After the western Roman Empire fell, Europe was in turmoil, but the eastern empire thrived for another 1000 years. Here is a very simple and brief overview of the time period between 500 AD and 1000 AD known as the Dark Ages in western Europe and the Byzantine Empire in eastern Europe and western Asia.
In the east, Christianity was flourishing by force. The city of Constantinople was strengthened with walls and an extensive water system which included grand underground cisterns. The people had public baths, running water, public entertainment and lived in relative comfort.
Meanwhile, the Muslims were growing across Northern Africa. Eventually they crossed into Spain across the Straits of Gibraltar and restored the economy by introducing water management technology and new crops. They brought their religion and came to be known as the Moors.
To learn more about the Byzantine Empire, we watched the video Engineering an Empire - Byzantine.
The Byzantine Empire lasted 1000 years before it was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Turks. One of the first powerful emperors of the Byzantine Empire was Justinian. He was disliked by the people for his greed and brutality, but tried to make peace by building an incredible Christian Church.
The Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, was built in the year 537. With ground breaking technology, the Byzantines were able to create a huge interior space by building a dome, buttressed by semi-domes. After the Ottoman Turks conquered the city, the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and was the main influence for constructing other mosques in the region. For that reason, the book Mosque by David Macaulay is an excellent book for obtaining a better idea of how the church was built.
Our Hagia Sophia dome was constructed from Legos.
Sign-up to follow Highhill Education by email below.
This post is linked to: