Chapter 9 Civilization in Eastern Europe: Byzantium and Orthodox Europe

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Chapter 9
Civilization in Eastern Europe: Byzantium and Orthodox Europe

I. Introduction
A. Two major civilizations
1. Byzantine – Orthodox Christianity
a. Maintained high level of political, economic, cultural life
b. Leaders saw selves as Roman Emperors
c. Empire lasted for 1000 years until Turkish invaders
d. Constantinople – most opulent, important city in Europe
e. Spread civilization to previously uncivilized areas
i. Russia, Balkans
ii. Russia inherits empire from Byzantine
2. West – Catholicism
B. Similarities
1. Both influenced by Islam
2. Both civilizations spread northward
3. Polytheism gave way to monotheism
a. Some syncretism – old religious beliefs maintained
4. Northern areas struggled for political definition
5. New trading activities – N. South
6. Looked back to Greco-Roman past – borrowed
C. Differences
1. Different, sometimes hostile versions of Christianity
2. Little mutual contact
a. Trade didn’t go east/west
3. East more advanced politically, culturally, economically

II. The Byzantine Empire
A. Origins of the Empire
1. 4th century CE – eastern capital Constantinople - Constantine a. elegant buildings
b. Christian churches
c. Greek becomes used language – Latin looked at as inferior d. High levels of commerce
e. Recruited armies from barbarians
f. Emperor kept separate
B. Justinian’s Achievements
1. 533 – a “moron” tried to reconquer western territory 2. Successes
a. Rebuilding Constantinople – architecture – Hagia Sophia b. Codification of Roman Law
i. reduced confusion
ii. organized empire
iii. spread Roman legal principles
c. W/ general Belisarius – conquered N. Africa
3. Failures
a. Unable to take/hold Italian empire
b. Westward expansion weakened his empire
1. Persian forces attacked from East
2. New tax pressure
C. Arab Pressure and the Empire’s Defenses
1. New focus after Justinian – defending boundaries
a. Withstood invasions of Arab Muslims in 7th century
1. Greek fire devastated Arab ships
2. Even though victory, but…
1. constant threat on borders
2. new economic burdens
3. less power for farmers > greater power to aristocratic generals
2. Slavic kingdoms – Bulgaria – pushed on empire
a. Marriages and military success helped unite regions
b. 1014 – Bulgaroktonos – defeated Bulgaria
1. Became most powerful monarch on earth
2. Capital city had awesome buildings, entertainment
D. Byzantine Society and Politics
1. Similar to early China
a. ordained by God – head of church and state
b. passed religious and secular laws
c. Elaborate court rituals
1. Kept separate
2. Immobilized rulers, prevented innovativeness
2. …but, women held imperial throne
a. Theodora – daughter or emperor, but refused to marry heir, sister did
1. Forced to live in monastery
2. Claimed control in 70
a. Checked power of unruly nobles
b. Limited bureaucratic corruption
c. Severely retaliated against political enemies
3. Maintaining order
a. Bureaucrats
1. Trained in Greek classics, philosophy and sciences
2. Recruited from all social classes
b. Officials close to emperor – eunuchs
c. Provincial leaders appointed from center
d. Spies everywhere
e. Military organization
1. Recruit and offer land
2. Military leaders could gain regional powr
f. Economically – hands on
1. Controlled food prices/regulated trade
2. Prices kept artificially low for urban rich
3. Trade – silk production, luxury goods – only China’s could compete
a. But merchants didn’t gain a lot of prestige, power...
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