The Byzantine Empire was a theocracy, said to be ruled by 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."
The Byzantine Empire reached its height under the Macedonian emperors (of Armenian and Greek descent) of the late 9th, 10th, and early 11th centuries, when it gained control over the Adriatic Sea, southern Italy, and all of the territory of tsar Samuel of Bulgaria. The cities of the empire expanded, and affluence spread across the provinces because of the new-found security.
- Start of The Empire 330–476 Ad
- Problems in The Empire 476–717 Ad
- Recovery of The Empire: 717–1025 Ad
- Decline of The Empire 1025–1453
The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as: 1. the "Roman Empire" or the "Empire of the Romans" (Latin: Imperium Romanum, Imperium Romanorum; Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn, Ἀρχὴ τῶν Ῥωμαίων Archē tōn Rhōmaiōn), 2. "Romania" (Latin: Romania; Greek: Ῥωμανία Rhōmania),[n 1] 3. the "Roman Republic" (Latin: Res Publica Romana; Greek: Πολιτεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Politeia tōn Rhōmaiōn), 4. "Graecia" (Greek: Γραικίαmeaning "land of the Greeks"), 5. "Rhōmais" (Greek: Ῥωμαΐς).
In 324, the Roman Emperor Constantine I moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the city of Byzantium, and he renamed the city Constantinople. 150 years later, after the city of Rome was slowly taken over by Germanic people during the Migration period, Constantinople was the only remaining capital of the Empire. This Eastern empire had a smaller territory than the original Roman Empire.
Wars in the West
The Byzantine Empire tried to take back Rome and Italyfrom the Germans. Between 530–555 AD, the Byzantines won many battles and took back Rome. These gains did not last however. More Germans came and eventually Italy and Rome was lost again. Worse was to come when Avar and Slavic peoples came to take modern Bulgaria and Greece from the Byzantines. Gradually, after the 560s the invaders won much of the Balkans. These invaders were later followed by the Bulgarians. The Avars and Bulgarians were...
Wars in the East
After western Rome was captured by Germanic people, the Empire continued to control modern Egypt, Greece, Palestine, Syria and Turkey. However, another Empire, known as the Persian or Sassanid Empire, tried to take these lands for itself. Between 224–628 AD, the Romans and the Persians fought many battles, with many men killed in the fighting. Eventually, the Persians were defeated in modern-day Iraq, near the ancient city of Ninevehin 627 AD, allowing the Byzantines to keep their lands. Afte...
In 718 AD, the Arabs were defeated outside Constantinople, ending the Arab threat in the east, but leaving the Byzantine Empire severely weakened. In the west, the Byzantines launched a number of attacks against the Bulgarians. Some of these were successful, others were not and led to the deaths of many emperors. Over time, the Byzantine Empire would became weaker as it loss land to outside invaders.
Start of Decline
After the Byzantine Emperor Basil II died, many unskilled Emperors came to the throne. They wasted the money of the Empire and reduced its army. This meant that it could not defend itself well against enemies if they would attack. Later, the Byzantines relied on mercenaries, soldiers who fought for money and not for their country, so they were less loyal and reliable and more expensive. Because they had mercenaries, military generals were able to rise to power and grab it from the elaborate b...
Rise of the Turks
A large number of people known as the Turks rode on horseback from central Asia and attacked the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Empire took all of Turkey from the Byzantines by 1091. However, the Byzantines received help from people in Europe. This help is known as the First Crusade. Many knights and soldiersleft to help the Byzantines but also to secure Jerusalem for Christians, which at the time was in Muslim hands.
The Byzantines survive
The Byzantine Empire survived and with the help of the Europeans took back half of Turkey from the Turks, with the other half remaining under the Turks. The Byzantines survived because three good Emperors ruled one after the other, allowing the Byzantines to grow strong again.
