Bruce Morrison » Byzantines, Russians, and Turks Interact, 500–1500

Byzantines, Russians, and Turks Interact, 500–1500

Byzantine, Russian, and Turkish cultures develop, while Christian and Islamic societies fight over religious issues and territory.


Section 1: The Byzantine Empire

Section 2: The Russian Empire

Section 3: Turkish Empires Rise in Anatolia


Section 1: The Byzantine Empire

After Rome split, the Eastern Empire, known as Byzantium, flourishes for a thousand years.


A New Rome in a New Setting


The Eastern Roman Empire

  • Roman Empire officially divides into East and West in 395
  • Eastern Empire flourishes; becomes known asByzantium
  • Justinianbecomes emperor of Byzantium in 527
  • His armies reconquer much of former Roman territory
  • Byzantine emperors head state and church; use brutal politics


Life in the New Rome


New Laws for the Empire

  • Justinian seeks to revise and update laws for governing the empire
  • Justinian Code—new set of laws consisting of four main parts
  • Code regulates much of Byzantine life; lasts for 900 years


Creating the Imperial Capital

  • Justinian launches program to beautify capital,Constantinople
  • Constructs new buildings; builds magnificent church,Hagia Sophia
  • Byzantines preserveGreco-Romanculture and learning 


Constantinople’s Hectic Pace

  • City becomes trading hub with major marketplace
  • GiantHippodromeoffers chariot races and other entertainment
  • Racing fans start riots in 532; government restores order violently
  • Empress Theodora—powerful wife and adviser to Justinian


The Empire Falls


Years of Turmoil

  • Justinian dies in 565; empire faces many crises after his death


The Plague of Justinian

  • Bubonic plaguerepeatedly sweeps empire; kills many residents


Attacks from East and West

  • Byzantium faces attacks from many different groups
  • Empire survives through bribery, diplomacy, and military power
  • Constantinople falls in 1453; brings an end to Byzantine Empire

The Church Divides


A Religious Split

  • Christianity develops differently in Eastern and Western Roman Empires
  • Two churches disagree over many issues, including use of icons
  • Iconsare religious images used to aid in prayer
  • Leading bishop of Eastern Christianity known aspatriarch
  • In the West, pope excommunicated emperor—banished him from the Church
  • Pope and patriarch excommunicate each other over religious doctrines
  • Eastern and Western churches officially split in 1054
  • West—Roman Catholic Church; East—Orthodox Church


Byzantine Missionaries Convert the Slavs

  • Eastern Orthodox missionaries seek to convert northern peoples,Slavs
  • Missionaries createCyrillic alphabet—basis of many Slavic languages
  • Alphabet enables many groups to read the Bible


Section 2: The Russian Empire

Russia grows out of a blending of Slavic and Byzantine cultures and adopts Eastern Orthodox traditions.


Russia’s Birth


Emergence of Russian Culture

  • Byzantium trades withSlavs—groups living north of Black Sea
  • Eventually Slavic and Greek traditions produce Russian culture


Geography of Russia

  • Russian territory: west of Ural Mountains, Black Sea to Baltic Sea
  • Forests in north, hilly grasslands in south; three great rivers


Slavs and Vikings

  • In 800s, Vikings settle among Slavs; move to Kiev
  • Vikings and Slavs mix cultures, become one


Kiev Becomes Orthodox

  • Princess Olgaof Kiev visits Constantinople; converts to Christianity
  • Her grandson,Vladimir, becomes leader of Kiev around 980
  • In 989, Vladimir has all Kiev citizens baptized in Dnieper River
  • Beliefs and traditions of Orthodox Christianity flourish in Kiev


Kiev’s Power and Decline


Kievan Russia

  • Vladimir expands Russia into Poland, and north to Baltic Sea
  • Vladimir’s son,Yaroslav the Wise, rules Kiev in 1019
  • Forges alliances, creates legal code, builds churches


Kiev’s Decline

  • Yaroslav divides realm between his sons; causes civil war
  • Kiev’s commerce is further weakened by the Crusades
  • The Crusades—clash between Christians and Muslims over Holy Lands


The Mongol Invasions


The Mongols

  • Mongols, nomads from central Asia, begin conquests in early 1200s
  • Kiev falls in 1240 toGenghis Khan’s grandson, Batu Khan
  • Mongols rule much of Russia for the next 200 years


Mongol Rule in Russia

  • Mongols give Russians many freedoms, but demand obedience, tribute
  • Russian nobles such asAlexander Nevskysupport Mongols
  • Mongol rule isolates Russia from rest of Europe


Russia Breaks Free


The Rise of Moscow

  • Moscowfounded in 1100s—located near Russia’s three main rivers


Moscow’s Powerful Princes

  • Moscow’s princes grow strong under Mongol rule throughout the1300s


An Empire Emerges

  • Late 1400sIvan IIIbecomes prince of Moscow; challenges Mongol rule
  • Takes the nameczar, Russian for “Caesar”, and vows to restore Russia
  • Russian and Mongol armies face off at Ugra River in 1480
  • Both armies retreat and Russia gains freedom from Mongol rule


Section 3: Turkish Empires Rise in Anatolia

Turkish people convert to Islam and establish new empires that renew Muslim civilization.


The Rise of the Turks


Decline of the Abbasids

  • Powerful Abbasid Empire faces many attacks during 700s and 800s
  • Persians conquer Abbasid capital, Baghdad, in 945


The Conquering Seljuks

  • Turks are a nomadic group living along western border of China
  • Group led by Turkish family—theSeljuks—seizes Baghdad in 1055
  • In 1071 Seljuk sultans crush Byzantine Empire atBattle of Manzikert
  • Seljuks take most ofAnatolia; bring Turks close to Constantinople


The Turks Secure Persian Support

  • Turks seek support of Persians and embrace Persian culture
  • Give Persians key posts, including that of vizier, or prime minister
  • Adopt Persian language and religion—Islam
  • Malik Shahwas one of the most famous Seljuk rulers, or shahs
  • He and other shahs support Persian artists; build mosques


Seljuks Confront Crusaders and Mongols


Malik Shah Dies

  • In 1092 Malik Shah dies; no capable shah replaces him
  • Seljuk Empire disintegrates into loose collection of minor kingdoms


The Seljuks and the Crusaders

  • Crusades begin in 1095—Christians drive Turks out of Anatolia
  • In 1099, Crusaders capture Jerusalem; massacre Muslims and Jews
  • Fragment of Seljuk Empire fights back, Muslims recover Jerusalem
  • Captain Saladin allows Western pilgrims access to Christian holy places


Seljuks Face the Mongols

  • Mongol armies under leader Hulagu capture Baghdad in 1258
  • Hulagu, Genghis Kahn’s grandson, burns palace, kills Abbasid caliph
  • Ends Turkish rule with much bloodshed