Formation of the Byzantine Empire

Topics: Constantinople, Byzantine Empire, Roman Empire Pages: 2 (501 words) Published: February 3, 2014
After reviewing these documents, it is evident that architecture (docs 4,5), power (2,4), and geography (docs 5,6) played an important role in the formation of the Byzantine Empire under Justinian’s rule.

Architecture played a major role in the development of the Byzantine Empire. In document 5, Justinian constructed many fortifications and buildings in Constantinople. The Hagia Sophia was one of the great architectural creations under the orders of Emperor Justinian. “..And whenever anyone enters this church to pray, he understands at once that it is not by any human strength or skill, but by the influence of God, that this work has been perfected” (doc 4). The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a Christian church that later became a mosque of the city. Constantinople was surrounded and protected by a series of defensive stone walls such as the Wall of Theodosius and the Wall of Constantine which are both shown in the map of the city. Located in the southeastern corner of the peninsula, the Great Palace of Constantinople (Sacred Palace) served as the main royal residence of the Byzantine emperors.

More so, power also played an important role in the reign of Justinian. After the death of the Byzantine Empire, Procopius published a book called “The Secret History,” describing Justinian as a “crafty, hypocritical, secretive by temperament, two-faced: a clever fellow with marvelous ability to conceal his real opinion...lying all the time...” Procopius believed that Justinian created the plaque that reached Constantinople in 542 and killed, not accurately, 10,000 people. According to Procopius, Justinian showed no mercy towards the ruined freeholders. (doc 2). On the other hand, a Byzantine official describes Justinian rule as those of Roman emperors. “The emperor is equal to all men in the nature of his body, but in the authority of his rank he is similar to God, who rules all.” (doc 3). Thus, Justinian looked like an ordinary man, but ruled like a God....
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