You are on page 1of 2

Chapter 9 Section 1

Constantinople-Capital of Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and Eastern Roman Empire.Now

called Instanbul.
Emperor Constantine creates a New Rome. As German invaders pounded Western Europe,
Roman emperor Constantine shifted base rebuilt Greek city of Byzantium and named it after
him Constantinople. He made Constantinople the new capital of the empire.Became known as
the Byzantine Empire. He recognized Christianity as legal religion. Constantinople was located
on shores of Bospourus strait that links Mediterranean and black seas. It was surrounded by 3
sides of water and had a great harbor. Emperors later built land and sea walls. Constantinople
had a key trade route linking Europe and Asia. Was a busy marketplace. Byzantine emperors
lived in luxury and went to chariot races at the Hippodrome. Eventually, Byzantine declined to a
small area around Constantinople,it still survived after fall of western Roman empire. Blended
Greek, roman influences.
Byzantium flourishes under Justinian-emperor of Byzantine. 1. He recovered lands taken by
invaders. Led by general Belisarius his armies reconquered North Africa, Italy and Iberian
peninsula. Fighting exhausted his treasuryand victories were temporary.2.He rebuilt
Constantinople which was destroyed by riots and fires.His great triumph rebuilding Hagia
Sophia. (means holy wisdom). 3. Most important he reformed the law. Justinians Code-big
collection of laws passed by Roman emperors.His code reached Western Europe which helped
centralize power. Justinian ruled as an autocrat-sole ruler with complete power. Deemed
Christs co-ruler. His wife was Theodora(co ruler ,politician).
Byzantine empire flourished under a strong central govt. Backboneof empire: peasants. They
payed taxes, served in military, worked land. While Western Europe declined Byzantine had
healthy money system. Byzantines built strongest military force in world.Byzantine relied on
Greek Fire(had petroleum).Empire flourished but spread of Justinian plague almost destroyed it
, 5000 people died a day. Loss of tax paying citizens hurt the treasury and hard to keep a strong
In centuries after Justinian empire faced attacks but were unsuccessful. Empire was buffer for
western Europe to prevent spread of Muslim.
Byzantine Christianity
East and West Differ: differences emerged over leadership. Byzatine emperor appointed the
highest church official. Byzantine clergy could marry unlike priests in Western Europe. Greek
was language of Byzantine and most holy day Easter. During Middle Ages 2 branches of
Christianity drew apart. The Icon controversy contributed to split. Ions-holy images. A
Byzantine emperor outlawed the icons saying it violated Gods commandment against

worshipping images. Set off violent battles in the empire. The pope condemned the Byzantine
emperor. A later empress restored the use of icons the damage was done. Eventually there was
the Great Schism.(split between eastern and western Christianity. The Byzantine church
became Eastern or Greek orthodox and Western part became known as the Roma Catholic
Empire Suffers Crisis and Collapse: By the time of the schism the Byzantine empire was in
decline due to wars, succession struggles. Local lods gained control. The Seljuk Turks came from
Asia (a nomadic people) and converted to Islam,. The Byzantine emperor called for Western
help to fight the Seljuks whose attacks blocked the routes to Jerusalem. The result was the First
Crusade. Later there was a rivalry between Venetian merchants and the Byzantine. The
Venetian merchants persuaded the knights to attack Constantinople on the 4 th Crusade. For 3
days crusaders destroyed Constantinople. Then Western Christians ruled Constantinople for 57
years. Venetian merchant gained control of Byzantine trade draining the empire of wealth.
Then the Ottoman Turks took over Constantinople led by Mehmet the Conqueror. The city was
named Istanbul. Hagia Sophia turned into a mosque(Islam).
Byzantine Heritage
For years empire was symbol of Roman civilization.Ottoman adapted Byzantine features of
govt. Byzanines had achievements in engineering and law. Byzantine artists had Icons, Mosaics
bringing Bible to life. In architecture they blended Greek , Roman and Persian. Byzantine
scholars preserved works of Greece and Rome and produced books. As empire declined many
Greek scholars went to teach at Italian universities. They took Greek works that contributed to
the Renaissance.