The Byzantium Empire

The Roman Empire wasn't the same when it was divided into its Western and Eastern Empires. The Roman Empire by the time of the late 5th century suffered through invasions and radical changes. The Roman Empire experienced ebbs and flows of economic prosperity and economic recessions. The Emperor divided the empire in half as a way for the Empire to efficiently govern the total Empire. Civil wars came about in the western half of the Empire. The Western Roman Empire was defeated by the Huns and other tribes by 476 A.D. Rome was sacked by invaders during that time. The Roman Empire fell because of economic, political, and social reasons. The Eastern Roman Empire evolved into the Byzantine Empire. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire was mostly stable, because it steered clear mostly of huge conflicts. The Roman Empire decided later to formed a new capital in the former Greek city of Byzantium. Constantine renamed it Constantinople. Constantinople is called Istanbul today. Istanbul is a mostly Islamic city with its Islamic architecture, Muslim culture, etc. The Byzantine Empire was a famous Empire. Its contributions still influence world societies presently including the society of the United States of America. The capital of the Byzantine Empire is located in the city of Constantinople. This city has great geographic significance. The reason is that it's located between the Black Sea and it is near the Mediterranean Sea. Therefore, a lot of trade between Asia, Europe, and Africa had to come through the Byzantine Empire. Since Constantinople experienced a great deal of trade, social stability existed for a long time. Also, the city was a strategic location and Constantinople was very wealthy (including the rest of the Byzantine empire). Religiously, the leadership of this empire was once heavily Roman Catholic. This changed in 1054. In that year, there was a controversy over the

worship of icons. Christian leaders in Byzantine didn't want to worship icons. The Roman Catholic Church wanted the veneration of icons. This caused a split. The Byzantine Empire soon allowed the existence of the Greek Orthodox Church by 1054 A.D. and the Catholic Church continued to dominate Western Europe (until the Protestant Reformation of the 1500's. The Protestant Reformation had its baggage, but the Protestant Reformation was right to oppose the authority of the Pope. The movement was also correct to believe in the real priesthood of all believers under God). The Orthodox Church refused to submit to the spiritual power of the Pope. This broke the Papal power over the churches in the East. To this day, Romanism wants to control all churches in the world via Ecumenicalism and so-called “interfaith” dialogue. The Byzantine Empire was important in history because it allowed the preservation of Roman & Greek culture and it allowed cultural diffusion. Cultural diffusion is when culture spreads among nations. For example, there was culture diffusion in ancient China when Chinese culture (that include paper, language, other inventions, governmental structure, the class system, farming, etc.) spread from China into Korea (and finally into Japan).

