||The Glory of Byzantium.
||Mark Merlino - Home page
|The Glory of Byzantium is the third episode in the Christianity the First
Thousand Years series produced by A&E in 1998. This documentary is
intended as a general introduction to the history of Christianity in the early
middle ages for a popular audience. The main strength of this documentary is
that it analyzes aspects of Byzantine history from the perspective of religious
history, a point of view which may be overlooked in other introductory
This first theme covered in The Glory of Byzantium is a general survey of the
history of the fall of the western Roman Empire. The main focus is the history
of Britain and Ireland and much emphasis is placed on the Irish contribution to
the preservation of Classical knowledge during the 'dark ages' in Western
Byzantium is the described as the 'New Rome' that didn't succumb to
barbarian rule. Byzantium is characterized as having a defencive philosophy,
accompanied by a centralized Christian state. A major topic analyzed by the
documentary is how Christianity and Christian religious disputes, influenced
Byzantine politics. The main example is that the decrees of the council of
Chalcedon and rise of Monophysitism drew an enduring rift both within
Byzantium and within the Christian world.
This documentary concludes with describing how the rise of Islam influenced
Christian history, arguing that it deepened divisions by separating Christian
populations, either through direct conquest or by acting as a barrier between
the East and West.