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The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
in its eastern provinces during
Late Antiquity Late antiquity is a used by historians to describe the time of transition from to the in and adjacent areas bordering the . The popularization of this periodization in English has generally been credited to historian , after the publication o ...
and the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
, when its capital city was
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
. It survived the fragmentation and
fall of the Western Roman Empire The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also called the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Rom ...
in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. "Byzantine Empire" is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire simply as the Roman Empire () or Romania (), and to themselves as Romans () – a term which Greeks continued to use for themselves into Ottoman times. Although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from
its earlier incarnation
its earlier incarnation
because it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by
Eastern Orthodox Christianity The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a Communion ( ...
. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's
Greek East and Latin West Greek East and Latin West are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth), ...
diverged.
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine I
() reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital and legalised Christianity. Under
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he faced and overcame a war against the Goths and two civil wars, and ...

Theodosius I
(), Christianity became the state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. In the reign of
Heraclius Heraclius ( el, Ἡράκλειος, ''Hērakleios''; c. 575 – 11 February 641), sometimes called Heraclius I, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinop ...
(), the Empire's military and administration were restructured and Greek was adopted for official use in place of Latin. The borders of the empire fluctuated through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
(), the empire reached its greatest extent, after reconquering much of the historically Roman western
Mediterranean coast The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, including North Africa, Italy and Rome, which it held for two more centuries. The
Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 was the final and most devastating of the Byzantine–Sasanian wars, series of wars fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran. The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591, previo ...
exhausted the empire's resources, and during the
Early Muslim conquests The early Muslim conquests ( ar, الفتوحات الإسلامية, ''al-Futūḥāt al-Islāmiyya''), also referred to as the Arab conquests and the early Islamic conquests began with the Prophets of Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7 ...
of the 7th century, it lost its richest provinces,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...
and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...
, to the
Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, al-Khilāfah ar-Rāšidah) was the first of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an ...
. During the
Macedonian dynasty The Macedonian dynasty (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ...
(10th–11th centuries), the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long
Macedonian Renaissance Macedonian Renaissance is a historiographical term used for the blossoming of Byzantine culture in the 9th–11th centuries, under the eponymous Macedonian dynasty (867–1056), following the upheavals and transformations of the 7th–8th centur ...
, which came to an end with the loss of much of
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
to the
Seljuk Turks The Seljuk dynasty, or Seljuks ( ; fa, آل سلجوق ''Al-e Saljuq''), was an Oghuz Turkic Sunni Muslim dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford Un ...
after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. The empire recovered during the
Komnenian restoration The Komnenian restoration is the term used by historians to describe the military, financial, and territorial recovery of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the contin ...
, and by the 12th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. The empire was delivered a mortal blow during the
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in La ...
, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire formerly governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans in the Byzantine–Ottoman wars over the 14th and 15th centuries. The
fall of Constantinople The fall of Constantinople ( grc-x-byzant, Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως , translit=Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantīnoupóleōs ; tr, İstanbul'un Fethi, lit=Conquest of Istanbul ) was the capture of the capital Cap ...
to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire. The last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the
Empire of Trebizond The Empire of Trebizond, or Trapezuntine Empire, was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001 ...
, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years later in the 1461 siege.


Nomenclature

The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the later years of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
was in 1557, 104 years after the empire's collapse, when the German historian
Hieronymus Wolf Hieronymus Wolf (13 August 1516 - 8 October 1580) was a sixteenth-century German historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person ...
published his work ''Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ'', a collection of historical sources. The term comes from "
Byzantium Byzantium () or Byzantion ( grc-gre, Βυζάντιον) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark A ...

Byzantium
", the name of the city to which
Constantine Constantine most often refers to: * Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was a Roman emperor from 306 to 337. Born in Naissus, Dacia Mediterra ...

Constantine
moved his capital, leaving Rome, and rebuilt under the new name of
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
. The older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of the ''Byzantine du Louvre'' (''
Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae The ''Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae'' (CSHB; en, Corpus of Byzantine history writers, italic=yes), also referred to as the Bonn Corpus, is a monumental fifty-volume series of primary sources for the study of Byzantine The Byzant ...
''), and in 1680 of
Du Cange Charles du Fresne Charles du Fresne, sieur du Cange or Du Cange (; December 18, 1610 in Amiens Amiens (English: or ; ; pcd, Anmien, or ) is a city and Communes of France, commune in northern France, located north of Paris and south-wes ...
's ''Historia Byzantina'' further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as
Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, Lot-et-Garonne, Montesquieu (; ; 18 January 168910 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, intellectual, man of letters, historian, and po ...

Montesquieu
. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire" or the "Empire of the Romans" ( la, Imperium Romanum, Imperium Romanorum; gkm, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Ἀρχὴ τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn, Archē tōn Rhōmaiōn), Romania ( la, Romania; gkm, Ῥωμανία, Rhōmania), the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
( la, Res Publica Romana; gkm, Πολιτεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Politeia tōn Rhōmaiōn), or in Greek "Rhōmais" ( gkm, Ῥωμαΐς). The inhabitants called themselves ''Romaioi'' and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
as ''Romaiika'' "Romaic". After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was mostly confined to its purely Greek provinces the term 'Hellenes' was increasingly used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its increasingly predominant Greek element. Western medieval sources also referred to the empire as the "Empire of the Greeks" (Latin: ''Imperium Graecorum'') and to its
emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...

emperor
as ''Imperator Graecorum'' (Emperor of the Greeks); these terms were used to distinguish it from the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
that claimed the prestige of the classical Roman Empire in the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as ''
Rûm Rûm (; singular Rûmi), also transliterated as ''Roum'' (in Arabic language, Arabic ''Arabic definite article, ar-Rûm''; in Persian language, Persian and Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish ''Rûm''; in tr, Rum), is a derivative of th ...
''. The name millet-i Rûm, or "''Roman nation,''" was used by the Ottomans until the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire, that is, the
Orthodox Christian Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-pag ...

Orthodox Christian
community within Ottoman realms.


History


Early history

The
Roman army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

Roman army
succeeded in conquering many territories covering the Mediterranean region and coastal regions in
southwestern Europe
southwestern Europe
and North Africa. These territories were home to many different cultural groups, both urban populations, and rural populations. Generally speaking, the eastern Mediterranean provinces were more urbanized than the western, having previously been united under the
Macedonian Empire Macedonia (; grc-gre, Μακεδονία), also called Macedon (), was an Classical antiquity, ancient monarchy, kingdom on the periphery of Archaic Greece, Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The ...
and
Hellenised Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the historical spread of ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from ar ...
by the influence of Greek culture.; . The West also suffered more heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD. This distinction between the established Hellenised East and the younger Latinised West persisted and became increasingly important in later centuries, leading to a gradual estrangement of the two worlds. An early instance of the partition of the Empire into East and West occurred in 293 when Emperor
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
created a new administrative system (the
tetrarchy The Tetrarchy was the system instituted by Roman Emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when ...
), to guarantee security in all endangered regions of his Empire. He associated himself with a co-emperor (''
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...
''), and each co-emperor then adopted a young colleague given the title of ''
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
'', to share in their rule and eventually to succeed the senior partner. Each tetrarch was in charge of a part of the Empire. The tetrarchy collapsed, however, in 313 and a few years later Constantine I reunited the two administrative divisions of the Empire as sole Augustus.; .


Christianization and partition of the Empire

In 330, Constantine moved the seat of the Empire to Constantinople, which he founded as a second Rome on the site of Byzantium, a city strategically located on the trade routes between Europe and Asia and between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Constantine introduced important changes to the Empire's military, monetary, civil and religious institutions. In regards to his economic policies he has been accused by certain scholars of "reckless fiscality", but the gold
solidus Solidus (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republi ...
he introduced became a stable currency that transformed the economy and promoted development.; ; ; Under Constantine, Christianity did not become the exclusive religion of the state but enjoyed imperial preference since he supported it with generous privileges. Constantine established the principle that emperors could not settle questions of doctrine on their own but should instead summon general ecclesiastical councils for that purpose. His convening of both the
Synod of Arles Arles (ancient Arelate) in the south of Roman Gaul (modern France) hosted several councils or synods referred to as ''Concilium Arelatense'' in the History of early Christianity, history of the early Christian church. Council of Arles in 314 The fi ...
and the
First Council of Nicaea The First Council of Nicaea (; grc, Νίκαια ) was a council of Christian bishops convened in the Bithynia Bithynia (; Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialec ...
indicated his interest in the unity of the Church and showcased his claim to be its head.; ; . The rise of Christianity was briefly interrupted on the accession of the emperor Julian in 361, who made a determined effort to restore polytheism throughout the empire and was thus dubbed "Julian the Apostate" by the Church. However, this was reversed when Julian was killed in battle in 363.
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he faced and overcame a war against the Goths and two civil wars, and ...

Theodosius I
(379–395) was the last Emperor to rule both the Eastern and Western halves of the Empire. In 391 and 392 he issued a series of edicts essentially banning pagan religion. Pagan festivals and sacrifices were banned, as was access to all pagan temples and places of worship. The last
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a multi-sport event ...
are believed to have been held in 393. In 395, Theodosius I bequeathed the imperial office jointly to his sons:
Arcadius Flavius Arcadius ( grc-gre, Ἀρκάδιος, Arkádios; 1 January 377 – 1 May 408) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of dif ...

Arcadius
in the East and Honorius in the West, once again dividing Imperial administration. In the 5th century, the Eastern part of the empire was largely spared the difficulties faced by the West – due in part to a more established urban culture and greater financial resources, which allowed it to placate invaders with
tribute A tribute (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be ...

tribute
and pay foreign mercenaries. This success allowed
Theodosius II Theodosius II ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 10 April 401 – 28 July 450), commonly called Theodosius the Younger, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial pe ...
to focus on codifying Roman law with the ''
Codex Theodosianus The ''Codex Theodosianus'' (Eng. Theodosian Code) was a compilation of the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against huma ...

Codex Theodosianus
'' and further fortification of , which left the city impervious to most attacks until 1204. Large portions of the
Theodosian Walls The Walls of Constantinople are a series of defensive stone walls that have surrounded and protected the city of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklag ...
are preserved to the present day. To fend off the
Huns The Huns were a nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral ...

Huns
, Theodosius had to pay an enormous annual tribute to
Attila Attila (; ), frequently called Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns The Huns were a nomadic people who lived in Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Eastern Europe between the 4th and 6th century AD. According to European tradition, ...

Attila
. His successor,
Marcian Marcian (; la, Marcianus, link=no; grc-gre, Μαρκιανός, link=no ; 392 – 27 January 457) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a ...

Marcian
, refused to continue to pay the tribute, but Attila had already diverted his attention to the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
. After Attila's death in 453, the Hun Empire collapsed, and many of the remaining Huns were often hired as mercenaries by Constantinople.


Loss of the Western Roman Empire

After the fall of Attila, the Eastern Empire enjoyed a period of peace, while the Western Empire continued to deteriorate due to the expanding migration and invasions of the "
barbarians A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
", most prominently the . The West's end is usually dated 476 when the East Germanic Roman ''
foederati ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law ...
'' general
Odoacer Flavius Odoacer ( ; – 493 AD), also spelled Odovacer or Odovacar ( grc, Ὀδόακρος, translit=Odóakros), was a soldier and statesman of barbarian A barbarian is a human who is perceived to be either Civilization, uncivilized or pr ...

Odoacer
deposed the Western Emperor
Romulus Augustulus Romulus Augustus ( 465 – after 511?), nicknamed Augustulus, was Roman emperor of the Western Roman Empire, West from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476. Romulus was placed on the imperial throne by his father, the ''magister militum'' Orest ...
, a year after the latter usurped the position from
Julius Nepos Julius Nepos ( 430 – 480 AD) was ''de jure'' and ''de facto'' Roman emperor of the Western Roman Empire, West from 474 to 475 and then only ''de jure'' until his death in 480. Born to a distinguished family, he succeeded his uncle, Marcellinus ( ...

Julius Nepos
. In 480 with the death of Julius Nepos, Eastern Emperor
Zeno Zeno or Zenon ( grc, Ζήνων) may refer to: People * Zeno (name), including a list of people and characters with the name Philosophers * Zeno of Elea (), philosopher, follower of Parmenides, known for his paradoxes * Zeno of Citium (333 – 2 ...
became sole claimant to Emperor of the empire. Odoacer, now ruler of Italy, was nominally Zeno's subordinate but acted with complete autonomy, eventually providing support to a rebellion against the Emperor. Zeno negotiated with the invading
Ostrogoths The Ostrogoths ( la, Ostrogothi, Austrogothi) were a Roman-era Germanic people Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, first mention ...
, who had settled in
Moesia Moesia (; Latin: ''Moesia''; el, Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern ...
, convincing the Gothic king
Theodoric Theodoric is a Germanic given name. First attested as a Gothic name in the 5th century, it became widespread in the Germanic-speaking world, not least due to its most famous bearer, Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. Overview The name w ...
to depart for Italy as ''magister militum per Italiam'' ("commander in chief for Italy") to depose Odoacer. By urging Theodoric to conquer Italy, Zeno rid the Eastern Empire of an unruly subordinate (Odoacer) and moved another (Theodoric) further from the heart of the Empire. After Odoacer's defeat in 493, Theodoric ruled Italy ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'', although he was never recognised by the eastern emperors as "king" (''rex''). In 491, , an aged civil officer of Roman origin, became Emperor, but it was not until 497 that the forces of the new emperor effectively took the measure of Isaurian resistance. Anastasius revealed himself as an energetic reformer and an able administrator. He introduced a new coinage system of the copper ''
follis The follis (plural ''folles''; it, follaro, ar, fels ,فلس) was a type of coin in the Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman p ...

follis
'', the coin used in most everyday transactions. He also reformed the tax system and permanently abolished the chrysargyron tax. The State Treasury contained the enormous sum of of gold when Anastasius died in 518.


