Byzantium versus Western Europe Essay

Byzantium versus Western Europe Essay

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The Eastern part of the Roman Empire held imperial power headed by the city Byzantium later renamed Constantinople after the emperor Constantine (316). It remained the capital until Charlemagne revived the Western Empire (316). Between 324 and 330, “the Byzantine Empire passed from an early period of expansion and splendor to a time of sustained contradiction and splintering and, finally, catastrophic defeat” (316). The first period; between 324 and 632, of Byzantine history experienced great successes territorially, politically, and culturally (317). Especially, under the reign of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora; both intelligent and tough; even to the extent of being called tyrants by their court historian and biographer (317-18). During their reign, there were more than 1500 cities, Constantinople being the largest filled with great size and splendor (317). Between the fourth and fifth centuries Decurions; councils of 200 local, wealthy, landowners, governed the cities (318). By the sixth century however, the decurion councils were replaced by special governors deemed more reliable by the emperor (318). Justinian also ordered a revision of Roman law and created several compilations with the aid of a committee of learned lawyers (320, 342). The compilations later became the foundation for most European law (320). The first compilation; Code, revised imperial edicts, the second; Novellae, presented the decrees issued by Justinian and his successors, the third; the Digest, compilation of old legal experts’ opinions, and the fourth compilation; the Institutes, a practical textbook for young scholars (320). Still, this strengthening of the empire did not allow him to retrieve the Western imperial lands conquered by barbarians...


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...ir religion upon the people (325). Thus, these peoples found refuge in Muslims from Byzantine oppression (325). Muslim conquerors tolerated other religions and offered protection for many peoples (326). Christian Europe developed a lasting fear and suspicion of the Muslims as they were assaulted and challenged by them at all fronts (326) In both the east and west the Muslim invasion was confronted and halted though contact between Muslims and Christians continued (326). Muslims regarded Byzantium “as a model to learn from and improve upon” (326). Despite the differences between the Christian west and the Muslim world, there was creative interchange between the two (326). Sine the Arabs were more advanced, the West benefited from this interchange most (326).
Oftentimes, the Church became an important force for Western Europe through invasions, changes, etc (328).

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