There are tons of information that is known about the Byzantium Empire. The Eastern European region (which is the home base of the Byzantine Empire) was heavily Hellenized. That means that Eastern Europe during the early centuries of the first millennium experienced a great deal of influence from the Greek culture. This influence of Greek came about to the Byzantine Empire via the Macedonian Empire, and the Roman Empire (including from the Greek colonies in the Black Sea region). By 330 A.D. Emperor Constantine founded Constantinople as a second Rome on the site of Byzantium (This location was between the trade routes to connect the East and West). Constantine developed more administrative reforms that were introduced by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Diocletian was a notorious Christ-hater. Constantine stabilized the coinage or the gold solidus (which was a stable currency). He made structural changes to the Army. This caused a period of military strength, stability, and prosperity under the reign of Emperor Constantine. He or Constantine granted Christianity imperial preference or basic privileges. Previous Roman Emperors would outright murder Christians. For example, the Roman Emperor Nero falsely accused Christians of burning the city of Rome. Therefore, Nero allowed the slaughter and murder of innocent Christians in the 1st century A.D. It is said that the apostles Peter and Paul were the victims of this persecution. After Constantine, the Roman Empire would make Christianity its own official region. Constantine didn't believe that the Emperor should settle theological disputes among churches. He believed instead in organizing ecclesiastical councils for that purpose. This is why he convened the Synod of Arles and the First Council of Nicea in claiming to be the head of the Church. The Council of Nicea allowed churches to be more centralized in Rome. The Eastern Empire didn't have as much difficulties as the Western Empire. The reasons were that the Eastern Empire had a more urban culture, it had greater financial resources, etc. Also, the leaders of the Eastern Empire paid tribute to invaders and paid foreign mercenaries. A tribute is a bribe to prevent an invader from conquering your territory. After Constantine died, there came Theodosius I. The East was ruled by Arcadius after Theodosius and the West was ruled by Honorius. Arcadius and Honorius are Theodosius I's sons. Constantinople was fortified in its walls by Theodosius II.
Justinian I was the most famous Emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Justinian ruled in 527 A.D. His (who was the son of an Illyrian peasant) reign saw the Byzantine Empire recovering former territories. For example, he sent his general Belisarius to get the former province of Africa form the Vandals, who had been in control since 429 with their capital at Carthage. The Vandals were Germanic tribes that invaded Europe and Northern Africa. The Germanic tribes defeated the Roman Empire plainly speaking. Justinian paid a tribute annually to the Saddanids (or a Persian Empire in that time period). The Saddanids were just as power as the ancient Roman Empire in military strength and culture. Justinian's wife was Empress Theodora. She supported Monophysite Patriach Anthimus I of Constantinople, but Justinian didn't. Justinian's forces captured Rome by December 17, 546. By 529 A.D., The Emperor allowed a 10 man

commission chaired by Tribonian to revise the ancient Roman legal code to form a new code called Codex Justinianus. A Codex means code or a complication of rules. The Codex Justinianus was updated and reorganized into the system of law used for the rest of the Byzantine era. The Corpus Juris Civilis is the total composition of the Byzantine laws (it includes changes to old Roman laws as well). The Corpus Juris Civilis is also called the Justinian Code (made up of 4 parts called the Code, the Digest, Institutes, and Novels). The purpose of the Justinian Code was the organize Roman law and create rules that interpret Roman laws. The Justinian Code united church and state by making Christianity the state region of the empire. There are laws that forbid certain pagan practices like you can be experience something similar to an indictment of murder (if persons were present in a pagan sacrifice). Much of the Justinian Code influenced the laws of Western Europe. Even today, the Justinian code (made up of civil law) is related the European Union's civil laws. Justinian's rule caused Byzantine to experience its

peak of culture and prosperity.

Also, architectural achievements were made during his reign and throughout the era of the Byzantine Empire. One great example of this architecture was the completion of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Today, the church of Hagia Sophia has been transformed into a famous mosque. It was finished in 562 A.D. Hagia Sophia means Holy Spirit. Justinian died in November 16, 565 in Constantinople. Byzantine expanded its trade under Justinian and other Emperors. Trade is important in ancient civilization in numerous ways. Trade can allow goods to come into various locations. Trade can build economies in locations and trade and cause more cultural diffusion. Cultural diffusion is the spreading of cultures between nations or civilizations in a fluid fashion. Greek Orthodox Christianity and the Byzantine Empire allowed people in the Byzantine Empire to form their own unique style of art and architecture. One of the easiest ways to under Byzantine art was to understand mosaics. Mosaics are forms of art that use little sections (made up of clay, and other materials) to create elaborate images. Much of that kind of art existed in Constantinople. This art spread into Europe and across the world. Mosaics are one dimensional, but they are highly colored in advanced patterns.

