Discussion Questions Essay

Explain the emergence and reasons for longevity of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire emerged because of its’ favorable geographic location. It was located on a defensible peninsula which had a natural harbor called the Golden Horn, which provided trading ships to enter easily. It also controlled the prosperous Mediterranean lands, which led to zones of trade, communication, and interaction – especially with Slavic, Arab, European, and Asian peoples and traditions.Its’ location provided it with land and sea routes allowing the Byzantium people to travel easily to Asia, Europe, and Africa. The Byzantine Empire was sustained for almost one thousand years because of its development of Caesaropapism and a complex government bureaucracy.

Caesaropapism was created by Constantine which was a system of ruling where the emperor had absolute secular power as well as managing ecclesiastical affairs. The empire produced a large surplus of grain and had a class of free peasants who participated in the army and in turn got land to keep the agricultural economy strong.Craftsmen from this area were known for producing glassware, textiles, gems, jewelry, fine gold, and silver metalwork, and eventually silk, which brought economic success to the Byzantine Empire. Emperors of the Byzantine Empire treated the churches as part of their government. They elected the patriarch of Constantinople, and taught officials to teach their disciples of imperial authority and people’s obedience, as well as following God’s requests. The theme system was also implemented into the governing of the Byzantine emperors. 2.

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Discuss the developments and shifts in trade, technology, and cultural exchange during the years of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire developed Caesaropapism and a strong government bureaucracy. Caesaropapism was a system of ruling where the emperor had absolute secular power as well as managing ecclesiastical affairs.

Justinian and his wife developed a code that served as legal inspiration for the rest of the Byzantine Empire, and rulers also constructed the theme system – which put each imperial province under the command of a general.The Byzantine Empire acquired the silkworm technology from China, which allowed them to produce silk, along with other commodities such as glassware, textiles, gems, and jewelry, which brought the empire economic success. It was a trade center for western Eurasia, serving as direct links with northern Europe, the black sea area, Persia, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine. The bezant, or gold coin currency of Byzantine was used all over the Mediterranean basin for 600 years. From its’ economic success Byzantine developed banks and business partnerships to acquire more wealth from the goods which passed through the empire.Byzantine people over time went from speaking Latin to Greek, which was shown in government, religion, and education.

Near the decline of the Byzantine Empire they reached to influence Slavic and Russian people with their culture and language before the collapse of their empire. 3. Explain the divisions between eastern and western Christianity. Eastern and western Christianity developed tensions after the Arab people conquered southwest Asia, and the Patriarchs in Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch declined, leaving only Constantinople and Rome as centers of the Christian religion.The two issues that divided the east and west were religious and theological issues.

For example, eastern Christianity approved and implemented iconoclasm, while western Christians believed that images provided aid to devotion to their God. Also doctrinal issues came about such as in the east (byzantine) theologians objected towards the fact that western priests shaved their bears, and used unleavened bread when saying Mass. Other theological matters became a problem such as the defined relationship between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.Finally the Roman popes and Byzantine Patriarchs disagreed on their power and influence within their authority, such as the east arguing for autonomy of major Christian Jurisdictions while popes in the west encouraged the primacy of Rome as the only rule for all Christendom.

They excommunicated each other and the east and the western Christianity split, which was known as the great schism in 1054 c. e. 4. Compare and contrast developments in political, economic, and social institutions in both eastern and western Europe.

In Eastern Europe, Constantinople originally developed the concept of Caesaropapism and a strong government bureaucracy. Caesaropapism allowed an emperor to be a secular lord as well as being involved in religious practices by appointing the patriarch of the church. Justinian was another ruler, who implemented his code which served as a legal inspiration for eastern as well as Western Europe. The economy in Eastern Europe was based primarily on trade, especially after the development off the silkworm technology.Agricultural economies began in the hands of free peasants who were granted land due to their service in the army.

Then eventually agriculture decreased and the east relied solely on trade and industry. It relied on the silk roads to spread their goods and collect taxes and tariffs from goods. Their social class was made up of aristocrats who owned the largest houses, a middle class of Artisans and Merchants, and the poor such as free peasants, servants, and slaves. Women stayed within the economic realm of their family, but sometimes lived separately to preserve their honors.They also had the church and schools which taught of obedience to the government and God. In Western Europe, Germanic general Odoacer got rid of the emperors, but governors of provinces continued to rule their land with the help of Roman bureaucrats and tax collectors, but lost power. The western area went from centralized to decentralized rule quite frequently, and one of the Kings, Charlemagne, reestablished central rule.

He built a kingdom based on military expeditions and after his kingdoms fell, regional authorities were created in defense to Viking invaders.They followed a system of feudalism which was where a hierarchy of lords took control of military and political functions. They practiced a decentralized society where lords and retainers would rule small lots of territory. Agricultural success in Western Europe was depicted by Manors, on which serfs would work. The upper classes were the lords and the lower classes were the serfs and peasants.

They traded mainly overseas with the Mediterranean, and through the North and Baltic Sea. They believed in Christianity and sometimes spread it by force.


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