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The growth and foundation of Rome and Constantinople have some similarities considering that both were cities of the Roman Empire. They both mark a major period in the world’s civilization in all aspects of life: social, political, religious, economic, and ideological. 

The foundation of Rome can be traced in a small Latin speaking city on the Western side of Italy. Rome was founded as a monarchy in 753 B.C but was unable to avoid the influence of foreign powers. During the 3rd century B.C, the empire broke its treaties with its neighbors, so that it could wage a battle and conquer new other states. On the one hand, Rome emerged as the most influential empire and dominated the region of the Peninsula. On the other hand, Constantinople was formed during the days of Greek expansion. It was after Byzas established the city with a group of soldiers in the town of Megara and named it Byzantium. Later, Constantine moved the Rome capital to Constantinople after the foundation of the city. He renamed it after his honor around 330 C.E. The city was strategic for commercial purposes. It was located in the place, where Europe meets Asia. Therefore, it acted as a seaway for commercial purposes connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Also, it provided a golden harbor and the golden horn. It is worth to note that many features of the city of Constantinople emulated Rome. In fact, some people called it the new Rome.

The growth of Rome was marked by various struggles and wars of conquest. The emperors were always looking for ways in which they could expand their empire. Also, the growth of Rome was facilitated by the formation of Latin alliances and treaties with the Mountain tribes who were composed of Etruscan, Hernici, and Volsci. Through this, Rome ruled over and dominated central Italy. On the contrary, after moving the capital to Constantinople, the empire had ample land. Constantine did not need to conquer other states for expansion. In fact, he offered free land to people who contributed to building the city and supplying food to its citizens.

After a long period of developments, Constantinople and its emperor were conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. By then, the empire was under the leadership of Constantine XI. Therefore, the Byzantines were overthrown by the Turks. However, the Ottoman Sultan allowed them to continue with their orthodox patriarchy and manage their affairs. He did not force them to join the Vatican. Nevertheless, he converted the city’s church into a mosque. Also, he declared that there was no other god but Allah. During that time, the majority of Christians were killed, and those who were lucky were taken into slavery, and their status was relegated. Despite the loss of Constantinople, commercial ties with Stamboul continued. Europeans regarded Constantinople as an important link to Rome, which played an important role in shaping administration and legal systems throughout Europe. Turks and Muslims who had conquered Constantinople were seen as an impediment to the practice of true faith. Therefore, the loss of Constantinople shocked most people throughout Europe.

Generally, both Constantinople and Rome practiced Christianity and observed Roman written codes. However, whereas Rome followed Roman Catholicism, Constantinople supported the Orthodox system of the Eastern Church. Also, the two cities were involved in international trade and diffusion of different cultures. As opposed to Rome, Constantinople was an Orthodox Christian city although it was situated in an area with a majority of Christians. Later, the emperor ordered the destruction of the temples of idols belonging to Byzantium and building an Orthodox church, Santa Sophia. It was followed by building other churches such as the Holy Apostles and Hagia Irene among others. The churches reflected the status of the Christian capital.

Both cities had a ruler or an autocratic emperor who had absolute powers. Constantinople was able to maintain a strong army; hence, the city was not prone to regular attacks as compared to Rome. It is worth noting that religion in both cities was always opposed to the government. Therefore, the growth of both cities was marked by regular struggles between the government and the church. On the one hand, Rome’s main problem was poverty and high taxation. In fact, some poor people desired to become slaves, so that they could avoid paying the unaffordable taxes to the government as well as get free food. On the other hand, Constantinople’s main struggle stemmed from the absolute power its emperor had that was, at times used, for discrimination and punishment for those who opposed him. However, both cities’ external struggle resulted from the need to keep their army strong and ready for any war.

By 527 C.E, Constantinople became the greatest and wealthiest city in the entire Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia. Unlike Rome, which was located far in the West, Constantinople attracted more commercialized activities because the city was greatly improving its importance due to various battles that took place in that region in its favor. For instance, Theodosius built 60-foot tall walls which could not be easily destroyed without the use of guns. By the time when Constantine moved his capital to Constantinople, Rome had become quite unfavorable in a number of ways. He argued that Rome was located too far from the East and hence, it was not easy to access the Eastern frontiers. At that time, there was an increase in the number of disaffected politicians who made the management of affairs of Rome considerably difficult. In addition, the capital suffered from the regular environmental hazards such as flooding and such illnesses as malaria. After settling at Byzantium and establishing a vast city, the emperor subdivided it into 14 regions. Notably, Constantinople did not have praetors or tribunes. Also, Constantine changed the name of his senators to clarus as opposed to the way they were referred to in Rome, clarissimus.

Religiously, the two cities were different and similar in a number of ways. Firstly, both Rome and Constantinople were under a Bishop. The bishops from these cities were the most powerful. When Rome Empire collapsed, the bishop of Rome remained as the most powerful individual still standing as he had the most powerful authority. On the contrary, when Constantinople was conquered by the Turks, the powers of the bishop were reduced but he still had some authority. The bishop in Rome remained powerful even after the collapse of the empire because he kept the church independent from the political authority. The two bishops fell apart in 1054 B.C when the pope (bishop in Rome) and patriarch (bishop in Constantinople) differed through excommunication. The bishop in Constantinople argued that they were to speak Latin, while the bishop in Rome stand on his ground that Greek was their language. The battle of supremacy resulted in a formal schism between the two religious factions. Indeed, the split was deeply rooted in the fact that Rome perceived Constantinople as its rival and for almost 1000 years was fighting to bring it down. Therefore, the Latin Church was fighting it their fellows in Constantinople to overthrow them. They used various means such as the belief that the Islam was formed in the bid to bring down Constantinople Empire. After they were defeated, the Orthodox Church that was earlier based in Constantinople moved to Moscow and established the 3rd Rome.

There are a number of generalizations that one can make about these two cities of the Roman Empire. Firstly, Constantinople relied on Rome to establish itself. Its foundation was possible due to the existence of Rome. Constantine used numerous features borrowed from Rome to establish the new capital, which resulted in its rapid growth. At the same time, the growth of Constantinople was facilitated by the earlier existence of Byzantines who settled in the most strategic region that connected the western and eastern frontiers. Secondly, it is evident that it was not in the interest of the majority of Romans to move the capital to Byzantium. In fact, after the establishment of Constantinople, Rome conspired with its enemies to bring the capital down. Also, this is evident in the nature of religious conflicts that existed between the two cities. It was especially due to the appointment of a new patriarch without considering the views of the Pope in Rome. Moreover, they exhibited differences in their teachings, customs, and languages.

In conclusion, the foundation and growth of Rome and Constantinople marked a major world civilization. Despite the fact that both cities were considered as Roman cities, it is evident from the above-mentioned analysis that both cities had some differences. Indeed, the moving of the Rome capital to Constantinople created bitterness and outrage, which led to splitting the Christians into the two cities. Also, it is evident that Rome was against the establishment of Constantinople simply because it was based on Christianity, and this was seen as a way of creating division among the faithful in Rome. Moreover, the movement of the capital city from Rome to Constantinople by Constantine was opposed by a number of politicians in Rome.

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