The Byzantine Empire

728 Words3 Pages
Western Medieval Europe and the Byzantine Empire were originally part of the Roman Empire. It was not until the Middle Ages, they started to become very different even though they shared several common traits. The Byzantine Empire had surpassed much of Western Europe by the 300's, not only in trade and economics, but also in politics even while both argued over religion.
The Byzantine and Western Europe had vastly different structures for their governments, empires or not. The Byzantines were ruled by an Emperor, but who used civil service to help run their government instead of a direct ruler. Western Europe divided its political structure into different "countries", and it has been suggested that they divided them based only by the local spoken language and this supported the feudal system prominently until the Late Middle Ages. The West had no centralized government and at that time ruled by popes and princes, while the East became ruled by only one ruler.
Although both the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe were predominantly Christian, there was eventually a major divide between the two. In the Byzantine Empire, the Patriarch had a direct influence on politics, just as in Western Europe, where the Pope was more influential. Friction between the Patriarch and the Pope over whom had more power, higher authority, and over interpretation of the practices of the church, lead to what has become known as the Great Schism. Thus this would signal the splitting the Christian church into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

While attempts were made for an official union between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches were not wholly successful, it has been suggested that exchange and compromise could be seen in t...

... middle of paper ...

...e harvesting family would have enough to see them through as well. This led to little agricultural trading outside of Europe while the Byzantines through, Constantinople’s prime location on the Silk Road and outside trade aided by its diverse population, became Europe's wealthiest empire.
As we look back into both long moments in history, we can see how the two, while starting out along the same path and beliefs, had branched away from one another. These differences, whether influences by outside or internal sources, helped shape not only the future for their worlds but also for ours. If it had not been for Constantinople’s prime trade location, or had they ignored the opportunity, they too could have easily stifled their economic and cultural growth. While the Medieval Western European culture was slower to expand, they did eventually blossom, prosper and survive.

More about The Byzantine Empire

Open Document