The Byzantine Empire was such a remarkable civilization with a widespread burst of fascinating ideas and list of accomplishments. Even though the Byzantine Empire existed a very long time ago, their ideas still live on even today. It is amazing to think that everyone from different backgrounds of religion were able to live together in peace and harmony. The Byzantine Empire had such an important cultural legacy in today’s society that it is almost impossible to study Humanities without first learning about the Byzantine Empire. On the other hand, the Aegean Civilization had their own important cultural legacy. Many classic and important pieces of literature came from the Aegean Civilization such as Homer’s Iliad. Even though the Byzantine Empire and the Aegean Civilization at first glance appears to be vastly different from each other, there are many similarities between the two. This becomes more apparent when studied together. The information that can be collected from studying the two cultures can help piece together a huge important part of history and give valuable information about their lives and how it is being applied in today’s society. The Byzantine Empire and the Aegean Civilization by themselves each give their own important cultural lessons that are valuable in today’s society. By learning about how they valued different aspects of different cultures, this will give people a better understanding of tolerance in today’s society. The Byzantine Empire existed from 330 to 1453 CE. Throughout its existence, the size of the territory varied from being small to being very large. As the size of the territory grew, so did their civilians. Their territory expanded from Italy to Greece, Balkan, Levant, Asia Minor, and North America. As imagined, their civilians no longer consisted of just Romans, but rather a large combination of civilians from those countries that were conquered. At the very heart of the Byzantine Empire was the capital, Constantinople, which was founded by Constantine in 330 CE. Constantine made it possible for Christains to flourish and not fear being killed. As a result, Christainity became the heart of the Byzantine Empire with Greek as the official language. Byzantine art was very unique in that, for possibly the first time, artists were finally moving away from the Classical traditional art style to a more abstract style. The fear of having an art piece look two dimensional was no longer feared and became embraced. Their art revolved around spreading the word of God and was meant to deepen their faith The subjects in these art pieces were represented as holy figures. A person would know that a subject was holy because there would be a halo over their head. Artworks such as “Christ Pantocrator” and the “Virgin and Child” are some examples of this style of artwork. Christ Pantocrator is a mosaic that depicts Christ as the “All Powerful”. He is shown with a halo over his head and his right arm lifted and his left arm holding a book. The halo over his head immediately implies that this person is holy and therefore, important. This artwork is fascinating to study because this really shows how devoted the Byzantines were to Christanity. It is apparent that they took great care into creating these amazing art pieces. It really makes it clear that they valued Christ and had such great respect for him. In the “Virgin and Child” piece, it can be seen that the Virgin Mary is sitting on a throne with baby Jesus sitting on her lap. On either side of her is Emperor Constantine and Emperor Justinian I each presenting their Empires to her. Byzantine language is also interesting to study just because it is so unique and diverse. At first, Latin was the official language. Reason being was because this was enforced by the Romans since they established and ruled the Roman Empire. In 395 AD, the Roman Empire separated into westeren and eastern parts. With the eastern part being Byzantine. Since then, Latin did continue to be their official language but as time went on, the Greek language began to spread and soon became Byzantine’s official language. The Aegean Civilization was located next to the Aegean Sea which was located between the Coast of Greece and Asia Minor, present day Turkey. Many of the inhabitants were of Greek descendent. They had a very successful trading system where they traded with Spain and Egypt. The Aegean Sea is inspirational for many famous Greek myths. The Aegean Civilization is most famous for the mysterious disappearance of the Minoans. For centuries no one could crack the code as to why the Minoans suddenly disappeared. Recently, there is proof that the Minoans disappeared due to history’s most extreme natural disasters. A massive volcanic eruption caused an equally large flood that literally wiped the Minoans out of the face of the Earth. Aegean art is also unique because it covers two pre-Greek civilizations, the Minoans and the Mycenaeans. Their art took inspiration from Mesopotamian, Egyptians, and Greek art. This is apparent in their art styles. Aegean art is a perfect example of how their artistic representation expresses cultural values. These vary with the two pre-Greek civilizations, the Minoans for example, made most of their art about the environment around them. Where as, the Mycenaeans revolved their art around political power. Art is expressed according to what each civilization deemed important to them. Minoan fresco “man with fish” which was created in 1500 BC depitcs a man holding a fish. This piece of artwork along with many different types of art show how important their environment was to them during that time period. “Detail from the Warrior Vase Mycenae” shows how important political power was to the Mycenaeans. Created around 1200-1100 BC, this artwork shows an army of soldiers armed and ready for battle. Their faces clearly show how determined they are to win any battle that heads their way. Similarly to Aegean art, the Mycenaeans and Minoans took much of their writing system from Egyptian and Mesopotamia’s writing system. This is evident because of the way the Aegean set up their writing system. It is evident that the Aegean Civilization is an adaptation of Egyptian and Mesopotamia writing system. It may be evident by now some of the similarities between the Byzantine and the Aegean Civilizations. Even though they seem different, there are more similarities than differences between the two civilizations. Both civilizations use art as a way to express what they value in their society. The Byzantines used art to strengthen their faith with God whereas the Aegeans used art to show how much they valued their environment and political power. Both the Byzantine Empire and the Aegean Civilization were such remarkable civilizations with a widespread burst of fascinating ideas and list of accomplishments. They both had such a way of expressing their cultural ideas, values, and beliefs through art. Even though both civilizations existed a very long time ago, their ideas still live on even today. In the Byzantine Empire, it is amazing to think how so many different people from different backgrounds of religion and mindset were able to live together in peace and harmony. The Byzantine Empire had such an important cultural legacy in today’s society that it should be carried on into how we, as a modern society, should treat others with their different backgrounds of religion and mindset. The Aegean Civilization also had their own important cultural legacy. Many classic and important pieces of literature came from the Aegean Civilization such as Homer’s Iliad. Even though the Byzantine Empire and the Aegean Civilization at first glance appears to be vastly different from each other, there are many similarities between the two. This becomes more apparent when studied together. The information that can be collected from studying the two cultures can help piece together a huge important part of history and give valuable information about their lives and how it is being applied in today’s society.
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