The Byzantine & Islamic Empires

Chapter 6
The Eastern Roman Empire became known
as the Byzantine Empire.
Constantine, in 330 AD, moved the capital of
the Roman Empire to Asia Minor, now Turkey.
He called the capital “New Rome,” but it
became known as Constantinople.
 Was a political and religious center
 Became the permanent capital of the Eastern
Roman empire
 Was one of the five major patriarchates of the
Christian church.
 Withstood the attacks that the western empire
could not.
 Became known as The “queen of the
The Byzantine Empire took its name from the
ancient Greek city of Byzantium.
The Byzantine Empire was Roman in several
 Same customs and traditions
 Roman political and legal structures
 But has much Hellenistic influence as well
 More Greek than Roman
 More Asiatic than European
Justinian was a famous Byzantine emperor.
 Ruled 527-565 AD
 Counseled by his wife Theodora
 Fought the “barbarians” to retain control of
western lands.
The Justinian Code, a systematic
arrangement of laws that clarified Roman
legal principles, preserved the heritage of
the Roman legal system.
Justinian wanted to restore the grandeur of
He built churches, public buildings,
aqueducts, & roads.
He patronized (supported) Byzantine art.
The Hagia Sophia was a magnificent example
of Byzantine architecture and still stands
today in Istanbul (formerly Constantinople).
Neglected defense of the eastern and
northern borders.
Too much spending on military and building
left the empire in financial trouble
Constantinople was a “Christian city.”
Constantinople’s patriarch held the highest
position in the eastern Roman empire.
Rivalry developed between eastern &
western churches.
 The pope from Rome tried to assume authority
over churches in Italy that the Patriarch of
Constantinople had been in charge of.
 The Patriarch refused to relinquish control.
Then the Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of
Constantinople excommunicated each other.
That is, they excluded each other from the
fellowship of the church.
They also differed on
 When to celebrate Easter
 Whether priests should marry
 Whether the church should use icons, painted
images of Christ and the saints.
The Roman church was influenced by the
pagan practices of ancient Rome and the
Germanic tribes.
The Eastern church was influenced by Greek
and Oriental ideas.
Both adopted non-biblical elements.
The church in the East became the state
The political ruler and the religious leader
were the same person.
Constantinople withstood the attacks
because of
 Its defensible location
 Its strong fortifications
 Greek fire!
But they still lost much of the empire: Syria,
Palestine, Egypt, North Africa to the Muslims.
See map page 129.
From 850-1050, the Byzantine empire made a
Under Basil II, known as the Bulgar Slayer,
(976-1025) the empire had its most successes.
Commercial rivals – Venice, Italy
Seljuk Turks – took Asia Minor in 1071 @ the
Battle of Manzikert
Emperor asked Christians in the west for help.
The result was a series of Crusades to free
the east and the Holy Land in Palestine from
Muslim rule.
In 1204, the Christian army from the west
invaded Constantinople, capturing and
looting the city.
Apparently, Venetian merchants had sent the
“Crusaders” to Constantinople to destroy
their commercial rival.
Neither their cause nor their conduct was
The Byzantine empire never recovered fully
from that attack.
It went on for 200 years, severely weakened.
Then in 1453, the Muslim Ottoman Turks,
sacked the city and killed the last Byzantine
Page 132. Read The Fall of Constantinople,
May 30, 1453.
If Constantinople was a Christian city, why did
God let it fall to the Muslims?
The Muslims turned the Hagia Sophia into a
mosque and added Minarets. They covered
the beautiful frescos because their religion
prohibits picturing human figures.
In 1935, the Turkish government turned the
Hagia Sophia into a museum.
The Byzantine Empire had acted as a shield
for the west against the spread of Islam.
The Byzantine Empire helped preserve and
transmit the classical heritage of Greece and
Some people groups copied the
governmental system of the Byzantines,
which had come from ancient Rome.
Many pagan people of Eastern Europe
adopted Orthodox Christianity and Byzantine
Cyril & Methodius took the gospel and a
written language system to the Slavic people
of Russia and southeastern Europe.
Byzantine art was beautiful and glorified God.
They used mosaics to decorate and tell
The churches were beautiful examples of
Byzantine architecture, copied by many
Domed structures, such as the Hagia Sophia.
Russia spans 2 continents and is ethnically
The most populous group is the Slavs.
 West Slavs – Poles & Czechs – Danube Region
 Yugo-Slavs – South Slavs – Balkan area
 East Slavs – ancestors of the Russians – between
the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea
Varangians – Swedish Norsemen who
plundered then settled the inland waterways
between the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.
Rurik, a Varangian warrior, took control of
Novgorod in 862, marking the beginning of
Russian history.
Russia was strongly influenced by the
Byzantine culture.
 Vladimir I adopted Byzantine Christianity in 988.
 Art
▪ Russian icons
▪ Onion-shaped dome
 Slavic alphabet
▪ Greek writings into Slavic
▪ Native Russian literature
▪ Russian icons
Yaroslav “the Wise” (1036-1054) – sponsored
the earliest Russian code of laws, which
combined Slavic tribal law and Byzantine law.
