The Byzantine Empire

A Complete Unit Plan for World History in Middle School or High School

The sixth unit in my World History curriculum covers the Byzantine Empire (also known as the Eastern Roman Empire) after the fall of Rome. 

This is a shorter unit which you may want to combine with either the previous unit on Ancient Rome or the next one on Islamic Civilizations. No matter how you prefer to structure it, there are fantastic resources on Justinian and Theodora, Justinian's Code, the Hagia Sophia, and more! 

You can download the entire unit bundle here or join Students of History with a subscription and access to everything online.


The starts off with an introductory lesson on the Byzantine Empire as a continuation of the Roman Empire but in the East. A wonderful PowerPoint and guided notes (along with flipped classroom video or Google Slides) introduces students to Constantinople and its rise to power in the world after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Following this, there are several available video clips you can select from. Students then work on either a mapping activity on the city to understand why its location was so important or a visual analysis worksheet on the Hagia Sophia church and its mosaics.

Students next evaluate Justinian's famous code of laws through a primary source analysis activity. This can be done individually, in pairs, or in small cooperative learning groups. It can also lead to a great class discussion on how laws have changed over time.

In the next lesson, students evaluate the achievements of Emperor Justinian and the impact he had on the Byzantine Empire. A mini project has students create campaign posters for Justinian that highlight his accomplishments as Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

An excellent primary source analysis from Empress Theodora is also available here and can be used as a warmup or exit ticket.

The unit concludes with several available review games and activities before moving on to an editable unit test. There is also a Google Forms version included for easy grading!

You can download the complete unit here and have everything saved right to your desktop. You can also sign up for a subscription to access to the unit’s lessons and resources online. A subscription also grants you immediate access to the ENTIRE World History curriculum. That’s 24 complete units like this one full of engaging resources and lessons. 

If you’re not sure which option is better for you, you can read more about the differences between subscriptions and TpT purchases here

Thanks so much for checking it out!

World History Units