Justinian dynasty

The Justinian dynasty was founded by
Justin I Justin I ( la, Flavius Iustinus; grc-gre, Ἰουστῖνος, ''Ioustînos''; 2 February 450 – 1 August 527) was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinopol ...
, who though illiterate, rose through the ranks of the
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...
to become Emperor in 518. He was succeeded by his nephew
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
in 527, who may already have exerted effective control during Justin's reign.. One of the most important figures of late antiquity and possibly the last Roman emperor to speak Latin as a first language, Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch, marked by the ambitious but only partly realised ''renovatio imperii'', or "restoration of the Empire". His wife Theodora was particularly influential. In 529, Justinian appointed a ten-man commission chaired by
John the Cappadocian:''A different John the Cappadocian was Patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and over ...
to revise Roman law and create a new codification of laws and jurists' extracts, known as the "''
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of ...
''", or the
Justinian Code The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Scholars of jurisprudence s ...
. In 534, the ''Corpus'' was updated and, along with the , formed the system of law used for most of the rest of the Byzantine era. The ''Corpus'' forms the basis of
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
of many modern states. In 532, attempting to secure his eastern frontier, Justinian signed a peace treaty with
Khosrau I of Persia Khosrow I (also spelled Khosrau, Xusro or Cosroe; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; New Persian: []), traditionally known by his epithet of Anushirvan ( [] "the Immortal Soul"), was the Sasanian Empire, Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 531 ...
, agreeing to pay a large annual tribute to the
Sassanids The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, '), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last before the in the mid-7th century AD. Named after the , it endured for over four centuri ...
. In the same year, he survived a revolt in Constantinople (the
Nika riots The Nika riots ( el, Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα ''Stásis toû Níka''), Nika revolt or Nika sedition took place against Emperor Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48 ...
), which solidified his power but ended with the deaths of a reported 30,000 to 35,000 rioters on his orders. The western conquests began in 533, as Justinian sent his general
Belisarius Flavius Belisarius ( el, Φλάβιος Βελισάριος; c. 500The exact date of his birth is unknown. – 565) was a military commander of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, o ...
to reclaim the former province of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
from the
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
, who had been in control since 429 with their capital at Carthage. Their success came with surprising ease, but it was not until 548 that the major local tribes were subdued.. In 535, a small Byzantine expedition to
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
met with easy success, but the Goths soon stiffened their resistance, and victory did not come until 540, when Belisarius captured
Ravenna Ravenna ( , , also ; rgn, Ravèna) is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna The province of Ravenna ( it, provincia di Ravenna; ) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, admin ...

Ravenna
, after successful sieges of
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 within the city's administrative limits as of ...

Naples
and Rome.; . In 535–536, Theodahad sent
Pope Agapetus I Pope Agapetus I (died 22 April 536) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the ...

Pope Agapetus I
to Constantinople to request the removal of Byzantine forces from Sicily,
Dalmatia Dalmatia (; hr, Dalmacija ; it, Dalmazia; see #Name, names in other languages) is a region on the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, a narrow belt stretching from the island of Rab in the north to the Bay of Kotor in the south. The Dalmatian Hin ...
, and Italy. Although Agapetus failed in his mission to sign a peace with Justinian, he succeeded in having the
Monophysite Monophysitism ( or ) or Monophysism () is a Christological In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, te ...
Patriarch Anthimus I of Constantinople Anthimus I (? – after 536) was a Miaphysite patriarch of Constantinople from 535–536. He was the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with ...
denounced, despite Empress Theodora's support and protection.; . The Ostrogoths captured Rome in 546. Belisarius, who had been sent back to Italy in 544, was eventually recalled to Constantinople in 549.; . The arrival of the Armenian eunuch
Narses , image=Narses.jpg , image_size=250 , caption=Man traditionally identified as Narses, from the mosaic depicting Justinian and his entourage in the Basilica of San Vitale In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building wi ...

Narses
in Italy (late 551) with an army of 35,000 men marked another shift in Gothic fortunes. Totila was defeated at the
Battle of Taginae At the Battle of Taginae (also known as the Battle of Busta Gallorum) in June/July 552, the forces of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman E ...

Battle of Taginae
and his successor,
Teia Teia (died 552 or 553 AD), also known as Teja, Theia, Thila, Thela, and Teias, was the last ic . He led troops during the and had noncombatant Romans slaughtered in its aftermath. In late 552/early 553, he was killed during the . Archaeological ...

Teia
, was defeated at the
Battle of Mons Lactarius The Battle of Mons Lactarius (also known as Battle of the Vesuvius) took place in 552 or 553 during the Gothic War waged on behalf of Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός, I ...
(October 552). Despite continuing resistance from a few Gothic garrisons and two subsequent invasions by the
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
and
Alemanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribes * * * on the Upper Rhine River. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caracalla Caracalla ( ; 4 April 188 – ...
, the war for the Italian peninsula was at an end.; . In 551,
Athanagild Athanagild ( 517 – December 567) was Visigothic The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths withi ...
, a noble from
Visigothic The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
Hispania Hispania ( ; ) was the Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testame ...

Hispania
, sought Justinian's help in a rebellion against the king, and the emperor dispatched a force under
LiberiusLiberius may refer to: * Liberius of Ravenna (d. 200), Bishop of Ravenna and saint * Pope Liberius (died 366), Bishop of Rome * Liberius (praetorian prefect) (c. 465 – c. 554), Roman government administrator * Oliver of Ancona or Liberius (died c. ...
, a successful military commander. The empire held on to a small slice of the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...
coast until the reign of Heraclius.; . In the east, the Roman–Persian Wars continued until 561 when the envoys of Justinian and Khosrau agreed on a 50-year peace. By the mid-550s, Justinian had won victories in most theatres of operation, with the notable exception of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
, which were subjected to repeated incursions from the
Slavs Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central Europe, ...

Slavs
and the
Gepids The Gepids ( la, Gepidae, Gipedae, grc, Γήπαιδες) were an East Germanic tribe who lived in the area of modern Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern ...
. Tribes of
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
and
Croats Croats (; hr, Hrvati ), also known as Croatians, are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. ...

Croats
were later resettled in the northwestern Balkans, during the reign of Heraclius. Justinian called Belisarius out of retirement and defeated the new Hunnish threat. The strengthening of the Danube fleet caused the Kutrigur Huns to withdraw and they agreed to a treaty that allowed safe passage back across the Danube. Although polytheism had been suppressed by the state since at least the time of Constantine in the 4th century, traditional Greco-Roman culture was still influential in the Eastern empire in the 6th century.
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
began to be gradually amalgamated into newer
Christian philosophy Christian philosophy includes all philosophy carried out by Christians, or in relation to the religion of Christianity. Christian philosophy emerged with the aim of reconcile science and faith, starting from natural rational explanations with ...
. Philosophers such as
John Philoponus John Philoponus (; ; c. 490 – c. 570), also known as John the Grammarian or John of Alexandria, was a Byzantine Alexandrian philologist, commentaries on Aristotle, Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian, author of a considerable number ...
drew on
neoplatonic Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonism, Platonic philosophy that emerged in the second century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and Hellenistic religion, religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encap ...
ideas in addition to Christian thought and
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
. Because of active
paganism Paganism (from classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includ ...
of its professors, Justinian closed down the
Neoplatonic Academy The Academy (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: ...
in 529. Other schools continued in
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
,
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
and
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexandria'') is the List of cities and towns in Egypt, third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and Giza, ...

Alexandria
, which were the centres of Justinian's empire. Hymns written by
Romanos the MelodistRomanos may refer to: *Romanos, Aragon, a municipality in the province of Zaragoza, in Aragon. *Romanos the Melodist, early medieval Greek poet and saint *Romanos I Lekapenos (870–948), Byzantine Emperor from 920 to 944 *Romanos II (938–963), ...
marked the development of the
Divine Liturgy Icon of Ss. Basil the Great (left) and John Chrysostom, ascribed authors of the two most frequently used Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgies, c. 1150 (mosaic in the Cappella Palatina, Palatine Chapel, Palermo). Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λ ...
, while the architects
Isidore of Miletus Isidore of Miletus ( el, Ἰσίδωρος ὁ Μιλήσιος; Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, anc ...
and
Anthemius of Tralles Anthemius of Tralles ( grc-gre, Ἀνθέμιος ὁ Τραλλιανός, Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient G ...
worked to complete the new Church of the
Holy Wisdom Holy Wisdom (Greek: , la, Sancta Sapientia, russian: Святая София Премудрость Божия, translit=Svyataya Sofiya Premudrost' Bozhiya "Holy Sophia, Divine Wisdom") is a concept in Christian theology Christian theology is ...
,
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
, which was designed to replace an older church destroyed during the Nika Revolt. Completed in 537, the Hagia Sophia stands today as one of the major monuments of Byzantine architectural history. During the 6th and 7th centuries, the Empire was struck by a series of epidemics, which greatly devastated the population and contributed to a significant economic decline and a weakening of the Empire. Great were built in Byzantine centers such as
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
and
Antioch Antioch on the Orontes (; grc, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου, ''Antiókheia hē epì Oróntou''; also Syrian Antioch) grc-koi, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Ὀρόντου; or Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐπὶ Δάφνῃ ...
. After Justinian died in 565, his successor,
Justin II Justin II or Justin the Younger ( la, Iustinus Iunior; grc-gre, Ἰουστῖνος, Ioustînos; died 5 October 578) was Eastern Roman Emperor from 565 until 578. He was the nephew of Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbat ...

Justin II
, refused to pay the large tribute to the Persians. Meanwhile, the Germanic
Lombards The Lombards () or Langobards ( la, Langobardi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on ...
invaded Italy; by the end of the century, only a third of Italy was in Byzantine hands. Justin's successor,
Tiberius II Tiberius II Constantine ( la, Constantinus; grc-gre, Τιβέριος Κωνσταντῖνος, ; died 14 August 582) was Byzantine emperor, Eastern Roman emperor from 574 to 582. Tiberius rose to power in 574 when Justin II, prior to a mental ...
, choosing between his enemies, awarded subsidies to the
Avars Avar(s) or AVAR may refer to: Peoples and states * Avars (Caucasus), a modern Northeast Caucasian-speaking people in the North Caucasus, Dagestan, Russia **Avar language, the modern Northeast Caucasian language spoken by the Avars of the North Ca ...
while taking military action against the Persians. Although Tiberius' general,
MauriceMaurice may refer to: People *Saint Maurice (died 287), Roman legionary and Christian martyr *Maurice (emperor) or Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus (539–602), Byzantine emperor *Maurice (bishop of London) (died 1107), Lord Chancellor and Lor ...
, led an effective campaign on the eastern frontier, subsidies failed to restrain the Avars. They captured the Balkan fortress of
Sirmium Sirmium was a city in the Roman province of Pannonia, located on the Sava river, on the site of modern Sremska Mitrovica in northern Serbia Serbia (, ; sr, Србија, Srbija, ),, * cs, Srbsko, * ro, Serbia * rue, Сербия *germa ...

Sirmium
in 582, while the Slavs began to make inroads across the Danube.; ; . Maurice, who meanwhile succeeded Tiberius, intervened in a Persian civil war, placed the legitimate
Khosrau II Khosrow II (aka. Chosroes II in classical sources; pal, 𐭧𐭥𐭮𐭫𐭥𐭣𐭩; Modern Persian: ''Khosrow (word), Husrō''), also known as Khosrow Parviz (Persian language, New Persian: , "Khosrow the Victorious"), is considered to be th ...

Khosrau II
back on the throne, and married his daughter to him. Maurice's treaty with his new brother-in-law enlarged the territories of the Empire to the East and allowed the energetic Emperor to focus on the Balkans. By 602, a series of successful Byzantine campaigns had pushed the Avars and Slavs back across the Danube. However, Maurice's refusal to ransom several thousand captives taken by the Avars, and his order to the troops to winter in the Danube, caused his popularity to plummet. A revolt broke out under an officer named Phocas, who marched the troops back to Constantinople; Maurice and his family were murdered while trying to escape.


Shrinking borders


Early Heraclian dynasty

After Maurice's murder by
Phocas Phocas ( la, Focas; el, Φωκᾶς; 5475 October 610) was Byzantine emperor from 602 to 610. The early life of Phocas is largely unknown, but he rose to prominence in 602, as a leader in the revolt against Emperor Maurice (emperor), Maurice. ...

Phocas
, Khosrau used the pretext to reconquer the Roman province of Mesopotamia. Phocas, an unpopular ruler invariably described in Byzantine sources as a "tyrant", was the target of a number of Senate-led plots. He was eventually deposed in 610 by
Heraclius Heraclius ( el, Ἡράκλειος, ''Hērakleios''; c. 575 – 11 February 641), sometimes called Heraclius I, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Constantinop ...
, who sailed to Constantinople from
Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern side of the in what is now . Carthage was the most important trading hub of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the . The city developed from a n colony ...

Carthage
with an icon affixed to the prow of his ship. Following the accession of Heraclius, the
Sassanid The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Iran (word), Ērānshahr''), and also called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian Empire, Persian imperial dynasty before the spread of I ...
advance pushed deep into the Levant, occupying
Damascus )), is an adjective which means "spacious". , motto = , image_flag = Flag of Damascus.svg , image_seal = Emblem of Damascus.svg , seal_type = Seal , m ...

Damascus
and
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
and removing the
True Cross The True Cross are the physical remnants which, by the tradition of some Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its ...

