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Part I

Byzantium: A Christian
Empire Under Siege
The Byzantine Empire in the Time of Justinian
Wars on the Frontiers
570 A.D. – 750 A.D.

• Invasions from Persia

– New Persian Focus
– Founding of Ctesiphon and its influence
– New labels
– Choroes II
Wars on the Frontiers
570 A.D. – 750 A.D.

• Attack on All Fronts

– The Lombards
– The Slavs and the Avars
– The Bulgars
Wars on the Frontiers
570 A.D. – 750 A.D.

• Consequences of Constant Warfare

– Permanent cut-off between the
Eastern and Western Roman
– Ruin of the Latin language
– The rise of Islam and Arabs
The Byzantine Empire in 814 A.D.
The Byzantine Empire

• From an Urban to a Rural Way of Life

– Destruction of cities
– Distribution of Resources and Priorities
– The curiales
– Land ownership
The Byzantine Empire

• New Military
– “Greek Fire”
– Decline of the curial class and the
birth of farmer-soldiers
– The concept of themes
and strategos
The Byzantine Empire

• Culture Forms
– Byzantine Education
Religion, Politics,
and Iconoclasm

• Powerful Bishops and Monks

– Functions of Bishops
– Three-tier system
– Monasteries
Religion, Politics,
and Iconoclasm

• Conflict over Icons

– Icons, worship and detestation
– Emperor Leo III
Part II
Byzantium: Renewed Strength
and Influence
Byzantium: Renewed
Strength and Influence

• Imperial Power
– The tagmata
– New wealth and prestige to the
– Agricultural economy organized for
– Commerce and trade as a political
Byzantium: Renewed
Strength and Influence

• The Macedonian Renaissance,

(870 A.D. - 1025 A.D.)
– Basil I (867 A.D. – 886 A.D.) from
– Thriving of the scholarly elite
– Production of new works of art
– Sponsorship of the Emperor
– Merging of Christian and Pagan
traditions (i.e. Manuscript Illumination)
The Byzantine Empire in the Time of Justinian
Byzantium: Renewed
Strength and Influence

• The Dynatoi: A New Landowning

– Military heroes of the tagmata
– The Phocas family
In Byzantium’s Shadow

• Bulgaria and Serbia

– The Byzantine offensive and
Emperor Nicephorus I
(802 A.D. – 811 A.D.)
– Nicephorus’ death and Pliska
– Emperor Basil II, the Bulgar-Slayer
– Serbia and its unusual birth
In Byzantium’s Shadow

• Kievan Russia
– Not under direct rule but influenced
in Religion and Culture
– Religion united Kievan Russia and
– Grand Prince Vladimir and
The Byzantine Empire in 1045 A.D.
A New Religion and a
New Empire
• The new religion of Islam grew out of
Bedouin society
• Islam emphasizes the relationship
between the individual and God
• Religion grew from town Mecca, a
commercial and religious center
• The Qur'an is understood to be God's
revelation as told to Muhammad
– emphasizes the nuclear family
– ummah: community of believers
Muhammad and Mecca

• Mecca was the birthplace of Muhammad

• Mecca contained the Ka’Ba
• In 610, he heard a voice speaking to him
that he identified as that of God, or Allah
• In 622, Muhammad made the Hijra, or
emigration, to the city of Medina
• Under Muhammad, politics and religion
were inseparable
Islam and the

• In 624, Muhammad led a small

ambush of a Meccan caravan at the
battle of Badr
– Transformed the traditional Bedouin
plundering into the Muslim duty of
• Muhammad had the Jews of Medina
expelled, executed, or enslaved
Islam and the
Jihad (cont’d)

• Muhhamad put in new practices:

Zaka, Hajj, Salat, Shahadah
• Rivalry between Mecca's tribes and
Medina's Muslims led to
Muhammad's march into Mecca in
• The new society functioned as a
Muhammad’s Successors

• The caliphs (successors) conquered

much of Roman and Persian world
• Unified under the banner of jihad
• The first caliphs came not from the
traditional elite but from the new circle of
men close to Muhammad who had been
participants in the Hijra
• The first two caliphs ruled peacefully
The Beginning of the Shi’ite
and Sunni Conflict

• Conflict arose when the third Caliph,

Uthman, was accused of favoritism
– His opponents supported his rival Ali
• After Uthman was murdered, civil war
broke out between the two factions
• Ali’s followers were Shi'ites, continued to
shun the caliphs, who were supported by
mainstream Muslims, the Sunni
Peace and Prosperity in
Islamic Lands

• Islamic warriors brought peace and

prosperity to the territory they conquered
• Allowed their subjects to work and
worship as they pleased, as long as
nonbelievers paid a special tax
Peace and Prosperity in
Islamic Lands (cont’d)

