CHAPTER 5 • BYZANTIUM, EASTERN EUROPE, AND RUSSIA, 325-1500
Consequences of Roman Collapse • Tremendous consequences for Europe came from • The decline and collapse of Roman authority in the West • The relocation of the empire’s center of power to Byzantium in the East.
Christianity Emerges • The Christian faith emerged as a dynamic agent of civilization. • It preserved the rich legacy of classical antiquity. • It fused Graeco-Roman institutions and Christian theology with Germanic and Slavic cultures.
Roman Catholic Independence • In the West, the Roman Catholic Church asserted both religious and political independence from the Byzantine emperor. • The papacy played a prominent role in shaping the new political order in western and parts of eastern Europe.
Orthodox Church • The Orthodox Church had an equally profound impact on the culture of the peoples who migrated to regions within the sphere of Byzantium’s influence.
Missionary Work • Orthodox missionaries brought Christianity to much of eastern Europe and the Balkans. • They promoted literacy in Slavic languages. • They encouraged the development of new political and social structures.
Byzantine Power • Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, however, the Orthodox Church remained subordinate to the authority of the Byzantine emperor, who claimed to be the “thirteenth apostle.”
Shield Against Islam • From their prosperous metropolis, Constantinople, the Byzantines formed a shield for Christian Europe against the drive of Islam from the south.
National Identities • Behind this shield Bulgarians, Serbs, and other peoples within the Byzantine sphere developed separate national identities. • They lost their independence to the Ottoman Turks in the fifteenth century.
Slavic Ties • In contrast, many Slavic peoples forged ties with the West. • Poles • Czechs • several other Slavic peoples.
Slav Independence • Although threatened by Mongols and Turks, these Slavs remained within the orbit of Western culture and the Roman Catholic Church and maintained their political independence.
Russia • The Russians developed in yet another way. • From an early eminence under Byzantine and Varangian tutelage, Russian power declined due to internal conflict and external pressure from Mongols and Tatars.
Russia Freed • In the sixteenth century the Grand Dukes of Moscow freed Russia. • Russia began the long, difficult task of building a modern nation-state.
YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND • The political and religious circumstances into which Jesus was born, the efforts and persecutions of his early converts, and their eventual success in shaping the early church. • The role of Christian monasteries and missionaries in preserving and extending Greco-Roman civilization.
YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND • The theological disputes and political rivalries that culminated in a schism between the Roman and Orthodox Christian churches. • The Byzantine Empire and the power of the Orthodox church.
YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND • The growth of Slavic nations in eastern Europe under Byzantine tutelage. • The origins of Russia and its links with the Byzantine Empire.