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The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire

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The Byzantine Empire

  1. 1. The Byzantine Empire
  2. 2. Preview Questions • What is the Byzantine Empire? • What were the key elements of Byzantine Christianity? • How did Justinian extend Byzantine power? • Why did the Byzantine Empire collapse? • What was the legacy and heritage of the Byzantine Empire?
  3. 3. Terms and People • Constantinople – formerly Byzantium; capital of the eastern Roman empire • Justinian – emperor of the Byzantine empire from 527 to 565, he rebuilt Constantinople and made reforms to the law • Justinian’s Code – The Corpus Juris Civilis, or “Body of Civil Law”; a comprehensive collection of Roman legal writings assembled by Justinian • autocrat – a sole ruler with absolute power
  4. 4. Terms and People (continued) • Theodora – empress of the Byzantine empire, Justinian’s wife, and a fearless and powerful co-ruler • patriarch – in the Byzantine and Roman empires, the highest church official in a major city • icon – holy image of Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a saint venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church • Great Schism – the official split between the Roman Catholic and Byzantine churches
  5. 5. The Byzantine Empire • In 610AD, the Eastern Roman Empire officially became known as the Byzantine empire. • The capital city was Constantinople (formerly Byzantium) – Center of the empire – Favorable location for trade – Wealth and splendor
  6. 6. Preserving Culture • The Byzantine Empire promoted the blending of Greek, Roman, Christian and Middle Eastern cultures • Over time, much of the art and architecture reflected styles of Middle East (Persia) while retaining the basis of Rome. • Most importantly though, the Byzantines preserved the learning and writing from Ancient Greece and Rome. • Much of it had been lost or destroyed in the West by the invasions of the Germanic tribes. • The Byzantines; however, wanted to establish themselves separate from Rome. • For example, they changed the official language from Latin to Greek which
  7. 7. Byzantine Christianity • Other ways in which the Byzantine’s differed was in their views of Christianity. • While there are many similarities, they did disagree on a great many number of issues.
  8. 8. Similarities and Differences Between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Roman Catholic • Services conducted in Latin • The Pope is authority over all including kings and emperors • Priests are celibate (cannot marry or have children) • Divorce is not permitted • Icons are allowed in worship Eastern Orthodox • Services conducted in Greek • The emperor claims authority over the Patriarch and other officials • Priests can marry and have children • Divorce permitted in certain cases • Icons are forbidden (idols) Similarities •Both religions are based of the teachings of Jesus and the Bible •Both have baptisms •Both seek converts
  9. 9. Upheaval in the Church • Since the split of the Western and Eastern Rome, the Church also experienced a schism (split). • The split cannot be traced back to one single event, but many disagreements between Eastern and Western viewpoints over cultural differences, politics, the Pope, Church celebrations created a divide in the Church that could not be repaired. • This was known as the “Great Schism” or “East- West Schism” made official in 1054 when the Pope and Patriarch excommunicated each other.
  10. 10. You are excommunicated! You are excommunicated! Your mom is excommunicated! Your mom is excommunicated!
  11. 11. The Age of Justinian • Justinian was perhaps the greatest Byzantine emperor • He hoped his empire would be as great as ancient Rome. • Justinian wanted to recover the lands lost to the invaders and reconstitute the Roman Empire. • Justinian was able to take back much, but not all, of the territory that had once belonged to Rome.
  12. 12. Justinian’s Empire
  13. 13. Justinian’s Code • For his empire, Justinian organized laws – with over 4,000 written laws, they are better known as Justinian’s Code – This code was based on old Roman law – These laws defined issues such as citizenship, marriage, inheritance, slavery, property rights as well as criminal acts and punishments. – This code is significant because it laid out rules for a massive kingdom which helped him both unify and control it. – Many laws or legal systems today are based off of Justinian’s Code.
