In Social Studies, we were given a DBQ(Document Based Question), where we were asked, "Why should we study the Byzantines?". Throughout the creation of it, we had to learn a lot of things to get a good product, although I think there was only one that really was crucial to getting a good final project. I think that this skill was analyzing information, as you really need to be able to put the text together to better strengthen your point using the given evidence.
How did such an advanced and powerful empire fall? Before their fall, they did a lot of innovated and new things, so why do most education's neglect them in the classes? The Roman Capital had just been moved from Rome to Byzantium, by none other than Constantine, he moved it there so he could better be in touch with what was happening, and so that he could better be in a place that could connect the two empires. He even gave religion a legal standing in the empire. The 2 primary reasons that people should study the Byzantines is how it defended Western Christianity from the Muslims, and how it created Justinian’s code, which influenced legal systems up to today.
We should study the Byzantines because they were able to create Justinian’s Code, which was able to shape the future of the western world. It shows that the code that was made by Justinian was revolutionary for it’s time, and even influenced huge people like John Locke, and was able to shape so many legal systems, even the western world is still getting a lot of it’s basis from. In Document D, it mentioned how the Roman Laws crumbled, it happened when Justinian became the emperor. When Justinian rose, he and his men looked over the rules and enforced them, making Constantinople, and the cities who followed the rules becoming more safe along with becoming more order. I think that Constantinople was able to really shape the western world because of the fact that their revolutionary style was able to really show that they were ahead of their time. It makes a lot of sense though that they should be studied, as it shows you how much revolutionary they were. In the end, it just shows how well they were able to shape their future just because of how revolutionary they were, which is a prime reason why we should study them because it shows how well they were really ahead of their time and in a much better situation.
We should've studied the Byzantines because they held off the Muslims and protected Christianity for the Western world. In Documents A and B it tells us on how the Byzantines saved the Western Christianity from Muslims, and how without them, it might be all Muslims today. This shows that they were able to really preserve themselves when faced with such a powerful force. They were able to be conservative and smart with their walls and thinking, and thus could preserve the modern world to be much more diverse. They did so with being efficient, which is extremely impressive as they were facing such a military giant. Overall, the Byzantines were able to just be a giant force in keeping the current religions alive, and could overall just be able to fend off such an intimidating and military beast of a force.
While it was important that they were able to create Justinian’s code, their creation of the eastern orthodox church is considered by others is the main reason that people should study the Byzantines. In Document C, it states the growing population of the huge eastern orthodox population, the highest being many soviet and roman areas, showing how much of a standing it created, with Greece about 98% of it’s population was part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. This shows how much of a persuasive and powerful message it could convey, and how much of a pinnacle moment in history this. While it is true that they were able to create the easter orthodox church, it doesn’t make sense that this is something that they should teach them in schools about, they have done much more things, and just being the creators of a church could be overlooked in exchange for what they’ve accomplished and done. As stated in document D, they were able to change the legal systems of the entire empire, while impressive enough already, the advanced legal system that was used was able to influence many important politicians and people up until today’s legal system. This shows that there were clearly much more important things that they’ve done that should’ve been put into perspective as a more important moment of the Byzantine’s history. While it is important that they created the eastern orthodox, they were able to shape the future in a much different way. Overall, while the creation was important, their ability to shape the future by preserving themselves and holding off from the military monster, or their ability to create a legal code that would influence so many others.
In the end, people should really begin to teach about the Byzantines in classrooms, as they really were able to shape the future, by creating such an influential legal system, and by protecting Western Christianity from being taken over by the muslims. Today, and most legal systems before it, were influenced by the Justinian code, which you would think makes it pretty important to study about, as it is basically the origins of it. They were also able to preserve Christianity for the modern world, as they were able to hold off the muslims from conquering them, which actually saved most of Christianity, which I would say is pretty important to today, is it not? Overall, the Byzantines were a really great and innovative society that is a shame is overlooked in most education systems.
A strength I showed well was my persuasive style, I think that I was able to really hone in on trying to get people on my side. I think that this is one of the best parts of my essay, and I really was able to emphasize it throughout the entire thing. It was a strong point, and I think that it showed my ability to bring people to my side.
TO WORK ON:
Something that I could improve on would be to flesh out my analysis. I think that I was a bit too focused on the persuasive part, I didn't really have much information to back it up, and with that I couldn't really go deeper with analysis. I usually do well with analysis, but I just didn't really focus too much on my analysis and given backup.