Byzantine Empire Research Paper Examples
The Byzantine Empire was one of the few great states, date of establishment and the collapse of which are known to mankind with great accuracy. Date of foundation of the empire causes some discussion. This could be, for example, the day on November 8 in 324, in which the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great founded his new residence - the city of Constantinople. Or it could be May, 11, 330 - in the day of the official ceremony of consecration of Constantinople as the new capital of the Roman Empire. There are other options also exist. But the date of fall is May 29, 1453, it is not controversial. During its existence, the Byzantine Empire contributed so greatly to the development of humanity that even today it is difficult to assess its contribution fully and finally (Gibbon, E., 1960).
The main cause of death of the Byzantine Empire was its ruling class. Its representatives are mired in depravity, betrayal and strife, created unjust courts. And instead of God they worshiped money. And no, even the high culture, cannot save from destruction power with such rulers. The Byzantine Empire fell under the blows of the Ottoman Turks. How Turks appeared on the eastern borders of the great empire - it is well known. The initial mass of the invading Turks in Asia Minor and the Balkan Peninsula, in the future period of its existence, without receiving any new influx from among other Turkic peoples, thanks to continuous wars gradually decreased in their number and had to include in its membership forcibly Turkified their nationality: Greek , Armenians, Slavs, Arabs, Kurds, Ethiopians, and so on. The British historian D. Lieven, a great expert on the comparative history of empires, in his work, talking about the creation of the Ottoman Empire, said: "The religion of the Ottoman population at the time was an alloy Islam, Christianity and paganism, which is quite natural for the region, only recently conquered alien Turkic elements, but centuries before that belong to different cultures, civilizations and rulers."
The population of the Ottoman Empire originally included the same nations that have formed part of the Byzantine Empire. They will not have emigrated and were not destroyed by the Turks - the Ottoman and Seljuk was too small to deal with genocide neighbors, and do these neighbors were able to fend for themselves. Over time, some Byzantines called themselves Turks and speak Turkish, adopted Islam (Herrin, J., 2007).
It should be noted that often the vassals of the Byzantine emperors voluntarily massive shift to the Turks, fleeing from the outrages that have worked their native imperial power. A Turkic ethnic element among the people who called themselves by the Ottoman Turks, eventually declined steadily. This really helped the Ottomans practiced mixed marriages in which men took wives women of other nationalities. In a relatively short period of time a large part of the population of Byzantium apostate and the language itself and became reckon the Turks. This peninsula, with a population of Asia Minor did not happen the first time. After the campaigns of Alexander the Great in 335 -325 significant part of the population of the peninsula was Hellenized. Once land peninsula became part of the Roman Empire, much of the population Romanized, and then almost all peoples inhabiting it, embraced Christianity. Prior to the VII century, the official language of the Byzantine Empire, as the successor of the Roman Empire was Latin. And the Byzantines themselves to the fall of the empire persistently called themselves Romeo (Romans). Under the emperor Heraclius I, Hellenized Armenian, again the official language of the empire became Greek. Literary Latin language continued to enjoy in the higher strata of the Byzantine administration in its vernacular form still spoke of the population of the empire. Change the language of faith and former Christians - the Romans, Byzantines, Turks become faithful Muslims, remaining the same warlike people, as they were prior to the adoption of Islam. Yes, and in fact the Turks, Ottoman and Seljuk, actively participate in the formation of a new nation, were not peaceful shepherds and farmers, and the stern warriors. And they knew how to fight from the heart. That's such an explosive mix of peoples, a new nation, which created great Ottoman Empire (Runciman, S., 1958).
In the choice of the main directions of conducting aggressive imperial wars the empire of the Ottomans was a direct descendant of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Catholics could not or would not provide effective assistance of Byzantium even in the defense of Constantinople. In later times the awareness of the dangers of the Ottoman threat failed to unite severed Western Europe to fight against Islam. The Turks continued to expand its territorial possessions in the west, east, south and north - and at the end of the XVII century already threatened Vienna. It was the moment of greatest power of the Ottoman Empire (Runciman, S., 1970).
In ancient and medieval times there was a huge demand for silk. There were no insects in silk fabrics. Therefore, the underwear and bed linen, silk is very highly valued. It was affordable only to the wealthy. A silk trade brought fabulous speculative profits to merchants. In the exchange of goods between East and West products were mainly from east to west. Purchasing power of Europeans was unstable. In the Roman Empire during its heyday silk fabrics and other Eastern goods were in great demand. The decline of the ancient society and the naturalization of the economy of Western Europe led to the goods from the East began to reach, as a rule, only to the Byzantine Empire. Only in the period of mature feudalism, from XI century, Western Europe again began to actively buy Eastern goods. Since the Silk Road consumers of goods were also countries in the Middle East and India, this path does not disappear even in the early Middle Ages. After the Arab conquest Eastern goods began to consume the entire southern Mediterranean, until Spain.
The great geographical discoveries of XV – XVII was partially caused by the fall of the Byzantine Empire. It led to rapid changes in the geopolitical situation in the world. Europeans have opened up new land for himself and sea routes in Africa, America, Asia and Oceania in search of new business partners, sources of raw materials and markets for their products. In this era, some states newly formed early on virtually uninhabited lands, others - gradually lost its geopolitical importance. The fall of the Byzantine Empire had a great geopolitical importance and led to consequences in many ways defined the modern political map of the world. The fall of the Byzantine Empire became deeply spiritual shock for all Christians: Catholics and Orthodox. At the same time among the Muslims it was perceived righteousness and correctness proof of Islam - the only true religious teaching (against this argument, as the fall of Constantinople, no arguing) and contributed to its further spread. The fall of Constantinople, the death of the Byzantine Empire and the onset of a number of European countries, the Turks have played into the hands of many reformers, heretics - these events in their propaganda were seen as clear evidence of sin and sinfulness of orthodox Christianity with the consequent need to correct it.
Gibbon, Edward, and D. M. Low. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960.
Herrin, Judith. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
Runciman, Steven. The Sicilian Vespers; a History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century. Cambridge [England: University Press, 1958.
Runciman, Steven. The Last Byzantine Renaissance. Cambridge [England: University Press, 1970.
Seward, Desmond, and Susan Mountgarret. Byzantium: A Journey and a Guide. London: Harrap, 1988.