Cultural Inheritance of the Middle Ages
The West received numerous cultural, political, religious, and economic inheritances from the Byzantine civilizations in the middle ages. Among the most significant inheritance, include science and religion. This is because the ancient philosophy and metaphysics is closely related to byzantine science that was the practice of the Byzantines in the middle age (Alemany, 170). Therefore, science, medicine, and law became part of the consequences of these practices. The Christian religion was a new religion, which offered hope and restoration to the public. Besides, Christianity became a significant inheritance in the same period due to the decline of the Roman Empire, which was the major political rule (Angelov, 97). This led to the power vacuum within the political arena. Moreover, the pagan gods failed to answer the prayers and the demands of the people, which made the public, seek refuge to the new religion of Christianity that offered solace and hope.
The basis of the present school of mathematics and engineering in the Byzantine period as founded by Leo the Geometer in c.859. From the middle ages, courses in mathematics such as geometry and its applications in architecture and engineering find their basis. Numerous technological advancements such as pendentive dome in architecture and Greek fire in warfare technology are besides credited with the Byzantines (Alemany, 298). The Byzantine Empire was theocratic to imply that God ruled them (Alemany, 192). Theocracy in this period was spread after the empire adopted Christian values and ideals, which formed the foundations of the empire’s political goals. The constitution of the empire was based on the conviction that the empire was a replica of the heavenly kingdom. The political motto of the empire was also summarized to include the aspect the aspect of one God, one empire and one religion. The survival of the empire was based on the active role of the empire in the affairs of the church. Based on this Christian background, the Emperor was perceived as a messenger of Christ charged with the role of propagation of Christianity in the pagan religion, administration and in finances. Immigration and migration during the war and the dark period led to widespread adoption of the Byzantine culture to other European regions. The Christian theologians’ influence was besides profound as it led to the wide adoption of the Christianity to Europe.
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I conducted a study on the Byzantium culture and discovered that it is a rich culture (Harris, 12). Other than possessing military power, Byzantine civilizations greatly influenced its neighbors in their culture and knowledge. Some of the great inventions in science and medicine were derived from the period. Even though there were continuous war and instability, the region enjoyed tranquility mainly due to the military, political, and economic powers. I have discovered that classical antiquity is usually related with the Byzantium period. Consequently, Byzantine science is a result of the ancient philosophy and metaphysics written in the middle ages. Even though scholarship delayed in the dark years after the Arab conquests, Byzantine scholars re-established themselves in the Byzantine Renaissance thereby rising to become experts in different scientific developments such as astronomy and mathematics (Gabriel, 36).
The west acquired numerous cultural and political inheritances from the Byzantine civilizations; some like arts and literature are obsolete. The Byzantine culture is wide and somehow complicated for me. This complication is attributed by the fact that the background is interconnected with Roman and Greek politics and rule that have challenging history. I fail to understand the relationship between Byzantium Christianity religion and the Islamic religion and the effects of each religion. I therefore request that you assist me to understand the history of this empire, the time difference and the relationship between Islamic and Christianity religion in the same empire. This complication is further catapulted by the Greek literal style, which is quite contrary to the present applied literal styles. From the study, I realized that the Byzantium were wealthy economically due to trade, rich academically and in arts. However, their arts and creativity is rare. I just wonder why the west could not borrow this aspect too for architectural progress.
It is amazing that the Byzantium was a powerful nation able to protect and defend its subjects yet the Roman Empire was unable to accomplish this during their reign (Klein, 294). I have come to understand that this ability further enabled them to administer its political policies and administration orders, which were therefore readily accepted, as they deemed achievable.
Several issues mystified me including:
- How did the Byzantium apply their power on their neighbors?
From the studies, the Byzantium had a military as well as a diplomatic power, which was applied by the political authorities to influence their neighbors and subjects to invade and conquer other regions (Greatrex, 477). The power enabled them transmit their classical knowledge through the rich histographical tradition. Their act of preservation of the culture significantly resulted to transmission of the culture. The rich histographical tradition was preserved through architecture, literature, and technological developments and later dispersed through literal preservation (Greatrex, 482).
- What was the effect of widespread Christianity to Byzantium?
Christianity was useful to the Byzantium since it offered hope and restoration that the public longed to acquire. The religion assumed the position of the pagan worship that was rendered redundant due to the inability of the gods to answer the prayers of its faithful. Moreover, the religion was introduced at a period when the subjects were in need of freedom, a significant aspect in Christianity (Klein, 293).
- How were the Byzantium defined by their neighbors?
Byzantium was mainly described as triple fused by a Roman body, Greek mind and a mystical oriental soul. The Roman body was due to the declining Roman rule and the accepted Roman Christianity doctrines, the Greek mind was the result to the Greek Philosophy while the mystical soul depicted the acceptance of the Christian practiced religion (Klein, 298).
Alemany, Agustí. “Sources on the Alans: A Critical Compilation.” Leiden: Brill. 2000. Print
Angelov Dimiter. Imperial Ideology and Political Thought in Byzantium (1204–1330).
Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 2007. Print
Gabriel, Richard A. The Great Armies of Antiquity. Westport: Greenwood. 2002
Greatrex Geoffrey B. “Byzantium and the East in the Sixth Century”. In Maas, Michael. The
Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2005. Print
Harris Jonathan (2015). The Lost World of Byzantium. New Haven CT and London: Yale
University Press. 2015. Print
Klein, Holgen A. “Eastern Objects and Western Desires: Relics and Reliquaries between
Byzantium and the West”. Dumbarton Oaks Papers 58(2004): 283–314.