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Introduction to the Byzantine Empire

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  1. Introduction to the Byzantine Empire By Emperor Fitzpatrick

  2. Objective • You should remember how the Byzantine Empire came to be. • You should recognize why the location for Constantinople was key to it’s success.

  3. The founding of Constantinopleand the Byzantine Empire • Since the Rule of Diocletian (in the late 200s A.D.) The Roman Empire was divided in two • Western and Eastern Empires • The Western half was being weakened by constant attacking Germanic invaders. • In 330 A.D. Emperor Constantine decided to relocate the capital.

  4. Byzantium • He chose to locate the capital at the Greek city of Byzantium, later renamed Constantinople (this was the area we looked at on the map) • Constantine molded the new capital after Rome • Often referred to as “new Rome”

  5. MAP Advantages Peninsula • Provided natural safe harbors for ships • both merchant and military ships • Provided natural defense • water on three sides (the Black and Aegean Seas)

  6. MAP Advantages Trade • Easy access to the Mediterranean Sea • Located at an important land route that linked Europe and Asia (Silk Road)

  7. What are the advantages of building a major city here?

  8. Constantinople • City was heavily fortified • Water on three side plus a wall was built to protect the fourth side (sometimes chained the harbor) • Multi-ethnic city • Greeks, Persians, Italians, Turks, Slavs, Armenians, and Jews lived in the city • The citizens spoke Greek, but Latin was the official language.

  9. Constantinople • During Constantine's rule, over 600,000 people lived in the city. • Constantine convinced many wealthy Romans to move to the city by offering to build them palaces.

  10. Rise of the Eastern Empire • In 410 A.D. Rome fell to the Germanic invaders • However the city of Constantinople and the eastern empire remained. • This is when the Byzantine Empire began.

  11. A Look Ahead • Mapping Activity • Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora • Byzantine Art • Christianity Splits • Military, Weapons and Tactics • Collapse of the Empire • Review and Test • Culminating Activity

  12. Emperor Justinian Emperor Justinian Mr. Fitzpatrick

  13. Learning Goals for “You.” • You will understand the impact Justinian had on the Byzantine people and later civilizations. • You will understand the Code of Justinian. • You will understand the relationship between Justinian and Theodora. • You will understand the importance of Theodora and her role in the empire.

  14. Justinian Timeline

  15. Justinian’s Code • Finding the laws obscure because they had become far more numerous than they should be, and in obvious confusion because they disagreed with each other, he preserved them by cleansing them of the mass of their verbal trickery, and by controlling their discrepancies with the greatest firmness; Procopius, historian and biographer of Justinian Comparing Justinian’s Code with CA Penal Code

  16. Code of Justinian • Justinian came to the throne AD 527 • Not content with merely reclaiming lands, Justinian also respected the laws of ancient Rome. In order to cement them into his time and his Empire, he called for all of Rome's ancient laws to be recorded. In doing this, Rome's ancient laws, also known as the Twelve Tables, were broken down into categories. Outdated laws were done away with, and complex laws were simplified. • Desiring the Empire to thrive, Justinian also added new laws dealing with the fair treatment of those within the Empire. For instance, one of his laws held that a person is innocent until proven guilty. This one should be very familiar to anyone who has sat in a history class or watched a TV cop show. • Justinian's new laws, together with the laws of ancient Rome, are known today as the Corpus of Civil Law or Justinian's Code of Laws. Completed around the year 529, these laws have formed the basis for the judicial systems of the Western world. • Yes, Justinian may not be as well-known as Caesar or Nero, but his influence just might be one of the strongest and longest-lasting of all the Roman Emperors.

  17. Justinian and Theodora • Bear Keeper’s Daughter in the Blue Book. • Women’s Rights • “Empress” • Nika Riots

  18. Nika Riots • Blues and the Greens • Hippodrome was a place where they could air their problems and get a response from the emperor. • Some members of both groups were arrested and sentenced to be hanged. The hanging was botched, and these men fled to a church, where they sought refuge. • At the Hippodrome, The Blues and Greens called out for their pardon and release. • They rioted, and tried to have Justinian ousted. Burned buildings, including the Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia/Holy Wisdom). • Justinian wanted to flee, but in stepped Theodora.

  19. Theodora’s words to Justinian • "My opinion then is that the present time, above all others, is inopportune for flight, even though it bring safety. For while it is impossible for a man who has seen the light not also to die, for one who has been an emperor it is unendurable to be a fugitive. May I never be separated from this purple, and may I not live that day on which those who meet me shall not address me as mistress.” …Theodora 30,000 slaughtered

  20. Hagia Sophia • St. Sophia • Holy Wisdom • Virtual Tour

  21. Reuniting the West with the East • Belisarius – Justinian’s greatest general, and one of Byzantium's Great Captains.

  22. Justinian Timeline

  23. Justinian’s Three Main Legacies were… • Organizing and rewriting the laws – Code of Justinian. • Rebuilding the Hagia Sophia. • Reuniting the Eastern and Western Roman Empire.

  24. Byzantium Art

  25. Hagia Sophia

  26. Hagia Sophia

  27. Inside the Hagia Sophia today

  28. Mosaic

  29. Byzantine Military and The Fall of Constantinople Mr. Fitzpatrick

  30. Objectives • The students will understand how the Byzantine Empire was able to remain strong for over 1000 years. • The students will be able to tell me the reasons for the decline and eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire.

  31. History • The Byzantine Empire lasted from about 306AD until 1453 AD, more than 1000 years. • During its existence, the empire remained one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe. • Where did their military originate? • What do we know about the Roman military? • So the foundation of the Byzantine army is the Roman army, a Very Strong Foundation.

  32. Weaponry • Greek Fire – like an Ancient Flame Thrower, but the fire burned on water (very secretive recipe). • Trebuchet – projected large stones into the air, over walls (pumpkins?). • Grenades – jars full of Greek fire hurled using catapults and trebuchets.

  33. Famous Generals • Belisarius – The most famous Byzantine General. Justinian chose him to begin the reconquest of the Western Roman territories. He also helped put down the Nika Riot. • Narses – Another of Justinian’s generals. Took back Italy from the Ostrogoths. Also aided in the Nika Riot.

  34. Byzantine Theme System • Localized Armies that could organize quickly. • They were motivated because they were fighting for the own towns, farms, and families. • Do we have something similar to this today?