Key Points

The oriental Empire (the Eastern roman inn Empire) was distinctive from the western Roman empire in numerous ways; many importantly, the Byzantines to be Christians and spoke Greek rather of Latin.The founder the the oriental Empire and also its an initial emperor, Constantine the Great, moved the funding of the Roman empire to the city of byzantium in 330 CE, and also renamed it Constantinople.Constantine the an excellent also legalized Christianity, which had previously been persecuted in the roman inn Empire. Christianity would become a major element of oriental culture.Constantinople ended up being the largest city in the empire and also a major commercial center, when the western Roman empire fell in 476 CE.You space watching: once constantine rebuilt byzantium, the was dubbed "new rome" since constantine



An Abrahamic religion based on the teachings the Jesus Christ and also various scholars who wrote the Christian Bible. It was legalized in the oriental Empire by Constantine the Great, and also the religion came to be a significant element of oriental culture.

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Germanic barbarians

An uncivilized or uncultured person, originally contrasted to the hellenistic Greco-Roman civilization; often connected with fighting or other such reflects of strength.

Constantine the great and the start of Byzantium

It is a matter of conflict when the Roman empire officially ended and also transformed right into the oriental Empire. Most scholars expropriate that that did not occur at one time, but that it to be a slow-moving process; thus, late Roman background overlaps with early oriental history. Constantine ns (“the Great”) is usually held to it is in the founder that the oriental Empire. He to be responsible because that several significant changes the would help create a Byzantine society distinct indigenous the roman inn past.

As emperor, Constantine enacted numerous administrative, financial, social, and military revolutionary to combine the empire. The federal government was restructured and also civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. The would come to be the conventional for Byzantine and also European currencies for more than a thousands years. Together the first Roman emperor to insurance claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the breakthrough of Christianity as the religion of the empire. In army matters, the Roman army was reorganized come consist of mobile field units and also garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and also barbarian invasions. Constantine sought successful campaigns against the tribes on the roman inn frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and also the Sarmatians—, and even resettled regions abandoned by his predecessors throughout the turmoil of the vault century.

The age of Constantine marked a distinctive epoch in the background of the roman inn Empire. He developed a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after self (the laudatory epithet the “New Rome” came later, and also was never ever an main title). It would later end up being the resources of the realm for end one thousand years; thus the later Eastern empire would pertained to be well-known as the byzantine Empire. His more immediate political heritage was that, in leave the empire to his sons, he changed Diocletian’s tetrarchy (government where power is divided among four individuals) v the rule of dynastic succession. His call flourished throughout the lifetime of his children, and also for century after his reign. The medieval church upheld him together a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him together a prototype, a suggest of reference, and also the prize of imperial legitimacy and also identity.


Constantine the Great. Byzantine Emperor Constantine the an excellent presents a representation of the city that Constantinople together tribute to an enthroned Mary and Christ kid in this church mosaic. St Sophia, c. 1000 CE.

Constantinople and also Civil Reform

Constantine relocated the seat of the empire, and introduced important alters into its polite and spiritual constitution. In 330, he founded Constantinople as a 2nd Rome on the website of Byzantium, which was well-positioned astride the trade routes in between east and west; it to be a superb base from which to guard the Danube river, and also was fairly close come the east frontiers. Constantine also began the building of the good fortified walls, which were expanded and also rebuilt in subsequent ages. J. B. Bury asserts that “the structure of Constantinople inaugurated a permanent department between the Eastern and also Western, the Greek and also the Latin, halves the the empire—a department to which occasions had already pointed—and affected decisively the whole subsequent history of Europe.”

Constantine constructed upon the governmental reforms introduced by Diocletian. He stabilized the coinage (the yellow solidus that he introduced ended up being a very prized and stable currency), and made changes to the framework of the army. Under Constantine, the empire had recovered much of its armed forces strength and enjoyed a period of stability and prosperity. He likewise reconquered southern parts of Dacia, after beating the Visigoths in 332, and he was planning a campaign against Sassanid Persia as well. Come divide administrative responsibilities, Constantine changed the solitary praetorian prefect, who had actually traditionally worked out both military and civil functions, with local prefects enjoying civil authority alone. In the course of the 4th century, four great sections arised from these Constantinian beginnings, and also the exercise of separating civil from army authority persisted till the 7th century.

Constantine and Christianity

Constantine was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and also to legalization Christianity, and also all various other religions and also cults in the roman inn Empire.

In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan, whereby they occurred the Edict of Milan. The edict proclaimed that Christians need to be permitted to monitor the confidence without oppression. This eliminated penalties for professing Christianity, under which numerous had been martyred previously, and also returned confiscated Church property. The edict defended from religious persecution not just Christians however all religions, permitting anyone to praise whichever divine being they chose.

Scholars controversy whether Constantine embraced Christianity in his youth native his mother, St. Helena,, or even if it is he embraced it gradually over the food of his life. According to Christian writers, Constantine to be over 40 once he finally claimed himself a Christian, creating to christians to do clear that he believed he owed his successes to the security of the Christian High God alone. Transparent his rule, Constantine sustained the Church financially, constructed basilicas, granted privileges to priest (e.g. Exemption from certain taxes), supported Christians come high office, and also returned residential or commercial property confiscated throughout the Diocletianic persecution. His many famous structure projects incorporate the Church of the divine Sepulchre, and Old Saint Peter’s Basilica.

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The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and also ultimate regulatory authority in ~ the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of the time (most notably, the problem over Arianism, and also the nature that God). Constantine himself disliked the dangers to societal security that religious disputes and controversies lugged with them, like where feasible to establish an orthodoxy. One way in i beg your pardon Constantine offered his influence over the early on Church councils was to seek to create a agreement over the oft debated and also argued problem over the nature the God. In 325, he summoned the the supervisory board of Nicaea, effectively the an initial Ecumenical Council. The board of directors of Nicaea is most known for its taking care of Arianism and for setting up the Nicene Creed, which is still offered today by Christians.See more: Mythbuster: go Romans have actually Steel In old Greece and Rome

The loss of the Western roman Empire

After Constantine, few emperors rule the whole Roman Empire. It to be too huge and to be under assault from too many directions. Usually, there was an emperor of the west Roman realm ruling from Italy or Gaul, and also an emperor the the east Roman empire ruling native Constantinople. While the Western realm was overrun by germanic barbarians (its lands in Italy were overcame by the Ostrogoths, Spain was dominated by the Visigoths, phibìc Africa was dominated by the Vandals, and Gaul was dominated by the Franks), the Eastern empire thrived. Constantinople came to be the biggest city in the empire and also a major commercial center. In 476 CE, the last Western roman inn Emperor to be deposed and the western Roman realm was no more. Thus the east Roman empire was the only Roman empire left standing.