The Tartars, fierce Mongolian warriors from
central Asia, swept into Russia, destroyed the
city of Kiev, and ruled Russia until the late 15th
Islam started in Arabia with a man named
He was attracted to the monotheism of the
Christians and Jews as opposed to the
polytheism of the Arabs.
Muhammad lived from 570-632.
His homeland is Mecca in Arabia.
When he was 40 years old, he began to have
visions that the angel Gabriel was speaking to
him. (p. 137)
At first only his friends and family believed
He was ridiculed by the people of Mecca who
were pagans who worshipped at the Kaaba, a
sacred shrine housing hundreds of pagan
Thousands of people made “pilgrimages” to
this shrine every year, making trade very
The traders feared that this monotheistic
religion of Muhammad would spread and
people would stop their pilgrimages, causing
business to suffer.
Therefore they persecuted him and his
Muhammad and his followers fled to Medina
to escape persecution.
This move is called the Hegira (or flight) and
marks YEAR 1 of the Muslim calendar.
In Medina, Muhammad preached his
message and gained many followers.
The people of Medina made him their
religious, political, and military leader.
Muhammad led his Muslim armies to force
people to convert to Islam or die.
Muhammad returned to his home city,
Mecca, and conquered it.
He then made Mecca the holy city of his new
Allah is the Arabic name for God.
Islam is the name of the religion and means
“submission” for submission to Allah.
Muslims, “submitters to Allah,” are the
followers of Islam.
Koran/Q’uran is the sacred book of the
Muslims believe in one god and that
Muhammad is the most important and last
See page 138 for quotes from Koran.
Muslims believe that Ishmael was the son of
the promise to Abraham.
They believe that Ishmael was the son whom
God asked Abraham to sacrifice, but then
provided the lamb instead.
Muslims believe that Jesus was also a prophet
of Allah, but deny his deity.
They believe Jesus was a good moral teacher.
Muslims reject the Trinity. (p. 139 quote)
What is a pillar?
 1. an upright shaft or structure, of stone, brick, or
other material, relatively slender in proportion to its
height, and of any shape in section, used as a building
support, or standing alone, as for a monument:
Gothic pillars; a pillar to commemorate Columbus.
 2. a natural formation resembling such a
construction: a pillar of rock; a pillar of smoke.
 3. any upright, supporting part; post: the pillar of a
 4. a person who is a chief supporter of a society,
state, institution, etc.: a pillar of the community.
1. Shahadah – No god but Allah, Mohammad
is prophet
2. Salat – Pray 5 times a day facing Mecca
3. Zakat – Give to the poor
4. Sawm – fast from sunrise to sunset during
5. Hajj – make at least 1 pilgrimage to Mecca
in one’s lifetime.
What are they? (p. 139-140)
Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Muhammad united Arabia under Islam.
Successors were “Caliphs,” close friends and
relatives of Muhammad.
They exercised spiritual, political, & military
Abu Bakr – 1st Caliph (632-634)
Umar – 2nd Caliph (634-644)
Uthman – 3rd Caliph (644-656)
Ali – 4th Caliph (656-661)
They expanded Islam by conquering
Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Persia.
1. Their desire for fertile land
2. The weakness of the Byzantine & Persian
Empires (7th Century AD)
3. Islamic unity.
Jihad – holy war defending the honor of Islam
At first Arabs dominated Islam and the
Islamic empire, but they treated their nonArab converts poorly.
The non-Arabs helped overthrow the
Umayyad Caliphate and installed the Abbasid
Caliphate, which granted better treatment to
non-Arab Muslims.
The Abbasid Caliphate marked the peak of
the Muslim Empire.
 They controlled more territory than Ancient Rome
 Capital was moved to Baghdad, which became a
great commercial center.
The Seljuk Turks were a Sunni Muslim
dynasty who expanded the Muslim empire
into Asia Minor, taking territory away from
the Byzantine Empire.
This expansion into Christendom led the
Christians of western Europe to be alarmed
enough to launch Crusades to take back the
Holy Land from the Muslims.
The Muslims embraced the cultures of the
peoples they conquered.
Trade Routes to China, India, East Africa
Products: paper, silk, muslin, linen, damask,
woven carpets, tooled leather, filigree
jewelry, engraved silver & gold, knives &
swords, dates, oranges, lemons, apricots,
peaches, melons.
Translated writings of Greeks, Persians, and
Indians into Arabic. (Examples: Aristotle,
Plato, Galen, Hippocrates, Archimedes,
Euclid, Ptolemy, et al.)
al Razi & ibn Sina: small pox, tuberculosis
Cleanliness & sanitation
Omar Khayyam – Rubaiyat, poem page 143
Borrowed from Indians and Greeks.
 Arabic numerals
 Decimal system
 Concept of zero
 Geometry - Greek
 Trigonometry - Greek
 Algebra
Muhammad forbid representation of humans
and animals.
Muslim artists used abstract designs.
Manuscript illumination
Mosques: domes, minarets
Arabic mural
Ancient Arabic art
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