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IN History & Culture ON 18 Jun, 2015
The Byzantine Empire is a medieval Roman empire. Its capital city of Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire now becomes the center of an incredibly vibrant society that preserved Greek and Roman traditions. The Empire was the most powerful cultural, economic, and military force in Europe. The Byzantine Empire mainly consisted of small towns and seaports. Christianity was the dominant religion of the time. The primary language used was Greek. The Byzantine Empire was identified by absolutism, spirituality, orientalism, and exoticism. It was orthodox in its approach. Byzantine art is mostly religious following traditional models that translate church theology into artistic terms.
Byzantium had many good fishing spots. There was also a spot between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It was a leading port and trade center. The continents of Europe and Asia were linked by the port. The rule followed by the city was occupation, destruction, and regeneration.
Constantine I, in A.D. 324, defeated the Emperors of the East, Maxentius and Licinius in the civil wars of the Tetrarchy. He became the first Christian emperor of the Roman empire. Christianity became dominant in the empire. But Constantine was still not able to achieve a unified Christian Church. The city construction was one of his absolute triumphs. The Roman empire later became the capital of the Byzantine Empire and marked the dawn of a new era.
The origin of empire is a mystery, but around 600A.D., a Greek citizen name, Byzas from the town of Megara consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Greece was becoming overpopulated, so Byzas wanted advice for founding a new colony. Oracle suggested him 'opposite the blind', but he was unable to detect the message and sailed to north-east. When he came back, he realized what the oracle must have meant. He settled for a superior site just half a mile away on the other side of the strait, and called it Byzantium after himself.
No one knows the date of the fall of the Roman Empire. It was not possible to reach the ultimate glory if it did not split in two parts. Religions were the decisive factor separating the Byzantine Empire from the spirit of Classical Rome. The last emperor to rule over the whole Roman Empire was Theodosius 1. The western part of the Roman Empire weakened after division. The Roman Empire no longer exists.
The Great Schism is when Christianity was split into two churches in 1054, Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. Relations between the Eastern and Western traditions were in crisis within the Christian Church. The separation was not instant. Differences like religious, cultural and political took over eastern and western churches. The main reason was a religion that lost the Roman culture its influence on the Byzantine empire. There were some theological differences also as the use of images, the nature of the holy spirit and the role of the pope.
The Golden Era of Justinian I contributed in the reform of the laws of the Byzantine Empire. It was known as 'The Justinian Code'. Byzantine Empire flourished under his rule. Power and fame led to Justinian because of his buildings and architecture. Hagia Sophia was his most famous building which was built in A.D. 538. He encouraged music, arts, and drama.
The Byzantine Empire had mainly small towns and seaports. They follow a Christian lifestyle. There was a very high production. They had notable growth in land ownership. Women of the Byzantine empire were dedicated to the upbringing of their children. It was the most powerful and wealthiest nation from A.D. 500 to A.D. 1200. It was more of art, science, trade and architecture.
The Byzantine culture of cuisine was same as late Roman. Later it was changed to modern Balkan and Anatolian culture. Byzantine cuisine involved a mix of Greek practices and Roman traditions. Byzantine diet mainly had figs, eggs, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, apples, and pears. Aristocrats and ordinary people appreciated it. They also loved honey; it was used in all dishes as a sweetener, as sugar was available at that time. Another essential staple on the table was bread. The essence of Greek and other Mediterranean food can give a little taste of Byzantine Food. Rice pudding was a favored dessert of the Byzantines.
The Byzantine Navy Uses Greek Fire in naval battles to great effect. Greek fire even continues burning while floating on water. It was the key of Byzantine military victories. It provided a huge technological advantage to the Byzantine military. Greek fire was a mixture of naphtha, pitch, sulfur, lithium, potassium, metallic sodium, calcium phosphide, and a petroleum base.
The Byzantine Empire adopted The Greek culture and spirit after the accession of Heraclius in 610 A.D. Greek also became the official language of the Empire. Later, it became the most widely spoken language in the empire.