In this lecture, Professor Freedman surveys major trends in Byzantine history from the sixth to eleventh century, dividing the era into four periods. In the sixth century, under Justinian’s rule, the Byzantine Empire experienced a period of expansion (532-565). However, the Empire was unable to hold on to Justinian’s hard won territories and so contracted for over a century of crisis that threatened its survival (565-717). In the next period, (717-843), the Byzantine army was reorganized and the Empire was able to regain some lost territory. At the same time, the empire was wracked by the conflicts accompanying theological controversies over artistic representations of the sacred (the Iconoclast controversy). Finally, with the religious situation smoothed over, the Byzantine Empire was able to expand further from 843 to 1071.
Major developments in the political, social, and religious history of Western Europe from the accession of Diocletian to the feudal transformation. Topics include the conversion of Europe to Christianity, the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam and the Arabs, the "Dark Ages," Charlemagne and the Carolingian renaissance, and the Viking and Hungarian invasions.
Original Course Name: HIST 210: The Early Middle Ages, 284–1000.