Postclassical Period

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During the postclassical period, along with other major civilizations including Asia and Africa, two great Christian civilizations emerged in Europe. One Christian civilization that emerged was the Byzantine Empire, which controlled parts of western Asia and southeastern Europe. Since the Romans set up their eastern capital in Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire maintained high levels of political, economic, and cultural life during the period of 500 to 1450 C.E. Imperial decline and collapse, as demonstrated by the Byzantine Empire, was in part caused by Turkish invaders along with the Battle of Manzikert and the split between the East and West followed by the Western Crusades.

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An effect of the collapse of the Byzantine empire was that Russia was negatively affected and isolated as trading declined.

Turkish invaders were contributing factors to cause the decline of the Byzantine Empire and eventually its collapse. The Byzantine eastern borders were attacked by Turkish invaders who came from Central Asia as they converted to Islam. The Seljuks, Turkish troops, took many Asiatic provinces of the Byzantine which negatively affected the empire by losing sources of tax revenue and areas which were critical for supplying food. As the Turkish troops constantly challenged the Byzantine empire, the emperor eventually lost the battle of Manzikert as his army was greatly defeated and the empire was never able to recover. This was significant because even though the empire staggered along for another four centuries, its doom, as a significant power, was sealed. Turkish settlements continued to press closer to Constantinople and eventually a Turkish sultan and his powerful army, equipped with artillery from the West, went against the city. By 1461, the Turks had conquered the remaining areas of Byzantine control, including most of the Balkans.

Another chief cause of imperial decline and collapse during this period was the split between the East and West, more specifically, the Roman Catholic church and Eastern Orthodoxy. In 1054, a church patriarch from Constantinople stirred up debates over several practices and issues. The two churches talked over the various disputes concerning church practices which only led to new bitterness. This East-West split was important because it caused western leaders to deny the Eastern emperors’ appeal for assistance when the Turks invaded. The appeal was not only ignored but inspired Western Crusades to the Holy Land instead, which contributed to the decline of the Byzantines. One Western Crusade against the Byzantine empire was originally planned to conquer the Holy Land from Muslims. The Venetian merchants who led the crusade conducted attacks and conquered the city of Constantinople, weakening the Byzantine empire eventually to its collapse.

A significant effect of the collapse was that the Byzantine Empire’s trade declined, breaking the link that once connected Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. With the Byzantine holding the capital city of Constantinople, a cultural and economic hub, the empire was considered one of the greatest trading centers. More specifically, had a trading network as they traded with Asia to the east and Russia and Scandinavia to the north and also traded with India, the Arabs, and East Asia. But, the collapse was important because Russia, who was dependent on the Byzantine Empire as its main trading contact, was led to a period of isolation.

The Byzantine Empire and its trading routes significantly impacted Russia as Prince Vladimir I, Prince of Kievan Russia, converted to Christianity as exchanges on the trading routes took place. But once the empire collapsed, Russia had no connection with Europe and West Asia, restricting them from new changes and ideas. This demonstrates that the Byzantine Empire’s collapse not only affected itself but impacted surrounding areas as well.

The imperial collapse in 1450 C.E of the Byzantine Empire was caused by the loss of the Battle of Manzikert against the Seljuk Turks. Another cause of the collapse was the split between the East and West, leading to the Western Crusade and weakening the Byzantine Empire. Lastly, an effect of the collapse was that trading declined along with the empire, leaving Russia with the no trading contacts and eventual isolation.

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Postclassical Period. (2020, Apr 26). Retrieved from