ChAPTER 14 -- Part 2: Civilization in Eastern Europe:
The Balkans, the northern Middle East, the Mediter ranean coast, and north Africa were all created by Constantinople.
After the 6th century, Greek became the official language of the eastern empire after Latin became the court language.
Latin was seen as an inferior means of communication by the easterners.
Knowledge of Greek made it possible for scholars of the eastern empire to read the ancient Athenian and Hellenistic writings.
The new empire was helped by the high levels of commerce in the eastern Mediter ranean.
As Egyptians and Syrians moved to Constantinople, new blood was drawn into administration and trade.
The pressure on the empire was less than that on the Germanic tribes in the West.
It recruited armies in the Middle East, not by relying on barbarian troops.
The empire's political style became defined by the complex administration around a remote emperor.
There was a recurrent threat of invasion in the early history of the Byzantine empire.
Eastern emperors relied on their local military base and able generalship by upper-class Greeks to beat off attacks by the Sassanian empire.
In 533 c.e., with the empire's borders reasonably secure, a new emperor, Justinian, tried to reconquer western territory in a last futile effort to restore an empire like that of Rome.
He was autocratic and prone to grandiose ideas.
He was described as a moron by a contemporary historian named Procopius.
Theodora, the courtesan connected with Constantinople's horse-racing world, was heavily influenced by the emperor.
Theodora pushed for expansion in response to popular unrest.
Justinian's positive contributions to the Byzantine empire included rebuilding Constantinople, which was damaged by riots against high taxes, and systematizing the Roman legal code.
It was an achievement in engineering and architecture for Constantinople to be able to build the supports needed for a dome of its size.
The state's bureaucracy was paralleled by unified law, which reduced confusion but also united and organized the new empire.
The code helped spread Roman legal principles in Europe.
Within 50 years after his death, the empire had lost all of its holdings outside the northeastern Mediterranean.
There were more ambiguous results from Justinian's military exploits.
The emperor wanted to take back the old Roman Empire.
Some of the most beautiful Christian mosaics known anywhere in the world were found in the temporary capital of the Justinian's forces.
The major Italian holdings were short-lived and the north African territory was soon besieged.
The empire's own sphere was weakened by Justinian's westward ambitions.
Persian forces attacked in the northern Middle East, while new Slavic groups moved into the Balkans.
Some Middle Eastern territory was lost as a result of the new line of defense created by Justinian.
The wars created new tax pressures on the government and caused several popular revolts that contributed to his death.
The early period of the eastern empire had amazing mosaics.
The population of the Byzantine empire was forcibly reconverted in the 7th century after some of the highest achievements were reversed by the Persians.
There is a mosaic depicting Christ to Christianity.
The empire was centered in the southern Balkans.
The commanded in north Africa and Italy by the mid-7th century.
Byzantine naval supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean was destroyed by a fleet built by Arabs.
The empire's remaining provinces were quickly swallowed up along the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean and then cut into the northern Middle Eastern heartland.
Patterns of life in Constantinople were affected by Arab cultural and commercial influence.
The territory was cut back to less than half the size of the Roman empire.
The empire held on.
Arab ships were devastated by Byzantine weapon lime and sulfur mixture.
The Arab threat was never completely removed.
When exposed to water, invasions and that started when taxation weakened the position of small farmers and resulted in greater aristocratic estates plus new utilized to drive back the arab fleets power for generals.
During the early years of the empire, the free rural population served it.
One of the recurring rising peasants was a leader who posed as an aristocracy to defend the people against the state.
State revenues and military recruitment were weakened by these social changes.
The empire was supported by successful commercial activity.
More emphasis was given to organizing the army and navy.
The mosaic depicts the PaST Women and Power in byzantium, with Christ in the center.
Theodora would rule with her sister, despite their earlier struggle for power.