The Eastern Empire Essay, Research Paper
The Eastern Empire is referred to today as the Byzantine Empire. The empire was located in Constantinople. The Empire, ruled by Arcadius, was wealthy and heavily populated. It was a Greek-speaking Christian state. This empire was very different from old Rome. Arcadius reigned from 408-450. He, despite his age and inexperience, fortified the empire.
Justinian became emperor in 527. He was and able and determined ruler. He waged long wars against the Vandals in Africa, the Ostrogoths on Italy, and the Visigoths in Spain. (e.n) He also drove back the Persians who pushed down on the eastern borders of the empire. He regained much of the lost territory through these conquests. Justinian died, leaving his empire bankrupt. Justin II reigned from 565-578. Under his rule they had continued invasions by the Persians. The Persians had continued victories until Emperor Heraclius finally defeated them. A new enemy arose in the 600 s, the Moslems. They won a series of land and sea victories, including Palestine and Syria. From 673-678 and 717-718 they besieged Constantinople but were defeated both times. The y did conquer Sicily and Crete in the 820 s.
They soon started to expand again. They continued to drive the Moslems back and regained the territory of the Balkans to the empire once again. This revival brought wealth and luxury to Constantinople. This expansion reached its peak from 976-1025, during the reign of Basil II.
The Seljuk Turks appeared as another enemy during the late 1000 s. They overran the greater part of Asia Minor when they invaded the east. Alexius Comnenus became emperor and though of a plan to protect his empire. He called on the Christians of Western Europe to help fight the Turks. Venetians led the Fourth Crusade against Constantinople in 1203.
What was left of the Byzantine Empire was divided into many smaller states when the city fell in 1204. Michael Palaeologus, a general in the employ of the Greek ruler at Nicaea, founded the last line of Byzantine rulers in 1261, when he overthrew the Latin kingdom and captured Constantinople. (e.n) The empire stood strong again, because the Latins were not able to restore their kingdom. The area around Constantinople was all that remained of the empire by the end of the 1300 s. In 1453, Constantinople fell to the Turks. Killed in the battle was, Constantine Palaeologus, the last of the Byzantine Emperors.