What is the Primary Reason to Study the Byzantines?
The Byzantine Empire and its capital city of Constantinople thrived for more than one thousand years and helped shape the history of the modern world. The Byzantines have been largely ignored in classrooms across the nation. Key reasons to study the Byzantine are their religious influence, preservation of literature, and defense tactics. The question as stated is, what is the Primary Reason to Study the Byzantine? The primary reason to study the Byzantine is their political foundations.
The Byzantines were very religiously influential. The religion was Eastern Orthodox. The percentages of nations populations that are Eastern Orthodox range from 98% in Greece to 2% in the United States. (Document C) This shows the Byzantine influence on areas near their origin. The Byzantine religion faced obstacles when spreading to far places such as the United States, hence the small percentage of Eastern Orthodox. (Document C) This shows that distance by water can greatly impact the spread of a religion.
The Byzantines preserved classic literature by recopying the works in minuscule script during the 9th and 10th century. Classics like the Iliad and The Odyssey are among the most widely read poems in American and European schools and colleges today. (Document E) This shows that without the Byzantines, we wouldn’t have these educationally key classics. The Byzantine are responsible for us having literature and classics to study. Works from great philosophers such as Plato and Socrates were salvaged. (Document E) It is hard for me to imagine English courses without these significant literary works.
Islam dominated eastern and western Europe in 1050. The Byzantines were able to defend and protect the empire from invaders. (Document A) This shows had the Arabs captured Constantinople in the seventh century, all Europe – and America – might be Muslim today. Constantinople was the best-fortified city in the world. It held out invaders for nearly a thousand years. (Document B) This shows the strength and effort the Byzantine put into protecting their city.
Justinian I ruled the Byzantines from 527 to 565 CE. He appointed a commission of 10 experts who created a new code of 4,652 laws dealing with everything from property rights to punishment for religious heresy. (Document D) The main idea of Justinian code was to stress equality for all with the right to happiness. Sound familiar? Yes, the Declaration of Independence stresses these same principles. (Document D) This goes to show that the Byzantine set the bar high for practices still instituted today by creating the Justinian Code. Historians credit the Justinian code with shaping our basic ideas about law and justice today. (Document D) This shows without the Byzantine, the current principles of America would be in disarray.
The Byzantine have been largely ignored all across the nation, yet they are credited with so much of how society is today. Religious influence, preservation of literature, and defense tactics are among the key reasons to study the Byzantine Empire.
What exactly is the Primary Reason to Study the Byzantine? The primary reason to study the Byzantine Empire is their political foundations that helped shape modern society today.