True Cross
to
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

Ctesiphon
. The counter-attack launched by Heraclius took on the character of a holy war, and an acheiropoietos image of Christ was carried as a military standard (similarly, when Constantinople was saved from a combined Avar–Sassanid– siege in 626, the victory was attributed to the icons of the Virgin that were led in procession by Patriarch Sergius about the walls of the city). In this very siege of Constantinople of the year 626, amidst the climactic
Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 was the final and most devastating of the Byzantine–Sasanian wars, series of wars fought between the Byzantine Empire and the Sasanian Empire of Iran. The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 572–591, previo ...
, the combined Avar, Sassanid, and Slavic forces unsuccessfully besieged the Byzantine capital between June and July. After this, the Sassanid army was forced to withdraw to
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
. The loss came just after news had reached them of yet another Byzantine victory, where Heraclius's brother
TheodoreTheodore may refer to: Places * Theodore, Alabama, United States * Theodore, Australian Capital Territory * Theodore, Queensland, a town in the Shire of Banana, Australia * Theodore, Saskatchewan, Canada People * Theodore (name), includes th ...
scored well against the Persian general Shahin. Following this, Heraclius led an invasion into Sassanid Mesopotamia once again. The main Sassanid force was destroyed at
Nineveh Nineveh (; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē; akk, ) was an ancient Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th ...
in 627, and in 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony, as he marched into the Sassanid capital of
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

Ctesiphon
, where anarchy and civil war reigned as a result of the enduring war. Eventually, the Persians were obliged to withdraw all armed forces and return Sassanid-ruled
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...
, the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
and whatever imperial territories of Mesopotamia and
Armenia Armenia (; hy, Հայաստան, translit=Hayastan, ), officially the Republic of Armenia,, is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is ...

Armenia
were in Roman hands at the time of an earlier peace treaty in c. 595. The war had exhausted both the Byzantines and Sassanids, however, and left them extremely vulnerable to the Muslim forces that emerged in the following years. The Byzantines suffered a crushing defeat by the Arabs at the
Battle of Yarmouk The Battle of the Yarmuk (also spelled Yarmouk) was a major battle between the army of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim forces of the Rashidun Caliphate. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, ne ...

Battle of Yarmouk
in 636, while
Ctesiphon Ctesiphon ( ; Middle Persian: 𐭲𐭩𐭮𐭯𐭥𐭭 ''tyspwn'' or ''tysfwn''; fa, تیسفون; grc-gre, Κτησιφῶν, ; syr, ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢThomas A. Carlson et al., “Ctesiphon — ܩܛܝܣܦܘܢ ” in The Syriac Gazetteer last modi ...

Ctesiphon
fell in 637.


First Arab siege of Constantinople (674–678) and the theme system

The Arabs, now firmly in control of Syria and the Levant, sent frequent raiding parties deep into Asia Minor, and in 674–678 laid siege to Constantinople itself. The Arab fleet was finally repulsed through the use of
Greek fire #REDIRECT Greek fire #REDIRECT Greek fire#REDIRECT Greek fire Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Ro ...
, and a thirty-years' truce was signed between the Empire and the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under ...
. However, the
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
n raids continued unabated, and accelerated the demise of classical urban culture, with the inhabitants of many cities either refortifying much smaller areas within the old city walls or relocating entirely to nearby fortresses. Constantinople itself dropped substantially in size, from 500,000 inhabitants to just 40,000–70,000, and, like other urban centres, it was partly ruralised. The city also lost the free grain shipments in 618, after Egypt fell first to the Persians and then to the Arabs, and public wheat distribution ceased. The void left by the disappearance of the old semi-autonomous civic institutions was filled by the system called ''theme'', which entailed dividing Asia Minor into "provinces" occupied by distinct armies that assumed civil authority and answered directly to the imperial administration. This system may have had its roots in certain ''ad hoc'' measures taken by Heraclius, but over the course of the 7th century it developed into an entirely new system of imperial governance. The massive cultural and institutional restructuring of the Empire consequent on the loss of territory in the 7th century has been said to have caused a decisive break in east Mediterranean ''Romanness'', and that the Byzantine state is subsequently best understood as another successor state rather than a real continuation of the Roman Empire.


Late Heraclian dynasty

The withdrawal of large numbers of troops from the Balkans to combat the Persians and then the Arabs in the east opened the door for the gradual southward expansion of Slavic peoples into the peninsula, and, as in Asia Minor, many cities shrank to small fortified settlements. In the 670s, the
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribes that flourished in the Pontic–Caspian steppe and the Volga region during the 7th century. They became known as nomadi ...

Bulgars
were pushed south of the Danube by the arrival of the
Khazars The Khazars; he, כוזרים, Kuzarim; la, Gazari, or ; zh, 突厥曷薩 ; 突厥可薩部 ''Tūjué Kěsà bù'' () were a semi-nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixe ...

Khazars
. In 680, Byzantine forces sent to disperse these new settlements were defeated.. In 681,
Constantine IV Constantine IV ( el, Κωνσταντῖνος, translit=Kōnstantinos; c. 650-685), called the Younger (Greek: ὁ νέος, ''ho neos'') and sometimes incorrectly Pogonatos (Greek: Πωγωνᾶτος, "the Bearded") out of confusion with his ...
signed a treaty with the Bulgar khan
Asparukh Asparuh (also ''Ispor''; bg, Аспарух, Asparuh or (rarely) bg, Исперих, Isperih) was а ruler of Bulgars in the second half of the 7th century and is credited with the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. Early life ...

Asparukh
, and the assumed sovereignty over several Slavic tribes that had previously, at least in name, recognised Byzantine rule. In 687–688, the final Heraclian emperor,
Justinian II Justinian II ( gr, Ἰουστινιανός, Ioustinianos; la, Flavius Iustinianus Augustus; 668 – 11 December 711), surnamed Rhinotmetos or Rhinotmetus (, "the slit-nosed"), was the last Byzantine emperor of the Heraclian dynasty, reigning f ...
, led an expedition against the Slavs and Bulgarians, and made significant gains, although the fact that he had to fight his way from
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
to
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
demonstrates the degree to which Byzantine power in the north Balkans had declined. Justinian II attempted to break the power of the urban aristocracy through severe taxation and the appointment of "outsiders" to administrative posts. He was driven from power in 695, and took shelter first with the Khazars and then with the Bulgarians. In 705, he returned to Constantinople with the armies of the
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...
khan
Tervel Khan Tervel ( bg, Тервел) also called ''Tarvel'', or ''Terval'', or ''Terbelis'' in some Byzantine sources, was the khan of Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Репу ...

Tervel
, retook the throne and instituted a reign of terror against his enemies. With his final overthrow in 711, supported once more by the urban aristocracy, the Heraclian dynasty came to an end.


Second Arab siege of Constantinople (717–718) and the Isaurian dynasty

In 717 the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under ...
launched the
siege of Constantinople (717–718) The second Arab siege of Constantinople in 717–718 was a combined land and sea offensive by the Muslim Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate against the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople. The campaign marked the culmination of twent ...

siege of Constantinople (717–718)
which lasted for one year. However, the combination of
Leo III the Isaurian Leo III the Isaurian ( gr, Λέων Γ ὁ Ἴσαυρος, Leōn ho Isauros; 685 – 18 June 741), also known as the Syrian, was Byzantine Emperor from 717 until his death in 741 and founder of the Isaurian dynasty. He put an end to the Twent ...
's military genius, the Byzantines' use of
Greek Fire #REDIRECT Greek fire #REDIRECT Greek fire#REDIRECT Greek fire Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Ro ...
, a cold winter in 717–718, and Byzantine diplomacy with the Khan
Tervel of Bulgaria Khan Tervel ( bg, Тервел) also called ''Tarvel'', or ''Terval'', or ''Terbelis'' in some Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its ea ...

Tervel of Bulgaria
resulted in a Byzantine victory. After Leo III turned back the Muslim assault in 718, he addressed himself to the task of reorganising and consolidating the ''themes'' in Asia Minor. In 740 a major Byzantine victory took place at the
Battle of Akroinon The Battle of Akroinon was fought at Akroinon or Akroinos (near modern Afyon) in Phrygia In classical antiquity, Phrygia (; grc, Φρυγία, ''Phrygía'' ; tr, Frigya) (also known as the Kingdom of Muska) was a kingdom in the west central ...
where the Byzantines destroyed the Umayyad army once again. Leo III the Isaurian's son and successor,
Constantine V Constantine V ( grc-gre, Κωνσταντῖνος, Kōnstantīnos; July 718 – 14 September 775 AD) was Byzantine emperor from 741 to 775. His reign saw a consolidation of Byzantine security from external threats. As an able military leader, C ...
, won noteworthy victories in northern Syria and also thoroughly undermined Bulgarian strength. In 746, profiting by the unstable conditions in the Umayyad Caliphate, which was falling apart under
Marwan II Marwan ibn Muhammad ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam ( ar, مروان بن محمد بن مروان بن الحكم, Marwān ibn Muḥammad ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam; 691 – 6 August 750), usually known simply as Marwan II, was the fourteenth and last ...
, Constantine V invaded Syria and captured , and the
Battle of Keramaia The Battle of Keramaia was a major Byzantine naval victory over the Egyptian fleet of the Umayyad Caliphate at Cyprus in 746. Battle The battle is mentioned by the Byzantine historians Theophanes the Confessor, Patriarch Nikephoros I of Constantin ...
resulted in a major Byzantine naval victory over the Umayyad fleet. Coupled with military defeats on other fronts of the Caliphate and internal instability, Umayyad expansion came to an end.


Religious dispute over iconoclasm

The 8th and early 9th centuries were also dominated by controversy and religious division over
Iconoclasm alt=A painting, 288px, In this Elizabethan work of propaganda, the top right of the picture depicts men busy pulling down and smashing icons, while power is shifting from the dying King Henry VIII at left, pointing to his far more staunchly Pr ...
, which was the main political issue in the Empire for over a century.
Icon An icon (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...

Icon
s (here meaning all forms of religious imagery) were banned by Leo and Constantine from around 730, leading to revolts by
iconodule Iconodulism (also iconoduly or iconodulia) designates the religious service to icons (kissing and honourable veneration, incense, and candlelight). The term comes from Neoclassical Greek εἰκονόδουλος (''eikonodoulos'') (from el, ε ...
s (supporters of icons) throughout the empire. After the efforts of empress
Irene Irene is a name derived from εἰρήνη (eirēnē), the Greek for "peace". See Irene (given name) Irene (Greek: Ειρήνη- ''Eirēnē''), sometimes written Irini, is derived from εἰρήνη, the Greek language, Greek word for "peace". Eiren ...

Irene
, the
Second Council of Nicaea The second (symbol: s, also abbreviated: sec) is the base unit of time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, th ...
met in 787 and affirmed that icons could be venerated but not worshipped. Irene is said to have endeavoured to negotiate a marriage between herself and Charlemagne, but, according to
Theophanes the Confessor Theophanes the Confessor ( el, Θεοφάνης Ὁμολογητής; c. 758/760 – March 12, 817/818) was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy who became a monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Lati ...
, the scheme was frustrated by Aetios, one of her favourites.; . In the early 9th century, Leo V reintroduced the policy of iconoclasm, but in 843 Empress Theodora restored the veneration of icons with the help of Patriarch Methodios.. Iconoclasm played a part in the further alienation of East from West, which worsened during the so-called
Photian schism The Photian Schism was a four-year (863–867) schism (religion), schism between the episcopal sees of Holy See, Rome and Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Constantinople. The issue centred on the right of the Byzantine Emperor to depose ...
, when
Pope Nicholas I Pope Nicholas I ( la, Nicolaus I; c. 800 – 13 November 867), called Nicholas the Great, was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted ...

Pope Nicholas I
challenged the elevation of
Photios Photios I ( el, Φώτιος, ''Phōtios''; c. 810/820 – 6 February 893), also spelled PhotiusFr. Justin Taylor, essay "Canon Law in the Age of the Fathers" (published in Jordan Hite, T.O.R., & Daniel J. Ward, O.S.B., "Readings, Cases, Material ...
to the patriarchate.


Macedonian dynasty and resurgence (867–1025)

The accession of
Basil I Basil I, called the Macedonian ( el, Βασίλειος ὁ Μακεδών, ''Basíleios ō Makedṓn''; 811 – August 29, 886), was a Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Co ...

Basil I
to the throne in 867 marks the beginning of the
Macedonian dynasty The Macedonian dynasty (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ...
, which ruled for 150 years. This dynasty included some of the ablest emperors in Byzantium's history, and the period is one of revival. The Empire moved from defending against external enemies to reconquest of territories.. The Macedonian dynasty was characterised by a cultural revival in spheres such as philosophy and the arts. There was a conscious effort to restore the brilliance of the period before the Slavic and subsequent Muslim conquests, Arab invasions, and the Macedonian era has been dubbed the "Golden Age" of Byzantium. Although the Empire was significantly smaller than during the reign of Justinian, it had regained much strength, as the remaining territories were less geographically dispersed and more politically, economically, and culturally integrated.