The art of the Byzantine is detailed, very creative, and some of the images look stoic. You can detect about how the faces of the people in these works as looking very serious in the face. The image to the left is the famous image of Christ found in Hagia Sophia. This image has been called Christ Pantocrator. Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is both man and God. Therefore, Pantocrator means all Powerful in the Greek language. The image wanted to present Jesus as omnipotent and all knowing too (whose Hebrew equivalent words are YHVH Tzevaot or the Lord of Hosts and El Shaddai or God Almighty). I know what you’re thinking. Does this image look like the real face of Jesus Christ? LOL. That’s the million dollar question indeed and the answer to the question is very transparent. People will have to keep it real. LOL. Even God has a sense of humor. The painting to the right describes the St. Demetrios with donors. It is a mosiac image from the church of Hagios Demetrios in Thessaloniki. (during the late 7th to early 8th century) Thessaloniki is found in modern day Greece. It was found by King Cassander of Macedon in ca. 315 A.D.

One famous mosaic image is the image of Christ (being flanked by Mary and John the Baptist) as found in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The Hagia Sophia is a domed church and today, there are Islamic influences in it (like the minarets, etc.). The painting is found in the upper gallery. Some mosaics were made as late as the 12th century during the era of the Byzantine Empire. Similar art are found in Bulgaria, Russia, and other Eastern Orthodox nations. Ancient Greek and ancient Roman art influenced Byzantine art. How? Well, in ancient Byzantine there were large classical sculptures in Constantinople. Some of Byzantine was more abstract or symbolic. Frescoes were found in the empire as well. Frescoes are found in the ancient Etruscan culture and the ancient Roman culture. In the early years of the Byzantine Empire, there were reliefs of events like the Edict of Milan.

What was the Edict of Milan? This happened after the Roman Emperor Diocletian persecuted Christians. Diocletian was one (if not the most) anti-Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire since he allowed the murder of thousands of innocent Christians via persecution. The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by Emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The letter proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire. The letter was issued in 313 A.D. This period caused more tolerance, but the Roman Empire still tried to harm the rights of non-approved Christian churches in that time and later. The Council of Nicea of 325 A.D. was one of the most important historical events in human history. It changed the world literally. The Emperor Constantine wanted to centralize religious power in the area of Rome. He gathered scholars to promote this system of the even unscriptural union of the church and state. The Council of Nicea was headed by the Emperor and Emperor Constantine was an unsaved sun worshipper until the day he died. Near his death, he was baptized since he believed in the false doctrine of works alone salvation including the heresy of baptismal regeneration. Baptimsal regeneration is one critical doctrine of Romanism and Roman Catholic priest confer this tenet to all followers of Romanism. This was the beginning of the modern Roman Catholic system. Constantinople is named after Constantine and that city becomes very wealthy because of its economic organization (and military strength). By 606 A.D., there was another development in the evolution of Romanism. This was the time when Pope Boniface II was given the universal “Spiritual Power” by the bloodly murderer Phocus (the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Byzantine Empire. Phocus reigned from Constantinople). This means that the Bishop of Rome Boniface was falsely called the leader of all Christians in the world. This is the greatest usurping power over the legitimate cliam of the risen Lord Jesus Christ as found in Matthew 29:18-20. In other words, no man is the bishop of bishops or should have leadership over all Christians (or any believers) except God alone. As one quote says:

“‘We desire to love all men,’ meekly replied the venerable Briton; ‘and what we do for you, we will do for him also whom you call the pope. But he is not entitled to call himself the father of fathers, and the only submission we can render him is that which we owe to every Christian.’” -The Briton reply to Augustine of Canterbury (7th Century), as found in J.H. Merle d’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, trans. Dr. H. White, Vol. V (Rapidan, VA: Harland Publications, reprinted 1846 London edition), pp. 684.

In 256 A.D., Cyprian assembled the Seventh Council of Carthage, and the eighty-seven bishops declared: “It remains, that upon this same matter each of us should bring forward what we think, judging no man, nor rejecting any one from the right of communion, if he should think differently from us. For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there.” William Webster gives us the history behind this one: “In the middle of the third century Cyprian wrote a letter (254 A.D.) to the bishops of the Spanish Church. They had deposed two unworthy bishops who had subsequently appealed to the bishop of Rome. He then reversed the judgment and demanded that the individuals be reinstated. Cyprian openly defied the bishop of Rome’s ruling by advising the Spanish bishops to disregard this order and adhere to their original decision.” -William Webster, The Church of Rome at the Bar of History (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), p.59.

