An introduction to the history of the eastern roman empire

The Augustus of Prima Porta early 1st century AD Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian Peninsula until the 3rd century BC. Then, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor.

An introduction to the history of the eastern roman empire

Visit Website Though Constantine ruled over a unified Roman Empire, this unity proved illusory after his death in InEmperor Valentinian I again divided the empire into western and eastern sections, putting himself in power in the west and his brother Valens in the east.

The fate of the two regions diverged greatly over the next several centuries. In the west, constant attacks from German invaders such as the Visigoths broke the struggling empire down piece by piece until Italy was the only territory left under Roman control.

Inthe barbarian Odoacer overthrew the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustusand Rome had fallen. Byzantine Empire Flourishes The eastern half of the Roman Empire proved less vulnerable to external attack, thanks in part to its geographic location. It also benefited greatly from a stronger administrative center and internal political stability, as well as great wealth compared with other states of the early medieval period.

Eastern Roman Empire As a result of these advantages, the Eastern Roman Empire, variously known as the Byzantine Empire or Byzanthium, was able to survive for centuries after the fall of Rome. Though Byzantium was ruled by Roman law and Roman political institutions, and its official language was Latin, Greek was also widely spoken, and students received education in Greek history, literature and culture.

In terms of religion, the Council of Chalcedon in officially established the division of the Christian world into five patriarchates, each ruled by a patriarch: Rome where the patriarch would later call himself popeConstantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem.

An introduction to the history of the eastern roman empire

The Byzantine emperor was the patriarch of Constantinople, and the head of both church and state. Even after the Islamic empire absorbed Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem in the seventh century, the Byzantine emperor would remain the spiritual leader of most eastern Christians.

Justinian I Justinian I, who took power in and would rule until his death inwas the first great ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

An introduction to the history of the eastern roman empire

Many great monuments of the empire would be built under Justinian, including the spectacular domed Church of Holy Wisdom, or Hagia Sophia.

Justinian also reformed and codified Roman law, establishing a Byzantine legal code that would endure for centuries and help shape the modern concept of the state. Debts incurred through war had left the empire in dire financial straits, however, and his successors were forced to heavily tax Byzantine citizens in order to keep the empire afloat.

During the seventh and eighth centuries, attacks from the Persian Empire and from Slavs, combined with internal political instability and economic regression, threatened the stability of the empire.

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A new, even more serious threat arose in the form of Islamfounded by the prophet Muhammad in Mecca in InMuslim armies began their assault on the Byzantine Empire by storming into Syria. Iconoclasm During the eighth and early ninth centuries, Byzantine emperors beginning with Leo III in spearheaded a movement that denied the holiness of icons, or religious images, and prohibited their worship or veneration.

Though it stretched over less territory, Byzantium had more control over trade, more wealth and more international prestige than under Justinian.

The strong imperial government patronized Byzantine art, including now-cherished Byzantine mosaics. Rulers also began restoring churches, palaces and other cultural institutions and promoting the study of ancient Greek history and literature.

Greek became the official language of the state, and a flourishing culture of monasticism centered on Mount Athos in northeastern Greece. Monks administered many institutions orphanages, schools, hospitals in everyday life, and Byzantine missionaries won many converts to Christianity among the Slavic peoples of the central and eastern Balkans including Bulgaria and Serbia and Russia.

The Byzantine Empire

The Crusades The end of the 11th century saw the beginning of the Crusadesthe series of holy wars waged by European Christians against Muslims in the Near East from to As armies from France, Germany and Italy poured into Byzantium, Alexius tried to force their leaders to swear an oath of loyalty to him in order to guarantee that land regained from the Turks would be restored to his empire.

After Western and Byzantine forces recaptured Nicaea in Asia Minor from the Turks, Alexius and his army retreated, drawing accusations of betrayal from the Crusaders.

During the subsequent Crusades, animosity continued to build between Byzantium and the West, culminating in the conquest and looting of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in Many refugees from Constantinople fled to Nicaea, site of a Byzantine government-in-exile that would retake the capital and overthrow Latin rule in Fall of the Byzantine Empire During the rule of the Palaiologan emperors, beginning with Michael VIII inthe economy of the once-mighty Byzantine state was crippled, and never regained its former stature.

InEmperor John V unsuccessfully sought financial help from the West to confront the growing Turkish threat, but he was arrested as an insolvent debtor in Venice.

Four years later, he was forced—like the Serbian princes and the ruler of Bulgaria—to become a vassal of the mighty Turks.

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As a vassal state, Byzantium paid tribute to the sultan and provided him with military support. Murad revoked all privileges given to the Byzantines and laid siege to Constantinople; his successor, Mehmed II, completed this process when he launched the final attack on the city.

The fall of Constantinople marked the end of a glorious era for the Byzantine Empire. Legacy of the Byzantine Empire In the centuries leading up to the final Ottoman conquest inthe culture of the Byzantine Empire—including literature, art and theology—flourished even as the empire itself faltered.

Byzantine culture would exert a great influence on the Western intellectual tradition, as scholars of the Italian Renaissance sought help from Byzantine scholars in translating Greek pagan and Christian writings.

This process would continue afterwhen many of these scholars fled from Constantinople to Italy. Long after its end, Byzantine culture and civilization continued to exercise an influence on countries that practiced its Orthodox religion, including Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, among others.

Start your free trial today.Byzantine Empire, the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which survived for a thousand years after the western half had crumbled into various feudal kingdoms and which finally fell to Ottoman Turkish onslaughts in  · Published: Mon, 5 Dec This essay will explore the reasons behind the Eastern Roman Empire’s survival and look at the arguments to why it did not come to an end during the fifth Though the Roman Empire made good on its promise, the peace did not last.

In , the Eastern Roman Empire sent an army to the newly established Vandal-Alan kingdom in . · Defense of the West: The medieval Roman Empire, better known as the Byzantine Empire, defended the West for almost a thousand most of the West was in the Dark Ages, the Eastern Romans repulsed Persian, Arab and Turkic invasions for Contents.


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The Eastern Roman Empire. The Byzantine Empire. Far reaching influence. Decline. Fall. Introduction. The term “Byzantine Empire” is given to the late Roman Empire from about the 7th century onwards.

· The empire ushered in an economic and social revolution that changed the face of the Roman world: service to the empire and the emperor, not /a/introduction-to-ancient-rome.

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