  14. 14. Justinian the Builder • Justinian also launched a massive building program in Constantinople. • During his time, he built massive walls to protect the city. • These walls helped protect the city from attack for over 1,000 years. • He also had many bridges, aqueducts and churches built.
  15. 15. The Hagia Sophia • The greatest building achievement; however, was the church of the Hagia Sophia meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek.
  16. 16. The Hagia Sophia • The Hagia Sophia is important for both religious and architectural reasons. • It is renown for is domes and was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly 1,000 years. • The Hagia Sophia was the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity and was known as the “Vatican of the East.” • It was later converted to a Muslim mosque in 1453 after the Ottoman Turks took control of Constantinople. • It remained a mosque until 1935 when the Turkish government made it into a museum.
  17. 17. Assassin’s Creed Revelations
  18. 18. The Hippodrome • Another building worth mentioning was the Hippodrome. • While not built by Justinian, it was impressive to say the least. • Throughout the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the center of the city's sporting and social life. • Horse and chariot racing was a popular pastime of the ancient world. • In fact, the work Hippodrome come from the Greek hippos (horse) and dromos (path).
  19. 19. The Hippodrome • At it’s largest, the Hippodrome sat over 100,000 spectators! • It was said to have been elaborately decorated with works of art and tapestries. • It also featured glorious bronzed statues of horses, gods and former emperors.
  20. 20. Theodora • Justinian was married to a beautiful woman named Theodora. • She was very intelligent, decisive and strong woman. • From all accounts, Justinian treated her as an equal and frequently relied on her for advice.
  21. 21. The Nika Riots • In 532, a chariot race at the Hippodrome got out of hand and violence and chaos flooded the streets of Constantinople. • Several senators saw the chaos as an opportunity to overthrow Justinian. • In fact, Justinian was scared for his life and was ready to flee the city in fear. • However, his wife Theodora proclaimed, “it is better to die a ruler than to live as nothing.” • Justinian instead sent an army and the riots were put down. • It was Theodora’s courage that is credited with saving her husband’s rule.
  22. 22. Theodora • After the revolts, the city of Constantinople had to be rebuilt. • Theodora aided in the rebuilding and the construction of aqueducts, bridges and churches which culminated in the creation of the Hagia Sophia. • She also led a series of reforms and laws that elevated the rights, status and promoted equal treatment of women throughout the empire. • For all this, she is the most famous woman in Byzantine history.
  23. 23. The Fall of the Byzantines • After hundreds of years of glory, fortunes changed in the Byzantine Empire • The empire was almost continuously plagued by different groups along it’s border seeking more territory. – Many attacks came from groups such as the Turks, Persians, Slavs, Vikings, and Mongols – Muslim armies started to gain control of much of the Mediterranean.
  24. 24. The Crusades • In 1095, the Byzantine emperor Alexius I appealed to the Pope for help defeating the Muslim invaders. • Seeing a great opportunity to gain back power in the East after the Great Schism, the Pope agrees. • While temporarily successful, the Crusades were an abject disaster. • In fact, during the 4th Crusade, the Western armies didn’t even make it to the Holy Land to fight the Muslims. Running out of supplies, they attacked Constantinople instead. – This just illustrated how bad the feelings were between the East and West. • The empire never really recovers after this.
  25. 25. Crisis and Collapse • Constantinople Falls –Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and renamed it Istanbul –Muslim influences replace Christian ones. • Hagia Sophia is converted from a church to mosque.
  26. 26. Why should we remember the Byzantines?
  27. 27. The Legacy of the Byzantine Empire• Longevity: The empire lasted more than 1,000 years, a rare feat throughout history. • Cultural Diffusion: The Byzantines blended Roman culture, Greek learning with Christian beliefs and Middle Eastern influences • Preservation: Classical learning of the Greeks and Romans which otherwise would have been lost in the fall of Rome was continued in the Byzantine Empire. • Law: Justinian’s Code preserved Roman law and became the basis of many laws today. • Spiritual: Eastern Orthodox Christianity still exists in areas such as Eastern Europe, Greece and Russia.

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