A.An Empire Beleaguered
•Between 634 and 650 the Arabs captured the Byzantines as well as the Egyptians, the Syrians, and the area of Tunisia. The land lost to them and the Muslims was never gained back, even after the Empire’s military strength was regained. The crusades in the Middle East helped to spread Christianity for a short time before the foothold was lost to the Muslims •The Byzantines faced the threat of invasion from the north (the Germanic tribes) and from the south (the Slavs and the Turkic people) •Over time in the empire, the relations between the Pope and the princes worsened •The great schism between the Latin Church and the Orthodox Church took place in 1054, a split that still exists today.
B.Society and Urban Life
•The economic wealth and late Roman Imperial system in the east initially sheltered the Byzantine Empire from the pitfalls and depression going on in the Western part of Europe. •The Byzantines and East Europe was struck with the Black Plague, just as the people of Western Europe were. •During the Byzantine time period, the upper elite class shrunk in size, making the remaining few ever the more important. •Woman’s status dropped during this era as well; they were confined to the households and only went out in public under a veil. •The Byzantine Empire monopolized the market and the economic system, slowing trade and the spread of technology. Eventually though, East Europe began to catch up technology-wise, to the rest of West Europe
C. Cultural Achievements
-The Byzantines most archeologically advanced and most beautiful building was the Hagia Sophia. Byzantine styles of architecture, painting, and music were passed along and used a lot in Western Europe.
II. Early Medieval Europe (600-1000)
-Insecurity from invaders and pillagers led to the break down of the Imperialistic government, and led many local people to look towards a local lord or knight for protection.
A. A Time of Insecurity
•In the 700s, the area of East Europe was in turmoil. Invaders from all over began conquests and the Vikings began to seize areas of land. •Charlemagne’s empire was split into 3 parts after his death and they were never reunited. The West spoke French, the middle was Burgundy, and to the east were the German-speaking areas.
B. A Self-Sufficient Economy
•The Roman’s centralized, urbanized government was broken down and the importance of urban communities declined. Public works and roads fell into disrepair, and trade broke down as small communities began to rely more on their own resources and less on the decentralized government system. A uniform currency broke down back to a primitive bartering system. •Diets consisted of beer, butter/lard, bread, wheat, nuts, local game, and farm-raised pigs. The elite upper class of nobles ate better than the peasants, but the peasant diet was still reasonably decent. Their diet would be better than those of their descendants, because later on as the nobles gained more and more power the monopolized the food and recourses. •Most peasants lived on a manor. A manor was a self-sufficient town ruled over by a lord or knight. In return for their crops and labor, the peasants would receive political and physical protection from the lord. These manors usually had villages of farmers and fields, with a mill and other necessary shops and buildings. The manor also usually had fortifications or defenses, especially in the 12th century as they became necessary to defend the manor from jealous lords and pillagers. •Nobles lived much better and easier lives than peasants and serfs. •Prisoners of war eventually became less important...