✍️✍️✍️ The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire

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The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire



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The city of walls: Constantinople - Lars Brownworth

In his time the empire sought to regain the lost territories in the West in a series of long wars. The Vandal kingdom in Africa was subdued in , but the reconquest of Italy took nearly twenty years until the final defeat and extinction of the Goths in At the same time there was almost constant warfare with Persia, although imperial victories and territorial gains were not as decisive as in the West. Roman law, the backbone of the administration of such a vast empire, had already been collected and organized in the mid-fifth century.

Justinian undertook a review of this massive material early in his reign between and The result was the huge and hugely influential Corpus Iuris Civilis which updated the previous Theodosian collection, weeding out all laws no longer deemed relevant, while adding all those passed since that date. It included legal writings of a more theoretical nature and pronouncements that spanned the period from Hadrian r. Justinian, naturally, continued to legislate and his new laws the Novels were issued for the first time in Greek.

This was an acknowledgment of the developments that the empire had undergone since Constantine. Justinian was also a great builder. The single most iconic Byzantine building, the Hagia Sophia, is a product of his drive and vision. Completed in after an earlier Theodosian church of the same name had been burned down during civil unrest in the city, the church dedicated to Holy Wisdom is still breathtaking today. The majestic dome with a diameter of about 32 metres gave the impression to contemporaries of being suspended from heaven. This feat of engineering was only surpassed in the 15th century by the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore Il Duomo in Florence. The original decoration of Hagia Sophia was not figurative: mosaics with geometrical patterns, deeply cut capitals with the monograms of the emperor and his infamous wife, Theodora, and the interplay of coloured marble on the walls and pavement — all designed to reflect the light as it pierces the space from a multitude of windows.

Justinian not only adorned his capital with new buildings; he erected or restored a great number of edifices throughout his vast empire. He strove for order and tolerated no dissent; it appears as if he was determined to align everyone to the divine plan for salvation, whether they wanted it or not. The academy in Athens was closed; the Olympic Games and the mysteries in Eleusis had long ceased; and it was probably around this time that the Parthenon in Athens was transformed into a Christian church. This unification, however, allowed not only people and commodities to travel, but also germs. Bubonic plague broke out for the first time in pandemic form in and ran its deadly course throughout the Mediterranean.

It was to return in some 18 waves until , causing a sharp demographic decline that was felt the strongest in coastal cities. Constantinople lost possibly as much as 20 per cent of its population in four months in the spring of By the early seventh century much of the regained territory had been lost. The Lombards invaded Italy in and seized the Po valley; the Visigoths regained the few Byzantine holdings in Spain in , while the eastern front collapsed under renewed Persian attacks. Moreover, a new force emerged in the Balkans: the Turkic Avars and the Slavs. From the s onwards the Slavs began their settlement of the Balkans, gradually taking almost the entire peninsula de facto out of Byzantine control for the next two centuries. When Heraclius r.

The Persians captured Syria, Egypt and Palestine between and and, in what must be seen as a calculated move of political warfare, they removed the True Cross of Christ from Jerusalem to their capital in Ctesiphon. It was almost brought to a halt before it produced any actual results when in , while the emperor was away, the Persians with the aid of Avars and Slavs besieged Constantinople. After this episode Heraclius took the war to Persia and ultimately defeated the Sassanian king in In a highly significant gesture, he restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in Byzantium might have been victorious, but the wars that had lasted more than 20 years left both empires exhausted.

The timing was perfect for the new emerging player in the Mediterranean, the Arabs. Their expansion began in the s. By the turn of the century the Byzantine Empire had irrevocably lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Northern Africa, while the Sassanid state had been overthrown. The Arab foray seemed unstoppable. It menaced Constantinople in and again in , though failing both times to capture the city. The seventh century was a period of massive restructuring and reorganization as the Byzantine empire fought for its survival. From then on Byzantium concentrated on Asia Minor as an almost exclusive source for both.

A large-scale reorganization of the army took place in that period, first in Asia Minor, spreading then to the entire empire. Territory was organized into administrative and military units, the themata , in which both civil and military powers were concentrated in the hands of one military commander. Soldiers were from then on recruited among the free peasant smallholders, who offered their military service in exchange for land that enjoyed certain privileges.

Disaster as a rule breeds the need for reform and in the Byzantine empire this was not only expressed in terms of administration. The movement of Iconoclasm literally icon-breaking has its roots in the traumatic experience of the seventh century. Surely the Arabic juggernaut must have seemed reason enough for this divine displeasure. And the Arabs did forbid figurative art. A sober look at this development would look like this: from the early-to-mid-eighth century Byzantine emperors had religious images removed and later destroyed. Persecution of those opposing these measures, mainly monks, varied, but some of the most fervent supporters of icons were executed. Iconoclasm was reversed by an empress: the widowed Irene r.

