Byzantine_Empire_and_Early_Russia_Notes

Byzantine_Empire_and_Early_Russia_Notes - AP World History...

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AP World History Ms. Gadel The Byzantine Empire and Early Russia The Early Byzantine Empire It is important to point that when we speak of the fall of the Roman Empire we are speaking about the fall of the Western part of the empire and not the eastern part. In the east the Roman Empire for almost 1000 years protected the West from Muslim expansion and invasion. By the time the empire collapsed in 1453 its religious mission had been accomplished and its political concepts had spread among the Slavic peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia. The ancient Greek city of Byzantium was formally christened as "new Rome" in 330 C.E. New Rome eventually was to be called Constantinople and as the western part of the Roman empire fell to foreign invaders, Constantinople turned eastward to secure its economic livelihood and culture and gradually became less and less Roman and Western and more Greek and oriental. In the 6 th century, Justinian ruled the eastern empire from 527 to 565 and his ambition was to restore the Roman Empire to its previous size and power. Apparently many of his ideas and successes were due to his wife Theodora who had been a common dancer from poor background. Justinian, in order to restore the glory of Rome and defeat Germanic armies first bought off the Persian Kings who threatened Syria and Asia Minor. In 533 he seized North Africa from the Vandals, but it took 20 years of war for his generals to retrieve Italy from the Ostrogoths and in the process most of the great cities of Italy lay in rubble. He also recovered a small part of Spain. With Justinian’s death in 565 the greatest period in Byzantine history had ended and the tired empire entered a period of instability lasting from 600 to 900 C.E... Post-Justinian Slavic tribes had invaded the Balkans, a new wave of Asiatic nomads were being kept at the gates of the empire only by paying tribute, and the Persians were well on their way of conquering Syria, Palestine and Egypt. But the emperor Heraclius who ruled from 610 to 640 conducted 3 brilliant military campaigns and destroyed the Persian Empire and regained Syria, Palestine, Egypt and the Holy Cross. The empire was then confronted with a new enemy that of Islam and Arabs attacked the Byzantine Empire and by the middle of the seventh century they had subjugated Palestine, Syria, Persia, Egypt and most of Northern Africa. Every year an Arab fleet attacked Constantinople and the weakened empire was also threatened by the Bulgars who in 680 would settle in what today is Bulgaria. By 700 the entire empire stood on the verge of disintegration. Leo the III saved the empire with the aid of new technology called Greek Fire which was essentially a primitive form of flame thrower and drove back a desperate Arab assault on Constantinople in 718.
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