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Chapter 13

Chapter 13. The Commonwealth of Byzantium. The Early Byzantine Empire. Capital: Byzantium On the Bosporus Commercial, strategic location (East meets West) Constantine names capital after himself (Constantinople), moves capital there 340 CE 1453 falls to Turks, renamed Istanbul.

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Chapter 13

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  1. Chapter 13 The Commonwealth of Byzantium

  2. The Early Byzantine Empire • Capital: Byzantium • On the Bosporus • Commercial, strategic location (East meets West) • Constantine names capital after himself (Constantinople), moves capital there 340 CE • 1453 falls to Turks, renamed Istanbul

  3. The Later Roman Empire and Byzantium • Byzantine Empire inherits Roman Empire after fall of Rome in 5th c. CE • Eastern territories remain a major hemispheric power until 13th c. CE

  4. The Later Roman Empire • Roman infrastructure remains in place in the East • Roads, institutional hierarchies, communication networks • State in the East is much different than western Roman Empire • Challenges from strong Persian empire (Sassanid dynasty, 226-641 CE) • Invasions of Germanic peoples from the north

  5. Caesaropapism • Power centralized in figure of Emperor • Christian leader cannot claim divinity, rather claims divine authority • Political rule and Religious rule • No separation of church and state • Absolute Authority-- Emperors have final say in all matters • Byzantine: Unnecessary complexity & convolution ----large bureaucracy

  6. The Byzantine Court • Etiquette reinforces authority of Emperor • Royal purple---lavish dress • Prostration---three times • Mechanical devices designed to inspire awe--like lions and birds---think Disneyland • All used to justify the awesome splendor of the Emperor

  7. Justinian (527-565 CE) • The “sleepless emperor” • Wife Theodora as advisor • Background: circus performer/stripper • Uses army to contain tax riots • Ambitious construction program • Hagia Sophia • Law Code definitive for centuries

  8. Justinian’s Code • Codification of Roman Law • Review of Roman Code • Body of the Civil Law--The definitive codification of Roman Law • Influenced civil law codes throughout Western Europe

  9. Byzantine Conquests • Effort to re-conquer western Roman empire from the Germanic people • General Belisarius recaptures much of western Roman Empire under Justinian • Unable to consolidate control of territories • Classical Roman empire is beyond recovery • Withdrew to defend empire from Sassanids, Slavs

  10. The Byzantine empire and its neighbors 527-554 C.E.

  11. Islamic Conquests and Byzantine Revival • 7th century Arab Muslim expansion • Besieged Byzantium 674-678, 717-718 • Byzantium resisted • Defense made possible through use of “greek fire”--sulphur, lime, petroleum • Able to retain hold in the region

  12. Imperial Organization • Reorganization of society in face of Islamic expansion • Themes (provinces) under control of generals • Military administration • Control from central imperial government • Soldiers from peasant class, rewarded with land grants • Able to mobilize quickly to fight Islamic expansion

  13. Tensions with Western Europe • Church • Byzantine: Greek; Roman: Latin • Conflicts over hierarchical control • Byzantine--Emperor • Rome--Pope • Takeover Germanic peoples • Roman pope gives Frankish ruler Charlemagne the imperial crown in 800, a challenge to Byzantine authority • Challenging Byzantine claims to imperial authority

  14. Byzantine Economy and Society • Constantinople largest city in Europe, 5th-13th c. • Dependent on small landholders, free peasants for economic growth---agriculture • Large landholders make peasantry a dependent class • Large landholdings destroyed by invasions in 6th-7th centuries • Theme system rewards peasant/soldiers with land grants • Decline of free peasantry after reemergence of large landholders

  15. Decline of the Free Peasantry • Large landholdings on the increase • Decline of free peasants reduces tax revenues, recruits to military • Large landholdings pay less taxes than many individual peasant farms • Last three centuries indicate steady decline of economy

  16. Manufacturing and Trade • Trade routes bring key technologies, e.g. silk industry • Advantage of location causes crafts and industry to expand after 6th century • Tax revenues from silk route • Banking services develop • Loans • Merchant partnerships

  17. Urban Life • Aristocrats: palances; artisans: apartments; working poor: communal living spaces • Hippodrome • Chariot races, “greens vs. blues” • Politically inspired rioting

  18. Legacy of Classical Greece • Legacy of Classical Greece • Greek replaces Latin after 6th c. CE as language of government • Greek is original language of the New Testament • Byzantine education sponsors development of large literate class for state bureaucracy • Reflects cultural legacy of Classical Greece

  19. The Byzantine Church • Church and state closely aligned • Council of Nicaea (325) bans Arian movement • Human/divine nature of Jesus • Arians believe Jesus was a mortal human created by god • Christians think Jesus is a manifestation of god • Constantine originally favors Arians, but supports Nicean condemnation • Byzantine Emperors appoint Patriarchs • Caesaropapism creates dissent in church

  20. Iconoclasm • Emperor Leo III (r. 717-741 CE) • Byzantium has long history of creating icons • Destruction of icons after 726 • Veneration of religious symbols was a sin • Popular protest, rioting • Policy abandoned 843

  21. Greek Philosophy and Byzantine Theology • Attempt to reconcile Greek philosophy with Judeo-Christianity • Constantine establishes schools to apply philosophical methods to religious questions

  22. Ascetism • Laity looks more to monasticism for leadership • See high church and institutional church as out of touch • Hermit-like existence • Celibacy • Fasting • Prayer • St. Simeon Stylite • Lived atop pillar for years

  23. Byzantine Monasticism and St. Basil Caesarea (329-379 CE) • Patriarch of Constantinople reforms monasteries • Communal living • Hierarchical structure • Mt. Athos • No women, female animals allowed---might inspire carnal thoughts in the monks.

  24. Tensions between Eastern and Western Christianity • Rome & Byzantium centers of Christianity • Ritual disputes • Beards on clergy • Leavened bread for Mass • Theological disputes • Iconoclasm • Nature of the Trinity • Precise relationship between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit

  25. Schism • Arguments over hierarchy, jurisdiction • Autonomy of Patriarchs in Byzantine, or Primacy of Popes in Rome? Who has the primary authority in the Christian Church? • 1054 Patriarch of Constantinople and Pope of Rome excommunicate each other--each refusing to recognize each other as properly Christian • East: Orthodox Church • West: Roman Catholic Church

  26. Social Problems in the Byzantine Empire • Problems arise from the success of the theme system • Generals of themes become allied with local aristocrats • Intermarry, create class of elite • Occasional rebellions vs. Imperial Rule

  27. Challenges from the West • Western European economic development • Normans from Scandinavia press on Byzantine territories • Crusades of 12th-13th centuries rampage through Byzantine territory • Constantinople sacked, 1204

  28. Challenges from the East • Muslim Saljuqs (Turks) invade Anatolia • Threatens grain supply and empire • Defeat Byzantine army in 1071, creates civil conflict • Period of steady decline until Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople in 1453 • Renamed Istanbul

  29. The Byzantine empire and its neighbors about 1100 C.E.

  30. Influence on Slavic Cultures • Relations from 6th c. CE • Bulgaria influenced culturally, politically • Saints Cyril and Methodius • Create Cyrillic alphabet---survives in Russia • Slavic lands develop orientation to Byzantium

  31. Kiev & Russia • Byzantine culture influences development of Slavic cultures • Conversion of Prince Vladimir 989 CE • Distinctively Slavic Orthodox church develops • Eventual heir to Byzantium

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