The Byzantine Empire had many achievements: 1. They protected Europe from eastern invasions. 2. They preserved Greek language and Hellenistic culture. 3. They preserved many Roman political traditions that had been lost by Western Europe. 4. They kept a lot of knowledge for us to read about today. 5. They produced much fine art with a distinctive style. 6. They were the protectors and sponsors of the Eastern Church, which later becomes the Orthodox Church. 7. They used good architecture that is still used. 8. Their cities had plumbing which is still in use. 9. A lot of beautiful churches and mosques in Turkey and Greece today are either made from Byzantine buildings or inspired by them. 10. They made several inventions, such as flamethrower and "Greek fire," a kind of napalm. 11. They made advances in many studies, like political studies, diplomacy and military sciences.Ahrweiler, Helene (1975). L’Ideologie Politique de l’Empire Byzantine [The Political Ideology of the Byzantine Empire] (in French). Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)Baynes, Norman Hepburn; Moss, Henry St. Lawrence Beaufort (1948). Byzantium: An Introduction to East Roman Civilization. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)Cartwright, Mark (13 April 2018). "Byzantine Government". Ancient History Encyclopedia.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)Cinnamus, Ioannes (1976). Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus. New York and West Sussex: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04080-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Timeline of decline
- Causes of the decline
- Conflict with Crusaders and Turks
The Byzantine Empire experienced several cycles of growth and decay over the course of nearly a thousand years, including major losses during the Arab conquests of the 7th century. However, modern historians generally agree that the start of the empire's final decline began in the 11th century. In the 11th century the empire experienced a major catastrophe in which most of its heartland territory in Anatolia was lost to the Seljuk Turks following the Battle of Manzikert and ensuing civil war. At
The most significant events generally agreed by historians to have played a role in the decline of the Byzantine empire are summarised below: 1. The Battle of Manzikert in 1071, which saw emperor Romanos IV Diogenes captured by the army of Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan. The defeat led to a Byzantine civil war lasting ten years, in which eight different revolts took place. The damage was increased by the use of Turkish mercenaries by the various factions, which in some cases led to Turkish occupation
Probably the most important single cause of Byzantium's collapse was its recurrent debilitating civil wars. Three of the worst periods of civil war and internal infighting took place during Byzantium's decline. Each time, these civil wars coincided with a catastrophic reduction i
The disintegration of the Byzantine Empire's traditional military system, the 'theme' system, played a role in its decline. Under this arrangement, which was in its heyday from circa 650 to 1025, the empire was divided into several regions which contributed locally raised troops
As far back as the invasion of Africa by Belisarius, foreign soldiers were used in war. While foreign military intervention was not an all together new occurrence, the reliance on it, and its ability to damage political, social, and economic institutions were dramatically increas
Though the Crusades assisted Byzantium in driving back some of the Turks, they went far beyond the military assistance envisaged by Alexios I. Instead of following the strategic necessities of the war against the Turks, the Crusaders were focussed on the quest of re-conquering Je
No emperor after the Komnenian period was in a position to expel the Turks from Asia Minor, while the preoccupation of the Nicaean emperors with the attempt to recover Constantinople meant that resources were diverted away from Asia Minor and towards the west. The result was a we
The Byzantine Empire, an aa referred tae as the Eastren Roman Empire, wis the conteenuation o the Roman Empire in the East in Late Antiquity an the Middle Ages, whan its caipital ceety wis Constantinople (modren-day Istanbul, that haed been foondit as Byzantium).
- Hellenism and Christianity
- The Byzantine Renaissance
- Hellenizing impacts of Islamic expansion
Hellenization in the Byzantine Empire describes the spread and intensification of ancient Greek culture, religion and language in the Byzantine Empire. The theory of Hellenization generally applies to the influence of foreign cultures subject to Greek influence or occupation, which includes the ethnic and cultural homogenisation which took place throughout the life of the Byzantine Empire.
