The Byzantine Empire   Top 10 Events


1.       Developed branch of Christianity called Orthodox Christianity - In the east Orthodox Christianity was more localized than Christianity produced by Roman Catholics, which was centralized. Russian Orthodox Church was aligned with Byzantine, which made Russia culturally different from the other great powers due to the influence of Byzantine's Orthodox Christianity.

2.       Justinian ruled from 527 to 565- Former glory and unity of Roman Empire somewhat restored in Constantinople. Region flourished in trade and arts.

3.       Justinian Code- A codification of Roman law that kept ancient Roman principles alive. Evolution of jurisprudence led to modem legal systems.

4.       In 1054 Pope excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople- He then did the same of the pope. From this point forward Orthodoxy influenced the east and Roman Catholicism the west.

5.       Alexios I Komnenous, ruler of the Komnenian dynasty- He recovered the failing empire, which took harsh measures to save empire. Conscription introduced (citizens to serve in armed services).

6.       Used coined money- A very desirable way to do business. Coined money remained remarkably stable. Alexios's coinage using the new hyperpyron (highly refined coin) was the standardized coin for 200 years.

7.       Hagia Sophia- An enormous cathedral that still stands today (but now is a -mosque).

8.       Golden Age- Reached its height under Macedonean emperors in the late 9th, 10th and early 11 th centuries. Trade, arts, culture were very productive in this period. Growth in education, learning and art flourished.

9.       12th century- Revival of the mosaic art and regional schools of architecture began producing many distinctive styles.

10.     Fourth Crusade- This was the single most catastrophic event of the Byzantine Empire. Crusaders attacked the Byzantine capital. This horrible sacking of Constantinople occurred on April 13, 1204.



"Such was the influence of Byzantine art in the 12th century, that Russia, Venice, Southern Italy and Sicily all virtually became provincial centers dedicated to its production." - N.H. Baynes in Byzantium, An Introduction to East Roman Civilization


Referring to the fourth crusade- "The Greeks were worse than the Jews."- A Catholic clergyman.

Referring to the sacking of Constantinople- "Never, since the world was created, had so much booty been won in any city."- Geoffrey of Villehardouin


Referring to the sacking of Constantinople- "You vowed to liberate the Holy Land but you rashly turned away form the purity of your vow when you took up arms not against Saracens but Christians." Innocent III


Referring to the greatness of Byzantium- The Triple Fusion: that of a Roman body, a Greek mind and an oriental, mystical soul." Robert Byron-5th" century Philhellenes


Summary Paragraph


The Byzantine Empire was important to the development of economics,  society and politics in other regions for several reasons. The Byzantine Empire was distinct from the Roman Empire. It used the Greek language; its culture had distinctive domes; its culture in general had more in common with Eastern cultures like those of Persia; and its brand of Christianity became an entirely separate branch known as Orthodox Christianity. Byzantium was really the only stable state in Europe during the Middle Ages. They shielded Western Europe from the Persians, Arabs, Turks and for a time the Ottomans. The economy was the most advanced in Europe for many centuries. They had the preferred currency for 200 years. Their wealth was unmatched by any other State. Byzantium was the most important western terminal of the Silk Road. It was the most important commercial center for much of the Medieval era. Byzantium played an important role in the transmission of classical knowledge to the Islamic world and to Renaissance Italy. The Renaissance could not have flourished if it were not for the groundwork laid in Byzantium. Flocks of Greek scholars fled to the West after the fall of the Empire. The evolution of jurisprudence led to modem legal systems. Orthodox Christianity spread to Slavic peoples. All of this had a dramatic effect on the economics, society and politics of other cultures .