Therefore, one man shouldn’t control all of the churches. There is no bishop of bishops in true Christianity for independent believers can express their faith greatly.

This is one bronze statue of Emperor Constantine that was erected in 1998. He is said to be a tall man. This large structure is found inside of the city of York, UK. Ironically enough, his ancestry is linked to Britain. The British Empire has many similarities to the ancient Roman Empire indeed. The statue has Constantine holding unto a large sword.

It's found out that the Emperor Constantine had Druid ties. His father was a Roman soldier. His mother was Princess Helena. Helena was the Druidess daughter of King Coel of Colchester. Constantine spread the union of church and state throughout the Roman Empire. He lived from 274 to 337 A.D. and he was the Emperor of Rome from 306 to 337 A.D. Druid sorcerers like other pagans loved & utilized the cross and crescent moon image. Along with Belenus and Teutates, one of the three chief false gods of these sons of darkness was named Esus. Christianity was spreading rapidly in the Roman Empire and in Britain before the reign of Emperor Constantine. In the early days of Christianity, pagans believed that Chrstianity was just a sect or branch of Judaism. The believers believed that Christianity is part of the New Covenant as predicted by the prophet Jeremiah as found in Jeremiah 31:31. Druidism is very secretive, yet Christian doctrine and practices are overt. Even Moses wrote all of the words of Mosaic Law down. Many Freemasons admit that the doctrines of the Druids influence their Masonic ritual composition. Before Constantine, the Roman Pontiffs or Emperors wanted to destroy Christianity. Nero, Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Decius, Valerian, Diocletian were all pagan Emperors that persecuted real Christians. Now, the Druids like many pagans performed human sacrifice. Esus is their tree god and they were known for executing socrecy and secrecy in

the world. The Druids' big night was October 31—the eve of Samhain—which was the beginning of the Druid's New Year. Human sacrifices were made to their demonic god Esus by hanging the victims on trees. Constantine borrowed the cross symbol from the Druids (who didn't have a written language for years) in Britannia and others in the Mystery School from other places. The Romans at first hated the Druids. They terrorized the Druids or Celtic peoples and conquered Britain by ca. 43 A.D. During the reign of Nero, Roman soldiers flogged Queen Boedicca and raped her two daughters. Later, the Romans worked with the Druids in order to promote the interests of the Roman Empire. Constantine's father was named Constantinus Chlorus. He lived ca. 245 to 306 A.D. Constantine the Great was raised in Britain filled with Druids. People know about the hoax of the Donation of Constantine. That was based on the legend that Pope Sylvester cured Emperor Constantine of leprosy and then baptized him. As a "thank you" to the Pope, Constantine gave him dominion over the entire world. The pagans couldn't destroy Christianity by force. So, they worked with Constantine in order to try to infiltrate it by stealth.

To this very day, the Roman Catholic Church wants to control Orthodox Greece. The Ecumenical Movement is one tool today in the Papacy's arsenal in order for the Papacy to attempt to achieve the goal of domination of Christendom. Italy has an embassy in Athens. Yet, the Vatican still doesn't have an embassy in Greece. The Orthodox Church and Romanism have huge disagreements on the mode of baptism, the use of unleavened bread (The Eastern Orthodox Church continues the ancient practice of using leavened bread in the Eucharist. Thus, the sacramental bread symbolizes the Resurrected Christ), the addition of the Filioque to the NiceneConstantinople (when the Bible is very clear that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father), and the erroneous Petrine primacy (or the lie that Peter is the superior apostle out of the 11 others, so the Papacy is superior to all other churches. This doctrine [promotes a verse from the book of Matthew] teachers that the Vatican is the location of the real head of Christianity). This is why the Orthodox Church rejects purgatory of the idea that a person can have a second chance to be saved after death. The Orthodox Church doesn't have the like minded Jesuit spy group that follows people around the Earth. Greek Orthodoxy even forbids pagan cremation and they reject the use of images. They have one dimensional icons. It's interesting to note that the Messiah calls himself Alpha and Omega 4 times in the book of Revelation. The Messiah's name in Koine
Greek consists of 6 letters: Iota, omega, sigma, eta, upsilon, alpha. So, the Lord knew what he was doing with his power. Even in the New Testament, there are presbyters in cities not priests as

