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The Byzantine Empire was founded by Constantinople in 330 AD and dissolved in 1453. Its thousands of years of existence gave rise to great architecture, art, beliefs and philosophers. A predominantly Christian empire was now a Muslim state named Istanbul. The fall of the Byzantine Empire marked the end of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Renaissance.
See the fact file below for more information on the Byzantine Empire or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Byzantine Empire worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
NAMING THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE
- The Byzantine Empire started in 330 CE when Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople, which can be found at the site of Ancient Greek city Byzantium.
- The Byzantine Empire existed during the East and West Roman Empire, where historians changed the name of Eastern Roman Empire to the Byzantine Empire. Historians made the Byzantine Empire separate to the Western Empire as the latter fell into small Germanic kingdoms in 476 CE.
- They also felt the need to separate the Latin-speaking Pagan Roman Empire and the medieval Greek-speaking Christian Roman Empire and called the latter the Byzantine Empire.
- People who lived in the Byzantine Empire never called themselves Byzantines but Romans.
BYZANTINE VERSUS ROMAN EMPIRE
- The Byzantine Empire served as the continuation of the Roman Empire before the collapse of the Western part of Rome in the 5th century.
- Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium, later called Constantinople.
- Roman Pantheon was the main religion of the Roman Empire before Constantine came.
- He then declared Christianity as the official religion in all the Roman Empire. Consequently, the Byzantine Empire started with Christianity as its main religion.
- The Roman Empire used tetrarchy as their form of government, whereas the Byzantine empire had a feudal system where they provided land grants for local rulers in exchange for military service.
- The language of the Roman Empire was Latin, while the Byzantine Empire began with Latin Greek and moved to Greek through the years. The culture of the Roman Empire continued in the Byzantine Empire, but was eliminated following their new-found knowledge and beliefs.
- Family was the central unit of society in the Byzantine Empire.
- Women and mothers were seen as an essential part of society. They could inherit and have independent wealth, often known as a dowry.
- Although limited, women had roles in public life and commercial activities.
- Peasants’ status depended on whether they were the owner or tenant of the land they were tending.
- Slaves also existed in this empire. They were prisoners from the land they conquered or from slave markets.
- The empire used eunuchs or castrated men to hold positions in government. They believed that these people could serve the emperor and the state without philandering or stealing money from the government.
- Constantine the Great – Responsible for bringing and making Christianity an official religion. He also started the empire by moving the capital to Byzantium.
- Justinian I – Responsible for bringing the Roman Empire to greatness. He was also famous for architectural projects, most famously Hagia Sophia. He reclaimed the land lost from Germanic invasions through his strong military campaigns. Justinian created the “Corpus Juris Civilis”, or corpus of civil law, which formed the foundation of the modern-day legal system.
- Theodora – A Byzantine empress through marriage with Emperor Justinian I. She was responsible for creating laws recognizing women’s rights against prostitution. She also fought for harsher punishment for rape and other forms of violence against women, and expanded reforms for divorce, child guardianship,and property ownership for women.
- Anna Komnene – Byzantine princess and scholar. She wrote Alexiad and was one of the first known female historians.
- The Byzantine Empire adapted and improved the architecture of the Roman Empire.
- Hagia Sophia was one of the most famous structures in Constantinople. It was also the highest structure, and legend says it was hanging in a chain from heaven.
- Hagia Irene was one of the less famous churches, but served as inspiration in building the most famous church, Hagia Sophia.
Churches like Basilica of San Vitale and Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo were built during this time and are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- The Hippodrome of Constantinople was built to hold chariot races and related activities including betting but became a site for social and political unrest.
BYZANTINE WAY OF THINKING
- The Byzantine Empire was also a period of great thinkers. Philosophy during this time was influenced by Plato and Aristotle, but had a Christian undertone.
- One of the most influential philosophers during the time was Leo, the Mathematician who invented Fryktories which enabled communication between stations in less than an hour, considered as the first optic telegraph in history.
- He also invented the machine and robots, such as the roaring lion and imperial thrones that could levitate.
- Photios of Constantinople was another notable philosopher of the empire. He was considered the most powerful and influential church leader of Constantinople.
- His most famous work is the Bibliotheca, a collection of his reviews of 279 books he had read. It can also be considered as the first encyclopedia.
- The Great Schism was also enhanced by the philosophers of this era.
- They asserted Eastern Orthodox Christianity as their belief, rooted in Greek philosophy.
THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE
- Constantinople fell after the battle with the Ottomans in 1453.
- However, the empire had experienced a series of wars, uprisings, and even plagues that also contributed to its fall.
- The Battle Mazekrts was the first to contribute to the decline of the Byzantine Empire. Their leaders were captured, and thousands of men died.
- The Black Death lasted for three years and made the already frail empire weaker. The high mortality rate caused a shortage of labor and military forces.
- The Byzantine Empire’s military also weakened after a series of wars and crusades. The fourth crusade plundered the empire in 1204 so it could not afford to pay for high-quality mercenaries. It only had 4000 armies of its former 40000 during the Komnenian dynasty.
- In 1453, Sultan Mehmed, the Ottoman leader conquered Constantinople after a two-month siege and changed the capital name to Istanbul.
Byzantine Empire Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Byzantine Empire across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Byzantine Empire worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Byzantine Empire which was founded by Constantinople in 330 AD and dissolved in 1453. Its thousands of years of existence gave rise to great architecture, art, beliefs and philosophers. A predominantly Christian empire was now a Muslim state named Istanbul. The fall of the Byzantine Empire marked the end of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Renaissance.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Byzantine Empire Facts
- Constantine the Great
- Great Byzantine Leaders
- Byzantine Timeline
- People of the Empire
- Byzantine Architecture
- Byzantine Empire’s Fall
- Justinian and Theodora
- The Great Schism
- Roman vs Byzantine Life
- Byzantine Way of Life
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Link will appear as Byzantine Empire Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 14, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.