Wars against the Abbasids

Taking advantage of the Empire's weakness after the Revolt of Thomas the Slav in the early 820s, the Arabs re-emerged and Emirate of Crete, captured Crete. They also successfully attacked Sicily but in 863 general Petronas the Patrician, Petronas gained a decisive victory at the Battle of Lalakaon against Umar al-Aqta, the emir of Melitene (Malatya). Under the leadership of emperor Krum, the Bulgarian threat also re-emerged, but in 815–816 Krum's son, Omurtag of Bulgaria, Omurtag, signed a Treaty of 815, peace treaty with Leo V the Armenian, Leo V. In the 830s Abbasid Caliphate started military excursions culminating with a victory in the Sack of Amorium. The Byzantines then counter-attacked and Sack of Damietta (853), sacked Damietta in Egypt. Later the Abbasid Caliphate responded by sending their troops into Anatolia again, sacking and marauding until they were eventually annihilated by the Byzantines at the Battle of Lalakaon in 863. In the early years of Basil I's reign, Arab raids on the coasts of Dalmatia and the siege of Ragusa (866–868) were defeated and the region once again came under secure Byzantine control. This enabled Byzantine missionaries to penetrate to the interior and Christianization of the Serbs, convert the Serbs and the principalities of modern-day Herzegovina and Montenegro to Christianity.. By contrast, the Byzantine position in Southern Italy was gradually consolidated; by 873 Bari was once again under Byzantine rule and most of Southern Italy would remain in the Empire for the next 200 years. On the more important eastern front, the Empire rebuilt its defences and went on the offensive. The Paulicianism, Paulicians were defeated at the Battle of Bathys Ryax and their capital of Tephrike (Divrigi) taken, while the offensive against the Abbasid Caliphate began with the recapture of Samosata. Under Basil's son and successor, Leo VI the Wise, the gains in the east against the enfeebled Abbasid Caliphate continued. Sicily was lost to the Arabs in 902, and, in 904 Thessaloniki, the Empire's second city was sacked by an Arab fleet. The naval weakness of the Empire was rectified. Despite this revenge, the Byzantines were still unable to strike a decisive blow against the Muslims, who inflicted a crushing defeat on the imperial forces when they attempted to regain Emirate of Crete, Crete in 911.. The death of the Bulgarian tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria, Simeon I in 927 severely weakened the Bulgarians, allowing the Byzantines to concentrate on the eastern front.. Melitene was permanently recaptured in 934 and in 943 the famous general John Kourkouas continued the offensive in Mesopotamia with some noteworthy victories, culminating in the reconquest of Edessa. Kourkouas was especially celebrated for returning to Constantinople the venerated Image of Edessa, Mandylion, a relic purportedly imprinted with a portrait of Jesus.. The soldier-emperors Nikephoros II Phokas () and John I Tzimiskes (969–976) expanded the empire well into Syria, defeating the emirs of north-west Iraq. Nikephoros took the great city of Aleppo in 962, and the Arabs were decisively expelled from Crete in 963. The recapture of Crete in the siege of Chandax put an end to Arab raids in the Aegean, allowing mainland Greece to flourish again. Cyprus was permanently retaken in 965 and the successes of Nikephoros culminated in 969 with the (968–969), siege of Antioch and its recapture, which he incorporated as a Duchy of Antioch, province of the Empire.. His successor John Tzimiskes recaptured Damascus, Beirut, Acre, Israel, Acre, Sidon, Caesarea and Tiberias, putting Byzantine armies within striking distance of Jerusalem, although the Muslim power centres in Iraq and Egypt were left untouched.. After much campaigning in the north, the last Arab threat to Byzantium, the rich province of Sicily, was targeted in 1025 by Basil II, who died before the expedition could be completed. By that time the Empire stretched from the straits of Messina to the Euphrates and from the Danube to Syria..


Wars against the Bulgarian Empire

The traditional struggle with the Holy See, See of Rome continued through the Macedonian period, spurred by the question of religious supremacy over the Christianization of Bulgaria, newly Christianised state of First Bulgarian Empire, Bulgaria. Ending eighty years of peace between the two states, the powerful Bulgarian tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria, Simeon I invaded in 894 but was pushed back by the Byzantines, who used their fleet to sail up the Black Sea to attack the Bulgarian rear, enlisting the support of the Hungarian people, Hungarians. The Byzantines were defeated at the Battle of Boulgarophygon in 896, however, and agreed to pay annual subsidies to the Bulgarians. Leo the Wise died in 912, and hostilities soon resumed as Simeon marched to Constantinople at the head of a large army. Although the walls of the city were impregnable, the Byzantine administration was in disarray and Simeon was invited into the city, where he was granted the crown of ''basileus'' (emperor) of Bulgaria and had the young emperor Constantine VII marry one of his daughters. When a revolt in Constantinople halted his dynastic project, he again invaded Thrace and conquered Edirne, Adrianople. The Empire now faced the problem of a powerful Christian state within a few days' marching distance from Constantinople, as well as having to fight on two fronts. A great imperial expedition under Leo Phokas the Elder, Leo Phocas and Romanos I Lekapenos ended with another crushing Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Achelous (917), Battle of Achelous in 917, and the following year the Bulgarians were free to ravage northern Greece. Adrianople was plundered again in 923, and a Bulgarian army laid siege to Constantinople in 924. Simeon died suddenly in 927, however, and Bulgarian power collapsed with him. Bulgaria and Byzantium entered a long period of peaceful relations, and the Empire was now free to concentrate on the eastern front against the Muslims. In 968, Bulgaria was overrun by the Rus' people, Rus' under Sviatoslav I of Kiev, but three years later, John I Tzimiskes Siege of Dorostolon, defeated the Rus' and re-incorporated Eastern Bulgaria into the Byzantine Empire. Bulgarian resistance revived under the rule of the Cometopuli dynasty, but the new Emperor Basil II () made the submission of the Bulgarians his primary goal.. Basil's first expedition against Bulgaria, however, resulted in a defeat at the Battle of the Gates of Trajan, Gates of Trajan. For the next few years, the emperor would be preoccupied with internal revolts in Anatolia, while the Bulgarians expanded their realm in the Balkans. The war dragged on for nearly twenty years. The Byzantine victories of Battle of Spercheios, Spercheios and Battle of Skopje, Skopje decisively weakened the Bulgarian army, and in annual campaigns, Basil methodically reduced the Bulgarian strongholds. At the Battle of Kleidion in 1014 the Bulgarians were annihilated: their army was captured, and it is said that 99 out of every 100 men were blinded, with the hundredth man left with one eye so he could lead his compatriots home. When Tsar Samuel of Bulgaria, Samuil saw the broken remains of his once formidable army, he died of shock. By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered, and the country became part of the Empire. This victory restored the Danube frontier, which had not been held since the days of the Emperor Heraclius.


Relations with the Kievan Rus'

Between 850 and 1100, the Empire developed a mixed relationship with the new state of the Kievan Rus', which had emerged to the north across the Black Sea. This relationship would have long-lasting repercussions in the history of the East Slavs, and the Empire quickly became the main Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, trading and cultural partner for Kiev. The Rus' launched their first attack against Constantinople Rus'–Byzantine War (860), in 860, pillaging the suburbs of the city. In 941, Rus'–Byzantine War (941), they appeared on the Asian shore of the Bosphorus, but this time they were crushed, an indication of the improvements in the Byzantine military position after 907, when Rus'–Byzantine Treaty (907), only diplomacy had been able to push back the invaders. Basil II could not ignore the emerging power of the Rus', and, following the example of his predecessors, he used religion as a means for achieving political purposes.. Rus'–Byzantine relations became closer following the marriage of Anna Porphyrogeneta to Vladimir the Great in 988, and the subsequent Christianization of Kievan Rus', Christianisation of the Rus'.. Byzantine priests, architects, and artists were invited to work on numerous cathedrals and churches around Rus', expanding Byzantine cultural influence even further, while numerous Rus' served in the Byzantine army as mercenaries, most notably as the famous Varangian Guard. Even after the Christianisation of the Rus', however, relations were not always friendly. The most serious conflict between the two powers was the war of 968–971 in Bulgaria, but several Rus' raiding expeditions against the Byzantine cities of the Black Sea coast and Constantinople itself are also recorded. Although most were repulsed, they were often followed by treaties that were generally favourable to the Rus', such as the one concluded at the end of Rus'–Byzantine War (1043), the war of 1043, during which the Rus' indicated their ambitions to compete with the Byzantines as an independent power.


Campaigns in the Caucasus

Between 1021 and 1022, following years of tensions, Basil II led a series of victorious campaigns against the Kingdom of Georgia, resulting in the annexation of several Georgian provinces to the Empire. Basil's successors also annexed Bagratid Armenia in 1045. Importantly, both Georgia and Armenia were significantly weakened by the Byzantine administration's policy of heavy taxation and abolishing of the levy. The weakening of Georgia and Armenia would play a significant role in the Byzantine defeat at Battle of Manzikert, Manzikert in 1071.


Apex

Basil II is considered among the most capable Byzantine emperors and his reign as the apex of the empire in the Middle Ages. By 1025, the date of Basil II's death, the Byzantine Empire stretched from Kingdom of Armenia (Middle Ages), Armenia in the east to Calabria in Southern Italy in the west. Many successes had been achieved, ranging from the conquest of Bulgaria to the annexation of parts of Kingdom of Georgia, Georgia and Armenia, and the reconquest of Crete, Cyprus, and the important city of Antioch. These were not temporary tactical gains but long-term reconquests. Leo VI achieved the complete codification of Byzantine law in Greek. This monumental work of 60 volumes became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law and is still studied today.. Leo also reformed the administration of the Empire, redrawing the borders of the administrative subdivisions (the ''Theme (Byzantine district), Themata'', or "Themes") and tidying up the system of ranks and privileges, as well as regulating the behaviour of the various trade guilds in Constantinople. Leo's reform did much to reduce the previous fragmentation of the Empire, which henceforth had one centre of power, Constantinople.. However, the increasing military success of the Empire greatly enriched and gave the provincial nobility more power over the peasantry, who were essentially reduced to a state of serfdom.. Under the Macedonian emperors, the city of Constantinople flourished, becoming the largest and wealthiest city in Europe, with a population of approximately 400,000 in the 9th and 10th centuries. During this period, the Byzantine Empire employed a strong civil service staffed by competent aristocrats that oversaw the collection of taxes, domestic administration, and foreign policy. The Macedonian emperors also increased the Empire's wealth by fostering trade with Western Europe, particularly through Byzantine silk, the sale of silk and metalwork.


Split between Orthodoxy and Catholicism (1054)

The Macedonian period also included events of momentous religious significance. The conversion of the Bulgarians, Serbs and Rus' people, Rus' to Orthodox Christianity drew the religious map of Europe which still resonates today. Saints Cyril and Methodius, Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine Greek brothers from Thessaloniki, contributed significantly to the Christianization of the Slavs and in the process devised the Glagolitic alphabet, ancestor to the Cyrillic script. In 1054, relations between the Eastern and Western traditions of the Chalcedonian Christian Church reached a terminal crisis, known as the East–West Schism. Although there was a formal declaration of institutional separation, on 16 July, when three papal legates entered the Hagia Sophia during Divine Liturgy on a Saturday afternoon and placed a bull of excommunication on the altar, the so-called Great Schism was actually the culmination of centuries of gradual separation.


Crisis and fragmentation

The Byzantine Empire soon fell into a period of difficulties, caused to a large extent by the undermining of the theme system and the neglect of the military. Nikephoros II, John Tzimiskes, and Basil II shifted the emphasis of the military divisions (, ''tagma (military), tagmata'') from a reactive, defence-oriented citizen army into an army of professional career soldiers, increasingly dependent on foreign Mercenary, mercenaries. Mercenaries were expensive, however, and as the threat of invasion receded in the 10th century, so did the need for maintaining large garrisons and expensive fortifications. Basil II left a burgeoning treasury upon his death, but he neglected to plan for his succession. None of his immediate successors had any particular military or political talent and the imperial administration increasingly fell into the hands of the civil service. Incompetent efforts to revive the Byzantine economy resulted in severe inflation and a debased gold currency. The army was now seen as both an unnecessary expense and a political threat. A number of standing local units were demobilised, further augmenting the army's dependence on mercenaries, who could be retained and dismissed on an as-needed basis.Markham,
The Battle of Manzikert
.
At the same time, Byzantium was faced with new enemies. Its provinces in southern Italy were threatened by the Italo-Norman, Normans, who arrived in Italy at the beginning of the 11th century. During a period of strife between Constantinople and Rome culminating in the East-West Schism of 1054, the Normans began to advance, slowly but steadily, into Byzantine Italy. Reggio Calabria, Reggio, the capital of the tagma (military), tagma of Calabria, was captured in 1060 by Robert Guiscard, followed by Otranto in 1068. Bari, the main Byzantine stronghold in Apulia, was besieged in August 1068 and Siege of Bari, fell in April 1071. About 1053, Constantine IX Monomachos, Constantine IX disbanded what the historian John Skylitzes calls the "Iberian Army", which consisted of 50,000 men, and it was turned into a contemporary Droungarios of the Watch, Drungary of the Watch. Two other knowledgeable contemporaries, the former officials Michael Attaleiates and Kekaumenos, agree with Skylitzes that by demobilising these soldiers Constantine did catastrophic harm to the Empire's eastern defences. The emergency lent weight to the military aristocracy in Anatolia, who in 1068 secured the election of one of their own, Romanos IV Diogenes, Romanos Diogenes, as emperor. In the summer of 1071, Romanos undertook a massive eastern campaign to draw the Seljuks into a general engagement with the Byzantine army. At the Battle of Manzikert, Romanos suffered a surprise defeat by Sultan Alp Arslan, and was captured. Alp Arslan treated him with respect and imposed no harsh terms on the Byzantines. In Constantinople, however, a coup put in power Michael VII Doukas, Michael Doukas, who soon faced the opposition of Nikephoros Bryennios the Elder, Nikephoros Bryennios and Nikephoros III, Nikephoros Botaneiates. By 1081, the Seljuks had expanded their rule over virtually the entire Anatolian plateau from Armenia in the east to Bithynia in the west, and they had founded their capital at Nicaea, just from Constantinople.


Komnenian dynasty and the Crusades

During the Komnenian, or Comnenian, period from about 1081 to about 1185, the five emperors of the Komnenos, Komnenos dynasty (Alexios I, John II, Manuel I, Alexios II, and Andronikos I) presided over a sustained, though ultimately incomplete, restoration of the military, territorial, economic, and political position of the Byzantine Empire.. Although the Seljuk Turks occupied the heartland of the Empire in Anatolia, most Byzantine military efforts during this period were directed against Western powers, particularly the Normans. The Empire under the Komnenoi played a key role in the history of the Crusades in the Holy Land, which Alexios I had helped bring about, while also exerting enormous cultural and political influence in Europe, the Near East, and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea under John and Manuel. Contact between Byzantium and the "Latin" West, including the Crusader states, increased significantly during the Komnenian period. Venetian and other Italian traders became resident in large numbers in Constantinople and the empire (there were an estimated 60,000 Latins in Constantinople alone, out of a population of three to four hundred thousand), and their presence together with the numerous Latin mercenaries who were employed by Manuel helped to spread Byzantine technology, art, literature and culture throughout the Latin West, while also leading to a flow of Western ideas and customs into the Empire. In terms of prosperity and cultural life, the Komnenian period was one of the peaks in Byzantine history, and Constantinople remained the leading city of the Christian world in size, wealth, and culture. There was a renewed interest in classical Greek philosophy, as well as an increase in literary output in vernacular Greek.. Byzantine art and literature held a pre-eminent place in Europe, and the cultural impact of Byzantine art on the west during this period was enormous and of long-lasting significance..