Romanism teaches. Even the pro-Papal corrupt Vulgate has the word presbyters in Titus 1:5: "...huius rei gratia reliqui te Cretae ut ea quae desunt corrigas et constituas per civitates presbyteros sicut ego tibi disposui..." The Jesuit's 1582 Douay-Rheims Version has the word priests in that verse, which is a clear distortion of the meaning of the word. The Greeks were known to fight against the Nazis during WWII. Greece was invaded on April 9, 1941 and Operation Barbarossa was delayed until June 22, 1941. One of the greatest contributions of the Greek believers was the preservation of the Scriptures. Though the Greeks have great respect for Holy Scripture, and have nothing like the corrupt Latin Vulgate, they still add man made traditions to the Scriptures....Infant baptism, prayers to the "Mother of God", use of icons etc., etc., are all non-apostolic innovations which were added about the time of Emperor Constantine. For the first 3 centuries of Christianity, nobody made explicit images of the Son of God . . . or prayed to any "Mother of God." There is no evidence (in the first 3 centuries of Christainity) of

a Pope being condoned nor advanced in the NT or the usage of prayer to dead people. The Papacy existed as a product gradual development. Today, the Orthodox Church has been made a vital part of the Greek state via the Greek constitution. The clergy of the Orthodox Church recieves salaries similar to teachers. The liaisons between the church and state are handled under the organization called the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs. In 2012, the European Union is trying to control Greece with the euro and the promotion of austerity measures. So, we have the struggle of religious freedom today. Either we have a theocratic oppressive system via Pontiffs or a world where brotherhood and sisterhood can reign. I will always worship and praise God Almighty or the Lord of all the Universe. This time period of early Byzantine represented the temporarily spiritual alliance between the Papacy and the Orthodox Church. Caliph Omar or the successor of Muhammad takes Jerusalem from the Byzantine Emperor Herakleois in 637 A.D. Iconoclasm was an influential part of Byzantine art. Iconoclasm is a time when the Orthodox Church would ban any art that was related to religious matters from biblical stories to religious figures (as the religious leaders perceived such images as to be heretical). The Orthodox Church today accepts married priests and they refuse to acknowledge the Pope as the head of the whole Christian Church. This division between the Catholics and the Orthodox began during the era of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire preserved ancient Greek and Roman works. This was vital to the development of the Renaissance since Byzantine scholars would travel to Rome with those ancient classical works. The reasons that these scholars left Turkey was that the Muslims conquered Constantinople in 1453 A.D. These Muslims were the Turks. The Turks are a group of people with both an Asian and an European genetic lineage. Some of them are related to the Mongolians. So, these pro-Byzantine scholars feared religious persecution from the Muslims. That is why these scholars traveled from Turkey into Italy, Greece, and the rest of Europe. The Byzantine culture spread via trade to the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, etc. to reach the Scandinavian, Baltic, and Slavic peoples. St. Cyril allowed many Slavs even to accept the Greek alphabet. The Slavs are an Indo-European people. Originally, the Slavs were based in Central plus Eastern Europe. The spread of Byzantine culture also caused many Eastern European nations to accept the Orthodox religion too.

So, the Byzantine Empire officially ended in 1453 A.D. This was the time hwen Mehmet II (at 21 years old) allowed the beheading of the last and final Byzantine Emperor. This emperor’s name was Constantine XI. There ends an important era of human history. We will remember the Byzantines immemoral.

