Chapter 10 Margin Questions
In what respects did Byzantium continue the patterns of the classical Roman Empire? In what ways did it diverge from those patterns?
Continuance can be seen in Byzantium’s roads, military structures, centralized administration, imperial court, laws, and Christian organization. It can also be seen in Byzantium’s pursuit of the long-term Roman struggle with the Persian Empire. Byzantium diverged through the development of a reformed administrative system that gave appointed generals civil authority in the empire’s provinces and allowed them to raise armies from the landowning peasants of the region. It also diverged through the new ideas encompassed in caesaropapism that defined the relationship between the state and the Church.
How did Eastern Orthodox Christianity differ from Roman Catholicism?
Unlike Western Europe, where the Catholic Church maintained some degree of independence from political authorities, in Byzantium the emperor assumed something of the role of both “Caesar,” as head of state, and the pope, as head of the Church. Thus the Byzantine emperor appointed the patriarch of the Orthodox Church, sometimes made decisions about doctrine, called church councils into session, and generally treated the Church as a government department. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Greek became the language of religious practice instead of the Latin used in the Roman Catholic Church. More so than in the West, Byzantine thinkers sought to formulate Christian doctrine in terms of Greek philosophical concepts. The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches disagreed on a number of doctrinal issues, including the nature of the Trinity, the relative importance of faith and reason, and the veneration of icons. Priests in Byzantium allowed their beards to grow long and were permitted to marry, while priests in the West shaved and, after 1050 or so, were supposed to remain celibate. Orthodox ritual called for using bread leavened...
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