Alexios I and the First Crusade

After Manzikert, a partial recovery (referred to as the Komnenian restoration) was made possible by the Komnenian dynasty.. The Komnenoi attained power again under Alexios I in 1081. From the outset of his reign, Alexios faced a formidable attack by the Normans under Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemond I of Antioch, Bohemund of Taranto, who captured Battle of Dyrrhachium (1081), Dyrrhachium and Corfu, and laid siege to Larissa in Thessaly. Robert Guiscard's death in 1085 temporarily eased the Norman problem. The following year, the Seljuq sultan died, and the sultanate was split by internal rivalries. By his own efforts, Alexios defeated the Pechenegs, who were caught by surprise and annihilated at the Battle of Levounion on 28 April 1091. Having achieved stability in the West, Alexios could turn his attention to the severe economic difficulties and the disintegration of the Empire's traditional defences.. However, he still did not have enough manpower to recover the lost territories in Asia Minor and to advance against the Seljuks. At the Council of Piacenza in 1095, envoys from Alexios spoke to Pope Urban II about the suffering of the Christians of the East, and underscored that without help from the West they would continue to suffer under Muslim rule.; ; . Urban saw Alexios's request as a dual opportunity to cement Western Europe and reunite the Eastern Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church under his rule. On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban II called together the Council of Clermont, and urged all those present to take up arms under the sign of the Christian cross, Cross and launch an armed pilgrimage to recover Jerusalem and the East from the Muslims. The response in Western Europe was overwhelming. Alexios had anticipated help in the form of mercenary forces from the West, but he was totally unprepared for the immense and undisciplined force that soon arrived in Byzantine territory. It was no comfort to Alexios to learn that four of the eight leaders of the main body of the Crusade were Normans, among them Bohemund. Since the crusade had to pass through Constantinople, however, the Emperor had some control over it. He required its leaders to swear to restore to the empire any towns or territories they might reconquer from the Turks on their way to the Holy Land. In return, he gave them guides and a military escort. Alexios was able to recover a number of important cities, islands and much of western Asia Minor. The Crusaders agreed to become Alexios' vassals under the Treaty of Devol in 1108, which marked the end of the Norman threat during Alexios' reign.; .


John II, Manuel I and the Second Crusade

Alexios's son John II Komnenos succeeded him in 1118 and ruled until 1143. John was a pious and dedicated Emperor who was determined to undo the damage to the empire suffered at the Battle of Manzikert, half a century earlier. Famed for his piety and his remarkably mild and just reign, John was an exceptional example of a moral ruler at a time when cruelty was the norm. For this reason, he has been called the Byzantine Marcus Aurelius. During his twenty-five-year reign, John made alliances with the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
in the West and decisively defeated the Pechenegs at the Battle of Beroia.. He thwarted Hungarian and Serbian threats during the 1120s, and in 1130 he allied himself with the List of German monarchs, German emperor Lothair III against the Norman king Roger II of Sicily. In the later part of his reign, John focused his activities on the East, personally leading numerous campaigns against the Turkic peoples, Turks in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
. His campaigns fundamentally altered the balance of power in the East, forcing the Turks onto the defensive, while restoring many towns, fortresses, and cities across the peninsula to the Byzantines. He defeated the Danishmends, Danishmend Emirate of Malatya, Melitene and reconquered all of Cilicia, while forcing Raymond of Poitiers, Prince of Antioch, to recognise Byzantine suzerainty. In an effort to demonstrate the Emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into the Holy Land at the head of the combined forces of the Empire and the Crusader states; yet despite his great vigour pressing the campaign, his hopes were disappointed by the treachery of his Crusader allies. In 1142, John returned to press his claims to Antioch, but he died in the spring of 1143 following a hunting accident. John's chosen heir was his fourth son, Manuel I Komnenos, who campaigned aggressively against his neighbours both in the west and in the east. In Palestine, Manuel allied with the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and sent a large fleet to participate in a combined invasion of Fatimid Egypt. Manuel reinforced his position as overlord of the Crusader states, with his hegemony over Antioch and Jerusalem secured by agreement with Raynald of Châtillon, Raynald, Prince of Antioch, and Amalric I of Jerusalem, Amalric, King of Jerusalem.. In an effort to restore Byzantine control over the ports of southern Italy, he sent an expedition to Italy in 1155, but disputes within the coalition led to the eventual failure of the campaign. Despite this military setback, Manuel's armies successfully invaded the Southern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1167, defeating the Hungarians at the Battle of Sirmium. By 1168, nearly the whole of the eastern Adriatic coast lay in Manuel's hands.. Manuel made several alliances with the Pope and Western Christian kingdoms, and he successfully handled the passage of the Second Crusade through his empire.. In the east, however, Manuel suffered a major defeat in 1176 at the Battle of Myriokephalon, against the Turks. Yet the losses were quickly recovered, and in the following year Manuel's forces inflicted a defeat upon a force of "picked Turks".. The Byzantine commander John Vatatzes, who destroyed the Turkish invaders at the Battle of Hyelion and Leimocheir, not only brought troops from the capital but also was able to gather an army along the way, a sign that the Byzantine army remained strong and that the defensive program of western Asia Minor was still successful..


12th-century Renaissance

John and Manuel pursued active military policies, and both deployed considerable resources on sieges and city defences; aggressive fortification policies were at the heart of their imperial military policies.. Despite the defeat at Myriokephalon, the policies of Alexios, John and Manuel resulted in vast territorial gains, increased frontier stability in Asia Minor, and secured the stabilisation of the Empire's European frontiers. From c. 1081 to c. 1180, the Komnenian army assured the Empire's security, enabling Byzantine civilisation to flourish.. This allowed the Western provinces to achieve an economic revival that continued until the close of the century. It has been argued that Byzantium under the Komnenian rule was more prosperous than at any time since the Persian invasions of the 7th century. During the 12th century, population levels rose and extensive tracts of new agricultural land were brought into production. Archaeological evidence from both Europe and Asia Minor shows a considerable increase in the size of urban settlements, together with a notable upsurge in new towns. Trade was also flourishing; the Venetians, the Genoa, Genoese and others opened up the ports of the Aegean to commerce, shipping goods from the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer and Fatimid Egypt to the west and trading with the Empire via Constantinople.; . In artistic terms, there was a revival in mosaic, and regional schools of architecture began producing many distinctive styles that drew on a range of cultural influences.. During the 12th century, the Byzantines provided their model of early Renaissance humanism, humanism as a renaissance of interest in classical authors. In Eustathius of Thessalonica, Byzantine humanism found its most characteristic expression.. In philosophy, there was a resurgence of classical learning not seen since the 7th century, characterised by a significant increase in the publication of commentaries on classical works. Besides, the first transmission of classical Greek knowledge to the West occurred during the Komnenian period.


Decline and disintegration


Angelid dynasty

Manuel's death on 24 September 1180 left his 11-year-old son Alexios II Komnenos on the throne. Alexios was highly incompetent in the office, and with his mother Maria of Antioch's Frankish background, made his regency unpopular.. Eventually, Andronikos I Komnenos, a grandson of Alexios I, launched a revolt against his younger relative and managed to overthrow him in a violent ''coup d'état''.. Utilizing his good looks and his immense popularity with the army, he marched on to Constantinople in August 1182 Massacre of the Latins, and incited a massacre of the Latins. After eliminating his potential rivals, he had himself crowned as co-emperor in September 1183. He eliminated Alexios II and took his 12-year-old wife Agnes of France, Byzantine Empress, Agnes of France for himself. Andronikos began his reign well; in particular, the measures he took to reform the government of the Empire have been praised by historians. According to George Ostrogorsky, Andronikos was determined to root out corruption: under his rule, the sale of offices ceased; selection was based on merit, rather than favouritism; officials were paid an adequate salary to reduce the temptation of bribery. In the provinces, Andronikos's reforms produced a speedy and marked improvement. The aristocrats were infuriated against him, and to make matters worse, Andronikos seems to have become increasingly unbalanced; executions and violence became increasingly common, and his reign turned into a reign of terror. Andronikos seemed almost to seek the extermination of the aristocracy as a whole. The struggle against the aristocracy turned into wholesale slaughter, while the Emperor resorted to ever more ruthless measures to shore up his regime.. Despite his military background, Andronikos failed to deal with Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus, Isaac Komnenos, Béla III of Hungary () who reincorporated Croatian territories into Hungary, and Stefan Nemanja, Stephen Nemanja of Serbia () who declared his independence from the Byzantine Empire. Yet, none of these troubles would compare to William II of Sicily's () invasion force of 300 ships and 80,000 men, arriving in 1185.. Andronikos mobilised a small fleet of 100 ships to defend the capital, but other than that he was indifferent to the populace. He was finally overthrown when Isaac II Angelos, Isaac Angelos, surviving an imperial assassination attempt, seized power with the aid of the people and had Andronikos killed.. The reign of Isaac II, and more so that of his brother Alexios III Angelos, Alexios III, saw the collapse of what remained of the centralised machinery of Byzantine government and defence. Although the Normans were driven out of Greece, in 1186 the Vlachs and Bulgars began a rebellion that led to the formation of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The internal policy of the Angeloi was characterised by the squandering of the public treasure and fiscal maladministration. Imperial authority was severely weakened, and the growing power vacuum at the centre of the Empire encouraged fragmentation. There is evidence that some Komnenian heirs had set up a semi-independent state in Trabzon, Trebizond before 1204.; According to Alexander Vasiliev (historian), Alexander Vasiliev, "the dynasty of the Angeloi, Greek in its origin, ... accelerated the ruin of the Empire, already weakened without and disunited within.",
Foreign Policy of the Angeloi
.


Fourth Crusade

In 1198, Pope Innocent III broached the subject of a new crusade through Papal legate, legates and encyclical, encyclical letters.. The stated intent of the crusade was to conquer History of Arab Egypt#Ayyubid period, Egypt, now the centre of Muslim power in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
. The crusader army that arrived at Republic of Venice, Venice in the summer of 1202 and hired the Venetian fleet to transport them to Egypt. As a payment to the Venetians, they captured the (Christian) port of Zadar#History, Zara in Dalmatia (vassal city of Venice, which had rebelled and placed itself under Hungary's protection in 1186).Britannica Concise
Siege of Zara
.
Shortly afterwards, Alexios IV Angelos, Alexios Angelos, son of the deposed and blinded Emperor Isaac II Angelos, made contacts with the crusaders. Alexios offered to reunite the Byzantine church with Rome, pay the crusaders 200,000 silver marks, join the crusade, and provide all the supplies they needed to reach Egypt..


Crusader sack of Constantinople (1204)

The crusaders arrived at Constantinople in the summer of 1203 and quickly attacked, starting a major fire that damaged large parts of the city, and briefly seized control. Alexios III fled from the capital and Alexios Angelos was elevated to the throne as Alexios IV along with his blind father Isaac. Alexios IV and Isaac II were unable to keep their promises and were deposed by Alexios V. The crusaders again took the city on 13 April 1204, and Constantinople was subjected to pillage and massacre by the rank and file for three days. Many priceless icons, relics and other objects later turned up in Western Europe, a large number in Venice. According to Choniates, a prostitute was even set up on the Patriarchal throne.,
The Sack of Constantinople
'.
When order had been restored, the crusaders and the Venetians proceeded to implement their agreement; Baldwin I of Constantinople, Baldwin of Flanders was elected Emperor of a new Latin Empire, and the Venetian Thomas Morosini was chosen as Patriarch. The lands divided up among the leaders included most of the former Byzantine possessions, though resistance would continue through the Byzantine remnants of Empire of Nicaea, Nicaea, Empire of Trebizond, Trebizond, and Despotate of Epirus, Epirus. Although Venice was more interested in commerce than conquering territory, it took key areas of Constantinople, and the Doge took the title of "''Lord of a Quarter and Half a Quarter of the Roman Empire''".


Fall


Empire in exile

After the sack of Constantinople in 1204 by Latin crusaders, two Byzantine successor states were established: the Empire of Nicaea, and the Despotate of Epirus. A third, the
Empire of Trebizond The Empire of Trebizond, or Trapezuntine Empire, was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001 ...
, was created after Alexios I of Trebizond, Alexios Komnenos, commanding the Kingdom of Georgia, Georgian Georgian expedition to Chaldia, expedition in Chaldia a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople, found himself
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
emperor, and established himself in Trabzon, Trebizond. Of the three successor states, Epirus and Nicaea stood the best chance of reclaiming Constantinople. The Nicaean Empire struggled to survive the next few decades, however, and by the mid-13th century it had lost much of southern Anatolia. The weakening of the Sultanate of Rum, Sultanate of Rûm following the Battle of Köse Dağ, Mongol invasion in 1242–43 allowed many Anatolian beyliks, beyliks and Ghazi (warrior), ghazis to set up their own principalities in Anatolia, weakening the Byzantine hold on Asia Minor. In time, one of the Beys, Osman I, created an empire that would eventually conquer Constantinople. However, the Mongol invasion also gave Nicaea a temporary respite from Seljuk attacks, allowing it to concentrate on the Latin Empire to its north.


Reconquest of Constantinople

The Empire of Nicaea, founded by the Laskaris, Laskarid dynasty, managed to effect the Recapture of Constantinople from the Latins in 1261 and defeat Epirus. This led to a short-lived revival of Byzantine fortunes under Michael VIII Palaiologos but the war-ravaged Empire was ill-equipped to deal with the enemies that surrounded it. To maintain his campaigns against the Latins, Michael pulled troops from Asia Minor and levied crippling taxes on the peasantry, causing much resentment. Massive construction projects were completed in Constantinople to repair the damage of the Fourth Crusade, but none of these initiatives was of any comfort to the farmers in Asia Minor suffering raids from Muslim ghazis.. Rather than holding on to his possessions in Asia Minor, Michael chose to expand the Empire, gaining only short-term success. To avoid another sacking of the capital by the Latins, he forced the Church to submit to Rome, again a temporary solution for which the peasantry hated Michael and Constantinople. The efforts of Andronikos II Palaiologos, Andronikos II and later his grandson Andronikos III Palaiologos, Andronikos III marked Byzantium's last genuine attempts in restoring the glory of the Empire. However, the use of mercenaries by Andronikos II would often backfire, with the Catalan Company ravaging the countryside and increasing resentment towards Constantinople.


