The Byzantine Empire
Faizaan, Age 10, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Do you know about the Byzantine Empire? The Byzantine Empire started on 11 May 330 A.D. Constantine was the one who named the eastern half of Rome the "Byzantine Empire." Constantine lived in the western Roman Empire; he was sent to the eastern Roman Empire by his father to become a military tribune. There he became the emperor of Rome. When the western half of Rome was collapsing, he named the eastern half the "Byzantine Empire," and he became the first ruler of this empire. This is the relationship between the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. He also named a city after himself, Constantinople, which is modern day Istanbul. The Byzantine Empire ended in 1453 A.D when the Ottoman Turks conquered the Empire. There were ninety-four total Byzantine Emperors. There were four emperors who were female. Also there were ten emperors who ruled under the age of sixteen. The Byzantine Empire is modern day Turkey.

Golden Age of Byzantium

The Byzantine Empire was the most powerful from A.D 527-565. This is the time when Justinian was in power. He was born in Tauresium, Macedonia, in the year 482 A.D. and died in Constantinople on 14 November 565 A.D. This ruler had a wife called Theodora. He is known for the Golden Age of Byzantium and for creating the laws called Corpus Juris Civilis. He ruled for thirty-eight years, which is quite a long time. He conquered lots of places, including the western half of Rome, North Africa, Greece, Turkey, Italy, and parts of Spain. He expanded the Byzantine Empire to its greatest size. He was the one who built the church called the Hagia Sophia which is now in Istanbul.

Daily Life

There were both poor and rich people living in the Byzantine Empire. The poor people lived in houses which contained two or three rooms. The rich people lived in houses which were two stories tall. The bottom floor was used as storage or to keep animals. Most people in the Byzantine Empire were farmers, but the rest were blacksmiths, clothiers, merchants, or other services. For farmers at that time, it was common and important to take care of grain fields. And out of all those grains, barley was the most common one. Another important crop was grapes, which were used to make wine. Farmers in this region also kept gardens that produced cabbage, onions, leeks, carrots, garlic, squash, melons and cucumbers. Their main diet was fish, beans, olives, and fruits such as apples, pears, cherries and plums. Animals were important for milk, cheese, and meat. Another part of their diet was honey and nuts.

Religion

Do you know what a monotheistic religion is? A monotheistic religion is a religion in which the people only believe in one god. Christianity is a monotheistic religion. In the fourth century, Christianity was the main religion of the Byzantine Empire. When Christianity became organized, the church was led by five patriarchs who were in Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome. A patriarch is like a leader of the church. In 451 C.E., the council of Chalcedon decided that the patriarch of Constantinople was second in command of the church. Only the Pope was of a higher rank than the patriarch of Constantinople. After the split-up of the east and west of Rome in 1054 C.E., the Eastern Orthodox Church separated from the western Roman Catholic Church. The difference between Orthodox Church and Catholic Church is that the Roman Catholic Church keeps a pope and the Orthodox Church does not. This is the part where they differ from each other.

Architecture

Do you know about Byzantine architecture? Byzantine architecture was a bit like the early Christian architecture. One of the styles of Byzantine architecture was a domed roof with four equal length columns to support the structure. To hold the dome the Byzantine architects would use the squinch (an arch shaped structure which holds up the dome) or the pendentive (a curved triangle which holds up the dome). The Byzantine architects also liked to decorate the buildings. They used mosaics (a picture made of small colored pieces of hard material) on the roof, marble columns, stone pavement, or a ceiling made out of gold. This style with the dome was very common in the Byzantine Empire. Many churches in the Byzantine Empire were made using this style and with some of the decorations which were mentioned. Even now churches in Turkey are made using this style.

Finally I would like to conclude this essay by reminding you about the Golden Age, daily life, religion, and architecture of the Byzantine Empire. This empire ended in 1453 A.D., which means that it was active for 1,123 years, which is a long time. Now you know what people did and how they lived in the Byzantine Empire. You also know when the Empire was the most powerful. Now I can tell that you that you have learned a lot about the Byzantine Empire.

Home | Read | Write | Copyright | Privacy

This page was last updated on May 08, 2015 by the KIWW Webmaster.