Constantinoples influence in the west

Essay by mozyHigh School, 11th grade March 2004

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In effort to initiate our studies concerning the west and the world, we have begun to explore the roots of western culture in pre-modern history.

With this being the case, our class has been challenged to express which of the six key cities during the 1500's could have played a significant role in the evolution of the west.

By using the characteristics of the western world as the foundation for my case, I will illustrate how and why Constantinople influenced the evolution of the west most significantly.

One of the first characteristics of the west is a "developed system of belief." While in our time this refers to constitutional government and individual rights, the pre-modern equivalent took on the more recognizable form of religion.

While under the rule of emperor Constantine XI the Catholic religion became both the system of belief as well as the governing factor. Not only did this common faith help build a sense of community, but could also be used to set standards for acceptable behavior in society.

Although this system of belief changed after Constantinople was overthrown, the switch in focus from Christianity to Islam would become of great benefit to society, as it paved the way to the development of the most multi-cultural city in the pre-modern world.

The second characteristic of the west focuses on the economy, the trade, industry and technology.

Due to its location on the Bosporus Strait, which bridges the division from the Mediterranean into the black sea, Constantinople "became the great city linking Europe and Asia." This strategic location would permit the development of key ports that played a crucial role in Constantinople's trading industry, making it one of the "commercial centers of the world".

The city could trade in both Europe and Asia, and bring in wealth...