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The Byzantine Empire

Eastern Roman Empire Eastern Roman Empire Eastern Roman Empire Eastern Roman Empire

The Byzantine Empire began life as the
Eastern part of the Roman Empire. By 395
CE, the split between eastern and western
parts of the Empire was completed, as one
Emperor ruled each part.
The Byzantine Empire got its name from its
capital city which was originally known as
Byzantium. Emperor Constantine revamped
this city as his second capital of the Empire,
calling it Constantinople.
It was in 610 when the Byzantine
Empire adopted its name and
shed its old moniker the Eastern
Roman Empire. In 610, Emperor
Heraclius changed the official lan-
guage from Latin to Greek, completing the
cultural break between west and east.
Constantinople Constantinople Constantinople Constantinople

Constantinople was the powerful capital
city of the Byzantine Empire.
Originally, the city was
known as Byzantium Byzantium Byzantium Byzantium, a
Greek trading colony
located on the strategic
Bosphorus Strait. The
strait was one of two
that linked the Black and Mediterranean
Seas, and enormous amounts of trade
coursed through the area.
Emperor Constantine greatly expanded the
city in 330 CE and renamed it Constantin-
ople, or the New Rome. It became the sec-
ond capital of the Roman Empire, and after
the western half fell to Germanic tribes, it
became the sole capital of the Byzantine
In the early 500s, Emperor Justinian en-
gaged in massive public works, including re-
building protective walls and constructing
the famed cathedral Hagia Sophia.
Black Sea
Mediterranean Sea
Culture Culture Culture Culture

The culture of the Byzantine Empire dif-
fered greatly from that of Rome.
For starters, the people of Byzantium spoke
Greek, not Latin. Additionally, after the
Great Schism (great split) in 1054, the Em-
pires official Christian
Church was Eastern Ortho-
doxy, not Roman Catholicism.
Over time, much of the art
and architecture began to incorporate Mid-
dle Eastern or Persian styles, while still re-
taining a basis of Roman.
Most importantly, the Byzantine Empire
preserved the learning and the writings of
Ancient Greece and Rome. This was essen-
tial because most of it was lost in the West
due to the destructive invasions of Ger-
manic tribes.
The End? The End? The End? The End?

The Byzantine Empire lasted another thou-
sand years beyond the Roman
Empire. It fell in 1453 at the
hands of the Ottoman Turks.
In those thousand years, how-
ever, the Empire slowly shrunk
in size and changed in culture.
The Empire provided an important intellec-
tual link from classical Greece & Rome to
the civilizations of the Middle East (and ul-
timately back to Europe).
It also transmitted its culture to Eastern
Europe and Russia. Gone, but not forgotten.
1. When was the Byzantine Empire born?
What was it originally called?

2. How did it get its name?

3. When did it change its name? Why?

4. Why was the location of Constantinople

5. Which Emperors worked on Constantin-
ople and what did they do?

6. How did East and West differ?
7. What did the Byzantine Empire preserve?
Why is this significant?

8. How long did the Byzantine Empire last?
What happened to it?

9. What 2 important functions did it serve?
Global History Name _____________________________________
The Byzantine Empire

East West



Decline and Fall
State of the Empire State of the Empire State of the Empire State of the Empire

The extent of the Empire was at its great-
est under Emperor Justinian.
It was nearly as large as the
late Roman Empire had been
controlling much of the
territory around the Mediterranean Sea.
After the rule of Justinian, the Empire
gradually lost territory. With the rise of Is-
lam and the Islamic caliphates in the 600
and 700s, the Byzantine Empire lost all of
its north African and much of its Middle
Eastern possessions.
Between 700 & 1400 the Empire swung
between loss and re-conquest of territory.
At times it seemed the Empire was on its
death bed, but then would rebound and
fight for survival.
Cracks appear Cracks appear Cracks appear Cracks appear

The Empire was almost continuously
plagued by groups on its borders seeking
territory through conquest. Over
time, the Empires military began
to weaken as civil wars took a
toll, and mercenaries were hired.
The Crusades had a devastating impact on
the Empire the fourth crusade in particu-
lar dealt a mortal blow to Byzantium.
The Empire became less and less central-
ized over the centuries. This ultimately re-
sulted in two civil wars in the 1300s which
had a devastating effect on not only the
military, but on political unity in general.
Economically, the tax burden be-
came more and more difficult to
shoulder as the tax base shrunk
(loss of territory), and expenses increased.
The tax burden was particularly heavy on
the lower classes, and this created increas-
ing social conflict between upper and lower
The Crusades The Crusades The Crusades The Crusades

In 1095, Emperor Alexios I appealed to the
Pope for help defending the eastern Chris-
tians against the threat of the Seljuk Turks.
The Pope seized this opportunity to declare
a Holy War to capture the Holy Land.
The Pope viewed this as a political oppor-
tunity to regain power in the East. (The
Great Schism occurred in 1054 )
The first few crusades achieved mi-
nor, temporary territorial successes,
but the Fourth Crusade was a com-
plete disaster. Western knights
sailed to Constantinople and sacked the city
massacring thousands of residents.
This crusade started the final decline of the
Byzantine Empire it was a blow from
which they would not recover. It also illus-
trated the depths of bad feelings the Great
Schism had engendered.
The Ottomans The Ottomans The Ottomans The Ottomans

Following in the footsteps of the Seljuk
Turks, the Ottoman Turks rose to power in
1300 by seizing control of the Anatolian
Peninsula (Turkey).
The Ottomans laid siege to many of the re-
maining Byzantine territories (and there
werent many left). Basically, the Byzantine
Empire was little more than a city
state surrounding Constantinople.
Sultan Mehmet II became ob-
sessed with conquest of Constan-
tinople. In 1453, he laid siege to
the city. After two months, it fell
signaling the end of the Empire as well.
1. How big was the greatest extent of the
Byzantine Empire? Under which Emperor?

2. How did the Empire lose its Middle East-
ern & N. African territories?

3. How did the Empires military weaken?

4. How did gradual de-centralization of the
govt weaken the Empire?

5. Why did the tax burden on the lower
classes increase? How did this impact social

6. Why did the Emperor ask the Pope for

7. What was the Popes underlying motive
for helping?

8. What happened in the first few crusades?

9. In the forth?

10. Result of the Crusades for the Byzantine

11. Describe the end of the Byzantine Empire.
Global History Name _____________________________________
Decline and Fall