The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire

The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a beautiful Christian church. It was converted to a mosque when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1452 CE.

The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a beautiful Christian church. It was converted to a mosque when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1452 CE. The Turks left most of the Christian iconography creating a blending of Christian and Islamic symbols throughout the church. Today it is a museum. (Hagia Sophia, Wikipedia Commons)

The eastern part of the Roman empire became the Byzantine empire in 476 CE when Rome fell to the Germannic tribes of Europe. The capital city of the Byzantine empire was Constantinople. Constantinople was located along the Bosporus Strait, between the Black and Mediterrenean Seas. Its geography made it an important port city. Its central location led to cultural diffusion between Europeans and Asians.

The greatest Byzantine emperor was Justinian. He expanded the empire to its largest size and created the Justinian Code. The Justinian Code was based on laws of Rome. The Byzantines developed the Cyrillic alphabet.

In 1054 CE Christianity split into two different sects or sections: Roman Catholicism in the west and Eastern Orthodox in the East. This was called the Great Schism.

Above all else, the Byzantines preserved Greek and Roman ideas.




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