Short History of the Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire reached its climax during the sovereignty of Emperor Justinian 1. Italy, southern Spain, and North Africa, were conquered by the Byzantines. The Justinian code of laws was developed, and the Church of Hagia Sophia was built. Southern Spain was lost to the Visigoths and Italy was lost to the Lombard’s after Justinian’s death. There was a long war between Persia and Byzantium, to which both empires were weakened. Avars, nomadic Asiatic people, drove the Byzantines away.
Muslim Arabs attacked the Byzantine Empire around 632 A.D., yet was not all that successful, and the siege was abandoned in 718. Several centuries later, the Byzantine Empire was still secure and wealthy. During the 8th and 9th centuries, contention broke out over the use of sacred images, icons, and the power of the pope. These conflicts contributed to the split between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church in 1054. Russian rulers were converted to Byzantine Christianity by Byzantine missionaries.
The Byzantine Empire as attacked again by Muslims in the 11th century, this time by the Muslim Seljuk Turks. The Muslims conquered Byzantine and Arab lands in the Middle East, including the area of Palestine. Palestine would be fought over for 2 centuries, Christian Crusaders from Europe. The Byzantine Empire was finally destroyed by the Ottoman Turks. The nomadic people moved to the Middle East after their conversion to Islam.
The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, thus the end of the Byzantine Empire. The city was renamed Istanbul by the new ruler, named Muhammad 2. Major changes were made, the capital of the Byzantine Empire became the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and The Hagia Sophia Church became a house of worship for Islam.