Ch 10 Strayer 2e Nave Lecture

Topics: Byzantine Empire, Roman Empire, Orthodox Church Pages: 26 (2951 words) Published: March 22, 2015
Robert W. Strayer

Ways of the World: A Brief Global
History with Sources
Second Edition
Chapter 10
The Worlds of Christendom: Contraction, Expansion,
and Division, 500–1300

Copyright © 2013 by Bedford/St. Martin’s

I. Christian Contraction in Asia and Africa
A. Asian Christianity
1. The challenge of Islam, yet many cases of tolerance: While Christianity had spread through much of North Africa and the Middle East, the unexpected rise of a new monotheistic faith meant the end of some Christian communities, especially in the Arabian Peninsula. However, the treatment of Christians was not uniform and was very much dependent on the attitude of local Muslim rulers. In Syria, Jerusalem, and Armenia, Christian leaders negotiated agreements with the Islamic forces and the communities survived.

2. Nestorian Christians in the Middle East and China: In Syria, Iraq, and Persia, a Church of the East, the Nestorians, found accommodation with Islamic rulers by not preaching to Muslims and by abandoning their sacred image as offensive to Islam’s rules against idolatry. In China, the Nestorian Christians adapted to Chinese culture and used familiar terms to communicate the message of Jesus. From the 600s to the mid 800s, this church survived thanks to state tolerance; however, this changed when the dynasty moved against all foreign faiths, including Islam and Buddhism.

3. Mongols and Christians: The Mongols were tolerant in regards to issues of religion, and some even saw Jesus as a strong shaman and converted. Others preferred Christianity to Buddhism and Islam as they wanted to eat meat and drink alcohol. It is unclear what impact Jesus’ message of peace had on these fierce warriors of the steppes.

I. Christian Contraction in Asia and Africa
B. African Christianity
1. Coptic Church in Egypt: Christians in Egypt developed their own interpretations of the life of Jesus and their own Coptic language for worship. They were tolerated by Arab rulers until violent campaigns against them in the midfourteenth century (related to the Crusades and the Mongol invasion). In the good years, Copts preferred Arab rule to Byzantium as the Greek Orthodox Church viewed them as heretics.

2. Nubia: Further south in Nubia, Christianity flourished for some 600 years. Many political leaders also held religious office. Yet by 1500, pressure from Egypt, conversions, and Arab migrations spelled the end of this community. 3. Ethiopia: In the highlands of Ethiopia, a unique form of Christianity developed and survives until this day, where 60 percent of the population are Christian. Isolated from its Islamic neighbors by geography and protected by memories of the Ethiopians’ shelter of Muslim refugees from Mecca during the prophet’s life, the faith followed its own course without contact with other Christian churches. Ethiopians developed a fascination with Judaism and Jerusalem.

II. Byzantine Christendom: Building on the Roman Past
A. The Byzantine State
1. A smaller but more organized Roman Empire: Byzantium was really the eastern section of the Roman Empire, becoming the sole heir to Rome after it fell in 476. While Byzantium never regained control over the western Mediterranean (except for a brief period under Emperor Justinian, 527–565) and was much smaller in terms of territory, it had a strong administration and could mobilize its wealth for warfare.

2. Wealth and splendor of the court: Sitting astride the trade routes between the East and West, the empire was extremely wealthy. The empire had a decidedly Greek character but also influences from Persian court ceremonies, such as high officials in silk robes. Political power was centralized in the figure of the emperor who was celebrated in the court with a mechanical throne that rose above his visitors and mechanical lions that roared.

3. Under attack from the West and East, 1085–1453: The empire sustained some four centuries of assaults from hostile Western states such as...
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