Whilst the noun 'Hellene' refers simply to what is ‘Greek’, Hellenization comes from the word Hellazein. This refers to the adoption of Greek identity, culture and language — “to speak Greek or identify with the Greeks”. Macedonian King Alexander the Great's various conquests of the Easter Mediterranean and Asia were among the first instances of Hellenization in the ancient world The Hellenistic period following the campaigns of Alexander the Great in the fourth century is widely ...
Following the division of the Empire by the Emperor Diocletian in 265, the Emperor Constantine the Great conquered rivals to become Emperor of both Eastern and Western halves of the empire. This led to the moving of the Roman capital to the founded city of Constantinople in 330. Making significant changes to the Roman Empire, Constantine legalized Christianity and later converted himself — subsequently leading to a distinct Christian culture. This characterised the Byzantine Empire ...
The impact of Christianity following its legitimisation as the official state religion of Rome under Constantine in the 4th century contributed key impacts for the empire and its Hellenistic character. The varying clashes between the two ideals — Hellenism and Christianity — which were often deemed ‘incompatible’. As Byzantine historian Dvornik notes, the Hellenistic theory of Divine Kingship was reconciled with the Byzantine concept of ‘a single Universal Rule who “imitated ...
The Byzantine Renaissance, also known as the Macedonian Renaissance, marked a philosophic, artistic and literary resurgence of Hellenistic classical culture occurring between the years 867 to 1056. This central cultural aspect of Hellenization in Byzantium spanned from artistic and architectural styles and mediums appropriated by the Byzantines from Hellenic antiquity, to the poetic, theatrical and historiographical modes of writing and expression associated with ancient Greek literature, idolis
When in 395 the Roman Empire split into its Western and Eastern empires, Latin saw continued use in the Byzantine Empire to be used as the official language, the Byzantine Empire from its foundation preserving the many Roman systems of law and governance. Primary source depicting the Sack of Amorium by the Abbasid Caliphate in mid-August 838, marking one of the most significant Byzantine defeats during the wars with the Arab caliphates Byzantium’s Hellenic cultural and geographical ...
- Background: Byzantium in the 7th century
- The Empire in crisis, 705–717
- Leo III the Isaurian, 717–741
- Constantine V, 741–775
- Leo IV, 775–780
The Byzantine Empire was ruled by the Isaurian or Syrian dynasty from 717 to 802. The Isaurian emperors were successful in defending and consolidating the Empire against the Caliphate after the onslaught of the early Muslim conquests, but were less successful in Europe, where they suffered setbacks against the Bulgars, had to give up the Exarchate of Ravenna, and lost influence over Italy and the Papacy to the growing power of the Franks. The Isaurian dynasty is chiefly associated with Byzantine
The Heraclian dynasty faced heavy challenges. After successfully overcoming the Sassanid Persians, the Emperor Heraclius and his exhausted realm were faced with the sudden onset of the Muslim expansion from Arabia into the Levant. Following the Muslim conquest of Syria, the rich province of Egypt, the Empire's chief source of grain and tax revenue, had fallen to the Arabs. The Byzantines also faced Arab attacks through Libya against the Exarchate of Africa, against Cilicia, which controlled the
After Justinian II's second overthrow, the Byzantine Empire spiralled into another era of chaos matched only by Phocas' mishandling of the last Persian War. Philippikos Bardanes, the Crimean rebel who seized the throne proved to be totally incompetent for rule. Rather than face the looming threat of the Bulgars or the Arabs, he intended to reignite the religious controversies by imposing the much hated Heraclian Monothelitism. When King Tervel of Bulgaria invaded Thrace, Bardanes had no choice b
Leo III, who would become the founder of the so-called Isaurian dynasty, was actually born in Germanikeia in northern Syria c. 685; his alleged origin from Isauria derives from a reference in Theophanes the Confessor, which however may be a later addition. After being raised to spatharios by Justinian II, he fought the Arabs in Abasgia, and was appointed as strategos of the Anatolics by Anastasios II. Following the latter's fall, in 716 Leo allied himself with Artabasdos, the general of the Arme
Constantine was born in Constantinople, the son and successor of Emperor Leo III and Maria. In August 720 he was associated on the throne by his father, who had him marry Tzitzak, daughter of the Khazar khagan Bihar. His new bride was baptized as Irene in 732. Constantine V succeeded his father as sole emperor on April 19, 741.
