similarities and differences between the byzantine empire and medieval europe

Topics: Byzantine Empire, Middle Ages, Roman Empire Pages: 4 (1052 words) Published: December 4, 2014

There are many similarities and differences between the Byzantine Empire and medieval Western Europe. There are also many factors that have contributed to their changes. The reign of these emperors and traditions of these empires had led to important historical developments and has also taught us on how political leaders should have ruled. The reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I from 482–565 C.E. was of both glory and destruction. Justinian reconquered much of the former Roman Empire while creating lasting legal codes and cultural icons such as the Hagia Sophia, the world’s largest cathedral. But as soon as Justinian came into power everything changed. He introduced all the laws that never existed into the government and he ended all already established customs. He eliminated existing offices, established regulations of the army and invented new ones for the management of public affairs. His reason for doing so was not to improve justice but just because he wanted everything new and named after himself, even if something was out of his control he renamed himself anyway. According to Chapter VII of the secret history, Procopius describes Justinian as: fake, two-faced, cruel, hypocritical, never moved to tears by either joy or pain, a liar always, a faithless friend, a treacherous enemy, insane for murder and plunder, quarrelsome and revolutionary, easily led to anything, never willing to listen to good counsel, quick to plan mischief and carry it out, but finding even the hearing of anything good distasteful to his ears. It is obvious that Procopius is not fond of Justinian. In fact, the Secret History was probably written because he could not openly criticize the Emperor. Procopius’ desire is obvious, it shows that he wants to show what a horrible emperor Justinian was. In my opinion, Procopius’ description might have been a bit exaggerated because Justinian is still known for various achievements throughout his reign. These included the building of Hagia...
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