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The Byzantine Empire The Golden Horn. 330 AD – 1453 AD. Introduction:. In our last unit, you learned how the emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to the ancient city of Byzantium in 33o C.E. This city eventually became known as Constantinople.

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The byzantine empire the golden horn

The Byzantine EmpireThe Golden Horn

330 AD – 1453 AD


  • In our last unit, you learned how the emperor Constantine moved his capital from Rome to the ancient city of Byzantium in 33o C.E. This city eventually became known as Constantinople.

  • After Constantine’s reign, power was usually divided between two emperors. One was based in Rome, and one in Constantinople.

  • After the fall of Rome, the eastern half of the empire continued for another 1,000 years. Today we call this eastern empire the Byzantine Empire, after Byzantium, the original name of its capital city.

  • This great empire straddled two continents, Europe and Asia. It lasted from about 500 to 1453 C.E. when it was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

  • East and west did remain connected for a time through a shared Christian faith. BUT the church in the east developed in its own unique way. It became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    • Over time, Byzantine emperors and church officials came into conflict with the pope in Rome.

    • The conflict led to a permanent split, or schism, between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

  • In this assignment, you will learn about the Byzantine Empire, one of its greatest emperors, and its distinctive church.

Remember constantine
Remember Constantine

  • Emperor Constantine takes power of the Roman Empire in the year 312 AD. He took two steps that changed the course of European History

    • Step 1 – Granted tolerance to Christians

    • Step 2 – Built new Capital (Constantinople)

  • Constantinople and Rome were on different ends of the falling Roman Empire

  • Germanic invaders pounded the Roman Empire in the West

  • Constantinople was not being invaded and was thriving as a trade center

  • One would crumble, one would thrive

Life after the fall of rome
Life After the “Fall” of Rome

Byzantine Empire

Western Europe

  • The “new Rome”

  • Symbol of Roman Civilization

  • Byzantine Empire: Greek, Roman, and Christian influences

  • Change from one way of life to another

  • Society goes backwards

  • Trade ends and back to farming

  • Cities not important


Language and location
Language and Location

Byzantine Empire

Western Europe

  • Language: Greek


  • Shores of the Bosporus Strait – Commanded key trade routes, busiest marketplace, linked Europe to Asia

  • Eastern Europe is home to many different traditions.

  • What does this cause?

  • Latin and German languages


  • Western Europe, central Italy along the Tiber River


Religion: The Schism of 1054

*Schism (Def: permanent split)! In 1054, a feud with the Roman Pope over holy images. The Byzantine church outlawed praying to images = Pope excommunicated Byzantine Emperor. This is called the Schism of 1054.

Resulted in TWO Christian Churches:

  • Eastern (Greek) Orthodox in Byzantine Empire

  • Roman Catholic in Western Europe

Characteristics of the two churches

Byzantine Empire

Characteristics of the two churches

Western Europe

Eastern Orthodox Church

  • Christianity

  • Emperor ruled over church

  • Rejected Pope’s authority

  • Easter most important holiday

  • Priests could marry

Roman Catholic Church

  • Christianity

  • Church is the most powerful – Papal Supremacy

  • Priests cannot marry

  • Christmas most important holiday

  • Latin services

Leaders after 476 ad
Leaders after 476 AD

Byzantine Empire

Western Europe

  • Strongest ruler: Justinian – determined to revive classicalRome

  • Absolute power along with wife Theodora

  • Weak rulers after Justinian died, but empire was able to thrive because of Justinian's laws and economy

  • No significant strong leaders other than the Pope

  • Power moved to Germany

  • 1st “leader” was Charlemagne (800 AD)

Justinian s lasting achievements
Justinian’s lasting achievements

  • Reconquered western provinces (North Africa, Italy, and Spain)

  • Beautified Constantinople

  • Justinian’s Code: Collected and revised ancient Roman laws (most important)

Law and order
Law and Order

Byzantine Empire

Western Europe

  • Justinian’s Code – “Body of civil law”

  • Laws passed by Roman assemblies, emperors, or judges

  • Passed to western Europe by 100 AD- used by Medieval monarchs and churches

  • Used in international law today

  • Legal system evolved into “might is right”

  • Strongest wins (Bully System)

  • Laws of Rome forgotten

  • Feudal society


Byzantine Empire

Western Europe

Studies emphasized:

  • Hellenistic Culture

  • Greek Philosophy

  • Roman Law

  • Christian influences

  • Learning was not important

  • Church (not education) guided people

Major architectural legacy after 476 ad
Major architectural legacy after 476 AD

Byzantine Empire

Western Europe

  • Restore Roman glory

  • Large domes

  • Marble

  • Mosaic

  • Example: Hagia Sophia (Church of Holy Wisdom), later a mosque, now a museum

  • Return to farms

  • Cities not important


  • Nicknamed the “New Rome”

  • Location made it Europe’s busiest market place

    Major architectural achievements:

  • Hippodrome

    • Arena built in 200’s for entertainment

  • Hagia Sophia “Holy Wisdom”

    • Built during Justinian Age

    • Largest cathedral for 1000 yrs

    • Cathedral/Mosque/Museum

Constantinople(Istanbul Today)