"One could not believe there was so rich a city in all the world."
The Reign of Justinian I
"We won't come out!"
The Eastern Orthodox Church
"I love my wife!"
Constantinople was a wealthy city, but many people lived in poverty. There would be chariot races at a stadium called the Hippodrome; at times the rivalry between blues and greens erupted in deadly street fighting. In 532, the blues and greens united in rebellion and destroyed much of Constantinople.
Conflict Between East and West
Blues and greens at the races had always fought with each other, but this time the fights actually escalated into a rebellion. Justinian and his wife Theodora hid in his palace. 30,000 people were killed in the fighting, and left Constantinople lay in ruins. Justinian is most famous for creating a body of law and extending women's property rights.
To the Byzantines Christianity was more than a religion, it was the foundation of their empire. In the Byzantine Empire the religion and government were more closely linked in the west rather than the east. Many Orthodox priests were married, but unlike Roman Catholic priests were not allowed to marry.
Medieval Europe and the Byzantine Empire were united in a single faith, Christianity. The eastern half of the empire had many cities, much trade, and great wealth. While the western half of the empire was mostly rural and agricultural, and not nearly as wealthy.