Comparing and Contrasting the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe

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The Byzantine Empire and Western Europe originally were part of the Roman Empire, but by the Middle Ages, they were vastly different, though they shared common traits, but by the 300's, the Byzantine Empire had far surpassed Western Europe in trade and economics and political unity, while both empires were having arguments over religion.

Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire had very different government structures. The Byzantine Empire was ruled by an Emperor and instead of direct rule, used civil service to effectively run the empire. This contrasted to the political structure of Western Europe which was divided into different "countries" only by which language was spoken and where the feudal system was prominent, without any centralized government until the Late Middle Ages. Although both the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe were predominantly Christian, Christianity led to a major divide between the two. Clashes between the Pope and Patriarch over who had more authority and power and over interpretation of practices within the church lead to the Great Schism. The Christian church split into the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodoxy Church. Along with religious differences, Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire had vastly different economies. European practices of manorialism lead to an agricultural based economy with little trading outside of Europe, while the Byzantine Empire became the wealthiest empire in Europe. This is because Constantinople was the bridge between Europe and the rest of the world, and became the center of east-west trade. Constantinople was the major trading stop in Europe on the Silk Road, not only because of its geographical location but also because of its diverse population.

Christianity played a major role in both the governments of Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire. In the Byzantine Empire, the Patriarch had a direct influence on politics, just as in Western Europe, where the Pope was regarded as a higher...
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