Rise of the Ottomans and fall of Constantinople

The situation became worse for Byzantium during the civil wars after Andronikos III died. A Byzantine civil war of 1341–1347, six-year-long civil war devastated the empire, allowing the Serbian ruler Stefan Dušan () to overrun most of the Empire's remaining territory and establish a Serbian Empire. In 1354, an earthquake at Gelibolu, Gallipoli devastated the fort, allowing the Ottoman Empire, Ottomans (who were hired as mercenaries during the civil war by John VI Kantakouzenos) to establish themselves in Europe. By the time the Byzantine civil wars had ended, the Ottomans had defeated the Serbians and subjugated them as vassals. Following the Battle of Kosovo, much of the Balkans became dominated by the Ottomans. The Byzantine emperors appealed to the West for help, but the Pope would only consider sending aid in return for a reunion of the Eastern Orthodox Church with the Holy See, See of Rome. Church unity was considered, and occasionally accomplished by imperial decree, but the Orthodox citizenry and clergy intensely resented the authority of Rome and the Latin Rite. Some Western troops arrived to bolster the Christian defence of Constantinople, but most Western rulers, distracted by their own affairs, did nothing as the Ottomans picked apart the remaining Byzantine territories.. Constantinople by this stage was underpopulated and dilapidated. The population of the city had collapsed so severely that it was now little more than a cluster of villages separated by fields. On 2 April 1453, Mehmed the Conqueror, Sultan Mehmed's army of 80,000 men and large numbers of irregulars laid siege to the city.. Despite a desperate last-ditch defence of the city by the massively outnumbered Christian forces (c. 7,000 men, 2,000 of whom were foreign), Fall of Constantinople, Constantinople finally fell to the Ottomans after a two-month siege on 29 May 1453. The final Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI Palaiologos, was last seen casting off his imperial regalia and throwing himself into hand-to-hand combat after the walls of the city were taken.


Political aftermath

By the time of the fall of Constantinople, the only remaining territory of the Byzantine Empire was the Despotate of the Morea (Peloponnese), which was ruled by brothers of the last Emperor, Thomas Palaiologos and Demetrios Palaiologos. The Despotate continued as an independent state by paying an annual tribute to the Ottomans. Incompetent rule, failure to pay the annual tribute and a revolt against the Ottomans finally led to Mehmed II's invasion of Morea in May 1460. A few holdouts remained for a time. The island of Monemvasia refused to surrender and it was first ruled for a short time by an Aragonese corsair. When the population drove him out they obtained the consent of Thomas to place themselves under the Pope's protection before the end of 1460. The Mani Peninsula, on the Morea's south end, resisted under a loose coalition of the local clans and then that area came under Venice's rule. The last holdout was Salmeniko, in the Morea's northwest. Graitzas Palaiologos was the military commander there, stationed at Salmeniko Castle. While the town eventually surrendered, Graitzas and his garrison and some town residents held out in the castle until July 1461, when they escaped and reached Venetian territory. The
Empire of Trebizond The Empire of Trebizond, or Trapezuntine Empire, was a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001 ...
, which had Georgian expedition to Chaldia, split away from the Byzantine Empire just weeks before Constantinople was taken by the Crusaders in 1204, became the last remnant and last de facto successor state to the Byzantine Empire. Efforts by the David of Trebizond, Emperor David to recruit European powers for an anti-Ottoman crusade provoked war between the Ottomans and Trebizond in the summer of 1461. After a month-long siege, David surrendered the city of Trebizond on 14 August 1461. The Empire of Trebizond's Crimean principality, the Principality of Theodoro (part of the Perateia), lasted another 14 years, falling to the Ottomans in December 1475. A nephew of the last Emperor, Constantine XI, Andreas Palaiologos claimed to have inherited the title of List of Byzantine emperors, Byzantine Emperor. He lived in the Morea until its fall in 1460, then escaped to Rome where he lived under the protection of the Papal States for the remainder of his life. Since the office of emperor had never been technically hereditary, Andreas' claim would have been without merit under Byzantine law. However, the Empire had vanished, and Western states generally followed the Roman-church-sanctioned principles of hereditary sovereignty. Seeking a life in the west, Andreas styled himself ''Imperator Constantinopolitanus'' ("Emperor of Constantinople"), and sold his succession rights to both Charles VIII of France and the Catholic Monarchs. Constantine XI died without producing an heir, and had Constantinople not fallen he might have been succeeded by the sons of his deceased elder brother, who were taken into the palace service of Mehmed II after the fall of Constantinople. The oldest boy, renamed Hass Murad Pasha, Has Murad, became a personal favourite of Mehmed and served as Beylerbey (Governor-General) of the Balkans. The younger son, renamed Mesih Pasha, became Admiral of the Ottoman fleet and Sancak Beg (Governor) of the Province of Gallipoli. He eventually served twice as Grand Vizier under Mehmed's son, Bayezid II. Mehmed II and his successors continued to consider themselves heirs to the Roman Empire until Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the demise of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century following World War I. They considered that they had simply shifted its religious basis as Constantine had done before, and they continued to refer to their conquered Eastern Roman inhabitants (Orthodoxy#Christiannity, Orthodox Christians) as
Rûm Rûm (; singular Rûmi), also transliterated as ''Roum'' (in Arabic language, Arabic ''Arabic definite article, ar-Rûm''; in Persian language, Persian and Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish ''Rûm''; in tr, Rum), is a derivative of th ...
. Meanwhile, the Danubian Principalities (whose rulers also considered themselves the heirs of the Eastern Roman Emperors) harboured Orthodox refugees, including some Byzantine nobles. At his death, the role of the emperor as a patron of Eastern Orthodoxy was claimed by Ivan III of Russia, Ivan III, Grand duke of Grand Duchy of Moscow, Muscovy. He had married Andreas' sister, Sophia Palaiologina, whose grandson, Ivan the Terrible, Ivan IV, would become the first Tsar of Russia (''tsar'', or ''czar'', meaning ''caesar'', is a term traditionally applied by Slavs to the Byzantine Emperors). Their successors supported the idea that Moscow was the proper heir to Rome and Constantinople. The idea of the Russian Empire as the successive Third Rome was kept alive until its demise with the Russian Revolution.


Government and bureaucracy

In the Byzantine state, the List of Byzantine emperors, emperor was the sole and absolute ruler, and his power was regarded as having divine origin. The Byzantine Senate, Senate had ceased to have real political and legislative authority but remained as an honorary council with titular members. By the end of the 8th century, a civil administration focused on the court was formed as part of a large-scale consolidation of power in the capital (the rise to pre-eminence of the position of ''sakellarios'' is related to this change).; . The most important administrative reform, which probably started in the mid-7th century, was the creation of Theme (Byzantine district), themes, where civil and military administration was exercised by one person, the ''strategos''.; . Despite the occasionally derogatory use of the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantinism", the Byzantine bureaucracy had a distinct ability for adapting to the Empire's changing situations. The elaborate system of titulature and precedence gave the court prestige and influence. Officials were arranged in strict order around the emperor and depended upon the imperial will for their ranks. There were also actual administrative jobs, but authority could be vested in individuals rather than offices.; . In the 8th and 9th centuries, civil service constituted the clearest path to aristocratic status, but, starting in the 9th century, the civil aristocracy was rivalled by an aristocracy of nobility. According to some studies of the Byzantine government, 11th-century politics were dominated by competition between the civil and the military aristocracy. During this period, Alexios I undertook important administrative reforms, including the creation of new courtly dignities and offices..


Diplomacy

After the fall of Rome, the key challenge to the Empire was to maintain a set of relations between itself and its neighbours. When these nations set about forging formal political institutions, they often modelled themselves on Constantinople. Byzantine diplomacy soon managed to draw its neighbours into a network of international and inter-state relations.. This network revolved around treaty-making, and included the welcoming of the new ruler into the family of kings, and the assimilation of Byzantine social attitudes, values and institutions. Whereas classical writers are fond of making ethical and legal distinctions between peace and war, Byzantines regarded diplomacy as a form of war by other means. For example, a Bulgarian threat could be countered by providing money to the Kievan Rus'.. Diplomacy in the era was understood to have an intelligence-gathering function on top of its pure political function. The Bureau of Barbarians in Constantinople handled matters of protocol and record-keeping for any issues related to the "
barbarians A barbarian is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. They ...
", and thus had, perhaps, a basic intelligence function itself. John B. Bury believed that the office exercised supervision over all foreigners visiting Constantinople, and that they were under the supervision of the Logothetes tou dromou. While on the surface a protocol office – its main duty was to ensure foreign envoys were properly cared for and received sufficient state funds for their maintenance, and it kept all the official translators – it probably had a security function as well. Byzantines availed themselves of several diplomatic practices. For example, embassies to the capital would often stay on for years. A member of other royal houses would routinely be requested to stay on in Constantinople, not only as a potential hostage but also as a useful pawn in case political conditions where he came from changed. Another key practise was to overwhelm visitors by sumptuous displays. According to Dimitri Obolensky, the preservation of the ancient civilisation in Europe was due to the skill and resourcefulness of Byzantine diplomacy, which remains one of Byzantium's lasting contributions to the history of Europe..


Science and medicine

The writings of Classical antiquity were cultivated and extended in Byzantium. Therefore, Byzantine science was in every period closely connected with ancient philosophy, and metaphysics. In the field of engineering
Isidore of Miletus Isidore of Miletus ( el, Ἰσίδωρος ὁ Μιλήσιος; Medieval Greek Medieval Greek (also known as Middle Greek or Byzantine Greek) is the stage of the Greek language Greek (modern , romanized: ''Elliniká'', Ancient Greek, anc ...
, the Greek mathematician and architect of the
Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia (; ; la, Sancta Sophia, lit=), officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque ( tr, Ayasofya-i Kebir Cami-i Şerifi, آياصوفيا  كبير جامع  شريف), and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia (; ; ) and for ...

Hagia Sophia
, produced the first compilation of Archimedes' works c. 530, and it is through this manuscript tradition, kept alive by the school of mathematics and engineering founded c. 850 during the "Byzantine Renaissance" by Leo the Mathematician, that such works are known today (see Archimedes Palimpsest). Pendentive architecture, a specific spherical form in the upper corners to support a dome, is a Byzantine invention. Although the first experimentation was made in the 200s, it was in the 6th century in the Byzantine Empire that its potential was fully achieved. A mechanical sundial device consisting of complex gears made by the Byzantines has been excavated which indicates that the Antikythera mechanism, a sort of analogue device used in astronomy and invented around the late second century BC, continued to be (re)active in the Byzantine period. J. R. Partington writes that
Constantinople was full of inventors and craftsmen. The "philosopher" Leo of Thessalonika made for the Emperor Theophilos (829–42) a golden tree, the branches of which carried artificial birds which flapped their wings and sang a model lion which moved and roared, and a bejewelled clockwork lady who walked. These mechanical toys continued the tradition represented in the treatise of Heron of Alexandria (c. A.D. 125), which was well-known to the Byzantines.Partington, J.R. (1999). "A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder". The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 13.
Such mechanical devices reached a high level of sophistication and were made to impress visitors. Leo the Mathematician has also been credited with the Byzantine beacon system, system of beacons, a sort of optical telegraph, stretching across Anatolia from Cilicia to Constantinople, which gave warning of enemy raids, and which was used as diplomatic communication as well. The Byzantines knew and used the concept of hydraulics: in the 900s the diplomat Liutprand of Cremona, when visiting the Byzantine emperor, explained that he saw the emperor sitting on a hydraulic throne and that it was "made in such a cunning manner that at one moment it was down on the ground, while at another it rose higher and was seen to be up in the air".
John Philoponus John Philoponus (; ; c. 490 – c. 570), also known as John the Grammarian or John of Alexandria, was a Byzantine Alexandrian philologist, commentaries on Aristotle, Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian, author of a considerable number ...
, an Alexandrian philologist, Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian, author of a considerable number of philosophical treatises and theological works, was the first who questioned Aristotle's teaching of physics, despite its flaws. Unlike Aristotle, who based his physics on verbal argument, Philoponus relied on observation. In his ''Commentaries'' on Aristotle, Philoponus wrote:
But this is completely erroneous, and our view may be corroborated by actual observation more effectively than by any sort of verbal argument. For if you let fall from the same height two weights of which one is many times as heavy as the other, you will see that the ratio of the times required for the motion does not depend on the ratio of the weights, but that the difference in time is a very small one. And so, if the difference in the weights is not considerable, that is, of one is, let us say, double the other, there will be no difference, or else an imperceptible difference, in time, though the difference in weight is by no means negligible, with one body weighing twice as much as the other.
John Philoponus' criticism of Aristotelian principles of physics was an inspiration for Galileo Galilei's refutation of Aristotelian physics during the Scientific Revolution many centuries later, as Galileo cited Philoponus substantially in his works.Lindberg, David. (1992) ''The Beginnings of Western Science''. University of Chicago Press. p. 162. The ship mill is a Byzantine invention, designed to mill grains using hydraulic power. The technology eventually spread to the rest of Europe and was in use until c. 1800. The Byzantines pioneered the concept of the hospital as an institution offering medical care and the possibility of a cure for the patients, as a reflection of the ideals of Christian charity, rather than merely a place to die. Although the concept of uroscopy was known to Galen, he did not see the importance of using it to diagnose disease. It was Byzantine physicians, such as Theophilus Protospatharius, who realised the diagnostic potential of uroscopy in a time when no microscope or stethoscope existed. That practice eventually spread to the rest of Europe. In medicine, the works of Byzantine doctors, such as the Vienna Dioscorides (6th century), and works of Paul of Aegina (7th century) and Nicholas Myrepsos (late 13th century), continued to be used as the authoritative texts by Europeans through the Renaissance. The latter one invented the Aurea Alexandrina which was a kind of opiate or antidote. The first known example of separating conjoined twins happened in the Byzantine Empire in the 10th century when a pair of conjoined twins from Armenia came to Constantinople. Many years later one of them died, so the surgeons in Constantinople decided to remove the body of the dead one. The result was partly successful, as the surviving twin lived three days before dying, a result so impressive that it was mentioned a century and a half later by historians. The next case of separating conjoined twins would not occur until 1689 in Germany.
Greek fire #REDIRECT Greek fire #REDIRECT Greek fire#REDIRECT Greek fire Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Ro ...
, an incendiary weapon which could even burn on water, is also attributed to the Byzantines. It played a crucial role in the Empire's victory over the
Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under ...
during the
siege of Constantinople (717–718) The second Arab siege of Constantinople in 717–718 was a combined land and sea offensive by the Muslim Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate against the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople. The campaign marked the culmination of twent ...