Today, the European Union is similar to the Byzantine Empire. The EU has an uncertain future, because of the unstable currency that is found in the eurozone. The Treaty of Rome from 1957 unified polittically and economically various European nations like France, Italy, and then West Germany. The European Union’s boundaries are similar to the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

Appendix A: The Start of the Middle Ages
The Early Middle Age period in world history was an era that was related to the Byzantine Empire and world history in general. You can't learn all about the Byzantine Empire without learning about the total essence of the early Middle Ages. The Western part of the Roman Empire was defeated by the Huns & Germanic tribes (like the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths the Vandals, the Angles, the Saxons the Franks, etc.) by 476 A.D. The Roman Empire was weakened by invasions, internal disputes, financial burdens, moral issues, and a whole list of reasons. So, Western Europe experienced the Middle Ages by ca. 476 A.D. This period has been called the Dark Ages since much of Western Europe experienced disarray, confusion, invasions, and other tragedies. Ancient Rome still influenced Europe, Christianity spread across the world during this period, and the customs of Germanic tribes evolved the period as well. The Germanic peoples were migratory and then they organized Kingdoms or Empires from North Africa (with the Vandals) to the United Kingdom. The Germanic peoples formed the Frankish Kingdom in France. For a time, the early Middle Ages saw more people living in the countryside because the cities decreased heavily in Western Europe. Invasions and cultural changes caused folks to retreat from the cities into more wooded locations. A more rural culture began to spread inside of Europe. Education decreased during this time period, because of the breakdown of the Roman Empire. In Western Europe, access to knowledge decreased. The Greek and Roman traditions are held by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The religious monasteries were a known location where Greco-Roman culture was preserved as well. Many Europeans started to use Romance languages, which evolved from Latin in various places of Europe like Spain, in France, Italy, etc. For example, French and Spanish evolved from Latin. All of these languages are Indo-European languages being related to even Sanskrit, which is spoken in India to this very day. The Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages grew into tremendous levels. They were the theocratic religious empire in that time period. If you refused to accept their Papal tenets back then, you could be jailed or killed. If you wanted to read, you have to get the Catholics' approval. The Germanic tribes helped to form modern day Britain, France, and other nations in Western Europe. The Franks in the early Middle Ages was the most powerful Germanic tribe. The Franks instituted their Kingdoms in modern day France (already filled with Celts, Romans, etc.). Clovis I allied with the Catholics in order for him to strengthen his ancient Frankish Kingdom. He was baptized by Rome. Charlemagne (768-814 A.D.) was the most important of the kings of the Franks. Charlemagne was famous for a list of accomplishment.

He led a strong, efficient government. He loved to fight and was successful in battle. He was a tall, man for that time being about six feet tall. Charlemagne wanted to be like the Old Roman Empire with his governing skills. He advanced education and learning. For example, he set up a palace school at Alcuin, which was his capital city. He wanted his Kingdom to be an eclectic mixture of Germanic, Roman, and Christian traditions. Feudalism was the key economic system of the Middle Ages. It was an economic and cultural system. Feudalism allowed landholders to exchange goods and service in exchange for protection for other services. Feudalism was a way for leaders to protect themselves from invaders like the Vikings, the Muslims, the Magyar (their descendants live in Hungary), etc. The Kings had little national power and the feudal system was a way for the monarchy & lords to gain wealth (at the expense of the peasants' suffering). This system had the King as the ruler of the territory, then the lords under the King's authority, then the knights, and then the peasants were subsequently treated in a bad fashion. The Lords gave the Knights or vassals land (or fief) in exchange for the knights' promise to defend the lord and his land. So, the feudal system was a class system. The lord can give land to a vassal if the vassal protects the lord. The catch is that the peasants must work the land. The lord's estate is the manor. The lords are appointed to protect the King. The feudal system existed in ancient Japan and ancient cultures globally. Knights guarded the territory of the lord. They followed rituals and steps before becoming a Knight at ca. 21 years old. In the Middle Ages, European surnames started to develop for many reasons too. Some of these surnames related to the job or occupation that a person done during the Middle Ages (for example, the surname Kellogg meant that he was a killer of hogs, Proctor was a steward, and Sawyer was a wood sawer).

