The Byzantine Empire Essay

1204 Words Oct 21st, 1999 5 Pages
The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire, the survivor of the Roman empire, flourished into the oldest and longest lasting empire in our history. It began with Constantine the Great's triumph of Christianity. He then transferred his capital from Rome to the refounded Byzantium in the early 4th century, year 330 AD, and named it
Constantinople after himself. This city became the surviving safe spot after the breakup of the Western Roman empire by the 5th century. It was by far the largest and richest city in Christendom during the Middle Ages with a population of about one million people. (Encarta) Constantine the Great had established a criterion for the empire to follow throughout its history. It included the harmony of the
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One of these famous churches was the Hagia Sophia, Church of the Holy Wisdom, in
Constantinople. After spending so much of the Byzantine's money, the empire was overstrained when finally their resources ran dry. Along with that problem, plagues crossed the nation and reduced the Byzantine population. (Encarta) To fight the rundown of the Byzantine nation, they transformed their armies into an elite expeditionary guard called tagmata and army corps labeled themes or themata. Each of these were commanded by a strategos or general who acquired civil and military authority of his army district. Thematic armies became army corps districts whose soldiers acquired tax-exempt lands, preserving the core of the empire while avoiding the incriminating drain of cash that had overstrained the salaried armies of the period before the Arab invasions.
Finally, the invasions began. Byzantine was able to defend itself against Germanic and Hunnic raids in the 5th and 6th centuries. They were also able to stabilize a reasonably secure eastern frontier against the Sassanid
Persian Empire but they could not recover, hold, and govern the entire
Mediterranean world like they had. Warfare and the nations insecurity inhibited agriculture and education. With their limited resources, the empire could no longer maintain the full dimensions, foundation, and complexity of the late

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