siege of Constantinople (717–718)
. The discovery is attributed to Callinicus of Heliopolis from Syria who fled during the Arab conquest of Syria. However, it has also been argued that no single person invented Greek fire, but rather, that it was "invented by the chemists in Constantinople who had inherited the discoveries of the Alexandrian chemical school...". The first example of a grenade also appeared in the Byzantine Empire, consisting of ceramic jars holding glass and nails, and filled with the explosive component of Greek Fire. It was used on battlefields. The first examples of hand-held flamethrower also occurred in the Byzantine Empire in the 10th century, where infantry units were equipped with hand pumps and swivel tubes used to project the flame. The counterweight trebuchet was invented in the Byzantine Empire during the reign of Alexios I Komnenos (1081–1118) under the
Komnenian restoration The Komnenian restoration is the term used by historians to describe the military, financial, and territorial recovery of the Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the contin ...
when the Byzantines used this new-developed siege weaponry to devastate citadels and fortifications. This siege artillery marked the apogee of siege weaponry before the use of the cannon. From the Byzantines, the armies of Europe and Asia eventually learned and adopted this siege weaponry. In the final century of the Empire, astronomy and other mathematics, mathematical sciences were taught in Trebizond; medicine attracted the interest of almost all scholars.. The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 fuelled the era later commonly known as the "Italian Renaissance". During this period, Greek scholars in the Renaissance, refugee Byzantine scholars were principally responsible for carrying, in person and writing, ancient Greek grammatical, literary studies, mathematical, and astronomical knowledge to early Renaissance Italy. They also brought with them classical learning and texts on botany, medicine and zoology, as well as the works of Dioscorides and
John Philoponus John Philoponus (; ; c. 490 – c. 570), also known as John the Grammarian or John of Alexandria, was a Byzantine Alexandrian philologist, commentaries on Aristotle, Aristotelian commentator and Christian theologian, author of a considerable number ...
' criticism of Aristotelian physics.


Law and government

In 438, the
Codex Theodosianus The ''Codex Theodosianus'' (Eng. Theodosian Code) was a compilation of the laws Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against huma ...

Codex Theodosianus
, named after
Theodosius II Theodosius II ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 10 April 401 – 28 July 450), commonly called Theodosius the Younger, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial pe ...
, codified Byzantine law. It went into force not just in the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire, but also in the Western Roman Empire. It not only summarised the laws but also gave direction on interpretation. Under the reign of
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
it was Tribonian, a notable jurist, who supervised the revision of the Roman Law, legal code known today as
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of ...
. In the field of law,
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
's reforms had a clear effect on the evolution of jurisprudence, with his
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of ...
becoming the basis for revived Roman law in the Western world, while Leo III's ''Ecloga'' influenced the formation of legal institutions in the Slavic world. In the 10th century, Leo VI the Wise achieved the complete codification of the whole of Byzantine law in Greek with the Basilika, which became the foundation of all subsequent Byzantine law with an influence extending through to modern Balkan legal codes.


Culture


Religion

The Byzantine Empire was a theocracy, said to be ruled by God in Christianity, God working through the Emperor. Jennifer Fretland VanVoorst argues, "The Byzantine Empire became a theocracy in the sense that Christian values and ideals were the foundation of the empire's political ideals and heavily entwined with its political goals." Steven Runciman says in his book on ''The Byzantine Theocracy'' (2004):
The constitution of the Byzantine Empire was based on the conviction that it was the earthly copy of the Kingdom of Heaven. Just as God ruled in Heaven, so the Emperor, made in his image, should rule on earth and carry out his commandments ... It saw itself as a universal empire. Ideally, it should embrace all the peoples of the Earth who, ideally, should all be members of the one true Christian Church, its own Orthodox Church. Just as man was made in God's image, so man's kingdom on Earth was made in the image of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The survival of the Empire in the East assured an active role of the Emperor in the affairs of the Church. The Byzantine state inherited from pagan times the administrative, and financial routine of administering religious affairs, and this routine was applied to the Christian Church. Following the pattern set by Eusebius of Caesarea, the Byzantines viewed the Emperor as a representative or messenger of Jesus, Christ, responsible particularly for the propagation of Christianity among pagans, and for the "externals" of the religion, such as administration and finances. As Cyril Mango points out, the Byzantine political thinking can be summarised in the motto "One God, one empire, one religion".. The imperial role in the affairs of the Church never developed into a fixed, legally defined system.. Additionally, due to the decline of Rome and internal dissension in the other Eastern Patriarchates, the Church of Constantinople became, between the 6th and 11th centuries, the richest and most influential centre of Christendom.. Even when the Empire was reduced to only a shadow of its former self, the Church continued to exercise significant influence both inside and outside of the imperial frontiers. As George Ostrogorsky points out:
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Patriarchate of Constantinople remained the centre of the Orthodox world, with subordinate Metropolitan bishop, metropolitan sees and archbishoprics in the territory of Asia Minor and the Balkans, now lost to Byzantium, as well as in Caucasus, Russia and Lithuania. The Church remained the most stable element in the Byzantine Empire..
Byzantine monasticism especially came to be an "ever-present feature" of the empire, with monasteries becoming "powerful landowners and a voice to be listened to in imperial politics". The official state Christian doctrine was determined by the first seven ecumenical councils, and it was then the emperor's duty to impose it on his subjects. An imperial decree of 388, which was later incorporated into the ''Codex Justinianeus'', orders the population of the Empire "to assume the name of Catholic Christians", and regards all those who will not abide by the law as "mad and foolish persons"; as followers of "heretical dogmas". Despite imperial decrees and the stringent stance of the state church of the Roman Empire, state church itself, which came to be known as the Eastern Orthodox Church or Eastern Christianity, the latter never represented all Christians in Byzantium. Mango believes that, in the early stages of the Empire, the "mad and foolish persons", those labelled "heretics" by the state church, were the majority of the population.. Besides the paganism, pagans, who existed until the end of the 6th century, and the Jews of the Byzantine Empire, Jews, there were many followers – sometimes even emperors – of various Christian doctrines, such as Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Arianism, and Paulicianism, whose teachings were in some opposition to the main theological doctrine, as determined by the Ecumenical Councils. Another division among Christians occurred, when Leo III ordered the destruction of icons throughout the Empire. This led to a Byzantine iconoclasm, significant religious crisis, which ended in the mid-9th century with the restoration of icons. During the same period, a new wave of pagans emerged in the Balkans, originating mainly from Slavic people. These were gradually Christianization, Christianised, and by Byzantium's late stages, Eastern Orthodoxy represented most Christians and, in general, most people in what remained of the Empire.. Jews were a significant minority in the Byzantine state throughout its history, and, according to Roman law, they constituted a legally recognised religious group. In the early Byzantine period, they were generally tolerated, but then periods of tensions and persecutions ensued. In any case, after the Arab conquests, the majority of Jews found themselves outside the Empire; those left inside the Byzantine borders apparently lived in relative peace from the 10th century onwards..


Arts


Art and literature

Surviving Byzantine art is mostly religious and with exceptions at certain periods is highly conventionalised, following traditional models that translate carefully controlled church theology into artistic terms. Painting in fresco, illuminated manuscripts and on wood panel and, especially in earlier periods, mosaic were the main media, and figurative sculpture very rare except for small ivory carving, carved ivories. Manuscript painting preserved to the end some of the classical realist tradition that was missing in larger works. Byzantine art was highly prestigious and sought-after in Western Europe, where it maintained a continuous influence on medieval art until near the end of the period. This was especially so in Italy, where Byzantine styles persisted in modified form through the 12th century, and became formative influences on Italian Renaissance art. But few incoming influences affected the Byzantine style. With the expansion of the Eastern Orthodox church, Byzantine forms and styles spread throughout the Orthodox world and beyond. Influences from Byzantine architecture, particularly in religious buildings, can be found in diverse regions from Egypt and Arabia to Russia and Romania. In Byzantine literature, three different cultural elements are recognised: the Greek literature, Greek, the Christian, and the Ancient Near East, Oriental. Byzantine literature is often classified in five groups: historians and annalists, encyclopaedists (Photios I of Constantinople, Patriarch Photios, Michael Psellus, and Michael Choniates are regarded as the greatest encyclopaedists of Byzantium) and essayists, and writers of secular poetry. The only genuine heroic epic of the Byzantines is the ''Digenis Acritas''. The remaining two groups include the new literary species: ecclesiastical and theological literature, and popular poetry.. Of the approximately two to three thousand volumes of Byzantine literature that survive, only 330 consist of secular poetry, history, science and pseudo-science. While the most flourishing period of the secular literature of Byzantium runs from the 9th to the 12th century, its religious literature (sermons, liturgical books and poetry, theology, devotional treatises, etc.) developed much earlier with
Romanos the MelodistRomanos may refer to: *Romanos, Aragon, a municipality in the province of Zaragoza, in Aragon. *Romanos the Melodist, early medieval Greek poet and saint *Romanos I Lekapenos (870–948), Byzantine Emperor from 920 to 944 *Romanos II (938–963), ...
being its most prominent representative.


Music

The ecclesiastical forms of Byzantine music, composed to Greek texts as ceremonial, festival, or church music, are, today, the most well-known forms. Ecclesiastical chants were a fundamental part of this genre. Greek and foreign historians agree that the ecclesiastical tones and in general the whole system of Byzantine music is closely related to the ancient Greek music, ancient Greek system. It remains the oldest genre of extant music, of which the manner of performance and (with increasing accuracy from the 5th century onwards) the names of the composers, and sometimes the particulars of each musical work's circumstances, are known. The 9th-century Persian people, Persian geographer Ibn Khordadbeh (d. 911), in his lexicographical discussion of instruments, cited the Byzantine lyra, lyra (lūrā) as the typical instrument of the Byzantines along with the ''urghun'' (organ), ''shilyani'' (probably a type of harp or lyre) and the ''salandj'' (probably a bagpipe).. The first of these, the early bowed stringed instrument known as the Byzantine lyra, would come to be called the ''lira da braccio'', in Venice, where it is considered by many to have been the predecessor of the contemporary violin, which later flourished there. The bowed "lyra" is still played in former Byzantine regions, where it is known as the Politiki lyra (, i.e.
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
) in Greece, the Calabrian lira in Southern Italy, and the Lijerica in Dalmatia. The second instrument, the organ, originated in the Hellenistic world (see Hydraulis) and was used in the Hippodrome during races.Douglas Earl Bush, Richard Kassel editors, ''The Organ: An Encyclopedia'' Routledge. 2006.
p. 327
/ref> A pipe organ with "great leaden pipes" was sent by the emperor
Constantine V Constantine V ( grc-gre, Κωνσταντῖνος, Kōnstantīnos; July 718 – 14 September 775 AD) was Byzantine emperor from 741 to 775. His reign saw a consolidation of Byzantine security from external threats. As an able military leader, C ...
to Pepin the Short, List of Frankish kings#Kings of the Franks, King of the Franks in 757. Pepin's son Charlemagne requested a similar organ for his chapel in Aachen in 812, beginning its establishment in Western church music. The aulos was a double reeded woodwind like the modern oboe or Armenian duduk. Other forms include the ''plagiaulos'' (''πλαγίαυλος'', from ''πλάγιος'' "sideways"), which resembled the flute, and the ''askaulos'' (ἀσκός ''askos'' – wine-skin), a bagpipe. Bagpipes, also known as ''Dankiyo'' (from ancient Greek: angion (Τὸ ἀγγεῖον) "the container"), had been played even in Roman times and continued to be played throughout the empire's former realms through to the present. (See Balkan Gaida, Greek Tsampouna, Pontic Greek, Pontic Tulum (bagpipe), Tulum, Cretan Askomandoura, Armenian Parkapzuk, and Romanian Cimpoi.) The modern descendant of the aulos is the Greek Zourna. Other instruments used in Byzantine Music were Kanonaki, Oud, Laouto, Santouri, Tambouras, Seistron (defi tambourine), Toubeleki and Daouli. Some claim that Lavta may have been invented by the Byzantines before the arrival of the Turks.


Cuisine

Byzantine culture was initially the same as Late Greco-Roman, but over the following millennium of the empire's existence it slowly changed into something more similar to modern Balkan and Anatolian culture. The cuisine still relied heavily on the Greco-Roman fish-sauce condiment garum, garos, but it also contained foods still familiar today, such as the cured meat pastirma (known as "paston" in Byzantine Greek), baklava (known as Placenta cake, koptoplakous κοπτοπλακοῦς), tiropita (known as plakountas tetyromenous or tyritas plakountas), and the famed medieval sweet wines (Commandaria and the eponymous Rumney wine). Retsina, wine flavoured with pine resin, was also drunk, as it still is in Greece today, producing similar reactions from unfamiliar visitors; "To add to our calamity the Greek wine, on account of being mixed with pitch, resin, and plaster was to us undrinkable," complained Liutprand of Cremona, who was the ambassador sent to Constantinople in 968 by the German Holy Roman Emperor Otto I. The garos fish sauce condiment was also not much appreciated by the unaccustomed; Liutprand of Cremona described being served food covered in an "exceedingly bad fish liquor." The Byzantines also used a soy sauce-like condiment, murri (condiment), murri, a fermented barley sauce, which, like soy sauce, provided umami flavouring to their dishes.