• Muslim scholars began writing down the

formerly oral Arabic literature, determining
the definitive version of the Qur'an and
compiling pious narratives about
• By the close of the Umayyad period in
750, Islamic civilization was multiethnic,
urban, and sophisticated
From Unity to Fragmentation
in the Islamic World
• In 750, a civil war ousted the Umayyads and
established a new caliphate, the Abbasids, to
rule over Islam
• The Abbasids were supported by an uneasy
coalition of Shi'ites and non-Arabs who had
been excluded from the Umayyad gov’t.
• The Abbasid caliphs made their administration
more centralized and controlled the
appointment of regional governors
From Unity to Fragmentation
in the Islamic World (cont’d)
• The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid (r.
786-809) ruled over a flourishing empire,
but it bgan to decline after his death.
• Governors of regions such as Syria and
Egypt often refused to send tax revenues
• In the tenth century, the caliphs became
only figureheads, and independent rulers
began establishing themselves in various
Islamic regions
Regional Diversity and the
Abbasid Revolution
• Islamic world was very fragmented since it was
based on the conquest of many diverse regions,
each with its own traditions and culture
• By the tenth and eleventh centuries,
– Islamic states were built upon local traditions
and local rulers
– The split within the Islamic religion between
Sunnis and Shi'ites remained a constant
• One group of Shi'ites, the Fatimids, began a
successful political movement
– established themselves as rulers in Tunisia in
909 and, by 969, declared themselves rulers of
Regional Diversity and the
Abbasid Revolution (cont’d)
• During the Abbasid revolution (756), a member
of the Umayyad family, Abd al-Rahman, fled to
Morocco, gathered an army, and invaded Spain
• Victorious, he took the secular title emir,
meaning "commander," and fixed his capital at
– The Spanish emirate ruled over a broad range of
peoples that included Jews and Christians
• Despite their diversity, the regions of Islam
maintained a measure of unity through trade
networks and language
The Islamic Reinassance
790 A.D. – 1050 A.D.

• Political entities multiplied the centers of

learning allowing the "renaissance of Islam" to
• This renaissance was particularly strong in
court centers such as Córdoba
• Al-Khwarizmi wrote a well-known book on
equation theory in 825
• Long before there were universities in the West,
institutions of higher learning existed in the
Islamic world
• The use of cheap paper made the writings of
the intellectual elite widely available
Frankish Kingdoms with
Roman Roots
• Core of the kingdom was Roman
• Ruled by the Merovingians
• “Romans” were south of the Loire
River, while “Franks” were north of
the Loire River
• Church was a very important part of
Economic Activity in
Peasant Society

• Most economic transactions were a

part of a gift economy
• Trade kept Western, Byzantine, and
Islamic descendents in contacts with
one another
The Elite in Merovingian

• Monarchs
• Aristocrats
• Women
• Merovingian Dynasty
Christianity and Classical
Culture in the British Isles

• Anglo-Saxon England
• Blended traditions
• Established schools
Unity in Spain,
Diversity in Italy

• Spain: The Merovingian King defeats

the Visigoths
– People were united because everyone
converted to Christianity
• Italy: Power struggle between the
pope, Lombard Kings, and the
Byzantine Emperor
Section II
The Creation and Division of a
New Western Empire
The Rise of the

• Carolingians were an Aristocratic

• Came to power with the help of the
Charlemagne and His

• Most famous of the Carolingians

• Wanted to combine the military and
traditions of the Roman and
Germanic culture with Christianity
• “Romanized” his kingdom
• Pope Leo III crowned him emperor
The Charlemagne

• Studied works of the past

• Established schools
Charlemagne’s Successors

• Had four sons, three from his first

wife, one from his second wife
• Land was divided between the sons
Land and Power

• Carolingian economy was based on

trade and agriculture
• Land provided wealth and power
Vikings, Muslims, and
Magyars Invade

• North – Vikings
• South – Muslims
• East – Magyars
Section III
The Emergence of Local Rule in
the Post-Carolingian Age
Public Power and Private

• Kings stayed in power by gaining

personal loyalty
• Kings had Counts
• Lords had Vassals
• Serfs were the lowest social class
War and Peace

• Primogeniture – entire inheritance

was handed down to the eldest son
• Society was highly militarized and
constantly in war
• Everyone wanted peace
• Peace of God and Truce of God
Political Communities in
Italy, England, and France

• Italy: Cities were the center of power

• England: Strong Kings
– Mostly Rural
• France: Strong Lords
– Weak Kings
Emperors and Kings in
Central and Eastern Europe

• Otto I
• German Kings appointed Bishops
and Archbishops
• Bishops held a lot of power
• Many of the Central European
countries converted