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Byzantine Empire
Name: __________________________________
Period: __________
Texts: History Alive p. 61-67.
Across the Centuries handout p. 42-45
1. What is the relationship between the Byzantine Empire and the Roman
Empire? Why do we study them together?
The Byzantine Empire was the continuation of the Roman
Empire. It was what the east became after the west fell to the
2. What were the Nike Riots?
a. Why did the people try to overthrow the emperor in the Nike Riots?
Citizens were upset about high taxes and corruption of city government
Two groups were upset about an arrest of some of their members after a
b. How did Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora respond to the
riots? (Discuss them individually)
Justinian didn’t succeed at first, he wanted to flee. Theodora said,
“We can’t flee. It would be better to die, than to flee.” With her
encouragement, he stopped the riots by killing 30,000 people.
3. How was the Justinian Code similar to the Code of Hammurabi, and how
does it still affect us today?
 both helped contain and control the city
 like Hammurabi’s the laws weren’t all fair, but they did keep control.
 Influences our laws today still.
4. What is the most famous building from the Byzantine Empire, and why is
it significant? Draw a sketch of it below.
Hagia Sophia; influences/inspired the style of eastern orthodox churches
Roman Empire
Byzantine Empire
The map at the right shows the Byzantine Empire in 527 when Justinian I
came to power. Use the map in the textbook to help you color in the
additional land gained by Justinian by 565.
How does the geography of the Byzantine Empire under Justinian compare
to the geography of the Roman Empire at its height?
The Roman Empire was larger, but Justinian did manage to regain much of the
land from the former Roman Empire. Both empires surrounded the Mediterranean
Sea, and had approximately the same shape in the east. The Byzantine empire was
missing some of the land in the far north and west, like Spain, Gaul, and Britain.
6. Describe the religious culture of the Byzantine Empire.
a. How was it similar to and different from the religious environment
of the Roman Empire?
In early years, Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire until
Constantine permitted the religion and then Theodosius made it the official
religion of the Empire. The Byzantine Empire was Christian from the start, and
this time it was the other regions that were persecuted. The Empire was based
on Christianity, and other religious traditions, like Judaism, were not allowed.
b. Describe the dual-role of the Byzantine Emperor and its
The emperor was the head of state and the living representative of God and
Jesus. The church and government were combined.
7. What were some of the tensions between the west and the Byzantine
Popes in Rome thought they still had control over Eastern churches and
Christians, and the Byzantines resented that.
They disagreed about how to practice their religion, i.e. the use of icons.