8 -- Part 1: Continuity and Change in Europe and Western Asia
The Western Roman Empire experienced continuity and change from the third century onward.
The last Roman emperor in the West, Romulus Augustus, was deposed in 476 by the Ostrogothic chieftain, but much of the empire had already been ruled by barbarians.
The last several decades have seen a shift in the focus of scholars who have seen this era as one of the great turning points in Western history.
The Eastern Roman and the Christian Church were the main agents of continuity.
The Byzantine Empire and martyrs kept their remains in reliquaries for a thousand years longer than the Western Roman people.
Much of Greco-Roman law was preserved and transmitted.
The woman thought to have been killed centuries earlier was spread by missionaries and church officials.
Christianity within and far beyond the borders of the Roman Empire transformed a small sect into the most important and wealthiest institution in Europe.
The migration of barbarian groups throughout Europe and western Asia was the main agent of change in late antiquity.
Their own ways of doing things were also changed as they encountered Roman and Byzantine culture.
The emperor Constantine tried to maintain the unity of the Roman Empire, but during the fifth and sixth centuries the western and eastern half of the Empire broke apart.
The costs were high when Italy and North Africa were regained from the Os trogoths.
Italy's economy was destroyed and a large part of its population was killed by the wars of Justinian.
By the late sixth century, a weakened Italy was joined by another Germanic tribe, the Lombards.
The Roman Empire continued in the East.
The institutions and traditions of the old Roman Empire were preserved by the Eastern Roman Empire.
Byzantium developed its own distinctive characteristics after passing on the heritage of Greco-Roman civilization.
The Byzantine emperors traced their lines back to Augustus.
While evolving into a Christian and Greek-speaking state with a multiethnic population centered in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, the Byzantines retained the legal and administrative system of the empire centered at Rome.
The traditions of the old Roman senate were carried on by the senate that sat in Constantinople.
The army that defended the empire was descended from the old Roman legions.
The territory that was part of the Roman Empire was included in the Byzantine and Sassanid Empires.
Both Byzantium and the Sassanids fought wars that weakened them and did not result in lasting territorial acquisitions.
The Byzantine Empire Chapter Chronology survived waves of attacks by rival em pires and nomadic groups.
One reason was military leadership.
The ancient world had powerful defenses.
Christianity is made official on three sides by Theodosius.
The Roman Empire's religion surrounded the city.
"Justinian plague" is able to survive longer than it might have otherwise.
The reign of Charlemagne is enduring.
The Sassanid empire was Byzantium's main foe for a long time.
The Sassanid dynasty was overthrown by the Muslims after it was founded by Ardashir I.
The Roman province of Mesopotamia was absorbed by Ardashir.
The location of the Sassanid empire proved to be well suited for commerce, as it was centered in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates Val ey.
The Silk Road and China were linked by a lucrative caravan trade.
The trade of Persian metalwork, textiles, and glass with the Chinese brought about a lot of cultural contact between the two countries.
Zoroastrianism was made the official state religion by the Persians, as well as other religions such as Jews and Christians.
Both Re ligion and the state were tied together.
The king's power was dependent on the support of nobles and Zoroastrian priests.
The status of the king was celebrated in a court ritual that emphasized his pre-eminence over his subjects.
Neither side was able to achieve a clear-cut victory because of an expansionist foreign policy.
The long wars financed by higher taxation compounded discontent in both Byzantine and Persian societies.
Persian territories were absorbed into the Is lamic caliphate in the seventh century due to internal political instability.
Roman law was preserved by Byzantine emperors, who made a lasting contribution to the medieval and modern worlds.
Persian ambassadors, Germanic princesses from the West, and barbarians from southern Russia are some of the inscrutable sheiks.
Theodora took over when Justinian fell sick from the bubonic plague.
She is said to have been consulted every day about all aspects of state policy, including religious policy.