Appendix B: Russia and the Byzantine Empire
The real history of Russia relates to the Byzantine Empire in an enumerable amount of ways. To learn the origin or Russia, you must understand about the Steppe region of Europe. The Steppe region is a region of plains that covered southern Russia. It's found many tribes of nomadic pastoralists. These people were migratory and spread far and wide in their territory. The classical scholars of ancient Greece called this area as Scythia. Scythia is known for horsemen and horsewomen. These ancient civilizations in the Pontic Steppe go by many names. You will find the Goths in the Black Sea region near Russia at about the 2nd century A.D. The Turks, the Huns, and the Avars (who are Eurasian tribes. These people have a mixture of European and Asian genetically plus cultural heritage) migrated into Russia all of the time after the time of Christ. Most of the modern day Russian human beings are descended from the Slavic tribes. They traveled in East Russia into Western Russia. Some united with the Finno-Ugric tribes of the Merya, the Muromians, and the Meshchera. The rivers in Russia were key for different tribes and other human beigns to trade resources and cultural ideas. The Volga and the Dnieper are some of the maor rivers in Russia. People traveled, but people had trouble to get into the Caspian and Black Seas. Invasion wasn't common in Russia until later on in its history. Russia today is the largest country in the world in terms of its land size. The capital of Russia now is Moscow. The Slavs during the Byzantine age of Europe formed the powerful city states of Kiev, which was found in the Dnieper River. Kiev is found in Ukraine now. Now, the Byzantine monks Cyril and Methodius created the Cyrillic alphabet. This alphabet is utilized by the Slavic peoples of Russia, Bulgaria, and throughout Eastern Europe to this very day. The Cyrillic alphabet was made by them in order for the monks to try to convert the Russians into Greek Orthodox Christianity. These 2 men spread their message all over Eastern Europe and were called "the Apostles of the Slavs." If you look at the Cyrillic Russian alphabets, many of the character look very similar to the Greek alphabet (which is found in numerous sororities and fraternities in America). The Viking influenced Russia too. The Vikings were called the "Varangians" in the East. the Viking were involved in trade and piracy all over the world. In the mid 800's A.D., the Viking traveled along waterways from the Eastern Baltic to the Black and Caspian Seas. One Varangian named Rurik was the elected ruler or knyaz of Novogorod in ca. 860 A.D. His successors moved south and extended their authority to Kiev. Kiev was already ruled by the Khazars before the Varangians came. The Vikings formed the Kievan Rus by Prince Oleg. The Kievan Rus traded in furs, wax, and slaves between Scandinavia and throughout the Byzantine Empire. In the 900's, the Norse minority merged with the majority Slavic population. Prince Vladimir I of 988 adopted the religion of Christianity. His father was of the Rurik dynasty (filled with Vikings). Vladimir was once polytheistic until

he heard the message of the Greek Orthodox Church. In the 1200's, people realized that the Mongols took over Russia. The Mongols were an Asian group of people that competed against ancient Chinese kingdom for hegemonic power and influence in the Asian region. Genghis Khan (a Khan is a leader of Mongol tribes. The origin of the Mongols were from Mongolia) ruled a large part of Russia in his Mongol empire. Genghis Khan and his group of soldiers organized strategic battlefield tactics in order for them to conquer millions of square miles of extensive land territory. Genghis Khan soon died. His grandson named Batu took over Russian territory. The Mongols allowed religious tolerance of the Eastern Orthodox religion. The catch was that the Mongols wanted tribute from the Russia. A tribute is a bribe. A conquered people pay money to the conquerors in order for those people to not be harmed by a conquering army. Ivan III or Ivan the Great control Russia with absolute power after the Mongol powers declines. The Czars were the Russian leaders during the Middle Ages and to 1917.

By Timothy

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