Roman Empire

The Byzantine Empire actually ruled under the Roman Empire until Its demise In AD 476. Both of these empires were located near the Mediterranean Sea and both had a written set of laws. Emperor contanune the First converted to chrlstlanlty after ordering his soldiers to put a cross on their shields and then being victorious in battle. After his conversion, he united the military power of Rome with the young Roman Catholic Church. Because of this union he was able to conquer much of the known world at he time.

In the Byzantine Empire, Christianity and the differing ideas about it caused great conflict. When the idea of religious icons came about, Emperor Leo Ill created Iconoclasm, which permitted the smashing of these religious icons. The events following the creation of Iconoclasm showed how distant the church was from the government. Eventually the quarrel led to the separation of the Catholic Church from the Eastern Christian Church, known as the Great Schism. This resulted in the Orthodox Church. Despite the differences in the effects that Christianity had on each

Empire, it is clear that in both societies, religion was always in opposition with the government. There were many factors that led to the decline of both the Roman and the Byzantine Empires. In Rome, the empire simply became too large. They had to resort to using mercenaries to defend their excess land, but they often rebelled against the government. The separation of the empire into east and west also proved to be detrimental to the empire. The western side, the Romans, was defeated by Germanic barbarians who unseated their last emperor, a 14 year old boy, In AD 476.

Although the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, survived for another 1,000 years, Its Inevitable demise came about through the arrival of the Bubonic Plague, which was only the first crisis that moved the empire towards collapse. Byzantium was also constantly faced with military challenges from outside Invaders, and the Great Schism eliminated any possibility of outside help. The Byzantines used a multitude of tactics to try to keep enemies away, but the empire eventually fell to the Ottoman Turks In 1453.

Both the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire held an alarming amount of xternal enemies, which undoubtedly was crucial In the demise of the empires; however It was mainly Internal conflicts that destroyed both empires. Justinian ended up winning back a large part of the territory Ancient Rome had ruled at i ts height, including Italy and parts ot Spain and Nort Roman and the Byzantine Empires differed in a multitude of ways despite their direct link to each other, they were also similar in their location, their religious opposition to the government, and their severe internal problems.