How did religion influence the policies of the Byzantine Empire, Islamic Empire, and the Tang Dynasty?

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In each Empire/Dynasty, religion was used to justify political rule and control the people. The Byzantine Emperors used Christianity, the Islamic Empires (Umayyad and Abbasids) used Islam, and the Tang Dynasty used both Buddhism and Confucianism.
The Byzantine Empire was created when Rome split in half in the late 200s and again in the 300s CE. Understanding the Empire was too large to control, emperors Diocletian and Theodosius split the Empire in half, relying on Rome to rule the West and a new center in Byzantium to rule the East. Emperor Constantine renamed Byzantium to Constantinople and it remained the heart of the Eastern Roman Empire. When the Western Roman Empire fell in 476 to Odoacer and the Visigoths (although it had been sacked previously by Goths and Vandals), the Eastern Roman Empire continued with its heart at Constantinople. This empire, the Byzantine Empire, lasted until 1453 with the fall of Constantinople by Mehmed II's Turkish forces.
The Byzantines, like their Roman counterparts, used Christianity to control the people and justify political rule. Unlike the Romans, however, they adapted their form of Christianity to distinctly more Greek and Hellenic cultural elements. Over time, and officially in 1054, the Catholic Church split into Catholicism in the West and Orthodoxy in the East. Constantinople's emperors were great Orthodox leaders who used their faith to expand their empire, encouraging the conversion of other groups like the Kievan Rus' to the north.
The Islamic Empires, more specifically the Umayyads (661-750 CE) and the Abbasids (750-1258 CE), used Islam to control and grow its empire. The Umayyads were more focused on territorial expansion, encouraging merchants and nomads to push the boundaries of Islam both East and West. The Umayyads expanded its territory into Spain, encompassing all of North Africa. Under the Abbasids, trade with Muslims encouraged the conversion of other regions to Islam, such as West African Sudanic Kingdoms like Mali and Songhai as well as Southeast Asian trading ports like Malacca. The Abbasids also focused on building Islamic culture, and there was a birth of Persian/Islamic art, literature, and architecture.
Non-Muslims living in Muslim territories, known as dhimmi, were afforded religious toleration, but were encouraged to convert in order to avoid paying non-Muslim taxes, known as jizya. Through this, the Islamic Empires saw massive conversion throughout its empire. The leader of the Muslim Caliphates, known as the caliph, commanded power over its people using Islam's holy book, the Qu'ran, as a moral and political compass.
The Tang Dynasty in China is an interesting case because it is an early example of how a women used a religion to rule over the region. Classically Confucian, which is a philosophy that encourages the Chinese to adhere to a patriarchal, moral code, China saw conversion to Buddhism earlier in the 500s CE. However it was Empress Wu of the Tang Dynasty who used Buddhism to legitimize her rule over what was normally a male-dominated empire. Buddhism had been gaining support since it spread from India (where it was mostly a philosophy, the Therevada strain of Buddhism) over the Silk Roads. The religious form of Buddhism in China, Mahayana Buddhism, encouraged the individual to work towards salvation and was less strict on patriarchal rules or pre-existing social/political models. Previously Ashoka of the Mauryan Dynasty in India used Buddhism to rule over the people.
Empress Wu managed to justify her rule through Buddhism, and since Buddhism was fast becoming a popular religion in China, she was successful. However, her rule sparked a revival of Neo-Confucians to challenge her power and bring Confucianism back to the forefront of Chinese politics, and she was later replaced and Buddhism suppressed.
In each of these cases, we see religion becoming an important tool for social and political order. We could also include other examples: Roman Catholicism and the Frankish Kingdoms/Holy Roman Empire, Islam and West African Kingdoms, and Aztec or Inca religions in controlling the Aztec or Inca state. Religion in the postclassical world (600 - 1450 CE) was a powerful tool for building and maintaining empires.
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In each of the three cultures—which existed in roughly the same time period but had different faiths—religion was used as a justification for the leader’s power. In the Byzantine Empire, Islamic Empire, and the Tang Dynasty, the predominant faith was part of the structure of government. In the Byzantine and Islamic Empires, the political leader was also the leader of the religion.

The Byzantine Empire, which spread throughout the Mediterranean and was centered in modern-day Turkey, was at its height between about the 500s CE and the 1450s CE (about 500-1450 AD). The main religion in the Empire was Christianity (the Byzantine form of Christianity would eventually form the Eastern Orthodox Church). As with most other Christian leaders at the time, the Byzantine Emperor was the head of the Church and the government, and he ruled both with absolute—or complete—power. One of the most famous Byzantine emperors was Justinian (r. 527-565). He used his role of head of Church and State to undertake immense church-building projects, such as the monumental Hagia Sophia in the Empire’s capital, Constantinople.

The Islamic Empire eventually conquered much of the Byzantines’ North African and European territory, plus the majority of the Middle East and Central Asia. Similarly, the leader of the Islamic Empire—the caliph—was the head of the faith (Islam) and the government. The Empire used the Koran—the holy book of Islam—and other religious texts as the basis for their laws. For example, the Empire’s policy toward the people it conquered is derived from a teaching in the Koran. According to the Koran, Muslims cannot forcibly convert Christians and Jews. Therefore, in regions conquered by the Caliphs, Christians and Jews were allowed to practice their religions, although they did have to pay a special tax. The Islamic Empire was at its height during the Golden Age of Islam, which lasted from about 700 CE to about 1450 CE.

The Tang Dynasty ruled China from the 600s to the 900s CE. The predominant belief systems in China at the time were Confucianism and Buddhism. Confucianism, especially, influenced Tang government. Confucianism is a philosophy that describes how people should behave, focusing on five key relationships (ruler/subject, husband/wife, older sibling/younger sibling, father/son, and elder/junior). Each role in the relationship had a duty and responsibility toward the other. Ruler/subject relationship justified the Tang Emperors’ power. Additionally, Confucianism also emphasized education and hard work. These values are evident in how the Tang Dynasty staffed its government—with people called scholar-officials who were required to pass a strenuous academic exam in order to earn an appointment.

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