Name: _____________________________ Date: ______ Period: ____
The Byzantine Empire
In 284 A.D., the Roman Emperor Diocletian divided the Roman Empire into two parts. Diocletian divided the empire in an attempt to make governing the empire more manageable. Ultimately, the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. It fell due to barbarian invasions, high taxes, and corrupt rulers. However, the Eastern Roman Empire did not fall. It survived and became known as the Byzantine Empire. Therefore, the Byzantine Empire was formerly the Eastern Roman Empire. It lasted for a thousand years beyond the fall of Rome.
The Byzantine Empire was a natural center for trade. It was located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Silk and spices from the east, furs from Russia, grains, olives, and wines from the empire itself brought great wealth. Its capital, Constantinople, was a natural center for trade. The emperor held absolute power. The greatest Byzantine emperor was a man named Justinian. He became emperor in 527 A.D. He is remembered for three reasons. First, he tried to win back the Roman lands in the West. In fact, he conquered a great deal of land. Second, he made Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, more beautiful. He ordered the construction of one of the world’s most beautiful churches – the Hagia Sophia. Its ceiling rises 180 feet from the floor.
Finally, Justinian is remembered for a code of laws. He asked a group of Greek and Latin scholars to collect and organize the laws of his empire. They published their code of laws in A.D. 533. Known as the Code of Justinian, it was a complete record of Roman law. The main ideas of this code later shaped the legal systems of Europe and the United States.
Why is Diocletian important to the development of the Byzantine Empire? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Why was Constantinople important? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What are Emperor Justinian’s achievements? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What was the Hagia Sophia? ______________________________________________________________________
What was the Code of Justinian and what is its impact today? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Answer questions 1-3 based on the following map.
1. Based on the information provided by this map, which statement about Constantinople is accurate?
(1) Africans traded more goods in Constantinople than in any other area.
(2) Constantinople was a city located on the Mediterranean Sea.
(3) Gold was the primary commodity that China sent to Constantinople.
(4) Constantinople was an important trading center.
2. Constantinople was a thriving city in the 1200s mainly because of its location on a major trade route between
(1) China and southern Africa
(2) The Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea
(3) The Inca Empire and the Aztec Empire
(4) Asia and Eastern Europe
3. The map supports which of the following statements?
(1) Constantinople was a melting pot of cultures due to trade.
(2) The Byzantine Empire developed a highly organized army.
(3) The borders Byzantine Empire will reach China
(4) Constantinople was owned by Greece for 100 years.
Answer question 1-3 based on the following quotation.
“. . . The circumference of the city of Constantinople is eighteen miles; one-half of the city being bounded by the continent, the other by the sea, two arms of which meet here; the one a branch or outlet of the Russian, the other of the Spanish sea. Great stir and bustle prevails [dominates] at Constantinople in consequence of the conflux [meeting] of many merchants, who resort thither [come there], both by land and by sea, from all parts of the world for purposes of trade, including merchants from Babylon and from Mesopotamia, from Media and Persia, from Egypt and Palestine, as well as from Russia, Hungary, Patzinakia, Budia, Lombardy and Spain. In this respect the city is equaled only by Bagdad, the metropolis of the Mahometans. . . .”
— Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, Manuel Komroff, ed., Contemporaries of Marco Polo, Boni & Liveright
1. This author would most likely agree with the idea that the
(1) size of Constantinople limited trade
(2) cities of western Europe were more impressive than Constantinople
(3) location of Constantinople contributed to its prosperity
(4) government of Constantinople failed to provide order
2. All of the following were things the visitor noticed about Constantinople expect
the meeting of merchants
a city that has water on two sides of it
the city was not as special as Bagdad
people coming from Babylon, Russia and Spain
3. Which statement supports the idea that the author was amazed by the city of Constantinople?
“In this respect the city is equaled only by Bagdad, the metropolis of the Mahometans. . . .”
“. . . The circumference of the city of Constantinople is eighteen miles;…”
“Great stir and bustle prevails [dominates] at Constantinople in consequence of the conflux [meeting] of many merchants, who resort thither [come there], both by land and by sea,…”
“…including merchants from Babylon and from Mesopotamia, from Media and Persia, from Egypt and Palestine, as well as from Russia, Hungary, Patzinakia, Budia, Lombardy and Spain.”
Justinian Code v. Present Laws
“Things which are common to all and not capable of being owned are: the air, running water, the sea, and the seashores.”
Answer the following questions based on the information provided in the chart.
1. How are the rights of women similar under the Justinian Code and current American law?
2. What is the difference in the treatment of robbery between the two law systems?
3. Under which law system could women benefit most from an inheritance? Why?
4. Which current law has basically unchanged when compared to the Justinian Code?
5. Which legal system is “softer” on murderers?