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Word Count: 1,291
The greatest of medieval civilizations was the Eastern Roman Empire The Roman Empire was divided in 395 The Western half ruled from Rome was ruled by the barbarians in the 5th century The Eastern half known as the Byzantine Empire lasted for more than over 1000 years The Byzantine Empire was one of the leading civilizations in the worldIs a mixed style composed of Graeco-Roman and Oriental elements which The form of the church used most in the west a the long rectangular part of the cathedral with the alter in it is supported on columns and an atrium appears in many examples of the fifth century in Byzantine In the West this style of building occasionally presents similarities which are thought by some authorities to be of Oriental origin -- galleries over the side aisles spirally channelled columns and imposts between capitals and arches Vaulted basilicas were made at a early date in Constantinople The domical style with barrel-vaulted side aisles and transepts is a favourite with the Byzantines Many of the oldest basilicas in Asia Minor as well as the Church of St Irene Constantinople carried one or more domes This type leads to the structure in a centralized circular octagonal or cross shaped plan In ancient Roman times tombs and baths had this sort of plan These types of buildings cannot be seen as only Byzantium because the Romans and Oriental also used these kinds of plans Even in Italy the churches there were strongly influenced bu the many influences from the west and particularly from the ByzantineIn the church of St Sophia built by Justinian all the principal forms of the early Christian churches are represented A rotunda is enclosed in a square and covered with a dome which is supported in the direction of the long axis of the building by half-domes over semicircular rounded ends of the building In this manner a basilica 236 feet long and 98 feet
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