The Byzantine Empire

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The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire was one of the most beautiful empires in the history of the world. It had beautiful architecture, as well as revolutionary ideas that shaped much of the world we live in today. Without the impact of the Byzantine Empire, the world might be very different.

One of the most important characteristics of the Byzantine Empire was their cities. Standing out among the others, Constantinople. Constantinople, now Istanbul, was a beautiful and prosperous city. It had huge walls built to protect it. These were the largest city walls in the world. The walls were made out of a special marble that came from an island called Marma. On the island, slaves worked in quarries known as “Quarries of the Mother of God.” The city of Constantinople had over 400 churches at one time, and was a very important religious center.

Another very important characteristic of the Byzantine Empire was their architecture. Scattered around their cities were obelisks, large marble pyramid-like structures, which often had pictures carved into them. One of the most common pictures seemed to be a carving of the emperor deciding the fate of a deceased person, playing god, in essence. Another marvelous architectural feat of Byzantium was the Hagia Sophia. Built by the emperor Justinian for his wife, Theodora, it was designed to be the most important Christian church in the world. It had beautiful stained glass art lit by the light of 1000 candles.

The final, and probably most important characteristic of Byzantine culture was their form of entertainment. In the center of town was a large racetrack known as the Hippodrome. The word “Hippodrome” comes from the words for “Horse” and “Racetrack.” Here, people could watch free races, as well as circus acts and plays.

An important event in the history of Byzantium is the death of Theodora, the wife of Justinian. Theodora was a very important and smart political leader. It stood out very much after her death,...
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