Iconoclasm coincided with the successes of Constantine V r. However, after Irene, the empire suffered a series of setbacks that led to a second phase of Iconoclasm that began in and ended in Again, an empress acting as regent, Theodora r. At the end of Iconoclasm, Christian art had prevailed and became an essential aspect of worship. On Christmas Day , during the reign of Irene as empress, the coronation of Charlemagne, ruler of a western empire controlling France, the Rhineland and Northern Italy, in Rome gave the world a second Roman emperor.

After the empire began a period of revival that lasted for two centuries and marked a long phase of territorial expansion, political and cultural radiance over its neighbours and a flourishing of education and the arts. Gradually, imperial authority was restored in the Balkans and parts of Syria and Asia Minor were reconquered. In what is perhaps the most enduring consequence of Byzantine policy, a number of Slavic states embraced Christianity coming from Constantinople not without fierce competition with Rome. Byzantine missionaries developed the first Slavic alphabet and the newly converted were allowed to use it in their services.

With the state expanding and the economy growing, a cultural revival developed as well. It was marked by an effort at collecting and systematizing knowledge by compiling vast encyclopaedias with the most varied contents: ancient epigrams, lives of saints, dictionaries, medical and veterinary texts, practical agricultural wisdom and military treatises, as well as thematically organized volumes on embassies or hunting. The central figure in this revival perhaps more as a result of imperial propaganda than of actual contribution was the learned emperor Constantine VII under whose auspices a number of works were created dealing with the imperial ceremonies, the administrative division of the empire and a secret manual of governance addressed to his son.

This revival of learning was a direct result of the important scholars produced by the fostering of education from the ninth century. Classical Antiquity, no longer carrying the negative connotation of paganism, was studied and copied. The economic and political stimulus behind the revival, however, fuelled some rather untoward trends as well. The military aristocracy gained more and more power, and, in its quest for more land, started to encroach on the villages and their free peasants, potentially stripping the state of tax revenues and the army of its manpower. The emperors legislated against this and civil wars ensued.

It took as resolute an emperor as Basil II r. Following the general and growing disarray that ensued after his death, the aristocracy made a decisive comeback in the person of Alexius I Comnenus r. When he took over the reins of the empire he faced a very different political situation from that which had existed less than half a century before him. We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. The new empire, the Byzantine Empire, was based on the cultures and traditions of the Western Empire, but also contained many distinctive features. The two empires were very similar since they existed in the same area and carried some of the same cultral roots.

One reason for the decline of the Western Roman Empire was that the move of the capital city to Constantinople in C. Emperor Constantine moved the capital to a better location for trade and defense purposes. As the Byzantine Empire grew and prospered, it carried on traditions, culture and the way of life of the Western Roman Empire. Since the Roman system of government was devoloped years before the Byzantine government, Byzantine officals borrowed some of the Roman Laws. These Roman laws were called the Justinian Code, which was a legal system that helped the Byzantine Empire survive for many years.

This code, created by emperor Justinian, consisted of four main parts. The Code, working laws, the Digest, explains why they exist, the Institues, text book for lawyers, and the Novellae, room for new laws. Another part of the government that both the Byzantine and thr Western Roman Empire had in common was a civil service. Augustus first established a civil service in the Roman Empire in 27 C. It was a system that pays workers who are skilled at their jobs to work for the government. This idea was carried to the Byzantine Empire where a bureacury, exactly like a civil service, was set up. Another major part of both empires was their strong and loyal army. The army was used for defending the vast empires as well as expanding it by conquering new teritories.

The Byzantine Empire expanded to almost the size of the Roman Empire due to its relentless army. The system of government that included Roman Law, the civil serive and the army was passed from the Westerm Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire once hte Roman Empire collapsed. Hi there, would you like to get such an essay?

The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire Roman laws were called the Justinian Code, which was a legal system that helped the Byzantine Empire The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire for many years. Here, the people predominantly spoke Greek The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire Byzantine," n. Until The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire time the empire had weathered its problems with difficulty, but still preserved an international importance. Though Constantine ruled over a The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire Persuasive Essay: Why Schools Should Be A Four Week Empire, this unity proved illusory after his death in Rome and Greece had many influential impacts on the Meditation Sea, such as, impacts on society, marlow heart of darkness many other things such as trade. When he took over the reins of the empire he faced a very different political situation from that which The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire existed less than half a century The Importance Of Life In The Byzantine Empire him.

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