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The Byzantine Empire First Appeared Around A

The Byzantine Empire First Appeared Around A



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Published by: api-3811132 on Oct 18, 2008
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The Byzantine Empire first appeared around A.D. 400 and lasted for more thanone thousand years. The Byzantine Empire was completely broken up by 1453.Many factors played a role in the growth and the decline of this empire. Themost important factor was the Byzantine Empire’s geographic location. Wheredo you think the Byzantine Empire was located?The Byzantine Empire was located on the western border of the Middle Eastand the eastern border of Europe. In present day geography, the heart of theEmpire (which was called Constantinople and is now known as Istanbul) islocated in TurkeyThe geographic location of the Empire was both a positive and a negativefactor. Can you think of reasons why its location would be both a positive and anegative factor?Positive
Let's begin with the reasons the location of the Byzantine Empire would be a positive factor.
Since the Byzantine Empire had contact with people and nations in both theMiddle East and Europe, it had a greater market to trade with. Also, as Europeansbegan trading with Asia there were only two ways to get there, either by land (whichwould take the trader through the Byzantine Empire) or by sea.NegativeThe negative aspects of the empire's location included the following:
If some other nation wanted to expand its territory it would inevitably look atgoing to war with the Byzantine Empire. The empire was always defending itself againstattacks from other nations because of its location and its wealth
1.List two pros about the location of the Byzantine EmpireTwo advantages: The Byzantine Empire was in a great location for tradewith both Europe and the Middle East and the Empire had developed a lot of technology2.List two cons about the location of the Byzantine Empire
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
spy network
. 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?
The poor people within the Byzantine Empire were not happy.
It would be like working for a king, hearing him bad-mouth the poor, and then going home toyour hut and having a half a loaf of bread to eat. You would begin to resent the fact that youwere so poor and others had so much money. Many times over the one thousand years of theempire's existence the poor people revolted. When people revolt within an empire, it isconsidered a civil war or civil conflict.
With all of these problems from within the empire and without, one has towonder how the Byzantines survived for as long as they did. What do you thinkthe answer is?
The main reasons the empire lasted for so long were
Good leadership
Able civil servants
A strong armyA bad king or president can destroy a nation quickly. That type of leader never came to power inthe Byzantine Empire. Civil servants are the people who see to the daily actions of the nation or empire. For the Byzantines, the civil servants did a good job and worked hard. Finally, theByzantine army could defend the empire if called upon to do so.
The Fall of the Byzantine Empire
So, why did the Byzantine Empire fall? To answer that question we have to ask and answer another question first. When the empire first began to grow, what was happening in Europe?
Europe was going through the Middle Ages. Without going into much detail onthe Middle Ages, there was very little growth in Europe at the time. Thecontinent as a whole was very weak. Consequently, the Byzantine Empire hadlittle trouble establishing its borders; it faced no opposition from Europe. By thetime the Byzantine Empire began to fall, Europe was experiencing theRenaissance, a time of much growthA second reason the empire fell concerned religion. Why would a Christiannation attack another Christian nation? There are many reasons. But, if youwere to ask a European from A.D. 1200 about Christians in the ByzantineEmpire, he or she would not think too highly of them. Why? Even though bothEuropeans and Byzantines professed to be Catholics, there were some major differences in the way that the two sides practiced their religion. First, people inthe Byzantine Empire did not accept the pope as their religious leader. Who doyou think they accepted?

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