When the western Roman Empire descended into chaos in 500 C.E. much of the Roman culture on the west side was lost, while the Eastern empire survived and preserved much of the surviving Roman Culture, but changed it’s name to the “Byzantine Empire,” showing individuality in many aspects between Rome and Byzantine.
The Byzantine Empire was the surviving reminisces of the Roman Empire, which flourished into the oldest and longest lasting empire in our history. It began with the emperor Constantine who based much of the Byzantine Empire social structure of Rome. For example, the romans had two distinct classes, the Patricians and the Plebeians, the poor and the elite. The Byzantines had the poors and the Vassals. Although there was a severe gap between the social classes, the Byzantines had something called a Pepacy or the office of the people. “The laws of every people governed by statutes and customs are partly peculiar to itself, partly common to all mankind…..” This shows that although it continued on the Greek style of democracy, it incorporated its own laws and writings in it (Document 1 and Document 4)
When the Western Roman Empire crumbled down, many people don’t know the extent of the damage the Western Empire endured. “And having a mind set upon evil, they took in hand unlawful deeds, thinking to suppress altogether the depicting of the venerable images.” This displays the chaos and anarchy roaming in Western Rome. And when the Byzantine Empire came about, it was the nail in the coffin, marking the decline of the Roman Empire (Document 3) Originally Roman religion worshipped the emperor as a god, a single deity, however that all changed when Constantine came into power.
He quickly established the Byzantine capital as Constantinople, and made Christianity as the national religion. This marked the start of Christian ascendancy, which quickly globalized Western Europe. “We should be the slaves, not the sons of such as Church, and the Roman See would not be the pious mother of sons but a hard and imperious mistress of slaves.” The following quote depicts many citizens against and the Christian way of life, which eventually switched over to Islam and Constantinople was renamed to modern day “Istanbul.” (Document 2 and Document 5)
If given a bonus document it would explain how people lived day in and day out living in the Byzantine Empire. Because it will explain how much of their daily lives are parallel to that of the ancient Romans.
Courtney from Study Moose
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