Two disadvantages: The Byzantine Empire was always at war and the people did not know if they belonged to Europe or the Middle East.Use the map at the end of the lesson to verify that you can identify the Byzantine Empire.
The Defense of the Byzantine Empire
Those negative aspects might explain some things about the empire’s capital which, one again,was called Constantinople. The city was built like a triangle with two sides facing water and onlyone entrance on the third side. Why did they build the city that way?Defense is the answer. If you brought an army to Constantinople to attack it, you could onlyenter the city from one direction. At that entrance you would find a single arch with a great gatethat could be closed in such cases. Conquering the city would be very difficult. It was built in thesame manner as a castle that had one entrance that could be closed at any time.
The leaders of the Byzantine Empire were obviously aware of this dilemma andthey took various steps to avoid the destruction of the empire. If you had beenin charge and were faced with the problems that the Byzantines had, whatwould you have done? Explain why you would have done the things you wrotedown.
The Byzantines took many smart steps to guarantee their existence.
First, they developed an extensive
. Why would spies help guarantee theempire would be safe? The spies could warn the Byzantine leaders if an attack wascoming their way
Problems Faced by the Byzantine Empire
I want to add one other difficulty faced by the Byzantine Empire that they were able toovercome. Constantinople had a population of roughly one million people. What kind of problems does such a large population present?There are many problems with a city of a million people.
How do you feed all those people every day?
How do you keep the city clean?
How do you house all those people?
All of these concerns were addressed by the Byzantines. That is not to suggestthat everyone was happy in the empire. Who do you think were the unhappypeople of the empire?