounds are intended to give an
heavenly atmosphere, and figures often have halos
to represent their divine status.
Occasionally, the Holy Roman Emperor or Empress
are depicted, to show the unification of the church
and state. Here, the Empress Theodora holds a
goblet, representing the blood of Christ.
Byzantine Art
Influence of Byzantium on its Neighbors
HOW? of trade routes linking the Baltic Sea and
Black Sea.
How: Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev adopted Orthodoxy
Christianity, and Kiev (early Russia; mix of Vikings
and Slavs) spreads its influence to much of
Eastern Europe.

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