Flags and insignia

For most of its history, the Byzantine Empire did not know or use heraldry in the West European sense. Various emblems ( el, σημεία, ''sēmeia''; sing. σημείον, ''sēmeion'') were used in official occasions and for military purposes, such as banners or shields displaying various motifs such as the cross or the ''labarum''. The use of the cross and images of Christ, the Virgin Mary and various saints is also sigillography, attested on seals of officials, but these were personal rather than family emblems. * Byzantine flags and insignia#Eagles, Double-headed eagle * Byzantine flags and insignia#Tetragrammic cross, Tetragrammic cross


Language

Apart from the Imperial court, administration and military, the primary language used in the eastern Roman provinces even before the decline of the Roman Empire, decline of the Western Empire was Greek, having been spoken in the region for centuries before Latin. Following Rome's conquest of the east its 'Pax Romana', inclusionist political practices and development of public infrastructure, facilitated the further spreading and entrenchment of the Greek language in the east. Indeed, early on in the life of the Roman Empire, Greek had become the common language of the Church, the language of scholarship and the arts, and to a large degree the ''lingua franca'' for trade between provinces and with other nations. Greek for a time became Diglossia, diglossic with the spoken language, known as Koine Greek, Koine (eventually evolving into Demotic Greek), used alongside an older written form (Attic Greek) until Koine won out as the spoken and written standard. The emperor
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
() sought to renew the authority of Latin, making it the official language of the Roman administration also in the East, and the Greek expression ἡ κρατοῦσα διάλεκτος ''(hē kratousa dialektos)'' attests to the status of Latin as "the language of power." In the early 5th century, Greek gained equal status with Latin as the official language in the East and emperors gradually began to legislate in Greek rather than Latin starting with the reign of Leo I the Thracian in the 460s.The Inheritance of Rome, Chris Wickham, Penguin Books Ltd. 2009, . p. 90. The last Eastern emperor to stress the importance of Latin was
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
(), whose
Corpus Juris Civilis The ''Corpus Juris'' (or ''Iuris'') ''Civilis'' ("Body of Civil Law") is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of . Scholars of ...
was written almost entirely in Latin. He may also have been the last native Latin-speaking emperor. The use of Latin as the language of administration persisted until the adoption of Greek as the sole official language by Heraclius in the 7th century. Scholarly Latin would rapidly fall into disuse among the educated classes although the language would continue to be at least a ceremonial part of the Empire's culture for some time.; Additionally, Latin language, Latin remained a minority language in the Empire, mainly on the Italian peninsula and along the Dalmatian coast, eventually developing into various Romance languages like Dalmatian language, Dalmatian. Many other languages existed in the multi-ethnic Empire, and some of these were given limited official status in their provinces at various times. Notably, by the beginning of the Middle Ages, Syriac language, Syriac had become more widely used by the educated classes in the far eastern provinces.; ; . Similarly Coptic language, Coptic, Armenian language, Armenian, and Georgian language, Georgian became significant among the educated in their provinces. Later foreign contacts made Old Church Slavonic, Old Church Slavic, Middle Persian, and Classical Arabic, Arabic important in the Empire and its sphere of influence. There was a revival of Latin studies in the 10th century for the same reason and by the 11th century knowledge of Latin was no longer unusual at Constantinople. There was widespread use of the Armenian and various Slavic languages, which became more pronounced in the border regions of the empire. Aside from these languages, since Constantinople was a prime trading center in the History of the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean region and beyond, virtually every known language of the Middle Ages was spoken in the Empire at some time, even Chinese language, Chinese. As the Empire entered its final decline, the Empire's citizens became more culturally homogeneous and the Greek language became integral to their identity and religion.


Recreation

Byzantines were avid players of tabula (game), tavli (Byzantine Greek: τάβλη), a game known in English as backgammon, which is still popular in former Byzantine realms, and still known by the name tavli in Greece. Byzantine nobles were devoted to horsemanship, particularly Tzykanisterion, tzykanion, now known as polo. The game came from Sassanid Persia in the early period and a Tzykanisterion (stadium for playing the game) was built by
Theodosius II Theodosius II ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 10 April 401 – 28 July 450), commonly called Theodosius the Younger, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial pe ...
() inside the Great Palace of Constantinople. Emperor
Basil I Basil I, called the Macedonian ( el, Βασίλειος ὁ Μακεδών, ''Basíleios ō Makedṓn''; 811 – August 29, 886), was a Byzantine Emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantinople la, Co ...

Basil I
() excelled at it; Emperor Alexander (Byzantine emperor), Alexander () died from exhaustion while playing, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos () was injured while playing with Tatikios, and John I of Trebizond () died from a fatal injury during a game. Aside from
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
and Trabzon, Trebizond, other Byzantine cities also featured ''tzykanisteria'', most notably Sparta, Ephesus, and Athens, an indication of a thriving urban aristocracy. The game was introduced to the West by crusaders, who developed a taste for it particularly during the pro-Western reign of emperor Manuel I Komnenos.


Women in the Byzantine Empire

The position of women in the Byzantine Empire essentially represents the position of women in ancient Rome transformed by the introduction of Christianity, with certain rights and customs being lost and replaced, while others were allowed to remain. There were individual Byzantine women famed for their educational accomplishments. However, the general view of women's education was that it was sufficient for a girl to learn domestic duties and to study the lives of the Christian saints and memorize psalms,Guglielmo Cavallo:
The Byzantines
'
and to learn to read so that she could study Bible scriptures – although literacy in women was sometimes discouraged because it was believed it could encourage vice.Paul Stephenson:
The Byzantine World
'
The Roman right to actual divorce was gradually erased after the introduction of Christianity and replaced with legal separation and annulation. In the Byzantine Empire marriage was regarded as the ideal state for a woman, and only convent life was seen as a legitimate alternative. Within marriage, sexual activity was regarded only as a means of reproduction. Women had the right to appear before court, but her testimony was not regarded as equal to that of a man, and could be contradicted based on her sex if put against that of a man. From the 6th century there was a growing ideal of gender segregation, which dictated that women should wear veils Marcus Louis Rautman:
Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire
'
and only be seen in public when attending church,Lynda Garland:
Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience 800–1200
'
and while the ideal was never fully enforced, it influenced society. The laws of emperor
Justinian I Justinian I (; la, Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Iustinianus; grc-gre, Ἰουστινιανός ; 48214 November 565), also known as Justinian the Great, was the Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation o ...
made it legal for a man to divorce his wife for attending public premises such as theatres or public baths without his permission,Jonathan Harris:
Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium
'
and Leo VI the Wise, emperor Leo VI banned women from witnessing business contracts with the argument that it caused them to come in contact with men. In Constantinople upper class women were increasingly expected to keep to a special women's section (''gynaikonitis''), and by the 8th century it was described as unacceptable for unmarried daughters to meet unrelated men. While Imperial women and their ladies appeared in public alongside men, women and men at the Imperial Court attended royal banquets separately until the rise of the Comnenus dynasty in the 12th century. Eastern Roman and later Byzantine women retained the Roman woman's right to inherit, own and manage their property and signs contracts, rights which were far superior to the rights of married women in Medieval Catholic Western Europe, as these rights included not only unmarried women and widows but married women as well. Women's legal right to handle their own money made it possible for rich women to engage in business, however women who actively had to find a profession to support themselves normally worked as domestics or in domestic fields such as the food- or textile industry. Women could work as medical physicians and attendants of women patients and visitors at hospitals and public baths with government support. After the introduction of Christianity, women could no longer become priestesses, but it became common for women to found and manage nunneries, which functioned as schools for girls as well as asylums, poor houses, hospitals, prisons and retirement homes for women, and many Byzantine women practised social work as lay sisters and deaconesses.


Economy

The Byzantine economy was among the most advanced in Europe and the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean for many centuries. Europe, in particular, could not match Byzantine economic strength until late in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
.
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (), Tsargrad (), Qustantiniya (), Basileuousa ("Queen of Cities"), Megalopolis ("the Great City"), Πό ...

Constantinople
operated as a prime hub in a trading network that at various times extended across nearly all of Eurasia and North Africa, in particular as the primary western terminus of the famous Silk Road. Until the first half of the 6th century and in sharp contrast with the decaying West, the Byzantine economy was flourishing and resilient. The Plague of Justinian and the Arab conquests would represent a substantial reversal of fortunes contributing to a period of stagnation and Decline of the Byzantine Empire, decline. Isaurian reforms and
Constantine V Constantine V ( grc-gre, Κωνσταντῖνος, Kōnstantīnos; July 718 – 14 September 775 AD) was Byzantine emperor from 741 to 775. His reign saw a consolidation of Byzantine security from external threats. As an able military leader, C ...
's repopulation, public works and tax measures marked the beginning of a revival that continued until 1204, despite territorial contraction. From the 10th century until the end of the 12th, the Byzantine Empire projected an image of luxury and travellers were impressed by the wealth accumulated in the capital.; . The
Fourth Crusade The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) was a Latin Christian , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in La ...
resulted in the disruption of Byzantine manufacturing and the commercial dominance of the Western Europeans in the eastern Mediterranean, events that amounted to an economic catastrophe for the Empire. The Palaiologoi tried to revive the economy, but the late Byzantine state would not gain full control of either the foreign or domestic economic forces. Gradually, Constantinople also lost its influence on the modalities of trade and the price mechanisms, and its control over the outflow of precious metals and, according to some scholars, even over the minting of coins.. One of the economic foundations of Byzantium was trade, fostered by the maritime character of the Empire. Textiles must have been by far the most important item of export; silks were certainly imported into Egypt and appeared also in Bulgaria, and the West.; . The state strictly controlled both the internal and the international trade, and retained the monopoly of issuing Byzantine coinage, coinage, maintaining a durable and flexible monetary system adaptable to trade needs.; . The government attempted to exercise formal control over interest rates and set the parameters for the activity of the guilds and corporations, in which it had a special interest. The emperor and his officials intervened at times of crisis to ensure the provisioning of the capital, and to keep down the price of cereals. Finally, the government often collected part of the surplus through taxation, and put it back into circulation, through redistribution in the form of salaries to state officials, or in the form of investment in public works.


Legacy

Byzantium has been often identified with absolutism, orthodox spirituality, orientalism and exoticism, while the terms "Byzantine" and "Byzantinism" have been used as bywords for decadence, complex bureaucracy, and repression. Both Eastern and Western European authors have often perceived Byzantium as a body of religious, political, and philosophical ideas contrary to those of the West. Even in History of modern Greece, 19th-century Greece, the focus was mainly on the classical past, while Byzantine tradition had been associated with negative connotations.. This traditional approach towards Byzantium has been partially or wholly disputed and revised by modern studies, which focus on the positive aspects of Byzantine culture and legacy. Averil Cameron regards as undeniable the Byzantine contribution to the formation of medieval Europe, and both Cameron and Obolensky recognise the major role of Byzantium in shaping Orthodoxy, which in turn occupies a central position in the history and societies of Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Georgia, Serbia and other countries. The Byzantines also preserved and copied classical manuscripts, and they are thus regarded as transmitters of classical knowledge, as important contributors to modern European civilisation, and as precursors of both Renaissance humanism and Slavic-Orthodox culture. As the only stable long-term state in Europe during the Middle Ages, Byzantium isolated Western Europe from newly emerging forces to the East. Constantly under attack, it distanced Western Europe from Persians, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, and for a time, the Ottomans. From a different perspective, since the 7th century, the evolution and constant reshaping of the Byzantine state were directly related to the respective progress of Islam.. Following the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II took the title "''Kaysar-i Rûm''" (the Ottoman Turkish language, Ottoman Turkish equivalent of
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
of Rome), since he was determined to make the Ottoman Empire the heir of the Eastern Roman Empire.; .


See also

* Byzantine Army * Byzantine philosophy * Byzantine Rite * Index of Byzantine Empire-related articles * Family trees of the Byzantine imperial dynasties * Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologos dynasty * List of Byzantine emperors * List of Byzantine inventions * List of Byzantine revolts and civil wars * List of Byzantine wars * Despotate of the Morea * List of Roman dynasties * Succession of the Roman Empire * Legacy of the Roman Empire


Notes


References


Citations


Sources


Primary sources

* (in Greek) * * * * * * *


Secondary sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * * Baboula, Evanthia, Byzantium, in ''Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God'' (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014. . * * * * * * *
online review
* * *
Moles Ian N., "Nationalism and Byzantine Greece", ''Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies'', Duke University, pp. 95–107, 1969
* * * * * *


External links

*
De Imperatoribus Romanis
Scholarly biographies of many Byzantine emperors.
12 Byzantine Rulers
by Lars Brownworth of The Stony Brook School; audio lectures
NYTimes review


(Maps of the Roman/Byzantine Empire throughout its lifetime).
Byzantine & Christian Museum


Byzantine studies, resources and bibliography

* Fox, Clinton R

* [https://web.archive.org/web/20080410123427/http://www.doaks.org/Byzantine.html Byzantine studies homepage] at Dumbarton Oaks. Includes links to numerous electronic texts.
Byzantium: Byzantine studies on the Internet
Links to various online resources.

Online sourcebook.
De Re Militari
Resources for medieval history, including numerous translated sources on the Byzantine wars.

Numerous primary sources on Byzantine history.
Bibliography on Byzantine Material Culture and Daily Life
Hosted by the University of Vienna; in English.
Constantinople Home Page
Links to texts, images and videos on Byzantium.
Byzantium in Crimea: Political History, Art and Culture

Institute for Byzantine Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (with further resources and a repository with papers on various aspects of the Byzantine Empire)
{{Authority control Byzantine Empire, 286 establishments 330s establishments 1453 disestablishments in Europe 1453 disestablishments in Asia States and territories established in the 390s States and territories disestablished in 1453 Christian states Former countries in the Balkans Former countries in the Middle East Former theocracies Tributary states of the Ottoman Empire