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 In 330, Constantine
moved the capital from
Rome to the Greek city,
Byzantium
 Renames city
Constantinople
As the cities of the western Roman empire crumbled,
Constantinople prospered
 With its high walls and golden domes, it stood as the
proud capital of the Byzantine Empire
 Most famous Byzantine Emperor(527-
565 CE)
 Justinian is known for four main
things…
 The code consisted of 4 works
The Code- contained 5,000 Roman laws
2. The Digest- opinions of Rome’s greatest legal
thinkers about the laws
3. The Institutes- a textbook explaining how to use
the law
4. The Novellae- “New Law” presented legislation
after 534
1.
 The most powerful woman in
Byzantine history.
 Major political influence- She met
with foreign leaders, passed laws and
built churches
 Recognized the rights of women by
establishing laws to protect women
and gave then greater benefits in
divorces.
 “My opinion is that now is a poor time for flight, even though it bring
safety. For any man who has seen the light of day will also die, but one
who has been an emperor cannot endure to be a fugitive. If now you
wish to go, Emperor, nothing prevents you. There is the sea, there are
the steps to the boats. But take care that after you are safe, you do not
find that you would gladly exchange that safety for death.”
-Empress Theodora (500-548)
 After Justinian’s death the empire suffered many
setbacks
 Plague from rats on ships from India
 Enemies from west, north, and east side
 However, attacks on Constantinople by Persians, Slavs,
Vikings, Arabs and other groups were largely
unsuccessful …
CONSTANTINOPLE’S STRONG MILITARY DEFENSE &
TECHNOLOGY
SAVE THE DAY
On two occasions, from 674 to 677, and again in 717-18,
Arab armies besieged Constantinople by land and sea.
Superior military organization, the city’s high walls and
its strategic location, and the timely invention of one of
history's most decisive weapons, a medieval form of
napalm dubbed "Greek fire“ used by the Byzantine
naval fleet enabled the Byzantines to weather the
storm. The cost to both sides was high. By 800 A.D.,
Byzantium had lost most of her territory south of the
Taurus Mountains and much of the remainder of the
empire lay devastated. The Arabs lost untold thousands
of men through futile attacks against Constantinople's
defenses.
 The European kingdoms finds
themselves less prepared to
defend against attacks until
Charlemagne unifies them
 Pope asks Charlemagne, king
of the Frankish empire, for
help defending Rome
 In return for Charlemagne's
protection the Pope names
him Holy Roman Emperor
in the West (800 CE)
Roman Catholic Church
(West)
Eastern Orthodox
Church (East)
 Capital
 Capital
 Rome
 Authority:
 pope claims authority
over all kings and
emperors
 Language
 Latin
 Church policies
 Priests could not marry
 Divorce was never allowed
 Idols of Jesus Christ and
Saints for worship
 Constantinople
 Authority
 emperor claims authority over
the patriarch and all other
bishops
 Language
 Greek
 Church policies
 Priests can marry
 Divorce allowed under certain
conditions
 No idol worship
 The permanent split between the Byzantine Eastern
Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church
 In 1054 the Roman Catholic Pope and the East
Orthodox Patriarch excommunicated each other in a
dispute over religious doctrine
 Schism – less connection with the west
 Attacks from enemies
 Especially the Ottoman Turks who are slowly taking over
Byzantine territory
 (Remember: they stopped at Constantinople only
because they were attacked by the Mongols on their
borders.)
 Crusades – both sides ravage Constantinople as they
pass through
 The weakened Constantinople could not defend itself from
the rising new power in the region-the Ottoman Turkswho, by the 1300s-had completely encircled the old eastern
capital.
1453 CE
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