Notes on Chapter 10, The Byzantine Empire and the Rise of Russia
Notes on 10.1 The Byzantine Empire
  • The name Constantinople
  • As the West crumbled, the Byzantine Empire prospered
  • Constantinople controlled the key trade routes between Asia and Europe
  • Their leaders were dressed in luxurious silk
  • The Hippodrome

The Age of Justinian, 527-565

  • Belisarius, great general, helped in conquering NAfrica, Italy, Spain.
  • Hagia Sophia "Solomon I have surpassed you"
  • Justinian’s Code (of Laws) The Church and monarchs in the West used it as a model
  • He saw the laws as a way to unite the Empire.
  • He was an autocrat
  • He also had power over the Church. (Eastern Orthodox)
  • Blues and Greens join against the Emperor
  • With Theodora’s resolve, 30,000 killed in the Hippodrome
  • Byzantine Empire was a buffer, protecting Western Europe
  • For instance, Constantinople resisted the onslaughts of Islam
  • Their navy used "Greek Fire"

Byzantine Christianity

  • The differences of the East and West
  Eastern Europe Western Europe
Religious Leader Patriarch of Constantinople Pope at Rome
Priests- marry? Yes No
Language Greek Latin
Greatest holiday Easter (Jesus’ resurrection) Christmas (Jesus’ birth)
Pray to icons, images After 700, No, then later, yes Yes
Schism Patriarch excommunicated Pope Pope excommunicated Patriarch

The Schism--1054

Crisis and Collapse

  • After the Schism, Normans conquered Italy
  • Seljuk Turks advanced across Asia Minor
  • This led to Crusades
  • Knights of Fourth Crusade, 1204, attacked Constantinople
  • Western Christians ruled Constantinople for 50 years
  • 1453 Ottoman Turks surround Constantinople
  • Took it, renamed Istanbul
  • Emerged as a great center of Muslim learning

Byzantine Heritage

  • 1000 year culture of Greeks and Romans
  • Christianity
  • When the Empire was toppling in 1400, Byzantine scholars moved to teach at Italian universities
  • They took Greek manuscripts to the West…this aided the Renaissance



10.2 The Rise of Russia

  • Russia as a third Rome? After Rome and Byzantine empires fell… Byzantine culture had influenced Russia


Three Zones

  1. Northern Forests. Lumber, fur, poor soil, cold snowy climate
  2. Fertile land, farther south, Russia’s first civilization
  3. Southern steppe, open, treeless grassland.

Major rivers run north and south


  • Slavs and then Vikings (Varangians) moved here, busy trade network.
  • Constantinople send missionaries to convert the Slavs
  • Byzantine Christianity had profound effects for Russia
  • In 957 Olga, reigning princess of Kiev, converted to Byz. Christianity
  • Russians adopted Byz art, music and architecture
  • Kiev golden age under Yaroslav the Wise, ruled 1019-1054
  • Kiev declined in 1100s as families feuded


  • Genghiz Khan united the nomadic Mongols
  • The Golden Horde, 1236-1241 raided Kiev and other Russian towns.
  • Russians had to acknowledge the Mongols as their overlords
  • As long as tribute was paid, Russian princes were allowed to rule without interference
  • They killed so many inhabitants "no eye remained to weep for the dead"
  • The Golden Horde converted to Islam, but they tolerated the Orthodox Church
  • The absolute power of the Mongols served as a model for later Russian rulers
  • Mongol rule kept Russia in somewhat of a dark age, cut it off from the West where advances were being made in arts, science, learning


  • In 1380 Moscow rallied Russia and defeated the Golden Horde at the battle of Kulikovo
  • Ivan the Great, 1462-1505, - built framework for absolute rule
  • Married a Byzantine
  • Double-headed eagle was his symbol like Byzantine emperors
  • Ivan and his successors took the title czar, nobles were called boyars
  • Ivan IV, Ivan the Terrible. Fits of rage, killed his own son in a moment of madness
  • He organized the oprichniki, agents of terror who enforced the czar’s will


  • Ethnic Group: large group of people who share the same language and cultural heritage
  • People that migrated into Eastern Europe: Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Vikings, Mongols, Jews
  • E. Europe a refuge for Jews
  • Poland, Hungary, Serbia: changing borders
  • Mongols overran Hungary in 1241 killing half its population
  • Migration, conquest, dynastic marriages, missionary activity
  • These peoples always tried to recover their independence