The Byzantine Empire and Russia The “fall” of the Roman Empire was really only half a fall. Although Germanic tribes defeated the Western Roman Empire in the AD 400s and 500s, the Eastern Roman Empire successfully fought off the invaders. Also called the Byzantine Empire - included Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and other areas. Through the Byzantines the glory of the Roman Empire lived on. “Byzantine” is Greek for “Empire of the Romans” Emperor Justinian ruled from AD 527 – 565 Ordered scholars to collect laws of Roman Empire – called Justinian Code, formed basis for Byzantine law Justinian changed laws to improve status of women All-powerful emperor and strong central government ruled empire Also had effective military forces to protect its frontiers Built strong navy in AD 500’s Ships had chemical weapon called “Greek fire” – burst into flames Constantinople was grand city; allowed Byzantines to control sea trade routes Pope was most powerful leader in West Byzantines did not recognize pope’s authority – the leader of Constantinople was seen as church leader Byzantines were divided on issue of icons – some kept icons of Jesus, Mary, and saints in their homes and churches Iconoclasts were against icons – thought this was the same as idol worship Debate from this was called Iconoclastic Controversy Pope and bishops threatened iconoclasts with excommunication (no longer a member of church) Decision led to split of Christian church in AD 1054: West: Roman Catholic Church (pope as leader) East: Eastern Orthodox Church (emperor of Constantinople as leader) Still separate today – Eastern Orthodox finally did come to accept icons Roman Catholic Eastern Orthodox Clergy No married priests allowed Married priests allowed Icons Accepted Initially rejected; later accepted Leadership Roman pope was supreme authority Rejected supremacy of pope over local leaders Trinity Accepted view that the Holy Spirit combines both Father and Son Maintained that the Father was supreme in the Trinity Church of Hagia Sophia (“holy wisdom”) – ordered by Justinian in AD 532. Considered to be an architectural and engineering wonder. Byzantines were first to place a round dome over a rectangular building. After Justinian died in 565, the Empire suffered from many wars and conflicts with outside powers By 650, the Byzantines had lost many lands Ottoman Turks (Muslims) captured Constantinople in 1453 and ended the Byzantine Empire Constantinople became known as Istanbul, which means “Islam in Abundance” This map shows boundary changes in the Byzantine Empire due to the conquests of Emperor Justinian. This map shows the decline of the Byzantine Empire from 565 to 1050. After Justinian’s death, internal conflicts and invasions by Germanic, Slavic, and Persian forces led to the loss of much of the territory Justinian had conquered. By 1050 the empire was only a shadow of its former self.