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Byzantine Empire

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1. How did Justinian rule? Was he a benevolent or malevolent ruler, why?
2. When was the zenith of byzantine civilization, why?
3. What were some challenges to the Byzantine Empire?
4. Describe the social and economic characteristics of the Byzantine Empire
5. What were some differences b/w East & West Christians?

1. Justinian ruled in a way that would best restore the entire Roman Empire to its former glory. While he may not be considered the kindest of all rulers, he did care about his people and tried to help them live a good life while he was off trying to complete his goals. I would say that he was more of a benevolent ruler because he did do a lot of good in his time as a ruler and wasn’t too mean or harsh to his people. 2. I think that there are many things that could be considered the peak of the Byzantine civilization. One of them could be Justinian’s reforms concerning law. Another could be the arts including music, drama, and art. He funded many public works projects as well including bridges, roads, aqueducts, and churches. In that time he built the Hagia Sophia, a beautiful and massive church. 3. I think that one challenge to the Byzantine Empire was that throughout much of the middle Ages the Byzantium Empire fought the Muslims for control of the eastern Mediterranean. Another challenge was constantly being worried about being overthrown.

Another challenge was the riots in the streets which almost made Justinian leave. 4. The economy of the Byzantine Empire was focused mainly around grain which was the “imperial breadbasket” of the empire. This allowed farmers to get rich and for the Empire to gain higher taxes through the farmers. People in the Byzantine Empire were treated fairly well. There were lots of public works, it was a city of baths, and people lived comfortably. 5. There were a few main differences between East and West Christians. The Western Christians had a Latin language while the Eastern Christians had a Greek language. One big difference was that the Western Christians had the pope as their leader while the Eastern Christians had a political leader who was more powerful. Another difference was that the Western Christian priests could not marry while the Eastern priests were able to.

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