Leo was the son of Emperor Constantine V by his first wife, Tzitzak of Khazaria, the daughter of a Khagan of the Khazars. Crowned co-emperor by his father in 751 Leo then married Irene, an Athenian from a noble family, in December 769. In 775 Constantine V died, leaving Leo as sole emperor. On 24 April 776 Leo, following the precedent set by his father and grandfather, appointed his son, Constantine VI, co-emperor. This led to an uprising of Leo's five half-brothers, including Caesar Nikephoros,
- Sources of slaves
- Social life
- Transition from slave labour to free
Slavery was common in the early Roman Empire and Classical Greece. It was legal in the Byzantine Empire but became rare after the first half of 7th century. From 11th century, semi-feudal relations largely replaced slavery. Under the influence of Christianity, views of slavery shifted: by the 10th century slaves were viewed as potential citizens, rather than property or chattel. Slavery was also seen as "an evil contrary to nature, created by man's selfishness", although it remained legal.
A main source of slaves were prisoners of war, of which there was a great profit to be made. The Synopsis of Histories mentions that after the Battle of Adrassos many prisoners of war were sent to Constantinople. They were so numerous that they filled all the mansions and rural regions. Most of the domestic servants in large Byzantine homes were slaves and were very numerous. Danielis of Patras, a wealthy widow in the 9th century, gave a gift of 3,000 slaves to Emperor Basil I. The eunuch Basil,
Slavery was mostly an urban phenomenon with most of the slaves working in households. The "Farmers Law" of the 7th/8th centuries and the 10th century "Book of the Prefect" deals with slavery. Slaves were not allowed to marry until it was legalized by emperor Alexios I Komnenos in 1095. However; they did not gain freedom if they did. The children of slaves remained slaves even if the father was their master. Many of the slaves became drafted in the army.
Castration was outlawed, but the law was poorly enforced, and young boys were often castrated before or after puberty. Eunuchs were traded as slaves, both imported to and exported from the empire. The scholar Kathryn Ringrose says they "represented a distinct gender category, one that was defined by dress, assumed sexual behavior, work, physical appearance, quality of voice, and for some eunuchs, personal affect."
Slave markets were present in many Byzantine cities and towns.The slave market of Constantinople was found in the valley of the Lamentations. At certain times a 10-year-old child's price was 10 nomismata, a castrated one of the same age was worth 30. An adult male 20 and an adult eunuch 50 nomismata.
Yet it is probable that ordinary labour in towns was conducted on a system like that introduced by Diocletian, whereby the labourer was bound to pursue an hereditary calling, but received wages and provided his own keep. This is the system indicated in the tenth-century "Book of the Prefect". The "Farmer's Law" of the seventh and eighth centuries shows the free "colonus" working in his village, and the slave working on the large landed proprietor's estate, but both classes tended to fall into th
Jan 22, 2012 · The Byzantine Empire in 1204 A.D. was divided into the Empire of Nicaea, the Empire of Trebizond and the Despotate of Epirus Map to show the partition of the empire following the Fourth Crusade, c.1204. The despotate of Epirus from 1205 to 1230 The despotate of Epirus from 1230 to 1251
- South East Europe, the Middle East and North Africa
- Byzantine Empire
- Roman Empire
- Independent country between 476 and 1453
Immortals (Byzantine Empire) The Immortals ( Greek: Ἀθάνατοι, Athanatoi) were one of the elite tagmata military units of the Byzantine Empire, first raised during the late 10th century. The name derives from a- ("without") + thanatos ("death").
- related to: Byzantine Empire wikipedia