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After the Persians had driven to the Mediterranean coast and taken all of the Arabian peninsula, Byzantine allied with the Turks drifting down from the Eurasian border,- but they still could not defeat the Persians. At the end of the century, however, the Persian Empire became divided into four great satrapies: the east, comprised of Khosasan and Kerman; the west, including Iraq and Mesopotamia; the north, made up of Armenia and Azerbaijan; and the south, which contained Fars and Khuziasan. Wars continued on all borders until the end of the century.

Asia minor

Turkey: byzantium

The zenith of the Byzantine Empire was reached under the Emperor Justinian who was born in Sofia, possibly of Slavic peasant parents. He encouraged the oriental conception of royalty as divine, but labored to reunite the western and eastern Christian churches. He was strongly influenced by his wife, Theodora, a woman also of humble origins. The Justinian Code of Laws have remained in history as part of the Canonical Laws of the Catholic Church. Constantinople remained the greatest market and shipping center in the world, with companion harbors on the Black Sea and a direct sea route established through the Red Sea to India. Although the secret of silk was jealously guarded in the Far East, by various means Justinian introduced silk worms, white mulberries, the method of unwinding cocoons and the weaving of the thread, into Byzantium so that he also became the emperor of silk. From this the western Christian empire earned a fortune which it guarded for centuries. (Ref. 260 )

On the religious front the church was unrelenting, the Jewish deuterosis was outlawed and there were expulsions of Jews with some massacres in Antioch in 592 and in Jerusalem after the turn of the century. Justinian's General Belisarius reconquered North Africa and southern Spain from the Vandals and most of Italy from the Goths, bringing the empire to its greatest geographical extent. (Ref. 49 ) Many of the units of the Byzantine army of this 6th century were remnants of the Huns called "Massagetae". They were intemperate drinkers and often difficult to control, although fierce warriors. (Ref. 127 )

In the years 542 and 543 a great epidemic, of ten called the "Plague of Justinian" hit Asia Minor. This was definitely bubonic plague, penetrating from an original focus either in northeastern India or central Africa and spreading around the Mediterranean by ship. Necessary to this spread was the appearance of the black rat from its native India, along with its fleas. Procopius reported that 10,000 people died daily in Constantinople at the peak of the epidemic and the disease raged for four months. The political effect was great and the imperial power was weakened. Another epidemic in 655 and famine in 569, along with attacks by Bulgars and Avars from the Balkan area, all contributed to dissolution of the empire soon after Justinian's death. (Ref. 140 , 213 )


Armenia was caught up in most of the wars between Byzantium and Persia. For the most of this era it was subservient to Persia, but late in the century both Georgia and Armenia were again partitioned with Byzantium getting a large part of the latter. Because of Byzantine help to the Persian King Chosroes II in an internal fight, this monarch, once reestablished on the Persian throne, ceded Iberia and nearly all of Armenia to the

Eastern Roman Empire in A.D. 591, thus allowing Byzantine troops stationed there to return to defend the Balkans against the Avars. (Ref. 49 )

Forward to The Near East: A.D. 601 to 700

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Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
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Crow Reply
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RAW Reply
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Brian Reply
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Bob Reply
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Damian Reply
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Stoney Reply
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Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, A comprehensive outline of world history. OpenStax CNX. Nov 30, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10595/1.3
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