Creation of the Byzantine Empire

Topics: Roman Empire, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire Pages: 2 (477 words) Published: April 17, 2008
When Constantine moved the capital of the Roman empire from Rome to Constantinople, he actually created a new empire very different from Rome: the Byzantine empire. Although much of the Byzantine empire was brought over or based on aspects of Rome, it was a unique empire itself with its own set of laws, general concerns, and thoughts towards Christianity.

In Rome, Christianity was frowned upon. Christians were considered heretics. Nero even falsely accused the Christians of burning Rome, and ordered a complete persecution of them (Krieger, pg. 163). When Constantine abandoned the Western Roman Empire to create a different empire in the east, he accepted Christianity and made it the official religion (Document 7 and Krieger, pg. 167). Citizens regarded Christ as their supreme ruler, not the emperor (Document 11). This made the new empire largely different from the old, since Romans thought of their emperor as almost divine. In addition, Christianity wasn't just accepted in the Byzantine empire, it was welcomed and promoted because they built a lot of holy objects along with many churches and cathedrals such as the Hagia Sophia (Document 7). Furthermore, being a member of the Christian church was a requirement for becoming a Byzantium citizen. The laws used in the two empires is another reason that distinguishes the Byzantine empire from the Roman empire. Laws were created by emperors, but in the Roman empire, when newer emperors replaced the older, one after another, newer laws were laid on top of older ones. This resulted laws that contradicted with other ones (Document 9). On the other hand, the Byzantine empire, during and after Justinian's reign, used a body of law that consisted of all the rules made since 400 years earlier (Krieger, pg. 182) including those from the Roman empire. That body of law did not contradict. Lastly, general concerns were very different between the empires as well. In the Roman empire, the citizens did not care so much about...
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