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L10 - The Byzantine Empire.docx

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HIST 110
David Schweitzer

Lecture 10: The Byzantine Empire Constantinople (changed to Istanbul in 1930) - founded in 650 B.C.E. (Constantine’s expanded city with a bigger Hippodrome) - Stadium that enclosed a race track/circus, had 7 hills just like Rome - started as a Greek Colony Germanic Tribes Threat - Emperor Theodosius II (408 - 450 C.E.) o 25 ft-high, 3 mile long wall around city (water on 3 sides, more protection) o Sons Honorius & Arcadius governed 2 halves of empire (Divided reign) o 410 C.E. Alaric & Visigoths captured Rome o Constantinople most important imperial city - Germanic tribes o Goths split into Visigoths [West Goths] & Ostrogoths [East Goths] o Vandals and Huns Creation Of The Byzantine Empire - Odoacer, Ostrogoth king, deposed Romulus Augustulus in Rome (476 C.E.) - 493-526, Theodoric, Ostrogoth king, unsuccessful campaigns against Constantinople Emperor Justinian - 527-565 recaptured much of western empire - 532 Nika Riot (Greens’ vs ‘Blues) - (city divided between groups of supporters, groups became political, supported by aristocrats, became powerful)(gangs) (arson/riot) - General Belisarius massacred 30,000 rebels in Hippodrome - Enabled Justinian to regain Western provinces o Belisarius helped dislodged Ostrogoths from Italy, Vandals from North Africa, & Visigoths from Spain change of fortunes - Campaigns drained Empire - 542, plague broke out in Byzantium - Slavs and Avars invade from north of Byzantium (problems)(low resources to maintain big empire) - Persians break their peace with Justinian - Western Provinces lost one by one Justinian’s accomplishments Architecture Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Laws)(helped stabilize rules) - A Code (streamlines Hadrian’s laws, law itself) - the Institutes (textbooks of legal procedures) - the Digest (summary of legal opinions) - the Novels (new laws made by Justinian himself) - significance Caesaropapism (spiritual leader, more complete post roman empires) The Empire after Justinian 610 C.E. Heraclius (seized control of Constantinople) - divided Asia Minor into military districts (military man) - confiscated church funds to bribe Avars & Slavs into peace (did not respect church) - 628, defeated Persian Emperor Chroeses II (gain reasonable amount of control) - 636-678, defeat & blockade of Constantinople by Muslim armies & Bulgars & Avars, attacked from north (blockage is water) - 700, Empire only a fraction of former size Leo III to the rescue - Leo III (717-741) pushed back Empire’s enemies (ally to come along to help byzantine) o by 740 reorganized government & army drove Muslim troops from Asia Minor o brought Empire a 2 century respite from further encroachment (rest period) East – West Split 780Regency ruled for Constantine VI - 790 he seized control of throne - regent mother had him blinded & seized throne - Irene named herself empress (r. 797-802) (ruled for him and took over) - Pope Leo III declared Eastern throne vacant (church involved in politics) o claimed woman could not role over the Empire (Irene can’t rule) o 800 named Charlemagne ‘Emperor of Romans’ Christmas Day (Holy Roman Emperor)  that action began a 600 year struggle between Eastern & Western Christendom The Macedonian Dynasty 867-1025, emperors were members of Macedonian Dynasty - prosperity in 9 & 10 centuries - Byzantine armies recaptured much of Syria, Armenia, Cyprus, and Crete - Basil II (976-1025) defeated the Bulgars o led to the conversion of Russian Slavs to Christianity o Expansion of trade The Decline of the Empire Internal Problems - nobles misbehaving (formed minor armies) - large landowners paid no taxes - Wealthy imposed ‘feudalization’ on peasants (small farmer’s lands are seized by rich, made serfs) - wars fought with mercenary soldiers o (shortage of manpower, fought by mercenari
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